From Lonnie Wheatley
BEAUMONT, Texas (May 27, 2011) – Just because he’s being inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame next weekend doesn’t mean that Gary Wright is done winning races. “The Texan” made that evident on Friday night by topping the opening leg of the Smiley’s Racing Products ASCS Gulf South three-night “Memorial Day Classic” at Golden Triangle Raceway Park.
Wright added his 18th overall ASCS Regional win to 127 previous ASCS National triumphs by driving his No. 9 Maxim to victory lane for the fourth in just six 2011 outings aboard his own entry, becoming the first repeat ASCS Gulf South winner of the season through nine events.
While Wright started the feature from the front row outside, it was pole starter Gary Watson leading the opening circuit before Wright took command.
Wright paced the field the rest of the way, taking the checkered flag ahead of fifth-starter Jason Johnson, defending series champion Ray Allen Kulhanek, current Gulf South points leader Tommy Bryant and Michael Dupuy, who earned Hard Charger honors by racing from 15th to round out the top five.
Watson was sixth, with Michael McNeil, John Pate, Wes Miller and George White completing the top ten.
Johnson, Chris Sweeney, Watson and Wright topped heat race action, with Dupuy winning the “B” Main.
The Smiley’s Racing Products ASCS Gulf South “Memorial Day Classic” continues on Saturday night at the Gator Motorplex in Willis, TX, before finishing up at Lufkin’s Speedarama Raceway on Sunday.
With his $2,000 triumph in Friday’s feature, Wright is eligible for a $1,000 bonus if he can pull down wins over each of the next two nights as well.
Smiley’s Racing Products ASCS Gulf South Results from Golden Triangle Raceway Park:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson, 2. 10-George White, 3. 14e-Tommy Bryant, 4. 3x-Michael Dupuy, 5. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 6. 2-Wes Miller, 7. 17-Bruce Griffith, Jr., 8. 19-Klint Angelette.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 93-Chris Sweeney, 2. 36-John Pate, 3. 40-Junior Jenkins, 4. 24j-Brandie Jass, 5. 76-John Ricketts, 6. 31-Brandon Berryman, 7. 30-Brandon Corn.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 3-Gary Watson, 2. 25m-Michael McNeil, 3. 15T-Travis Elliott, 4. 12b-Logan Bledsoe, 5. 71-Channin Tankersley, 6. 66-J.J. Simmons, 7. 5c-Chris Coker.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 9-Gary Wright, 2. 4-Eric Baldaccini, 3. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 4. 35-Greg Rilat, 5. 51s-Beau Smith, 6. 69-Larry Howery, 7. 52-Roger Oakes.
“B” Main (12 Laps): 1. 3x-Michael Dupuy, 2. 2-Wes Miller, 3. 12b-Logan Bledsoe, 4. 71-Channin Tankersley, 5. 69-Larry Howery, 6. 35-Greg Rilat, 7. 31-Brandon Berryman, 8. 66-J.J. Simmons, 9. 51s-Beau Smith, 10. 19-Klint Angelette, 11. 17-Bruce Griffith, Jr., 12. 52-Roger Oakes, 13. 76-John Ricketts, 14. 30-Brandon Corn, 15. 5c-Chris Coker.
“A” Feature (25 Laps): 1. 9-Gary Wright, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 21T-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 4. 14e-Tommy Bryant, 5. 3x-Michael Dupuy, 6. 3-Gary Watson, 7. 25m-Michael McNeil, 8. 36-John Pate, 9. 2-Wes Miller, 10. 10-George White, 11. 93-Chris Sweeney, 12. 35-Greg Rilat, 13. 40-Junior Jenkins, 14. 69-Larry Howery, 15. 24j-Brandie Jass, 16. 12b-Logan Bledsoe, 17. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 18. 4-Eric Baldaccini, 19. 15T-Travis Elliott, 20. 71-Channin Tankersley.
Smiley’s Racing Products ASCS Gulf South Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Tommy Bryant 1,108, 2. George White 1,086, 3. Ray Allen Kulhanek 1,026, 4. Chris Sweeney 957, 5. Brandon Berryman 947, 6. Channin Tankersley 924, 7. Travis Elliott 906, 8. Greg Rilat 882, 9. Gary Watson 871, 10. Aaron Reutzel 842.