Inside Line Promotions
– TULARE, Calif. (April 15, 2014) – Last weekend was the culmination of a lot of frustration for Austen Wheatley, who was charging toward a pair of top-10 results only to be caught in a pair of crashes.
“It was very frustrating,” he said. “You put all this money and effort into it to run well. The start of the year we’ve had is very frustrating.”
Wheatley competed with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series at Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., last Friday. He qualified 25th quickest and placed eighth in his heat race, which relegated him to the Last Chance Showdown.
It was in the closing laps of the consolation race when Wheatley found his groove.
“It got really slick and the cushion was hard to find,” he said. “Everybody started hitting the bottom. I just went to the top. The cushion was not even on the race track. You’d enter on it and then in the middle of turn one you’d fall off the track.”
Wheatley powered from seventh to fifth place in the final two laps of the Last Chance Showdown to earn a transfer to the main event. He continued to ride the cushion in the feature and rallied from 23rd toward the top 10 before a caution at the midpoint of the race.
“Everybody wasn’t even touching it,” he said of the cushion. “I’d say only five or six cars were up there. Everybody else was around the bottom. That’s my style. I’m just good at slick tracks with a curb.
“I was behind (David) Gravel on the restart and I saw (Daryn) Pittman flipping in turns one and two,” he said. “I thought I was going to miss it. All of a sudden I was flipping. I didn’t even know what happened.”
Wheatley, who dove to the bottom in turn one to avoid the melee, was hit from behind and ended upside down. He was unable to restart the race and was credited with a 24th-place result.
The team repaired the damage prior to Saturday’s King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series season opener at Thunderbowl Raceway.
Wheatley posted his best qualifying effort of the season by timing in third quickest, which started him on the outside of the second row in his heat race.
“In the heat race I had to run top four,” he said. “I took the lead three laps into it and then I stuck it in the concrete. I barely nicked it and it caved in the wheel.”
After powering to the top spot midway through his heat race, Wheatley cut his right rear tire after slight contact with the wall. He didn’t finish the heat and was sent to the B Main, which he won to transfer to the main event.
Wheatley started the feature on the inside of the fifth row and competed within the top 10 for the first handful of laps before some spun him from behind. After restarting at the back, Wheatley maneuvered toward the top 10 before he was once again swept up into a crash with approximately a dozen laps remaining.
The several-car wreck resulted in Wheatley flipping and he ended with a 19th-place finish in the main event to cap the weekend.
Wheatley is scheduled to return to his home state of Washington and will compete this Saturday at Skagit Speedway in Alger.
QUICK RESULTS –
April 11 – Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif. – Qualifying: 25; Heat race: 8 (9); B Main: 5 (7); Feature: 24 (23).
April 12 – Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif. – Qualifying: 3; Heat race: DNF (4); B Main: 1 (1); Feature: 19 (9).
SEASON STATS –
9 races, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s, 0 top 15s, 1 top 20
UP NEXT –
Saturday at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
Wheatley will have t-shirts and hoodies for sale at every race he competes at this season. For his schedule of races, visit http://www.AustenWheatley.com.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Redlined Welding & Construction
Redlined Welding & Construction performs welding and construction for fishing boats and processors. Based out of Lake Stevens, Wash., Redlined Welding & Construction is owned and operated by Austen’s father, Shannon Wheatley.
“Redlined Welding & Construction is a family business and we race with a family team, so without Redlined Welding & Construction I wouldn’t be able to race,” Austen Wheatley said. “It is the heart and soul of this team.”
Wheatley would also like to thank Downforce Designs, The Oil Medics, Fire-Down Graphics, SpeedMart, Astro Titanium, Bell and King Racing Products for their continued support.
INSIDE LINE PROMOTIONS –
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