By Pete Walton
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The “Carolina Kid” gave his home state race fans something to cheer about in United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters competition Saturday night at Fayetteville Motor Speedway.
Charlotte,N.C. hotshoe Eric Riggins Jr. took the lead of the 25-lap Summer Speed Xplosion A-main on lap three from K&N Filters polesitter Brian Thomas and held off Friday night’s winner Johnny Bridges on two successive restarts to notch his fourth USCS feature win of the 2015 season and his first career Fayetteville win.
The visit for the USCS 360s was their first to the four-tenths mile oval since 2010, and the win was Riggins’ 12th career USCS victory.
“We hit on something just before the feature and I could make the top work for a couple laps,” Riggins said in www.rockauto.com Victory Lane. “After that I got comfortable with my rhythm and I didn’t think I had much of a challenge from behind. The car was perfect tonight and I just ran as hard as I could to bring it home.”
The event’s two cautions flew at lap 7, when 2010 series Rookie of the Year and championship leader entering the weekend, Morgan Turpen, spun in turn four; and on lap 18 when the front wing mounts broke on Shawn Mott’s No. 5M machine and blocked his vision, sending him rolling to a stop in turn two.
Bridges, whose win on Friday night at East Lincoln Speedway was his first USCS win in over a year, had a chance to make it two in a row but could not run down Riggins over the final seve laps following the last caution and and to settle for second.
“We set the car up really, really tight for the main event expecting the track to be a lot drier than it was,” Bridges admitted. “The only place I could run was on the bottom and with Eric was out there in that clean air there was really nothing I could do. He had a little bit faster race car than I did tonight, but after the struggle we’ve had, I’ll certainly take a win and a second place for the weekend and go home happy.”
11-time and reigning series champion Terry Gray, from Bartlett, Tenn., notched the K&N Filters Podium Award by finishing third and 305 sprint car regualr Johnny Petrozelle, out of Denton, N.C. used a spirited drive to come home in fourth. Cordva, Tennessee’s Turpen rallied from her spin in the second half of the race to round out the top five.
Leading series Rookie of the Year contender Nick Snyder, from Marco Island, Fla. finished sixth in a drag race to the line with Pendergrass, Ga. veteran Brian Thomas, who was seventh. Indian Trail, N.C.’s Brandon McLain finished eighth after flipping his machine the previous night and Jay Dunham, from Grovetown, Ga. came home ninth. York, S.C. pilot Matt Hope, who has notched two 305 sprint car wins so far in 2015, rounded out the top ten.
Riggins kicked off the evening’s racing action by winning the Hoosier Tire Speed Dash, and backed that up with a win in the Engler Machine and Tools First Heat. Turpen rolled to the victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat.
Gray was the provisional polesitter after scoring the most passing points in heat race action, but after a six was rolled on the K&N Inversion Die, Brian Thomas received the K&N Filters Pole Award. Riggins also passed the most cars in the A-main (three) to grab the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.
The United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N continues their 2015 schedule on Friday night, August 14 with the Ellis Palasini Classic at the Greenville Speedway in Greenville, Mississippi.
For rules and updated schedule information about the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour, please visit www.uscsracing.com or call the series office at 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097.
RESULTS: USCS Sprint Car Series “Summer Speed Xplosion”; Fayetteville Motor Speedway; July 25, 2015
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: Eric Riggins Jr., Morgan Turpen, Johnny Bridges, Terry Gray, Nick Snyder, Brian Thomas.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: Eric Riggins Jr., Terry Gray, Brian Thomas, Nick Snyder, Jay Dunham, Matt Hope.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Morgan Turpen, Johnny Bridges, Johnny Petrozelle, Shawn Mott, Brandon McLain.
USCS Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N Summer Speed Xplosion A-main: 25-laps
- #47 – Eric Riggins Jr., Charlotte, NC
2. #07 – Johnny Bridges, Cherryville, NC
3. #10 – Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
4. #59 – Johnny Petrozelle, Denton, NC
5. #10M – Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
6. #116 – Nick Snyder, Marco Island, FL
7. #67 – Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
8. #21B – Brandon McLain, Indian Trail, NC
9. #51 – Jay Dunham, Grovetown, GA
10. #28H – Matt Hope, York, SC
11. #5M – Shawn Mott, Rockwell, NC
USCS Sprint Car Series Race Awards:
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: #10M – Morgan Turpen
K&N Filters Pole Award: #67 – Brian Thomas
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: #10 – Terry Gray (3rd place)
Bell Helmets Focus Award: #07 – Johnny Bridges
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: #10 – Terry Gray
Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Fourth Place Award:
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award:
Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award: #10M – Morgan Turpen
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: #116 – Nick Snyder
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: #67 – Brian Thomas
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: #28H – Matt Hope
The United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters would like to gratefully thank its sponsoring partners for their involvement in the 2015 and 19th anniversary USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour: K&N Filters, www.rockauto.com,Engler Machine and Tool, Butlerbuilt, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Saldana Racing Products, Pyrotect Racing Cells, DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends. KSE Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers, DSR Fuel Systems, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions and Safety-Kleen.