RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. – After a season in which, according to Morgan Turpen, “everything that could possibly go wrong, did,” the Cordova, Tenn. hotshoe finally landed back atop the United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N on Saturday night at Harris Speedway.
Turpen charged past K&N Filters polesitter Anthony Nicholson on the opening lap of Sprint Car Wars II at the semi-banked, three-eighths mile oval, and then held on through six restarts and a nine-lap run to the finish to score her first USCS victory since Oct. 4, 2014 at Cherokee (S.C.) Speedway.
Though Nicholson surged on the bottom of turn four coming to the checkered flag, Turpen was able to hold on for the win in a photo finish that was decided by roughly four feet at the start/finish line.
“Finally!” Turpen exclaimed after climbing from her car and getting a big hug from her car owner, Terry Gray. “I wasn’t sure I was going to beat Anthony to the line because I wasn’t sure where the lapped car [of Sonny Stroud] was going. I thought it was going to cost us – we’ve had five races won this year and circumstances have kept us from winning – but this is awesome.”
The victory was Turpen’s seventh career USCS win, and she credited Gray for making it happen.
“I couldn’t have done it without Terry in the infield tonight,” Turpen added of the 11-time series champion, who went out on lap two of the main event with a broken mag. “I hate that his car broke, but he definitely made the difference for me in keeping me calm and just reminding me what I needed to do after all those red flags.”
Nicholson was forced to settle for second at the stripe, his best USCS result of the year and the position he ran in for the entire main event after being passed by Turpen at the start and losing his brakes with 10 laps to go.
“After the last restart, the car spit pieces out of the inboard caliper and the brake pedal just went to the floor,” Nicholson explained. “So we had no brakes, but the bottom finally came in and I knew I had a shot. She just couldn’t stick her car down there like I could, but with no brakes it made it too hard to stay right with her.”
“I just needed those last four feet. Sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
Just like the previous night’s feature at Lavonia Speedway, multiple incidents plagued the main event, beginning on the opening lap when Kevin Roberts Jr. looped his No. 22R in turn three. A red flag followed three laps later, when high points man C.J. Miller went for a wild ride, flipping several times in turn one. He was uninjured in the crash, but his night was over prematurely.
After Bob Auld came to a stop on the frontstretch with a broken rear end to draw the night’s third yellow on lap nine; a flip down the backstretch with 12 laps complete – this time involving Jacksonville, Fla. veteran Terry Witherspoon – sparked a second red flag period for cleanup. Witherspoon also walked away without injury.
A stopped Eric Riggins Jr. in turn two set up a restart with nine laps to go, on which Brad Wickham hammered the frontstretch wall coming to green with his right rear before gently tipping onto his side in turn one. He too, was unhurt and climbed from his car.
After that, the race ran green to it’s conclusion, with Cherryville, N.C. veteran Lance Moss rounding out the podium in third for the second night in a row. His cousin Johnny Bridges, also from Cherryville, charged from 13th to finish fourth and three-time season winner Marshall Skinner, who made the drive up from Marion, Ark., rounded out the top five.
Leading rookie contender and Marco Island, Fla. young gun Nick Snyder followed that pack in sixth, chased by Bloomingburg, Ohio’s Nick Roberts, who finished seventh. Pendergrass, Ga. veteran Brian Thomas was eighth and Kevin Roberts Jr., out of Washington Court House, Ohio, finished ninth. Southern Thunder region points leader Eric Riggins Jr., based in Charlotte, N.C., capped off the top 10.
Gray kicked off the evening’s racing action by winning the Hoosier Tire Speed Dash, and C.J. Miller scored the win in the Engler Machine and Tools First Heat. Lance Moss rolled to the victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat, and Morgan Turpen took the victory in the Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat.
Miller was the provisional polesitter after scoring the most passing points in heat race action, but when a four was rolled on the K&N Inversion Die, Nicholson received the K&N Filters Pole Award. Johnny Bridges passed the most cars in the A-main (nine) to grab the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.
The United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N takes a night off for repairs before continuing their 2015 schedule on Monday, September 7 with the Labor Day Classic at Ray Cook’s Tri-County Race Track in Brasstown, N.C.
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 “Sprint Car Wars II”; Harris Speedway; September 5, 2015
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: Terry Gray, Anthony Nicholson, Morgan Turpen, Lance Moss, Marshall Skinner, Johnny Bridges.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: C.J. Miller, Anthony Nicholson, Brad Wickham, Sonny Stroud, Johnny Bridges, Terry Gray, Shawn Murray.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Lance Moss, Terry Witherspoon, Bob Auld, Marshall Skinner, Brian Thomas, Eric Riggins Jr., Ray Bugg.
Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat: Morgan Turpen, Nick Snyder, Kevin Roberts Jr., Nick Roberts, Jeff Willingham, Darren Orth, J.D. McClary.
USCS Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N Sprint Car Wars II A-main: 30-laps
- #10M – Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
2. #16 – Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN
3. #23 – Lance Moss, Cherryville, NC
4. #07 – Johnny Bridges, Cherryville, NC
5. #26 – Marshall Skinner, Marion, AR
6. #116 – Nick Snyder, Marco Island, FL
7. #12 – Nick Roberts, Bloomingburg, OH
8. #67 – Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
9. #22R – Kevin Roberts Jr., Washington Court House, OH
10. #47 – Eric Riggins Jr., Charlotte, NC
11. #22 – Shawn Murray, Jacksonville, FL
12. #43M – J.D. McClary, Jacksonville, FL
13. #28 – Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
14. #5S – Sonny Stroud, Marietta, SC
15. #6T – Brad Wickham, Rutherfordton, NC
16. #43 – Terry Witherspoon, Jacksonville, FL
17. #34 – Darren Orth, Jacksonville, FL
18. #83 – Bob Auld, Largo, FL
19. #9 – CJ Miller, Mooresville, NC
20. #10 – Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
21. #25 – Ray Bugg, Iuka, MS
USCS Sprint Car Series Race Awards:
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: #10 – Terry Gray
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: #9 – C.J. Miller
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: #23 – Lance Moss
Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat: #10M – Morgan Turpen
K&N Filters Pole Award: #16 – Anthony Nicholson
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: #07 – Johnny Bridges (4th place)
Bell Helmets Focus Award: #16 – Anthony Nicholson
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: #23 – Lance Moss
Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Fourth Place Award: #07 – Johnny Bridges
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: #07 – Johnny Bridges
Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award: #26 – Marshall Skinner
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: #116 – Nick Snyder
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: #12 – Nick Roberts
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr.
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.