By Pete Walton
Senoia, GA – August 17, 2019 – Eric Riggins, Jr. from Charlotte, North Carolina raced from his K&N Filters Pole Position starting position into the lead in turn one of lap one and never looked back while using the high-side of the 3/8 mile clay oval at Senoia Raceway to garner his second title as the USCS Senoia Summer Nationals Champion on Saturday night in the 10th annual version of the event for the USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters winged sprint cars. It was the 24-year-old former USCS Southern Thunder regional series Rookie of the Year and usual top competitors first win of the 2019 season in only his third start of 2019.
Riggins showed he came to race on Saturday night right from the start as he raced past the previous night’s feature winner at Lavonia Speedway Justin Barger from Cornelius, North Carolina on the second lap of the Butlerbuilt Third Heat Race from his third starting position into the lead to win that heat race, then garner the most qualifying points from heat race action. The Engler Machine and Tool First Heat Race winner, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee then drew a zero in the K&N Filters inversion draw to place Riggins in the pole position of the main event starting order. Gray who had the second most qualifying points started outside the front row alongside him.
As stated, when the green flag flew for the 30-lap FireAde 2000 sponsored sprint car A-Main, Riggins charged into turn one, cleared Terry Gray and moved to the top of the speedway and kept his momentum up. Gray took up the chase with third starting Johnny Bridges from Cherryville, North Carolina, Justin Barger who started sixth and the Peruvian Outlaw, Mark Ruel, Jr. from Jacksonville, Florida in the lead pack running very close together.
Riggins had to survive only two caution periods during the main event but, held of the field both times with Gray challenging him hard on the final restart. But the leader (Riggins) was able to negotiate lapped traffic while Gray, Bridges, Barger and Ruel, Jr. battled for their position in the top five hoping for the runner-up spot. Slide jobs were the rule of the night. As all of the top drivers chose the high side of the track as the preferred line.
Johnny Bridges charged his way into the runner-up spot at the finish with a slide job pass to get past current USCS National points leader, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee who had held down the second spot for twenty-five plus laps while chasing Riggins through lapped traffic finished just inches behind Bridges in the K&N Filters Podium Award third place. Ruel, Jr., who momentarily made a move into third place while dicing with Bridges and Barger, finished fourth and Barger rounded out the top five.
Hayden Martin from Olive Branch, Mississippi led the next group to the finish line in sixth place. Another Mississippian, Ronny Howard from Nesbit, MS followed seventh place. USCS Mid-South regional series points leader, Morgan Turpen from Cordova, Tennessee was in eighth place at the checkers followed by Matt Kurtz from Jacksonville, Florida, who finished in ninth place. Joe Larkin from Suwanee, Georgia, who ranks sixth in the current USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series point standings, completed the top ten drivers.
Tim Perry from Mooresville, North Carolina kicked off the evening’s winged sprint car action with a win in the six-lap USCS Hoosier Speed Dash for the top six cars/drivers from the previous USCS event. Terry Gray then won the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat. Johnny Bridges dominated the Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Second Heat Race. Eric Riggins, Jr. won the Butlerbuilt Third Heat.
Eric Riggins, Jr. earned the most passing points during heat race action. The first heat race winner, Terry Gray, as is customary, drew for the 0-4-6 inversion in the K&N Filters Pole Award drawing and placed Riggins on the pole and himself outside the front row by drawing a zero (inversion). In the USCS main event presented by FireAde, The 2012 USCS Rookie of the Year, Jeff Willingham from Ripley, Mississippi started 19th passed the most cars (eight) finishing 11th to garner the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard-Charger award.
The USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters will race next race three night s over the Labor Day holiday weekend. The first two event nights will be at I-75 Raceway (i75raceway.com) in Niota (Sweetwater, TN) on Labor Day Weekend in the USCS Labor Day Weekend Sprint Classic on Friday and Saturday, August 30th and 31st. The event is an event that will include for the first-time ever a co-sanction with the K&L Ready Mix NRA Sprint Invaders. On Sunday night of Labor Day week end the series will make its only scheduled stop of the 2019 season at famed Talladega Short Track n Eastaboga, Alabama on Sunday, September 1, 2019..
The United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters would like to gratefully thank its sponsoring partners for their involvement in the 2019 and 23rd USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour: K&N Filters, www.rockauto.com,
Engler Machine and Tool, Butlerbuilt, Wilwood Disc Brakes, DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends. PRO Shocks, KSE Racing Products, DHR Suspensions, Schoenfeld Headers, DSR Fuel Systems, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Arizona Sport Shirts, Radical Race Gear, FireAde, FireAde Enforcer and Hero Graphics.
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 770-865-6097. You can also like the United Sprint Car Series Facebook page at USCS Racing and follow USCS on Twitter @uscsracing.
The USCS Senoia Summer Nationals X presented by FireAde, USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters Winged Sprint Car results:
Hoosier Speed DASH – (6 Laps): 1. 36-Tim Perry ; 2. 10-Terry Gray ; 3. 83 R-Mark Ruel Jr ; 4. 5-Justin Barger ; 5. 07-Johnny Bridges ; 6. 38-Tony Agin
Engler Heat 1 – (8 Laps)
1. 10-Terry Gray ; 2. 83 R-Mark Ruel Jr ; 3. 67 M-Hayden Martin ; 4. 10m-Morgan Turpen ; 5. 44-Ronny Howard ; 6. 28-Jeff Willingham ; 7. 5-Mark Lott
Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Heat 2 – (8 Laps)
1. 07-Johnny Bridges ; 2. 33-Joe Larkin ; 3. 13-Chase Howard ; 4. 67 T-Brian Thomas ; 5. 83 A-Bob Auld ; 6. 7 E-Eric Gunderson
Butlerbuilt Heat 3 – (8 Laps)
1. 47-Eric Riggins ; 2. 5-Justin Barger ; 3. 20-Matt Kurtz ; 4. 36-Tim Perry ; 5. 29-Danny Oliver ; 6.
1. 47-Eric 6. 38-Tony Agin
FireAde 2000 A-Main – (30 Laps)
1. 47-Eric Riggins, Jr. ; Charlotte, NC
2. 07-Johnny Bridges ;Cherryville, NC
3. 10-Terry Gray ; Bartlett, TN
4. 83 R-Mark Ruel Jr ; Jacksonville, FL
5. 5-Justin Barger ; Cornelius, NC
6. 67 M-Hayden Martin ; Olive Branch, MS
7. 44-Ronny Howard ; Nesbit, MS
8. 10m-Morgan Turpen ; Cordova, TN
9. 20-Matt Kurtz ; Jacksonville, FL
10. 33-Joe Larkin ; Suwanee, GA
11. 28-Jeff Willingham ; Ripley, MS
12. 13-Chase Howard ; Nesbit, MS
13. 36-Tim Perry ; Mooresville, NC
14. 67 T-Brian Thomas ; Pendergrass, GA
15. 38-Tony Agin ; Fort Myers, FL
16. 83 A-Bob Auld ; Largo, FL
17. 7 E-Eric Gunderson ; Canton, GA
18. 29-Danny Oliver ; Pendergrass, GA
19. 5-Mark Lott Hernando, MS
USCS Sprint Car Series Race Awards:
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: 36 Tim Perry
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: 10 Tery Gray
Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Second Heat: 07 Johnny Bridges
Butlerbuilt Third Heat: 47 Eric Riggins, Jr.
K&N Filters Pole Award: 47 Eric Riggins, Jr.
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: (1stPlace): 47 Eric Riggins, Jr.
PRO Shocks Champion Choice Award (2nd-Place): 07 Johnny Bridges
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: 10 Terry Gray
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: 28 Jeff Willingham (started 19th and finished 11th)
DHR Suspension Eighth Place Award: 10m Morgan turpen
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: 33 Joe Larkin