Sterling Cling Wins Holds On For Copper Classic Victory With The ASCS Desert Non-Wing Series

(l to r) Second place Stevie Sussex, winner Sterling Cling, and third place Bruce St. James. (Ben thrasher photo)

From Bryan Hulbert

QUEEN CREEK, AZ (November 28, 2020) – Wrapping up the 2020 season with the San Tan Ford ASCS Desert Non-Wing Series, Sterling Cling captured career win No. 4 and with it, the $2,000 top prize in the fifth annual Copper Classic at Arizona Speedway in a race that was fraught with cautions and came down to the final two turns.

Taking the lead early on, the No. 34c was chased by Friday’s prelim winner, Stevie Sussex, with Bruce St. James also in the mix. Green through Lap 11, the caution lights brought Sussex to the leader’s back bumper, but the No. 12 could do little on the restart as Cling pulled away.

Finding traffic with seven laps to run, Cling was forced off the throttle, allowing Sussex to close rapidly.
Five to go, Sussex dove to the hub of the third and fourth turns, but again would give chase to Cling. Moving back into the leader’s tire tracks, the final two laps saw Sussex again got a shot at the lead, but the caution lights greeted the field as Tyler Most rolled to a stop in front of the leader through the fourth turn.

Back to the last fully completed lap on the restart, Sussex charged the bottom for the lead. Slight contact on the way by, Stevie muscled into the lead as the pair hit the backstretch, but the caution before the lap could be completed for Pete Yerkovich negated the move.

Looking at Cling’s back bumper once again, the No. 34c hit the hub as Sussex railed the cushion. Slide job for the lead off the fourth turn, the caution continued to haunt the field. To the wave of the green flag, it was just as before as Sussex took a top to bottom approach for the lead. Edged by Cling at the line, Stevie again hit the cushion through the first and second turns. With momentum to his advantage, the run off the final two turns saw caution instead of checkers.

To the wave of the green and white, frustration struck again as the run to the point by Sussex was nullified by the caution. Getting the final green flag, Sussex gave it one final shot, but Sterling Cling would not be denied as he barely held on for the win.

Third went to Bruce St. James with Jonas Reynolds in tow. Making up 11 positions, Randy Nelson completed the top five.

Joshua Shipley was sixth, followed by Washington’s Shawn Rice who ran from 19th to seventh. A.J. Hernandez, Ryan Murphy, and Danny Mathus completed the top ten.

The 2021 event lineup for the San Tan Ford ASCS Desert Non-Wing Series is in the works and will be announced in the coming months. Through everything that has transpired in 2020, officials with the American Sprint Car Series cannot thank enough everyone who has continued to support Sprint Car racing in the Southwest.

ASCS Desert Non-Wing Series
Arizona Speedway
Queen Creek, AZ
5th annual Copper Classic – Night #2
Saturday, November 28, 2020

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps)
1. 34C-Sterling Cling[4]
2. 42-Danny Mathus[2]
3. 9-Josh Pelkey[5]
4. 0-Jonas Reynolds[6]
5. 9X-Randy Nelson[3]
6. 7X-Ryan Murphy[1]
7. 27-Mike Hathaway[8]
8. 50S-Patrick Kop[7]
9. 7W-Wayne Siddle[9]

Heat Race #2 (8 Laps)
1. 3Y-Pete Yerkovich[1]
2. 2-Joshua Shipley[7]
3. 22G-Aaron Jones[8]
4. 8K-Kala Keliinoi[3]
5. 43-Ryan Oerter[6]
6. 88-Philip Deeney[2]
7. 7-Mason Keefer[4]
8. 3-Tyler Most[5]

Heat Race #3 (8 Laps)
1. 7K-Bruce St James[2]
2. 12-Stevie Sussex[4]
3. 20-Shon Deskins[1]
4. 72-AJ Hernandez[5]
5. 17-Joe Scheopner[6]
6. 0AZ-Dustin Burkhart[8]
7. 21C-Shawn Rice[7]
8. 3K-Patrick Krob[3]

A-Main (25 Laps)
1. 34C-Sterling Cling[3]
2. 12-Stevie Sussex[7]
3. 7K-Bruce St James[2]
4. 0-Jonas Reynolds[9]
5. 9X-Randy Nelson[16]
6. 2-Joshua Shipley[4]
7. 21C-Shawn Rice[19]
8. 72-AJ Hernandez[10]
9. 7X-Ryan Murphy[20]
10. 42-Danny Mathus[8]
11. 3K-Patrick Krob[25]
12. 9-Josh Pelkey[6]
13. 43-Ryan Oerter[13]
14. 22G-Aaron Jones[1]
15. 17-Joe Scheopner[14]
16. 7-Mason Keefer[21]
17. 50S-Patrick Kop[22]
18. 3Y-Pete Yerkovich[5]
19. 3-Tyler Most[23]
20. 0AZ-Dustin Burkhart[15]
21. 8K-Kala Keliinoi[12]
22. 20-Shon Deskins[11]
23. 88-Philip Deeney[18]
24. 27-Mike Hathaway[17]
25. 7W-Wayne Siddle[24]