By Andrew Kunas
BILLINGS, Mont. – Sometimes, it just helps to be lucky. That happened for Trever Kirkland on Saturday night at Big Sky Speedway, as an ASCS Frontier Region sprint car main event win just fell into his lap with only a few laps remaining.
The Helena, Montana driver was running second to his longtime friend and rival Phil Dietz, and appeared destined to finish second for the fourth time in the last five races. Disaster struck for Dietz, however, when he jumped the cushion entering Turn 3, possibly caused by an issue discovered with the right rear tire after the race, and ended up off the track. Kirkland, who was nearly a straightaway behind, took advantage and drove into the lead on Lap 22 of the 25-lap feature. Dietz made it back onto the track and continued, but had fallen to third.
Suddenly in the lead, Kirkland made his way past a couple of slower cars in the remaining few laps, but had to hold off a furiously charging Kory Wermling in the final lap. Wermling got up to Kirkland’s rear nerf bar as they exited Turn 4 for the checkered flag, but Kirkland held on for the surprise win.
It was Kirkland’s second win of the season aboard the Kirkland Racing No. 37 Shark-powered Triple X, the first since winning the season opener May 27th at Electric City Speedway. It continues a string of strong runs for Kirkland since a big crash that came at Big Sky Speedway on June 11th, after which he still left with the points lead but was suddenly down on equipment and was down on luck. In those five races since, Kirkland ran second three straight times before a fourth place finish Friday night at Gallatin Speedway and then picking up the win on Saturday.
With the win, Kirkland increased his points lead to 93 unofficially over Kelly Miller and Wermling, who are now unofficially tied for second place in the ASCS Frontier Region points standings.
Wermling finished second aboard the family’s No. 9k Moyle-powered Maxim, a night after picking up his first win of the season at Gallatin Speedway. The Great Falls, Montana driver earned a hard charger nod, coming from the eighth starting position to take the runner-up spot and complete a strong weekend.
Dietz, who was celebrating a birthday on Saturday, still finished third despite the heartbreaking mishap aboard the Dietz Racing No. 72 Panella-powered Maxim. After motoring away from Kirkland on the initial start, Dietz led the entire race and was in control until his mishap with less than four laps to go.
Kelly Miller finished fourth and Shad Petersen was fifth.
Kirkland and Dietz started on the front row together after Kirkland defeated Dietz in the final round of the four-car pole shuffle, which the series tried for a second night in a row instead of the redraw for the top four drivers in heat race passing points. Those heat races earlier in the evening were won by Kirkland and Bryan Gossel.
Up next for the Brodix ASCS Frontier Region sprint car series is its annual visit to Sweetwater Speedway in Rock Springs, Wyoming. The Wyoming Sprint Car Showdown is Friday and Saturday, August 12th and 13th. The following weekend sees the series return to Big Sky Speedway for the Harvey Ostermiller Memorial, a two-night event for the first time on August 19th and 20th.
More information on the Brodix Frontier Region of the American Sprint Car Series, along with news and info on the Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour and other ASCS regional tours, can be found online at www.ascsracing.com. Stagg Motor Sports, the promoting company of the ASCS Frontier Region, can be found at www.staggmotorsports.com.
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Brodix ASCS Frontier Region
Montana Summer Shootout
Big Sky Speedway
July 30, 2022
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 37 Trever Kirkland, 2. 2jr Kelly Miller, 3. 72 Phil Dietz, 4. 9k Kory Wermling, 5. 16g Austyn Gossel.
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 6g Bryan Gossel, 2. 24m Ian Myers, 3. 21 Blayne Brink, 4. 2n Shad Petersen, 5. 35m Cody Masse.
3 seed 72 Phil Dietz d. 4 seed 2jr Kelly Miller
3 seed 72 Phil Dietz d. 2 seed 6g Bryan Gossel
1 seed 37 Trever Kirkland d. 3 seed Phil Dietz
Feature (25 laps): 1. 37 Trever Kirkland, 9k Kory Wermling, 3. 72 Phil Dietz, 4. 2jr Kelly Miller, 5. 2n Shad Petersen, 6. 24m Ian Myers, 7. 21 Blayne Brink, 8. 35m Cody Masse, 9. 16g Austyn Gossel, 10. 6g Bryan Gossel.