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ASCS Tuesday Top Ten – Swingers

Lonnie Wheatley, TULSA, Okla. (May 11, 2010) – A second consecutive weekend of traditional action Sprint Bandits TNT style and another winged ASCS Sooner weekend are in the books, thus setting the stage for another edition of Tuesday’s Top Ten.

Covering all terrain both ASCS and Sprint Bandits, TTT commences right about now…

[b 1. The TNT Eleven] – With the initial two weekends of Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits TNT action in the books, a total of 43 different drivers have competed in at least one event with eleven drivers taking in all three nights of action that have included Houston Raceway Park (18 competitors on May 1), Devil’s Bowl Speedway (21 on May 7) and I-30 Speedway (28 on May 8).

Jesse Hockett, the lone Missouri rep, holds a slight two-point lead over Travis Rilat, who represents the Lone Star state along with Ray Allen Kulhanek.

Oklahoma fields three full-time TNT teams including Brady Bacon, Matt Sherrell and Zach Chappell, with the Robert Ballou and Casey Shuman efforts both based out of Indiana. J.C. Bland flies the Illinois flag, Anthony Nicholson comes from Tennessee and the Arizona-based Jack Yeley mount has featured Oklahoma native Wayne Johnson at the wheel.

[b 2. Home Cookin’] – The weekend’s TNT winners, Travis Rilat and Tim Crawley, were both on familiar turf with wins at Devil’s Bowl and I-30 Speedway literally minutes away from their respective homes.

And, while both have logged plenty of winged wins, wingless glory is somewhat new territory for the pair of past ASCS National champs.

Fifteen minutes away from his Forney home, Rilat held off Brady Bacon in the first wingless 410-ci Sprint Car event at Devil’s Bowl Speedway since May 13, 1988. The triumph aboard the entry followed previous wingless wins that included an Ultimate Challenge victory in 2002 and an ASCS Sooner non-wing experiment at Creek County in 2003.

One night later, Crawley knocked off the TNT forces just a few minutes from his Benton, AR, home at Little Rock’s I-30 Speedway. Sporting a win total in the triple-digits, only three previous wins had taken place in wingless 360-ci specials at I-30. Saturday’s TNT card at I-30 was the first 410-ci wingless event atop the Little Rock clay since 1981.

[b 3. Sooner Supremacy] – In the weekend’s only ASCS Regional action, Jason Johnson and Nick Smith flexed Sooner muscle in Oklahoma and across the Show Me border into Missouri.

Shut out of victory lane in three Lucas Oil ASCS National starts, “The Ragin’ Cajun” remained undefeated in three Regional starts with a convincing triumph in the first American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region event at Muskogee’s Outlaw Motor Speedway, adding to earlier Gulf South scores at Houston Raceway Park and Lufkin’s Speedarama. One of several National contenders getting a sneak look at Outlaw to prep for the June 4 event along with Tony Bruce, Jr., Danny Wood, Joshua Hodges, Kenneth Walker, Dustin Morgan and Don Young, Johnson went south rather than north on Saturday night and cut his Maxim in half in a wild one.

Up to Missouri’s Springfield Raceway on Saturday night where the car count swelled to 31 from just a dozen last year, Nick Smith broke into victory lane for the first time of 2010 in just his third time out in the new Maxim. Smith escaped the night with the ASCS Sooner point lead, just four markers ahead of National shoe Tony Bruce, Jr., who posted weekend finishes of second and fourth to run his season total to 12 top-tens in 12 overall ASCS starts.

Scaling back to Sooner from National, Sean McClelland is 28 points off Smith’s pace in third after a runner-up finish at Springfield, with defending champ Joe Wood, Jr., falling from first to fourth in points after a pair of tenth-place finishes.

Donnie Ray Crawford, who was third at Springfield for the second year in a row (his best Sooner finishes thus far), is fifth in points after replacing a frame mangled by Kellyville rumble strips.

[b 4. Truckers] – Roger Tapy’s Trucker’s 24-Hour Road Service Team had competed in every Sprint Bandits TNT event dating back to the beginning in 2006 and was presented an award for that dedication last August at Lakeside (

While no longer fielding entries as a car owner, Tapy’s string of TNT involvement continues as a part of Casey Shuman’s TNT effort with Eric Barnhill. Shuman picked up finishes of fourth and seventh over the weekend in the Stanton Mopar-powered No. 10x ( to escape the opening set of events ranked sixth.

[b 5. Who Let the Dog Out?] – Perhaps the tensest moments of Saturday night’s 30-lap TNT main event at I-30 Speedway were provided by the pooch that broke free of the Matt Sherrell pit area.

So much for watching the show, this dog decided to be the show. And it proved to have some catlike moves, dodging a field of 20 or so Sprint Cars by crossing the track under green flag conditions not just once, and not twice, but on three different occasions and somehow coming away from the fray unscathed.

Likely unaware at the time of his dog’s on track adventures, Sherrell rebounded from an early cut tire to finish 12th at I-30 after a sixth-place Devil’s Bowl run, escaping the weekend seventh in points.

[b 6. Diaper Fund] – A pair of the weekend’s winners will likely be extending some of the earnings to baby needs. Travis Rilat held four-month old daughter Kinsley Ella, who made her first TNT victory lane appearance at Devil’s Bowl (

A night later, Nick Smith picked off his 14th career Sooner win in Missouri. Some credit would have to go to twins Adley and Isla, who have taken on supervisory roles in the Broken Arrow, OK, race shop (

[b 7. The Crash] – While some puckered at the idea of going wingless at Devil’s Bowl, the 21 that took part respected the ½-mile and got through the night with only two minor cautions.

The reminder of just how violent non-wing flips can be came on Saturday night at I-30 Speedway when 19-year-old Derek Hagar of Marion, AR, launched off Jeremy Newkirk’s right rear tire in heat race action, all in view of the High Vista cameras at

While much of the car was severely mangled, the roll cage area of the J&J was still sound afterward and the ButlerBuilt seat did its part as well to minimize injuries.

After three nights in a Little Rock hospital to monitor a minor lung puncture from some fractured ribs, Hagar was released and sent home earlier today.

[b 8. Swingers] – Fans of either the Lucas Oil ASCS National Series presented by K&N Filters or the Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits TNT series are being treated to some of the most versatile racers in the nation, as half of the current TNT top ten are known for their winged exploits as well.

Three races into both major series, Jesse Hockett is faring the best right now. “The Rocket” holds a two-point TNT lead and is just three points behind Shane Stewart in the winged Lucas Oil ASCS ranks.

Just two points off of Hockett’s leading TNT pace, Travis Rilat is 14th in Lucas Oil ASCS National points after a pair of DNF’s in the last two events at Lone Star Speedway and I-30 Speedway.

Sixth with the ASCS Gulf South ranks, Dork Racing poster boy Ray Allen Kulhanek has found the wingless stuff to his liking with finishes of eighth and second this past weekend moving him up to third in TNT points.

Reigning TNT champ Brady Bacon is fourth in both TNT and Lucas Oil ASCS National points, with a cut front tire in the late going at I-30 on Saturday resulting in a 16th place finish.

Struggling with engine problems this weekend, Zach Chappell is tenth in TNT points and seventh in Lucas Oil ASCS National points.

[b 9. Firsts] – Several drivers made first career TNT feature starts over the weekend, including Billy Melton, Eric Baldaccini, Skip Wilson, Claud Estes, Glenn Martin, Russell Shoulders and Tim Simmons at Devil’s Bowl and then Tim Crawley, Zach Pringle, Rick Pringle, Eric Sandage, Joe Young, Wade Oliver, Jeremy Newkirk, Brian Bell and Dude Garrett at I-30.

A pair of Taylor’s, including 16-year-old Taylor Milton of Fargo, OK, and 18-year-old Taylor Velasquez of Turpin, OK, made first career ASCS Sooner starts at Outlaw Motor Speedway on Friday night, finishing 11th and 14th respectively, before adding second starts at Springfield where they finished 13th and 14th. Missouri shoes Eric Todd, Kent Buckley and Curtis Boyer each made first career ASCS Sooner starts at Springfield, with current WOW point leader Todd faring the best with an eighth-place showing.

[b 10. Jesse the Greek] – A la Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, Jesse Hockett called it on a recent edition of the Lucas Oil ASCS Show on by saying that, “I look for a 360 to run in the top five one of these nights.” Discussing the chances of a 360-ci entry being competitive with the 410-ci TNT ranks, Hockett speculated that, “A lot of guys are gonna be surprised and be pretty happy with how they stack up against the 410’s.”

After Anthony Nicholson took the $500 bonus as the top finishing 360 at Houston with a ninth-place run, Justin Melton took the Devil’s Bowl bonus money with a seventh-place run after Billy Melton drove off to a heat race win.

Predictably though, the 360’s stood out best on a slick I-30 surface with Tim Crawley adding the $500 bonus to his $3,000 winner’s take. Crawley was one of three 360’s among I-30 top ten along with fifth-place Zach Pringle and sixth-place Gary Taylor, who made his first Sprint Car start of the year after a Tucson Copper on the Dirt Midget run and several random Micro outings.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming, as 2010 TTT Edition XI comes to a close.

Until next time, find what you need in terms of ASCS info at