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Shane Shines in Cottage Grove Prelim

[b Second Lucas Oil ASCS Win of 2009 for Stewart!]

[i Lonnie Wheatley, COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. (July 24, 2009)]

Bixby, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart snared his second Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters feature win of the year by topping Friday night’s 30-lap series debut atop the ¼-mile Cottage Grove Speedway clay oval.

After pacing the early rounds, Stewart battled back around Austen Wheatley for keeps on the 12th circuit and then held off fellow Sooner State shoe Wayne Johnson over the final rounds to secure his 17th career National win aboard the Wesmar-powered ProBilt Construction No. 57 A.R.T.

“I can’t say enough about the track prep here, it’s incredible,” Stewart commented after the win. “It’s good on the bottom, it’s good on the top, you can race all over this track.”

Stewart locked himself into Saturday’s main event along with the balance of Friday night’s top four finishers including Wayne Johnson, Jason Johnson and Roger Crockett.

After chasing down Jesse Hockett to win the night’s opening heat race and earn a position in the eight-car redraw, Stewart drew the pole position for the preliminary main event.

And, after outgunning fellow front-row starter and four-time series champion Gary Wright for the lead at the drop of the green flag, Stewart paced the early rounds while working the low side at the track.

With the likes of Wright, Wayne Johnson, Danny Wood and Roger Crockett among Stewart’s early pursuers, the early challenge for the point came from an unlikely source in the form of 16-year-old Lake Stevens, WA, shoe Austen Wheatley.

Working the top side of the track, Wheatley battled past Wright for second and then reeled in Stewart to take command on the sixth round. It was just the tip Stewart needed.

“I thought the bottom was gonna be good enough, but then he showed me the top side and thank God he did,” Stewart explained.

Stewart followed Wheatley’s lead to the cushion and when the young gun reached lapped traffic on the tenth round, it was just a couple of more circuits before one slip allowed Stewart to race back into the lead with W. Johnson and Crockett following in short order.

“I just wish we could have stayed up front a little longer, it’s not easy against those guys though,” Wheatley explained after ultimately finishing sixth.

Racing through heavy lapped traffic, Johnson closed in on Stewart a time or two before a caution flew after 19 circuits when fifth-running Danny Wood tangled with Chad Groves in turn two.

Back under way after the race’s second and final caution, Stewart cruised until lapped traffic in the final handful of rounds gave Johnson one last gasp at the leader. Stewart worked traffic without issue however, while Johnson settled for runner-up honors in the Ostrich-powered H.A.M. Construction No. 35a Maxim.

“We needed it after struggling so bad last weekend,” Johnson commented.

Jason Johnson made a late move to snare the show position in Lanny Row’s Wesmar-powered The Shop Motorsports No. 41 Eagle, taking sole possession of the series points lead after Gary Wright pulled to the infield in the final handful of laps with a blown engine.

Crockett took the fourth and final lock-in position to Saturday night’s main event aboard the Shaver-powered Omlid & Swinney Fire Protection & Security No. 11c KPC, with Paul McMahan picking off a half-dozen positions to round out the top five aboard the J&D Motorsports No. 3d Maxim.

Wheatley held in for sixth, with Seth Bergman posting his top series finish of the season by charging from 17th to seventh. Jack Dover was eighth, with Jesse Hockett and 20th-starter Jason Solwold completing the top ten.

Stewart, Wood, Dover and Wright topped heat race action for the 36-car field, with Bergman and Steven Tiner winning the “B” Mains.

Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters
Cottage Grove Speedway – Cottage Grove, OR

Heat Races (Top 16 in Passing Points to “A” Main; Balance to 2 “B” Mains):

Heat One (10 Laps): 1. 57-Shane Stewart, 2. 13-Jesse Hockett, 3. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 4. 3d-Paul McMahan, 5. 41s-Dale Smith, 6. 23-Seth Bergman, 7. 11-Chad Corken, 8. 53x-Andy Gregg, 9. 91-Gary Taylor.

Heat Two (10 Laps): 1. 94-Danny Wood, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 25c-Chad Groves, 4. 10-Kyle Miller, 5. 1-Sean McClelland, 6. 12-Jared Ridge, 7. 12p-Randy Pierce, 8. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 9. 7-Darren Long.

Heat Three (10 Laps): 1. 53-Jack Dover, 2. 11c-Roger Crockett, 3. 98m-Mitch Olson, 4. 75-Dan Menne, 5. 5h-Justyn Cox, 6. 88-Tim Crawley, 7. 51-Jason Solwold, 8. 6m-Phillip Del Rosa, 9. 10h-Steven Horner.

Heat Four (10 Laps): 1. 9x-Gary Wright, 2. 2-Kenneth Walker, 3. 35a-Wayne Johnson, 4. 29-Travis Rilat, 5. 94T-Steven Tiner, 6. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 7. 68-Rob Held, 8. 23T-Colin Baker. DNS: 33-Nate Morelock.

“B” Mains (Top 3 From Each Advance to “A” Main):

First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 23-Seth Bergman, 2. 12-Jared Ridge, 3. 29-Travis Rilat, 4. 91-Gary Taylor, 5. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 6. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 7. 10h-Steven Horner, 8. 6m-Phillip Del Rosa, 9. 68-Rob Held, 10. 10-Kyle Miller.

Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 94T-Steven Tiner, 2. 51-Jason Solwold, 3. 5h-Justyn Cox, 4. 75-Dan Menne, 5. 53x-Andy Gregg, 6. 12p-Randy Pierce, 7. 7-Darren Long, 8. 11-Chad Corken, 9. 23T-Colin Baker. DNS: 33-Nate Morelock.

Lucas Oil ASCS Preliminary Cottage Grove Speedway Main Event:

“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 57-Shane Stewart, 2. 35a-Wayne Johnson, 3. 41-Jason Johnson, 4. 11c-Roger Crockett, 5. 3d-Paul McMahan, 6. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 7. 23-Seth Bergman, 8. 53-Jack Dover, 9. 13-Jesse Hockett, 10. 51-Jason Solwold, 11. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 12. 1-Sean McClelland, 13. 12-Jared Ridge, 14. 88-Tim Crawley, 15. 29-Travis Rilat, 16. 2-Kenneth Walker, 17. 94T-Steven Tiner, 18. 5h-Justyn Cox, 19. 98m-Mitch Olson, 20. 41s-Dale Smith, 21. 9x-Gary Wright, 22. 94-Danny Wood, 23. 25c-Chad Groves, 24. 91-Gary Taylor.

Lap Leaders: Shane Stewart 1-5, Austen Wheatley 6-11, Stewart 12-30.

Note: Tony Bruce, Jr., and Gary Taylor utilized Lucas Oil ASCS provisionals to start the “A” Main.

Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters Points (Top 20): 1. Jason Johnson 1,564, 2. Shane Stewart 1,544, 3. Gary Wright 1,528, 4. Travis Rilat 1,459, 5. Tim Crawley 1,433, 6. Paul McMahan 1,418, 7. Tony Bruce, Jr. 1,407, 8. Danny Wood 1,344, 9. Jack Dover 1,339, 10. Jesse Hockett 1,295, 11. Sean McClelland 1,184, 12. Gary Taylor 1,126, 13. Kenneth Walker 1,030, 14. Darren Long 1,018, 15. Seth Bergman 968, 16. Chad Corken 967, 17. Gavin Punch 907, 18. Nick Smith 870, 19. Brady Bacon 752, 20. Ricky Logan 639.

ASCS Northwest Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Jared Ridge 1,686, 2. Roger Crockett 1,680, 3. Steven Tiner 1,676, 4. Mitch Olson 1,594, 5. Henry VanDam 1,577, 6. Chad Groves 1,501, 7. Randy Pierce 1,370, 8. Justyn Cox 1,341, 9. Colin Baker 1,073, 10. Austen Wheatley 965.