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Tony Bruce, Jr., Captures Nebraska Cup with ASCS M

[b Tony Bruce, Jr., Captures Nebraska Cup with ASCS Midwest Triumph!]

[i Lonnie Wheatley, EAGLE, Neb. (September 12, 2009)]

“Holy cow, I’m worn out!” Tony Bruce, Jr., exclaimed as he climbed from his Sprint Car on Saturday night.

And for good reason, as the Liberal, KS, shoe had just outlasted Jesse Hockett in a classic slugfest atop the high-banked, 1/3-mile Eagle Raceway clay oval to collect a hefty $5,000 ASCS Midwest Region winner’s share and the coveted Nebraska Cup.

After Tige Jensen and Brady Bacon traded stints out front in the opening twelve rounds of the 30-lapper, Bruce and Hockett stepped to the head of the pack and traded the point numerous times before Bruce finally put a couple of car-lengths between himself and his Missouri chaser to secure the checkered flag aboard the Rider-powered No. 18 Maxim.

“What a race, if anybody here didn’t like that one, then you’re not gonna like any kind of racing,” Bruce announced to the large crowd in victory lane.

“It’s fun racing with Jesse like that, you can race him hard and you also know he’s gonna race you clean,” Bruce explained. “We were probably about three inches apart quite a few times, but we never touched at all.”

It marked Bruce’s second overall ASCS feature win of the season, adding to an ASCS Speedweek score at Little Rock’s I-30 Speedway, where he reigns as Short Track Nationals champion.

Bruce started Saturday night’s main event right on Hockett’s tailtank inside the third row as Don Droud, Jr., and Tige Jensen led the way to the green flag. Eagle rep Jensen gunned into the lead at the outset and paced the initial five circuits before fourth-starter Brady Bacon charged into the lead down the backstretch.

Following a quick caution after six laps for Gene Ackland’s second spin, Bruce and Hockett disposed of both Droud and Jensen to move into second and third behind Bacon.

Battling issues that began with semi-functional brakes after losing a pad at the outset and soon became no brakes at all, Bacon was a sitting duck for the hard-charging duo of Hockett and Bruce.

A slight Bacon miscue in turns three and four on the 13th circuit was all it took for Hockett and Bruce to relegate Bacon to third.

“I had the car to win tonight, but after losing the brakes it was about impossible to get the car into the corners the way I needed to,” Bacon explained.

With Bacon suddenly chasing in third, Hockett paced the next seven rounds with Bruce hot on his heels. With traffic coming into play, Bruce made his move for the lead on the 19th round and the battle was on.

The pair battled side-by-side, trading sliders in consecutive corners repeatedly, all the while slicing through lapped traffic over the next ten circuits, with Bacon and Brian Brown within a pair of car-lengths to take advantage of any potential miscues.

“Traffic was intense, I didn’t know where some of those guys were gonna try to go,” Bruce explained.

Bruce got the break he needed two laps from the end, slipping past a pair of lapped cars that held up Hockett just long enough for the slightest of Bruce breathing room.

Bruce made no bobbles over the final two laps and took the checkered flag, with Hockett settling for runner-up honors in his own No. 77 entry. Eighth-starter Brown from Missouri made a late move to snare the show position, with Oklahoma’s Bacon crossing the stripe fourth.

Droud rounded out the top five to rank as the top finishing Nebraska rep, with South Dakota’s Justin Henderson advancing from 14th to sixth and second-ranked ASCS Midwest shoe Chad Humston in seventh.

After slapping the wall and cutting his right rear tire in heat race action, Mike Boston rallied from the tail of a “B” Main to take the second and final transfer position away from Bronson Maeschen in the final corner and then picked up Hard Charger honors by racing from 18th to eighth in the main event.

While he was denied a third consecutive Nebraska Cup triumph, Jack Dover managed to pick off ten positions by charging from 19th to ninth with Billy Alley climbing from 17th to complete the top ten.

Ackland, Droud, Stuart Snyder, Henderson, Bruce and Jason Martin topped heat race action for Saturday night’s 52-car field, with Jason Danley, Ryan Anderson and Alley winning the 12-lap “B” Mains. After a 19th-place finish in the main event, Danley can secure the ASCS Midwest Region championship by taking a competitive green flag in Sunday night’s $2,001-to-win season finale at the Butler County Motorplex in Rising City, NE.

Joe McCarthy got upside down on the frontstretch in the night’s fifth heat, while Eric Lutz went for a wild turn one ride in the sixth heat at the same time that Kevin Ingle turned over on the frontstretch in a three-car scrum off turn four.

Mike Gabelhouse flipped in turn four in the first “B” Main, while Lee Grosz tagged the turn one wall to avoid a spinning car just ahead while leading the second “B” Main.

There were no injuries.

ASCS Midwest Results from Eagle Raceway’s Nebraska Cup:

Heat One (10 Laps): 1. 14g-Gene Ackland, 2. 28-Jonathan Cornell, 3. 4-Mike Chadd, 4. 96-Bronson Maeschen, 5. 22x-Billy Alley, 6. 34-Josh Padellford, 7. 77-John Klabunde, 8. 22-Jesse Baker, 9. 71x-Bob Schaeffer.

Heat Two (10 Laps): 1. 2-Don Droud, Jr., 2. 71-Tige Jensen, 3. 4m-Randi Miller, 4. 8b-Bobby Becker, 5. x29-Roger Sluka, 6. 91-Mitchell Moore, 7. 6g-Bryan Gossel, 8. 87j-Josh Lepage, 9. 19x-Chuck Jackson.

Heat Three (10 Laps): 1. 23s-Stuart Snyder, 2. 99-Brady Bacon, 3. 82-Jason Danley, 4. 7g-Mike Gabelhouse, 5. 23-Terry Holliman, 6. 14j-Josh Riggins, 7. 21-Ryan Kitchen, 8. 3z-Zach Davis, 9. 88-Mike Boston.

Heat Four (10 Laps): 1. 99jr-Justin Henderson, 2. 1m-Chad Humston, 3. 71r-Ryan Anderson, 4. 4j-Lee Grosz, 5. 28x-Ken Klabunde, 6. 96kx-Adam Gullion, 7. 76-Jay Russell, 8. 9j-Mark Schmidt, 9. 19-Joe McCarthy.

Heat Five (10 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 21x-Brian Brown, 3. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 4. 24a-Jack Dover, 5. 5-Eric Lutz, 6. 6-Nick Bryan, 7. 2k-Kevin Ingle, 8. 32-Toby Chapman.

Heat Six (10 Laps): 1. 36-Jason Martin, 2. 11x-Gregg Bakker, 3. 77x-Jesse Hockett, 4. 35ab-Trevor Grossenbacher, 5. 22k-Koby Barksdale, 6. 13F-Larry Pinegar, 7. 45-Jeff Lowery, 8. 14-Jeff Heffner.

First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 82-Jason Danley, 2. 88-Mike Boston, 3. 96-Bronson Maeschen, 4. 91-Mitchell Moore, 5. 34-Josh Padellford, 6. 21-Ryan Kitchen, 7. 2k-Kevin Ingle, 8. 22-Jesse Baker, 9. 77-John Klabunde, 10. 35ab-Trevor Grossenbacher, 11. 22k-Koby Barksdale. DNS: 19-Joe McCarthy.

Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 71r-Ryan Anderson, 2. 24a-Jack Dover, 3. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 4. 13f-Larry Pinegar, 5. 76-Jay Russell, 6. 45-Jeff Lowery, 7. 8b-Bobby Becker, 8. 71x-Bob Schaeffer, 9. 14j-Josh Riggins, 10. 4j-Lee Grosz, 11. 87j-Josh Lepage, 12. 19x-Chuck Jackson. DNS: 32-Toby Chapman.

Third “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 22x-Billy Alley, 2. 23-Terry Holliman, 3. 28x-Ken Klabunde, 4. x29-Roger Sluka, 5. 6g-Bryan Gossel, 6. 14-Jeff Heffner, 7. 6-Nick Bryan, 8. 9j-Mark Schmidt, 9. 3z-Zach Davis, 10. 4-Mike Chadd. DNS: 5-Eric Lutz, 96kx-Adam Gullion.

“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce, Jr., 2. 77x-Jesse Hockett, 3. 21x-Brian Brown, 4. 99-Brady Bacon, 5. 2-Don Droud, Jr., 6. 99jr-Justin Henderson, 7. 1m-Chad Humston, 8. 88-Mike Boston, 9. 24a-Jack Dover, 10. 22x-Billy Alley, 11. 28-Jonathan Cornell, 12. 11x-Gregg Bakker, 13. 71-Tige Jensen, 14. 71r-Ryan Anderson, 15. 23-Terry Holliman, 16. 36-Jason Martin, 17. 23s-Stuart Snyder, 18. 4m-Randi Miller, 19. 82-Jason Danley, 20. 14g-Gene Ackland.

ASCS Midwest Points (Top Ten): 1. Jason Danley 1,562, 2. Chad Humston 1,486, 3. Eric Lutz 1,254, 4. Jack Dover 1,246, 5. Brian Brown 1,140, 6. Lee Grosz 1,108, 7. (tie) Jonathan Cornell and Don Droud, Jr. 1,072, 9. Mike Boston 1,013, 10. Ryan Anderson 835.