May 21, 2007 09:21 AM EST
Rilat Reels In O'Reilly ASCoT Bully Hill NY Nationals Crown
By RICH VLECK AND LONNIE WHEATLEY
DUNDEE, NY – Forney, TX, racer Travis Rilat offered up a rousing conclusion to the Ninth Annual Bully Hill Vineyards New York Sprint Nationals presented by S.P. Wilson and Budweiser at Black Rock Speedway by making a late move past Wayne Johnson to
post his first O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National feature win of the year in Saturday night's 30-lap main event.
Rilat squeezed between Johnson and the frontstretch wall to snare the lead upon the completion of the 27th lap and paced the final three circuits to secure the victory aboard the Motor Mike-powered F&J Construction No. 29 Triple-X chassis. It marked his 21st career win in ASCS National action and the first time a Triple-X chassis has parked in victory lane.
In addition to the posted $4,000 winner's share, Rilat pocketed an extra $1,000 bonus from Texas sponsor Allen Murray Racing to bring his take for the night to $5,000.
"I knew coming off of four was where I was going to have to get a run on Wayne to get by," Rilat explained afterward. "I went underneath him the lap before just to get him to move down, he did on the next lap and I got my run on the high side. I couldn't see anything through the dust, I had no idea how much room I had between me and the wall and me and Wayne."
The victory came just one night after Rilat struggled mightily in his first visit to Black Rock Speedway. "I don't think I've ever felt as bad in a Sprint Car since the first time I drove one as I did last night."
But Rilat and Aussie crew chief Tyson Perez went to work, making wholesale changes prior to the Saturday finale. "We changed everything on it; bars, shocks, everything," Rilat commented.
Those changes showed early dividends when Rilat charged from eighth to win the evening's third heat race, thus earning a berth in the Pole Dash.
After finishing third in the Dash, Rilat followed front row starters Jason Johnson and Wayne Johnson to the green flag. Wayne Johnson gunned into the early lead and opened up a half straightaway advantage aboard Tim Hammers' Wesmar-powered H&H Enterprises No. 94 Eagle over the opening handful of laps.
But as lapped traffic came into play on the seventh lap, Jason Johnson and Rilat closed the gap on the leader. Rilat disposed of Jason Johnson for second on the 11th round and was beginning to work on Wayne Johnson for the lead when the race's first caution flew at the midway point for Chris Schmelzle, who slid off of turn two.
Weathering two more cautions over the next three laps, Rilat kept the pressure on and made a strong bid for the lead on the 20th lap. But when Rilat nearly slipped off the top of turn four on the 21st lap, Wayne Johnson opened up a three car-length lead.
Rilat closed in on Johnson's rear bumper three laps later when sixth-runner Darren Stewart came to a stop in turn four with mechanical woes, setting up a six lap dash to the checkered flag.
With the dust momentarily settled, Rilat wasted little time getting to work. After looking to the high side, Rilat peeked underneath Johnson exiting turn four on the 26th lap. A lap later, Rilat returned to the cushion and made what proved to be the race-winning pass as he went on to take the checkered flag with a four car-length advantage.
After finishing second, Wayne Johnson commented that, "We got way too loose right at the end, I'm not sure if the right rear sealed over or what under that last caution but I couldn't get going after that."
Jason Johnson chased the pair of past ASCS National champions across the line in Lanny Row's Wesmar-powered The Shop Motorsports No. 41 Eagle, while Gary Wright maintained his series point lead and extended his streak of top-five finishes to 14 with a fourth-place run in the Wesmar-powered Richwood Construction No. 9 Maxim.
After starting 18th, Justin Barger sliced through the field to round out the top five in the Cortlandt Auto Body Motorsports No. 32.
Doug Emery crossed the stripe sixth in front of Trevor Lewis, Friday night preliminary feature winner Chuck Hebing, Kenny Adams and Bobby Breen.
Emery, Foster Landon, Rilat and Blake Breen topped Saturday night's heat race action, with Andy Shouse and Barger winning the twin "B" Mains.
Tim Hogue held the lead in the evening's third heat race until he smacked the turn two wall and flipped violently down the backstretch. Hogue walked away from his mangled machine uninjured.
In other winged-thing action, Don Harvey Jr. continued his dominance of the Central New York Mini Sprints, winning his second race in as many CNYMS races in 2007.
The Matthews Buses No. 44 Henchcraft had a second place finish in heat two, but started on the pole and would pull away from the rest of the field in the 20-lap feature.
The only hurdle that the defending CNYMS Champion had to overcome on Saturday night came on lap 11 when he was attempting to clear the lapped car of Sierra Lister. Lister and Harvey came together, sending the No. 10s into the inside retaining wall in turn 1. Lister would have to be towed away, but Harvey only had cosmetic damage, allowing him to hang onto the lead.
“I had already committed to my lane and there was not enough time to hit the brakes,” commented Harvey in Victory Lane. “I think I knocked the toe out because the car did not handle as well after that but we were still good.”
2003 Champion Doug Norrie run much of his first CNYMS race in 2007 in the runner-up spot, but battled a loose-handling No. 36 and handed over the spot to Mike Kiser with three laps remaining, allowing the 2005 Champion to finish 2nd for the second straight race.
Jimmy “Bubba” Broderick was at times the quickest of the 17 cars on the track, but again had to settle with a 3rd place finish for the 2nd time this season. Norrie slipped back to 4th with Scott Goodrich recording his first-career CNYMS top-five.
The New York Modified Midgets carried 28 cars into their third race of the season, with Zack Morgan returning to Victory Lane in 2007.
Morgan was fast all night long and paced much of the 20-lap feature, capturing the win over Ben Kysor, Ryan Jordan, Nick Cooper and Ken Welty. Doug Karlene won the 270cc Interstate Micro Sprints Feature in the No. 11x, holding off multiple charges from 2006 Black Rock Repeat Winner Jay Groves throughout the 15-lap feature event.
Groves beat Karlene in heat two but could not do the same in their 4th feature event of the year. Jessica Mcdivitt, Shawn Mott and Heat 1’s winner Shannon Doran rounded out the top-5.
Racing action returns to its regular form next Friday at the Black Rock Speedway as the 358-Modifieds and Crate Sportsman divisions get back to battling at the Yates County Powerplant. The night will be presented by Verizon Wireless and Naples Valley Auto. It will be Veteran’s Appreciation Night with a Kid’s Bike Give-a-way included.