July 20, 2013 – By Jacob Seelman – Cordele, Ga. — Coming into Saturday night, TBARA veteran Brian Gingras had won heat races and preliminary events, but had never quite been able to put it all together. Leaving Watermelon Capital Speedway Saturday night, Gingras was finally able to say, “Mission accomplished.”
In the United Sprint Car Series’ return to pavement racing Saturday night at the Melon, Gingras, making his USCS debut, held off the king of the USCS Sprint Car Series, 10-time National Champion Terry Gray, for his first career USCS win and first national sprint car triumph.
Gingras took the lead following a Lap 3 caution and was challenged by Gray down the stretch, but never faltered, holding tough over the five lap sprint to the finish after a late-race caution in the 35-lap feature.
“It’s been a long time coming, I’ll tell you that much,” Gingras said post-race. “Wail of a debut. This means a ton.”
Behind Gingras and Gray, 7-time 2013 feature winner Derek Hagar of Marion, Arkansas completed the podium. Hagar also took over the National Points Lead from Tim Crawley, who elected not to travel to the race Saturday night at the Melon.
Morgan Turpen, the #1-ranked female sprint car driver in America and the only female driver in the field, finished fourth and Anthony Nicholson, teammate to Hagar, finished fifth. The ageless Ray Bugg, competing on pavement for the first time since 1967, 14-year-old Garrett Green, Jim Blenkarn, Lee Moore and Dave Baumgartner completed the top ten.
Those top ten drivers; Gingras, Gray, Hagar, Turpen, Nicholson, Bugg, Green, Blenkarn, Moore and Baumgartner, all earned guaranteed starting spots for the USCS Sprint Car Series’ next pavement event at the quarter-mile “Thunder Ring” on the front stretch of Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 50-lap Atlanta Motor Speedway “Sprint Car Shootout” will be held following NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday night, August 30th.
14-year-old rookie sprint car ace Garrett Green, out of Valrico, Florida, set fast time on the night at a 13.75 seconds, just a shade off the track record of 13.64 seconds. Morgan Turpen started the night’s racing action with a win in the 6-lap Hoosier Tire Speed Dash, and Green and Terry Gray took victories in the nights two heat races.
USCS and track officials battled weather all afternoon and evening, shuffling the schedule to get the entire racing card that included the USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour winged sprint cars, NVRA Vintage cars and stock car and go-kart racing in the seven scheduled divisions. Fortunately however, the rain that loomed just outside the Cordele area never fell at the speedway and all divisions completed their main events.
For rules, schedules and other info on the USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour winged sprint car series 2013 (17th annual) National tour please visit www.uscsracing.com or call 770-865-6097.
Jacob Seelman, Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online
PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Seelman Photography
Hoosier Speed Dash (6-laps): Morgan Turpen, Anthony Nicholson, Terry Gray, Derek Hagar, Ray Bugg and Joe Larkin.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat (8-laps): Garrett Green, Derek Hagar, Anthony Nicholson, Morgan Turpen, Ray Bugg, Kurt Taylor and Joe Larkin.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat (8-laps): Terry Gray, Brian Gingras, Dave Baumgartner, Lee Moore, Jim Blenkarn and Randy Dilling.
USCS Filtercharged by K&N Filters main event 35-laps:
Pos. Car # Driver/Hometown:
1. 1 Brian Gingras, Lakeland, FL
2. 10 Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
3. 9Jr Derek Hagar, Marion, AR
4. 10m Morgan Turpen,Cordova, TN
5. 16 Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN
6. 25 Ray Bugg, Iuka, MS
7. 3 Garrett Green, Valrico, FL
8. 46 Jim Blenkarn, Murfreesboro, TN
9. 1A Lee Moore, Tuscaloosa, AL
10. 38 Dave Baumgartner, Ottowa Lake, MI
11. 8 Kurt Taylor, Brandon, FL
12. 33 Joe Larkin, Suwannee, GA
13. 5 Randy Dilling, Simpsonville, SC – DNS
14. 38x – DNS