LAVONIA, Ga. – Audio, photo and recap by Managing Editor Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio, Race Chaser Online and USCS Racing –
1998 United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N Rookie of the Year and perennial contender Johnny Bridges raced to his first-career Lavonia Speedway victory during “Fast Friday” at the three-eighths mile oval, holding off defending series champion Terry Gray in the process.
While many drivers were close on fuel in the closing laps, Bridges, from Cherryville, N.C., stayed cool under pressure and led all 30 laps from the K&N Filters Pole Position to score the win, his second of the season and 16th of his USCS career.
“I was real nervous with Terry behind me, and then on that last restart it just started cutting out in the corners,” Bridges said. “I was just sitting there going, ‘Come on, come on,’ and it finally picked back up off the exits of the corners. This is my first-ever win at Lavonia, and (past USCS champion) Kenny Adams taught me how to get around this place – so this one’s credit to him.”
Bridges’ cousin Lance Moss, who finished third, said that the fuel factor was a big concern for the frontrunners late in the race.
“We were all wondering if [the fuel] was going to hold up,” the driver of the Carbon Raptor No. 23 said after the race. “Eric [Riggins Jr.] and I were having a real good battle there before he ran out, and I really hated to see it end like that. I was having so much fun fighting with him. When we finally got settled out there I knew there was no way I was gonna get back to him, but sometimes you steal a position and today we stole one.”
“I’m real happy to finish third after our runs at the Knoxville Nationals. We needed this. I just hate it for Eric. He deserved a good run tonight.”
The fuel factor was brought about by a rash of problems, including two red flags and six additional cautions that made for challenging conditions for the 21-car field, with Riggins – the current USCS Southern Thunder regional points leader – stopping on the frontstretch after his fuel issues with four laps to go to bring out the final yellow of the night.
The two red flags was displayed twice before racing could really get established, first at lap two when Montgomery, Alabama’s Kyle Amerson went flipping in turn two and again on the ensuing restart when Brandon McLain went for a similar tumble at the exit of turn four. Both drivers were uninjured.
Despite the many cautions, Gray chased Bridges the entire distance in his Don Berry Construction No. 10 sprinter, but could never get close enough on any of the night’s restarts to challenge for the trophy. The Bartlett, Tenn. veteran finished second and unofficially took the national points lead away from his teammate Morgan Turpen in the process.
Moss rounded out the podium in third with 2008 series Rookie of the Year Anthony Nicholson and three-time season winner Marshall Skinner the balance of the top five.
Turpen, Ohio young gun Nick Roberts, outside polesitter Brian Thomas, Kevin Roberts Jr. and 20-year Navy pilot Shawn Murray capped off the top 10.
Turpen kicked off the evening’s racing action by winning the Hoosier Tire Speed Dash, and Brian Thomas scored the win in the Engler Machine and Tools First Heat. Bridges followed his dash win up with a victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat, and Nick Snyder took the victory in the Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat.
Bridges was the provisional polesitter after scoring the most passing points in heat race action, and after a zero was rolled on the K&N Inversion Die, he also received the K&N Filters Pole Award. Anthony Nicholson passed the most cars in the A-main (nine) to grab the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.
The United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N continues their 2015 schedule on Saturday night, Sept. 5 with Sprint Car Wars II at the Harris Speedway in Rutherfordton, N.C. The milestone event will be the 600th race in series history since its inception in 1997. Terry Gray won that first race, at the Talladega (Ala.) Short Track, while Eric Riggins Jr. is the defending Harris winner.
For rules and updated schedule information about the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour, please visit www.uscsracing.com or call the series office at 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097.
Audio with race winner Johnny Bridges:
Audio with third-place Lance Moss:
RESULTS: USCS Sprint Car Series “Fast Friday”; Lavonia Speedway; September 4, 2015
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: Morgan Turpen, Kyle Amerson, Eric Riggins Jr., Terry Gray, Nick Snyder, Brandon McLain.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: Brian Thomas, Kevin Roberts Jr., Marshall Skinner, Kyle Amerson, Morgan Turpen, Nick Roberts, Darren Orth.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Johnny Bridges, Ray Bugg, Terry Witherspoon, Brandon McLain, Anthony Nicholson, Jeff Willingham, Shawn Murray.
Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat: Nick Snyder, Terry Gray, Lance Moss, Eric Riggins Jr., Bob Auld, Joe Larkin, J.D. McCleary.
USCS Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N Fast Friday A-main: 30-laps
- #07 – Johnny Bridges, Cherryville, NC
- #10 – Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
- #23 – Lance Moss, Cherryville, NC
- #16 – Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN
- #26 – Marshall Skinner, Marion, AR
- #10M – Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
- #12 – Nick Roberts, Bloomingberg, OH
- #67 – Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
- #22R – Kevin Roberts Jr., Washington Court House, OH
- #22 – Shawn Murray, Jacksonville, FL
- #34 – Darren Orth, Jacksonville, FL
- #116 – Nick Snyder, Marco Island, FL
- #47 – Eric Riggins Jr., Charlotte, NC
- #83 – Bob Auld, Largo, FL
- #28 – Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
- #33 – Joe Larkin, Suwanee, GA
- #43 – Terry Witherspoon, Jacksonville, FL
- #25 – Ray Bugg, Iuka, MS
- #21B – Brandon McLain, Indian Trail, NC
- #3A – Kyle Amerson, Montgomery, AL
- #43M – J.D. McClary, Jacksonville, FL
USCS Sprint Car Series Race Awards:
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: #10M – Morgan Turpen
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: #67 – Brian Thomas
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: #07 – Johnny Bridges
Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat: #116 – Nick Snyder
K&N Filters Pole Award: #07 – Johnny Bridges
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: #23 – Lance Moss (3rd place)
Bell Helmets Focus Award: #10 – Terry Gray
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: #23 – Lance Moss
Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Fourth Place Award: #16 – Anthony Nicholson
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: #16 – Anthony Nicholson
Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award: #26 – Marshall Skinner
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: #10M – Morgan Turpen
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: #12 – Nick Roberts
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: #22 – Shawn Murray