November 4, 2013 — Audio, Photo and Recap by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online — In racing, you don’t always have to have the fastest car to win. You just have to be able to be in the right place to capitalize on others’ misfortunes.
And both of the winners for Saturday’s season-opening race for the INEX Superior Trailer Winter Series at Ace Speedway were certainly in the right position at the right time to take advantage of their competitors’ bad luck.
In the Legends division, what drivers and spectators alike expected to be a runaway victory for Dennis Lambert, the champion car owner in the Young Lions class for 2013 (with driver William Byron) who brought his #3 machine (formerly driven by UARA standout Kaz Grala) to the track, was anything but. Lambert set quick time in the OzLink #3 more than a tenth clear of second-fast qualifier Kyle Beattie, but once the inversion draw (a 2) put Lambert to the outside, things got interesting real quickly when the green flag fell.
At the outset, it was Beattie from the pole who led the field to Turn 1, with FAB Specialties driver Joey Padgett sailing it hard into Turn 1 to pin Lambert on the outside and drop the champion car owner back to third before he could get into line ahead of Payton Ryan. From there, Lambert started a march back towards the front, taking 5 laps to get back to Padgett’s bumper and pass him for the runner-up position.
However, as Lambert ran down Beattie, the duel for the lead would get hot and heavy in a hurry. Lambert made the move to the inside of Beattie in Turn 1 on Lap 8, and would clear him going down the backstraightaway. Beattie would try to cross over going into Turn 3, but when the #84 dove to the apron, it washed up the racetrack and tagged the left-rear quarter of the Dennis Lambert machine, sending both cars into a spin in Turns 3 and 4 and bringing out the caution for the first time. Both cars would roll away from the scene, but Lambert’s day would be over with a bent left-rear hub.
Kyle Beattie, however, would make an extended pit stop under the caution to repair his machine and change a flat tire, rolling back onto the race track and restarting from the rear in sixteenth. The polesitter still had a score to settle with Ace Speedway, and he would prove it in impressive fashion, beginning a charge through the field as the final seventeen laps went green to checkered.
As Beattie’s #84 was coming through traffic, however, Joey Padgett was up front pulling away after inheriting the lead. He would hold the top spot for 6 laps following the restart, but just as the 83 began to settle into a rhythm, a challenger came knocking that none of the front runners had expected.
The #10 machine of Brad Hancock, after starting ninth following a rough qualifying lap, fought tooth and nail around traffic to latch onto the back bumper of Padgett at Lap 11, and three laps later, Hancock would make a power move down the backstraightaway, surging to the lead in Turn 3 at Lap 14. and bringing the 15 of Michael Torres along with him.
And from there, the die was cast. Hancock would pull away as Padgett, Torres and Payton Ryan battled for second, third and fourth for the next 5 laps before Padgett broke free and began to close in the final four laps. But for all of Joey Padgett’s efforts, he ran out of time, coming up 0.156 seconds shy of Hancock at the checkered flag.
“This was a fantastic win for this team today,” Hancock said in Victory Lane following the feature. “I messed it up in qualifying a little bit and we had to fight through traffic, but this car would go anywhere I wanted it to and we just never gave up. Today, that attitude paid off big for us.”
“We just ran out of laps,” a dejected Joey Padgett said after finishing a close second. “Had we had one more, I think we’d have gotten him. But Brad ran a great race; congrats to him. The place to be all day was on the bottom, and when we got shuffled, I just lost a little too much ground.”
Payton Ryan would nip Michael Torres for third in a side-by-side duel to the line, with Kyle Beattie ultimately making it all the way back to fifth at the checkered flag.
Carson Ferguson, behind the wheel of a Ladyga Motorsports machine for the first time, got trapped on the outside early and was only able to fight back to an eighth place finish at the checkered flag after having top five practice speeds all day long.
In the Bandolero class, what looked like a dominating win for Josh Kossek turned out to be anything but. Kossek started on the pole after a stellar qualifying lap and rocketed to the lead early, leading all 15 laps of the feature ahead of a fantastic battle for second between Carson Hudson and Kade Lambert, who dueled side-by-side for five straight laps. Hudson finally emerged at the front of that battle but came up a half-straightaway short of Kossek, who celebrated in Victory Lane.
However, following post-race technical inspection, a restrictor-plate gasket violation was uncovered on the race-winning machine, disqualifying the #44 of Kossek and handing the win over to Carson Hudson. For Hudson, who has competed at Ace Speedway numerous times over the past three seasons, to finally come away with his first-career victory at the track he calls “his favorite to race on” was a huge check on the resume.
“It’s sweet to finally come away with one at Ace,” the Outlaw driver said in Victory Lane, still trying to take in the surprise victory. “We’ve been so close here a few times, and just never quite sealed the deal. Had a great battle with Kade at the start of the race, and just did what we could. You never like to win ’em like that, but hey. We’ll take what we can get today.”
Results: Superior Trailers Winter Series Race #1 – Ace Speedway
Legends (25 laps): 1. Brad Hancock, 2. Joey Padgett, 3. Payton Ryan, 4. Michael Torres, 5. Kyle Beattie, 6. Matt Craig, 7. Alex Pacheco, 8. Carson Ferguson, 9. Chris Lilly, 10. Blake Spears, 11. Brian Sockwell, 12. Andy Reeves, 13. Travis Weber, 14. Craig Biryla, 15. Kevin Yeatts, 16. Ryan Millington, 17. Dennis Lambert
Bandoleros (15 laps): 1. Carson Hudson, 2. Kade Lambert, DQ: Josh Kossek
Interview with Legends winner Brad Hancock:
Interview with Legends runner-up Joey Padgett:
Interview with Legends 3rd-place Payton Ryan:
Interview with Legends 4th-place Michael Torres:
Interview with Legends 5th-place Kyle Beattie:
Interview with Legends driver Dennis Lambert: