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USRA SLM 'Fall Brawl' recap and results

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For Immediate Release – November 20, 2005


Contact: Nick Holt, USRA Media Director


(903) 576-4144

(210) 415-1251


Bendele and Umscheid win Twin 75s – Stewart takes USRA SLM Crown at ‘Fall Brawl’


San Antonio, TX (November 20, 2005) – Fort Worth’s JC Umscheid dominated the first of two Hill Country Wireless and Satellite United States Racing Association (USRA) Super Late Model Series (SLM) Twin 75s at San Antonio Speedway’s “Fall Brawl’ Saturday, while San Antonio’s Brandon Bendele came from the back of the 19-car field to win the second Twin 75 over John Heil of Floresville.


Heath Stewart of Del Valle combined a tenth-place finish in the first Twin 75 with a fifth-place showing in the second in a badly-battered car to capture the 2005 USRA SLM Championship by one point over T. Wade Welch of Houston who was third in the USRA point standings going into the Twin 75s.


Both 75-lappers awarded full USRA points, so it was important that the top three in the USRA point standings – Stewart with 895, Bendele with 874 and Welch with 872 - do well in both races since they were only separated by a total of 14 points.


However, at the drop of the green flag at the start of the first race, pole-sitter Thad Felton of The Woodlands slipped exiting turn four and a wild melee behind him ensued as cars tried to avoid making contact. After the smoke settled the cars of Bendele, front-runner Tommy Grimes of San Antonio and Todd McLemore of Austin were against the unforgiving SAS concrete and steel walls. All three cars were too badly damaged to continue and Bendele’s quest for the USRA SLM Championship was over.


As fate would have it, however, Stewart, who had carefully worked his way up to seventh from his twelfth-place starting spot by the 24th lap, didn’t fare much better. As Stewart came off the fourth turn, he tried to avoid a spinning car and smacked the inside retaining wall, badly damaging his car and taking down several wooden billboards in the process. His team and a swarm of volunteers were able to get the car back in the race several laps later– minus most of his body work – to finish tenth, 18 laps down to the leader.


Umscheid, who had his car handling especially well on long runs, won by a comfortable three-second margin over runner up Joe Aramendia of San Antonio. Eddy Wallace of Round Rock, Welch, Heil and Tommy Grothues of San Antonio rounded out the top six. Welch ran a steady race and stayed out of trouble to finish fourth, cutting Stewart’s points lead to three, 957 to 953.


“Right after that first race I was ready to put the car on the trailer,” Stewart said. “But all of a sudden there were people from other teams all over the car, putting it back together. It was like a gang war with everyone swarming all over, taping whatever was left of it to pieces that were donated from several other Super Late Model teams. Greg Davidson and Ralph Burris and a lot of other guys worked side by side with my Crew Chief, Curtis Drosche and my crew to get it ready for the second one. We even used a piece of wood from the front straight sign we demolished to make part of the rear spoiler!”


The top six from the first Twin 75 were inverted for the second, putting Grothues on the pole, Welch in third, Umscheid lining up sixth, Stewart – his car covered with pink duct tape and looking more like a candidate for a junk yard than a Super Late Model contending for a major championship - starting tenth. Bendele – in his back-up car – lined up next to last.


Heil jumped out quickly and by the 20th circuit had opened a six-second lead over Grothues and Welch. Meanwhile Bendele was marching through the field, carefully picking off cars while Stewart caught and slipped underneath Welch for sixth on lap 18 after Welch and James Buescher of Plano made contact and bobbled while dicing for position.


It wasn’t long before Umscheid and Bendele were cutting into Heil’s big lead, and at the halfway point it was a no-holds-barred, three-way battle for the lead. With 23 laps remaining, Umscheid muscled his way past Heil and brought Bendele with him. At the same time Stewart and Welch were continuing their spirited fight for sixth with Welch finally spinning his car down the front straight on the 62nd lap to bring out the first caution period of the race after a repeated attempts to get by the rock-steady Stewart.


At that point Welch pitted for a new right rear tire and rejoined what was left of the field, only four positions behind Stewart.


On the restart Umscheid outgunned Bendele to retain the lead, but before the lap was complete Bendele and Umscheid touched exiting turn four with a disgruntled Umscheid winding up in the wall just under the flagstand. Bendele was sent to the rear of the pack for his involvement and Umscheid’s ride was towed to the pits.


The pack took the green with 13 laps remaining with Heil again at the point, Buescher in second, Grothues in third, Stewart in fourth and Welch in fifth.


The new tire paid off for Welch as he was able to get by Stewart on the back straight and then got by Grothues to take over third. If the race had finished at this point, Welch would have won the championship by two points.


Knowing that he needed to finish right behind Welch in order to win the championship, Stewart was not to be denied. With only one lap remaining, he put his nose under Grothues, traded a little paint (and duct tape) and got by as the pair wiggled their way down the front straight to take the white flag.


“I usually never muscle my way past anyone,” Stewart said, “but this was a do-or-die deal. I hope Tommy (Grothues) understands that and that he’s not too upset with me.”


Bendele, meanwhile had been putting on a driving exhibition as he worked his way back to the front and with two laps remaining got by Heil to take the checkered by two car lengths.


“I gave it all I had,” Welch said after the race. “But we came up just a little bit short. I have to congratulate Heath on a great season and a great race.”


When asked about his spin towards the end of the race, Welch said, “I kept reading the sign his crew had put on the tape on the back of his car (that read, ‘How bad do you want it?’) and tried harder and harder every lap I was following him. Finally I just went too hard and looped it.”


The spin almost turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the tire he put on gave him the grip he needed to get around both Stewart and Grothues. “But the new tire had so much grip that the car started pushing the front end so I couldn’t catch Heil for second.”


In the 10-lap Hill Country Wireless & Satellite Shootout, only six cars were able to compete after the majority of the 20 Super Late Models on hand had suffered major damage. As if to add an exclamation point to the rough night for the SLMs, Eddy Wallace and Bendele, who started on the front row, crashed violently into the turn 1 wall right after taking the green flag when Wallace’s car pushed up going into the turn. The pair ended up nose-to-nose up against the boilerplate.


Umscheid, who had repaired his car, outdistanced La Vernia’s John Kelly, Stewart and Matt Merrill for the win.


‘Fall Brawl’ at San Antonio Speedway Results, Saturday, 11/19/05


United States Racing Association Super Late Model Series – First Twin 75


1. (52) JC Umscheid, Fort Worth, TX, 75 laps

2. (79) Joe Aramendia, San Antonio, TX, 75

3. (5) Eddy Wallace, Round Rock, TX, 75

4. (13) T. Wade Welch, Houston, TX, 75

5. (3) John Heil, Floresville, TX, 75

6. (11) Tommy Grothues, San Antonio, TX, 75

7. (18) Cory Roper, Vernon, OK, 75

8. (21) James Buescher, Plano, TX, 75

9. (57) John Kelly, La Vernia, TX, 73

10. (14) Heath Stewart, Del Valle, TX, 57

11. (35) Greg Davis, Waxahachie, TX, 56

12. (17) Robert Barker, Boerne, TX, 37

13. (03) Matt Merrell, Portland, TX, 29

14. (7) Tuffy Hudson, Portland, TX, 27

15 (29) Thad Felton, The Woodlands, TX, 24

16 (27) Jason Young, Houston, TX, 5

17. (81) Brandon Bendele, San Antonio, TX, 0

18. (22) Tommy Grimes, San Antonio, TX, 0

19. (54) Todd McLemore, Austin, TX, 0

20. (96) Greg Davidson, Pearland, TX, DNS


Umscheid led laps 1–75

Margin of victory 3.0 seconds


United States Racing Association Super Late Model Series – Second Twin 75


1. (8) Brandon Bendele, San Antonio, TX, 75 laps

2. (3) John Heil, Floresville, TX, 75

3. (21) James Buescher, Plano, TX, 75

4. (13) T. Wade Welch, Houston, TX, 75

5. (14) Heath Stewart, Del Valle, TX, 75

6. (11) Tommy Grothues, San Antonio, TX, 75

7. (5) Eddy Wallace, Round Rock, TX, 74

8. (18) Cory Roper, Vernon, OK, 74

9. (52) JC Umscheid, Fort Worth, TX, 62

10. (17) Robert Barker, Boerne, TX, 62

11. (7) Tuffy Hudson, Portland, TX, 49

12. (79) Joe Aramendia, San Antonio, TX, 38

13. (03) Matt Merrell, Portland, TX, 19

14. (57) John Kelly La Vernia, TX, 3

15 (29) Thad Felton, The Woodlands, TX, DNS

16. (35) Greg Davis, Waxahachie, TX, DNS

17. (27) Jason Young, Houston, TX, DNS

18. (22) Tommy Grimes, San Antonio, TX, DNS

19. (54) Todd McLemore, Austin, TX, DNS

20. (96) Greg Davidson, Pearland, TX, DNS


Heil led laps 1–51; Umscheid led laps 52–62; Heil led laps 63–73; Bendele led laps 74-75

Margin of victory 0.5 seconds


United States Racing Association USRA SLM – 10-lap Shootout


1. (52) JC Umscheid, Fort Worth, TX, 10

2. (57) John Kelly La Vernia, TX, 10

3. (14) Heath Stewart, Del Valle, TX, 10

4. (03) Matt Merrell, Portland, TX, 6

5. (5) Eddy Wallace, Round Rock, TX, 0

6. (8) Brandon Bendele, San Antonio, TX, 0


Kelly led laps 1-3; Umscheid led laps 4-10

Margin of Victory 1.12 seconds


Qualifying Results


1. (81) Brandon Bendele, 18.330

2. (52) JC Umscheid, 18.361

3. (3) John Heil, 18.466

4. (17) Robert Barker, 18.558

5. (22) Tommy Grimes, 18.565

6. (29) Thad Felton, 18.610

7. (79) Joe Aramendia, 18.663

8. (27) Jason Young, 18.685

9. (7) Tuffy Hudson, 18.723

10. (13) T. Wade Welch, 18.763

11. (54) Todd McLemore, 18.767

12. (14) Heath Stewart, 18.780

13. (03) Matt Merrell, 18.787

14. (57) John Kelly, 18.820

15. (5) Eddy Wallace, 18.823

16. (18) Cory Roper, 18.863

17. (11) Tommy Grothues, 18.893

18. (21) James Buescher, 18.993

19. (35) Greg Davis, 19.665

20. (96) Greg Davidson, DNT

21. (8) Larry Bendele, DNT

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