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Roper Sets Record, Wins USRA Truck Race at SAS


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For Immediate Release – June 25, 2006

Contact: Nick Holt, USRA Media Director

(210) 415-1251

(210) 690-8564

cnholt@sbcglobal.net

nick@texasspeedzone.com

 

Roper Wins Wild USRA Truck Series Event at San Antonio Speedway

 

San Antonio, TX (June 25, 2006) – United States Racing Association (USRA) Truck Series driver Craig Roper credited his truck’s superior handling in winning the USRA Magnum Trailers 50 - his third USRA Truck Series event in a row - at San Antonio Speedway Saturday night.

 

Roper, who set fast time (20.981 seconds) in qualifying, started fifth in the 16-truck field due to the draw, but skillfully worked his way to the front, taking the lead from defending USRA Truck Series champion Shawn Paul Lehman with 20 laps remaining and taking the checkered while the second- and third-place trucks spun wildly down the front straight.

 

“My truck just handles well and that’s what short track racing is all about.” Roper said as he watched his crew remove his truck’s engine during the post-race technical inspection. “We work hard on the setup because we know that none of these guys are going to give an inch. I had a hard time getting around the leaders. They’re all hard racers in this series.”

 

At the start, Roper got by Jason Marshall and set sail for Rusty Mirth who had fallen in behind Steve Green - winner of the April 1st event at the half-mile San Antonio paved oval – and Jody Buzbee – winner of the season opener in March. Leman, meanwhile, had quickly jumped out to a comfortable lead.

 

By the fifth lap Roper had worked past Mirth and he soon joined Buzbee and Green who had been battling each other for second since the start. This threesome then treated the good crowd on hand to some exciting, close-quarters short track racing as they used every trick in the book to outfox each other. Racing as it should be – clean and close.

 

On lap 16, Green made a daring inside move on Buzbee, but Green’s truck slipped a bit as Buzbee shut the door. Roper made the most of the situation and passed Green on the outside before Green could fully recover to take over third.

 

Five laps later, Buzbee wiggled just enough to allow Roper to squeeze underneath him in turn 2 for second. Seeing the opening Roper created, Green and Mirth freight-trained by for third and fourth.

 

Over the next few laps Roper slowly but surely closed the gap on Lehman found himself on Lehman’s rear bumper thanks to a caution period for a spin by Cameron Moore, Jr. on the 24th lap.

 

It wasn’t long before Roper was giving Lehman all he could handle - and then some - and with 20 laps remaining, Lehman slipped up a bit going into turn two giving Roper just enough room to pull up beside him as they raced down the back straight. Roper won the drag race to turn three and completed the pass for the lead. Meanwhile Green had caught the leaders as they diced for position and battled with Leman for second until a caution on lap 45 for a spin by Brent Bell.

 

On the restart, Roper was able to open a slight gap as Lehman tried to hold of repeated challenges from Green. All eyes were on the pair as Green worked his way beside the champ as they entered the final turn of the final lap. And as they exited the turn they bumped solidly and both spun down the front straight, stopping just before the start finish line.

 

Green fired his machine back up and crossed the finish line ahead of Leman, but not ahead of Buzbee and Jim Albert who sped by through the tire smoke for second and third. Lehman was scored in fifth.

 

“That was just a racing deal. That’s all that was,” Green said when asked about the last-lap incident with Lehman. “We raced side-by-side there for several laps there at the end and coming to the checkered I did what I had to do and he did what he had to do. Nine time out of ten you’ll bounce off from each other and you’ll have a heck of a finish, but this time it was a little too much and we couldn’t hold them any more.”

 

The race was slowed by five caution periods, three for spins and two for accidents. On lap 36 Terry McCoul got very loose and swerved several times trying to hold on but as Cameron Moore, Jr. sped by he clipped the front of McCoul’s truck, ripping the nose of McCoul’s ride off.

Two laps later, John Kelly, Jr. and Jeff Rosenbeck made contact exiting turn four and the pair spun down the front straight with Rosenbeck making solid contact with the grandstands retaining wall. All four drivers were uninjured.

 

The next USRA Truck Series event will be a 50-lap event at Thunder Hill Raceway in Kyle, Texas, on July 15, 2006.

 

For more information about the USRA Truck Series, contact Race Director Rick Day at (210) 827-4524 or log onto the USRA website at http://www.usraspeed.com.

 

USRA Truck Series Results at San Antonio Speedway, 6/3/06

 

Position, Number, Name, Hometown, Qualifying Time and Laps Completed

 

1. (40) Craig Roper, Vernon, TX, 20.981, 50 Laps

2. (1) Jody Buzbee, Waco, TX, 21.294, 50

3. (31) Jim Albert, Lockhart, TX, 21.493, 50

4. (54) Steve Green, Marble Falls, TX, 21.052, 50

5. (28) Shawn Paul Lehman, Manchaca, TX, 21.124, 50

6. (38) Cameron Moore, Buda, TX, 21.996, 49

7. (72) Brent Bell, Katy, TX, 21.399, 47

8. (07) Rusty Mirth, Austin, TX, 21.340, 47

9. (8) Jeff Rosenback, Austin, TX, 21.538, 44

10. (21) Keith Patrick, Helotes, TX, 21.585, 39

11. (12) Kevin Bendele, Cibolo, TX, 21.371, 38

12. (57) John Kelly, Jr., La Vernia, TX, 21.845, 37

13. (64) Terry McCoul, Brookshire, TX, 21.484, 35

14. (2) Matt Howell, La Vernia, TX, 21.839, 8

15. (42) Jason Marshall, Leander, TX, 21.184, DQ

16. (43) Jason Campbell, Adkins, TX, NT, DNS

 

Margin of Victory 2.9 seconds

Lap Leaders: (28) Lehman led 1 - 29, (40) Roper led 30 – 50

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