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Rilat comes from 19th to grab ASCS Sooner win


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Rilat Roars From 19th for ASCS Sooner Region Score at Cowtown



Lonnie Wheatley, KENNEDALE, Tex. (September 23, 2006) When Travis Rilat shot off the turn one embankment and destroyed a rear end after hard contact with a retaining barrier in heat race action, a trip to victory lane in Saturday night's 30-lap American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region feature at Cowtown Speedway seemed like little more than a pipedream.



"We really ought to just load this thing up and call it a night right now, that would probably be the smartest thing we could do," the former O'Reilly ASCS National champion from Forney, TX, commented before the night's "B" Main.



But Rilat didn't load up, and the large throng of Cowtown fans on hand were the benefactors as Rilat turned in a spectacular performance to capture his first ASCS Sooner Region win of the year and fourth overall ASCS victory of 2006 aboard the Motor Mike-powered F&J Construction/Haulmark Trailers No. 29 Maxim.



Rilat charged from 14th in the "B" Main to claim the third of four transfer positions, then sliced through the feature field from his 19th starting slot to deny Skip Wilson a first career ASCS victory with what proved to be the race-winning pass on the 20th lap.



"9200 RPM's!" exclaimed engine man Motor Mike in victory lane, unaware that the outrageous RPM number likely resulted from a series of dizzying celebratory doughnuts on the infield go-kart track that brought the crowd to a roar.



While Rilat gridded the field in the tenth and final row, polesitter Wilson outgunned fellow front row starter Michael Brown for the early lead with third-starter Forrest Sutherland quickly making his way into second.



Rookie shoe Sutherland squeezed underneath Wilson exiting turn four on the second round to lead the first feature lap of his young career. Sutherland's lead was short-lived however, as Wilson battled back into the lead by the fourth round, moments before the race's first caution flew for a Kent Lewis, Jr., spin in turn three.



While Wilson and Sutherland battled in the early stages, tenth-starter Kevin Ramey was on the move by advancing to fourth by the time the race's first caution appeared. Ramey soon engaged in a spirited battle for second with Sutherland and 2005 ASCS Gulf South Region champion Ray Allen Kulhanek, only to tip over in turn four on the ninth lap. Ramey rejoined the chase at the tail.



Rilat needed only seven rounds to climb to sixth and was up to fourth following Ramey's miscue. After a quick stoppage for Sean McClelland, who slid off the top of turn four a lap later, Rilat lost a spot to a resurgent Sam Hafertepe, Jr., who originally backpedaled from his second row outside starting position.



But after Derek Cottrell was taken for a spin in turn one on the twelfth lap, Rilat resumed his charge by making quick work of Hafertepe and Sutherland to advance to third by the 14th lap. Two laps later, Rilat raced past Kulhanek for second and set his sights on Wilson.



As lapped traffic began to come into play, Rilat made his move past Wilson to take the lead for keeps on the 20th circuit, ultimately taking the checkered flag with a handful of lapped cars separating himself from Wilson, who settled for the runner-up slot.



Hafertepe battled past Kulhanek on the final round to snare the show position, pushing his point lead to 28 points over Ramey and 32 over McClelland with just the October 7 season finale at Mid-America Speedway in South Coffeyville, OK, remaining on the ASCS Sooner Region slate. Twenty-year-old Hafertepe can lock up the ASCS Sooner Region championship with a 13th place run or better in the season finale.



Kulhanek finished a close fourth, with Sutherland posting a career-best fifth place finish. John Ricketts also scored a career-best ASCS finish of sixth, with Dex Eaton in seventh. Ramey rebounded to salvage an eighth-place run, with Claud Estes and 18th-starter Eric Baldaccini completing the top ten.



Michael Brown, Sutherland, Eaton and Kulhanek topped heat race action for the 33-car field, with George White winning the 12-lap "B" Main.



The evening got off to a wild start when Sherman Davis and Bill Eslick flipped before reaching the initial green flag in the night's first heat race. Eslick was done for the night, while Davis returned only to flip again in the "B" Main after hard contact with Johnny Miller, who spun to a stop in turn four. There were no injuries.




American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Results:



First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 15b-Michael Brown, 2. L23-Landon Brown, 3. 22-Koby Barksdale, 4. 25-Derek Cottrell, 5. 17w-Brad Welborn, 6. 64J-Johnny Miller, 7. 11F-Foster Landon, 8. 72-Sherman Davis, 9. 76-Bill Eslick.



Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 85s-Forrest Sutherland, 2. 65-Skip Wilson, 3. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 4. 14b-Robert Byrom, 5. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 6. 68-Andy Rea, 7. 95-Jeff Day, 8. 45-J.P. Bailey.



Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 59-Dex Eaton, 2. 21T-Kent Lewis, Jr., 3. 1-Sean McClelland, 4. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 5. 1s-George White, 6. 13m-Kathryne Minter, 7. R23-Rodney Brown, 8. 29-Travis Rilat.



Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 41-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 2. 5-John Ricketts, 3. 6-Mike Sanders, 4. 74e-Claud Estes, 5. 10-Brian McClelland, 6. 3-Cy Conditt, 7. 19-Ryan Hall, 8. 69-Larry Howery.



"B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 1s-George White, 2. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 3. 29-Travis Rilat, 4. 11F-Foster Landon, 5. 17w-Brad Welborn, 6. 19-Ryan Hall, 7. 10-Brian McClelland, 8. 69-Larry Howery, 9. 68-Andy Rea, 10. R23-Rodney Brown, 11. 13m-Kathryne Minter, 12. 45-J.P. Bailey, 13. 64J-Johnny Miller, 14. 3-Cy Conditt, 15. 72-Sherman Davis. DNS: 76-Bill Eslick, 95-Jeff Day.



"A" Feature (30 Laps): 1. 29-Travis Rilat, 2. 65-Skip Wilson, 3. 15-Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 4. 41-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 85s-Forrest Sutherland, 6. 5-John Ricketts, 7. 59-Dex Eaton, 8. 7m-Kevin Ramey, 9. 74e-Claud Estes, 10. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 11. 11F-Foster Landon, 12. 1-Sean McClelland, 13. 1s-George White, 14. L23-Landon Brown, 15. 25-Derek Cottrell, 16. 15b-Michael Brown, 17. 22-Koby Barksdale, 18. 6-Mike Sanders, 19. 21T-Kent Lewis, Jr., 20. 14b-Robert Byrom.



American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 1,988, 2. Kevin Ramey 1,960, 3. Sean McClelland 1,956, 4. Brian McClelland 1,649, 5. J.P. Bailey 1,580, 6. Dex Eaton 1,543, 7. Johnny Miller 1,518, 8. Eric Baldaccini 1,513, 9. Derek Cottrell 1,389, 10. Justin Melton 1,324.

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