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Taylor Made ASCS Sooner Winner at Lawton


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Taylor Made ASCS Sooner Winner at Lawton



Lonnie Wheatley, LAWTON, Okla. (April 12, 2008) – Former American Sprint Car Series National champion Travis Rilat tried to take it away. But Gary Taylor was not to be denied, as he reached victory lane in Saturday night's 25-lap American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region feature event at Lawton Speedway.




The Washington-state native turned "Okie" survived a lap 23 charge from Rilat and then took the checkered flag in front of Garry Lee Maier to snare his first career ASCS Sooner Region win aboard Mike and Megan Eubanks' Wesmar-powered Tel-Star Communications No. 5* Triple-X chassis.




Taylor, the 2005 ASCS Rocky Mountain Region champion, assumed the lead on the third lap and held strong until lapped traffic nearly derailed his first Sooner victory drive. "I knew I was getting jacked up in lapped traffic. And then I saw Travis there," Taylor commented afterward.




And get a good look he did, as Rilat moved in on the top side of turns one and two on lap 23 to try to capture his second series win in as many weeks. Rilat pulled alongside, with the lead duo racing wheel-to-wheel down the backstretch.




With a lapped car complicating matters, Rilat edged ahead through turns three and four only to slip just inches too high exiting a slick fourth corner and grazed the wall with his right rear. Rilat spun to a stop on the frontstretch and retired to the pit area with a flattened right rear tire.




"Then I saw that yellow and thought we might be alright," Taylor commented of Rilat's departure. "I just have to thank Mike and Megan (Eubanks) for sticking with me, the year got off to a rough start but now we're getting things turned around."




Taylor, a Brodix Rookie of the Year contender with the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series, gridded the feature field outside the third row with Rilat directly behind him in a feature that got off to a balky start.




Polesitter Kolt Walker outgunned fellow front row starter Eric Baldaccini for the point at the drop of the green, only to have a caution fly after the opening round when Matt Covington sailed off the top of turn four.




Taylor and Rilat charged past Baldaccini on the restart, with Walker spinning out of the lead in turn two at the same time that Justin Melton flipped in turn three after contact with Covington's left rear. Four laps later, Covington suffered a similar fate when he tagged the wall exiting turn two and tumbled down the backstretch. There were no injuries.




Rilat pressured Taylor on the restart, but Taylor began to slip away after several rounds with the same scenario repeating itself following a lap 14 caution for Zach Chappell, who turned around exiting turn four and collected Walker. Chappell retired while Walker rejoined the action.




Taylor slipped away briefly, but Rilat quickly reentered the picture when lapped traffic became a factor in the final handful of laps only to slip just a bit too high as he and Taylor exited turn four on the 23rd lap.




Taylor survived the three-lap dash to the checkered flag with ease, crossing the stripe in front of ninth-starter Garry Lee Maier, with Baldaccini taking the show position. After bicycling off the top of turns three and four on the second lap and falling to the tail of the field, Nebraska's Jack Dover rallied to claim fourth with 13th-starter Danny Jennings rounding out the top five.




Kerry McAlister was sixth, with 15th-starter Gavin Punch, 18th-starter Matt Sherrell, Walker and El Paso's Don Grable completing the top ten.




Rilat, Walker, Covington and Taylor topped heat race action for the 30-car field, with Melton winning the 12-lap "B" Main.




Defending series champion Brian McClelland flipped in turn four during the third heat. McClelland returned for "B" Main action but was unable to claim a transfer position.




American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Results from Lawton Speedway:




Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 29-Travis Rilat, 2. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 3. 92-Zach Chappell, 4. 20-Rick Barksdale, 5. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 6. 11-Justin Melton, 7. 27m-Kyle Merriman, 8. 13-Kathryne Minter.




Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 45k-Kolt Walker, 2. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 3. 29x-Don Grable, 4. 53-Jack Dover, 5. 20s-Sheldon Barksdale, 6. 64J-Johnny Miller, 7. L23-Landon Brown, 8. 76-John Ricketts.




Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 95-Matt Covington, 2. 18-Lorne Wofford, 3. 94s-Natalie Sather, 4. 81au-Gavin Punch, 5. 27-Andy Shouse, 6. 65au-Matt Sherrell, 7. 87-Brian McClelland.




Heat Four (8 Laps): 1. 5*-Gary Taylor, 2. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 3. 61J-Danny Jennings, 4. 41-Koby Barksdale, 5. 72-Sherman Davis, 6. 15b-Michael Brown, 7. 33-Kris Miller.




"B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 11-Justin Melton, 2. 65au-Matt Sherrell, 3. 72-Sherman Davis, 4. 20s-Sheldon Barksdale, 5. 20-Rick Barksdale, 6. 13-Kathryne Minter, 7. 87-Brian McClelland, 8. L23-Landon Brown, 9. 76-John Ricketts, 10. 27m-Kyle Merriman, 11. 33-Kris Miller, 12. 64J-Johnny Miller, 13. 15b-Michael Brown. DNS: 27-Andy Shouse.




"A" Feature (25 Laps): 1. 5*-Gary Taylor, 2. 11x-Garry Lee Maier, 3. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 4. 53-Jack Dover, 5. 61J-Danny Jennings, 6. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 7. 81au-Gavin Punch, 8. 65au-Matt Sherrell, 9. 45k-Kolt Walker, 10. 29x-Don Grable, 11. 03-Joe Wood, Jr., 12. 72-Sherman Davis, 13. 41-Koby Barksdale, 14. 18-Lorne Wofford, 15. 29-Travis Rilat, 16. 20s-Sheldon Barksdale, 17. 92-Zach Chappell, 18. 94s-Natalie Sather, 19. 95-Matt Covington, 20. 11-Justin Melton.




American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Travis Rilat 416, 2. Kolt Walker 400, 3. Garry Lee Maier 365, 4. Brian McClelland 363, 5. Eric Baldaccini 349, 6. Andy Shouse 341, 7. Don Grable 337, 8. (tie) Kerry McAlister and Matt Covington 323, 10. Sherman Davis 315.

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