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ARTS at Wichita Fall recap and results, 5/29/04


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Red River Speedway ARTS vs. USST

By Kelly Freeman

 

WICHITA FALLS, TX - The second race of the weekend came Sunday for the AllStar Race Truck Series (ARTS) and the United States Super Trucks (USST) at Red River Speedway in Wichita Falls, Texas. Sixteen trucks showed up after many teams worked through the night and most of the day Sunday after a very rough race Saturday night at Altus Speedway in Altus, Oklahoma.

 

Qualifying would kick the night off for the trucks. Eric Caudell in the #7 from the USST series would set the fast time of 14.839 seconds around the ¼ mile oval with his powerful Chevrolet 350 cubic inch motor. He would be followed by series mate Mark Denton in the #07 with a time of 14.852 seconds with a small block Ford configuration. Jimmy Spillar from ARTS would bring his Chevrolet 305 engine in with the 3rd fastest time of 15.260. The top three would be scheduled to start on the poles of the 3 heats.

 

The first heat started with Caudell’s #7 on the inside and Jon Garrett’s #66 ARTS truck on the outside. The second row consisted of the defending ARTS Lone Star Region Champion, Robert Walton in the #10 and rookie #5 Bill “Scales” Hamilton also from ARTS on the outside. Rick Perry from USST started alone on the back row in his #9. Caudell would lead from the start and not look back as Garrett fell in line behind in second. During the race a caution would fly when #10 got into the back of #66 in turn 3 and #66 spun. The #10 would be sent to the rear on the restart but would recover to come back to third behind winner Eric Caudell and 2nd place Jon Garrett. Perry finished 4th with Hamilton in 5th.

 

Mark Denton was scheduled to start on the pole of heat 2 in his #07 but could not make the call. ARTS driver Steve Green in his #52 would move up to the front row inside of ARTS competitor #99 Greg Davis. Davis would end up the winner of heat 2 followed by Green. The #44 USST driver Danny Day would end up rd with the #21 ARTS truck of Keith Patrick in 4th.

 

In the 3rd heat the #59 of Jimmy Spillar was set to be on the pole but could not make the call. The #69 of Jim Beasley also could not get his ARTS truck to the lineup. The lineup would now have the ARTS #29 Larry Latham on the pole with current ARTS points leader Bryan Meredith in his #30 on the outside. After the 10 laps were completed the finish would have Meredith as the winner followed by Latham. ARTS drivers Chett Gehrke in his #93 and Bud Carroll in his #18 would follow in 3rd and 4th.

 

The feature would initially is based heads up off of the heat results. Then the pole setter and heat 1 winner Eric Caudell would draw a number to invert up to 8 trucks. Caudell ended up finding the card with a 7 on it. This set up the actual start for the feature. Robert Walton would start on the pole with Larry Latham on the outside. Green and Garrett would be on row 2. Row 3 would have Meredith and Davis side by side. Then Caudell would be along side Day on the 4th row. From there on back would be Gehrke & Perry, Patrick & Carroll, Hamilton & Beasley, and the Spillar on the back row by himself as Denton could not make the start due to engine trouble.

 

On the initial start there were a few trucks that jumped and were out of line so the yellow light soon came on. After a few warnings to those over anxious drivers they took the green flag but it would only last until the leaders were approaching turn 3 with one of the most horrific crashes in recent years in ARTS.

 

On the back straight the #52 and #29 made contact with each other. The #29 was on the outside and #52 slightly ahead and on the inside. After the initial contact the #52 of Steve Green would slam into the gate and back straight wall sending him spinning through the air hitting the #29 of Larry Latham. Green would keep spinning in mid air and slam into the wall with the back of the truck.

 

Meredith, Garrett, Davis, made great moves not to slam into the two trucks as they drove through the shower of fluids and debris. This accident would draw a red flag as EMS and safety workers quickly arrived to check on the shaken Green. Green would soon crawl out of his truck with some assistance and climb into the ambulance to be looked over by medical technicians. Thankfully he would be fine.

 

After a long hard working cleanup effort under red the field would start to line back up for the restart. As with the initial start a couple trucks were out of line on the restart as they tried to get a jump but the green flag would not fly. On the next restart the #21 and #44 would tangle going into turn 1 and spin to the high side.

 

Still with no laps completed there was a final restart as the trucks would race all 50 with no interruptions. Robert Walton would take his #10 out front and lead the first half of the race with Jon Garrett’s #66 in tow. A few laps before the halfway point Garrett would look to the outside of Walton and set him up for a pass. He would pull along side and pull the pass off on the outside during lap 26.

 

Meredith, Caudell, and Davis would battle for most of the race as all eventually made their way past Walton. Caudell’s truck would come alive with about 12 laps to go and start to move past Meredith. Caudell would complete the pass and run down Garrett as the larger cubic inch engine, big four-barrel carburetor, and 10 inch wide tires started working for him. He made his way to the outside of Garrett’s truck that contained a small block 305, two-barre carburetor, and 8 inch wide tires.

 

Garrett gave Caudell a great run for the money for 5 to 7 laps as they battled side by side with everyone in the grand stands on their feet. With just a couple laps to go Caudell would finally get a couple great runs out of the corners and pull ahead and lead to the finish.

 

Eric Caudell would win the top prizes overall and for the USST series. Garrett would take the top ARTS honors, as both were recognized in Winner’s Circle. Eric was over heard saying he couldn’t believe the power of the 305 cubic inch engine of Garrett that gave him and the fans such a great battle.

 

 

FEATURE RESULTS

Place / # / Driver / Series / Laps

1. 7 Eric Caudell USST 50

2. 66 Jon Garrett ARTS 50

3. 30 Bryan Meredith ARTS 50

4. 99 Greg Davis ARTS 50

5. 93 Chett Gehrke ARTS 50

6. 59 Jimmy Spillar ARTS 50

7. 5 Bill Hamilton ARTS 50

8. 10 Robert Walton ARTS 50

9. 69 Jim Beasley ARTS 50

10. 18 Bud Carroll ARTS 50

11. 29 Larry Latham ARTS 50

12. 9 Rick Perry USST 50

13. 21 Keith Patrick ARTS 3

14. 52 Steve Green ARTS 0

15. 44 Danny Day USST 0

DNS 07 Mark Denton USST DNS

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