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TAMS at CCMS recap and complete results

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For Immediate Release

April 3, 2005

Contact: Nick Holt, TAMS Media Director

(210) 415-1251 (cell)




Rookie wins the Texas Asphalt Modified Series Feature at Corpus Christi Motor Speedway


Rookie Texas Asphalt Modified Series (TAMS) driver Matt Merrell of Portland showed the veterans a thing or two Saturday night at Corpus Christi Motor Speedway. The 19 year-old Del Mar College freshman started on the pole, followed veteran Chris Swenson of Comfort for the first 20 laps of the 101-lap event then slipped by on the inside to lead the rest of the way.


Defending TAMS champion Joey Heinaman of Corpus Christi and Bruce Beddoe of Robstown followed Merrell past Swenson, who found himself trapped on the outside as the freight train motored by. The foursome battled the rest of the way in that order, nose to tail and, at times, door to door until the checkered flag waved over the 18-car field.


Jim Myers of Corpus Christi gave the enthusiastic opening-night crowd an anxious moment during the very first lap when he and David Schury, also of Corpus Christi, got together coming down the front straight to take the green flag. Myers’ car got up into the air with the underside of the car facing the grandstands, slid down the front straight wall in a shower of sparks and landed back on all four tires just past the flag stand. Myers was unhurt but his low-slung TAMS modified didn’t fare so well. “That ride took off most of the suspension, but, thankfully, I don’t think the frame is wasted. It was a wild ride, but anytime you get to walk away from something like that you have to consider yourself lucky,” Myers said after the race.


It’s not very often that a rookie driver wins on his first time out in a professional series like TAMS since there are so many fine, experienced teams and drivers running at the front. “It’s awesome,” Merrell said in the pits shortly after his car was declared legal by TAMS officials. “I really didn’t know I had it won until I saw that checkered flag. Anytime you have someone as good as Joey Heinaman on your back bumper you’ve got your hands full until the race is over.


“We really weren’t that quick in practice, but my crew chief, Chris Saathoff, made all the right changes for the race and the car was awesome all race long,” Merrell explained.


Heinaman had nothing but praise for the young Merrell. “I was hoping he’d make a rookie mistake, but he ran very well all night, even when I got into him a little bit there in turn four when we were lapping some slower cars. I couldn’t have passed him without wrecking him. And that’s just not my style.”


Beddoe was running third right behind Heinaman and Merrell, but could never figure a way to get by the pair. “I was really studying what those two cars were doing and plotting my way around when I lost control a bit and brushed the front straight wall.” Beddoe finished a strong third, right on Heinaman’s bumper.


The race, which was divided into two 50-lap segments, had only three very brief caution periods in the first segment and no cautions at all in the second segment. Bob Slezinsky’s spun by himself on lap 32 and Steve Grantz did the same a lap later. The third caution was for debris on the track.


The TAMS modifieds invade Houston Motorsports Park next weekend for a 50-lap feature event.


Results of 101-lap TAMS feature at CCMS, 4-2/05


1. (03) Matt Merrell, Portland, 101 laps

2. (71) Joey Heinaman, Corpus Christi, 101

3. (18) Bruce Beddoe, Robstown, 101

4. (15) Chris Swenson, Comfort, 101

5. (14) Larry Smith, Corpus Christi, 101

6. (4) Lawrence Mikulencak, Corpus Christi,100

7. (97) John Witzsche, Corpus Christi, 100

8. (5) Jerry Schild, Katy, 99

9. (81) David Machen, Austin, 98

10. (38) David Schury, Corpus Christi, 98

11. (26) Bob Slezinsky, Beeville, 97

12. (70) Milton Krauss, Bulverde, 94

13. (99) John Hendricks, Conroe, 93

14. (36) Jason Boyd, Magnolia, 85

15. (45) Clare Randell, Portland, 79

16. (91) Steve Grantz, Aransas Pass, 49

17. (08) Mark Villarreal, Corpus Christi, 1

18. (6) Jim Myers, Corpus Christi, 0


Lap leaders: Chris Swenson, 1-19; Matt Merrell, 20-100

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Nick, Wayne, Owen, anyone have any sponsor info and type of chassis for Merrell. Any info will help. Need it ASAP!

Matt's sponsor is Merrell Lease Service. The chassis is a Norrell Racing Chassis. The engine is by Westside Performance.


Nick Holt

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