posted July 28, 2002 09:20 AM
Dupuy by inches in ASCS thriller at Yellville
by Lonnie Wheatley
Michael Dupuy and crew in victory lane. (photo: Lonnie Wheatley)
Michael Dupuy climbing atop the wing to celebrate his victory. (photo: Lonnie Wheatley)
Dupuy in action at Yellville. (photo: Lonnie Wheatley)
YELLVILLE, Ark. (July 26, 2002) - The top two contenders in this season's United Expressline American Sprint Car Series point chase squared off in Friday night's 25-lap feature at North Central Arkansas Speedway in Yellville, AR, and it was Michael Dupuy making a dramatic charge off the last corner to edge current point leader Tim Crawley by inches at the line to record his fourth ASCS triumph of the season.
While Dupuy started on the front row outside, it was polesitter Garry Lee Maier who edged into the lead through the first two corners. Dupuy used the high line through turns three and four to move around Maier though to lead the opening round. Third-starting Crawley overtook Maier for second the next time around and quickly began challenging Dupuy for the lead. Crawley overtook Dupuy for the point as the duo exited turn four on the fifth round and proceeded to set the pace, with Maier battling to hold off defending series champion Zach Chappell and Joey Montgomery for third in the ensuing laps.
After withstanding a challenge from Dupuy as the leaders worked through lapped traffic on the ninth lap, Crawley held a four car-length advantage when the race's first caution appeared after 13 laps when Maier came to a halt in turn four with a flat right rear tire. When action resumed, Dupuy made another serious bid for the lead down the backstretch on the 15th round, but Crawley successfully fended him off once again. The race's final caution appeared four rounds later when Wayne Pennington spun in turn two and collected Foster Landon. Both continued, as the leaders prepared for a six lap dash to the checkered flag.
While Crawley's mount developed a push exiting the corners over the last half of the race, Dupuy continuously looked to the low side to make a move. Dupuy's persistence paid off on the final round, when he dove underneath Crawley coming off turn four for the checkered flag, with Dupuy crossing the stripe in Scott Chilcutt's mIn Motorsports Management Snyder-powered Eagle just inches ahead of Crawley.
Finishing third, just five car-lengths behind the lead duo, was Chappell, who held off the challenges of Montgomery and Lewis Jenkins, Jr., who rounded out the top five. Toby Brown earned the race's hard charger award by coming from 12th to finish sixth in front of A.G. Rains. Maier recovered from the mid-race flat to finish eighth, with leading Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Cody Branchcomb and Wayne Pennington completing the top ten.
First Heat (8 laps): 1. Tim Crawley, 2. Garry Lee Maier, 3. Cody Branchcomb, 4. Wayne Pennington, 5. Justin Sturch, 6. Brian Hatlestad, 7. Foster Landon.
Second Heat (8 laps): 1. Michael Dupuy, 2. Joey Montgomery, 3. A.G. Rains, 4. Zach Chappell, 5. Lewis Jenkins, Jr., 6. Toby Brown.
A Feature (25 laps): 1. Michael Dupuy, 2. Tim Crawley, 3. Zach Chappell, 4. Joey Montgomery, 5. Lewis Jenkins, Jr., 6. Toby Brown, 7. A.G. Rains, 8. Garry Lee Maier, 9. Cody Branchcomb, 10. Wayne Pennington, 11. Brian Hatlestad, 12. Justin Sturch, 13. Foster Landon.
Current United Expressline ASCS Points (top 20): 1. Tim Crawley 4,434 2. Michael Dupuy 4,388, 3. Zach Chappell 4,324, 4. Garry Lee Maier 4,305, 5. Toby Brown 4,190, 6. Wayne Pennington 3,496, 7. Cody Branchcomb 3,217, 8. Jason Johnson 2,741, 9. Gary Wright 2,732, 10. Travis Rilat 2,620, 11. A.G. Rains 1,642 12. Rick Behr 1,563, 13. Jason Martin 1,478, 14. Darren Stewart 1,324, 15. Ronnie Burke, Jr. 1,267, 16. Kevin Ramey 1,255, 17. Stephanie Chappell 1,249, 18. Wayne Johnson 1,247, 19. Mike Ward 1,241, 20. Larry Neighbors 1,232.