Bryan Hulbert - Las Cruces, NM (March 16, 2012) - Using a borrowed car, the low line, and lapped traffic Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Johnny Herrera charged to the preliminary night win at the ASCS 305 Sprint Car Shootout at the Southern New Mexico Speedway in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
“I planned to run the bottom the entire race and it started coming to me. When I saw them start to pressure me I started running a little harder” commented Herrera in victory lane. “I thought I might have to run the top of the track in lapped traffic but since I had committed I was just going to wait from them to make a mistake.”
After missing the re-draw by one spot, Herrera would have to work his way from ninth; taking a pair of positions before the caution waved on lap three for the spun 224 of John Carney II. Back to green the fight on the racetrack would be for the top spot as early race leader Kyle McCutcheon would be staked by the 9k of Kyle Sager.
Pursuing each other all over the racing surface, the pair of drivers ran every inch of the track with Sager finally catching the advantage with seventeen laps to run. As Sager cleared the 5 of McCutcheon the next battle on the track would be for the top five as Dylan Harris looked to hold off the 41 of Jason Johnson and the 47 of Dale Blaney as the caution waved for the 21 of Wes Wofford who spun trying to make the battle for fifth a four car affair.
Back to green with sixteen laps to run Herrera was on the move as the 45x moved into the top five; quickly working into a battle for the runner up spot before the caution waved for a four car pileup that saw Lorne Wofford, Wes Wofford, and Luke Cranston sidelined of the remainder of the night. Curt Barnett was involved but was able to roll away.
Underway with just under fourteen laps to run the 45x of Herrera would use the restart to perfection to take the lead for the 9k; leaving Sager to contend with the 47 of Dave Blaney as the caution waved for the 77 of Colt Treharn who came to a stop on the top of turn two.
Restarting with less than a dozen laps to run, several drivers would bunch together with the 1x of Jeff Swindell getting the short end of the stick with a broken front axle after fighting into the top five from the twenty-third starting position. Able to make his way into the infield the race continued green with the battle for the lead taking off in a big way between Herrera and Blaney.
For nearly a half dozen laps, the 45x of Herrera and the 47 of Blaney would swap the race lead. With Herrera taking the low line, Blaney would have to motor by on the high line if he wanted to take the lead. Bringing the fans to the their feet Blaney would gain the advantage only to have Herrera charge back to the lead. Over and over the pair of drivers swapped the top spot before Herrera was finally able to gain the advantage.
As Herrera began to pull away, the fight to be in the top four was between the 11p of Preston Peebles and the 41 of Jason Johnson. Charging into a transfer spot for Saturday’s A-Main from his twenty-fourth starting position, the bottom grove would prove effective in holding off the 41 of Johnson as the checkered flag waved for the 45x of Johnny Herrera. Kyle Sager would work back by the 47 of Blaney in the closing laps to claim second with Blaney holding onto third. Preston Peebles would get the final transfer into Saturday’s A-Main with Jason Johnson rounding out the top five.
ASCS 305 Sprint Car Shootout
Southern New Mexico Speedway
Las Cruces, New Mexico
March 16, 2012 - Preliminary Night
Car Count: 34
Sprint Car Heat 1- John Carney Sr., Luke Cranston, Kyle Sager, Brandon Williams, Bill Briley III, Anton Salopek, Tyler Jackson, Preston Peebles
Sprint Car Heat 2- Finish: Kyle McCutcheon, Dylan Harris, Derek Drown, John Carney II, Wes Wofford, Zach Blurton, Royal Jones, Glen Passmore, Aaron Quijano
Sprint Car Heat 3 - Finish: Johnny Herrera, JR Patton, Dale Blaney, Mike Stringfield, Jason Johnson, Josh Baughman, Joe Alvarado, Jerry Gonzales
Sprint Car Heat 4 - Finish: Curt Barnett, Lorne Wofford, Colt Treharn, Lamar Skarda, Brandon Schure, Jeff Swindell, Barry Crane, Robert Herrera
B-Main (top 8 to A-Main): John Carney II, Mike Stringfield, Brandon Williams, Tyler Jackson, Royal Jones, Brandon Schure, Jeff Swindell, Preston Peebles....Anton Salopek, Josh Baughman, Joe Alvarado, Glen Passmore, Zach Blurton, Aaron Quijano, Jerry Gonzales, Jeril Higginbotham(DNS), Robert Herrera(DNS), Barry Crane(DNS)
Sprint Car A-Feature (top 4 to Saturday's A-Feature): Johnny Herrera, Kyle Sager, Dale Blaney, Preston Peebles, Jason Johnson, John Carney II, Kyle McCutcheon, John Carney Sr., Mike Stringfield, Brandon Schure, Colt Treharn, Tyler Jackson, Dylan Harris, Royal Jones, Bill Briley III, Lamar Skarda, JR Patton, Curt Barnett(DNF), Brandon Williams(DNF), Jeff Swindell(DNF), Luke Cranston(DNF), Wes Wofford(DNF), Lorne Wofford(DNF), Derek Drown(DNF)
Night two of the ASCS 305 Sprint Car Shootout at the Southern New Mexico Speedway gets underway on Saturday March 17th at 6:30pm MST. Admission is $12 with kids 10 years and younger getting in free. More information can be found at www.snmspeedway.com.
The 2012 season marks the 21st year of sanctioning Sprint Car racing for the American Sprint Car Series, which brings the best of Sprint Car racing to dozens of different tracks throughout the nation and into Canada. Anchored by the Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series, ASCS also consists of ten different Regions throughout the nation.
Additional information regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.
Photo Credit: Tim Aylwin