Johnny Bridges scores big win in O'Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder event at
Dillon Motor Speedway
Bridges started the evening by setting the fastest time trial qualifying lap around high-banked 4/10ths mile paved oval. After winnningthe Butlerbuilt Second Heat Race, Bridges drew a zero inversion in the K&N Filters pole Award drawing place himself and second quick qualifier, Wayne Reutimann, Jr. from Zephyrhills, Florida on the front row for the start of the main event.
When the green flag flew for the initial start of the 35-lap feature, Wayne Reutimann, Jr. got the jump on Bridges into the lead entering turn one only to see the caution flag waved for Wendy Mathis’contact incident in the turn three outside wall. After Mathis was checked out and deemed to be okay, her car was in much worse condition and could not continue.
On the restart Bridges bolted into the lead exiting turn two with Reutimann, Jr. leading the pack down to turn one with Wayne Reutimann, Jr. , defending National Champion, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee in pursuit behind him. Standout sprint car rookie driver, Adam Jackson from Birmingham, England was in the fourth position and Gray’s team-mate, seventeen year-old, 2006 O’Reilly USCS Rookie of the Year, Derek Hagar rounded out the five car lead pack.
Bridges quickly placed lapped cars between Reutimann, Jr. and himself while extending his lead around the track.
But, Reutimann closed the gap each time Bridges dealt with lapped cars and until lap fourteen, he seemed to still have a chance to challenge the Cherryville charger known as the “Wild Child” for the win. On lap fourteen the caution came out for Reutimann who had broken a major suspension system component on the right rear corner of the car. This ended his valiant run and his night ended in the pits. The caution period placed Terry Gray on the rear bumper of Bridges for the re-start. Bridges charged away from the field again and raced his way to victory lane with a comfortable victory margin. Gray followed him home in the runner-up spot. Derek Hagar passed Adam Jackson on lap twenty-two for the third position at the finish. Jackson who presently resides in Timmonsville, South Carolina finished in fourth place. Veteran O’Reilly USCS hard-charger, Doug Day from Winder, Georgia who started in sixth place, rounded out the top five finishers.
Former Butler Speedway (Butler, Mich.) track Chmpion, Brad Wickham from Forest City, North Carolina finished sixth while making his return to sprint car racing after a fifteen year hiatus. It was also his paved track debut as well. Bronzie Lawson from Southern Pines, Norh Carolina who was also making his intial paved track start finished in seventh position. Nineteen year-old sprint car rookie Brandon Rekow from Mooresville, North Carolina finished eighth in the race followed by Wayne Reutimann, Jr. in ninth place followed by David Thorman from Greenville, South Carolina in the tenth position.
Adam Jackson who qualified fourth fastest raced to victory in the evenings six car, six-lap Lucas Oil Power Dash. Wayne Reutimann, Jr. raced from outside the second row in the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat Race to the win. Bridges then raced from outside the second row to the victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat Race 8 laps later as well.
The Huggins Cams Hardcharger Award went to Derek Hagar as did the Hoosier Tire Young Gun of the Race (for the highest finishing driver under 25 years old). Bridges additionally earned the JE Pistons Top Guns award. Bridges was also the K&N Filters Pole Award recipient after drawing a zero on the draw. The award goes to the driver who starts the sprint car feature race from the pole position. Adam Jackson garnered the FSR Products Rookie of the Race award after his fourth place finish.
O’Reilly USCS OFFICIAL RESULTS Dillon Motor Speedway – Dillon, SC 4/19/08:
LUCAS OIL POWER DASH - 6 Laps - 1.Adam Jackson ; 2. Terry Gray; 3. Johnny Bridges; 4. Wendy Mathis; 5. Derek Hagar; 6. Wayne Reutimann, Jr.
ENGLER MACHINE AND TOOL 1ST HEAT: : 1. Wayne Reutimann, Jr. ; 2.Doug Day; 3. Brad Wickham; 4. Adam Jackson; 5. Bronzie Lawson; 6. Brandon Rekow.
BUTLERBUILT 2ND HEAT: 1. Johnny Bridges; 2.Wendy Mathis; 3. Derek Hagar; 4. Terry Gray; 5. David Thorman; 6. Wayne Reutimann.
POS START CAR# DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS
1. 1 00m Johnny Bridges Cherryville, NC 35
2. 3 10 Terry Gray Bartlett, TN 35
3. 3 10X Derek Hagar Marion, AR 35
4. 4 46 Adam Jackson Timmonsville, SC 35
5. 6 2d Doug Day Winder, GA 34
6. 7 6 Brad Wickham Forest City, NC 32
7. 9 3B Bronzie Lawson Southern Pines, NC 32
8. 11 04 Brandon Rekow Mooresville, NC 30
9. 2 00jr Wayne Reutimann, Jr. Zephyrhills, FL 14
10. 10 5 David Thorman Greenville, SC 8
11. 12 00 Wayne Reutimann,, Sr. Zephyrhills, FL 3
12. 8 80 Wendy Mathis Tampa, FL 0
LUCAS OIL POWER DASH WINNER: Adam Jackson
K & N FILTERS POLE AWARD: Johnny Bridges
HUGGINS CAMS HARD CHARGER: Derek Hagar
HOOSIER TIRE YOUNG GUN AWARD: Derek Hagar Top finish under 25 yrs. Old
ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Adam Jackson
JE PISTONS TOP GUNS AWARD: Johnny Bridges (1st place)
K&N FILTER 3RD-PLACE AWARD: Derek Hagar
BUTLERBUILT 4TH-PLACE AWARD: Adam Jackson
BARS LEAKS TOP FIVE AWARD: Doug Day
LEAD CHANGES: One
LAP LEADERS: Johnny Bridges 1-35
CAUTIONS: Two; Laps 1 and 14.
FAST TIME: Johnny Bridges