Marshall Skinner grabs USCS by K&N Labor Day Championship win at Tri County Racetrack
|BRASSTOWN, N.C. – September 7, 2015 - As the old saying goes, “The fastest car doesn’t always reach the checkered flag first.” Such was the case for Marion, Arkansas veteran Marshall Skinner on Monday night at Ray Cook’s Tri County Race Track.
Skinner, the 1999 United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N champion, rode in second place behind pole-sitter and 2014 race winner Anthony Nicholson through the first stint of the "Workin' Man 25" before inheriting the lead on lap 10 when Nicholson made contact with the turn one wall and flipped violently.
|After cleanup was complete, Skinner held off USCS national points leader Morgan Turpen over the remaining 15 laps, including a late-race re-start with eight laps to go, to make his 4th trip of the season to the www.rockauto.com USCS Victory lane. It was his and career first win at the Brasstown, North Carolina bullring, coming on his first visit as well.
“I saw Morgan’s nose wing a couple of times, so I knew she was there, but I knew she would give me room just like I would if the roles were reversed,” said Skinner, who moved into sole possession of fifth on the series’ all-time win list with his 29th career trip to www.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane. “She won the other night [at Harris Speedway] and she almost had me tonight – so I’m really proud for her after I helped her get the car squared away a couple of weeks ago.”
“This one is really special though, because I’ve been by myself all weekend long. I’ve had no real help on this car and managed to get it prepared right tonight to be able to stay with Anthony. I think he had a little bit better car than we did, and I hated to see him crash like he did, but once we got out front the car was a rocket ship. I have to thank my aunt [Velma Bugg] for talking me into staying, otherwise we wouldn’t have even been here tonight. This is a great win.”
Skinner almost lost the lead and the win twice in the final 10 laps – once after he got wide in turn four with nine circuits remaining and almost jumped the cushion, and a second time when he was nearly collected by a spinning Nick Snyder with eight laps to go in the same spot on-track.
“Both times in turn four I was just thinking, ‘Please don’t let me hit the wall,’ and I just barely tapped it trying to avoid the 116 [of Snyder] up high. The first time was my fault for just running wide, but we hung on and brought it home.”
“To pass Eddie Gallagher on the win list is special – he and I have been racing together since 1998 and I never thought I would be the guy good enough to go up there and take a record from him. This is a really cool night and a great feeling.”
Nicholson, the 2008 USCS Rookie of the Year from Bartlett, Tennessee hit the turn four wall six laps into the event, but never lost the lead. The driver of the Razor Edge Graphics/DHR Suspension Systems No. 16 sprinter said, however, that the hit broke something in the steering column of his car – sending him head on into the turn one wall before he went end over end.
“The first time I got into the fence it was dusty and when I got in behind a lapped car my back end just jumped out and popped the wall,” Nicholson explained. “I kind of rode the fence halfway down the front stretch even though I never lost the lead, and the car felt fine until lap 11. I just went down into one and it never even tried to turn. That was all she wrote after that.”
“It’s really heartbreaking to go out like that because I love this race track. Every time we come here we’re bad fast and I watched the replay of the laps before our crash and we had the field covered again tonight. Just a tough one to swallow.”
Turpen chased Skinner over the final run to the finish after Snyder’s loop set up the race’s defining re-start, but said she did not have enough steam to run him down and had to settle for the runner-up spot at the checkered flag.
“I think our gear was just too low tonight,” the Cordova, Tennessee driver said of the difference between her car and Skinner’s in the main event. “We just didn’t have enough power coming off the corners to stay with him on those longer runs. I’m proud of a second place tonight though; this was a very consistent, solid weekend for us and we stretched the points lead too, which is great for this team.”
Her teammate, 11-time series champion and Bartlett, Tennessee native Terry Gray, rebounded from heavy left front suspension damage sustained in his heat race to claim the show honors in the K&N Fiters Podium awarding third place, but left the track unofficially 42 (?) markers behind Turpen in the national standings.
Bloomingburg, Ohio young gun Nick Roberts tussled with Gray for the duration of the main event before fading to fourth in the final laps. Former USCS Southern Thunder region Rookie of the Year Eric Riggins Jr., from Charlotte, North Carolina rounded out the top five.
Jacksonville, Florida hot-shoe Terry Witherspoon ran a solid race to claim the sixth finishing position, followed by his teammate, 20-year Navy pilot Shawn Murray, in seventh. Brian Thomas, out of Pendergrass, Georgia, followed that duo in the eighth spot and ageless Iuka, Mississippi veteran Ray Bugg was ninth – the final car on the lead lap. Fellow Mississippi driver Jeff Willingham from Ripley capped off the top 10.
Skinner kicked off the evening’s racing action by winning the Hoosier Tire Speed Dash, Morgan Turpen scored the win in the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat. Skinner followed up his dash performance with the victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat, which was headlined by a multi-car opening lap crash that drew the red flag for repairs.
Turpen was the provisional pole-starter after scoring the most passing points in heat race action, but after a four was rolled on the K&N Inversion Die, Skinner also received the K&N Filters Pole Award. Gray passed the most cars in the A-main (seven) to grab the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.
The United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters continues their 2015 schedule on Friday, October 2nd with the opening round of the third annual North/South Shootout at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, N.C. The series then moves over to Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, South Carolina on Saturday, Otober 3rd for Round Two of the double-header weekend event. The two tracks are less than one hour apart.
For rules and updated schedule information about the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour, please visit www.uscsracing.com or call the series office at 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097.
RESULTS: USCS Sprint Car Series “Labor Day Championship”; Ray Cook’s Tri-County Race Track; September 7, 2015
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash (6 laps): Marshall Skinner, Morgan Turpen, Anthony Nicholson, Nick Snyder, Eric Riggins Jr., Nick Roberts.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat (8 laps): Morgan Turpen, Jeff Willingham, Nick Roberts, Terry Witherspoon, Eric Riggins Jr., Brian Thomas, Joe Larkin, J.D. McClary (DNS).
Butlerbuilt Second Heat (6 laps; shortened due to red flag): Marshall Skinner, Anthony Nicholson, Ray Bugg, Kevin Roberts Jr., Terry Gray, Nick Snyder, Shawn Murray.
USCS Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N Working Man 25 A-main:
1. #26 – Marshall Skinner, Marion, AR
2. #10M – Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
3. #10 – Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
4. #12 – Nick Roberts, Bloomingburg, OH
5. #47 – Eric Riggins Jr., Charlotte, NC
6. #43 – Terry Witherspoon, Jacksonville, FL
7. #22 – Shawn Murray, Jacksonville, FL
8. #67 – Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
9. #25 – Ray Bugg, Iuka, MS
10. #28 – Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
11. #116 – Nick Snyder, Marco Island, FL
12. #33 – Joe Larkin, Suwanee, GA
13. #16 – Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN
14. #43M – JD McClary, Jacksonville, FL
15. #22R – Kevin Roberts Jr., Washington Court House, OH (DNS)
USCS Sprint Car Series Race Awards:
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: #26 – Marshall Skinner
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: #10M – Morgan Turpen
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: #26 – Marshall Skinner
K&N Filters Pole Award: #26 – Marshall Skinner
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr. (5th place)
Bell Helmets Focus Award: #10M – Morgan Turpen
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: #10 – Terry Gray
Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Fourth Place Award: #12 – Nick Roberts
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: #10 – Terry Gray
Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award: #47 – Eric Riggins Jr.
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: #43 – Terry Witherspoon
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: #22 – Shawn Murray
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: #28 – Jeff Willingham
The United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters would like to gratefully thank its sponsoring partners for their involvement in the 2015 and 19th anniversary USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour: K&N Filters, www.rockauto.com, Engler Machine and Tool, Butlerbuilt, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Saldana Racing Products, Pyrotect Racing Cells, DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends. KSE Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers, DSR Fuel Systems, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions and Bell Racing USA.
-- Story by:
Speed77 Motorsports Radio, Founder/Producer
RaceChaserOnline.com, Managing Editor
Performance Motorsports Network, Radio Co-Host
National Speed Sport News, Staff Writer
United Sprint Car Series, Series Announcer