Crawley captures USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour Fall Nationals season finale at Riverside Speedway
WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. – November 14, 2015 - Benton, Arkansas’ Tim Crawley closed the 2015 United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N Filters season with a dominating performance on Saturday night and a trip to thewww.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane after leading 35 of the 40 laps in the K&N Filters Fall Nationals 40 at Riverside International Speedway en route to his fifth USCS series win of the season. Crawley passed Cordova, Tennessee’s Morgan Turpen on lap six and led the rest of the way for his 76th career victory in USCS 360 sprint car competition.
“I saw that Sammy [Swindell] had gotten up to second and, you know, Sammy’s Sammy,” Crawley smiled inwww.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane. “I got my elbows up [on the final restart] and told myself I was gonna make him earn it – and we did that tonight.”
“This was the best this track has been in a long time,” Crawley added, referencing the quarter-mile gumbo-clay oval at RIS. “It was racy, and I was really happy tonight. Really great – I want to thank Mike Ward and all the guys on this crew for always doing a great job for me; it’s great to close out the season with a win for them.”
West Memphis native A.G. Rains led the field to the green flag from the K&N Filters Pole Position but was quickly overhauled by Turpen, who clinched her first-career USCS national championship simply by starting the season finale and was looking to close her season out by claiming the checkered flag for herself.
A quick caution at lap two slowed the early pace, but Turpen led until Crawley’s pass for the lead – and ultimately the win – when he surged around the No. 10M in turn two just before the yellow flag returned for a slowing Ronny Howard.
From there, it was all Crawley; he surged out ahead of the pack despite another restart on lap 15 after former Riverside track champion Cody Gardner brought out the third caution of the night. The race went largely green the remainder of the distance, but contact between Jeff Swindell and 2013 series champion Derek Hagar that left the Marion, Ark. native flipping off the exit of turn two with five laps to go set up a late race restart and gave Sammy Swindell – who had charged all the way to second – one shot at Crawley.
It wasn’t meant to be for the three-time World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, however, as he came up 1.2 seconds shy of the 2012 USCS champion at the final flags on a night where nearly $7,000 was raised to benefit his son Kevin’s recovery fund.
The younger Swindell, who grew up near the Riverside track, was injured in a crash during the Knoxville Nationals in August and is rehabilitating currently in Louisville, Ky.
“[Crawley] was just a little bit better down the stretch, to be honest,” Sammy Swindell admitted on the frontstretch after the race. “I felt like I could hang with him a little bit off of [turn] two, but he’d get away from me on the other end. It’s not bad to come out here with these ACME Graphix guys – to jump in the car and run second against a bunch of guys that run these cars every week is a good deal and we’re proud of that tonight.”
“I want to thank everyone that came out and supported Kevin as well; I know it means a lot to him to have the support of all these fans, and it means a lot to me and the rest of the family as well.”
Joe B. Miller, from Millersville, Mo., rounded out the podium with a K&N Filters Podium Award third-place effort on a night when he ran double-duty in both his 360ci sprint car and his 600cc mini sprint.
The 2015 Riverside 305 sprint car track champion Brad Bowden, out of Hernando, Miss., charged from 14th starting spot to finish fourth and Australia’s Brooke Tatnell completed the top five after scoring the most passing points in heat race action earlier in the night.
Bartlett, Tennessee veteran Jeff Swindell transferred out of the Last Chance Showdown after a flip on the opening lap of his heat race and put on a masterful run to finish sixth, just ahead of Memphis young gun Howard Moore in seventh. Andy McElhannon, a Nesbit, Miss. native, came home eighth and Millington, Tennessee’s Dalton Davis finished ninth. Another Mississippi young gun, Burlison’s Brandon Hanks, capped off the top 10 finishers.
Turpen faded through the second half of the event, but still managed to finish in 11th and secure the USCS Mid-South regional series championship by five points over title rival Marshall Skinner, who finished 13th. The duo entered the final night of the season tied in points.
The final result officially made Turpen the first-ever female champion of a national sprint car touring series, and also allowed her to sweep all three USCS titles (National, Mid-South and Southern) in 2015.
“This is huge, both for me and for this team of ours,” Turpen said of her final results. “As far as tonight went, I knew when Crawley put Marshall a lap down that there was no need for me to be fighting up near the front and potentially wreck a good piece of equipment. In that second half, my car started feeling ill and when I saw Marshall go down one that I couldn’t go down any more laps than he already was unless something crazy happened or we broke.”
“I’m happy. I knew from the beginning of the night when Derek [Hagar] withdrew to let Marshall run the dash that it was going to be tough, but we persevered and we prevailed. It feels amazing tonight; I couldn’t be happier. We’ve had a very consistent season and it shows by us sweeping all three championships.”
“When you start back in the back at this place, there’s nothing you can do on your own to move forward,” Skinner explained. “We had to come out of the B tonight, and it just didn’t work out for us.”
“I enjoyed running the road this season and fighting with Terry and Morgan. We all had problems this year, and we all helped each other fix the cars along the way – so it was a lot of fun. I’m glad she won the deal; she really deserves it because of how much she’s stepped up her program this year. She’s trying to get somewhere through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity here in the future, and I hope she does because she’s a heck of a race car driver and it’d really be cool to see for her. We’ll be back next year for one more go – that’ll make it 26 years that I’ve done this – but for now we’ll go home and enjoy the time off this winter.”
16-year-old Nick Snyder, from Marco Island, Fla., finished 12th in the feature and was honored as the series' 2015 Rookie of the Year. The first-year 360 sprint car driver finished third in the final National points standings.
Anthony Nicholson kicked off the night’s racing action by winning the Hoosier Tire Speed Dash, and Brooke Tatnell won the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat. Steven Russell grabbed the victory in the ButlerBUILT Second Heat, and Crawley was victorious in the Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat. Turpen claimed the checkers in the J.E. Pistons Fourth Heat. Veteran USCS regular, Ronny Howard from Nesbit, Mississippi won the 15-lap www.rockauto.comUSCS B-Main.
Tatnell was the provisional polesitter after scoring the most passing points during heat race action, but when a four was rolled on the K&N Inversion Die, A.G. Rains received the K&N Filters Pole Award. Jeff Swindell passed the most cars in the A-Main (14) to garner the Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award.
The next event for the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters will be the series’ 2015 awards banquet, planned to be held in early 2016. Details regarding the event will be released as soon as they are available.
For rules and updated schedule information about the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour, please visitwww.uscsracing.com or call the series office at 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097.
RESULTS: USCS Sprint Car Series “Fall Nationals”; Riverside International Speedway; West Memphis, Ark.; November 14, 2015
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: Anthony Nicholson, Morgan Turpen, Terry Gray, Howard Moore, Marshall Skinner, Jeff Willingham.
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: Brooke Tatnell, A.G. Rains, Sammy Swindell, Brad Bowden, Justin Carver, Marshall Skinner, Brian Thomas, Jeff Swindell.
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: Steven Russell, Eddie Gallagher, Joe B. Miller, Cody Howard, Nick Snyder, Jeff Willingham, Ernie Ainsworth, Bubba Lofton.
Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat: Tim Crawley, Terry Gray, Derek Hagar, Cody Gardner, Anthony Nicholson, Brandon Hanks, Ryan Roy.
J.E. Pistons Fourth Heat: Morgan Turpen, Andy McElhannon, Howard Moore, Ronny Howard, Joey Moughan, Curt Terrell, Dalton Davis
Saldana Racing Products Last Chance Showdown (15 laps, top 8 transfer):
1. #44 – Ronny Howard, Nesbit, MS
2. #116 – Nick Snyder, Marco Island, FL
3. #57 – Cody Howard, Byhalia, MS
4. #16 – Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN
5. #26 – Marshall Skinner, Marion, AR
6. #94 – Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN
7. #84 – Brandon Hanks, Burlison, MS
8. #12 – Dalton Davis, Millington, TN
9. #6 – Justin Carver, Millington, TN
10. #91A – Ernie Ainsworth, Bartlett, TN
11. #27 – Curt Terrell, Bartlett, TN
12. #28 – Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
13. #14R – Ryan Roy, Dyersburg, TN
14. #67 – Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
15. #17M – Joey Moughan, Springfield, IL
16. #5T – Bubba Lofton, Cordova, TN
USCS Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N Fall Nationals A-main: 40-laps
1. #88 – Tim Crawley, Benton, AR
2. #3S – Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN
3. #51B – Joe B. Miller, Millersville, MO
4. #59 – Brad Bowden, Hernando, MS
5. #34DD – Brooke Tatnell, Sydney, NSW, Australia
6. #94 – Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN
7. #40 – Howard Moore, Memphis, TN
8. #42 – Andy McElhannon, Nesbit, MS
9. #12 – Dalton Davis, Millington, TN
10. #84 – Brandon Hanks, Burlison, MS
11. #10M – Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
12. #116 – Nick Snyder, Marco Island, FL
13. #26 – Marshall Skinner, Marion, AR
14. #9JR – Derek Hagar, Marion, AR
15. #28 – Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
16. #57 – Cody Howard, Byhalia, MS
17. #1 – Eddie Gallagher, Olive Branch, MS
18. #88R – Cody Gardner, Little Rock, AR
19. #16 – Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN
20. #3 – A.G. Rains, West Memphis, AR
21. #44 – Ronny Howard, Nesbit, MS
22. #10 – Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
23. #91 – Steven Russell, Springfield, IL (DNS)
Did Not Transfer to A-main:
#6 – Justin Carver, Millington, TN
#91A – Ernie Ainsworth, Bartlett, TN
#27 – Curt Terrell, Bartlett, TN
#14R – Ryan Roy, Dyersburg, TN
#67 – Brian Thomas, Pendergrass, GA
#17M – Joey Moughan, Springfield, IL
#5T – Bubba Lofton, Cordova, TN
USCS Sprint Car Series Race Awards:
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: #16 – Anthony Nicholson
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: #34DD – Brooke Tatnell
Butlerbuilt Second Heat: #91 – Steven Russell
Schoenfeld Headers Third Heat: #88 – Tim Crawley
J.E. Pistons Fourth Heat: #10M – Morgan Turpen
K&N Filters Pole Award: #3 – A.G. Rains
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: #88 – Tim Crawley (1st place)
Bell Helmets Focus Award: #3S – Sammy Swindell
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: #51B – Joe B. Miller
Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Fourth Place Award: #59 – Brad Bowden
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: #94 – Jeff Swindell
Keizer Aluminum Wheels Top Five Award: #34DD – Brooke Tatnell
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: #94 – Jeff Swindell
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: #40 – Howard Moore
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: #84 – Brandon Hanks
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, Bell Racing USA, 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.
Story by Jacob Seelman
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