Jeremy Scott races to career first O'Reilly USCS victory in the Randy Helton Memorial Race
EAST ALABAMA MOTOR SPEEDWAY: June 21, 2008 - Phenix City, AL - On a night to remember, it just couldn’t have been bigger. In what was a storybook finish to a dream come true, Jeremy Scott from Franklin, Georgia battled his way to victory lane in the 1st Annual O’Reilly United Sprint Car Series Randy Helton Memorial Race at East Alabama Motor Speedway on Saturday night. It was Scott’s first-ever career feature win in the series he has participated in since 1998. The night’s events commemorated Scott’s close friend Randy Helton and Scott’s own Father Randy Scott who both passed away suddenly since the end of March.
The two former USCS racers (Helton and Scott), must have been riding with the younger Scott who is always competitive, but, drove the “race of a lifetime” to best several of the Nation’s top winged 360 sprint car drivers. Scott started in the K&N Pole Position after the evening’s CnB Mushroom Farms Fast Qualifier Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee drew a six in the K&N Pole Award inversion draw and placed Scott (the sixth fastest qualifier) on the pole for the 27-lap contest. This put past O’Reilly USCS Champion, Marshall Skinner from West Memphis, Arkansas next to him in the front row.
On the initial start, Scott fired early and the yellow light was displayed on the back stretch, but not before the first turn scramble saw the previous night’s winner at Penton Raceway, Danny Martin, Jr. from Sarasota, Florida spin in turn one. Martin, who turned second fast-time, was placed at the back of the field on the re-start.
Scott and Skinner raced off turn four in perfect alignment on the second attempt. Scott raced into the lead down the back straight-away. Skinner chased the leader and challenged on almost every lap applying lots of pressure. Skinner then pulled even with Scott on the front straight-away on laps five through eight and at that point Scott seemed to be slowing slightly. Skinner even pulled some amazing wheelies midway down the front straight-away several times while challenging Scott for the lead. Second generation sprint car ace, Matt Linder from Hoschton, Georgia and defending O’Reilly USCS National Champion, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee tucked in behind the lead duo for eight laps and battled for the third position.
On lap eight the field slowed when veteran Bob Auld from Largo, Florida spun on the slippery high speed surface and brought out the yellow. With Scott leading, this placed Skinner then Linder, Gray and 2007 East Alabama Outlaw Sprint Car Nationals Champion 17 year-old, Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas on Scott’s rear bumper. After the re-start on lap nine, Gray passed Linder for the Show position.
On lap ten the yellow waved again for former TBARA pavement series Champion, Shane Butler from Bushnell, Florida who looped in the same spot as Auld. The paved track star moved to the rear of the field and with seventeen laps to go, Scott had Skinner, Gray, Linder, Hagar, Danny Martin, who had advanced back into the sixth position after going to the rear of the field, all anxiously waiting for their chance to take it away from him.
On lap eleven Gray drove past both Skinner and Scott on the high side of turns one and two of the high-banked 4/10ths mile Alabama speed plant into the lead. Gray led the next six laps and appeared to be pulling away from the Scott and Skinner tandem. Not to be denied his first win, Scott dove low in the corners and threw several scary slide jobs at the six-time series Champion before finally making one of the maneuvers stick off turn four to re-gain the lead on lap eighteen.
The race went green the final seven laps and Scott seemed to gain momentum the closer to victory lane he got. Several lapped cars came into play over the final two laps and Scott raced past the finish line with approximately a three car-lengths lead over Gray. Skinner followed in the third position with team-mate Derek Hagar on his tail in fourth place and Danny Martin rounded out the top five.
2005 O’Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder Champion, Wayne Reutimann, Jr. from Zephyrhills, Florida who started eighth, lead the next group in sixth followed by Matt Linder in the seventh position. Shane Butler and Bob Auld raced back from the rear of the field to finish eighth and ninth respectively. Sixteen year-old Rookie driver Jon Stinson from Horn Lake, Mississippi rounded out the top ten finishers.
A special commerative 8-lap dash race, the Randy Scott Memorial Dash was contested to remember the former USCS driver who raced for half a decade with the series and then spent the last five seasons supporting son Jeremy Scott’s efforts. The Randy Scott Memorial Dash was won by veteran USCS driver Brian Thomas from Commerce, Georgia.
Previous night feature winner, Danny Martin, Jr. won the 6-cars, 6-laps Lucas Oil Power Dash. Terry Gray started sixth, then raced to the win in the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat. Danny Martin, Jr. collected the victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat after also starting in the sixth position.
The Hoosier Tire Young Guns award went to 17 year-old Derek Hagar who finished fourth in the feature race. Sixteen year-old Jon Stinson from Horn Lake, Mississippi garnered the Rookie of the Race honors.
Terry Gray set fast time of 12.97 seconds around the high-banked EAMS 4/10ths mile oval. Gray also garnered the evening’s Huggins Cams Hard Charger Award.
Submitted By: Adam Ulrey