Charles in Charge in Freedom Tour Opener at Lawton
The Wheatley Chronicles – Volume III, No. 71
Lonnie Wheatley, LAWTON, Okla. (August 19, 2015) – A frenzied rush from Brady Bacon in the closing laps wasn’t enough to prevent “Chargin’” Charles Davis, Jr., from topping the opening round of the Third Annual USAC Southwest Sprint Cars “Freedom Tour” at Lawton Speedway on Wednesday night.
After slipping by early leader Harli White on a lap 12 restart, the multi-time Arizona Sprint Car champ sweated out some fuel mileage concerns and then fought off Bacon over the final rounds of the 30-lapper to become just the second driver to post multiple Freedom Tour triumphs since its inception in 2013.
“I knew Brady was coming,” Davis, Jr., said in victory lane. “I was sputtering, I was about out of fuel when he about got me there. I was hoping they would go red for a fuel stop when that last caution flew.”
After nearly losing the lead to Bacon, who was rallying on the high side, Davis, Jr., got his wish with a fuel stop just two laps shy of the checkered flag and then held on over the final pair of rounds to pick up the win in the Massey Motorsports No. 50 entry.
Davis, Jr., had started the feature from the front row outside, but it pole starter White gunning into the early lead.
The young lady from Lindsay, OK, waded through several cautions in the early going as she tried to keep Davis, Jr., at bay.
With one pass for the lead negated by a caution after five laps, Davis, Jr., pounced on a lap 12 restart and raced into the lead through turns one and two.
In his wake, Bacon went to work at the same time by climbing from fifth on the lap 12 restart by battling past Casey Shuman, Mike Martin and then White into second by the 17th round.
But with Davis, Jr., gone, Bacon had to wait until a lap 25 caution to begin his challenges for the point. And just when it looked like he might slip by, a final caution flew that set up a two-lap dash to the stripe after a splash of fuel.
Bacon settled for second behind the Chargin’ one with Shuman making his way past White with just five laps to go to fill out the podium. White was fourth with R.J. Johnson charging from eight rows deep to round out the top five.
Series: USAC Southwest Sprint Cars “Freedom Tour”
Track: Lawton Speedway (Lawton, OK)
Car Count: 26
Heat Winners (starting position in parentheses): Casey Shuman (2), Michelle Decker (1), Charles Davis, Jr. (1).
Heat Moments: After starting ninth in the first heat, Brady Bacon made a crucial move into fourth on the final lap that landed him in the invert; The only caution of heat race action flew when Ryan Bernal came to a stop in turn four with night-ending mechanical problems; Mike Martin’s last-lap pass of Michael Bonneau for third in the third and final heat was enough to put him into the invert.
“B” Main Winner (starting position in parentheses): Ty Mihocko (4).
“B” Main Moments: Mihocko took the lead away from Koby Barksdale at the midway point en route to the win after Andrew Deal led the opening lap; Jonathan Beason submitted his entry for “Tumble in the Rough” moment of the week with a nasty ride off turn two after climbing a wheel on the second lap. Beason hobbled away with aches and pains that will be greatly multiplied tomorrow.
“A” Main Cautions: Yes. Yes, there were cautions.
To set the early tone, the initial start was waved off when Andrew Deal came to a stop in turn two; After two laps, Danny Smith (of Oklahoma fame) and Patrick Stasa get together in two; Five laps down and Tye Mihocko stops in two just as Davis, Jr., was making his way past White for the lead – move negated; Six down with Blake Hahn and Shon Deskins spinning to a stop in turns three and four; Joe Wood, Jr., spins in two on the lap seven restart; An extended five-lap run ends with 11 in the books when Deal (or was it Wills?) stops in four; After transferring from the “B”, Koby Barksdale is challenging Brady Bacon for fifth on the topside when he gets out of shape exiting four and spins down the frontstretch with 12 down; A marathon session of 13 consecutive laps is slowed when Blake Hahn spins in two, top-five runner Mike Martin sputters to a stop with empty fuel tank five laps shy of the checkered flag; Deskins and Smith do some simultaneous spinning in turn one on the lap 26 restart; A Bonneau slows in three and four and Joe Wood, Jr., climbs a wheel and flips in the ensuing cluster to bring out the red with 26 down; Michael Bonneau bounces to a stop in turn three two laps later, yellow turns to red for a fuel stop with 28 laps complete.
“A” Main Hard Charger: R.J. Johnson rallied 11 positions from 16th to round out the top five.
The Box Score…
Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 4j-Casey Shuman (2), 2. 17w-Harli White (3), 3. 20-Shon Deskins (1), 4. 99-Brady Bacon (9), 5. 10k-Kyle Ezell (4), 6. 31d-Andrew Deal (6), 7. 13-Dennis Gile (8), 8. V8-Robert Vetter (7), 9. 96-Cody Brewer (5).
Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 7-Michelle Decker (1), 2. 52-Blake Hahn (2), 3. 03-Joe Wood, Jr. (4), 4. 31-Casey Wills (5), 5. 19-Patrick Stasa (8), 6. 22-Koby Barksdale (6), 7. 5-Tye Mihocko (7), 8. 15-Kerry McAlister (9), 9. 56-Ryan Bernal (3).
Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 50-Charles Davis, Jr. (1), 2. 55-Danny Smith (2), 3. 16-Mike Martin (6), 4. 29-Michael Bonneau (4), 5. 78-Chris Bonneau (8), 6. 77m-R.J. Johnson (7), 7. 26m-Fred Mattox (3), 8. 36-Jonathan Beason (5).
“B” Main (12 Laps): 1. 5-Tye Mihocko (4), 2. 22-Koby Barksdale (2), 3. 31d-Andrew Deal (1), 4. 26m-Fred Mattox (5), 5. V8-Robert Vetter (6), 6. 13-Dennis Gile (3), 7. 96-Cody Brewer (9), 8. 15-Kerry McAlister (8), 9. 36-Jonathan Beason (7). DNS: 56-Ryan Bernal.
“A” Main Finish (30 Laps): 1. 50-Charles Davis, Jr. (2), 2. 99-Brady Bacon (5), 3. 4j-Casey Shuman (6), 4. 17w-Harli White (1), 5. 77m-R.J. Johnson (16), 6. 52-Blake Hahn (7), 7. 7-Michelle Decker (3), 8. 29-Michael Bonneau (14), 9. 20-Shon Deskins (13), 10. 19-Patrick Stasa (10), 11. 78-Chris Bonneau (11), 12. 55-Danny Smith (8), 13. 03-Joe Wood, Jr. (9), 14. 16-Mike Martin (4), 15. 31-Casey Wills (12), 16. 22-Koby Barksdale (18), 17. 10k-Kyle Ezell (15), 18. 26m-Fred Mattox (20), 19. 31d-Andew Deal (19), 20. 5-Tye Mihocko (17).
Lap leaders: Harli White 1-11, Charles Davis, Jr., 12-30.
The Wheatley Chronicles brings insight and highlights from all variety of racing series throughout the nation in 2015 and beyond along with the Open Wheel Power Rankings on a regular basis. Please send any comments, questions or advertising inquiries regarding The Wheatley Chronicles at www.sprintcarmania.com to Lonnie Wheatley at firstname.lastname@example.org.