Posted: Monday, July 21st 2014 at 8:00am
Gray streaks to USCS 'Thursday Thriller' win at Lavonia
By Jacob Seelman
Terry Gray rolled to his second win of the 2014 United Sprint Car Series season Thursday night at Lavonia Speedway. / Photo: Chris Seelman
LAVONIA, GA - You can never keep a champion down for long and once again, wily veteran Terry Gray proved why. The ten-time United Sprint Car Series champion from Bartlett, TN powered to the outside of pole sitter Jay Dunham in the opening corner of Thursday night’s 30-lap feature event at Lavonia Speedway in Lavonia, GA and held on the entire distance, despite two early-race red flags, to bank his second USCS feature victory of the 2014 season.
The win was Gray’s 88th career series victory and broke a nearly two-month dry spell for the perennial championship contender and race winner.
“It feels really good to get back here (to victory lane) tonight,” Gray said. “I got a little nervous when I couldn’t get by the slower traffic ahead of me there late in the race, and I knew (teammate) Morgan (Turpen) was coming behind me, but I figured if I couldn’t get by them that no one was going to have the steam to pass me. Morgan ran a great race though, and this is a great night for our team.”
The race was slowed twice by red flags for on-track flips. The first red flew when USCS 600 Sprint Series regular Kyle Amerson jumped the cushion in turn three and flipped, landing on all four wheels, and the second came out when Johnny Bridges spun coming off turn two and turned over after being slammed into by Johnny Gilbertson, who was unable to avoid Bridges’ spinning machine.
In both cases, the safety equipment did its job and the drivers were uninjured. Bridges, who was second in USCS Southern Thunder Tour points coming into the night, was especially disappointed after his night was over.
“I’m not hurt, but my pride is,” he said. “That’s the first time in years I just plain lost it. It was just a tough night all the way around for us.”
Following the crashes, the final 26 laps ran green-to-checkered as Gray streaked away from the field while Grovetown, GA’s Dunham made a valiant effort to stay in the top five almost the entire distance, having one of the strongest runs of his USCS career over the course of the evening.
Ultimately, Dunham would fade and Gray’s teammate, Turpen, would close the gap to just over a car length at the checkered flag, finishing the night as the race’s runner-up. Eric Riggins would complete the podium in third, with Danny Smith in fourth and Danny Martin Jr., in fifth.
Dunham, Collin Cabre, Matt Kurtz, Pendergrass, Georgia’s Brian Thomas and Kenny Laureno rounded out the top ten.
Gray kicked off the evening’s racing action by winning the Hoosier Tire Speed Dash, and Dunham scored the win in the first heat, his first career USCS heat race victory. Gray then rolled to the victory in the second heat.
Dunham was the provisional pole sitter after scoring the most passing points in heat race action, and after a zero came up in the K&N Inversion Draw, Dunham also received the K&N Filters Pole Award.
For rules, schedules and more information on the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour, visit uscsracing.com.
USCS Sprint Car Series
Lavonia Speedway - Lavonia, GA
Thursday Thriller - July 17, 2014
1. #10 – Terry Gray - Bartlett, TN
2. #10M – Morgan Turpen - Cordova, TN
3. #47 – Eric Riggins, Jr. - Charlotte, NC
4. #4 – Danny Smith - Chillicothe, OH
5. #24 – Danny Martin, Jr. - Sarasota, FL
7. #12C – Collin Cabre - Thonotosassa, FL
8. #92 – Matt Kurtz - Jacksonville, FL
9. #67 – Brian Thomas - Pendergrass, GA
10. #36 – Kenny Laureno - Venice, FL
11. #07 – Johnny Bridges - Cherryville, NC
12. #21B – Brandon McLain - Indian Trail, NC
13. #15 – Johnny Gilbertson - Dover, FL
14. #33 – Joe Larkin, Suwanee - GA
15. #29 – Kyle Amerson - Montgomery, AL
DNS: #116 – Nicholas Snyder - Marco Island, FL
Link: USCS Sprint Car Series
Link: Lavonia Speedway
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