Ward Takes Wild One at Kentucky

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By Anddy Veltman

SPARTA, KY Tuesday night racing returned for Week 2 of the Twitchy Race Reports ASRS Premier Cup Series for the Kentucky Bluegrass 180 presented by Tim Knott. At 1.5 miles, the race distance would equate to 120 laps around the south-eastern tri-oval known as Kentucky Speedway.

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Qualifying for the event would take place in 2 stages; 16 drivers advancing from an open qualifier round would join 20 locked-in teams (pre-determined by points and participation) to vie for the top spot. Of the 57 drivers attempting to qualify, Jeff Ward (90) recorded the fastest lap time at 30.767s, earning the pole award, with Drew Carroll (85) coming in at 30.783s to start on the outside of the Ward’s Chevrolet.

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At the wave of the green flag, Ward would jump out to an early lead. Despite the advantage of fresh air on the nose of his car, Ward would succumb to a fast Nicholas Kohan (57) on lap 22. Passing Ward, Kohan would take the lead and drive away from the field.

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By lap 40, many of the lead cars would begin to make green flag pit stops. Kohan would pit at lap 41, relinquishing the lead. Jarred Haggerty (6) and Tom Giannini (44) would both pick up points for leading laps through the cycling stops.

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While the majority of cars received their service, Allan Young (24) would remain on the track, leading 10 laps before Kohan would pass him to regain the lead on lap 53. Kohan would further his lead and earn an additional bonus point for leading at the halfway point of the event.

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The first caution of the evening fell on lap 71, as Mark Emerson (22) would bounce off the John Kennedy (89) machine after getting loose, collecting Steve Ritter (16) in the process. All of the main players would pit, with Kohan remaining in first position after receiving fuel and tires.

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Kohan would get a good jump on the following restart, but Jeff Ward would quickly close the gap to Kohan’s Toyota. Utilizing the strength of his short run speed, Ward was able to pass Kohan for the lead on lap 80 and maintain the position despite pressure from the 57.

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Caution would once again bring the field together on lap 101 as Alex Giese (77) slammed the wall in turn 1 after getting loose in the tri-oval. Leaders’ pit stops would keep Ward in the top position, with Kohan in position to battle for the lead. A quick restart with 14 laps to go met with immediate caution would delay Kohan’s opportunity.

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Ward would again lead the field to green, now with 9 laps remaining. Immediate pressure would come from Kohan, with Drew Carroll and Ryan Kuhn (65) now working into the picture. Kohan would remain in the second spot as a caution flag for a multi-car accident, stemming from drivers avoiding Tom Giannini bouncing off of the backstretch wall, set the field up for a Green-White-Checkered restart.

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Kohan would give a final charge with 2 laps to go, but it would be Jeff Ward, restarting flawlessly and solidifying victory, as the final caution would fall to end the race. Ward would tally 62 laps lead in the event. Nicholas Kohan, finishing 2nd, lead 46 laps. Ryan Kuhn would hang on to the 3rd position.

With 2 races down, Nicholas Kohan remains on top of the points standings. Jeff Ward trails by 3 points. 9 points further back is Drew Carroll in 3rd. Jarred Haggerty makes the largest gain with 35 spots in his first start of the season after finishing 9th. Adversely, Mark Emerson, Edward Bray (66) and Danny Rodgers (02) tie for the biggest drop with a loss of 12 positions each.

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Next week, the Twitchy Race Reports ASRS Premier Cup Series tour will travel to The Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware for the VisitRhodeIsland.com 125 presented by Alpha Tango Racing. Race coverage will be provided by league partner Prime Time Racing TV.

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Race feed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvK_JjQ8kJM