Written by: Anddy Veltman
(DOVER, DE) Returning to the East Coast, the Twitchy Race Reports ASRS Premier Cup Series would arrive on the Delmarva Peninsula for Race Week 3 of 2018. The VisitRhodeIsland.com 125 presented by Alpha Tango Racing would serve to test teams on a track nicknamed ‘The Monster Mile.’
In what has become a growing tradition, fans would arrive early to watch the Open Qualifier Round. Utilized to lower the 52 race entries to the field maximum, this week’s rules would allow 17 drivers to transfer through to main event qualifying. In a repeat of the previous week, Jeff Ward (90) would claim the pole with a 22.663s lap time. At 22.731s, Drew Carroll (85) would start alongside for the second consecutive week.
Out of the gate, Ward would lead the first 6 laps before an early caution by way of John Kennedy (89) and Jamie Moore (82) coming together off of Turn 2. Most drivers would use the opportunity to pit, however, Nicholas Kohan (57) would elect to stay out.
With minimal laps on his tires, Kohan would restart from the lead with Jason Stewart (11) to his outside. As Kohan restarted the race, Stewart would spin his tires. A heavy stack-up would keep the field from completing a green flag lap and once again reset the rows.
Jeff Ward would pull up to challenge Kohan for the following restart attempt. While Kohan’s Toyota would pull away initially, Ward would eventually power past Kohan, bringing the Scott Eckrich (88) vehicle with him.
Caution would fly on lap 27 as Woody Mahan (40) would collect Mark Emerson (22) in a hard impact wreck after getting loose on the exit of Turn 2. All of the lead cars would pit, but it would be Drew Carroll emerging in the lead.
Shown the green once again, Carroll would pull away, with Kohan and Ward giving chase briefly, however, a quick interruption for contact between Steve Ritter (16) and Scott Haller (5) would tighten the lead cars up. Refraining to pit, positions would remain the same.
Once again, Carroll would get to the pedal first, but would be unable to completely open the gap to 2nd place Kohan. Yellow would fly once again as Kohan would make contact with the rear bumper of Drew Carroll, turning both vehicles around with excessive damage while headed into Turn 1.
Jeff Ward would return to the lead after pitting, followed by Ryan Haartz (59). Restarting on Lap 44, Ward would get a great restart, bringing Eckrich up to 2nd as Haartz would settle into 3rd. 6 laps later, Eckrich would make his way around Ward. With the faster vehicle, Eckrich would begin to build on his lead.
Another caution flag on Lap 57 for Steve Buhala (43) and Jay Graves Jr (8) getting together would bring the leaders back down pit road. This time it would be Haartz gaining the advantage. Ward and Jared Mogard (00) would follow suit while Eckrich would drop a few spots to 4th.
Lap 62, Haartz would restart to the lead. Behind, Eckrich would make his way around Mogard and then Ward to begin working on the gap to Haartz. Ward would begin to fall back slightly, as Mogard would begin to peek at his rear bumper, but only before Ian Hayes (56) and Mark Emerson would wreck on Lap 76, bringing out the yellow flag.
Once again from the pits, Haartz would leave in first, followed by Eckrich and Brian Yaczik (55). Eckrich would stay close to Haartz on the restart while Mogard would make his way around Yaczik into the 3rd position. Haartz would stretch his lead to over 1 second. Forced to apply pressure, Eckrich would tangle with the lapped vehicle of Scott Haller to trigger a yellow with just 8 laps to go.
With minimal laps ahead, leader Ryan Haartz elected to pit while Mogard and Eckrich would stay on the track with a handful of other drivers. The final restart attempt would see wheel spin from the Scott Eckrich and Devin Serra (20) cars, stacking the field in the outside race line and triggering the big one as Haartz would try to get to the inside of Serra and make contact. The race would finish under yellow.
Race results would finalize once cars took the yellow and checkered flags. Jared Mogard would score the victory, leading 7 laps. Jeff Ward would hold on for the runner-up position with 28 laps led, while the Scott Eckrich machine crossed the line third after leading for 9 laps. Jim Foose finished fourth while Ryan Haartz, who led a race-high 60 laps, would end up 5th. Drew Carroll and Nicholas Kohan would also be credited for leading laps.
With Dover complete, Jeff Ward has taken the points lead from Nicholas Kohan, now holding an 18-point cushion over 2nd place Brian Yaczik. Kohan would fall to 3rd by way of his 24th place finish. Race winner Jared Mogard jumped 3 spots to 5th. Notably, David Howard Jr (14) would make the largest gain of the week; up 24 spots to 35th in his season debut. Technical issues would prevent Ty Hester (36) from attempting the race, giving him a loss of 11 positions to 25th for the largest drop in points.
This coming Tuesday, the Twitchy Race Reports ASRS Premier Cup Series tour will head to Illinois for the Fanatec Chicagoland 200. Coverage of the 134-lap main event will be provided by league partner Prime Time Racing TV.
Race feed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83C4v8LfzzE