By Anddy Veltman
(Martinsville, VA.) Three weeks removed from action, the ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series rolled into Virginia for some close-quarters short track racing. Famed Martinsville Speedway, a half-mile paperclip-shaped oval would be the chosen venue for the 150-lap event.
For the final week, 2017 season points and participation, plus the current top-2 points positions, would determine which race teams were locked-in to the event. 18 drivers would then transfer via the Open Qualifier to join those in filling the field. Ryan Haartz (59) bested the main event qualifying round with a 20.368s lap time to nab his first perch’n® Pole Award this year.
At the start, Haartz would get to the accelerator quick, leaving the field in his wake by the first turn. Going to work, he would pull away from the field until Lap 6; caution had waved for a multi-truck incident which started as Pete Baskins (3) spun checking up for the Clarence Bonner (13) truck getting into the wall ahead of him.
Stacked heavily for the next restart, caution would be quickly displayed again as Clarence Bonner spun again, this time after getting together with Jordan Harnish (54) while exiting the corner, collecting additional drivers.
Lap 18, Haartz would be forced to defend the lead from Jared Mogard (00), as Mogard would work his rear bumper out of the gate. Haartz would hold the position, while Mogard would feel pressure from an approaching Brian Yaczik (55) and Allan Young (24) as their battle for 3rd moved in. Haartz would shake the lead group, putting distance between himself and the 2nd place truck.
Raymond Casteel (84) would be the cause for caution on Lap 28, getting loose and self-spinning off of Turn 4 and across the front stretch. Leader Ryan Haartz would use the opportunity to pit for fresh rubber, influencing a handful of other lead lap drivers to do so.
Jared Mogard would see the green on old tires, leaving 2nd-place Brad Cross (30) behind to battle Jordan Harnish for 2nd. Behind the leaders, Brian Yaczik would work his way into proximity with fresh tires, making his way up to 3rd position before race control would put out the caution; Brandon Boyd (60) would push up the racetrack in the corner, tagging Devin Serra (20) into a spin.
Mogard would restart the field on Lap 41. Cross would fall in line, Yaczik working his rear bumper. It would take 7 laps, but Yaczik would pass Cross for 2nd, with Haartz following suit on the next lap. Reaching Mogard, Yaczik would make multiple attempts to pass before diving in deep to cut Mogard’s line; both trucks would make contact with Yaczik moving by to take the lead.
Lap 62; caution on the speedway as Raymond Casteel would spin after locking his brakes up on corner entry, then backing across the track in front of the field. Multiple drivers would sustain additional damage under the yellow.
Brian Yaczik would lead the field back to full speed, bringing Jared Mogard with him and past Ryan Haartz. Yaczik’s lead would be short-lived, however, as he would be black-flagged for changing lanes ahead of the start line and lose 2 laps to the field. Mogard would inherit the lead for a handful of laps before falling prey to a faster Ryan Haartz.
Caution, Lap 88; Tim Knott (41) spins to the inside wall and sustains minor damage after contact with Brad Cross. Most of the leaders decided to pit, with Ryan Haartz leaving pit road in 1st, with Jared Mogard and Nick Kerling (62) trailing.
Haartz and Mogard would race side-by-side on the next restart, with Haartz pulling ahead. Mogard would make a stab at crossing over, but would eventually fall in line. Haartz would continue building on his lead.
Lap 100; caution would slow the field again. John Kennedy (89) would find himself sideways after contact with Raymond Casteel; race officials would pull the scoring card for Raymond Casteel to end his evening after exceeding the incident count. Kennedy would continue on, however, would be the cause of the following caution on Lap 109 via contact with Chase Bonser (83).
The following restart on Lap 115 would see Haartz beat Mogard to Turn 1 again and set sail. He would continue building on his lead until the ninth and final caution would fly for Brandon Boyd’s self-spin off of Turn 4, locking the finishing order with 6 laps to go.
At the yellow and checkered flags, it would be a dominant Ryan Haartz taking home the win. Haartz would lead 105 of 125 laps from the pole on his way to victory. Jared Mogard finished 2nd with 29 laps lead, while Mitch Brown (18) rounded out the top-3. Brad Cross and Brian Yaczik would also earn credit for leading.
Following a 7th-place finish, Tom Giannini (44) remains atop the points standings, with just an 8 point gap to Jared Mogard, steady in 2nd. Mitch Brown is up 2 positions to 3rd and Brian Yaczik gains 3 spots to move into 4th. Both drivers displaced Randy McCanney (17), as he slid back to 5th, 28 points off the lead. Brad Cross picked up 17 spots, up to 27th, while Troy Haydt (28) would fall 10 spots to 21st.
Next week, the ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series will head west to California for the Auto Club 125 presented by Fred’s. The defending race winner is Jason Stewart (11), currently ranked 12th in the 2018 series standings. Additionally, the defending pole winner is Sam Maxwell (98), ranked 9th. Race coverage will be provided by Prime Time Racing TV next Tuesday starting at 9:00 PM EST.
PTRTV race feed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8gcsimkhFA