By Anddy Veltman
(FORT WORTH, TX) Set in The Lone Star State, the Last Car Loaded Motorsports 200 would showcase the ASRS Twitchy Race Reports Premier Cup Series for the 7th time this season. Hosted by the Texas Motor Speedway, the race would consist of 134 laps around the 1.5 mile quad-oval.
Following the Open Qualifier, 36 of 39 drivers would start the race. Of those drivers, Scott Eckrich (88) would turn the fastest lap, picking up his second pole of the season with 29.058s. Points leader Jeff Ward (90) would record a 29.070s lap to line-up alongside Eckrich. In a surprise twist, however, Eckrich would vacate the pole due to technical difficulties, leaving the lead honors to Drew Carroll (85).
From the rip, Carroll would be quick to the lead to clear Ward by Turn 1 entry. Behind Carroll, the inside line would stack-up as a result of a missed shift by Sam Maxwell (98) on the start, mixing the rest of the field and sparking side-by-side action further back in the pack.
Early on, many of the cars would appear to run loose; on Lap 8, Jordan Miller (76) would nearly falter on the frontstretch, but regain control on the apron of Turn 1 to keep the race at full speed. Within a few laps, however, it would seem that the additional rubber on the track would begin to increase track grip, allowing for passing on the higher lines through the corners.
Up front, Jeff Ward would begin to reel Drew Carroll in, eventually catching him by Lap 14. Carroll would move a half lane higher on the track with Ward holding the lower lane. Despite utilizing the additional momentum of the higher line, Carroll would succumb with Ward making the pass just before crossing the line for lap 17.
Lap 23; Jarred Haggerty (6) would get loose off of the exit of Turn 4 and make contact with Michael Chrobok (72) to his inside. The contact would send Chrobok sliding through the frontstretch grass and back across the racing surface, resulting in hard contact with Allan Young (24). Multiple cars would sustain damage and caution would wave for the first time, prompting the leaders to make a trip down pit road for fresh tires.
After winning the race off of pit lane, Jeff Ward would lead the field back to green with Drew Carroll to his right. Ward would get the jump on Carroll, taking the lead into Turn 1. Behind, Brian Yaczik (55) would hold the 3rd position while Jared Mogard (00) would fend off a challenge from Sam Maxwell for 4th.
Lap 43; caution would wave once again, with Jarred Haggerty getting loose off of Turn 2, bouncing his RF off of the wall a few times before spinning at the end of the backstretch. The melee would trigger a multi-car pile-up in Turn 3 as a result.
Once again, Jeff Ward would win the race off of pit road. Brian Yaczik would get the edge on Drew Carroll for the P2 spot, but would be no match for Ward on the Lap 48 restart. Ward would clear by Turn 1, with Carroll challenging Yaczik for 2nd. On the inside, it would be Carroll taking the position. Jared Mogard would look to follow suit, but would fall back as the rest of the leaders would hold position.
15 laps later, Carroll would retake the 2nd position from Yaczik, as Yaczik would appear to let Carroll by without challenge. Still, the front of the field would remain unchanged, as much of the racing would take place in the middle of the field.
Lap 69; there would be a close call as Jordan Harnish (54) would spin through the grass after pushing up into the wall at the exit of Turn 4 while battling with David Howard Jr (14). The spin would result in a loss of position for the Harnish car, but the race would continue green.
Pit stops would just begin when caution would fly again on Lap 77 for Mitch Brown (18). Brown would lose control on the back straightaway, spin, and nearly collect Scott Haller (5). The leaders would once again return to pit road for service.
Jeff Ward owned the restart again, gaining a few car-length advantage over 2nd-place Sam Maxwell by the first corner. Jordan Ashelin (27) would make a move on Evan Black (99), passing him for 3rd position and going to work on Maxwell’s rear bumper. By Lap 87, Ashelin would slide into 2nd place.
Lap 90; 3-wide racing between Marc Cohn (75), Drew Carroll, and Evan Black would see yellow, as Carroll and Black would make contact on the Turn 2 exit. Both cars would spin to the inside, with Carroll making his way back up into the racing groove and collecting the passing Josh Gallagher (96). Carroll would show his displeasure to Black on pit road following the incident and their respective teams would be separated by ASRS officials.
Restarting with 30 laps to go, it would be Jeff Ward again taking the leader’s advantage. Jordan Ashelin followed in 2nd place. 3rd-place Mark Emerson (22) would feel a little heat from Sam Maxwell, just prior to Maxwell falling a spot to the advancing Brian Yaczik machine.
As the laps ticked by, it would seem Ashelin was catching Ward. By Lap 99, Ashelin would pull alongside the dominant Ward, passing him on the outside for the lead. Ashelin’s excitement was short-lived, as Ward would then return the favor and pass Ashelin just prior to crossing the stripe on Lap 107. Brian Yaczik would also follow, passing Ashelin on the next lap and giving chase to Ward.
25 to go; Shawn Musick (1) and Steve Ritter (16) would get together as both drivers battled. Musick would spin for a caution, with multiple cars picking up secondary damage. The leaders would pit once again, with Jeff Ward and Jared Mogard exiting as the top-2.
On the next restart, the leaders would be quick to single-file. Ward would lead Mogard, with Brian Yacik, Jordan Ashelin, and Sam Maxwell in-tow. Coming up on 19 to go, David Howard Jr would get loose after clipping the Turn 4 apron and get a bump to send him through the grass. He would recover, with the race continuing without issue.
With 18 laps remaining, Mogard would pass Ward for the lead. Yaczik would also make his was around Ward, then looking to size-up Mogard. Another 6 laps later, Yaczik would get to the inside of Mogard, edging him to the line. Mogard would scrape the SAFER barrier, allowing Yacik to clear and for Ward to pass as well.
10 to go; Jordan Miller would catch the grass with his left-side tires and lose control. This would trigger another caution in which many of the leaders would pit. Jared Mogard would, however, remain on the track with Jim Foose (42) to utilize pit strategy for a possible victory.
The green flag would wave with 5 laps to go, with Mogard getting the jump on 2nd-place Foose, but would be no match for Jeff Ward. Ward, on fresh tires, would power past Mogard through Turn 1 & 2 to set sail. Additional fresh tire cars would try to pass the slower cars of Mogard and Foose, ultimately stacking-up, with Andrew Garrels (19) making contact with Foose and Mogard, resulting in a wreck and final caution of the race.
Checkers and yellow would be displayed for race winner Jeff Ward, after a dominating display. Ward would lead 98 laps in route to his 4th ASRS Twitchy Race Reports Premier Cup Series trophy. Brian Yaczik would receive credit for 2nd, picking up a bonus point for leading 2 of the laps. Jordan Ashelin would round out the podium, leading 7 laps to finish 3rd. Jared Mogard, Marc Cohn, and Drew Carroll would also receive credit for leading laps.
Following the Last Car Loaded Motorsports 200, Ward will increase his points lead to 14 over 2nd place Mogard. It would be another 9 points back to Jordan Ashelin, holding 3rd with 23 points off of the lead. Brian Yaczik and Drew Carroll complete the top-5. Andrew Garrels makes the biggest jump in points, up 20 positions, while Brandon Wilkinson (06), Ty Hester (36), and Rick Thompson (92) all lose 6.
Next week, the ASRS Twitchy Race Reports Premier Cup Series drivers will return to short track racing. Slated for 200 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Coffman Racing Graphics 200 will be broadcast live by series partner Prime Time Racing TV. Coverage will begin at 9:00PM EST.
Race feed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMC7bkaCMSQ