By Anddy Veltman
(Dover, DE) Appropriately nicknamed ‘The Monster Mile’ for its ability to decimate vehicles, Dover International Speedway would play host to the ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series for the STH Graphics 125 last Tuesday. With a 25% increase in race distance from the previous year, drivers would be further tested on their ability to survive the high-banked 1-mile concrete oval while trying to attain victory.
Main event qualifying would set the 36 truck field prior to the start. Of the entrees, Ty Hester (36) topped the speed chart with a 23.243s lap to pick up his 4th ASRS perch’n Pole Award, his first since July of 2016. Drew Carroll (85) would post 23.269s to start alongside. Notably, series point-leader Tom Giannini (44) rolled off the grid in 17th [23.562s].
Hester would grab the lead at the start, laying down the fastest lap of the race on Lap 2. Cycling through a couple of cautions, Hester would lead continue to lead through Lap 23. A challenging Jared Mogard (00) would pick-up the lead from Hester as the leaders exited pit road following the 2nd caution.
Controlling the field, Mogard would lead the parade from the Lap 25 restart, with Hester reclaiming the lead around the inside of Mogard on Lap 35. Not be outdone, Mogard would attempt a cross-over to regain the position, with light contact between both drivers sending Hester into the wall and out of contention.
Defending a few advances, Mogard would continue to lead for the majority of circuits until Lap 94, when Jordan Ashelin (27) would dive deep in Turn 3 to make a pass and clear Mogard for the lead. Mogard would continue to chase Ashelin to the caution flag coming to the line on Lap 98. Grabbing the lead via pit road, it would be Mogard back to the top of the scoring pylon to restart the race with Ashelin in 2nd.
On the restart, Ashelin would lose a position to Sam Maxwell (98), but would regroup to find his way back into 2nd. Lap-by-lap, Ashelin would then begin to chip into Mogard’s lead, reaching his rear bumper only to be interrupted by a caution. Rolling the dice, Ashelin’s team would choose to remain on the track with older tires to inherit the lead as the majority of the field pit.
13 to go; Ashelin would restart from the lead with Mogard to his outside. With fresh right-side tires, Mogard would snake the lead from Ashelin headed into Turn 1. Ashelin would shake off the ensuing challenge from Devin Serra (20), chasing Mogard down and getting underneath him with 12 to go.
Ahead by half a truck, Ashelin would clear as Mogard would spin after contact with Maxwell to trigger a caution.
Without Mogard to challenge, Ashelin would have Serra to contend with, defending the lead on the restart with 7 to go and distancing himself from the 2nd-place battle; Brian Yaczik (55) would work himself into the picture to battle on the inside of Serra, but contact between the 2 trucks would result in Yaczik getting the worst end of the deal and a 9th caution flag to essentially end the race.
Up front, the big winner would be Jordan Ashelin, leading 19 laps and overcoming the odds on older tires to pick up his 1st ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series victory. Serra would take runner-up honors, leading a lap earlier in the event to earn an extra point while Tyler Saville (63), carrying momentum from his Auto Club victory, holds on for a 3rd place finish. Drew Carroll, the outside pole-sitter, finished 4th, and Sam Maxwell rounded out the Top-5. Maxwell earns a point by way of 1 lap lead, joining Mogard, Ty Hester, and the aforementioned drivers. Mogard’s 81 would be the race-high.
Chasing the Sam Maxwell Customs Cup, Tom Giannini remains atop the points standings, with a 13-point lead over 2nd-place Brian Yaczik. Mogard holds steady in 3rd, just 17 points behind Yaczik. Moving up 2 spots, Serra rides 4th following his runner-up finish in the STH Graphics 125, while Jason Stewart (11) jumps 3 positions to 5th. Richard Fletcher makes the biggest gain, up 25 to 46th in his first start of the season. Adversely, Randy McCanney (17) and John Kennedy (89) both fall 3.
Next week, the SMCTS will return for racing at Kansas Speedway. Race coverage for 100 laps under the lights in the Pound Buddies No Kill Shelter 150 will be provided by series partner Prime Time Racing TV. Catch the live stream at 9:00PM EST.