By Anddy Veltman
(Joliet, IL) Last Tuesday would see the final June race for the season in the ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series as teams traveled just outside of The Windy City for The Driven Designz 125 at Chicagoland. Slated for 84 laps around the unique 1.5-mile tri-oval, the event marked the first spring race at the venue as 2018 saw a move from the September date of years previous.
Pre-race qualifying set the starting grid for the 36-truck field, with Ronnie Osmer (53) topping the speed charts with a lap time of 31.352s on the way to his 1st career perch’n Pole Award. The next fastest lap belonged to series new-comer Chris Owens (62), laying down a 31.365s lap to start alongside Osmer on the front row.
At the drop of the green, Osmer would gain the advantage over Owens to secure the lead spot. He continued to lead for 14 laps before feeling pressure from Jared Mogard (00). Mogard, who started 5th, would utilize momentum gained on outside line corner exit to pass for the top spot as the drivers came to the line for Lap 15, clearing by Turn 1. Mogard would continue to lead for a brief period, until yellow flag pit stops allowed Osmer to regain P1 on Lap 23, exiting pit road ahead of Brian Yaczik (55).
With the race unfolding, Osmer continued to lead through a handful of restarts, collecting the halfway point lead bonus, but began to feel pressure from behind. Jordan Ashelin (27) posed the first true challenge to Osmer’s lead, catching him by about Lap 50 and then battling side-by-side with Osmer before completing the pass on Lap 55 to advance to the front of the field.
Shortly after, Osmer would receive damage in an incident that would bring out the caution flag and prompt Ashelin and the rest of the leaders on pit road. Mark Emerson (22) emerged as the race leader, bringing the field to the next restart, but would be no match, as the faster Ashelin would retake the lead.
Ashelin’s lead felt pressure from Brian Yaczik, with Yaczik gaining ground on fresher tires than Ashelin by way of a late-race caution flag pit stop. With 5 laps remaining, Yaczik would catch Ashelin on entry into Turn 3, passing to the inside. In photo finish fashion, the caution lights triggered as both drivers appeared even on the track. With less than enough laps remaining to restart, the caution would essentially end the race.
Review by race control determined that the pass was not complete prior to the yellow flag coming out and official results confirmed Jordan Ashelin as the victor, leading 28 laps in his bid for the race win; his 2nd of the season. Brian Yaczik, while just shy of victory, still earned the runner-up finish after starting from the 10th position, while Mark Emerson lead 4 laps in his eventual 3rd-place finish. Notably, polesitter Ronnie Osmer would lead a race-high 42 laps, but finish 32nd, 20 laps down. Chris Owens and Jared Mogard also received credit for laps lead.
Closing out June, Brian Yaczik continues to lead the 2018 season standings, with Jared Mogard trailing by 34 points in 2nd. Behind them, Nick Kerling (45) and Mitch Brown (18) are up 2 positions to 3rd & 4th, respectively, bumping Jason Stewart (7) to 5th.
Next week will be an off-week for both the ASRS top series as the Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series and Twitchy Race Reports Premier Cup Series observe the Independence Day holiday. Racing will return the following week with the trucks in the Kentucky 125. League partner LSRTV will start coverage at 9:00PM EST.
Race feed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muCXIxx-eVc