By Anddy Veltman
(Sparta, KY) Tuesday night racing returned to Kentucky last week, as the ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series was back in action after an off-week. Scheduled for 84 laps around the 1.5 tri-oval, the SMC Kentucky 125 would serve as the 14th event of the 2018 season.
Main event qualifying set the field of 36 trucks, with 6 teams failing to qualify. Of those drivers, Jordan Ashelin (27) picked up his 3rd SMCTS perch’n Pole Award with a 32.223s lap time. Jared Mogard (00) laid down a lap time of 32.245s to start alongside. Notably, point leader Brian Yaczik (55) would start 14th [32.483s] and 2017 race winner Pete Baskins (3) rolled off 23rd [32.621s].
At the green, Ashelin would pull the advantage over Mogard, clearing for the lead by Turn 1. Ashelin showed speed early, increasing his lead as the majority of side-by-side racing would shake out further back in the pack. Over time, Mogard began to slowly catch leader Ashelin, nearing his rear bumper before caution waved on Lap 18 to impede his progress.
The first break in action welcomed the field to pit road, with Mark Emerson (22) emerging as the lead truck over Mogard. Emerson restarted the field on Lap 23, clearing Mogard who would be left to shake a challenge off from Brian Yaczik for 2nd, beginning a reign of the lead that carried on through a couple of caution periods.
Lap 56; caution for the spinning truck of Mark Cohn (1) set-up the next change in lead, with Steven Trombly (78) remaining on the track during pit stops to cycle up top. Trombly’s lead would be short-lived, however, as Emerson would utilize fresher tires to move back into P1, bringing Mogard and Jordan Ashelin with him.
Clear of the rest of the field, the Top-3 found themselves nose-to-tail. With 17 to go, Mogard would get a run on leader Emerson, pulling alongside on the backstretch and completing the pass on the next lap. Ashelin would follow, sliding past Emerson into the 2nd position and going to work on the rear bumper of Mogard.
Ashelin continued to look high and low on the leader, diving underneath Mogard in a strong effort with 2 laps to go. Inches from Mogard’s left rear quarter, Ashelin pulled alongside, but could not carry enough momentum to get past. Using the higher line exit speed, Mogard pulled away, continuing to hold off any further pressure on his way to the finish.
Scoring the victory at Kentucky with 17 laps led would be Jared Mogard; the win marked his 3rd in the ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series this season, 11th overall. Jordan Ashelin finishes 2nd after starting from the pole and leading 19 laps. Mark Emerson led a race-high 45 laps to come home 3rd. Steven Trombly would pick up a bonus point for leading, tallying 3 laps led during the event.
Leaving Kentucky with an 8th place finish, Brian Yaczik remains atop the points, 23 points over 2nd-place Jared Mogard. Nick Kerling (45) and Mitch Brown (18) remain third and fourth, respectively, while Jordan Ashelin moves up to 5th. The largest gain of the week goes to Nicholas Kohan (57), up 25 spots after finishing 4th.
Next week, the ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series drivers prepare for dirt, traveling to Darke County, Ohio for the Northern Ohio Racing Report Dirt Derby. The event marks the sole dirt event of the SMCTS season. Coverage will be provided by series partner LSRTV beginning at 9:00PM EST Tuesday.
Race feed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo9r863kXIQ