By Anddy Veltman
(Long Pond, PA.) After a week of dirt, the ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series returned to asphalt in the Pennsylvania countryside. Pocono Raceway, a 2.5-mile track known for its unique triangle layout, played host to the STH Graphics 100, a 40-lap main event.
This week’s main event qualifying locked 36 trucks on the grid, with 2 teams packing up early. Of the remaining teams, Cold Blooded Racing’s Jordan Ashelin (27) picked up his 4th perch’n Pole Award of the season with a recorded lap of 54.469s, while his teammate Mark Emerson’s (22) 54.600s lap would be quick enough to start alongside for the initial green flag. Defending race winner Nick Kohan (57) was on-hand as well, qualifying 8th [54.746s].
At the start, the teammates Ashelin and Emerson drag raced through the first couple of corners before Emerson nosed ahead and into the top spot. Ashelin continued to pressure through the next handful of laps, getting Emerson loose off of the Turn 3 exit, but not able to get around the leader. Racing was paused as the first caution waved on Lap 4 for an incident further back in the field. All teams elected to pit, ensuring fuel mileage, with Emerson taking 2 new tires and holding the lead.
For the following restart, Emerson managed to clear 2nd-place Ashelin quick. As on the previous restart, the 27 truck found speed after a couple of laps, with Ashelin driving underneath Emerson entering Turn 1 to complete the pass for the lead on Lap 11. Ashelin continued to pull away, facing no challenge until the next caution waved at Lap 14.
Nick Kohan would lead the next stint, picking up the top spot pit stops cycled through on Lap 16. Kohan restarted strong, clearing the teammates Emerson and Ashelin by Turn 1. Kohan continued to lead, eventually breaking away from the field with Ashelin. Beginning to facing heavy pressure from Ashelin, Kohan felt some relief from the surge by way of a caution flag waving with 12 laps to go, however, both drivers would lose heavily as 16 others remained on the track while they led the rest of the field to pit road for service.
Ronnie Osmer (53), having remained on the track to become the lead beneficiary, held on through a couple of restarts; first, holding off Brandon Stokes (01) as Osmer cleared Stokes by Turn 1, and then Devin Serra (20). Serra pressured heavily, looking high and low to get around Osmer. Pulling alongside, it appeared Serra might make the pass on Osmer’s inside through Turn 1, but the yellow lights on-track flashed to signal the final caution and running order of the race.
From a 3rd place starting position, Ronnie Osmer leads 12 laps and holds on for his 1st ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series victory in 9 starts. Devin Serra finished 2nd for his 8th Top-5 on the year, with Brandon Stokes rounding out the podium in his first series start. Notably, pole-sitter Jordan Ashelin managed to work back up to a 10th-place finish after losing ground on pit road, while defending winner Nick Kohan retired in 28th after getting swept-up in a race incident.
In the standings, Brian Yaczik (55) moves into first position, holding a 3-point lead over Jared Mogard (00). Jordan Ashelin climbs the ladder into 3rd, shuffling Nick Kerling (45) down to the 4th position, while Jason Stewart (7) bumps Mitch Brown (18) for the 5th spot. As this point in the season, half of the 2018 ASRS Sam Maxwell Customs Truck Series victories have come from the Top-3 drivers, with 7th-place Devin Serra being the only other repeat winner.
Next week, ASRS will return to Pocono Raceway for the Sam Maxwell Customs Cup Pocono 125. While the truck series will take a break after 3 weeks of July racing, the ASRS Twitchy Race Reports Premier Cup Series will be on track to resume their 2018 schedule. Race coverage for the 50-lap event will be provided by league partner LSRTV, beginning at 9:00PM EST on Tuesday, July 31.
Race feed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwBZzMCoK5I