Spins & Failures Hand ASALM Bristol Win to Goede   Matt Kentfield
Young Upstart Takes Victory When Sean Murphy Breaks In Final Corner
Keeton Hanks, Sean Murphy and Jacob Goede.  All three are young drivers who wanted to put a win at Bristol Motor Speedway on their resumes as they climb the racing ladder.  All three had phenomenal chances to do so with three strong racecars in Saturday evening’s 200-lap ASA Late Model Challenge Series event at the newly-resurfaced half-mile. 

Goede emerged first as a viable threat for the first-ever ASALM victory at Bristol by setting fast time in qualifying, but he settled into the top-five at the drop of the green flag.  After the top-six qualifiers were inverted at the start, Hanks started on the pole and led the first 151 laps of the event, but a tangle with a lapped car and the-then second-place car of Murphy cost him a shot at the win.

All the breaks went Jacob Goede's way at Bristol.  (51 Photos)
Murphy was then declared the leader after Hanks’ spin and appeared to be in command as the field took the white flag.  Everything was going smooth for Murphy when the field hit turn three, as Goede, Murphy’s closest competitor, was still a handful of carlengths behind.

But between turns three and four, as Murphy could begin to see the checkered flag for his first-ever ASALM victory, the right-front wheel broke on  Murphy’s #32 machine, forcing him up the groove and Goede was right there to fill the hole and cruise to his second victory of the 2007 ASALM Challenge Series season.

“I didn’t have anything for the #32 car (Murphy),” admitted Goede in victory lane.  “He was better than I was.  I just stayed there and tried to pressure him when I could, but I didn’t have anything for him.

“We went in there and I saw him shoot up the track and I said ‘oh crap, I hope he doesn’t come back down.’  I stood on the gas and he was still up there.  I got down on

the apron a little bit with the left side wheels just in case he came down, but he didn’t by the time I got by.  I went to the finish line and I saw the checkered flag and I couldn’t believe it.”

Neither could Murphy.

“Right in the center of three and four, the right front wheel broke right on the weld,” said Murphy.  “It broke in the center and I was like, ‘man, last lap?’  I was taking it easy because I had a little bit of a gap over the #72 car (Goede).  Just bad luck, I guess.

“I never count it until it’s over.  I remember sitting here watching a Truck race and Kevin Harvick hitting the wall coming to the checkered too.  Just never count it until you cross the line.  It’s disappointing, but we still finished fourth, so it’s still a decent points day.  We just didn’t get that win under our belt.”
two leaders caught a lapped car on the frontstretch.  Hanks was on the outside and tried to sneak between the lapped car and Murphy, but the three cars ran out of room and Hanks spun at the start-finish line, ending his shot at victory.

“We were running out of room right there,” said Hanks.  “There were lapped cars right there two-wide in front of us, then I caught that one and we didn’t know what they were going to do.  I was just going to pick a lane.  I was going to pick the outside lane, but that looked kind of funny.  Then he (Murphy) came.  I’m not going to blame anybody.  I’m going to be quiet about it.  That’s all I saw and that’s all I’m going to say.  It’s just a bad deal.

“I’m always willing to work with other racers and I don’t like to see other cars get torn up or sent to the tail or anything like that.  I’m willing to move around on the racetrack if they’re faster, but this is just a tough day.”

Sean Murphy's team repairs the damage to the #32 after a broken wheel cost him the Bristol victory.
Early on, however, it looked as if neither Murphy nor Goede would have a chance to take the first-ever ASALM victory in “Thunder Valley.”

Keeton Hanks, in a backup car after destroying his primary piece in Friday’s practice, checked out from the field early on and was on cruise control throughout the opening laps.  The field got strung out fairly quickly as many drivers were saving their cars hoping the tires and parts of their cars would be able to last every lap of the two 100-lap segments of Saturday’s race.

Even when the field hit lap 100, Hanks led the way into the 10-minute halfway break.  Not much changed after the break, either, as Hanks was checked out from Murphy, Goede, Robbie Pyle and the rest of the field.  On lap 151, however, Hanks’ dominance came to an end.

Hanks found himself mired in lapped traffic that allowed Murphy to close on his bumper.  On lap 151, Murphy stuck a nose beneath Hanks coming off the fourth turn just as the
Murphy (#32) appeared to be on his way to victory, but Goede (#72) capitalized at just the right time.
Sure Hanks can say that he led the first-ever laps of ASA competition at Bristol, but that’s little consolation.

“Leading laps is only half of the battle.  You’ve got to lead the last one.  That’s the only one that counts.  We just haven’t pulled that off yet.”

But the one lap that neither Hanks nor Murphy could lead, Jacob Goede did, and it was that one lap that led to the most memorable moment of his racing life – winning at Bristol.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Goede.  “It started just in qualifying.  We now have the track
record at Bristol.  Now to win the race?  First of all, just being here is amazing.  I’ve never even seen the place, but to set the track record and win the race is awesome.  It’s so cool.

“Just coming down the road, you see the signs for Bristol and then you see the grandstands, you think ‘wow, I can’t believe I’m actually here.’  Then to come inside, I just looked at the track and thought ‘oh my God.’  The banking, I’ve never seen anything like that.  It was awesome.”

When Murphy shot up the track in the final corner, Robbie Pyle and Peter Cozzolino were both able to squeak by behind Goede to take the podium spots at the checkers.  Murphy limped home fourth, while Colt James rounded out the top-five.