Dassow "Breaks" Through in Glass Breaker 200 by Charles Krall
Late Green-Flag Run Helps Third-Year Driver Score ASA LM Win
After a stirring late-race battle with leader Derek Thorn, Travis Dassow made the charge to the front to score his first-career American Speed Association Late Model Challenge Series victory in Saturday’s Glass Breaker 200 at Toledo Speedway.
Dassow and Thorn both emerged at the front after a series of incidents sent many of their challengers to the back of the field or behind the wall, and the two decided the race amongst themselves in a side-by-side race for the lead over the course of the final 15 laps.
Travis Dassow gets a shower of water after winning his first ASA LM race at Toledo Speedway. (James McDonald Photos)
“We were good in that first segment, but not as good as we needed to be to win,” Dassow said in Victory Lane. “Howie (Lettow) has been here a lot and we came with a setup right out of his notebook.
“The car got better the longer we went. I haven’t raced with Derek a lot, but he ran me clean the last 20 laps. I’m just excited to get a win here in Toledo.”
Eddie Hoffman paced the field in qualifying, but due to the inversion would start eighth. That put San Antonio winner and ASA LM points leader Colt James on the pole, and he quickly darted out to lead the first 75 circuits.
Behind him, the action was intense as numerous cautions slowed the first 100-lap segment. Outside front row started Charlie Menard brought out an early caution as he spun in turn two, and Hoffman found himself at the back of the field after being judged by series officials as the cause of a spin by Michael Simko.
While several of the pre-race favorites were hindering their chances at victory, the battle at the front was heating up. Brian Campbell started putting heavy pressure on James near the 50-lap mark, and after several cautions for minor incidents, he would eventually slip past to take the point on lap 76. Campbell would hold the top spot through the half-time break, and at times would stretch out a half-straightaway lead on the battle for second behind him.
However, Campbell’s luck would only last through lap 136.
On yet another restart, James looked to take the inside groove from Campbell coming off the second turn and the two collided. Campbell spun and made contact with the turn two wall and the field scrambled behind him.
Once back under green, James jumped back into the lead but the handling on his car was starting to go away. As he slipped higher and higher off the turns, it allowed Thorn to work the inside to take the lead on lap 159.
Early in the race, it was all about Brian Campbell (#77) and Colt James (#15).
Campbell, whose father Fred has won numerous races at Toledo in the now-defunct Iceman Series, was forced to retire.
Just after the Campbell-James incident was the biggest crash of the evening, involving 10 cars in turn two and necessitating a lengthy red flag for clean-up. The spectacular crash started when Ryan Lawler was turned around in heavy traffic, nosing headlong into the inside wall and leaving those behind little room to avoid. As they tried to move to the outside to miss Lawler, Travis Wilson and Greg Taylor made contact and drilled the wall hard, totally blocking the track and forcing Jon Wes Townley, Simko, Zach Taylor, Danny Ouderkirk, Bill Tomlinson and others to spin to avoid. Zach Taylor and Simko made hard rear-to-rear contact, with Taylor’s car jumping into the air and on top of Simko’s, destroying both cars.
For Townley, it was his second crash of the day after backing into the turn four wall in qualifying, while Wilson was the unfortunate victim of no less than three incidents during the day, none of which were his doing.
Derek Thorn (#5) wasn't able to hold off Dassow (#89) late in the going at Toledo.
Thorn took advantage of the first lengthy green-flag run of the night to open up a sizable advantage. James was able to hold onto second for a short while before Dassow made his way past and started to close the gap. Thorn still had a 10- length advantage with 15 laps to go, but lapped cars put the front two nose-to-tail.
Dassow slipped to the inside with nine to go, but Thorn held tough on the outside as the two raced side-by-side for four laps. Only a slight slip off turn four by Thorn allowed Dassow to complete the pass for the lead, and he quickly extended his lead to five lengths at the checkered.
James was able to hold on for third at the flag, with Hanks and Hoffman rounding out the top five.
Peter Cozzolino was sixth, with Michael Annett, Andy Hanson, Menard and Murphy rounding out the top 10.