Sean Murphy Victorious in 2nd Leg of Triple Crown Challenge at Salem by ASA Late Model PR
Young Driver Only One Victory Away from Triple Crown
Sean Murphy is one step closer to the O'Reilly Triple Crown with his Salem victory. (ASALM / Chuck Gonzales Photos)
Sean Murphy and his SS Green Light Racing Team took another giant step forward in their quest to win the O’Reilly Triple Crown Challenge. Earlier this season Murphy was able to capture victory at O’Reilly Raceway Park in the first of the three races that make up the Triple Crown. July 19th at Salem Speedway Murphy was able to capture another win along with a guaranteed $10,000 bonus by winning the ASA Late Model Series "The Trials 200". November 15th is a date soon to be circled on Murphy’s calendar as the ASA Late Model Series heads to Memphis Motorsports Park for the final leg of the O’Reilly Triple Crown. Should Murphy and his ASI Limited team capture victory in that event, they will walk away $100,000 richer.
21 drivers attempted to make qualifying runs at Salem Speedway; however the Urbine Machines entry of Jack Smith made contact with wall during the session ending his night. Pete Cozzolino was able to back up his fast laps in practice by putting the McDonald’s entry on the pole for The Trials 200. ASA Late Model Challenge Division rules state that the quick qualifier pulls a chip to determine the number of cars that are inverted for the beginning of the feature. Cozzolino drew the number 7, which placed Challenge Division points leader Jacob Goede on the inside of the front row. Eighth quickest qualifier Brent Downey would start from the outside pole. 20 cars would take the green flag for the 200 lap ASA Late Model Series Challenge Division event at historic Salem Speedway.
After starting from the front row, Goede’s Chevrolet was the dominant car for a large portion of the evening. The first 100 lap segment was relatively calm despite several early spins involving little contact. With less than 15 laps remaining until the halfway break, back to back multi-car crashes slowed the evening’s racing and damaged
Murphy (#32) holds off Travis Dassow (#89) for the Salem triumph.
several vehicles. The consistent ASA Late Model Series challengers of Robbie Pyle and Alec Carll would find themselves behind the wall with damage that proved to be irreparable. As the halfway point arrived, Goede found himself maintaining the lead and very satisfied with his Chevrolet.
When racing action resumed, Goede would maintain the lead followed closely by three time 2008 winner Sean Murphy and defending ASA Late Model Series Challenge Division champion Travis Dassow. Lap 135 marked the changing point of the night as the lead pack of cars began to approach the slower vehicle of Kyle Sirizzotti. Sirizzotti’s machine lost grip exiting turn 4 and spun collecting race leader Jacob Goede. The second and third place cars of Murphy and Dassow were able to make last minute decisions which would ultimately keep them from making contact with either Sirozzotti or Goede. Fast qualifier Pete Cozzolino was also involved in the incident, receiving damage to his right front fender. After multiple pit stops to attempt repairs on Goede’s car, he would return to the track to salvage an eighth place finish. The final 65 laps of the Trials 200 would see hard fought action at the front of the field between Murphy and Dassow. Murphy managed to hold the lead although Dassow’s car strengthened on the longer green flag runs.
With less than 15 laps to go, the final caution flag of the night was displayed for radiator damage to the machines of Brian Campbell and Jordan Dahlke. Both Campbell and Dahlke would retire from the event with damage unable to be repaired. With only 10 laps remaining, Murphy would lead the field to the green flag as Dassow followed closely behind. The final portion of the event managed to go caution free as Murphy claimed his fourth ASA Late Model Series victory of the season. Dassow finished a strong second, with Downey making his way back to a podium finish of third after being shuffled back early in the race.
Both the heat and the track took their toll on the ASA Late Model Series drivers, as Murphy was visibly exhausted as he exited his ASI Limited Chevrolet in victory lane. “This was a really tough race and I am can’t believe we won. My helmet blower stopped working pretty early and I was just trying to hang on at the end”, stated Murphy in victory lane. When asked about the caution in which he assumed the lead, Murphy described his decision as spontaneous. “When I saw the 93 of Sirizzotti start
to spin I had to make a pretty quick choice. It was basically a last minute decision on which way to go. My spotter really helped me through the wreck, and luckily we chose the right line” offered Murphy.
Dassow was happy with his runner-up finish for the evening. “My car wasn’t nearly as good as Sean’s (Murphy) on the short runs. That last caution really hurt us. We were hoping for a good run of green at the end. If that would have happened, I really think we could have won this race” Dassow commented.
Bristol Motor Speedway is next on the schedule for the ASA Late Model Series Challenge Division. 2008 will mark the second appearance for the Michigan based touring series at the World's Fastest Half Mile. Entry information will be available soon at www.asalatemodels.com.
The Unofficial Results of the Trials 200 @ Salem Speedway
1. 32 Sean Murphy
2. 89 Travis Dassow
3. 25 Brent Downey
4. 44 Will Kimmel
5. 23 Jimmy Weller
6. 33 Wes Griffith Jr.
7. 14 Brent Seeley
8. 72 Jacob Goede
9. 93 Kyle Sirizzotti
10. 5 Chuck Barnes Jr.
11. 11 Pete Cozzolino
12. 42 Cody Mahoney
13. 77 Brian Campbell
14. 37 Jordan Dahlke
15. 66 Alec Carll
16. 21 Robbie Pyle
17. 99 Jordan Sims
18. 86 Jimmy Lang
19. 61 Bob Varney
20. 066 Kevin Willis