Drew Brannon collected his second ASA Late Model Series Challenge Division victory of the 2009 season at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday. Brannon was able to work his way up from his fifteenth starting spot to claim the checkered flag ahead of Brian Campbell and Chris Eggleston.
“We did not qualify that well but this ASI Limited team just kept digging,” said Brannon from victory lane. “The car was real good there at the end.”
Fast qualifier, Landon Cassill, appeared to have the most dominant car at Nashville Superspeedway. Cassill took the green flag from the rear of the field after a fuel pump issue prevented him from starting his car at the command to fire engines. Cassill worked his way from worst to first in only thirty two laps. However, by lap thirty nine, Cassill was on the radio telling his crew that the car was starving for fuel. Cassill was able to maintain the seventh position on the racetrack as the competition caution fell at lap fifty, and added fuel to again charge his way to the front.
Cassill regained the lead from Peter Cozzolino on lap fifty three, but was told by his crew over the radio that he would be at least fifteen laps short on fuel. A caution for debris on lap seventy nine appeared to be the break that Cassill would need to take on enough fuel to make it to the finish. Cassill pitted on lap eighty and took the green flag in fourteenth with only fifteen laps remaining. Even though he was able to pass cars on the restart, Cassill was forced to settle for a fifth place finish.
With Cassill stuck in traffic, Peter Cozzolino, Drew Brannon, and Hal Martins were left to battle it out at the front of the field. Unfortunately, with only eight laps remaining, Cozzolino's window net fell down. This forced race officials to black flag the race leader. After completing two more laps, Cozzolino was informed by race control that he was no longer going to be scored if he did not heed the black flag. As Cozzolino ducked down onto the access road to enter pit road to fix the window net, he lost control of his McDonald's machine.
As Cozzolino slid through the grass and back onto the race track, several drivers had to take evasive action to avoid contact. One driver that had to scramble to avoid hitting Cozzolino was third place runner Hal Martins. Martins went up the racetrack out of the racing groove, causing his Gorilla Glue machine to make heavy contact with the outside retaining wall, ending his solid run. Richard Johns also spun to avoid contact with Cozzolino, costing him a chance at a top five finish. However, Josh Hamner was not so fortunate.
As Cozzolino came to a stop broad side in the middle of turns three and four, Hamner jumped on the binders to slow down. Hamner was unable to get slowed down in time and slammed hard into the right side of Cozzolino's machine. The resulting impact caused Hamner to flip over onto his lid, bringing out a lengthy red flag to clean up the mess. Fortunately, all drivers involved in the accident walked away without serious injury.
With cleanup completed, the race went green for a six lap shootout. Brannon was able to hold off point leader Brian Campbell and a hard charging Chris Eggleston to score the win in the Music City 100. “Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good,” stated an exhausted Campbell after the race. “We did not have the greatest car. It was probably a top five car.” Campbell continued to state how important it was to finish second as he seeks the ASA Late Model Series Challenge Division championship. “We lost some points to Drew, but we gained on everyone else, so it was a good point's day for us.”
Unofficial race results
1. 08 Drew Brannon 100
2. 20 Brian Campbell 100
3. 22 Chris Eggleston 100
4. 193 Kyle Sirizzotti 100
5. 61 Landon Cassill 100
6. 97 Josh Weston 100
7. 28 Jack Smith 100
8. 33 Dillon Oliver 100
9. 43 Richard Johns 100
10. 8 Eddie Hoffman 100
11. 25 Brent Downey 100
12 - 76 Hal Martin 95
13. 17 Martin Tuck 95
14. 11 Peter Cozzolino 94
15. 38 Josh Hamner 94
16. 55 Mason Mitchell 91
17. 128 David Wood 87
18. 44 Tommy Joe Martins 72
19. 93 Brandon Johnson 48
20. 76 Jerick Johnson 9
21. 48 Billy Crane 1
The ASA Late Model Series Challenge Division will enjoy a few weeks off before they return to action at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Many of the drivers and crews will have work to do to their cars to get them prepared for the 1.25 mile oval.
The ASA Late Model Series North and South Divisions will be in action before the Challenge Division returns to the track. You can find out all the latest information on the ASA Late Model Series by visiting www.asalatemodels.com, www.asalatemodelsnorth.com, and www.asalatemodelssouth.com.
The ASA Late Model Series is its own entity and not affiliated in any way with ASA Racing, American Speed Association or the ASA Member Track Program. The ASA Late Model Series is owned and operated by Ron and Sandy Varney as it has been for the past six years and will be for years to come.