2007 ASA Late Model Series South Division Champion, Jeff Choquette took the lead away from pole sitter Tanner Berryhill on lap four and never relinquished the top spot en route to his first career Sunoco National Tour victory in the Tennessee 150 at Nashville Superspeedway. Choquette had a dominating day in Music City USA as he set the fast time in the final practice on Saturday morning. He later time trialed in as the fastest driver, picking up the AR Bodies Fast Qualifier award with a lap of 30.909 seconds, the only driver under the 31 second bracket.
Choquette drew a six for the invert after claiming the AR Bodies Fast Qualifier award, which put Tanner Berryhill on the front row alongside Patrick Lawson. Terry Horak qualified in third spot, his best career Sunoco National Tour qualifying effort, and lined up on the outside of the second row after the invert. However, before the green flag waved, Horak would have to bring his Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka Chevrolet Camaro to pit road to make sure the wheels were on tight. This forced Horak to tag the end of the field and moved Choquette up to the outside of the second row.
When the green flag waved, Tanner Berryhill jumped out to the front of the pack in his www.nationalcashlender.com Chevrolet Camaro. Patrick Lawson struggled on the outside line at the start and quickly fell back into the seventh position where he settled in. Choquette was able to move into the second position in his Adrian Carriers Chevrolet by the end of lap one. He took the lead from Berryhill on lap four at the start finish line and did not look back.
Dillon Oliver, who was the second fastest qualifier in his AR Bodies Chevrolet Camaro followed suit and raced his way past Berryhill on lap 8 for second spot. Bryan Ortiz worked his way up to fourth when he was able to get by Berryhill on lap 11. At lap 18, young Winston Wood, who was making only his second career start in the Sunoco National Tour, got by Oliver for second.
The first caution flag of the day flew on lap 19 as Dillon Oliver pounded the concrete wall with his AR Bodies Camaro in turn two. A tire failure led to the hard crash for the Bowling Green, Kentucky native, but fortunately Oliver was ok after the crash. However, the same could not be said for his car.
The restart on lap 27 only saw a handful of green flag laps until the second caution of the day flew when Middleville, Michigan's Seth Moody found himself in the safer barrier in turns three and four. Moody is competing for Rookie of the Year honors in the ASA Late Model Series North Division and was making his second career Sunoco National Tour start. The impact ended the day for Moody, but the young driver was ok after his crash.
The restart came at lap 41 and the field went green for 15 laps until the halfway break at lap 56. During this time A.J. Henriksen and Terry Horak both got past Tanner Berryhill for 5th and 6th respectively. The running order at the halfway break was Choquette out front, with Wood, Ortiz, and point leader Brent Downey in fourth. On the restart, Henriksen and Horak both raced their way past Downey for fourth and fifth respectively.
Terry Horak was able to get past Henriksen on lap 60 and found himself running in third position on the speedway. The yellow flag would come out once again when Horak's Kyle Beattie Racing teammate, Cody Humphrey, spun on the back stretch. Humphrey was able to drive away from the spin and rejoin the field at the restart on lap 68. Horak's good run would be spoiled however on lap 72 as the engine in his Camaro let go, forcing an early end to his day.
The final caution flag of the day came on lap 92 as Bryan Ortiz crashed hard in turns three and four after breaking something in the suspension for the second time in two days. Ortiz was ok after the crash, but the same could not be said for his American General Life and Accident Insurance Company Camaro. Ortiz had made his way from ninth on the track to third just prior to the crash in a span of only 24 laps, so he was certainly turning lap times as fast as the leaders.
When it was all said and done, it was Choquette coming home with the checkered flag ahead of Wood, Henriksen, Downey, and Berryhill in the top five. “The car was pretty good,” said Choquette in victory lane. “I have to thank Gary, Nick, the whole crew, everybody that helped us. It was a good weekend and we could not do it without them. This is good experience for all the young kids and for me because I have never been to a place like this!”
Winston Wood turned a lot of heads with a second place finish in only his second career start in the Sunoco National Tour. “The car was great. I cannot thank my dad, Wood Motorsports, Downey Racing, and the Sunoco National Tour enough,” exclaimed Wood after the race. “It was a blast to drive this car. My crew chief Bill Vester and Rich Lushes put a great car underneath me. This feels excellent!”
The Sunoco National Tour will be back in action on Saturday September 4th at Springport Motor Speedway in Springport, Michigan. To find out more information about the upcoming race at Springport, be sure to visit www.sunoconationaltour.com. You can also visit www.springportmotorspeedway.com.
The Sunoco National Tour and ASA Late Model Series are their own entity and not endorsed, sponsored, or affiliated in any way with ASA Racing, American Speed Association, or the ASA Member Track program. The Sunoco National Tour and ASA Late Model Series are operated by Ron Varney.