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2006 USAC Buckeye Nationals at Eldora Speedway 6-18-06

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Jason Holt Nick Smith Shane Cottle
Tony Stewart Racing Mopar Car's Kyle Nicholas Levi Jones
Josh Wise Jon Stanbrough Dave Darland
Brandon PettyX Brady Short Bryan Clauson
Daren Hagen Daron Clayton Derek O'Dell
Matt Neeley Bud Kaeding Jerry Coons Jr.
View of the pits View of the pits Tony Stewart Racing Mopar Cars
Kyle Stuchell Nick Smith Jay Drake
Tony Elliott Justin Marvel Rob Chaney
Ryan Pace Matt Westfall Billboards on back straight
Corey Smith Dustin Smith View of the pits
Luke Hall Scotty Weir View of the pits
Rex Norris III View of the front straight View of turn 3 & back straight
View of center of infield View of turn 4 & front straight View of NRA pits
View of USAC pits View of front straight Chad Baltes in Water truck in turn 1
View of USAC pits USAC Drivers Meeting view of Infield Tower
View of front straight & turns 3 & 4 View of USAC pits View of front straight
View of turn 1 terrace & Grandstands    

NRA 360 Sprints

Kent Wolters Jared Horstrom Dennis Ward Jr.
Tom Conrad Jr. Mike Brecht Aaron Call
Ron Blair Shawn Applegate Tyler Thompson
Tim Allison Bobby Carman Sean Robinson
Luke Hall Mike Miller NRA pits
Jeff Babcock Mike Dussel Rick Boughan
Jeff Williams Cory Seeling NRA Pits

Mike Campbell Photos

www.campbellphoto.com

Matt Westall & Crew in Victory Lane Josh Wise & Dustin Smith Derek O'Dell & Rob Chaney
Dave Darland & Kevin Huntley Brandon Petty & Matt Westfall 4 Wide Parade Lap
Bryan Clauson & Dickie Gaines Mat Neeley & Jon Stanbrough Matt Westfall & Rob Chaney
Mat Neeley was the overall winner of the 2006 USAC Buckeye Nationals    

Story Courtesy of www.usacracing.com

 
Luck Gives Westfall Initial Sprint Triumph  

 

ROSSBURG, Ohio – The old adage “Being lucky is better than being good” was applied to Saturday two-race “Buckeye Nationals” finale at Eldora Speedway, and Matt Westfall was on the right end.

Westfall, in the No. 54 Westfall Motorsports Bordner Welding/E&E Machine & Tool F-5/Claxton, became the fourth driver in 2006 to win his first career USAC National Sprint Car Series feature event, leading the final two laps of the 30-lap feature.

Rob Chaney, seeking his fourth victory in five series races at the half mile, was in position to score that victory when he hit the Turn 2 wall on the white flag lap, handing the lead back over to Westfall, who had led the first 20 laps.

"It's pretty cool to get our first career victory at Eldora," Westfall said. "We've run well here before, but we've just had a lot of bad luck. I just knew when I got the lead back, I had to keep the thing straight and not do anything out of the ordinary."

Westfall took command on the start - which was delayed twice by incidents - going into Turn 1 after pass Brian Clauson, and began his initial dominance. He led the 24-car field around the outside of the slick track, never faltering in the opening laps as cars behind him lined up single file.

Dickie Gaines, Clauson, Chaney and Mat Neely did their best early to allow Westfall the opportunity to pull away. The four battled for the second spot amidst the nearly one-groove track, with Gaines taking second on Lap 1.

Chaney, who sat fourth, let the track come to him before his car gained life. On Lap 13, Chaney took advantage of a wiggle by Clauson in Turn 2 to pull alongside on the backstretch and sail past. However, he pounded the Turn 4 wall hard, which may have caused the last lap incident. However, he did not relinquish third.

Chaney began to work to get past Dickie Gaines on Lap 14, but the two found it easier to work together first to catch Westfall, who was lapping slower cars. The trio sat right in a row on Lap 17 before Chaney made his pass on Gaines.

No sooner did Chaney take second than Gaines found himself flipping wildly in the air, bringing out the second red flag of the night after tumbling in midair before coming to rest on the backstretch. He climbed out of his car under his own power.

When racing resumed, Westfall did his best to keep Chaney behind – and it worked for a couple of laps. Westfall got a two-car length jump, and when Chaney came up short on a pass attempt in Turn 2, Westfall established a larger lead.

But Chaney finally made what he though would be the winning pass, diamonding off Turn 2 and speeding past Westfall on Lap 21. The lead, at that point, was not in jeopardy. By Lap 26, Chaney had a straightaway lead, while Westfall tried to shake Neely, who had moved up to third. The pair looked like it was ready to fill out the podium.

However, that didn’t happen. Chaney’s car slipped up into the Turn 2 wall on what was then the final lap, damaging the car beyond repair. He finished 15th.

With Chaney out, Westfall assumed the point, but Neely has right on his heels. Both drivers got a good start on what was reverted by to Lap 29, and Neely made his attempt right away at the entrance of Turn 1.

But the outside groove was the place to go, and without much bite, Neely’s attempt ended up being just that. He returned to the top side when he fended off point leader Josh Wise and Jon Stanbrough, who had taken Top 5 positions just laps earlier.

By that point, Westfall was running away, and was holding a marginal lead. He crossed under the checkered flags with ease, with Neely, Wise, Stanbrough and Clauson filling in the Top 5 positions.

Westfall thanked the crowd first for their support and acknowledged the efforts of his crew.

“I can’t thank the fans enough,” Westfall said. “I have a lot of local supporters here tonight. It was all Chaney’s race. But my crew gave me a great car, which helped us out when we needed it.”

Neely claimed the two-race “Buckeye Nationals” crown.

Friday’s USAC Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering winner Bud Kaeding won the first eight-lap heat race, and was followed by Jerry Coons Jr., Chaney and Drake as subsequent victors. Wise, who extended his point lead to 35 to new second-place runner Neely, set the night’s fast time at 15.505 seconds. Westfall won the 12-lap semifeature.Gaines’s flip wasn’t the only driver to end his night upside down. On the second start of the feature – the first nixed after Dave Darland and Scotty Weir spun in Turn 1 – Tony Elliott and Jerry Coons Jr. tangled, with Elliott flipping as the pair crossed under the green flag. Both drivers retired from the event, and a third car involved – that of Darren Hagen’s – resumed after light damage to the front of his car.

Kyle Stuchell was transported to Coldwater (Ohio) Hospital after flipping in qualifications.

 

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