Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday night, in a race Broadcast on Hot Wings Live, Hammer Martin returned to his house in Victory Lane at the Clay by the Bay, East Bay Raceway Park. In the first 360 Sprint Car Race of the 2009 season, American Sprint Car Series and Lonnie Wheatley noted that "just one week ago, Sarasota's Danny Martin, Jr., didn't have any concrete plans to compete in this weekend's 33rd Annual Winter Nationals at East Bay Raceway Park."
"A last minute decision to piece things together paid off though. In fact, it paid off to the tune of a wire-to-wire win in the season-opening 25-lap feature event for the American Sprint Car Series Rebel Region atop East Bay's 1/3-mile clay oval.
And, more importantly, it locked Martin into Saturday night's Eighth Annual Ronald Laney Memorial feature event, which is now slated to pay $12,500 to the winner.
"We're wanting to race a lot this year, but the funds are running awfully low right now," the 22-year-old commented afterward. "A win tomorrow night would help out a bunch."
Lady Luck was on Martin's side throughout the night, as he jumped into the redraw after gaining an extra position in his heat race following the disqualification of Brock Mayes, who lost a muffler.
Martin then drew the pole position for the 25-lap feature event, gunned into the lead at the outset and led all the way to capture his fourth career ASCS Regional win aboard the Martin Structures No. 00, commenting that, "I'm just glad to be here, a week ago we didn't think we were gonna be able to run this one."
Martin fought off several bids from four-time Lucas Oil ASCS National champion Gary Wright along the way, as Wright settled for runner-up honors in his debut aboard the Lubbock Wrecker Service No. 9x entry.
Gene Lasker climbed from eighth to snare the show position, with Tony Bruce, Jr., taking the fourth and final lock-in position to Saturday's Ronald Laney Memorial.
Travis Rilat raced from 14th to round out the top five, with Jason Sides, Lou Kennedy, Jr., Greg Leonard, Cale Conley and Terry Gray completing the top ten.
Tyler Godwin, Sides, R.J. Johnson, Kennedy and Jesse Hockett topped heat race action for the 47-car field, with Matt Tiffany, Rilat, Gray and Godwin winning the "B" Mains. Tiffany was the first to exit the "A" Main when he encountered engine problems, while Hockett surrendered the third position prior to the midway point with mechanical woes." Thanks to Rich Vleck and Lonnie Wheatley of ASCS and Hot Wings Live. Saturday's feature will be broadcast on High Speed Radio.