ANDERSON, S.C. – Joey Aguilar arrived at Anderson Motor Speedway Friday afternoon ready to compete with the United Sprint Car Series filtercharged by K&N and he ended up being dealt the winning cards.
Aguilar, a pavement sprint car veteran from Tampa, Fla., and three-time TBARA sprint-car winner in 2014, powered around 1998 USCS Rookie of the Year and K&N Filters pole-sitter Johnny Bridges on lap four of Friday night’s 25-lap Anderson Summer Nationals preliminary and drove away to win by a full straightaway despite two caution periods in the first half of the event that slowed the pace.
The victory was Aguilar’s sixth straight sprint car feature victory (across multiple sanctions) in 2014 and second career USCS feature win, following a win at Lanier National Speedway in 2010.
“This is sweet, just like it says on the side of my car,” a jubilant Aguilar said in victory lane, referring to his sponsor Sweet Manufacturing. “I really can’t believe this, it’s awesome to race here and you guys have seriously got me thinking about moving up here, getting out of Florida. To beat a veteran like Terry Gray, who’s a class act and is so good in this series and anywhere he races, that’s really special tonight. Now we want to try and double it up tomorrow.”
Polesitter and defending USCS Anderson winner Bridges blasted out in front of the field to lead on the initial start, but was quickly reeled in by Aguilar, who caught the veteran in traffic early in the going. Aguilar made what turned out to be the winning pass by going almost-three wide through the middle of the race track in turns one and two. When the caution came out a lap later for the stopped car of Dave Thorman in turn four, Bridges was afforded an opportunity to return the favor.
However, the Cherryville, N.C., native had no answer on the restart, and Aguilar again disappeared from the rest of the field’s reach. As Bridges tried to give chase, he tangled with the lapped car of Tim Perry on lap 13 and came to rest on the outside of turn one with significant suspension damage, bringing out the race’s final caution.
“It’s just a shame, we had a good car tonight,” Bridges said after the race. “I hate it because we were leading the USCS pavement points coming into tonight, but what can you do? Sometimes it’s just not your night.”
Following the restart, new second-place driver and ten-time series champion Terry Gray had no answer for Aguilar, who raced his way into victory lane unchallenged.
Gray, from Bartlett, Tenn., had to settle for the runner-up position while his teammate, Morgan Turpen finished her night in the third position. Jake McLain rode home in the fourth position and Jake’s brother Brandon McLain rounded out the top five finishers.
Peyton Saxton led 19 of the 20 laps in en route to winning the companion Legend Cars feature.
Joey Aguilar, Terry Gray, Morgan Turpen, Jake McLain, Brandon McLain, Jay Dunham, Tom Paterson, Greg Smyre, Tim Perry, Johnny Bridges, Joe Larkin, Bill Moore, Dave Thorman, Jim Payne, Sonny Stroud.