SALINA, Okla. — The American Sprint Car Series National Championship title chase has evolved into quite the epic battle.
One night after Matt Covington scored at Lakeside to narrow the lead gap, Jason Martin countered on Saturday night to take the $4,000 winner’s share as the series returned to the ultra-fast Salina Highbanks Speedway after an eight-year hiatus.
Martin capitalized on a rare Blake Hahn miscue on the 19th round and went on to snare his eighth series win of the season and 11th overall aboard the Rezac Concrete/Bybee Electric No. 36 entry in the 25-lapper.
“That was a gift,” Martin said of Hahn’s slip off the top of turn four while leading with just a half-dozen laps to go. “He was committed to the top though and I had found the bottom, so I think we could have got to him. It would have just been a matter of making the move at the right time.”
After gridding the feature fourth following a heat race win, Matin became the race’s fifth different leader in the closing stages as he paced the final seven rounds with Jordon Mallett and Wayne Johnson joining him on the podium after apparent runner-up finisher Chance Morton failed to report to the scales.
The likes of Jeremy Campbell, Mallett, Chance Morton and Hahn each enjoyed stints out front before Martin took command for keeps.
Campbell gunned into the lead at the drop of the green flag only to surrender the point to fellow front row starter Mallett after just one round. Morton was on the charge though and raced into the lead after a handful of laps and held the point ahead of Mallett and Martin when the race’s first caution flew with seven laps in the books after a turn two spin.
Martin moved into second soon after only to surrender the position to Hahn, who then took advantage of a lap-13 restart to pounce on Morton for the lead with Martin in tow. With Hahn ripping the upper portion of the Highbanks as the field in his wake began to gravitate to the low side, the two-time series champion slipped off the top of turn four on the 19th round to hand the lead over to Martin.
Martin paced the final circuits as the bottom began to lock-in with each passing lap, taking the checkered flag ahead of Morton and Mallett before Morton’s bypassing of the scales nixed a runner-up finish.
Johnson assumed the third position with Covington and Campbell rounding out the top five.
Feature (25 Laps): 1. 36-Jason Martin; 2. 14-Jordon Mallett; 3. 2C-Wayne Johnson; 4. 95-Matt Covington; 5. 10C-Jeremy Campbell; 6. 10-Landon Britt; 7. 45X-Kyler Johnson; 8. 6-Christopher Townsend; 9. 12-Jeffrey Newell; 10. 52-Blake Hahn; 11. 938-Bradley Fezard; 12. 55B-Brandon Anderson; 13. 3-Howard Moore; 14. 2-Whit Gastineau; 15. 26M-Fred Mattox; 16. 90-Lance Norick; 17. 50Z-Zach Chappell; 18. 91-Michael Day; 19. 97-Kevin Cummings; 20. 1H-Hank Davis; 21. 8M-Kade Morton; 22. (DQ) 7M-Chance Morton