SEYMOUR, TN - Terry Gray, from Bartlett, Tennessee, took the lead from K&N Filters Pole Position starter Eric Riggins, Jr. on lap 15 of the USCS Sprint Car main event on Friday night at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, TN and never looked back, skirting lap traffic over the final 14 laps score the victory in Friday night's feature event.
The win was Gray's first USCS victory of the season and came after a massive opening lap crash that saw Gray's teammate, Morgan Turpen, flip wildly into the catch fence in turn three. Turpen escaped serious injury.
"This one means a whole lot tonight," Gray said after the race. "Especially after what happened to (Morgan), I wanted to win this bad for her. For both of us, really. I lost one earlier this season at Hohenwald (Tennessee National Raceway) and I wasn't gonna let that happen again."
Speaking of his teammate, Gray expressed how thankful he was not only that Turpen was okay, but that she came back to cheer him on after her race-ending incident.
"She's a tough customer," Gray said of his longtime teammate. "She's been through a lot tonight, but I'm glad to have her around here, and real glad she's okay. She took a hard spill."
That spill was sparked as starting Turpen and Lance Moss battled hard for position on the opening lap. The pair went into turn 3 and made contact, sending Turpen's car around and launching her into the catch fence in front of the majority of the field. Both Moss and Turpen's cars came to rest between turns three and four. Moss climbed out okay, but, Turpen had to be more gingerly extracted from her car complaining of knee pain and a sore neck, but she was able to exit her car with minor assistance and spoke after the event about her wild ride.
"I don't remember a whole lot, to be honest," Turpen said following the feature. "I just remember sailing it down into turn 3 and then the next thing I knew we were in the air. I just thought to myself, 'oh, this is bad' and then we were pinned against the concrete wall.
"I'm sore right now; my knees are pretty banged up, and I want to get my neck checked out, but if Terry can get the car fixed and we're cleared for (Saturday), we're gonna do our best to race. I want to as long as I can."
Numerous other cars were involved in the fray, with six of the starters being unable to return after a more than half-hour long red flag halted the racing action for extensive cleanup. In addition to Turpen and Moss, Shawn Murray, Terry Witherspoon, Greg Merritt, and Ray Bugg were collected in the melee.
After the red flag, 14 cars re-took the green flag for a complete restart. Eric Riggins, Jr. again leaped out in front of the field, to lead the first half of the event before Gray came calling at the halfway point to snatch the top spot away and collect the $2000 top prize.
After a caution at lap 16 for a spin by Lukas Smith, Gray surged back to the point on the restart and held off the charges of Anthony Nicholson over the final 14 laps to take the trophy and the checkered flag. Nicholson finished in second, with Johnny Bridges in third place. Danny Smith came home in fourth and Riggins, Jr. finished fifth.
Bob Auld, Jake McLain, Brandon McLain, Freddie McCall, Jr. and Jeff Willingham rounded out the top 10.
Gray kicked off the evening's racing action by winning the six car, six-lap USCS Hoosier Speed Dash. Turpen won the first head, with Johnny Bridges winning the second heat and Lance Moss winning the third heat.
USCS Outlaw Thunder Sprint Car Tour
411 Motor Speedway - Seymour, TN
Race Results - May 2, 2014
1. #10 - Terry Gray - Bartlett, TN
2. #16 - Anthony Nicholson - Bartlett, TN
3. #07 - Johnny Bridges - Cherryville, NC
4. #4 - Danny Smith - Chillicothe, OH
5. #47 - Eric Riggins, Jr. - Charlotte, NC
6. #83 - Bob Auld - Largo, FL
7. #67 - Jake McLain - Indian Trail, NC
8. #21B - Brandon McLain - Indian Trail, NC
9. #1 - Freddie McCall, Jr. - Brewton, AL
10. #28 - Jeff Willingham - Ripley, MS
11. #61 - Don Smith - Lebanon, IN
12. #33 - Joe Larkin - Suwanee, GA
13. #26 - Lukas Smith - Lebanon, IN
14. #12B - Don Ryder - Knoxville, TN
15. #10M - Morgan Turpen - Oakland, TN
16. #23 - Lance Moss - Cherryville, NC
17. #22 - Shawn Murray - Jacksonville, FL
18. #43 - Terry Witherspoon - Jacksonville, FL
19. #25 - Ray Bugg - Iuka, MS
20. #12M - Greg Merritt - Nesbit, MS
21. #36 - Tim Perry - Mooresville, NC
DNS: #59 - Johnny Petrozelle - Denton, NC