Ziehl Claims Freedom Tour Finale
DODGE CITY, Kan. – Rick Ziehl was in the right place at the right time to take the $2,500 winner’s share in Saturday night’s Inaugural Freedom Tour finale for the USAC Southwest Sprint Cars atop the three-eighths-mile Dodge City Raceway Park.
The Las Cruces, N.M., shoe took advantage of opportunity when race leader Josh Pelkey suffered mechanical woes six laps shy of the checkered flag in the 30-lapper and then paced the final rounds to become the only repeat winner of the four-race mini-series.
Ziehl took the checkered flag ahead of lady racer Jordan Weaver and Friday night winner Charles Davis Jr., with Michelle Decker making it a pair of ladies among the top four finishers.
Outgunning fellow front row starter Shon Deskins for the lead at the drop of the green flag, Ziehl set the early pace in front of fourth-starter Pelkey while Davis Jr., lost several positions in the opening corner after starting fifth.
While Ziehl and Pelkey raced away from the field, Davis Jr., worked his way back up to third by the ninth round and closed the straightaway gap on the lead duo when the caution flew after 13 laps for Chris Bonneau in turn four.
A Ziehl bobble in turn four soon after the restart opened the door for Pelkey, who took command on the 15th lap and had the race well in hand until he pulled to the infield with a broken rear end with just over five laps to go.
Ziehl capitalized by keeping the No. 41w entry out front over the final circuits to secure the win.
“He (Pelkey) had the better car, but it looked like he broke something,” Ziehl commented. “I don’t really like to win ‘em that way but I’ll sure take it.”
After starting eighth, Woodward, Oklahoma’s Jordan Weaver rebounded from a wild flip the night before to snare runner-up honors with the Ochs No. 1x tailtank on her regularly-numbered No. 92 Sprint Car.
Weaver took the second position away from reigning Arizona Sprint Car champion Charles Davis, Jr., on the 25th round and kept Ziehl within sight.
“We started getting a really bad vibration towards the end, so I don’t know that I could have done much with the leader,” the 22-year-old commented afterward. “We were just happy to be able to be here after last night.”
Davis Jr., rebounded from a rough opening lap to claim the show position, with Guthrie, Oklahoma’s Michelle Decker taking the fourth position in front of Arizona shoe Tye Mihocko. Michael Curtis, Deskins, Jeff Lowery, Koby Barksdale and Tom Lee completed the top ten.