Farrell Flies At Rockford
LOVES PARK, Ill. — Rookie Ryan Farrell opened the 20th MASCS season in boisterous fashion by out-timing the field for the 35th Annual Spring Classic by nearly two tenths of a second.
If that statement wasn’t enough, Farrell cruised through the pack in the 50-lap main event, picking off competitors using the less-than-preferred inside line. He snared the top spot before the halfway point and went unchallenged to the end.
“That was more than you can ever expect,” the 24-year-old from East Troy, Wis., said. “This only happens once or twice in a career and today was that day.”
With a nine-car invert to set the field for the main event, Farrell took the green flag on the inside of row five. With the likes of Lyle Nowak, Bill Prietzel and James Swan starting in the preferred outside line in the rows ahead of Farrell, the test began early. Nowak, who won at Rockford last October, dashed to the lead past pole sitter Tom McClintock. Just three laps later Prietzel, Swan, Mark Pluer and Kyle Shear had followed into the top five.
As the front five rode the rim around the top side of the quarter mile, Farrell began an unorthodox march to the front by picking off cars on the bottom line. He moved to seventh on lap six and eight laps later chewed up enough real estate to challenge and overtake Adam Bendzick in sixth. Just two laps later Farrell worked the inside line and swiped fifth from Pluer.
“It’s something you see once or twice a year, where a guy will come through the field on the bottom,” Farrell said. “We thought the car was good enough to pass the medium to slow cars on the bottom, and that’s usually pretty good. In the heat race we got by a couple guys that were pretty stout.”
Once the green dropped, Farrell flexed his muscle on the bottom line and grabbed the lead from Nowak. “I got a little bit of a break on that restart with Lyle. I heard his clutch was slipping a little bit, but I think we had something for him either way,” Farrell said.
Over the final 29 laps of the race Farrell slowly broke away from the rest of the top five. Without a caution, Farrell consistently clicked off the laps en route to his first win in his seventh MASCS start. “It was cruise control to the end. You expect wrecks to happen here, but that didn’t happen today.”
Nowak held on for second, Prietzel finished third, Swan fourth, after changing engines on Saturday night, and Ryan Gutknecht made a late charge to round out the top five.