Chad Ogle bags $5,000 Ultimate win at The Gap
By Richard Allen and Robert WaldenDirtonDirt.com correspondent
BULLS GAP, Tenn. (May 5) — Chad Ogle of Sevierville, Tenn., recovered from an early miscue and took advantage of lapped traffic Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway to earn a $5,000 Ultimate Super Late Model Series victory at the 4/10-mile east Tennessee oval. | Slideshow
Ogle established himself as a serious contender by earning the pole for the 50-lap event through time trials. However, his victory didn’t come easy.
After dropping to third on the race’s initial start, Ogle rallied back to overtake Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., for the lead amid heavy lapped traffic on lap 47 and held off Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., in the final three laps to score the victory.
Cook scored for the runner-up finish while seventh-starting Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga., also moved by Roberts late in the race to finish third. Roberts finished fourth with 10th-starting Ryan Gifford of Winchester, Tenn., rounding out the top five finishers.
“What a race and what a finish, man. We definitely needed this win tonight,” Ogle said. “It was great racing and the fans definitely had to like what they saw, because I know from my vantage point it sure got interesting there at the end. You take Roberts, myself, Ray and McDowell, I knew from seeing the numbers posted on the scoreboard that any of us had a shot at getting the win.
"I really felt we were a little better running down in the middle of the track, or on down on the bottom than Roberts was. It just seemed his car worked best up top right against the cushion. When I saw we were approaching those slower cars, I knew that was my opportunity to try and pass him for the lead."
Ogle’s bobble on the initial start allowed fellow front-row starter Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., to grab the early lead. Billy Ogle appeared to have a strong car as he attempted to put distance between himself and the competition in the early going, but his night came to an early end when his car broke under a lap-nine caution.
From that point, it was Roberts who would assume command of the race. The Georgia driver kept the field at bay despite having to negotiate multiple restarts in the first half of the main event following a rash of cautions.
Things settled down just after the race’s halfway point and he field began to spread out and log laps. Roberts employed a very high line, especially in turns one and two, to keep Ogle, Cook, McDowell and Gifford behind him.
But as the laps wound down, lapped traffic became a factor. The top four cars closed into a tight formation with just under 10 laps remaining as they attempted to maneuver around the slower machines.
When Roberts found himself boxed in on the high side behind two other cars on lap 47, Ogle and Cook pounced and got around the driver who had led the most laps.
Ogle successfully worked through more traffic in the final three laps and drove on to the checkered flag with Cook trailing just behind. McDowell and Roberts staged a door slamming battle for third as they came to the finish line with McDowell just winning the position. Gifford rounded out the race’s top five finishers on a special night for the winner.
“People just don’t know what this win tonight means for our family race team," Chad Ogle said. "This is just the third race in 2012 we’ve ran. We had a breakin at our race shop during the off-season and we basically got cleaned out. The burglars just about hauled everything away we owned.
"It was a devastating blow for us to say the least, and we’ve just slowly had to piece-by-piece start putting this race team back together. Winning tonight sure helps put a smile on your face, especially after all the adversity we’ve faced. I want to thank my dad, Rick Ogle, along with John Ogle, and there’s Chip Vineyard at CVR Race Cars for building such a great racecar; and Jason Webb, plus my wife Mary and our kids Reece and Aniston for their support.”
Ultimate @ Volunteer: (1) Chad Ogle, (2) Ray Cook, (3) Dale McDowell, (4) Casey Roberts, (5) Ryan Gifford, (6) Stacy Boles, (7) Brett Miller, (8) Terry Wolfenbarger, (9) Daniel Baggerly, (10) Travis Greer, (11) Jeff Franklin, (12) Randy Todd, (13) Casey Barrow, (14) Tyler King, (15) Mark Vineyard, (16) Josh Putnam, (17) Zack Mitchell, (18) David Watts, (19) Jeff Maupin, (20) Billy Ogle Jr., (21) Randy Harmon, (22) Jensen Ford, (23) Bryan Hendrix, (24) Josh Henry. Fast qualifier (among 24 cars): Chad Ogle, 12.393 seconds.