Terry Phillips Finds Redemption in El Paso Speedway Battle at the Border Victory
El Paso, Texas (January 26, 2014) Springfield, Missouri’s Terry Phillips has had a January filled with disappointments and near-misses. The 47 year-old veteran probably should have won at least 2 races in last week’s Winter Extreme event at Tucson International Raceway. But a blown engine and a ride up the backstretch wall quelled both of those opportunities. And on the first two nights at El Paso, Phillips struggled a bit as he searched for balance in his new Rocket Chassis. Sunday’s final night of Battle at the Border was just what Phillips had been looking to find. A heat race win and an outside pole starting spot for the 40 lap feature. “It feels good to win one. We were so close in Tucson and just had all kinds of things knock us out. We got up on the wall and all that. It’s nice to get a win and get a head start on (racing at) home.” Phillips said after his $5,000 triumph.
Bloomington, Indiana’s Kent Robinson appeared early on to be poised to pick up where he left off on Saturday night and possibly garner his first career NDRL winner’s payday in the Battle at the Border finale. Robinson was fastest in his group and bested all entrants in Keyser Manufacturing Time Trials with a fast lap of 17.671 seconds. Billy Moyer, Jr. and Jimmy Mars both topped their individual groups with lap times of 18.144 seconds and 17.842 seconds respectively. Moyer, Robinson and Mars all went on to pick up heat race wins.
Phillips used his high side momentum to roll by Moyer, Jr. exiting turn two on the first lap. Moyer was left to deal with his father Billy Moyer who immediately began to mount a charge for the runner-up position. Over the course of the next few laps the father-son duo raced door to door with the younger Moyer finally taking the spot. Moyer, Jr. then drew closer and closer to Phillips as the leader began to encounter heavy lapped traffic. Just after the halfway point Phillips was having trouble disposing of the Rick Ortega machine as the New Mexico racer was also running the line Phillips car was best in.
That allowed Moyer, Jr. to cut into Phillips lead which had been up to as much as 1.5 seconds. On lap 25 Moyer completely erased the lead as he drew to Phillip’s rear deck. Off of turn four Moyer pulled alongside Phillips. But Phillips fended off his fellow mid-south racer’s advances. A lap later the first of 2 caution flags waved for several cars that slid over the turn one banking. The yellow was the break Phillips needed. “I figured they were catching up to me. When you’re in traffic you can’t really hear. All you hear is a bunch of noise. But I knew if I held my line it would be hard to pass me.” Phillips added.
Though Phillips had averted the Moyer charge it wasn’t clear sailing for the race-long leader. On the restart Robinson was able to move by Moyer to chase after Phillips. Just as earlier Phillips caught lapped traffic but this time Robinson was in close pursuit. Just as the night before Robinson rolled right around the bottom, at times flirting with disaster as he clipped the infield tires. On several occasions Robinson nosed alongside Phillips and just as the night before Robinson couldn’t make the pass or wound up behind a lapped car. Over the final few circuits Phillips was able to get away and crossed the checkers with a 3 car length advantage to take the win. “I need to thank these guys, Stick and Bumper, I have worked them hard the last couple of weeks. I just feel fortunate to get this hotrod Rocket to victory lane.” Phillips said.
Robinson had to settle for second for the second time in as many nights. “The bottom wasn’t as fast as it was last night.” Robinson said. “We went with the same set-up we had last night and I knew the bottom wasn’t going to be as good. Terry’s car was just a little bit better than mine, I think. I am happy to come home second, but it’s still the first loser.”
NDRL Battle at the Border – Night Three
El Paso Speedway Park
El Paso, TX
Saturday, January 26, 2014
Finish / Start / Car # / Name / Purse
1. (2) 75 Terry Phillips $5,000
2. (4) 7R Kent Robinson $2,250
3. (3) 21 Billy Moyer $1,250
4. (11) 23 John Blankenship $1,000
5. (5) 28 Jimmy Mars $950
6. (1) 21JR Billy Moyer Jr. $900
7. (6) 19 Tim Fuller $850
8. (9) 58 A.J. Diemel $800
9. (11) 43 Garrett Alberson $750
10. (8) 19R Ryan Gustin $700
11. (11) 111 Max Blair $650
12. (13) 86 Kyle Beard $600
13. (12) 19 William Thomas $550
14. (16) 14 Sean Bray $500
15. (15) 24 Rick Ortega $500
16. (19) 98D Dave Deetz $500
17. (18) 85JR Steven Francis Jr. $500
18. (23) 911 Cliff Hansen $500
19. (17) 25Z Mason Zeigler $500
20. (21) 27 Nick Bartels $500
21. (20) 7K Jason Krohn $500
22. (14) 56 Tony Jackson Jr. $500
23. (22) 36 Mercedes Abercrombie $500
24. (24) 72 Jeff Whyman $500
First heat: Billy Moyer Jr., Tim Fuller, Garrett Alberson, Max Blair, Kyle Beard, Sean Bray, Dave Deetz, Mercedes Abercrombie, Cliff Hansen.
Second heat: Kent Robinson, Billy Moyer, Ryan Gustin, John Blankenship, Tony Jackson Jr., Mason Zeigler, Jason Krohn. Scratched: Fito Gallardo.
Third heat: Jimmy Mars, Terry Phillips, A.J. Diemel, William Thomas, Rick Ortega, Nick Bartels, Steven Francis Jr., Jeff Whyman.
First group: Billy Moyer Jr. (21jr), Batesville, Ark., 18.144 Tim Fuller (19), Watertown, N.Y., 18.149 Max Blair (111), Titusville, Pa., 18.276 Garrett Alberson (43), Las Cruces, N.M., 18.513 Kyle Beard (86), Trumann, Ark., 18.735 Dave Deetz (98D), Las Cruces, N.M., 18.739 Mercedes Abercrombie (36), Deming, N.M., 18.785 Sean Bray (14), Tucson, Ariz., 19.003 Cliff Hansen (911), El Paso, Texas, 20.21
Second group: Kent Robinson (7r), Bloomington, Ind., 17.671 Ryan Gustin (19r), Marshalltown, Iowa, 17.78 John Blankenship (23), Williamson, W.Va., 17.92 Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., 18.073 Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 18.174 Tony Jackson Jr. (56), Lebanon, Mo., 18.249 Jason Krohn (7k), Slayton, Minn., 18.353 Fito Gallardo (G17), Las Cruces, N.M., 18.47
Third group: Jimmy Mars (28), Menomonie, Wis., 17.842 Terry Phillips (75), Springfield, Mo., 17.978 A.J. Diemel (58), Elk Mound, Wis., 18.48 William Thomas (19), Phenix City, Ala., 18.554 Nick Bartels (27), El Segundo, Calif., 18.814 Steven Francis Jr. (85jr), Rio Rancho, N.M., 18.841 Rick Ortega (24), Las Cruces, N.M., 18.918 Jeff Whyman (72), Los Lunas, N.M., 19.281
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