"Cheeseburger" Bryan Mullis Grabs Largest Career Win in Series Largest Event Ever
An event that was almost a year in the making, the AAS headed to Cherokee Speedway for the first time ever in Gaffney, SC. This was the series largest purse event ever and the fist ever event in South Carolina! Promoter, Tony Adair, and his crew had the track perfect and ready for AAS action all weekend longer! The event started on Thursday night where thirty-two pro late models showed up to test their cars and turn some laps. After all was said and done at sign-ins on Friday forty-three of America's Best Pro Late Models were signed in with maybe the strongest field of cars we've seen on hand all season front to back.
BHR Fabrication Qualifying kicked things off for the series with two groups. Group A saw Carson Ferguson sling it around the track with the fastest time of 16.404 while Travis Steele turned a time of 16.582 and Brandon Umberger went third fastest with a time of 16.584 after not being in a late model in almost two years! Group B saw the fastest over all time with Jacob Brown turning a time of 16.359 and older brother Dillon going second fast at a 16.517 while Sylvan Schuette turned the third quick time in the group with a time of 16.565. Brown would pick up the $100 from BHR and a carburetor level from Bill Pink at Pink Carburetors for his efforts of fast time.
With the field set for four heats and dashes the top three form each heat would transfer into the show with all six dash cars already locked in. The Race Track Connection Dash saw Carson Ferguson take the win over Jacob and Dillon Brown. Dirt2Media Heat One was won by Jeremy Steele in dominating fashion over Derek Dent and Zack Mitchell. Outside Groove Heat Two went to Preston Blalock over John Ruggiero Jr. and Mark Whitener. FMS Rapid Graphix Heat Three went to Alex Hendren over Bryan Mullis and Layton Sullivan. PPM Racing Products Heat Four went to Luke Cooper over Shawn Martin and Derrick Ramey. The ATC Bolts & Fasteners B-Mains would see two cars transfer from each. Chip Brindle would grab the win in B-Main one over Dalton Jacobs. Josh Dietz would take the victory in B-Main two over Benji Hicks.
With the field set the battle was ready to take place for 100 laps in the South Summer Sizzler. The first part of the race saw a lot of side by side up to four wide racing action. Carson Ferguson settled into the lead but was being challenged by both Jacob and Dillon Brown through the whole first half of the race. It was pretty calm the first part of the race and a few tires would be lost around the lap thirty-five mark. Derrick Ramey was one of the drivers forced to pit early with a flat. At the halfway mark about half the field decided they wanted to change tires while the other half stayed on the track and took fuel only. Those who took fuel only would line up in front of those who did not. This moved Ruggiero, Mullis, and Luke Cooper up behind Carson Ferguson. Another caution flew before a lap was completed after the break and Bryan Mullis dove into the pits to change tires. Mullis would go to the rear with around twenty cars still on the lead lap at the time. Green flag racing resumed and Ferguson, Ruggiero, and Cooper jumped out to a big lead and started riding to save tires after that. Chip Brindle started running them down quickly. Meanwhile Cheeseburger had began to put on the show of the day and drive of his life. While most competitors wanted to hug the bottom, Cheeseburger moved up to the middle line and began picking off two cars per lap. He moved into the top five before Cooper had a tire issue and had to pit as a caution came out. Green flag racing resumed and Mullis went right back to work picking the field off. He moved to the lead on lap sixty-four and pulled away. Never looking back. Meanwhile Derrick Ramey had also worked through the field after his early flat. A few cautions flew, but no one had anything for Mullis after he got to the lead. Mullis would go on to take the win, which was the biggest of his career and the first with the American All-Star Series pocketing $20,000! Derrick Ramey piloted the #00 home second with Chip Brindle taking third. Brindle was the only driver not to change any tires in the event. He ran an American Racer Chainlink 56 on the right rear that was given to him by Trent Ivey's car owner to get the job done and take third. Zack Mitchell, in the Owen Osteen #20, took fourth with Jesse Lowe taking fifth and claiming the Hyperco Hard Charger yet again! Not to let Lowe get away in points, Dietz finished sixth to keep the points spread at only two while John Ruggiero took seventh after a miscommunication on pit road. Luke Cooper, Logan Walls, and Dalton Jacobs would round out the top ten.
We'd like to thank, Tony Adair and the whole crew at Cherokee Speedway for a great weekend and the hospitality all weekend long! We'd also like to thank all the partners who make it possible: Dirt2Media, PPM Racing Products, Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet, Chevrolet Performance: Vehicles, Parts, Racing, Pro Fabrication "Official Header of the AAS," Mahle, Super Clean "Official Cleaner of the AAS," Outside Groove, FMS Rapid Graphix, Race Track Connection, Beckley Motor Speedway, O'Reilly Auto Parts "Official Auto Parts Store of the AAS," Smash-It by BWR, American Racer, Wieland "Official Aluminum of the AAS," BHR Fabrication and Double Nickle Race Cars, Fast Lane Fabrication, Warrior Race Cars, WV Fireworks Outlet, TNT Race Cars, KRC Power Steering, Peeping Dragon Photography, Terror Race Cars, ATC Bolts and Fasteners, PopBit, MD3, Hyperco, Burgess Motorsports Consulting, ML Performance Midwest, Massey Powersports, Pro-Built Motorsports, East TN Racers Recovery and Fast Fab.