By the URSS
BEAVER, Okla. -- The previous night, Jeff Radcliffe believed his car was good enough to win the feature. The next night, the Hill City driver didn't believe his United Rebel Sprint Series ride was good enough for the top spot. Funny how things work out sometimes, just ask Radcliffe. One of the young guns in the URSS claimed his second career sprint car victory Saturday, the second day of the inaugural Beaver Cow Chip Spring Nationals at Beaver County Raceway.
Even better, the victory allowed Radcliffe to take home the lofty $1,500 payout -- one of the largest purses in the URSS this season. "Coming out of turn four, I had my hand in the air and said, 'We did it,' " Radcliffe said about taking the checkered flag. "I don't care about the check, I just wanted that trophy."
Radcliffe had a solid run the first night of the spring nationals, making his way through the B-main to start 12th in Friday night's feature. He then moved his way all the way up to fourth. On Saturday, Radcliffe qualified for the feature through his heat race, forgoing the last-chance qualifier, which was won by Friday night's winner, Jason Martin.
"On Friday night, Randy (Washburn) had the car set up perfect," Radcliffe said. "On Friday night, I felt we had a first-place car. (Saturday night), I felt we had a fourth-place car." But that fourth-place car, in Radcliffe's mind, was good enough for the win during a wild night on the 3/8-mile dirt oval.
Barry Crane held down the top spot for a good portion of the race as he was chased by Darren Bowman and the pack. But Martin, who started 11th, made his way through the field and was running behind Crane and Bowman late in the race. That's when Crane came upon another driver's failing car and had no room to make a move to avoid it. He went airborne, and Martin, who was following closely, got tangled in the accident, too -- as did Bowman.
"I thought we had a pretty good chance of winning it," Martin said. "But Barry was the class of the field. C.J., I, Bowman and Radcliffe were racing our tails off to keep up with Barry."
Radcliffe, who was running fourth when the accident happened, moved into the top spot on the restart. Crane and Martin were done for the night, while Bowman was able to fix his car good enough to finish the race.
"They were about 10 car lengths ahead of me," Radcliffe said. "They got into it going into (turn) one. It was the break I needed." The Hill City driver held on the remaining laps for his second win and the big payout.
"It feels great," Radcliffe said. "It's a big boost of confidence. The main thing was staying out of trouble and not spinning out." Johnson finished second for the second night in a row, while Ray Seemann -- the defending URSS national champ -- was third and Kris Miller was fourth.
It was the second win in the last three URSS races for Radcliffe, who won the 2011 season finale at Dodge City Raceway Park. "We're hoping to get several wins this year," he said. "But I'm not sure we expected to get one this early. With (Randy), we've got two out of four so far."
Heat race winners were Bowman, Monte Hein, Brian Herbert and Johnson
The Keizer Aluminum Racing Wheels Hard-Charger Award went to Kaden Taylor, who started 18th and finished ninth.
1. Jeff Radcliffe, 2. C.J. Johnson, 3. Ray Seemann, 4. Kris Miller, 5. Brian Herbert, 6. Josh Fairbank, 7. Jordan Randles, 8. Jake Bubak, 9. Kaden Taylor, 10. Taylor Velasquez, 11. Connor Atkinson, 12. Darren Bowman, 13. Barry Crane, 14. Jason Martin, 15. Brian May, 16. Brian Hardman, 17. Mike Spear, 18. Monte Hein, 19. Luke Cranston, 20. Keefe Hemel.
1. Jason Martin, 2. Luke Cranston, 3. Josh Fairbank, 4. Jake Bubak, 5. Jordan Randles, 6. Mike Spear, 7. Connor Atkinson, 8. Kaden Taylor, 9. Brian Hardman, 10. Brian May, 11. Lance Davis, 12. Shelby Stapel, 13. Cody Caldwell, 14. Butch Hardman.