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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

BACON A BLUR EN ROUTE TO BAKERSFIELD MIDGET TRIUMPH

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Bakersfield, California....November 18, 2017 - With one of the busiest racing schedules of any driver in the United States, Brady Bacon annually competes in excess of 100 events a year on tracks from coast-to-coast.

In Saturday night's "November Classic," it might've appeared the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native had been an experienced master of Bakersfield Speedway. But, wouldn't you know it? Saturday night was the first time Bacon had even laid eyes on the track.

Bacon, originally lining up seventh on the grid, worked the outside line to climb to the lead on lap seven. It was a lead he would never relinquish as he picked up his third USAC National Midget victory of the year in his FMR Racing/Brown & Miller Racing Solutions - Black Watch Farms/Beast/Toyota in the National series' first stop at Bakersfield in 17 years.

"At the start, I was on the inside and I saw the outside got a pretty good run," Bacon observed. "The bottom was kind of glazed over from the moisture in the air or something. I knew it would eventually move back down there, but I figured I'd try to make the moves while I could. I went to the top and it worked out. We were the first ones in the front to do it and had a clear lane to the front."

The beginning was tumultuous as Light Up the World Beverages USAC Western States Midget regular Michael Faccinto stepped out to the lead from the outside of the front row on the initial start. Meanwhile, pole sitter Michael Pickens slotted into second. While riding the high side in turn three, contact was made between he and Holly Shelton. As Pickens sat sideways in the middle of the track, he was slammed into by Shannon McQueen, who had nowhere to go. Frankie Guerrini and Dustin Golobic also became involved, but would restart along with Pickens. McQueen headed back to the hauler earlier than she had planned with a hurt racecar.

The ensuing restart would only get back on track for a pair of laps before fifth-running Shelton got the back end loose in turn three. As she slid sideways, Zeb Wise, making his USAC debut, careened in while Ryan Robinson took evasive action to avoid the melee and climbed the outside wall before coming to a stop. Shelton's night was finished, but Wise and Robinson would restart.

Once the race got back on the rails, Faccinto led the way on the bottom with series point leader Spencer Bayston just behind. Glancing behind Bayston, one could see Bacon running a slightly higher line than those he trailed, which took him to second around the outside of Bayston off turn two on the fourth lap. Bayston scrapped back, but Bacon had enough of a head of steam off turns two and four to clamp down on the top spot.

As Bacon and Bayston tussled for the runner-up position, both simultaneously chipped away at Faccinto's lead. Quickly, it became a three-car race for the lead with the top-three appearing in Blue Angels formation exiting turn two. On lap seven, Bacon surged ahead of Faccinto midway down the back straightaway to secure the lead and instantly constructed a one-second gap over Faccinto and Bayston. With an open highway comfort cruise lying in front of him, Bacon was free to run his race as he pleased.

"I ran the middle in (turns) one and two a lot," Bacon explained. "I diamonded three and four and came off as straight as I could. It was really heavy, so it was easy to get pointed in the wrong direction. I just thought it was going to be too far around the top and my car was pretty good on the bottom and in the middle, so I stuck with it. I started feeling a little less grip in one and two, but I moved around and pedaled it a little more."

With Bacon pulling away, Bayston fought Faccinto for second throughout the next four laps until clearing him on lap 12. Bayston would receive a reprieve two laps later when new five-time USAC Western States Midget champion Ronnie Gardner slid sideways to a stop on the front straightaway to bring out the caution. With the substantial lead erased, Bacon would have to get back on the saddle once again. On the first try, Bacon stumbled and Bayston was able to hang in contention. Yet, when Cory Elliott slowed to bring out the yellow moments later, Bacon would get a reprieve and another shot at that restart.

When that chance arrived on lap 14 restart version two, Bacon left Bayston on his own and instantly spurted away to a ten car-length lead that wouldn't get any closer despite Bacon having to fight through traffic in the final five laps. Bacon would race away to his sixth career series victory over two seconds ahead of Bayston, Tanner Thorson, Tyler Courtney and Justin Grant.

In an odd circumstance, following the checkered flag, Courtney found himself on his side in Tommy Tipover fashion in turn two. He was uninjured.

Despite finishing one spot behind Bacon at the finish line at Bakersfield, Bayston extended his USAC National Midget point lead by one to 67 in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/IWX - Curb Records - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota. All the Lebanon, Indiana driver has left to do to clinch his first title is to simply sign-in at this Thursday's season-finale at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway's "Turkey Night Grand Prix."

Bayston's teammate, Thorson, of Minden, Nevada set the tone by recording the ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifying time before going on to finish third in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/JBL Audio - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota.

Two USAC National Midget track records were broken at Bakersfield. Jimmy Christian's 8-lap mark set in 2000 was surpassed by Shane Golobic in heat race two. The late Kevin Doty's 12-lap record from 1998 was passed by Brady Bacon during the semi-feature.

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway include Tanner Thorson (ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifier), Chad Boat (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers 1st Heat Winner), Shane Golobic (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions 2nd Heat Winner & KSE Racing Products/Esslinger Engineering Hard Charger), Zeb Wise (Chalk Stix/Keizer Aluminum Wheels/Saldana Racing Products 3rd Heat Winner), David Prickett (Indy Race Parts/Pyrotect Racing Cells 4th Heat Winner), Brady Bacon (Competition Suspension, Inc. Semi Winner) and Courtney Crone (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC NATIONAL & LIGHT UP THE WORLD BEVERAGES WESTERN STATES MIDGET RACE RESULTS: November 18, 2017 - Bakersfield Speedway - Bakersfield California - "November Classic"

PROSOURCE/WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.849; 2. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.912; 3. Holly Shelton, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.933; 4. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-12.973; 5. Ryan Robinson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.035; 6. Alex Schutte, 28, Schutte/McElwee-13.037; 7. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-13.043; 8. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall-13.059; 9. Michael Faccinto, 9D, Dodenhoff-13.103; 10. Michael Pickens, 25x, Rodela-13.103; 11. D.J. Netto, 88N, Netto-13.181; 12. Courtney Crone, 25, Rodela-13.192; 13. Frankie Guerrini, 63, Guerrini-13.219; 14. Ronnie Gardner, 68, Six8-13.225; 15. Justin Grant, 39BC, Clauson/Marshall-13.230; 16. Cory Elliott, 11E, Elliott-13.253; 17. Maria Cofer, 57, Cofer-13.272; 18. Shane Golobic, 17w, Clauson-Marshall/Wood-13.311; 19. Zeb Wise, 39, Clauson/Marshall-13.344; 20. David Prickett, 22Q, Neverlift-13.357; 21. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-13.368; 22. Tanner Carrick, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.376; 23. Matt Mitchell, 75, Miller-13.400; 24. Dustin Golobic, 17G, Wood-13.460; 25. Mason Daniel, 33m, Daniel-13.559; 26. Terry Nichols, 1p, Nichols-13.587; 27. Robert Dalby, 4D, Dalby-13.591; 28. Scott Pierovich, 35, Pierovich-13.676; 29. Kyle Beilman, 31, Beilman-14.193; 30. Ron Hazelton, 15, Hazelton-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS/EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Boat, 2. Faccinto, 3. Guerrini, 4. Thorson, 5. Robinson, 6. Daniel, 7. Cofer, 8. Beilman. 1:45.13

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI)/BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. S. Golobic, 2. Pickens, 3. Bayston, 4. Carrick, 5. Gardner, 6. Schutte, 7. Nichols, 8. Hazelton. 1:44.14 (New Track Record)

CHALK STIX/KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS/SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Wise, 2. Mitchell, 3. Grant, 4. Shelton, 5. McQueen, 6. Dalby, 7. Netto. 1:44.78

INDY RACE PARTS/PYROTECT RACING CELLS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Prickett, 2. D. Golobic, 3. Courtney, 4. Elliott, 5. Bacon, 6. Crone, 7. Pierovich. 1:46.51

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer) 1. Bacon, 2. Robinson, 3. Schutte, 4. McQueen, 5. Crone, 6. Gardner, 7. Netto, 8. Dalby, 9. Daniel, 10. Pierovich, 11. Cofer, 12. Nichols, 13. Hazelton, 14. Beilman. 2:35.69 (New Track Record)

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (7), 2. Spencer Bayston (5), 3. Tanner Thorson (6), 4. Tyler Courtney (3), 5. Justin Grant (14), 6. Shane Golobic (16), 7. Ryan Robinson (8), 8. Alex Schutte (9), 9. Michael Faccinto (2), 10. Tanner Carrick (20), 11. Frankie Guerrini (12), 12. Chad Boat (19), 13. Courtney Crone (11), 14. Matt Mitchell (21), 15. David Prickett (18), 16. Ronnie Gardner (13), 17. Michael Pickens (1), 18. Cory Elliott (15), 19. Zeb Wise (17), 20. Robert Dalby (23), 21. Mason Daniel (24), 22. Holly Shelton (4), 23. Dustin Golobic (22), 24. Shannon McQueen (10). NT
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**Courtney flipped after the checkered flag.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-6 Faccinto, Laps 7-30 Bacon.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/ESSLINGER ENGINEERING HARD CHARGER: Shane Golobic (16th to 6th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Courtney Crone

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-1441, 2-Bacon-1374, 3-S. Golobic-1349, 4-Thorson-1331, 5-Courtney-1267, 6-Grant-1262, 7-Boat-1131, 8-Shelton-1020, 9-Carrick-954, 10-Jerry Coons, Jr.-849.

NEW USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET POINTS: 1-Gardner-783, 2-Guerrini-670, 3-Prickett-636, 4-Elliott-609, 5-Dalby-570, 6-Crone-539, 7-Faccinto-504. 8-McQueen-424, 9-Randi Pankratz-417, 10-Daniel-393.

NEXT USAC NATIONAL & WESTERN STATES MIDGET RACE: November 23 - Ventura Raceway - Ventura, California - 77th "Turkey Night Grand Prix"

Categories : Midgets, News, Short Track, USAC
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The United States Auto Club.

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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

KYLE LARSON LOOKS TO GO BACK-TO-BACK AT TURKEY NIGHT NOV. 23RD

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ventura, California.........The number 1 is an apt number for Kyle Larson to carry on his USAC Midget's tail tank in this year's 77th running of the "Turkey Night Grand Prix." After all, number 1 is the finishing result we've become accustomed to in practically every racecar we've seen him strap into, whether it's Monday, Friday, Sunday or any day of the week that ends in the letter "y" for that matter.

Twice over the last five seasons late in the month of November, Thursday night has been kind to Yung Money's racing career. More on the point, a Thanksgiving night spent at a racetrack has served the Elk Grove, California native well.

As Larson steps into the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports No. 1 on Thanksgiving night 2017, Nov. 23rd, at California's Ventura Raceway, the 2012 and 2016 race winner has an opportunity to be included on a few exclusive lists that not even some of the best USAC and AAA Midget drivers of their era can boast about.

With another win in the TNGP featuring USAC's National and Light Up the World Beverages Western States Midgets, Larson would become just the third driver to win at least three Turkey Night midget races in his career. It's something that's only been accomplished twice over the 76 runnings of the prestigious event, first by Ron Shuman, whose incomparable record at Turkey Night includes eight wins in a 15-year span between 1979 and 1993. Billy Boat was the last to do so when he won his third in three years in 1997, the last of which, coincidentally enough, came at Ventura.

Eight drivers have gone back-to-back at "Turkey Night." Just four years into its beginning, Ronney Householder became the first to do the deed in 1936-37 at Gilmore Stadium in Los Angeles, now the home to CBS Television City where such shows at the Price is Right is filmed. Roy Russing repeated the roar at Gilmore in 1940-41. It would be another 20 years before A.J. Foyt christened the new Ascot Park with victories in 1960-61.

Ron Shuman was Grover Cleveland-esque in his dominance for a decade-in-a-half beginning in the late-70s and running through the early-to-mid-nineties, serving two distinct, non-consecutive terms as the man in charge. The "Flying Shu" from Tempe, Arizona won four-straight from 1979-82, picked up two more wins in 1984 and 1987, then put together another two-straight years of victories for his final two in 1992-93.

Chuck Gurney was the first of two drivers to win consecutively near the turn of the decade to the 1990s. Gurney, of Livermore, California, won in 1988-89. Janesville, Wisconsin's Stan Fox closed out Ascot in grand style by winning the finale in 1990, then dominated Saugus Speedway one year later in 1991 to become the first and only driver thus far to win consecutively on dirt and pavement surfaces. Phoenix, Arizona's Billy Boat, whose son Chad will be competing at Turkey Night this year, is the only driver to win consecutively at three different venues: Bakersfield, Perris and Ventura. Bryan Clauson, of Noblesville, Indiana was the last to get the job done in 2009 and 2010.

In 2016, Larson, the reigning winner of the 98-lap race, became the sixth driver to win the TNGP at two different venues following his 2012 score at Perris Auto Speedway, joining the ranks of Mel Kenyon (Ascot & 605), Stan Fox (Ascot & Saugus), Ron Shuman (Ascot & Bakersfield) and Dave Darland (Irwindale & Perris). No one has touched Billy Boat's record of three-straight at three different tracks between 1995 and 1997 (Bakersfield, Perris & Ventura).

Despite a limited USAC Midget schedule over the past few years due to his regular duties as one of Chip Ganassi's top NASCAR pilots, Larson always takes to the dirt like a duck to water when he jumps behind the wheel of a midget. Though he lacks a tally in the USAC win column for 2017, he was the ProSource Fast Qualifier at both of his appearances this season during the first two rounds of Indiana Midget Week at Montpelier and Gas City. He was in contention to win both, finishing 3rd at Montpelier and battling for the lead at Gas City when he spun with 10 laps remaining, ultimately finishing 18th.

The November 23rd "Turkey Night Grand Prix" will be streamed LIVE on http://www.SpeedShiftTV.com/. Watch it again a day later, on-demand, at http://www.Loudpedal.TV/.

2017 "TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX" ENTRY LIST

CAR# / DRIVER / HOMETOWN / ENTRANT / SPONSOR / CHASSIS / ENGINE

1 KYLE LARSON/Elk Grove, CA
Keith Kunz Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Walker Filtration Systems/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota

® 1K BRAYTON LYNCH/Springfield, IL
Rusty Kunz Racing/Adam Lopez Country Financil - Snap Fitness/Spike/Stanton SR-11

® 1p TERRY NICHOLS/Delano, CA
Terry Nichols/BSC - Masters Design & Construction/Spike/Chevy

2 ROBBY JOSETT/Santa Clarita, CA
Robby Josett/RL & Sons Construction - JHC Heating & Air/Spike/Esslinger

® 2JD TYLER EDWARDS/Salina, OK
Shenanigans-Neverlift Motorsports/Shenanigans Bar & Grill - Western Performance Parts/Spike/AMS Chevy

® 3F GEOFF ENSIGN/Sebastopol, CA
Ted Finkenbinder/Western Industrial X-Ray/ Bullet/Warrior

® 4A LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA
RAMS Racing/Rockwell Security/BOSS/Speedway Toyota

4D ROBERT DALBY/Anaheim, CA
Ken Dalby/R-D Spring & Stamping - Monster Seal/Spike/Esslinger

® 5 CHASE BRISCOE/Mitchell, IN
Chase Briscoe/Big Tine - Tex-a-Con Cut Stone/Spike/Honda

® 7BC TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN
Clauson-Marshall Racing/Driven 2 Save Lives - Indiana Donor Network/Spike/Stanton SR-11

® 7R CLAYTON RUSTON/Upland, CA
CR Motorsports/S & J Service Inc. - Alumin/Spike/Esslinger

8 RANDI PANKRATZ/Atascadero, CA
Wally Pankratz/HASA Pool Products - Trench Shoring/Edmunds/Fontana

9D MICHAEL FACCINTO/Hanford, CA
Sean Dodenhoff/Torco Oil - Rocket Sports & Entertainment/Spike/Fontana

® 9E MACK DeMAN/Mississauga, ON
Sean Dodenhoff/Torco Oil - Rocket Sports & Entertainment l/Spike/Fontana

11E CORY ELLIOTT/Bakersfield, CA
Mitch Elliott/Capital E Trucking - FK Indy/Spike/Esslinger

17 CODY SWANSON/Covina, CA
Swanson Family/West Evans Motorsports - Lucas Oil/Spike/Esslinger

17w SHANE GOLOBIC/Fremont, CA
Clauson-Marshall-Matt Wood Racing/Elk Grove Ford - Driven 2 Save Lives/Spike/Stanton SR-11

® 20AZ SHON DESKINS/Waddell, AZ
Shon Deskins Racing/Performance Plus Engines - Simpson Racing/Spike/Chevy

21 CHRISTOPHER BELL/Norman, OK
Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/DeWalt - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota

22Q DAVID PRICKETT/Fresno, CA
Neverlift Motorsports/Crysalli Artesian Water - Mt. Rose Cocktail Mixes/Spike/AMS Chevy

25 KEVIN THOMAS, JR./Cullman, AL
Petry-Goff Motorsports/Petry Excavating - Gray Auto/Spike/Stanton Toyota

25c COURTNEY CRONE/Corona, CA
Jerome Rodela/Trench Shoring - Ed Pink Racing Engines/Breka/Ed Pink Toyota

25x MICHAEL PICKENS/Auckland, NZ
Jerome Rodela/Trench Shoring - Ed Pink Racing Engines/King/Ed Pink Toyota

27 TUCKER KLAASMEYER/Paola, KS
Dale Klaasmeyer/WCI - Boss Chassis/Boss/Speedway Toyota

® 31 KYLE BEILMAN/Santa Monica, CA
Bill Beilman/Stong Surety/Beast/Mopar

® 33m MASON DANIEL/Visalia, CA
Scott Daniel/Young's Racing - Dylon Risk Management/Spike/Esslinger

® 39 ZEB WISE/Angola, IN
Clauson-Marshall Racing/ Driven 2 Save Lives - Priority AviationSpike/Stanton SR-11

® 39BC JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA
Clauson-Marshall Racing/NOS Energy - Driven 2 Save Lives/Spike/Stanton SR-11

® 47 TYLER NELSON/Kansas City, KS
Cappy Mason/IMM - Wilwood Disc Brakes/Spike/Mopar

® 55 TONY EVERHART/El Cajon, CA
Tony Everhart/Everhart Construction/Ellis/Ford

® 56 DANIEL ROBINSON/Wayne City, IL
Fifty6x Racing/Automatic Garage Door, Inc. - Precision Driveline & Fabrication/Boss/Fontana

® 56x MARK CHISHOLM/Cheyenne, WY
Fifty6x Racing/Automatic Garage Door, Inc. - Precision Driveline & Fabrication/Boss/Stanton Toyota

57 MARIA COFER/Macdoel, CA
Johnny Cofer/Tule Vista Ranches - Edmunds Auto Research/Spike/Esslinger

63 BRAD SWEET/Grass Valley, CA
Dooling-Hayward Motorsports/Dooling Machine/Spike/Stanton SR-11

63x FRANKIE GUERRINI/San Rafael, CA
Frank Guerrini/F & F Racing - Davis Motorsports/Spike/Esslinger

67 TANNER THORSON/Minden, NV
Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/JBL Audio - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota

67K HOLLY SHELTON/Sacramento, CA
Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Black & Decker - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota

68 RONNIE GARDNER/Riverside, CA
Six8 Motorsports/PAC Springs - Wilwood Brakes/Stewart/Esslinger

71 RYAN ROBINSON/Foresthill, CA
Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Abreu Vineyards - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota

® 71K TANNER CARRICK/Lincoln, CA
Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Spike Chassis - CVC Concrete/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota

® 71x BRYAN DROLLINGER/Lomita, CA
Drollinger Bros. Racing/Simpson Race Products - Walker Air Filtration/Stealth/Arias

73 JAKE SWANSON/Anaheim, CA
Keith Ford/Walker Filtration Systems - King Racing Products/TCR/Esslinger

73T CARSON MACEDO/Lemoore, CA
Keith Ford/Walker Filtration Systems - King Racing Products/TCR/Esslinger

73x DAVE DARLAND/Lincoln, IN
Keith Ford/Walker Filtration Systems - King Racing Products/TCR/Esslinger

75 MATT MITCHELL/Yorba Linda, CA
Wiley Miller/Roy Miller Freight Lines - Campbell Bros. Storage/TCR/Esslinger

76m BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK
FMR Racing/Brown & Miller Racing Solutions - Black Watch Farms/Beast/Toyota

84 CHAD BOAT/Phoenix, AZ
Tucker-Boat Motorsports/PristineAuction.com - K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota

® 87 JAKE VERMEER/Bakersfield, CA
Johnny Vermeer/Richmar Farms - Mobile AG/TCR/Esslinger

97 SPENCER BAYSTON/Lebanon, IN
Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Curb Records - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota

98 DANNY STRATTON/Riverside, CA
Ron Blondel/American Motorsports - Orange County Muffler/Edmunds/Fontana

Categories : Midgets, News, Short Track, USAC
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The United States Auto Club.

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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

THOMAS TAKES OVAL NATIONALS; WINDOM IS USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CHAMP

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Perris, California.....November 11, 2017 - Kevin Thomas, Jr. unloaded his racecar from his hauler last Wednesday night as the man to beat when practice began for the Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction.

When the time came to roll his car back into the hauler following Saturday night's 40-lap main event, the Cullman, Alabama was a richer man - by $25,000 - and had the hardware to show for it after scoring the victory in the 22nd annual event at Perris Auto Speedway.

Meanwhile, Chris Windom emerged as USAC's newest AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion, defeating Justin Grant by a mere six points to earn his first series title just one year after capturing the Silver Crown championship. It was in late August that Windom found himself trailing Grant by 93 points and firmly believed his championship dreams had been dashed.

"Two months ago, when we got knocked out of the race at Kokomo, I thought our season was over," Windom said. "This means everything. Derek (Claxton), Billy (Grace) and I fought hard all year long for this. With Margo and Kenny Baldwin, we almost did this back in 2011. They've done so much for my career. I can't be any happier doing it for them."

Kevin Thomas, Jr. celebrates his win in Saturday night's 'Oval Nationals' at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway.
(Mike Grosswendt Photo)

Coming into this weekend, Thomas himself was a major player in the points race and was lurking in third, ready to pounce if either Windom or Grant faltered in any form or fashion during the three nights of racing at Perris. The championship wasn't in the cards this time around for Thomas, but, after being absent for the opening two races of the year, then constructing his own race team in the middle of the season, an "Oval Nationals" eagle trophy on his mantle sure is a shining testament to how strong he and his KT Motorsports/Jeff's Jam-It-In Storage - Abreu Vineyards/DRC/Speedway Chevy were down the stretch.

"This is the top of the line right here," Thomas exclaimed. "This is everything you could ever want. You run all year to get your team ready and prepped, wanting to tweak on your cars and try to get faster each and every week, then cap it all off with an 'Oval Nationals' win. That's what our goals are. It's remarkable what our team's been able to do. I'm speechless. I don't even know what to do."

Thursday night winner Chase Stockon began the race from the outside of the front row and took the high side around Grant en route to the lead on the opening lap of the 40-lap A-Main where he would remain for the first 17 circuits.

Meanwhile, eyes were also affixed to the "race-within-a-race" scenario unfolding behind the leader in which Windom entered the event just 12 points ahead of Grant in the series standings. Inside the top-ten, each spot is worth three points and Windom had to remain within at least four positions behind Grant to maintain his grip atop the leaderboard.

By lap seven, fourth-starting Thomas had cleared Grant with a turn four maneuver to slide into second. At the same time, Windom dropped back a spot to fifth after Friday night winner Brody Roa took away the fourth spot.

As most of the field ringed around the topside, Thomas found a bit lower line to his liking between turns one and two as he began to hunt down Stockon for the race lead.

"It was definitely something I was thinking about earlier when I watched the B-mains," Thomas acknowledged. "I watched R.J. Johnson roll through the middle and turn some pretty good lap times. The Yamaha cars went out there with their skinny tires and I knew that would create a little more moisture in the middle of the track. I thought I could use it to my advantage until it wore out. When I got the lead, I was using it. I was almost worried that I just didn't know when it was going to go away. I felt myself slowing up just a little bit, then I got slid, then I had to start racing a little bit harder."

Stockon was able to answer each slider cast by Thomas, but just as Thomas put the move on him between turns three and four, the yellow flag flew for the sideways machines of Tommy Malcolm and Jace Vander Weerd that came to a rest on the front straightaway.

It took just a couple laps for Thomas to be in position for another crack at Stockon, which he made stick on the 18th lap with a turn three slider to assume the race lead. Just two laps later, Grant followed suit into second past Stockon for the runner-up spot at the halfway mark.

Grant seemed to come alive in the second-half and, when Thomas began to get hung up in lapped traffic, Grant was nearly in position to take advantage. However, with traffic running high and low, the exit ramp was blocked for both and Thomas was able to maintain his advantage.

2017 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Chris Windom and his Baldwin Brothers Racing crew.
(Rich Forman Photo)

With 10 laps remaining, the table was cleared for a mono y mono shootout between Thomas and Grant sans traffic with a clear track lying ahead of them following Max Adams' misfortune into the back straightaway wall on lap 31. With Windom laying in wait in fourth, Grant found himself in the midst of two separate races, but with the single goal of winning on his mind to maximize points.

Grant stuck right on Thomas' tail and was able to slide into the lead in turn three with eight laps remaining. One lap later, Thomas employed the same tactic, but Grant countered underneath Thomas off turn four to lead at the stripe by a half-car length. Grant slid up to the cushion in turn one with Thomas just inches behind. The two made slight bumper-to-bumper contact up top. The déjà vu scene repeated itself on lap 34 when Thomas dove to the bottom of the third turn, slid up and ripped the lead back away from Grant.

C.J. Leary was back in third, anticipating his next maneuver in this sprint car chess match, biding his time before sliding past Grant into second in turn one with five laps to go. Grant came right back at Leary into turn three with a slider. The two ran out of room up against the outside turn four wall with Leary kissing the concrete twice, resulting in damage on the right front.

With four to go on the ensuing restart, Thomas was merely a sitting duck fully aware what Grant's next move was going to be. Yet, Thomas felt he had a way to retain control of his own destiny on the first and second turn end of the half-mile oval.

"The only time I think that I had an advantage is I could kind of manipulate when Justin was going to slide me," Thomas explained. "If he slid me in three and four, it was so slick down there, you couldn't cross under. If I could manipulate where he slid me in one and two, I could get the cross under and get him going down the back straightaway. As much as I wanted to race in front of me, I was still racing behind me. They say that's a big no-no, but these guys are aggressive."

As Grant slid past Thomas into one, Thomas did exactly that and turned underneath off turn two to pull even with Grant on the back straightaway. In turn three, Thomas slid evenly with Grant up to the cushion. Grant snagged the curb just enough to hinder his progress and Thomas raced away to a ten car-length lead.

Seemingly, throughout the race, each time Grant was able to pick up a spot, Windom was a like a hawk, swooping in to take another spot and get those precious three points back instantly. When one dropped a spot, the other seemed to fall back. With Grant in second and Windom third on the final lap, Windom had some breathing room to spare as Chad Boespflug slipped by for third on the back straight and Windom slotted into fourth.

Up front, though, Thomas finished off the biggest payday of his career, winning by a second with Grant, hard charger Boespflug (from 13th), Windom and Robert Ballou rounding out the top-five.

"You see the white flag and you're leading the 'Oval Nationals,' you think 'don't screw up,' Thomas said. "Don't get white flag fever. I usually never even think about it. On this night, I did. I'm just glad that it all worked out. There's a lot of great teams out here. To be able to top all of them is pretty special."

On the final laps, Windom admitted to tiptoeing around the cushion, hoping to avoid a costly mistake. Like a bend, but don't break defense, every time Grant made a move to pick up a position, Windom seemingly had an answer. Windom knew where he had to be and what it was going to take to secure the title.

Many racers such as Windom seem to have an aura that make them seem like superheroes to the average person, as if they have ice water in their veins. However, as Windom admits, a championship on the line can put a racer on edge, amplifying the meaning of a seemingly ordinary task (to them).

"I was so nervous today, I don't think I sat still for two seconds," Windom admitted. "I didn't know how good the 11 car was going to be. I just knew where I needed to finish. Starting behind him, I knew where I needed to stay. I got to fourth and I just kind of hung out there until Justin and C.J. got into each other and I got to third. I wanted no part of that battle for the lead. You want to win the 'Oval Nationals,' but I wanted to win a USAC championship. I've won the 'Oval Nationals' before. I was here to win a USAC national championship. And we did it."

"It hasn't really sunk in yet," Windom continued. "I think tomorrow it will feel a little better. I've been so antsy and anxious this whole past week, coming here, taking the point lead and trying to maintain it. Once you get there, it's nerve-wracking. I can't be any happier than I am for this team. I know they wanted this just as much as I did. It just means so much."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Arizona Speedway included Damion Gardner (ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifier & Competition Suspension, Inc. 1st Semi Winner), Mike Spencer (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers 1st Heat Winner), Chad Boespflug (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions 2nd Heat Winner & KSE Racing Products/Saldana Racing Products/Rod End Supply Hard Charger), Richard Vander Weerd (Chalk Stix/Circle Track Performance 3rd Heat Winner), Logan Williams (Indy Race Parts/Keizer Aluminum Wheels 4th Heat Winner), Justin Grant (Keizer Aluminum Wheels Super 6 Dash Winners), R.J. Johnson (Competition Suspension, Inc. 2nd Semi Winner & (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: November 11, 2017 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 22nd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

PROSOURCE/WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-16.550; 2. Thomas Meseraull, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-16.570; 3. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-16.690; 4. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.700; 5. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-16.736; 6. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-16.800; 7. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-16.852; 8. Logan Williams, 5J, Jory-16.856; 9. Mike Spencer, 4s, Gansen-16.873; 10. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.920; 11. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.942; 12. Austin Liggett, 56, Phulps-16.973; 13. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.995; 14. Max Adams, 5m, Adams-17.043; 15. Hunter Schuerenberg, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-17.080; 16. Danny Faria, Jr., 17GP, Dutcher-17.102; 17. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.127; 18. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-17.135; 19. Dave Darland, 21K, Kruseman-17.148; 20. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.203; 21. Michael Pickens, 81, Watt-17.230; 22. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.262; 23. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.276; 24. Matt McCarthy, 28m, McCarthy-17.285; 25. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-17.294; 26. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-17.300; 27. Randy Waitman, 90, Waitman-17.364; 28. Dennis Gile, 13, Gile-17.370; 29. Jeremy Ellertson, 98, Ellertson-17.414; 30. Tommy Malcolm, 5x, Napier-17.452; 31. Verne Sweeney, 98v, Tracy-17.478; 32. Trent Williams, 52v, Williams-17.511; 33. Gary Marshall, Jr., 72, Marshall-18.108.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS/EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-2 transfer) 1. Spencer, 2. Ballou, 3. Gardner, 4. A. Williams, 5. Gansen, 6. Malcolm, 7. Chapple, 8. Edwards. 2:52.06

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI)/BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-2 transfer) 1. Boespflug, 2. Adams, 3. Martin, 4. Darland, 5. Sweeney, 6. Waitman, 7. C. Williams, 8. Meseraull. NT

CHALK STIX/CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE THIRD HEAT (10 laps, top-2 transfer) 1. R. Vander Weerd, 2. Faria, 3. Johnson, 4. Bacon, 5. McCarthy, 6. T. Williams, 7. J. Vander Weerd, 8. Gile. 2:49.64

INDY RACE PARTS/KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS: FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-2 transfer) 1. L. Williams, 2. Courtney, 3. Swanson, 4. Liggett, 5. Pickens, 6. Ellertson, 7. Marshall. 2:53.67

KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS SUPER 6 DASH: (6 laps) 1. Justin Grant (#11 McGhee), 2. Chase Stockon (#32 32 TBI), 3. Chris Windom (#5 Baldwin), 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (#9K KT), 5. C.J. Leary (#30 Leary), 6. Brody Roa (#91R BR). 1:41.87

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) FIRST SEMI: (12 laps, top-5 transfer) 1. Gardner, 2. Swanson, 3. Martin, 4. Gile, 5. Bacon, 6. McCarthy, 7. Darland, 8. Ellertson, 9. Waitman, 10. Liggett, 11. T. Williams. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND SEMI: (12 laps, top-5 transfer) 1. Johnson, 2. Chapple, 3. C. Williams, 4. J. Vander Weerd, 5. Malcolm, 6. A. Williams, 7. Pickens, 8. Gansen, 9. Sweeney, 10. Marshall. 3:29.10

FEATURE: (40 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (4), 2. Justin Grant (1), 3. Chad Boespflug (13), 4. Chris Windom (3), 5. Robert Ballou (7), 6. Brody Roa (6), 7. Chase Stockon (2), 8. Damion Gardner (15), 9. Tyler Courtney (8), 10. Logan Williams (14), 11. Mike Spencer (10), 12. Austin Williams (25), 13. R.J. Johnson (16), 14. Cody Williams (20), 15. Jake Swanson (17), 16. Danny Faria, Jr. (11), 17. Isaac Chapple (18), 18. Mike Martin (19), 19. Chris Gansen (26), 20. Dennis Gile (21), 21. C.J. Leary (5), 22. Brady Bacon (23), 23. Max Adams (12), 24. Jace Vander Weerd (22), 25. Tommy Malcolm (24), 26. Richard Vander Weerd (9). NT
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**Meseraull flipped during the second heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-17 Stockon, Laps 18-31 Thomas, Laps 32-33 Grant, Laps 34-40 Thomas.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS/ROD END SUPPLY HARD CHARGER: Chad Boespflug (13th to 3rd)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: R.J. Johnson

FINAL USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-2290, 2-Grant-2284, 3-Thomas-2232; 4-Courtney-2166, 5-Stockon-2052, 6-Boespflug-1974, 7-Leary-1869; 8-Ballou-1820, 9-Bacon-1765, 10-Darland-1492.

FINAL USAC AMSOIL CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-D. Gardner-1547, 2-Roa-1475, 3-Swanson-1376, 4-Spencer-1212, 5-A. Williams-1058, 6-C. Williams-960, 7-L. Williams-874, 8-Adams-799, 9-Gansen-768, 10-Thomas-756.

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

ROA RACKS WIN #1 ON "OVAL NATIONALS" NIGHT 2

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Perris, California....November 10, 2017 - Following his career-best third-place finish the previous night, Brody Roa stated that, just a year and a half ago, he would've been laughing had you told him he was going to be on the podium at the "Oval Nationals."

One night later, the question had to be asked. Who's laughing now?

"I'm still laughing, just for a different reason," Roa exclaimed. "This is, by far, the biggest one. To do it at Perris, a track I grew up at and have always wanted to win at, and to do it during 'Oval Nationals' weekend, even if it's on a prelim night, it's against all the same guys we're running against tomorrow."

The Garden Grove, California native led all 30 laps Friday night to capture his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature victory on night two of the Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction. In doing so, he became the first driver to break into the win column for the first time in his career during the 2017 season, the latest in the year the series has had a first-time winner emerge.

Brody Roa captured his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature victory Friday night at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway on night two of the 'Oval Nationals.' (Rich Forman Photo)

An all CRA front row held down the front row when the green flag waved for the start of the 30-lap feature in memory of Evelyn Pratt. Roa wasn't content to bide his time and fall into line. He went on the attack, first sliding the now six-time CRA champ Damion Gardner for the advantage in turn one. Gardner quickly countered underneath Roa off turn two to retake the lead momentarily as Roa reached into his back pocket, pulled out the slingshot, and aimed his BR Performance/HD Industries - Burris Racing/Maxim/Shaver Chevy to the bottom of three before sliding back into the top spot.

By the fifth lap, Roa ran the fastest lap of the race on his way to constructing a half-straightaway lead over new second-place combatant Chad Boespflug. Roa's lead continued to grow ever larger to three-quarters of a straightaway when, on lap 13, Logan Williams climbed the turn two wall before coming back to earth on all four wheels to bring out the race's first caution.

From that point, Roa was in the midst of stop signs and red lights at seemingly every corner with a succession of incidents disrupting the rhythm of the race just on the other side of the halfway mark.

Stevie Sussex got upside down on lap 16, Austin Liggett found himself backward against the wall on lap 19, then ninth-running R.J. Johnson tagged the turn four wall with his right rear tire and tumbled over as Justin Grant, involved in a tight USAC National Sprint Car points race, barely escaped trouble. All drivers were uninjured.

On the restart with ten laps remaining, it became a battle between the green of Roa and the Mean Green of Boespflug. On prior restarts, Boespflug tested the waters with attempted sliders tossed at Roa to no avail as Roa kept his right foot glued to the throttle and powered away on the razor's edge of a cushion.

"On that first restart, I got a good enough start to where Chad showed me a nose, but he could never get there," Roa recalled. "I just kept trying to do the same thing over-and-over again. I knew our car had good forward bite and I could get down to turn one quickly. I just had to get to the center quick enough to where they couldn't slide me."

"I put it on the cushion getting into turn one on the restarts," Roa continued. "I think I had my left eye closed. If a slider was coming, I wasn't going to lift. I was going to drive around it. I didn't want to see it coming and screw up all my momentum. I tried not to look down the whole race. I just tried to keep my eye on my line and running the cushion around it. It was tough tonight, especially at the end, when it started taking rubber, I think. It started getting a little left rear tight on the cushion. A couple times off turn four, I jumped over it and I was just waiting for it coming down into one and it never happened."

'This is, by far, the biggest one. To do it at Perris, a track I grew up at and have always wanted to win at, and to do it during 'Oval Nationals' weekend, even if it's on a prelim night, it's against all the same guys we're running against tomorrow.' (Mike Grosswendt Photo)

Boespflug's Timehop revealed that it had been one year to the day since he scored an "Oval Nationals" prelim victory. On this night, it appeared that a repeat performance could be in the cards for Boespflug if there was any slip-up that Roa endured. On the 21st lap, that slip-up occurred, but, instead, it was Boespflug who became entangled in the ensuing web of misfortune.

Roa entered turn three and bounced his right rear rubber off the concrete. As he fought to regain control atop the cush, second-running Boespflug mimicked the same slap of the wall, but the result was much more intense. Boespflug climbed the wall, nearly flipping, before coming to a rest on the track. In the resulting madness, several cars became involved as they scrambled for safety, including top-ten runners Damion Gardner, Dave Darland and Chase Stockon. Robert Ballou was miraculously able to escape to daylight between the wall and the three sprinters that formed an auto blockade.

The high line between turns three and four represented a figurative tightrope that drivers had to balance down the stretch. Navigating it required precise detail and poise to the utmost degree.

"It was about six inches of solid dirt against the K-Rail. It wasn't very forgiving," Roa noted. "I could drive to it and try to connect the dots. I would get in, drive it to the next point and keep the car rolling somewhat straight around it, but on the throttle enough that it wouldn't get tight. I got the thing rolling straight down the straightaway and I knew we had good forward bite even if I drove off it, which I started doing a little bit in turn two toward the end of the race. Turning down off and just getting it rolling straight down the hill, I just gave the wall a little kiss halfway down the back straightaway to get it to stop sliding and get into three. I never saw a nose. And honestly, I wasn't even looking for the nose. We were going to win it or wear it tonight."

Roa wore leftover remnants of white wall dust, but was no worse for the wear as he was in a class of his own for 30-straight laps. Even Thomas, arguably the most consistently fast driver of late, couldn't do much with Roa on the final restart. Roa was downright surgical down the stretch as he stitched this deal up on his way to what would also be the third USAC/CRA Sprint Car win of his career and first at Perris ahead of Thomas, Windom, Grant and Ballou.

Roa's performance over the two preliminary nights locked him into a guaranteed spot in Saturday's A-Main along with Windom, Leary, Grant, Stockon and Thomas. Though there was a big cause for celebration in the wee hours of Friday night/Saturday morning, Roa had plans to get some rest and be fresh for the following day with his mind set on the biggest prize - Saturday night's $25,000-to-win finale.

"It's going to be tough, but you have to get some sleep," Roa acknowledges. "But this isn't like a Saturday night win at a normal show. You have to put your head back down 14 hours from now and get after it again. We'll get up in the morning, service the car and go through it. It does take a little bit of stress off tomorrow being locked in. It's a big weekend. The best of the best come out here and bring their A-game, but we brought ours too."

Cullman, Alabama's Thomas was the high-point man for the weekend after finishing second Friday night in his KT Motorsports/Jeff's Jam-It-In Storage - Abreu Vineyards/DRC/Speedway Chevy. Despite the performance, he was not able to gain much ground in the race for the USAC National Sprint Car title with Windom and Grant finishing directly behind him in the running order. Now trailing by 67 points entering the final race and the reality of a 2017 USAC National championship appears to have dissipated.

Windom, of Canton, Illinois, and Grant came into the night's feature separated by just nine markers. With every position on the track worthier than gold at this moment, the fight for third came down to the final corner between the two with Windom besting Grant by a half-car length - and the extra three points - at the line in his Baldwin Brothers Racing/Fox Paving - AMSOIL/DRC/Claxton Mopar.

With a single race left Saturday night at Perris, Windom leads Grant by 12 points (four positions). A maximum of 70 points are available to the driver who wins the event.

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Arizona Speedway included Kevin Thomas, Jr. (ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifier), C.J. Leary (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers 1st Heat Winner), Danny Faria, Jr. (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions 2nd Heat Winner), Austin Liggett (Chalk Stix/Circle Track Performance 3rd Heat Winner), Robert Ballou (Indy Race Parts/Keizer Aluminum Wheels 4th Heat Winner & KSE Racing Products/Saldana Racing Products/Rod End Supply Hard Charger), Logan Williams (Pyrotect Racing Cells 5th Heat Winner) and Max Adams (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: November 10, 2017 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 22nd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

PROSOURCE/WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-16.302; 2. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-16.517; 3. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-16.599; 4. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-16.722; 5. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-16.738; 6. Dave Darland, 73, Ford-16.778; 7. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-16.791; 8. Hunter Schuerenberg, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-16.802; 9. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.814; 10. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.851; 11. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-16.870; 12. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.878; 13. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-16.883; 14. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-16.936; 15. Stevie Sussex, 42, Cheney-16.941; 16. Tommy Malcolm, 5x, Napier-16.956; 17. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-16.958; 18. Mike Spencer, 4s, Gansen-16.987; 19. Max Adams, 5m, Adams-16.995; 20. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-17.002; 21. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.006; 22. Danny Faria, Jr., 17GP, Dutcher-17.028; 23. Austin Liggett, 56, Phulps-17.033; 24. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.035; 25. Logan Williams, 5J, Jory-17.045; 26. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-17.070; 27. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-17.113; 28. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.135; 29. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-17.161; 30. Carson Macedo, 73T, Ford-17.169; 31. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.213; 32. Dennis Gile, 13, Gile-17.216; 33. Trent Williams, 52v, Williams-17.243; 34. Michael Pickens, 81, Watt-17.309; 35. Matt McCarthy, 28m, McCarthy-17.326; 36. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.336; 37. Thomas Meseraull, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-17.383; 38. Jeremy Ellertson, 98, Ellertson-17.441; 39. Verne Sweeney, 98v, Tracy-17.474; 40. Shon Deskins, 42x, Cheney-17.669; 41. Gary Marshall, Jr., 72, Marshall-18.018; 42. Ronnie Gardner, 7K, Kruseman-18.022; 43. Randy Waitman, 90, Waitman-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS/EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Leary, 2. Courtney, 3. Thomas, 4. Martin, 5. Malcolm, 6. Darland, 7. J. Vander Weerd, 8. Bender, 9. Marshall. 2:48.26

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI)/BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Faria, 2. Chapple, 3. D. Gardner, 4. A. Williams, 5. Bacon, 6. Grant, 7. Meseraull, 8. Gile, 9. R. Gardner. 2:50.28

CHALK STIX/CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE THIRD HEAT (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Liggett, 2. Spencer, 3. Stockon, 4. Johnson, 5. Schuerenberg, 6. T. Williams, 7. Gansen, 8. Waitman, 9. Ellertson. 2:51.16

INDY RACE PARTS/KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS: FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Ballou, 2. Adams, 3. Windom, 4. Roa, 5. C. Williams, 6. Pickens, 7. Edwards, 8. Sweeney. 2:50.15

PYTROTECT RACING CELLS FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. L. Williams, 2. Sussex, 3. R. Vander Weerd, 4. Boespflug, 5. Swanson, 6. Deskins, 7. McCarthy, 8. Macedo. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SEMI: (12 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Grant, 2. Macedo, 3. Swanson, 4. Darland, 5. Malcolm, 6. Bender, 7. Meseraull, 8. J. Vander Weerd, 9. Gansen, 10. T. Williams, 11. Edwards, 12. Pickens, 13. Gile, 14. Ellertson, 15. Deskins, 16. Sweeney, 17. Waitman, 18. Marshall, 19. C. Williams, 20. Schuerenberg, 21. Bacon, 22. McCarthy. NT

EVELYN PRATT FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Brody Roa (1), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 3. Chris Windom (4), 4. Justin Grant (7), 5. Robert Ballou (23), 6. Tyler Courtney (10), 7. Richard Vander Weerd (16), 8. C.J. Leary (21), 9. Brady Bacon (25), 10. Jake Swanson (9), 11. Mike Spencer (14), 12. Chase Stockon (5), 13. Max Adams (15), 14. Danny Faria, Jr. (18), 15. Damion Gardner (2), 16. Austin Williams (11), 17. Isaac Chapple (22), 18. Austin Liggett (19), 19. Mike Martin (17), 20. Jeremy Ellertson (27), 21. Chad Boespflug (3), 22. Dave Darland (8), 23. R.J. Johnson (12), 24. Stevie Sussex (13), 25. Carson Macedo (24), 26. Logan Williams (20), 27. Cody Williams (26). NT
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**Sussex flipped on lap 16 of the feature. Johnson flipped on lap 21 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Roa.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS/ROD END SUPPLY HARD CHARGER: Robert Ballou (23rd to 5th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Max Adams

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-2229, 2-Grant-2217, 3-Thomas-2162; 4-Courtney-2120, 5-Stockon-2000, 6-Boespflug-1910, 7-Leary-1846; 8-Ballou-1762, 9-Bacon-1742, 10-Darland-1482.

NEW USAC AMSOIL CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-D. Gardner-1498, 2-Roa-1420, 3-Swanson-1343, 4-Spencer-1171, 5-A. Williams-1019, 6-C. Williams-925, 7-L. Williams-831, 8-Adams-776, 9-Gansen-743, 10-Thomas-686.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: November 11 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 22nd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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STOCKON REELS OFF 2ND STRAIGHT WIN ON NIGHT 1 OF "OVAL NATIONALS"

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Perris, California....November 9, 2017 - It's almost a shame the racing season is nearing its end. After all, Chase Stockon's season feels like it's just beginning.

After waiting more than 15 months to get his ninth career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory last Saturday night at Arizona Speedway, the Fort Branch, Indiana driver had to wait just five more nights to get his 10th on night one of the Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction at Perris Auto Speedway, tying him with Tony Stewart for 46th on the series' career win list.

Additionally, he's just the third driver in the history of the series to win his first two USAC National Sprint Car features of the season after the month of November, following in the steps of Damion Gardner in 2005 and Kevin Swindell in 2008.

Chase Stockon won his second consecutive USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature Thursday night at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway during night one of the 'Oval Nationals.' (Mike Grosswendt Photo)

Stockon has achieved success when the series has traveled west in prior years, but had not yet tamed Perris where he has a second-place finish to his credit during an "Ovals" prelim in 2013. That was the same era in which the team has based their recent set-ups on over the past month, and by all accounts, appears to be paying large dividends for Stockon and his 32 TBI Racing/Superior Tank & Trailer - Crescent Electric Supply/DRC/Fisher.

"We changed some stuff around in the shock package to get things a little more comfortable for me," Stockon reiterated from his interview following last week's 'Western World' victory. "On our own, with this setup and the rest of the racecar, we went back to four or five years ago and did kind of the same thing with the shock package. We've got something that works really well for us and it seems like we've been trying to hit that all year, but have struggled finding it. I'm trying to stay humble, but we go race-by-race and it can always change tomorrow."

With seemingly a new lease on life in racing terms, Stockon secured the lead at the drop of the green from his outside front row starting position and was quickly able to split to a near half-straight lead while C.J. Leary and Brody Roa worked the bottom to slip underneath pole sitter Danny Faria, Jr. on the ensuing two laps to snag second and third, respectively.

By the 11th lap, Stockon was Neil Diamondesque as he served as a solitary man, all by his lonesome, at the front of the field possessing a 1.7 second advantage. However, Josh Hodges engine began to billow with smoke as he slowed in turn two to bring out the yellow flag, bringing an end to his night and his "Oval Nationals" weekend in one fell swoop.

With the lead now erased, Stockon blasted from the launching pad and quickly constructed a sizable advantage over Leary and Roa yet again. However, soon after the halfway mark, that deficit began to shrink and the tension started to grow as Leary was close enough to duck a nose underneath Stockon in a bid for the lead on lap 19.

One lap later, Leary used a picture-perfect run on the high side of turns three and four to glide around Stockon for the race lead. Undeterred, Stockon fought his way back into the frame to rip the spot away from Leary with a turn three slider on lap 21.

'We changed some stuff around in the shock package to get things a little more comfortable for me. On our own, with this setup and the rest of the racecar, we went back to four or five years ago and did kind of the same thing with the shock package. We've got something that works really well for us and it seems like we've been trying to hit that all year, but have struggled finding it. I'm trying to stay humble, but we go race-by-race and it can always change tomorrow.' - Chase Stockon -
(Rich Forman Photo)

Stockon's trusted line of high in turns one and two and on the bottom of three and four became a rug tugged away from him as he entered lapped traffic with Leary in tow throughout the final two-thirds of the 30-lapper. With track conditions everchanging, no piece of real estate was off-limits as the pair searched high, low and middle.

"It was kind of a tough race for me," Stockon explained. "I could feel myself slowing down in (turns) three and four as the bottom started to wear out. With C.J. behind me, I knew he was going to be charging the top. With lapped cars up there, I started moving around down in three and four. I was still able to get above a few of them before they came out to the wall on the front stretch. For the longest time, I thought the lapped cars were helping me out a little bit in that aspect. Then I kept seeing C.J.'s nose. For the whole race, he kept pressuring me and pressuring me, making me drive a little harder."

With three laps remaining, Leary raised the stakes and made his bid for the lead, entering turn one low as Stockon rode high. The two drag-raced side-by-side down the back straight as they followed the lapped car of Austin Liggett into turn three. Stockon lunged ahead entering the third turn while Leary followed him on the cushion. As the two came off four, Leary appeared poised to set up a turn one slider on Stockon. Instead, the caution was displayed for the former CFL quarterback and current Southwest Sprint Car regular Dennis Gile, who slowed to a stop in turn two and bringing an end to his USAC National and CRA Sprint Car debut.

"There at the end, at the point of the race I thought lapped traffic was helping me, from what the guys tell me, it was actually kind of hurting me," Stockon revealed. "I think that caution kind of saved us there at the end. It gave us one last chance to have a clean track for three laps and just run it as hard as we could to the finish."

And that's exactly what Stockon did as he took advantage of the traffic-less expressway that lie ahead of him and never allowed Leary another chance to retaliate, racing to a one-second victory over Leary, Roa, Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Tyler Courtney.

"C.J. and I have always raced hard and clean against each other," Stockon said. "I know there's respect between the two of us. He wants to win just as badly as I do. On that restart, I knew I had to get off four really well and get into one without making a mistake. I feel like I did that and stretched it out on him."

C.J. Leary posted a fine second-place performance in his Leary Racing/Leary Construction - Highsmith Guns/DRC/1-Way Chevy. The 2014 360-Sprint Car "Oval Nationals" champion out of Greenfield, Indiana felt that, without that last caution, this night could've belonged to him.

"It's tough to come up short there at the end," Leary lamented. "I think that if it would've stayed green, I would've had a better shot to win. Chase was pretty good and we set a really fast pace the entire time. At one point, I finally went to the top in three and four and I got by. I just don't know how he got back by us."

Garden Grove, California's Brody Roa was the top of the CRA contingent with a career-best USAC National Sprint finish of third in his BR Performance/HD Industries - Burris Racing/Maxim/Shaver Chevy.

"A year and a half ago, I would've been laughing if you told me I was going to be on the podium on any night of the 'Oval Nationals.' I think we're really getting our stuff together and my confidence is up. Everyone on the team is clicking right now and making good decisions."

Chris Windom hustled his way from 15th to seventh to earn KSE Racing Products/Saldana Racing Products/Rod End Supply Hard Charger of the Race honors. But, the seventh-place finish was even more personally rewarding as he extended his lead from three to nine over ninth-place finisher Justin Grant with just two races remaining, Friday and Saturday at Perris, until the championship is settled.

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Arizona Speedway included Kevin Thomas, Jr. (ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifier), Chad Boespflug (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers 1st Heat Winner), Chris Windom (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions 2nd Heat Winner and KSE Racing Products/Saldana Racing Products/Rod End Supply Hard Charger), R.J. Johnson (Chalk Stix/Circle Track Performance 3rd Heat Winner), Logan Williams (Indy Race Parts/Keizer Aluminum Wheels 4th Heat Winner), Austin Liggett (Pyrotect Racing Cells 5th Heat Winner) and Jake Swanson (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: November 9, 2017 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 22nd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

PROSOURCE/WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-16.303; 2. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-16.312; 3. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-16.428; 4. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-16.573; 5. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-16.576; 6. Thomas Meseraull, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-16.633; 7. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.659; 8. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-16.673; 9. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-16.679; 10. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.696; 11. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-16.715; 12. Danny Faria, Jr., 17GP, Dutcher-16.718; 13. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-16.741; 14. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-16.744; 15. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-16.758; 16. Hunter Schuerenberg, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-16.774; 17. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-16.780; 18. Mike Spencer, 4s, Gansen-16.822; 19. Dave Darland, 73, Ford-16.847; 20. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-16.909; 21. Michael Pickens, 81, Watt-16.973; 22. Max Adams, 5, Adams-16.999; 23. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-17.044; 24. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.047; 25. Austin Liggett, 56, Phulps-17.047; 26. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-17.066; 27. Tommy Malcolm, 5x, Napier-17.100; 28. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-17.150; 29. Logan Williams, 5J, Jory-17.169; 30. Dennis Gile, 13, Gile-17.202; 31. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-17.226; 32. Verne Sweeney, 98v, Tracy-17.256; 33. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.304; 34. Stevie Sussex, 42, Cheney-17.355; 35. Trent Williams, 52v, Williams-17.387; 36. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.478; 37. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.499; 38. Jeremy Ellertson, 98, Ellertson-17.550; 39. Ronnie Gardner, 7K, Kruseman-17.551; 40. Randy Waitman, 90, Waitman-17.632; 41. Carson Macedo, 73T, Ford-18.261; 42. Gary Marshall, Jr., 72, Marshall-18.446; 43. Matt McCarthy, 28m, McCarthy-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS/EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Boespflug, 2. Schuerenberg, 3. Stockon, 4. Thomas, 5. Gansen, 6. Pickens, 7. Martin, 8. Meseraull, 9. Macedo. 2:55.22

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI)/BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Windom, 2. Adams, 3. Faria, 4. Malcolm, 5. R. Vander Weerd, 6. Sweeney, 7. Marshall, 8. D. Gardner. NT

CHALK STIX/CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE THIRD HEAT (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Johnson, 2. Spencer, 3. Chapple, 4. Hodges, 5. Grant, 6. J. Vander Weerd, 7. Ellertson, 8. Edwards. 2:53.36

INDY RACE PARTS/KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS: FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. L. Williams, 2. C. Williams, 3. Courtney, 4. Roa, 5. Darland, 6. Ballou, 7. Sussex, 8. R. Gardner. 2:51.74

PYTROTECT RACING CELLS FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Liggett, 2. Swanson, 3. Leary, 4. Gile, 5. Bacon, 6. T. Williams, 7. A. Williams, 8. Waitman. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SEMI: (12 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Grant, 2. Ballou, 3. R. Vander Weerd, 4. Meseraull, 5. D. Gardner, 6. A. Williams, 7. Bacon, 8. Darland, 9. Pickens, 10. Martin, 11. T. Williams, 12. J. Vander Weerd, 13. Edwards, 14. Sussex,
15. Macedo, 16. Ellertson, 17. Bender, 18. R. Gardner, 19. Sweeney, 20. Gansen, 21. Waitman, 22. Marshall. 3:26.55

BILL PRATT FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Chase Stockon (2), 2. C.J. Leary (4), 3. Brody Roa (5), 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 5. Tyler Courtney (12), 6. Robert Ballou (10), 7. Chris Windom (15), 8. Damion Gardner (26), 9. Justin Grant (7), 10. Thomas Meseraull (8), 11. R.J. Johnson (11), 12. Richard Vander Weerd (9), 13. Jake Swanson (13), 14. Mike Spencer (16), 15. Brady Bacon (25), 16. Danny Faria, Jr. (1), 17. Chad Boespflug (21), 18. Hunter Schuerenberg (14), 19. Cody Williams (19), 20. Austin Liggett (20), 21. Isaac Chapple (18), 22. Tommy Malcolm (22), 23. Logan Williams (23), 24. Max Adams (17), 25. Dennis Gile (24), 26. Austin Williams (27), 27. Josh Hodges (3). NT
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**McCarthy flipped during qualifying.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-19 Stockon, Lap 20 Leary, Laps 21-30 Stockon.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS/ROD END SUPPLY HARD CHARGER: Chris Windom (15th to 7th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Jake Swanson

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-2156, 2-Grant-2147, 3-Thomas-2083; 4-Courtney-2058, 5-Stockon-1951, 6-Boespflug-1880, 7-Leary-1789; 8-Bacon & Ballou-1696, 10-Darland-1457.

NEW USAC AMSOIL CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-D. Gardner-1459, 2-Roa-1345, 3-Swanson-1298, 4-Spencer-1123, 5-A. Williams-983, 6-C. Williams-902, 7-L. Williams-800, 8-Gansen-733, 9-Adams-732, 10-McCarthy-628.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: November 10-11 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 22nd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

STOCKON BREAKS THROUGH FOR FIRST WIN OF THE YEAR AT "WESTERN WORLD"

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

San Tan Valley, Arizona.....November 4, 2017 - It's been a while since Chase Stockon has tasted victory with the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars.

It's been even longer since he's gotten the chance to perform a series of celebratory victory donuts following a triumph in a USAC feature win.

These past 16 months have been trying on the Fort Branch, Indiana native, but the hungry Stockon had an appetite to devour that drought and earn his first series win of 2017 by leading the final 18 laps to capture the crown in the 50th Annual Torco Racing Fuels "Western World Championships" Saturday night at Arizona Speedway.

Chase Stockon won his first USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature in 16 months Saturday night in the 50th Annual 'Western World Championships' at Arizona Speedway. (Rich Forman Photo)

"We started off the season pretty good," Stockon recalls. "We won a couple local shows, but as far as the USAC side of things, we really haven't been performing that great. But everybody stuck with us all year. We've tried different things to get back on track to where we should be and where we are now. I don't typically show that much emotion, but to do those donuts and hold everybody off tonight felt great."

Stockon's first series win since the July 2016 "Indiana Sprint Week" finale at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track came on a type of racetrack that he admits isn't one he usually shines on. Yet, Stockon had to earn his keep by getting past both the previous night's winner in Thomas Meseraull, but also the track's winningest sprint car driver, R.J. Johnson, in order to return to victory lane.

"It's been a long time," Stockon said with a sense of relief. "A cushion kind of racetrack, especially when it's that tall, is not my forte. Believe it or not, before the track started taking rubber, I think we were better on the cushion than everybody else. To be able to move around to get by guys like Meseraull and R.J. when the track's in that kind of condition felt so good."

Stockon started the 30-lapper from the fifth spot as pole starter Meseraull slid his way to the lead on the first turn of the first lap after he and outside front row starter Brody Roa banged wheels. Roa got the short end of the stick on the deal and dropped back as he fought to maintain control on the cushion while Johnson and Stockon scooted past Roa to move into second and third.

Just less than a third of the way through the race, Stockon carved his way to second past Johnson and began his ascent on Meseraull. Off turn four on the 12th lap, Stockon lined his front bumper right behind Meseraull's tail tank and set up a picture-perfect turn one slider that stuck.

You wouldn't expect Meseraull to go away quietly and that was the case when, four laps later, he returned the favor, sliding past Stockon in turn three to momentarily retake the top spot on the 17th lap. Stockon, however, countered Meseraull's move and ducked underneath to exit off four and maintain the lead.

From there, Stockon's main competition was the racetrack itself, which Stockon refused to let defeat him on this night.

"After Meseraull slid me down in (turns) three and four and I was able to cross over, I really started paying attention to the racetrack," Stockon said. "I noticed a few lapped cars a straightaway ahead of me that were smoking their tires. That's when I started moving down on entry trying to find something. A lot of times when you're out front like that and it starts taking rubber, you're pretty much just a sitting duck. We've lost races in the past that way and I've seen a lot of other guys lose them that way too. As trying as this year's been on us, I was going to do everything in my power not to let that happen."

'We started off the season pretty good. We won a couple local shows, but as far as the USAC side of things, we really haven't been performing that great. But everybody stuck with us all year. We've tried different things to get back on track to where we should be and where we are now. I don't typically show that much emotion, but to do those donuts and hold everybody off tonight felt great.' - Chase Stockon (Rich Forman Photo)

Toward the end, Stockon anticipated the changing condition of the surface, which led him to move around a little earlier than did everybody else. When he eyed the flagman hold up five fingers indicating five laps to go, Stockon muscled his 32 TBI Racing/Superior Tank & Trailer - Crescent Electric Supply/DRC/Fisher for all it was worth, burning the tires off it as he worked his way through lapped traffic with his top-five cohorts bearing down on him on a rail at the top.

Stockon split his way past the lapped cars of Logan Williams and Danny Faria, Jr. exiting turn two to escape any possible jab Meseraull had left to throw at him. With smoke pouring off the rear tires and nearly missing the rubber between turns three and four on the final lap, Stockon put his personal USAC drought to bed with his ninth career USAC National Sprint Car win, and second in the state of Arizona, following a 2013 Canyon Speedway score. He was followed to the line by Meseraull, Johnson, Robert Ballou and Tyler Courtney.

Stockon's sixth consecutive year with a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car win ties him for the second longest active win streak with Brady Bacon and trails Darland's incomparable run of 24 consecutive years with at least one win. But, this particular win was well worth the wait. After a meeting of the minds, Stockon and crew chief D.J. Ott reached into their bag of past successes to pull out their formula that had served them so well in the past.

"We changed around a lot of things on the car," Stockon explained. "D.J. and I went back to our old notes and found some things there that we were kind of stagnant on and we've been really good since then. Last night, we had a pretty decent car, but I let a few other drivers around me dictate the line I was running. Today, we got together and discussed what went wrong last night. I knew it wasn't the car's fault. D.J. hit the setup last night and was perfect tonight. I had to run my own race and not let anybody else get inside my head to dictate what I was going to do and try and keep my nose clean."

One night after winning the opening night of "Western World," Meseraull's encore performance was impressive in its own right as he drove the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports/AME Electrical - Beaver Stripes/Spike/Wesmar to its second-straight top-two finish in as many nights.

"The car was awesome both nights," Meseraull exclaimed. "I felt like I could've gotten back by Chase, but I ended up losing my brakes at the end. At that point, it's really hard bombing a slider on a guy out of the rubber. And if you end up across it, with that big of a curb, I'm upside down. I'm good at overdriving the car, though. Every time I had a run on Chase, we got to lapped traffic. I kind of wish it was a 40-lapper tonight. I kept telling everyone I hope it's not a 40-lapper because it's going to lay rubber at the end. Now I'm kind of wishing it was."

On the very same night he locked up his fifth-straight USAC Southwest Sprint Car title, Phoenix, Arizona's R.J. Johnson showcased his abilities against the National guys by finishing a career-best third in his Bobby Martin/Martin Family Auto Museum - Pecon Builders/Sherman/Pro Flyer.

"I was honestly waiting for five (laps) to go to try to do something crazy," Johnson admitted. "I never saw the five to go sign, so I guess I wasn't paying attention. When the white flag came out, I threw a slide job on Meseraull, but on the same token, I didn't want to crash us because my best past finish in the 'Western World' isn't even in the top-ten."

"Everybody's been on me about how I need to go back east and go racing, though I've never had the opportunity to go do it," Johnson continued. "For us to be able to run with them is huge. Maybe next year we can get some stuff rolling and get back there."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Arizona Speedway included Kevin Thomas, Jr. (ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifier), Thomas Meseraull (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers 1st Heat Winner), Cody Williams (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions 2nd Heat Winner), Stevie Sussex (Chalk Stix/Circle Track Performance 3rd Heat Winner), Chris Windom (Indy Race Parts/Keizer Aluminum Wheels 4th Heat Winner), Josh Hodges (KSE Racing Products/Saldana Racing Products/Rod End Supply Hard Charger) and Brady Bacon (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: November 4, 2017 - Arizona Speedway - San Tan Valley, Arizona - 50th Torco Racing Fuels "Western World Championships"

PROSOURCE/WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-15.104; 2. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-15.175; 3. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-15.312; 4. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-15.392; 5. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-15.406; 6. Landon Cling, 34, Cling-15.422; 7. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-15.423; 8. Dave Darland, 73, Ford-15.435; 9. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-15.441; 10. Thomas Meseraull, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-15.446; 11. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-15.470; 12. Danny Faria, Jr., 17GP, Dutcher-15.474; 13. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-15.497; 14. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-15.511; 15. Charles Davis, Jr., 50, Massey-15.528; 16. Mike Spencer, 4s, Gansen-15.548; 17. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-15.551; 18. Logan Williams, 5J, Jory-15.595; 19. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-15.602; 20. Tye Mihocko, 5m, TMR-15.604; 21. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-15.737; 22. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-15.756; 23. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-15.797; 24. Stevie Sussex, 42, Cheney-15.844; 25. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-15.957; 26. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-15.971; 27. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-16.125; 28. Jeremy Ellertson, 98, Ellertson-16.202; 29. Matt McCarthy, 28m, McCarthy-16.221; 30. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-NT; 31. Hunter Schuerenberg, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS/EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Meseraull, 2. Boespflug, 3. Grant, 4. Thomas, 5. Chapple, 6. Swanson, 7. L. Williams. 2:10.97

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI)/BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. C. Williams, 2. Hodges, 3. Courtney, 4. Stockon, 5. Davis, 6. Gansen, 7. Ballou. NT

CHALK STIX/CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE/KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS THIRD HEAT (8 laps) 1. Sussex, 2. Faria, 3. Spencer, 4. Johnson, 5. Mihocko, 6. Darland, 7. Ellertson. 2:11.10

INDY RACE PARTS/PYROTECT RACING CELLS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Bacon, 3. A. Williams, 4. Roa, 5. Martin, 6. Gardner, 7. McCarthy. 2:06.48

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Gardner, 3. Darland, 4. Davis, 5. Chapple, 6. L. Williams, 7. Ellertson, 8. Leary, 9. Swanson, 10. Martin, 11. Mihocko, 12. Gansen, 13. McCarthy. 3:13.65 (New Track Record)

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chase Stockon, 2. Thomas Meseraull, 3. R.J. Johnson, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Brody Roa, 7. Chad Boespflug, 8. Justin Grant, 9. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 10. Chris Windom, 11. Damion Gardner, 12. Josh Hodges, 13. Brady Bacon, 14. Dave Darland, 15. Stevie Sussex, 16. Jake Swanson, 17. Charles Davis, Jr., 18. Danny Faria, Jr., 19. Mike Spencer, 20. Austin Williams, 21. Isaac Chapple, 22. Logan Williams, 23. Chris Gansen, 24. Cody Williams. NT
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**Cling flipped during qualifying.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-12 Meseraull, Laps 13-30 Stockon.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS/ROD END SUPPLY HARD CHARGER: Josh Hodges (20th to 12th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Brady Bacon

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-2096, 2-Grant-2093, 3-Thomas-2011; 4-Courtney-1994, 5-Stockon-1875, 6-Boespflug-1843, 7-Leary-1714; 8-Bacon-1663, 9-Ballou-1638, 10-Darland-1447.

NEW USAC AMSOIL CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Gardner-1405, 2-Roa-1273, 2-Swanson-1254, 4-Spencer-1081, 5-A. Williams-960, 6-C. Williams-870, 7-L. Williams-769, 8-Gansen-723, 9-Max Adams-702, 10-McCarthy-618.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: November 9-10-11 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 22nd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

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THOMAS TAMES TERRE HAUTE IN "HULMAN/SMITH CLASSIC"

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

MESERAULL COWBOYS UP FOR WILD "WESTERN WORLD" NIGHT 1 WIN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

San Tan Valley, Arizona....November 3, 2017 - Thomas Meseraull has proven time and time again that, regardless of the situation he's faced with, he figures out the way to get to victory lane.

Winning for a team he's never driven for? Check. Taking an admitted "fourth-place car" to first in the final laps? Check. Having your initial instinct take a detour, yet still managing to find the quickest way around? Checkmate.

On night one of the 50th Annual Torco Racing Fuels "Western World Championships" at Arizona Speedway, chaos created opportunity for Meseraull. A wild sequence of events put forth in motion an unlikely scenario that pitted a driver who, as of a week and a half ago, was without a ride and had no plans on racing in the "Western World" versus a driver who flipped his car on the tenth lap of the feature.

Thomas Meseraull celebrates his 'Western World' Night 1 victory
Friday at Arizona Speedway.(Rich Forman Photo)

After five consecutive laps of Bacon snuggling the bottom line and Meseraull rim-riding the top shelf, Meseraull prevailed on the final lap to win his third USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature of the year. For his third different team.

"I got a call a week and a half ago," Meseraull recalled from the Reinbold/Underwood team. "I told them I'd love to come out, but I don't have the funds. Last year, I kind of broke myself to come out here and do the points deal. They helped me out and Mike White with Beaver Stripes helped me get a plane ticket, gave me a place to stay and here we are."

"They have a brand-new Spike with brand new shocks on it, brand new tires and a fresh motor," Meseraull detailed. "We have good equipment. You just have to do your best. It's what I do, jump around to different rides. They were nice enough to let me set it up. I think I'm more excited about that. I put together a combination of what we've been doing this year with Kevin Briscoe, Donnie Gentry and Michael Dutcher and it's just really paid off."

For two-thirds of the 30-lap feature, the race appeared to be owned by Courtney, who ripped around the outside of Thomas coming off turn four on the second circuit to grab the lead. Courtney instantly opened a gap over Thomas of 1.5 seconds before being encumbered by the tail end of lap traffic on the eighth trip around the one-third-mile.

Thomas was able to poke a nose under Courtney at the flag stand on lap nine and appeared poised to set up a turn one slider for the lead, but traffic stood in the way, thus negating any notion he may have had for the time being. An instant later, Courtney biked on the top, but maintained control and carried on without issue.

Just behind, seventh-running Brady Bacon ran into trouble in nearly the same spot that Courtney biked.

"I slid up, got above the cushion, got up on the right front and I can't really tell you what happened after that," Bacon explained. "I was waiting for a big hit, but it never really came. We bent a couple things (on the car) here and there, but nothing major. We pulled it into the infield and changed the left rear radius rod. We checked everything else over and pushed back off. It might've actually helped me because I had to commit to the bottom. That was the only way I was going to get up through there."

Seemingly, the incidents fell in Courtney's favor as he saw his lead dwindle when meeting up with lapped traffic on lap 17 when Isaac Chapple sailed over the turn two guardrail without getting upside, landing on his wheels in the area between the backside of the barrier and the billboards. On lap 23, Courtney caught another break when Chet Williams barrel-rolled hard through turn one in an accident that also involved C.J. Leary. All involved were okay.

On the ensuing restart, barring another caution, Thomas encountered what may have been his last chance at to make a run at Courtney for the lead. As Thomas slid to the inside of Courtney, the battleground for track position was not fit for two occupants.

Exiting the second turn, the two made contact, but both got back up to speed to remain in the tussle. Courtney, now trailing slightly, attempted to slide Thomas right back between turns three and four. The two banged wheels again. Thomas would get the worst end of the equation initially when he kissed the rail with his right-side tires before getting back on track, though now mired all the way back in ninth.

While chaos ensued between positions one through six, Bacon tip-toed on the bottom from seventh to the lead and built up a half-straightaway lead before 2017 USAC West Coast Sprint Car champ Jake Swanson spun at the exit of turn four with five laps remaining to bring out the final yellow of the evening.

Though Meseraull was sitting in third, he had a pair of war-wounded racecars running first and second just ahead of him with Bacon's car suffering from a bent Jacob's ladder and a cracked brake fitting while Courtney's mount had a left front tire giving out on him.


'I was killing the curb, but it was on the fence, sketchy, and I was so close to wearing it out. I thought, 'just move down a little bit, drive the thing straight and don't spin the tires.' I did that and it was like, boom, rubber. I drove by Bacon on last lap. It just all fell together at the right time. It was an awesome race. USAC always puts on a good show, the best in the country, best in the world!' - Thomas Meseraull - (Rich Forman Photo)

When it was time for the San Jose, California native to strike, Meseraull altered his plan of attack on the fly, putting him in the spot that fits him to a T.

"I just kept pounding down the top like I do because I live or die by the top," Meseraull put it matter of factly. "On the final restart, I was thinking I was going to bomb a slider on Sunshine (Courtney), but he moved to the bottom and Bacon moved to the bottom. All of a sudden, it was like the seas parted and I had the top all to myself."

From that point forward, it was a tale of a two strategies with Bacon on the bottom and Meseraull topside. Meseraull managed to nose ahead on lap 27, but on laps 28 and 29, Bacon found a surge off the bottom to propel himself to satisfaction by a single car-length at the line.

Though Meseraull still trailed Bacon, albeit by a miniscule margin, he found something that turned out to be a path paved to victory.

"With two to go, I kind of felt some rubber. It was looking dark," Meseraull noticed. "I was killing the curb, but it was on the fence, sketchy, and I was so close to wearing it out. I thought, 'just move down a little bit, drive the thing straight and don't spin the tires.' I did that and it was like, boom, rubber. I drove by Bacon on last lap. It just all fell together at the right time. It was an awesome race. USAC always puts on a good show, the best in the country, best in the world!"

Meseraull emerged with the lead coming off turn two on the final trip around the oval and, though, Bacon made one last ditch effort at Meseraull off four, it was to no avail as Meseraull secured the win by 0.334 seconds over Bacon, Robert Ballou, new series point leader Chris Windom and Courtney rounding out the top-five.

Meseraull's Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports/AME Electrical - Beaver Stripes/Spike/Wesmar ride is the sixth different car he's raced to a top-five finish this season alone in USAC competition. It's also the second time he's won a USAC race in his debut in a ride this year following his "Indiana Sprint Week" win at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway in July. His other win this season came in his second race aboard the Heffner Racing ride at Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania during "Eastern Storm."

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon nearly pulled off an improbable victory that would've resulted in one of the most unique box score stats ever recorded by returning to win after flipping during the very same feature. However, it was not to be as the two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ completed an overall successful night when it comes right down to it, finishing second in his Dooling-Hayward/B & H Contractors - Dooling Machine/Spike/Stanton Mopar after earlier capturing the victory in the USAC Southwest Sprint Car feature.

"The thing that hurt us the most tonight was that we must've cracked a brake fitting or something," Bacon detailed. "In the last two or three laps, I ran out of brake fluid because it was leaking just a little bit. I still had brakes up until then. I still had a little bit, but I couldn't cut the bottom like I was able to up until that point. It was just a combination of things at the end. I knew it was going to be hard to hold off somebody with a clear track on the top, then it took rubber, which I was afraid of."

Robert Ballou's first ever visit to Arizona Speedway was a roller coaster ride. After qualifying 20th and starting 18th in the feature, the Rocklin, California native overcame all obstacles to race to third, thus earning KSE Racing Products, Saldana Racing Products/Rod End Supply Hard Charger honors for the night.

"I want to thank track owner Jonah (Trussel) for reworking the track and making it so that the fans got their money's worth because I definitely believe they got their money's worth tonight," Ballou praised. "When you start as far back as I did, you just got to try something. We were so off when we started at the beginning of the night. I thought we had something figured out last night (in practice). We've been pretty good when the track's wet. We started that way and it was way off, so we tried to fix and didn't fix it. So, we just threw a Hail Mary set up at it for the feature. It was either going to be really good or really bad."

Contingency award winners Friday night at Arizona Speedway included Damion Gardner (ProSource/Woodland Auto Display Fast Qualifier), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers 1st Heat Winner), Brady Bacon (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions 2nd Heat Winner), Isaac Chapple (Chalk Stix/Circle Track Performance 3rd Heat Winner), Robert Ballou (Indy Race Parts/Keizer Aluminum Wheels 4th Heat Winner & KSE Racing Products/Saldana Racing Products/Rod End Supply Hard Charger) and Josh Hodges (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: November 3, 2017 - Arizona Speedway - San Tan Valley, Arizona - 50th Torco Racing Fuels "Western World Championships"

PROSOURCE/WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Damion Gardner, 4, Alexander-14.892; 2. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-14.998; 3. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-15.034; 4. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-15.230; 5. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-15.338; 6. Thomas Meseraull, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-15.373; 7. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-15.405; 8. Charles Davis, Jr., 50, Massey-15.493; 9. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-15.515; 10. Landon Cling, 34, Cling-15.521; 11. Stevie Sussex, 42, Cheney-15.523; 12. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-15.640; 13. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-15.646; 14. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-15.655; 15. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-15.723; 16. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-15.788; 17. Danny Faria, Jr., 17GP, Dutcher-15.836; 18. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-15.855; 19. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-15.885; 20. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-15.917; 21. Dave Darland, 73, Ford-16.021; 22. Hunter Schuerenberg, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-16.036; 23. Mike Spencer, 4s, Gansen-16.064; 24. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.074; 25. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-16.148; 26. Chet Williams, 38, Williams-16.294; 27. Logan Williams, 5J, Jory-16.295; 28. Matt McCarthy, 28m, McCarthy-16.295; 29. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-16.449; 30. Jeremy Ellertson, 98, Ellertson-16.521; 31. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS/EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Roa, 3. Gardner, 4. Darland, 5. Stockon, 6. Co. Williams, 7. Faria, 8. Gansen. 2:12.28

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI)/BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Windom, 3. Meseraull, 4. Ch. Williams, 5. Schuerenberg, 6. Cling, 7. Martin, 8. Ellertson. 2:12.13

CHALK STIX/CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE THIRD HEAT (8 laps) 1. Chapple, 2. Grant, 3. Johnson, 4. Sussex, 5. Leary, 6. L. Williams, 7. Spencer, 8. Hodges. 2:17.10

INDY RACE PARTS/KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Courtney, 3. Boespflug, 4. A. Williams, 5. Davis, 6. Swanson, 7. McCarthy. 2:16.97

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Leary, 2. Stockon, 3. Davis, 4. Swanson, 5. Hodges, 6. Cling, 7. Spencer, 8. Co. Williams, 9. McCarthy, 10. L. Williams, 11. Martin, 12. Gansen, 13. Ellertson, 14. Faria, 15. Schuerenberg. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Chris Windom, 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 7. Damion Gardner, 8. Chase Stockon, 9. R.J. Johnson, 10. Stevie Sussex, 11. Chad Boespflug, 12. Brody Roa, 13. Josh Hodges, 14. Mike Spencer, 15. Dave Darland, 16. Charles Davis, Jr., 17. Jake Swanson, 18. Austin Williams, 19. Justin Grant, 20. Chris Gansen, 21. C.J. Leary, 22. Chet Williams, 23. Isaac Chapple, 24. Landon Cling. NT
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**Bacon flipped on lap 10 of the feature. Ch. Williams flips on lap 23 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Thomas, Laps 2-22 Courtney, Laps 23-26 Bacon, Lap 27 Meseraull, Laps 28-29 Bacon, Lap 30 Meseraull.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS/ROD END SUPPLY HARD CHARGER: Robert Ballou (18th to 3rd)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Josh Hodges

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-2045, 2-Grant-2038, 3-Thomas-1954; 4-Courtney-1930, 5-Stockon-1795, 6-Boespflug-1782, 7-Leary-1704; 8-Bacon-1619, 9-Ballou-1573, 10-Darland-1410.

NEW USAC AMSOIL CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Gardner-1358, 2-Swanson-1223, 3-Roa-1213, 4-Spencer-1050, 5-A. Williams-931, 6-Co. Williams-839, 7-L. Williams-745, 8-Max Adams-702, 9-Gansen-700, 10-McCarthy-608.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: November 4 - Arizona Speedway - San Tan Valley, Arizona - 50th Torco Racing Fuels "Western World Championships"

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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