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#7BC Tyler Courtney battles #67 Logan Seavey for the lead Friday night during the 'Kokomo Grand Prix' at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway. (Travis Branch Photo)


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Kokomo, Indiana.........Waiting for redemption is a challenge. That's just what Tyler Courtney faced Friday at Kokomo Speedway on night one of the "Kokomo Grand Prix," featuring the USAC P1 Insurance Midget National Championship.

One month after missing the feature in the season-opener at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill., Courtney was champing at the bit to return to what everyone has become accustomed to at Kokomo since August of last year by getting back to victory lane.

Courtney overcame an appetizing see-saw battle for the lead with the driver who became the star of Du Quoin last month, Logan Seavey. With one final slider to close the door, an avoidance of lapped traffic mayhem and a late-race restart, Courtney overcame all those obstacles to come through with his fourth-career series win and first of the season. It's a long way, figuratively and literally, from the lonely sideline he stood on in the most recent race.

"It was frustrating having to wait a month," Courtney begins. "You just have to take those nights. Unfortunately, you're going to have those and just hope that everyone else has a night like that at some point, but you have to come back and rebound as best you can. There hasn't been any racing lately, so we couldn't do anything. Our motto is 'you're only as good as your last race,' so you don't want to end on missing the show. "We tried to maximize points tonight, but just came up short in qualifying there. We were really good in the feature and Tim (Clauson) gave me a really good racecar. I think we definitely rebounded and showed that we're still in contention for this thing for the rest of the year."

Courtney, of Indianapolis, Ind., would roll off from the fifth position for the 30-lap feature while, up front, series point leader Seavey motored around the outside of pole sitter Kevin Thomas, Jr. to take the early lead. Seavey would stretch the lead out following a brief challenge from reigning series champ Spencer Bayston until a lap nine red flag for a Dave Darland "Tommy Tipover" in turn four. Darland would restart.

On the ensuing restart, Bayston drew the bow back and the let the arrow fly toward the cushion, sliding up in front of Seavey near the exit of turn two, nearly forcing Seavey into a complete halt, which created an opening for third-running Courtney to enter the fray on the inside and make it three-wide midway down the back straightaway. Seavey rolled through the alley between Courtney and Bayston like an Earl Anthony strike, pinning himself to the top spot as he drifted up to the turn three cushion.

Courtney remained on the bottom as Seavey ripped the top, with Courtney clasping to the advantage by a mere car length at the line at the conclusion of laps 10 and 11. On the 12th circuit, however, Courtney moved up to the middle to slow Seavey's charge, but the impressive series Rookie from Sutter, Calif. looked anything but a Rookie when he stuck it on the cushion, went right for the jugular and reclaimed the lead from Courtney at the exit of turn four.

Instantly, Courtney aimed for the bottom of turn one and threw his slider, briefly taking the lead before Seavey cut back downhill off turn two to take back possession into turn three. Courtney reloaded and aimed for the bottom of turn four to slide back to the front yet again to lead lap 13. Seavey packed the gunpowder and fired another Bullet (by Spike) at Courtney in turn three, sliding all the way up to the cush which left the door open for Courtney to carry the momentum back to the point to pull ahead on the 14th lap.

'It was frustrating having to wait a month. You just have to take those nights. Unfortunately, you're going to have those and just hope that everyone else has a night like that at some point, but you have to come back and rebound as best you can. There hasn't been any racing lately, so we couldn't do anything. Our motto is 'you're only as good as your last race,' so you don't want to end on missing the show.' - Tyler Courtney

"This place is all about momentum, so you just have to try and kill his momentum as much as possible. It was tough to do," Courtney explained. "The kid (Seavey) is a tough racer and he's proven that by winning the first race of the year and a POWRi championship last year. He's a smart racer and people have taken note of that. I think it was a deal where a little bit more experience on my part came into play. I kind of knew where to cut his momentum off and where to pick mine back up. We made the right moves at the right time tonight and it worked in our favor."

A lap past halfway, Seavey whacked the turn four wall in pursuit of Courtney. As he gathered up his horse, Chad Boat got by him for second as Courtney extended his lead to a second-and-a-half, although the lead would begin to shrink as the frontrunners encountered lapped traffic.

The closest encounter came with five laps remaining as series Rookies Kyle Craker and Chase Jones tangled on the back straight, sending Jones sideways toward the infield grass just as the leaders were arriving on the scene, putting Courtney into a brief scare.

"It was pure pucker factor," Courtney said matter-of-factly. "I thought the 33 (Jones) was going to come right into the side of my right rear and I was going to go for a ride. I just jammed the throttle and squeaked out of there."

Despite the close calls in gridlock, Courtney was hoping for a clean and green run down the stretch.

"I wasn't hoping for a yellow," Courtney admits. "I wanted it to stay green because I thought we were really good through lapped traffic. I know that's where you can win or lose these races. Restarts are definitely tough. Then, to have to restart after the white flag came out, it's a tough deal. You really have to stay focused, hit your marks and make them perfect. These races aren't easy to win. Guys like Chad and Brady are veterans, so they know when to pounce and how to pounce. That's definitely in the back of your mind, but you just have to keep your nose down and do what you've been doing the whole race."

With Courtney seemingly control, the chessboard was reset when 12th running Tyler Thomas stalled atop the turn four cushion just as the white flag was waving, setting up a green-white checkered finish. On the GWC, Boat was able to hang with Courtney, just two car lengths separating the top-two as they crossed under the white. However, Courtney incrementally inched away from Boat on the final go-around to take the victory by a half-second over Boat, Brady Bacon, Bayston and fast qualifier Justin Grant.

With a pair of "Sprint Car Smackdown" wins and a "Kokomo Klash" score to close out 2017 and now a "Kokomo Grand Prix" triumph to begin 2018, Courtney has posted an undefeated mark since August of last year when he's made an appearance at Kokomo. Yet, with the competition as fierce as it is right now, Courtney won't allow himself to get complacent.

"If you get yourself too confident, you kind of get yourself in trouble," Courtney reminded himself. "I think anytime we come to this place, I feel pretty confident that I'm going to do my job to win. I've won with two different teams here now that have given me great cars and that definitely makes my job easier. Every win here is special. It's such a neat place and the O'Connors are great people who do a lot for our sport and put up a lot of our marquee events throughout the year. The best thing we can do to repay him is to put on a show like we did tonight."

Contingency award winners Friday night at Kokomo Speedway included Tucker Klaasmeyer (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Jerry Coons, Jr. (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Tyler Thomas (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Thomas Meseraull (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner & KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Dave Darland (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher) and Tyler Nelson (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer).


USAC P1 INSURANCE MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: April 13, 2018 - Kokomo, Indiana - Kokomo Speedway - "Kokomo Grand Prix"

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Justin Grant, 17BC, Clauson/Marshall/Wood-13.154; 2. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall-13.168; 3. Ryan Robinson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.241; 4. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.261; 5. Logan Seavey, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.274; 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 15, Petry/Goff-13.373; 7. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-13.385; 8. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-13.400; 9. Holly Shelton, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.402; 10. Tanner Carrick, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.428; 11. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-13.549; 12. Zeb Wise, 39BC, Clauson/Marshall-13.550; 13. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 27, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.592; 14. Kyle Craker, 76E, FMR-13.604; 15. Brayton Lynch, 1K, RKR-13.612; 16. Thomas Meseraull, 63, Dooling-13.688; 17. Andrew Felker, 7F, Boss Factory Racing-13.689; 18. Jerry Coons, Jr., 25, Petry/Goff-13.696; 19. Kyle Schuett, 9k, Schuett-13.722; 20. Dave Darland, 91D, Thomas-13.770; 21. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-13.771; 22. Alex Bright, 77, Bright-13.804; 23. C.J. Leary, 4, TOPP-13.944; 24. Matt Moore, 9, Hergott/RayPro-13.976; 25. Tyler Nelson, 88T, Nelson-14.007; 26. Andrew Layser, 35, Bright-14.125; 27. Sam Johnson, 72, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.176; 28. Chase Jones, 33, Team RayPro-14.219; 29. Ethan Mitchell, 19M, Mitchell-14.301; 30. Kevin Studley, 57, Studley-14.302; 31. Chris Hettinger, 71H, Hettinger-14.487; 32. Bear Wood, 8JR, Wood-15.718; 33. Gage Walker, 7, Walker-19.423; 34. Zane Hendricks, 27z, Tucker/Boat-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Klaasmeyer, 2. Seavey, 3. Grant, 4. Felker, 5. Shelton, 6. Walker, 7. Nelson, 8. Mitchell, 9. Windom. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI)SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Coons, 2. K.Thomas, 3. Courtney, 4. Carrick, 5. Craker, 6. Hendricks, 7. Layser, 8. Studley, 9. Bright. 2:16.86

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. T.Thomas, 2. Bacon, 3. Robinson, 4. Schuett, 5. Leary, 6. Lynch, 7. Johnson, 8. Hettinger. 2:16.86

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Meseraull, 2. Wise, 3. Boat, 4. Bayston, 5. Darland, 6. Jones, 7. Moore, 8. Wood. 2:16.66

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Shelton, 2. Darland, 3. Bright, 4. Craker, 5. Jones, 6. Lynch, 7. Nelson, 8. Leary, 9. Hendricks, 10. Walker, 11. Moore, 12. Layser, 13. Johnson, 14. Studley, 15. Mitchell, 16. Wood, 17. Hettinger, 18. Windom. 2:46.01

FEATURE: (31 laps - starting position in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (5), 2. Chad Boat (8), 3. Brady Bacon (7), 4. Spencer Bayston (3), 5. Justin Grant (6), 6. Zeb Wise (12), 7. Logan Seavey (2), 8. Thomas Meseraull (16), 9. Ryan Robinson (4), 10. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1), 11. Holly Shelton (9), 12. Tucker Klaasmeyer (13), 13. Dave Darland (20), 14. Andrew Felker (17), 15. Jerry Coons Jr. (18), 16. Brayton Lynch (15), 17. Tanner Carrick (10), 18. Kyle Craker (14), 19. Gage Walker (23). 20. Alex Bright (21), 21. Tyler Thomas (11), 22. Chase Jones (22), 23. Kyle Schuett (19), 24. Matt Moore (24). NT
**Moore flipped on lap 1 of the feature. Darland flipped on lap 8 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 Seavey, Laps 10-11 Courtney, Lap 12 Seavey, Laps 13-31 Courtney.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Thomas Meseraull (16th-8th)



NEW USAC P1 INSURANCE MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Seavey-131, 2-Grant-128, 3-Wise-126, 4-Boat-125, 5-Robinson-117, 6-Bacon-106, 7-Bayston-100, 8-Courtney-91, 9-K.Thomas Jr.-84, 10-Carrick-75.


Categories : Midgets, News, Short Track, USAC
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#63 Kody Swanson and eventual winner #22 Bobby Santos battle for the lead during Saturday's 'Phoenix Copper Cup' at ISM Raceway. (Al Steinberg Photo)


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Phoenix, Arizona....April 6-7, 2018 - Each year, it seems the ongoing tug-of-war for pavement supremacy on the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car circuit is waged between Bobby Santos and Kody Swanson.

In the 2018 season opener, the duo once again picked up right where they left off in a memorable stop at the tri-oval of ISM Raceway where the two fought tooth-and-nail during a side-by-side battle that lasted two laps at speeds nearing 150mph with both never turning a single wheel in the wrong spot.

Although the starring roles remained unaltered on this day, a plot twist had Santos trying to overcome a turbulent beginning in which he dropped to the tail of the field following an early-race pit stop.

Santos' precision was downright surgical as he rose up the scoring pylon, ultimately surging ahead on the inside of Swanson on lap 80, then rocketed away during the final laps to score his second-straight "Phoenix Copper Cup" victory.

Santos, of Franklin, Mass., became the first to capture a Phoenix Silver Crown victory in consecutive years since Dave Steele won five in a row between 2002 and 2006, something that doesn't stray too far from Santos' mind when he competes here in the Valley of the Sun.

"It's right up there," Santos exclaimed. "To win back-to-back is really cool. Although, for a minute there, I didn't expect to be sitting here. We had a good car all day today, but we kind of missed (the setup) at the start of the race. This means a lot. One of my idols is Dave Steele. He owned this place. I feel like he's pushing me a little bit."

Santos' early trouble commenced as he pushed up the racetrack between turns one and two on multiple occasions early in the going, dropping him from his second starting position to 10th by lap ten. Following a caution for a Kyle Robbins turn one spin on lap 17, Santos' crew chief and father, Bob, made the decision to pull him into pit lane for a few adjustments that seemed to do the trick.

Although Santos would have his work cut out for him, restarting 16th on the lap 22 restart with quite a few heavy-hitters serving as the rabbits that Santos would have to chase down, including a strong Kyle Hamilton who led a race-high 54 laps, plus Chris Windom, Swanson, David Byrne and Justin Grant. Meanwhile, Santos was lurking just behind in sixth by the midway point.

Bobby Santos picked up his third career USAC victory at ISM Raceway Saturday. In 2009, he won in USAC Midget competition before winning the Silver Crown events in 2017 and 2018. (Al Steinberg Photo)

On lap 53, Windom got caught behind the lapped car of Breidinger toward the end of the back stretch. Windom dove low, flat lining his momentum while Swanson and Byrne chose the high road to cruise past them all to take second and third, respectively.

On lap 66, Hamilton was seemingly in control in his first series start since the 2015 season. Yet, exiting turn four, the pack freight-trained him on the inside as Hamilton slowed dramatically, eventually coming to a rest on the back stretch to prompt a yellow flag.

Thirty laps remained on the restart, leaving a full-out sprint to the finish. Running fourth, Santos quickly disposed of Windom on lap 73 with an inside move in turn three. Two laps later, Santos said adios to Byrne as he bagged second with just a quarter of the race remaining.

Patience was not in the cards at this moment as Santos immediately caught Swanson and pressurized the three-time series champ, putting them nose-to-tail just inches apart. Santos then dove to the inside of Swanson moments later, engaging in a full two-lap, clean, Ben Hur-style wheel-to-wheel war that Santos emerged victorious with on lap 80.

"Racing side-by-side at a place like this is really cool and lot of fun," Santos explained. "You never know what (Kody) has left. Last year, Kody made a late-race charge and, in another couple laps, he could've beat us. I had that in the back of my mind that, at that point, I needed to get past him and get away from him. Racing here, I've never had to try so hard and be so up-on-the-wheel for 100 laps. Ten years ago, I used to ride for 50 and race for 50. Now we're racing for 100."

From there, Santos had but a few lappers to overcome as a cloud of attrition cast itself over a few of the front runners in the final laps, including Windom and Byrne. But that cloud dissipated for Santos over the 100-miler, as he pulled away for a commanding victory over Swanson, Grant, Eric Gordon and hard charger/top Rookie finisher Cody Gerhardt.


USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: April 6-7, 2018 - Phoenix, Arizona - ISM Raceway - "Phoenix Copper Cup"

QUALIFYING: (Held April 6) 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-25.326; 2. Bobby Santos, 22, DJ Racing-25.363; 3. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-25.438; 4. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-25.550; 5. Kyle Hamilton, 6, Klatt-25.623; 6. Chris Windom, 17, Nolen-25.653; 7. Justin Grant, 91, Hemelgarn-25.836; 8. Eric Gordon, 21, Armstrong-25.893; 9. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-25.986; 10. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Lesko-26.012; 11. A.J. Russell, 3, Finkenbinder-26.384; 12. Travis Welpott, 18, Welpott/Gorman-26.569; 13. Cody Gerhardt, 60, Gerhardt-27.450; 14. Bill Rose, 66, Rose-27.466; 15. Kyle Robbins, 7, KR Racing-27.476; 16. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-27.624; 17. Toni Breidinger, 80, Breidinger-27.914; 18. Jesse Dunham, 126, Pierce-28.262.

FEATURE: (100 laps - Held April 7) 1. Bobby Santos, 2. Kody Swanson, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Eric Gordon, 5. Cody Gerhardt, 6. Travis Welpott, 7. David Byrne, 8. Chris Windom, 9. Matt Goodnight, 10. Aaron Pierce, 11. Kyle Hamilton, 12. Bill Rose, 13. Jesse Dunham, 14. Toni Breidinger, 15. Austin Nemire, 16. A.J. Russell, 17. Jerry Coons Jr., 18. Kyle Robbins. 58:07.875
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-11 Byrne, Laps 12-65 Hamilton, Laps 66-79 Swanson, Laps 80-100 Santos.



NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Santos & Swanson-70, 3-Grant-64, 4-Gordon-51, 5-Gerhardt-48, 6-Welpott-45, 7-Byrne-42, 8-Windom-39, 9-Goodnight-36, 10-Hamilton-34.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: April 29 - Terre Haute, IN - Terre Haute Action Track - "Sumar Classic"

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois.........In its brief three-year history, the "Shamrock Classic" has annually been the home of first-time USAC P1 Insurance National Midget feature winners.

In the inaugural running in 2016, it was Shane Golobic. One year ago, it was Justin Grant.

Saturday night's third annual proved to be no exception as Logan Seavey, in his first USAC start aboard the Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian No. 67, captured the pot of gold at the Southern Illinois Center, leading all 50 laps to score his first career series win in the season opener.

With the departure of 2016 series champ Tanner Thorson, Seavey is and was fully aware of the big shoes he had to fill when he strapped into his new ride. But the 2017 POWRi champ was more than ready to step into the role seamlessly.

"Driving the number 67 is pretty iconic," Seavey acknowledged. "When you get hired for a job to do, you have to do your job. After the Chili Bowl, I raised my own expectations a lot. We ran really well, and I got comfortable really quickly. I figured we could win some races if everything fell our way, but I didn't think this would be the place we'd do it. Everything went our way tonight and that's how it goes sometimes."

The 1/6-mile indoor dirt track regularly presents a unique set of challenges that make it stand apart from other venues on the schedule. In fact, the stout KKM team only had three of its seven cars qualify for the feature by transferring through the preliminary events Saturday night. As the third-straight first-time series winner in the race, the question comes to mind whether this track has a character that puts all competitors at square one, or whether it's being in the right equipment at the right time and the right place. Seavey believes each factor play a prominent role.

"I definitely think it's a little of both," Seavey agreed. "I don't know if 'random' is the right word, but at this track a lot of really good drivers don't run very well and a lot of guys that might not run great at other places show up here and run really well."

A track rework prior to the main event presented a narrow groove at the start of the 50-lapper, which played to Seavey's benefit as he glued his car to the bottom on corner entry and never let go of his grip, despite a brief foray to the middle as he started to work on lapped traffic.

"One of the first times I got to the lappers, the track was still pretty good, and I thought I had to do something," Seavey recalled. "I kind of moved up to the middle and Ryan (Robinson) showed me a nose. At that point, I pretty much committed to the bottom. Traditionally here, a lot of times, you'll start on the bottom and then they'll jump up to the top. The top just never really cleaned off, built a ledge or anything to hold you. It seemed like you would just fall off and weren't able to carry any speed up there. After I saw the top wasn't really cleaning off up there, I just knew as long as I stuck the bottom, and no one did anything really crazy on the top, I was going to be all right."

With less than 10 laps remaining, Seavey encountered a slew of lapped traffic that briefly threw a wrench in his pursuit of victory. As he, Brent Beauchamp and Zeb Wise ran nose-to-tail, one-two-three, Seavey had a split decision to make, but the Sutter, California native stuck to his guns.

"I knew the laps were winding down, so I knew one of those guys might get antsy and maybe try to move me off the bottom or make a hero lap on the top and get something going," Seavey recounted. "I knew I just had to make perfect laps, especially the restarts, and nail the bottom of one and two. As long as we went through there clean, I felt like I could get around the bottom as good as anybody. As long as I went through there cleanly, I felt like I was clean until I ran down lapped traffic."

"I was just watching the lappers and seeing if they were making up any ground on the top and if maybe I'd be able to do it," Seavey continued. "But any lapper that went up there lost ground, so I figured as long as I stuck to the bottom, I'd much rather see somebody rip around me on the top than me going to the top and letting them pass me on the bottom."

With three to go, the traffic would clear by virtue of a caution for the stopped cars of Jerry Coons, Jr. and Tony Roney in turn one. That provided Seavey an open racetrack, which he fully took advantage of, immediately opening up an eight car-length lead on Beauchamp once the green flag fell.

"The thing took off so good," Seavey beamed. "A lot of times, the yellows just fell our way, right when we got to the lappers. They would start to slow us down, but the cautions came out perfectly for us. Sometimes everything goes your way. That's how it was for us tonight "

Seavey captured the victory ahead of two other drivers seeking their first USAC National Midget win - Beauchamp and fellow Rookie Zeb Wise. Teammate Ryan Robinson was fourth while Justin Grant had to use a provisional, yet managed to charge through the field and finish fifth after starting 21st.

Contingency award winners Saturday night at the Southern Illinois Center include Brent Beauchamp (Simpson Race Products First Qualifier Winner), Dave Darland (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Qualifier Winner, Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Matt Moore (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Terry Babb (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Kyle O'Gara & Tyler Courtney (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfers).


USAC P1 INSURANCE MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: March 10, 2018 - Du Quoin, Illinois - Southern Illinois Center - Elliott's Custom Trailers & Carts "Shamrock Classic"

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Terry Babb (#37 Felker), 2. C.J. Leary (#11A Gray), 3. Tony Roney (#1T Roney), 4. Justin Grant (#17BC Clauson/Marshall), 5. Thomas Meseraull (#63 Dooling), 6. Glen Saville (#37T Felker), 7. Jake Neuman (#3N Neuman), 8. Howard Moore (#41 Chappue). NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kyle O'Gara (#67F SFH), 2. Zeb Wise (#39BC Clauson/Marshall), 3. Tyler Nelson (#91 Harris), 4. Zane Hendricks (#27z Tucker/Boat), 5. Mark Chisholm (#56x Fifty6x), 6. Kyle May (#39 May), 7. Joe B. Miller (#51B Neuman), 8. Andy Bradley (#49 Bradley). NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Brent Beauchamp (#11 B & B), 2. Gage Walker (#7 Walker), 3. Harli White (#67K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Dave Darland (#68 SFH), 5. Brayton Lynch (#1K RKR), 6. Josh Hawkins (#80 Hawkins), 7. Sam Johnson (#72 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 8. Colten Cottle (#37x Felker). NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Ryan Robinson (#71 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Chad Boat (#84 Tucker/Boat), 3. Tucker Klaasmeyer (#27 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (#15 Petry/Goff), 5. Daniel Robinson (#57D McCreery), 6. Daniel Adler (#50 Adler), 7. Robert Bell (71½ Bell). NT

FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Logan Seavey (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Jerry Coons, Jr. (#25 Petry/Goff), 3. Tyler Courtney (#7BC Clauson/Marshall), 4. Chris Andrews (#95 Miller), 5. Kory Schudy (#28 Sawyer), 6. Tony Lawrence (#45 Lawrence). NT

SIXTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Tyler Thomas (#91T Thomas), 2. Tanner Carrick (#71K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Wesley Smith (#44 Smith), 4. Matt Moore (#9 Hergott), 5. Ryan Hall (#2 Bush), 6. Spencer Bayston (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 7. Brady Bacon (#76m FMR). NT

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. Beauchamp, 2. Neuman, 3. R. Robinson, 4. Carrick, 5. Klaasmeyer, 6. Hall, 7. Boat, 8. Schudy, 9. Bayston, 10. Johnson, 11. Meseraull. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Seavey, 3. Bacon, 4. H. Moore, 5. Nelson, 6. Courtney, 7. Hendricks, 8. May, 9. Grant, 10. Saville, 11. Smith. NT

CHALK STIX THIRD QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. K. Thomas, 2. Leary, 3. T. Thomas, 4. Roney, 5. Walker, 6. Babb, 7. Miller, 8. Chisholm, 9. Lynch, 10. Bradley. NT

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. M. Moore, 2. Andrews, 3. Wise, 4. Coons, 5. D. Robinson, 6. Hawkins, 7. R. Bell, 8. O'Gara, 9. Lawrence, 10. White, 11. C. Cottle. 2:18.22 (New Track Record)

FIRST SEMI: (15 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Leary, 2. Boat, 3. Neuman, 4. Babb, 5. O'Gara, 6. H. Moore, 7. White, 8. Chisholm, 9. Johnson, 10. Miller, 11. Cottle, 12. Smith, 13. Klaasmeyer, 14. Bradley, 15. Lynch, 16. Bell. NT

SECOND SEMI: (15 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Roney, 2. D. Robinson, 3. Bacon, 4. Hawkins, 5. Courtney, 6. Saville, 7. May, 8. Bayston, 9. Meseraull, 10. Lawrence, 11. Hendricks, 12. Schudy, 13. Grant, 14. May, 15. Greth, 16. Andrews. NT

FEATURE: (50 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Logan Seavey (1), 2. Brent Beauchamp (2), 3. Zeb Wise (9), 4. Ryan Robinson (4), 5. Justin Grant (21), 6. Dave Darland (3), 7. Chad Boat (14), 8. Gage Walker (8), 9. Terry Babb (18), 10. Daniel Robinson (15), 11. Tanner Carrick (10), 12. Jake Neuman (16), 13. Matt Moore (5), 14. Brady Bacon (17), 15. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (11), 16. Spencer Bayston (20), 17. Jerry Coons, Jr. (7), 18. Tony Roney (13), 19. Tyler Thomas (22), 20. Tyler Nelson (6), 21. Josh Hawkins (19), 22. C.J. Leary (12). NT
**Chisholm flipped during the first heat. Chisholm flipped during the third qualifier. Bradley flipped during the third qualifier. Hawkins flipped on lap 32 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-50 Seavey.




NEW USAC P1 INSURANCE MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Seavey-70, 2-Wise-64, 3-R. Robinson-61, 4-Grant-58, 5-Darland-55, 6-Boat-52, 7-Walker-49, 8-Carrick-41, 9-Neuman-39, 10-M. Moore-37.

NEXT USAC P1 INSURANCE MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: April 13-14 - Kokomo, Indiana - Kokomo Speedway - "Kokomo Grand Prix"

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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media /


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

February 17, 2018 Ocala, Florida....In the spirit of the Winter Olympic games, Tyler Courtney's performance on Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park could only be described as flawless - even coming from the Russian judge.

No, you won't find any triple axels or double lutzes in his 30-lap performance, but you will find the precise execution of a race where nary a single wheel was turned wrong lap-after-lap on his way to a commanding USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship feature win, his second in as many nights at "Winter Dirt Games" in his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing/Priority Aviation - Competition Suspension, Inc./Spike/Rider Chevy.

"I think it handled even better tonight," Courtney revealed. "We were able to go pretty much anywhere I put it. Hats off to Tim (Clauson) and the guys. They've worked their tails off since the week after the Chili Bowl leading up to this. This is the least I can do to repay those guys for the hours and the blood, sweat and tears that go into this. This is a really a good way to start off the year. Obviously, it's early, so you can't really worry about points, but it definitely puts us in a good spot heading into Lawrenceburg."

Tyler Courtney won his second straight USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship feature Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park in the 'Winter Dirt Games' finale. (Rich Forman Photo)

From the drop of the green, pole sitter Courtney checked out, last seen headed northbound on I-75 out of Ocala carrying the winner's check under his arm. Only Chris Windom was able to present a brief challenge in the early stages of the event before falling back into line.

Windom, the defending series champ, charged from fifth to second on the opening lap past a stout group that included C.J. Leary, Chad Boespflug and Dave Darland. Yet, by midway, Courtney had ridden the cushion to more than a half-straightaway lead over Windom, who could never get close enough to present a challenge to Courtney in a race that went caution-free for the final 27 laps following a lap three caution for the stoppage of Garrett Aitken.

"I knew on that one and only restart, I could hear a guy behind me, so I kind of picked it up a little bit to see if I could either gain or lose the motor sound in my ear," Courtney explained. "It kept getting quieter and quieter, so I knew I had to be doing something right. I just kept chugging away and hitting my marks as I searched to see if the track was changing or not. We were able to work through lapped traffic nicely. When they got the move over flag, they either held their ground or moved once and didn't move again. It makes it a lot easier when the lapped cars are good like that. You try not to worry about the guys behind you, you try to worry about your own race, but it's nice when you come in and they say you had a pretty big lead."

When all was said and done, Courtney wrapped up a dominating 2.5 second victory over Windom, Boespflug, Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Darland to become the first driver to win back-to-back USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car features this early in the season since Tracy Hines in 2013.

"Winter Dirt Games" is unique in that it is almost like a mini-season within a season. It's a three-race excursion separated on its own island on the schedule in the month of February, preceding the bulk of the season which typically gets underway in late March, early April. In this case, it's a full six weeks until the next series event, March 31 at Indiana's Lawrenceburg Speedway.

'We had a semi-frustrating night the first time out, we just put our nose to the ground and kept digging. I think it obviously proved that if you stay focused on your goals, you can achieve them.' - Tyler Courtney (Al Steinberg Photo)

There may not be much, mechanically-speaking, that a team can take away from what they learned at a uniquely-shaped venue such as the 3/8-mile D-shaped track at Bubba Raceway Park and apply it to the high-banks of Lawrenceburg, but there are certain aspects of it that a driver and crew can learn from each other that will benefit them when the season gets in full swing despite the substantial time off over the next month-and-a-half. After a relatively rough showing, and an 11th place finish in Thursday night's season opener, Courtney and CMNR found something amongst themselves.

"Don't give up," Courtney noted. "We had a semi-frustrating night the first time out, we just put our nose to the ground and kept digging. I think it obviously proved that if you stay focused on your goals, you can achieve them."

"You have to stay humble and keep plugging away," Courtney continued. "I know these guys are going to go back to the shop and get her all maintenanced up and go through everything, just like we're restarting the season again. Luckily, for me, I get to go to Vegas and get to run for Mike Phulps and his 360 team here in the next week or so, so I get to stay fresh, then I get to hop into the midget at Du Quoin (on March 10). As a team, we really don't have a whole lot of downtime here. It makes things a little easier, but anytime you can stay in a racecar, it's beneficial to driving. The more laps you get, the better you're going to get."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park include Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Indiana Mafia Fast Qualifier), Robert Ballou (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Kody Swanson (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Timmy Buckwalter (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Tyler Courtney (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Chris Windom (KSE Racing Products/ProSource Hard Charger), Kyle Cummins (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Johnny Petrozelle (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer), Mario Clouser (ProSource Hard Work Award) and Isaac Chapple (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier).


USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: February 17, 2018 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games 9"

QUALIFYING: 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 69, Dynamics-13.900; 2. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-14.033; 3. Logan Seavey, 5B, Briscoe-14.094; 4. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.241; 5. Dave Darland, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-14.249; 6. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-14.274; 7. Chad Boespflug, 98, NineEight-14.275; 8. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-14.312; 9. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.343; 10. Kyle Cummins, 3c, EZR/Cummins-14.375; 11. Carson Short, 21, RCM-14.375; 12. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling-Hayward/RCR-14.412; 13. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-14.439; 14. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-14.458; 15. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-14.482; 16. Nick Bilbee, 2E, Epperson-14.483; 17. Kent Schmidt, 5K, Schmidt-14.492; 18. Kody Swanson, 3R, Rock Steady-14.675; 19. Timmy Buckwalter, 7, LNB-14.707; 20. Garrett Aitken, 32A, Aitken-14.860; 21. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-14.863; 22. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-14.887; 23. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-14.924; 24. Johnny Petrozelle, 59, Petrozelle-15.007; 25. Mario Clouser, 6, MCM-15.078; 26. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-15.330; 27. Slater Helt, 22s, Helt-15.355; 28. Frank Carlsson, 20, Carlsson-16.271.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Ballou, 2. Thomas, 3. Chapple, 4. Darland, 5. Schmidt, 6. Clouser, 7. Mattox. 1:56.48

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Swanson, 2. Cummins, 3. Andretti, 4. Windom, 5. Grant, 6. Martin, 7. Bell. 1:55.66

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Buckwalter, 2. Short, 3. Stockon, 4. Boespflug, 5. Seavey, 6. Simon, 7. Helt. 1:56.18

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Courtney, 2. Bacon, 3. Leary, 4. Aitken, 5. Bilbee, 6. Petrozelle, 7. Carlsson. 1:56.06

SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer) 1. Grant, 2. Bilbee, 3. Seavey, 4. Mattox, 5. Clouser, 6. Simon, 7. Petrozelle, 8. Schmidt, 9. Martin, 10. Bell, 11. Helt, 12. Carlsson. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (1), 2. Chris Windom (5), 3. Chad Boespflug (2), 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 5. Dave Darland (3), 6. C.J. Leary (4), 7. Robert Ballou (9), 8. Carson Short (11), 9. Justin Grant (8), 10. Brady Bacon (12), 11. Logan Seavey (7), 12. Chase Stockon (15), 13. Kyle Cummins (10), 14. Jarett Andretti (14), 15. Nick Bilbee (16), 16. Kody Swanson (17), 17. Timmy Buckwalter (18), 18. Isaac Chapple (13), 19. Mario Clouser (22), 20. Garrett Aitken (19), 21. Brandon Mattox (20), 22. Landon Simon (21). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Courtney.







NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Thomas-227, 2-Windom-219, 3-Courtney-209, 4-Boespflug-182, 5-Leary-179, 6-Cummins-172, 7-Stockon-170, 8-Ballou-170, 9-Grant-168, 10-Short-164.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: March 31 - Lawrenceburg, Indiana - Lawrenceburg Speedway

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media /


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ocala, Florida.........The evolution of Tyler Courtney's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car career has progressed by leaps and bounds over the past few seasons. In 2016, he broke into the win column for the first time. In 2017, he had a career-high five series wins. For 2018, the next logical step would be to contend for a series title.

Although the season is admittedly early, Courtney took a big leap toward that goal after a dominating performance Friday on night two of "Winter Dirt Games 9" at Bubba Raceway Park as he drove his Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing/Priority Aviation - Competition Suspension, Inc./Spike/Rider Chevy to the front on lap three and led the remaining 28 laps to score his first victory for the team in their new sprinter.

Ocala has been a battleground that has proven to be a thorn in Courtney's side throughout his career. Four of his five starts at the 3/8-mile D-shaped track coming into Friday had resulted in finishes of 11th or worse. After a rough start a year ago and an equally tumultuous beginning on Thursday night, the Indianapolis, Indiana native licked his war wounds and arrived in a new frame of mind, a trait he said he didn't possess at this point last season.

"If I was in this position a year ago, I probably would've struggled again tonight," Courtney admits. "I took last year and learned how to handle myself from one night to the next, especially on a long trip like this. You just have to take last night and put it behind you and reset and give your team your best effort because you know they're going to give you their best effort every night. This is a really good way to start off the trip and year, especially since last year I think I came out either 14th or 15th in points. That makes the road to hoe a long one. This is really cool to start this way with a new team. There's always question marks, but I think we kind of threw those away tonight and, hopefully, made a statement that we're here to be a contender all year."

In 2017, Courtney's performance was clicking at a steady beat with TOPP Motorsports as he posted the best numbers of his career across the board. During the offseason, however, Courtney made the bold jump to Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing full-time, the same team he competes with on the USAC Midget National Championship trail. For most, it takes more than a moment to jell properly with the team and its operations, but Courtney has a familiarity with these particular surroundings as a driver that is second to none, making the adaptation to each other in just the snap of a finger.

'If I was in this position a year ago, I probably would've struggled again tonight. I took last year and learned how to handle myself from one night to the next, especially on a long trip like this. You just have to take last night and put it behind you and reset and give your team your best effort because you know they're going to give you their best effort every night.' - Tyler Courtney (Rich Forman Photo)

"Tim (Clauson) has been a huge part of my career since I started in sprint cars and midgets," Courtney said. "Tim and I have such a close relationship with our head guy, and my roommate, Rizzy (Tyler Ransbottom). We're one big family here, so it's really special, especially to bring out a throwback car that Rizzy and Tim and everyone got to be a part of. Having a family atmosphere like this makes a transition like switching from a team that you ran with for two years a lot easier. The trust and the confidence level is there because I ran with them in the midgets last year, and I think we proved that tonight.

Indeed, they proved that, and it didn't take very long. As C.J. Leary and Kevin Thomas, Jr. tussled for position up front for the first two circuits, fourth-starting Courtney was precise, motoring to the outside of Thomas in turn two on lap three for second, then splitting between he and Leary to his outside as he dove to the bottom in turn three to snare the lead.

The sense of urgency was palpable in Courtney's mind and he knew he needed to take advantage of the space on the track afforded to him before it was discovered by Leary and/or Thomas.

"I knew I needed to get there," Courtney obliges. "I was running that next groove up from where they were and it stuck. I knew it was only a matter of time before they got there too. So, I knew I needed to get by them and get going. Luckily, I was able to get that done in one lap and didn't have to mess around too long. Once you get out front, you can maintain your own pace and run your own race instead of having to chase them and push your stuff. This place is pretty abrasive on tires, so to be able to get out and feel comfortable and manage my stuff, it's a huge advantage compared to those guys."

Seemingly nothing could slow Courtney's pace despite multiple cautions in the first half of the 30-lapper. Courtney simply walked away each time, spurting out to a half-straightaway lead by the eighth lap as he rode the lip up front.

An inadvertent yellow closed up things at the midway point when fifth-running Carson Short made a miraculous save to somehow avoid crunching the tail tank against the outside concrete. Short was repositioned to eighth in the order, the position he was in when the yellow flag was thrown.

That, in turn, erased Courtney's substantial advantage. On the lap 16 restart, an under-the-weather Leary managed to hang with Courtney for the ensuing two laps, but, gradually, Courtney and his CMNR ride proved to be too much for anybody else to handle on this night.

The only flip during the feature event came on lap 19 when Chris Windom and pole sitter Jarett Andretti made wheel-to-wheel contact while battling for the fourth position. Andretti got the worst end of the deal after hopping Windom's right rear and careening hard into the backstretch wall before flipping over. Andretti was uninjured. Windom continued.

On the ensuing restart, Courtney took the tried and true line on the cushion to distance himself from Leary. Nearing the final lap, Courtney's biggest challenge was a bevy of lapped traffic that included Isaac Chapple, Kent Schmidt and Brandon Mattox who ran high, low and middle as they battled for their own positions. Fortunately, for Courtney, he was able to part the sea of machinery and cut through the gridlock without a hindrance to his interval between he and second-place Leary as he raced to a 1.791-second victory over Leary, Thomas, Windom and fast qualifier Kyle Cummins.

As opposed to last year, the start of Courtney's 2018 season has been golden. A title is quite far off in the grand scheme of things, but getting out of the gate in such a positive manner not only provides points toward that goal, but boosts team morale and confidence to the point where running successfully comes second nature.

"Winning races is the reason we race, but there's the big picture at the end and that's a championship," Courtney said without missing a beat. "Not having to play catchup makes life a little easier, but you can't just take three nights like this and think you're good for the rest of the year. You have to finish this trip out strong and keep doing what you're doing. It's 40-plus nights of grueling, intense racing and this is probably the deepest field we've had in many years. It's going to be a fun season!"

Contingency award winners Friday night at Bubba Raceway Park include Kyle Cummins (Indiana Mafia Fast Qualifier), Nick Bilbee (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Robert Ballou (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner, KSE Racing Products/ProSource Hard Charger & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Tyler Courtney (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Kent Schmidt (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Mike Martin (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer), Brandon Mattox (ProSource Hard Work Award) and Brady Bacon (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier).


USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: February 16, 2018 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games 9"

QUALIFYING: 1. Kyle Cummins, 3c, EZR/Cummins-14.297; 2. Carson Short, 21, RCM-14.358; 3. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-14.389; 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 69, Dynamics-14.410; 5. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.500; 6. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-14.538; 7. Logan Seavey, 5B, Briscoe-14.562; 8. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-14.605; 9. Tyler Clem, 14c, Clem/TSR-14.620; 10. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-14.678; 11. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-14.679; 12. Dave Darland, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-14.683; 13. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling-Hayward/RCR-14.688; 14. Chad Boespflug, 98, NineEight-14.717; 15. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-14.741; 16. Garrett Aitken, 32A, Aitken-14.752; 17. Timmy Buckwalter, 7, LNB-14.768; 18. Mario Clouser, 6, MCM-14.800; 19. Kody Swanson, 3R, Rock Steady-14.806; 20. Kent Schmidt, 5K, Schmidt-14.808; 21. Nick Bilbee, 2E, Epperson-14.840; 22. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.904; 23. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-15.076; 24. Slater Helt, 22s, Helt-15.272; 25. Johnny Petrozelle, 59, Petrozelle-15.304; 26. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-15.403; 27. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-15.493; 28. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-15.586; 29. Frank Carlsson, 20, Carlsson-15.810.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Bilbee, 2. Bacon, 3. Cummins, 4. Leary, 5. Buckwalter, 6. Petrozelle, 7. Carlsson, 8. Clem. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Ballou, 2. Boespflug, 3. Windom, 4. Short, 5. Stockon, 6. Clouser, 7. Simon. 1:59.36

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Courtney, 2. Chapple, 3. Swanson, 4. Grant, 5. Seavey, 6. Martin, 7. Mattox. NT

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Schmidt, 2. Darland, 3. Thomas, 4. Andretti, 5. Aitken, 6. Bell, 7. Helt. 2:.05.16

SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer) 1. Seavey, 2. Stockon, 3. Aitken, 4. Clouser, 5. Mattox, 6. Buckwalter, 7. Martin, 8. Bell, 9. Carlsson, 10. Simon, 11. Helt. 3:12.52

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (4), 2. C.J. Leary (2), 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (3), 4. Chris Windom (9), 5. Kyle Cummins (6), 6. Dave Darland (10), 7. Carson Short (5), 8. Chad Boespflug (12), 9. Brady Bacon (11), 10. Chase Stockon (7), 11. Justin Grant (13), 12. Mario Clouser (15), 13. Robert Ballou (20), 14. Timmy Buckwalter (14), 15. Nick Bilbee (19), 16. Logan Seavey (8), 17. Kody Swanson (16), 18. Landon Simon (23), 19. Kent Schmidt (17), 20. Isaac Chapple (21), 21. Brandon Mattox (22), 22. Jarett Andretti (1), 23. Garrett Aitken (18). NT
**Clem flipped during the first heat. Andretti flipped on lap 19 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Leary, Laps 3-30 Courtney.







NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Thomas-153, 2-Windom-142, 3-Courtney-131, 4-Cummins-128, 5-Stockon-125, 6-Grant-117, 7-Leary-115, 8-Boespflug-113, 9-Ballou-110, 10-Short-108.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: Feb. 17 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games 9"

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media /


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Ocala, Florida………Strong finishes lead to strong beginnings in the case of Chase Stockon.

After finishing last season with two USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National victories in the final four races, the 29-year-old Fort Branch, Indiana racer has seemingly carried the momentum gracefully into the new year, winning the season opener for the series Thursday on night one of “Winter Dirt Games 9” at Bubba Raceway Park.

When the proverbial ball gets rolling downhill, the last thing you’d think you want to do is change it up, but Stockon felt he had to stay ahead of the game rather than play it safe and stand pat. Now what’s old is new and what’s new is working splendidly for Stockon and his 32 TBI Racing/Superior Tank & Trailer – Angle Buildings/DRC/Fisher Chevy.

“A lot is different from last year,” Stockon confided. “We struggled so badly through the middle part of last year, we went through everything. We went through old notes and found something we thought we were missing out on. We went back to our shock setup that we ran five or six years ago and that seemed to work really well for us. It seems like the tires have been changing for us a little bit. We were pretty quick out of the gate when we switched to this tire. Again, we went back to our old notes on those and stuck with it.”

“We ended this thing last year with two wins and, throughout the offseason, we knew we didn’t want to change a dang thing,” Stockon continued. “Joe (Devin) from DRC built us two new cars and they’re just as good as the one we ended last season with. Whenever you get things rolling and you’ve got a car you like, you don’t want to get rid of it, but it was time to start fresh and I think we’ve got good pieces this year.”

At the drop of the green, Stockon raced around the outside of pole sitter Dave Darland to take the early advantage as a mad scramble ensued for the runner-up position between Darland and second row combatants Carson Short and Justin Grant.

Seven cautions disrupted the first half of the 30-lapper and hindered Darland’s approach to the front. Patience was a virtue for Darland who, on multiple occasions in the early going, appeared he had the chops to possibly become the eventual successor to the point from as he relentlessly hounded Stockon, captaining his way to within a whisker of Stockon when the yellow flag flew for a pair of spins of laps eight and 11.

When racing ultimately resumed, Darland’s impressive bid for his first series win since 2016 came to an abrupt conclusion when his car slowed suddenly exiting turn two on lap 13 to bring out the yellow flag. He would not restart.

Just before halfway, the surface of the 3/8-mile D-shaped oval began to change. Stockon quickly took note and adapted to the new terrain.

“The first part of the race, I was running the top in (turns) one and two and kind off diamonding off (turns) three and four,” Stockon recalled. “I felt pretty decent there and I could see Dave (Darland) kept putting his nose underneath me. I kind of knew the bottom was pretty good there, especially with Dave down there. He likes to run the top, so when he was getting good runs on me like that, I kind of knew something was happening.”

A new contender to dethrone Stockon emerged in the early portion of the second half in the form of Justin Grant, winner of last year’s opener in Ocala. Grant ducked underneath Stockon on multiple occasions, but was unable to make the pass stick as the front two separated themselves from the rest of the pack.

With six to go, Kevin Thomas, Jr. emerged at the forefront in his debut in the famed Dynamics, Inc. machine, applying pressure to Stockon for the race lead. The ever-changing track surface required such precision that a single misstep could prove costly for Stockon. You can increase the pressure ten-fold when someone who has been as red-hot as Thomas is closing in on you. Thomas was the winner of a pair of POWRi Midget races less than a week ago at the very same track.

“We kept having so many yellows there at the start of the race, (my crew) was giving me a few pointers on where we needed to maneuver,” Stockon explained. “When we had the long green flag run in the middle part of the race, I felt my exit speed slowing up so much that, on that last restart, I decided to move back up to the top and see if I could keep my momentum built up to stay out front. I kind of noticed there, with probably five or six laps to go, it was taking rubber in the middle through the exit of (turn) four. I kind of found that and, luckily, had enough momentum once KT got to me to get back down to the bottom and get down in the rubber in (turns) one and two. The track conditions changing from slimy/greasy at the beginning to what it ended up being was kind of unique. When you lead the whole race like that, you feel like a sitting duck out there and don’t really know where to go. Luckily, everything went our way tonight.”

“He doesn’t make many mistakes,” Stockon said of Thomas. “He was back there where he could kind of maneuver and knew where the track was changing at and where to be. When it took rubber and I finally moved down there, you didn’t really want to cheat it too much and be in the slick and have a guy drive around on the top or bottom. I tried to pay attention to where the sheen was on the racetrack and put the right rear where it needed to be.”

Thomas threw the kitchen sink at Stockon, but coming to the white flag, drifted slightly high on the entry into turn one and, on the final lap, lost momentum in turn two as Stockon battened the hatches to tie board up the number one spot and take his first “Winter Dirt Games” victory in 20 tries, winning by a half-second over Thomas, Chris Windom, Grant and Robert Ballou.

“Winter Dirt Games” has been a strong suit for Stockon over the years with 11 top-five finishes in 20 starts. In fact, his 8.05 average finishing position was the best of any active driver without a “Winter Dirt Games” win coming into Thursday’s event.

“I’m just a late bloomer I guess,” Stockon said with a laugh. “We’ve always been pretty strong down here. I don’t really know why. I like this racetrack. It’s different. I wouldn’t say we do anything completely out of the norm down here. I don’t know if it just suits my style, diamonding off and exiting straight. But I really like this place and, before I came down here, I told my wife that we’ve won at least one race in almost every state that we run regularly in non-wing sprint cars. Florida was one of those states we’d yet to do it, so I know she’s definitely happy back home right now.”

Contingency award winners Thursday night at Bubba Raceway Park include Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Indiana Mafia Fast Qualifier), Tyler Courtney (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Chad Boespflug (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), C.J. Leary (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Carson Short (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Chad Boespflug (KSE Racing Products/ProSource Hard Charger), Brandon Mattox (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer), Brady Bacon (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Jarett Andretti (ProSource Hard Work Award) and Logan Seavey (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier).


USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: February 15, 2018 – Ocala, Florida – Bubba Raceway Park – “Winter Dirt Games 9”

QUALIFYING: 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 69, Dynamics-13.750; 2. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-13.915; 3. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-13.981; 4. Carson Short, 21, RCM-14.007; 5. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-14.077; 6. Nick Bilbee, 2E, Epperson-14.145; 7. Dave Darland, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-14.174; 8. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling-Hayward/RCR-14.286; 9. Garrett Aitken, 32A, Aitken-14.341; 10. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.386; 11. Kyle Cummins, 3c, EZR/Cummins-14.395; 12. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-14.406; 13. Logan Seavey, 5B, Briscoe-14.407; 14. Tyler Clem, 14c, Clem/TSR-14.411; 15. Kody Swanson, 3R, Rock Steady-14.411; 16. Kent Schmidt, 5K, Schmidt-14.431; 17. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-14.436; 18. Chad Boespflug, 98, NineEight-14.443; 19. Timmy Buckwalter, 7, LNB-14.452; 20. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-14.500; 21. Mario Clouser, 6, MCM-14.591; 22. Coleman Gulick, 14, Scorpion-14.669; 23. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.699; 24. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-14.731; 25. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-14.804; 26. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-14.980; 27. Johnny Petrozelle, 59, Petrozelle-15.055; 28. Slater Helt, 22s, Helt-15.151; 29. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-15.535; 30. Frank Carlsson, 20, Carlsson-16.129; 31. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-NT

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Courtney, 2. Thomas, 3. Stockon, 4. Seavey, 5. Aitken, 6. Mattox, 7. Bell, 8. Clouser. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Boespflug, 2. Ballou, 3. Windom, 4. Clem, 5. Bilbee, 6. Gulick, 7. Martin, 8. Carlsson. 2:01.46

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Leary, 2. Swanson, 3. Grant, 4. Darland, 5. Cummins, 6. Buckwalter, 7. Petrozelle. 2:02.91

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Short, 2. Simon, 3. Bacon, 4. Chapple, 5. Schmidt, 6. Goodnight, 7. Helt. 2:05.09

SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer) 1. Bilbee, 2. Cummins, 3. Aitken, 4. Andretti, 5. Buckwalter, 6. Schmidt, 7. Mattox, 8. Martin, 9. Goodnight, 10. Petrozelle, 11. Bell, 12. Gulick, 13. Carlsson. 3:08.79

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Chase Stockon (2), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 3. Chris Windom (5), 4. Justin Grant (4), 5. Robert Ballou (10), 6. Kyle Cummins (11), 7. Isaac Chapple (12), 8. Chad Boespflug (18), 9. Logan Seavey (13), 10. Nick Bilbee (7), 11. Tyler Courtney (17), 12. Kody Swanson (15), 13. Brady Bacon (8), 14. Carson Short (3), 15. C.J. Leary (20), 16. Tyler Clem (14), 17. Jarett Andretti (21), 18. Landon Simon (19), 19. Garrett Aitken (9), 20. Dave Darland (1), 21. Kent Schmidt (16), 22. Timmy Buckwalter (22). NT


**Clouser flipped during the first heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Stockon.







NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Thomas-80, 2-Stockon-78, 3-Windom-75, 4-Grant-71, 5-Ballou-65, 6-Cummins-58, 7-Chapple-57, 8-Boespflug-57, 9-Seavey-51, 10-Courtney-49.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: Feb. 16-17 – Ocala, Florida – Bubba Raceway Park – “Winter Dirt Games 9”

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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Christopher Bell at speed on his way to the 'Junior Knepper 55' USAC Midget Special Event victory Saturday at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin. (Neil Cavanah Photo)

Du Quoin, Illinois.........Christopher Bell celebrated his 23rd birthday in grand style Saturday night at the Southern Illinois Center after taking the lead with four laps remaining to win the third annual "Junior Knepper 55" USAC Midget Special event at the indoor, one-sixth-mile dirt oval in Du Quoin.

Rarely has the 2013 USAC National Midget champion from Norman, Oklahoma not been at the top of his game when he's behind the wheel of a midget, but 2017 saw him take it up another notch with 10 wins in just 13 Midget starts, an incomparable 77% average.

After wrapping up a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title, Bell has been two-for-two in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Curb Records - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota, concluding USAC's National Midget points season in November with his second career "Turkey Night Grand Prix" victory at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway and following it up by delivering his team their first victory at the Southern Illinois Center.

"To be able to win the last race of the year like that is pretty cool," Bell said. "I've been pretty close and really fast here in the past, but I just haven't been able to win. The team's always been really good here too, but finally, it all came together tonight."

Bell would start third in the feature behind a front row occupied by Trey Marcham and Chad Boat. As Marcham rode near the mountainous berm on the bottom, Boat and Bell swarmed high and low a car length behind. The high line eventually paid off for Boat as he rode the rim to the lead around Marcham off the fourth turn on lap 18.

Bell taste-tested the high side as well to make his way around Marcham between turns three and four a lap later. Once he did, Zeb Wise snookered both on the bottom to go from fourth to second. Meanwhile, Boat opened up a two-plus second lead before a Shane Golobic spin put things at ease momentarily.

"At the beginning of the race, I was really good, but was kind of biding my time," Bell recalls. "Once Chad got the lead, I was really struggling. (Justin) Grant got by me, then Zeb got by me. I was just trying to figure out what I could do to make something happen. I remember Bryan (Clauson) was always really good at sliding himself here. That was something I started doing and I'm like, 'man, I'm making up time here' and that seemed to be the key."

Early in the second half of the 55-lapper, new second-place runner put the chase on Boat through lapped traffic. As lappers Justin Peck and Tyler Nelson swapped sliders, Boat took matters into his own hands and dove under Nelson in turn three on lap 41 to gain the slightest bit of a separation. Moments later, disaster nearly struck Boat as Shane Cottle spun right in front him between turns three and four. Boat took evasive action and avoided any carnage.

On the restart with 13 laps to go, Boat and Grant lined up nose-to-tail with the lapped car of Nelson as a buffer between third-running Bell. Bell instantly went to work with a turn three slider on Grant for second on lap 44. Grant vetoed that notion and slid past Bell in turn one to retake second. Bell put the tussle to rest in turn three as he dove to the bottom and snared the runner-up position from the March Du Quoin winner.

'Junior Knepper 55' winner Christopher Bell (middle) is joined in victory lane by 2nd place finisher Chase Briscoe (left) and 3rd place Shane Golobic (right).
(Neil Cavanah Photo)

While Bell was attacking, Tyler Courtney was hustling. Courtney had entered the top-three with seven to go after starting shotgun on the field via promoter's option. Things got interesting when one wondered what was in store with Bell and Courtney next to each other after multiple on-track excursions between the two in their qualifying race earlier in the night.

Yet, with five to go, before Courtney was close enough to make a move, the 2017 USAC Most Improved Driver and 2016 "Knepper 55" winner looped his ride in turn one on the cushion, erasing one of the hardest charges witnessed all season.

On the lap 51 restart, Boat went back to the top lane as Bell tucked in on the low line. By the time the two hit the start/finish line at the completion of the lap, the two were in a dead-heat, Polaroid moment with Boat credited as the leader by the narrowest of margins. But Boat's lead wasn't long for this world as Bell roped him in and lassoed the spot for good exiting turn two as Briscoe ducked underneath for second after starting 19th!

"I was pretty much determined to go where he wasn't," Bell surmised. "He was kind of a sitting duck out there. This place, once it gets so far around the top, you can make up time there whenever you can get your momentum built up, but you're so vulnerable, especially on restarts. The door is wide open and it's so easy to throw a slider here. Whenever he opened up the inside like that, I knew I had to take advantage of it."

The duel was now on between the two dirt track stars who stood out in NASCAR's Truck Series this season with the champ (Bell) battling the Rookie of the Year (Briscoe) for Southern Illinois racing supremacy on this night. With two to go, though, Shane Cottle's loose left rear wheel jettisoned toward the turn four wall, necessitating a yellow and setting up one final restart. The position at the front of the field that Boat once found himself in as a "sitting duck" was now occupied by Bell.

"A little bit, but I was in that situation behind Chad too," Bell explains. "I was able to use that and learn from it to know how to be better for the next restarts. It was all up to me to protect the bottom. Whenever I saw Briscoe was behind me, I knew that he was going to run the bottom. At that point in time, I knew I just had to protect."

On the ensuing green, Briscoe was ruled to be out of line, the penalty of which is being docked one spot. That returned Boat to second and relegated Briscoe back to third. When racing resumed, Briscoe quickly got back by Boat, yet Bell remained just out of reach. Bell went the distance, leading the final four laps for a .295 second victory over Briscoe, Shane Golobic (from 20th after spinning at the halfway point), Boat and Grant.

Bell's had midget seasons of glory in the past, including a pair of seven-win campaigns in 2013 and 2014, but this year was simply phenomenal with five wins in eight USAC Midget starts, plus 10 out of 13 across all his combined midget starts. It's a success he attributes to the miles he's trekked in stock cars and trucks that he's been able to translate to his time in the driver's seat of a midget.

"Going to NASCAR has made me a better racecar driver just because it's taught me things I didn't learn here on the dirt," Bell said. "That's something I've been able to find that when you run these really long races, you learn that you don't have to lead lap five. You don't have to lead lap 10. You only have to lead the last lap. That's something I've really tried to apply in midget racing and it seems to have worked."


USAC MIDGET "SPECIAL EVENT" RACE RESULTS: December 16, 2017 - Du Quoin, Illinois - Southern Illinois Center - "Junior Knepper 55"

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Tanner Carrick (#71K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Daniel Robinson (#57D McCreery), 3. Christopher Bell (#21 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Shane Golobic (#17w Clauson-Marshall/Wood), 5. Colten Cottle (#5c Cottle), 6. Joey Moughan (#29 Casson), 7. Kevin Woody, Jr. (#0 Buckwalter), 8. Derek Hagar (#9JR Hagar-Proctor). 1:37.54

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jody Rosenboom (#14R Rosenboom), 2. Chris R. Andrews (#91A Thomas), 3. Tim Crawley (#4J James), 4. Brian Shirley (#3s Neuman), 5. J.D. Black (#7JR Blackened), 6. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (#17BC Clauson/Marshall), 7. Austin Blair (#3B Neuman), 8. Chase Briscoe (#5 Briscoe). 1:40.09

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Zeb Wise (#39 Clauson/Marshall), 2. Tyler Courtney (#7BC Clauson/Marshall), 3. Tanner Berryhill (#17B Tucker/Boat), 4. Justin Peck (#7K Irwin), 5. Tony Roney (#1T Roney), 6. Kyle Schuett (#9K Schuett), 7. Dylan Peterson (#25p Peterson), 8. Danny Frye, Jr. (#5x Frye). NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Parker Price-Miller (#9p PPM), 2. Dillon Welch (#99p PPM), 3. Josh Most (#92m Most), 4. Alex Watson (#3 3W), 5. Alex Schriever (#25s Peterson), 6. Brent Beauchamp (#11 B & B), 7. Terry Babb (#88 Babb), 8. Nick Drake (#55D Cline). NT

FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Chad Boat (#84 Tucker/Boat), 2. Trey Marcham (#32 Marcham), 3. Tyler Nelson (#91 Harris), 4. Jake Neuman (#3N Neuman), 5. Gio Scelzi (#7 Clauson/Marshall), 6. Chris L. Andrews (#95 Miller), 7. Clayton Christensen (#1cc Rosenboom), 8. Thomas Meseraull (#66 Amati). NT

SIXTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Justin Grant (#39BC Clauson/Marshall), 2. Tony Bruce Jr. (#18 One Eight), 3. Riley Kreisel (#93K DKR), 4. Daniel Adler (#50 Adler), 5. Jacob Patton (#D33 Davis), 6. Lee Lengel (#21LL Lengel), 7. Tyler Robbins (#35 Robbins), 8. Chris Urish (#77u Casson). NT

SEVENTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Billy Wease (#12w Wease), 2. Mark Chisholm (#56x Fifty6x), 3. Shane Cottle (#1s Saucier/Hmiel), 4. Matt Crafton (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 5. Nick Hamilton (#32x Hamilton), 6. Howard Moore (#41 Chappue), 7. Brad Kraus (#6B Kraus), 8. Don Dawson II (#6D Dawson). NT

C-MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Briscoe, 2. Moughan, 3. Blair, 4. Peterson, 5. Hagar, 6. Meseraull, 7. Moore, 8. Dawson, 9. Drake, 10. Lengel, 11. Kraus, 12. Woody, 13. Robbins, 14. Frye. NT

FIRST QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. Boat, 2. Wise, 3. Robinson, 4. Kreisel, 5. Price-Miller, 6. Schuett, 7. Scelzi, 8. Crafton, 9. C. Cottle, 10. Wease. 2:08.87

SECOND QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. Marcham, 2. Welch, 3. Grant, 4. Neuman, 5. Peck, 6. Golobic, 7. C.R. Andrews, 8. Patton, 9. Black. NT

THIRD QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. Bell, 2. Crawley, 3. Adler, 4. Bruce, 5. Schriever, 6. Stenhouse, 7. Chisholm, 8. Shirley, 9. C.L. Andrews, 10. Courtney. NT

FOURTH QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. Nelson, 2. Roney, 3. Berryhill, 4. S. Cottle, 5. Carrick, 6. Hamilton, 7. Most, 8. Watson, 9. Babb, 10. Rosenboom. NT

B-MAIN #1: (15 laps) 1. Robinson, 2. Crawley, 3. Peck, 4. Briscoe, 5. Kreisel, 6. Blair, 7. Wease, 8. Most, 9. Hagar, 10. Watson, 11. Babb, 12. Shirley, 13. Schriever, 14. Scelzi, 15. Hamilton, 16. Black. NT

B-MAIN #2: (15 laps) 1. Neuman, 2. Berryhill, 3. Stenhouse, 4. Golobic, 5. Chisholm, 6. Patton, 7. Schuett, 8. Meseraull, 9. C. Cottle, 10. C.L. Andrews, 11. Adler, 12. Moughan, 13. Crafton, 14. Peterson, 15. C.R. Andrews, 16. Rosenboom. NT

FEATURE: (55 laps) 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Chase Briscoe, 3. Shane Golobic, 4. Chad Boat, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Dillon Welch, 7. Tanner Berryhill, 8. Parker Price-Miller, 9. Tanner Carrick, 10. Tyler Courtney, 11. Tony Bruce Jr., 12. Daniel Robinson, 13. Tim Crawley, 14. Zeb Wise, 15. Trey Marcham, 16. Tyler Nelson, 17. Shane Cottle, 18. Justin Peck, 19. Tony Roney, 20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 21. Jake Neuman. NT
**Christensen flipped during the fifth heat. Urish flipped during the sixth heat. Black flipped during the first B-Main.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-17 Marcham, Laps 18-51 Boat, Laps 52-55 Bell.

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