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Tyler Courtney won his first career USAC Silver Crown race Saturday night
in the 36th '4-Crown Nationals' at Eldora Speedway. (Vince Vellella Photo)

COURTNEY CAPS SILVER CROWN SEASON WITH FIRST SERIES WIN AT THE 4-CROWN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio.........In a year of firsts for Tyler Courtney, the pickings continue to get sweeter as the Indianapolis, Indiana driver led all 50 laps to win his first career USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series presented by TRAXXAS main event in Saturday night's 36th "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora Speedway.

Earlier this season, Courtney won his first USAC National Midget feature at Montpelier (Ind.) Motor Speedway. In August, he won his first ever Sprint Car feature at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway and backed it up a night later with a big payday victory at Kokomo again in "Sprint Car Smackdown VI."

This time around, it was in the Silver Crown car where, by the letter of the law, he was still considered a series rookie this season. But a "4-Crown" Silver Crown rookie he was not. In 2016, he set ProSource quick time and finished 3rd. In 2017, he returned as a true contender despite not having seen the results he and car owner Hans Lein had anticipated when the team made its initial foray into the series this season.

"Hans called me in May and said he's putting a Crown car together," Courtney recalls. "We got rained out at the 'Hoosier Hundred,' then went to Williams Grove and had some mechanical problems there, then went to Springfield and was going to have a top-three finish and had something else go wrong. We finally had everything go our way tonight. (Crew Chief) Greg Nelson really had this thing on point all night."

On the start, Courtney ripped the top around pole sitter Kody Swanson to snare the lead as the 50-lap race got underway with the night's USAC Sprint Car feature winner C.J. Leary and Dave Darland fighting for second just behind.

Courtney led a five-car breakaway that separated itself from the rest of the field by the tenth lap. By lap 20, Courtney himself had created his own separation as he navigated through the lap traffic.

Meanwhile, third-running Leary saw a chance to take second back away from Darland on lap 23 when Darland found himself hung up behind the lapped car of Aaron Pierce entering turn three. Like a bulldog on a porkchop, Leary saw an opportunity and went on the attack. As Leary tried to slide both Darland and Pierce in one fell swoop, contact was made between he and Pierce. The end result was Pierce tagging the outside wall hard while Darland and Leary continued on.

The lineup on the next restart had multiple lapped cars between leader Courtney and second-running Darland, allowing Courtney a clean getaway.

On lap 32, Swanson tagged the turn two wall while running sixth, sending him into a wild series of flips through turn one - a sight not usually seen by the three-time series champion whose feats were celebrated earlier in the night on a front straightaway presentation for clinching the 2017 title.
Once again on the restart, Courtney scooted away from defending race winner and series champ Chris Windom who took second from Darland and now had only Courtney in his sights as Cottle disposed of Darland for third off turn four.

Soon after, with 15 laps remaining, Leary entered turn three running fourth when his right rear tire went flat, sending him hard into the outside wall. Leary was okay, but would not return to action.

Down the stretch, Courtney maintained about an eight car-length lead, but with a couple to go, Windom began to close rapidly to present a challenge for the lead as Cottle blanketed Windom just behind.

On the final lap, Courtney got a bit sideways at the exit of turn two, resulting in Windom's rapid charge that saw him close to within just a couple car lengths entering turn three and four with Cottle in tow. Courtney gathered it up, put all four wheels back in the groove to finish off a wire-to-wire performance to join Justin Grant as the second driver to win USAC National features in all three divisions in 2017. Windom was second ahead of Cottle, Darland and Brady Bacon, who finished in the top-five of all four "4-Crown" features Saturday night.

Courtney rewarded car owner Hans Lein with his first USAC National win since a 2007 Midget event at Angell Park Speedway, won by Michael Pickens. It was also Lein's second career "4-Crown" triumph following a 2005 Midget win with Danny Stratton.

"The tires started going away a little bit at the end," Courtney admits. "I knew if I could gap myself on the starts and restarts and give myself a little cushion to be able to run hard on the start, then save a little bit, we'd have something at the end there. It held together. I could see Chris (Windom) there behind me on the (video board) screen. I'm just trying to hit my marks, but it was pretty tricky down in (turns) one and two to hit the same spot on the wall twice to get you going down the back straight. But, everything went our way tonight."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Eldora Speedway included Kody Swanson (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Brady Bacon (KSE Racing Products/Larry Rice High Performance Hard Charger) and Joe Liguori (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS Presented by TRAXXAS: September 23, 2017 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 36th "4-Crown Nationals" - Presented by NKT.TV

PROSOURCE QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-19.570; 2. Tyler Courtney, 97, Lein-19.611; 3. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-19.816; 4. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-19.876; 5. Hunter Schuerenberg, 120, Nolen-19.903; 6. Chris Windom, 92, Kazmark-19.955; 7. Dave Darland, 27, Phillips-19.985; 8. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-19.985; 9. Justin Grant, 91, Carli/Hemelgarn-20.109; 10. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-20.118; 11. Robert Ballou, 6, Klatt-20.257; 12. Mark Smith, 54, Lane-20.283; 13. Joe Liguori, 4, Liguori-20.302; 14. Dakota Jackson, 201, Nolen-20.434; 15. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-20.495; 16. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-20.678; 17. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-20.712; 18. Brady Bacon, 199, RPM/Gormly-20.891; 19. Johnny Petrozelle, 08, Cornell/Petrozelle-21.116; 20. Chris Fetter, 89, Fetter-21.452; 21. Joss Moffatt, 32, Williams & Wright-NT; 22. Austin Nemire, 16, Lesko-NT; 23. Patrick Bruns, 95, Full Throttle-NT.

FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Tyler Courtney, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Shane Cottle, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Hunter Schuerenberg, 8. David Byrne, 9. Robert Ballou, 10. Jerry Coons, Jr., 11. Matt Goodnight, 12. Steve Buckwalter, 13. Joe Liguori, 14. Dakota Jackson, 15. Joss Moffatt, 16. Austin Nemire, 17. Mark Smith, 18. Chris Fetter, 19. C.J. Leary, 20. Kody Swanson, 21. Aaron Pierce, 22. Johnny Petrozelle. NT
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**Bruns flipped during qualifying. Swanson flipped on lap 32 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-50 Courtney.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/LARRY RICE HIGH PERFORMANCE HARD CHARGER AWARD: Brady Bacon (18th to 5th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Joe Liguori

FINAL USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP (Presented by TRAXXAS) POINTS: 1-Swanson-650, 2-Coons-562, 3-Windom-525, 4-Grant-470, 5-Byrne-436, 6-Pierce-402, 7-Bobby Santos-350, 8-Moffatt-302, 9-Liguori-295, 10-Damion Gardner-248.

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C.J. Leary won his fourth USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature of the season, and his first at Eldora Speedway, in Saturday's 36th '4-Crown Nationals.' (Vince Vellella Photo)

LEARY LOCKS UP 4TH SPRINT WIN OF SEASON AT ELDORA'S 4-CROWN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio.........On a night when temperatures were more akin to the sweltering summer than a cool, crisp fall September evening, perhaps it came as no surprise that the hottest driver, in terms of USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car wins since the month of July, would feel right his comfort zone.

Yet, he would have to get the job done in circumstances that were all too familiar this season - with Brady Bacon's black No. 63 draped all over his tail tank during the final laps.

But, for the fourth time this season, Leary stood his ground to capture the victory Saturday night in the 36th "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora Speedway, a track that had been cruel to him on occasion over the past few years, including being denied on the final lap for the win in May of 2015.

The driver who passed him that very night was Justin Grant, who, on this night, wasted no time getting to the front on the opening lap as he raced from his outside second row position to split between both Robert Ballou and Chase Stockon on the start to snag the lead. One lap later, fellow second row starter Leary made his surge, sliding by Grant for the lead in turn two.

After getting by Stockon for third, Bacon worked on Grant where they swapped the second spot back and forth until Bacon secured the position with a turn two slider on the 11th lap.

At that point, Leary had begun to gap the field, but as soon as Bacon moved into second, that gap routinely shrunk. With ten to go, Bacon searched high and low in turns three and four while Leary stuck to his guns on the top. However, Leary's lead soon shrunk to a mere car-length in the ensuing laps with a pod of lappers on the not-so-distant horizon.

With two laps remaining, it was gut-check time and thoughts of previous Leary v. Bacon battles from Grandview, Lawrenceburg and Kokomo came rushing back to the mind as both encountered the lapped car of Tyler Thomas in the first turn. Both slid Thomas without hesitation, yet Leary was unrattled in his maneuver and maintained his distance from Bacon as they cleared Thomas, thus preventing the best shot Bacon had at tacking on a second-career "4-Crown" win.

Leary finished strong in the caution-free affair to defeat Bacon by half a second while Ballou, Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Grant rounded out the top-five.

"This place has been escaping me for three years now," Leary exclaimed. "I've run second here it seems like every year. It feels good to finally park this thing down here in victory lane. I can't thank (crew chief) Donnie Gentry, my dad and everybody whose helped us put this operation together."
"These races are tough, especially when you don't really know where the second-place guy is," Leary continued. "I was on cruise control there and, luckily, I had a little bit left in the tank. I had a really good racecar. This is a new DRC. We just built the car this week and, man, is it fast!"

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Eldora Speedway included Brady Bacon (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Brady Bacon (Simpson Race Products Heat 1 Winner), Tyler Courtney (Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 2 Winner), Thomas Meseraull (Chalk Stix Heat 3 Winner), Chris Windom (Indy Race Parts Heat 4 Winner), Matt Westfall (KSE Racing Products/Larry Rice High Performance Hard Charger) and Nick Bilbee (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 23, 2017 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 36th "4-Crown Nationals" - Presented by NKT.TV

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-16.893; 2. Dave Darland, 40, Hery-16.932; 3. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-17.097; 4. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-17.221; 5. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-17.269; 6. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-17.349; 7. Kyle Cummins, 3c, Cummins-17.440; 8. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-17.554; 9. Scotty Weir, 22s, Simon-17.558; 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9k, KT-17.636; 11. Shane Cottle, 57, Hazen-17.663; 12. Tyler Thomas, 17GP, Dutcher-17,667; 13. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-17.733; 14. Nick Bilbee, 17N, Bilbee-17.754; 15. Dallas Hewitt, 18, Keen-17.767; 16. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-17.779; 17. Aric Gentry, 10, Gentry-17.820; 18. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-17.831; 19. Thomas Meseraull, 9x, SC-17.854; 20. Kody Swanson, 20, Nolen-17.939; 21. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-17.946; 22. Gage Etgen, 99, Etgen-18.002; 23. Matt Westfall, 54, Westfall-18.033; 24. Bill Rose, 320, Kissel-18.118; 25. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-18.250; 26. Cooper Clouse, 14, Clouse-18.361; 27. Chad Wilson, 14x, Wilson-18.535; 28. Jake Scott, 4, Scott-18.569; 29. Kirk Jeffries, 59J, Jeffries-18.601; 30. Austin Nemire, 16, Nemire/Yager-18.618; 31. Riley VanHise, 96, VanHise-18.663; 32. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-18.687; 33. Dustin Smith, 77, Gagliardi-18.699; 34. Michael Fischesser, 44s, Fischesser/Owen-18.742; 35. Ty Tilton, 42, Tilton-18.812; 36. Brandon Moore, 1m, Moore-19.109.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Chapple, 3. Gentry, 4. Stockon, 5. Weir, 6. Hodges, 7. Fischesser, 8. Jeffries, 9. Goodnight. 2:27.46

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. K. Thomas, 3. Ballou, 4. Darland, 5. Bilbee, 6. Nemire, 7. Clouse, 8. Etgen, 9. Tilton. 2:29.78

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Meseraull, 2. Cottle, 3. Hewitt, 4. Grant, 5. Wilson, 6. Westfall, 7. Cummins, 8. VanHise, 9. Moore. 2:32.78

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Leary, 3. Boespflug, 4. Rose, 5. T. Thomas, 6. Bell, 7. Swanson, 8. Scott. 2:37.20

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Weir, 2. Swanson, 3. Bilbee, 4. Westfall, 5. Cummins, 6. T. Thomas, 7. Hodges, 8. Fischesser, 9. Clouse, 10. VanHise, 11. Jeffries, 12. Tilton, 13. Etgen, 14. Moore, 15. Goodnight, 16. Scott, 17. Nemire, 18. Bell.

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 5. Justin Grant, 6. Scotty Weir, 7. Chris Windom, 8. Thomas Meseraull, 9. Chase Stockon, 10. Matt Westfall, 11. Shane Cottle, 12. Tyler Courtney, 13. Nick Bilbee, 14. Josh Hodges, 15. Tyler Thomas, 16. Kyle Cummins, 17. Chad Boespflug, 18. Isaac Chapple, 19. Bill Rose, 20. Kody Swanson, 21. Aric Gentry, 22. Dave Darland, 23. Dallas Hewitt. NT
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Grant, Laps 2-30 Leary.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/LARRY RICE HIGH PERFORMANCE HARD CHARGER AWARD: Matt Westfall (21st to 10th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Nick Bilbee

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Grant-1842, 2-Windom-1765, 3-Courtney-1669, 4-Thomas Jr.-1655; 5-Boespflug-1628, 6-Stockon-1568, 7-Leary-1465, 8-Bacon-1410, 9-Ballou-1337, 10-Darland-1191.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 29 - Montpelier (IN) Motor Speedway

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Saturday night at Eldora Speedway, Spencer Bayston became the first driver since Kasey Kahne in 2000 to win the 'Bellvelle Midget Nationals' and the '4-Crown Nationals' midget race in the same season. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

BAYSTON ADDS ANOTHER CROWN JEWEL WITH USAC MIDGET WIN AT ELDORA

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio.........Spencer Bayston's banner year reached a new zenith Saturday night at Eldora Speedway after wiring all 25 laps to win the USAC Midget National Championship portion of the 36th "4-Crown Nationals" presented by NKT.TV.

A day following his 19th birthday, the Lebanon, Indiana resident celebrated in grand style by becoming the first driver to win the "Belleville Midget Nationals" and the Midget feature at the "4-Crown" in the same season since Kasey Kahne in 2000.

After being "high-point man" in his heat race, Bayston earned a spot on the pole position for the main event. On the opening lap, Bayston emerged from a brief four-wide fray in turn one to secure the lead.

Quickly, though, action was halted when fifth-starting Tyler Courtney slowed with an apparent electrical issue to bring out the caution. Courtney attempted to restart, but returned to the pit area moments later just prior to the field taking the green flag with one lap in the books.

On the ensuing restart, Bayston appeared as comfy as could be running the high line that so many had experienced issues without throughout the night. Similar to Belleville, the outside wall served as the cushion and Bayston ran it to within a hair of a whisker's distance from the edge.

Bayston's nearest pursuant just before the midway point was Justin Grant. That is, until he encountered the turn one concrete, climbing up the wall before rotating and landing back on the track's surface. Grant climbed out of the wreckage uninjured, but finished for the event.

The restart saw Bayston break away from second-running Dave Darland who was overtaken by both Shane Golobic, then Brady Bacon who made a valiant charge on the inner rail, getting past Darland exiting turn four to scale his way into the top-three.

Bacon continued to claw on his low-side crawl while Golobic maintained a higher line. Despite roping in Golobic little-by-little over the last several laps and even taking a glimpse at second in turn two on the final lap, Golobic was able to nail down the second position for good.

Yet, up front, nobody else was game for Bayston's flawless rim-riding performance for 25 consecutive laps, taking the victory in front of a massive crowd over Golobic, Bacon, Darland and Tanner Thorson.

With the knocking down of a few key pins on his quest to a possible first series title, Bayston swiftly extended his lead in the championship race to 66 over Bacon with just three races remaining in Wayne City, Ill., Bakersfield, Cal. and Ventura, Cal. On Saturday night, it was all a showcase for Bayston as he dominated from start to finish for his third series victory of the year.

"It makes it easy when you have a good group of guys working behind you. They know what they're doing and it definitely shows," Bayston praises. "I felt so comfortable. We raced here last night in the wing car and didn't do that great, but I really think it helped me. Coming here tonight in the midget, it felt like everything was in slow motion for me."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Eldora Speedway included Dave Darland (Simpson Race Products/Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 1 Winner), Shane Golobic (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts Heat 2 Winner), Holly Shelton (KSE Racing Products/Larry Rice High Performance Hard Charger) and Adam Pierson (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 23, 2017 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 36th "4-Crown Nationals" - Presented by NKT.TV

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS/COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Dave Darland (#91BT Thomas), 2. Tyler Courtney (#7BC Clauson/Marshall), 3. Justin Grant (#39BC Clauson/Marshall), 4. Brady Bacon (#76m FMR), 5. Tanner Thorson (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Chase Jones (#22 Petry/Goff), 7. Tanner Carrick (#71k Kunz/Clauson/Marshall), 8. Brayton Lynch (#1k RKR), 9. Adam Pierson (#76E Mancini). 2:29.81

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Shane Golobic (#17w Clauson/Marshall/Wood), 2. Spencer Bayston (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Chad Boat (#84 Tucker/Boat), 4. Tyler Thomas (#91T Thomas), 5. Jerry Coons Jr. (#25 Petry/Goff), 6. Holly Shelton (#67k Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 7. Alex Bright (#77 Bright), 8. Bear Wood (#8jr LW), 9. Rico Abreu (#97k Kunz/Curb-Agajanian).

FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Spencer Bayston, 2. Shane Golobic, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Tanner Thorson, 6. Holly Shelton, 7. Chad Boat, 8. Tanner Carrick, 9. Tyler Thomas, 10. Alex Bright, 11. Jerry Coons Jr., 12. Brayton Lynch, 13. Adam Pierson, 14. Bear Wood, 15. Chase Jones, 16. Justin Grant, 17. Tyler Courtney. NT
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**Abreu flipped at the start of the second heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Bayston.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/LARRY RICE HIGH PERFORMANCE HARD CHARGER AWARD: Holly Shelton (13th to 6th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Adam Pierson

NEW USAC NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bayston-1363, 2-Bacon-1297, 3-Golobic-1286, 4-Thorson-1256, 5-Courtney-1200, 6-Grant-1198, 7-Boat-1084, 8-Shelton-988, 9-Carrick-906, 10-Coons-846.

NEXT USAC NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: October 22 - Wayne City, IL - Wayne County Speedway - "Jason Leffler Memorial"

Rico Abreu returns to Eldora Speedway this Saturday night to defend
his '4-Crown Nationals' USAC National Midget victory. (Rich Forman Photo)



A USAC RACING FEAST: 36TH 4-CROWN NATIONALS ARRIVE AT ELDORA SATURDAY

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Only one event brings together USAC's best of the best from a variety of disciplines. Only one event brings all three of USAC's national divisions together at one venue. Only one event showcases what race fans could only dream of: a racer's delight featuring a pit overflowing with the baddest racing machines on planet earth.

All converge on Eldora Speedway this Saturday night, September 23rd for the 36th running of the "4-Crown Nationals" - a grand event that's seen its share of heroes instantly become legends at this fabled dirt track stadium. You could say to win one of these is a feather in a driver's cap or, in this case, a prong on their crown.

At press time, the only one anticipated to go for all four crowns is Brady Bacon. The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native picked up a sprint car win on this weekend under the sunshine on his way to the series title in 2014.

Among his arsenal this weekend is the Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise No. 199, the very same team that's won the last three 4-Crown Silver Crown events with drivers Jerry Coons, Jr. in 2014, Christopher Bell in 2015 and Chris Windom in 2016. Bacon is still seeking career Silver Crown victory number one.

4-Crown weekend last year was the beginning of Justin Grant and Sam McGhee Motorsports' winning ways. After capturing the victory in the 2016 sprint portion, the team has carried the momentum into 2017 where they won at Eldora earlier this May and have been at the top of the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car standings since day one.

Chris Windom trails Grant by 70, but Eldora and, specifically the 4-Crown, have been kind to him over the years. The Canton, Illinois driver picked off both the Sprint Car and Silver Crown features in 2013, the most recent driver to win both of those particular features in the same night.

Rocklin, California's Robert Ballou followed up Grant's victory in May at Eldora with a win the next night in the series' last visit to the Big E. Five of Ballou's 28 career USAC National Sprint Car victories have come at Eldora, including his first three as well as the 4-Crown a decade ago back in 2007.

Fellow Californian Thomas Meseraull finally broke through for his first USAC National Sprint Car win at the 2015 "4-Crown." Since then, he's become one of the series' most spectacular, highly-acclaimed drivers. This Saturday, he's aboard the SC Racing No. 9x, which he started last year's event in from the front row.

Only Jack Hewitt owns more 4-Crown victories than Dave Darland's 14, half of which have come at the 4-Crown. The "People's Champ" from Lincoln, Indiana aims to make this weekend's stop the place to extend his record streak of consecutive seasons with a USAC National win from 24 to 25.

Like Darland, the versatile Jerry Coons, Jr. has also won his fair share at the 4-Crown with four victories in the midget, sprint and Silver Crown divisions and currently runs second in the Silver Crown standings aboard Gene Nolen's #20 behind Kody Swanson.

Swanson has yet to win a USAC race at Eldora, last scoring a pair of runner-up finishes during the 2015 4-Crown in both DePalma Motorsports' sprint car and Silver Crown car. This Saturday, he makes his USAC debut under the Nolen Racing banner behind the wheel of the team's new Maxim Sprint Car with which he recorded a victory with in a non-sanctioned event at Lawrenceburg Speedway last weekend.

As the Kingsburg, California native closes out another banner season by wrapping up his third Silver Crown title in a four-year span, another past USAC champ and two-time 4-Crown winner makes his 4-Crown return in Keith Kunz's top-notch midget as well as his own sprinter in the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions portion of the program.

The always-exciting Rutherford, California native swept last year's midget program with fast time, a heat win and a stirring drive in the feature to back up his victory in 2013.

Spectator gates open Saturday at noon. An autograph session featuring USAC's drivers will begin in the fan zone located between turns three and four. The drivers meeting will take place at 4pm with cars hitting the track at 4:30pm. Racing is scheduled to start at 8pm.

Adult general admission tickets are $30. General admission for children age 12 and under is FREE! Reserved seating for adults is $34 with reserved tickets for children age 12 and under just $14.

All drivers competing in the 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway this Saturday must fill out a membership. NO COST! Please fill out the driver info portion of the sheet, print off and bring with you to the track. The form can be found at www.eldoraspeedway.com/forms/competitor-membership-app.pdf.

The United States Auto Club.

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

THOMAS GETS TRI-STATE REVENGE; DEFEATS CUMMINS BY 0.053 SECONDS TO WIN "HAUBSTADT HUSTLER"

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Haubstadt, Indiana.....September 16, 2017 - Kevin Thomas, Jr. was bound and determined not to let history repeat itself in Saturday night's USAC AMSOIL National/MSCS Sprint Car "Haubstadt Hustler" at Tri-State Speedway.

For the second time in a row at the southwestern Indiana quarter-mile paperclip, a green-white-checker duel for the victory came down to he and July Tri-State winner Kyle Cummins.

The setting was the same in the Thomas v. Cummins sequel on the final restart. Thomas led Cummins when the green flag dropped, but heading into the final corner on the final lap, the roles became reversed when Thomas responded to Cummins' final haymaker by crossing underneath off turn four to defeat Cummins by the blink of an eye, a scant margin of 0.053 seconds to win the $12,500 prize.


Kevin Thomas, Jr. (in black) defeats Kyle Cummins to the line by 0.053 seconds to win Saturday night's USAC AMSOIL National/MSCS Sprint Car
'Haubstadt Hustler' at Tri-State Speedway. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

"You have to restart on a very racy racetrack with Kyle Cummins on your tail, what do you do," Thomas pondered. "You just got to drive your (rear) off and hope for the best. These guys gave me a great racecar. To set up a car here to run 40 laps with as much as the track changes, that's pretty amazing. Hats off to them for reading the racetrack right and making all the right changes. Kyle Cummins is the king of this place. To beat him here doesn't happen very often and, last time, it didn't happen."

In fact, it was even a similar scenario as the night before at the Terre Haute Action Track. Thomas led until four laps to go when Chris Windom used a slider to get by for the top spot. Thomas didn't have much of an opportunity to respond as he ran out of fuel two laps short of the finish. At Tri-State, lack of fuel came into play on the 40th and final lap. Another lap or another caution would've spelled doom for the Cullman, Alabama native who freely admitted in the post-race that his first investment is going to be the purchase of a larger tail tank heading into next Saturday's "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora Speedway.

"I had to get going, so I tightened myself up and gave it as much throttle as I could to keep the wheels spinning," Thomas detailed. "I slung it in there and hoped for the best. All you can do here is choose the right line. The bottom started to dry up a little bit, so I tightened up and got some momentum. Going down the back straight on the last lap, I ran out of fuel. Cummins slid me getting into turn three, but the car picked up just enough to cross him under and get the bite coming off the corner to get back by him. Honestly, if he doesn't mess up or wheelie, he wins that race."

With all of his past accolades at Tri-State, Cummins was odds-on favorite after picking up the $500 Unique Breedz bonus for recording ProSource Fast Qualifying time, then winning his heat race. After pole-sitter C.J. Leary's car jumped out of gear as he led the field into turn one on the opening lap, the inside rows were moved up, placing Cummins in the envious position on the pole.

However, Thomas wouldn't let Cummins get away scot-free as he ran him down from his outside second row starting position, making the move for the lead with an inside turn two pass on the fourth circuit.

Thomas immediately stretched his lead out to as much as a half-straightaway over Cummins during the next few laps. Yet, the faster you break away, the faster you enter lap traffic, which Thomas did on lap 15. However, Thomas seemingly caught a break when the yellow flag waved for the stopped car of Shane Cottle in turn one, erasing the potential hazard of wading through the lappers for the time-being.

Thomas was gone again when he saw green on the lap 16 restart, but once again, eight laps later, just as Thomas was about to encounter the tail-end of the field, another yellow forced the stoppage of action when Jon Stanbrough spun off turn four in front of the second-place cars of Cummins and Thomas Meseraull, forcing the two to take evasive action to escape unscathed.

With that said, Cummins felt the traffic wouldn't have made much of a difference at that point in the race as his car hadn't fully came to him yet.

"Even in traffic, he was still better," Cummins credits Thomas. "In traffic, I still wasn't catching him. As the race went on, the car got a little bit better. I was always just bound up a little too tight. Once he passed me, I'm half throttle trying not to wheelie. I knew he was going to be quicker at the get-go. I kind of let him get out front there. Forty laps is a long race and I knew once it got slick, we were going to have a better car."

On the other hand, Thomas has a love-hate relationship with the lapped cars and, just like many things in racing, sometimes they can help in one instance and may be a hindrance on another occasion.

"Sometimes I like lap traffic and sometimes I don't," Thomas admits. "Tonight, a few of those times, I liked it. Then, there were a couple times, they were three-wide and there was nowhere to go. If you made one mistake and pushed, Kyle Cummins is going to peel your stickers off on his way by. You have to focus so hard on, not necessarily hitting your marks, but keeping your car rotated. You have to run the car so tight here. The corners are so sharp that, if you make a mistake, you'll push for a hundred yards it feels like. It's a big concentration track. It's mentally and physically tough. It's 40 laps around this place as hard as you can go. There's no cruising whatsoever. You're always working at the wheel."

On a restart with 13 laps remaining following a Dakota Jackson spin, Cummins finally stuck close to Thomas when the field got up to speed. For the next eight laps, Cummins was just two car-lengths away as both rode the lip of the cushion, ready to strike when opportunity arose until Dave Darland's left rear tire went flat with four to go, leaving rubber scattered on the racing surface to bring out the yellow once again.

On the lap 37 resumption, Thomas responded with a great restart, gapping Cummins by about four car-lengths over the next two trips around the oval. With two to go, Thomas' recurring nightmare reemerged when yet another late-race caution interrupted his run to the checker. The four-car incident in turn four involved Josh Hodges, Chase Stockon, Donny Brackett and Isaac Chapple. All were able to restart.

Once again, Thomas was set up in a green-white-checker situation with Tri-State Speedway master Kyle Cummins breathing down his HANS device. Thomas didn't exactly know who was behind him on the final restart, but he had an inkling.

"These corners are so sharp, you can turn your head and see a color of a car," Thomas explained. "On that longer green flag run toward the end, I could see a big white car. I just knew that had to be Cummins. It always is. Near the end, I kept looking back and I didn't see a white car, but I knew he didn't drop out, so I had the feeling he was on my tail."

Cummins threw his first shot heading into turn one on the restart, sliding past Thomas momentarily before snagging the turn two cushion with the right rear.

"I knew if I could break his momentum and get in front of him, he wouldn't be able to catch me," Cummins believed. "It was like we were the same speed. I knew I couldn't slide him. On the restart, I knew I was going to have to do something. I was all over him when we took the green. I got just enough of a run and just threw it in there. When I came up there, I was hard on the throttle and I was just trying to touch the cushion a little bit. It threw the front end and got me behind. If I wouldn't have messed the cushion up, I would've been a lot closer and I think it would've been a lot better."

Yet Cummins wasn't completely out of the picture frame. As he fell back roughly five to six car-lengths, he shadowed Thomas for a full circuit before sizing up his next move midway down the back straightaway on the final lap. At the same moment, Thomas was experiencing issues of his own.

"I had to get going, so I tightened myself up and gave it as much throttle as I could to keep the wheels spinning," Thomas details. "I slung it in there and hoped for the best. All you can do here is choose the right line. The bottom started to dry up a little bit, so I tightened up and got some momentum. But going down the back straight, that's when I ran out of fuel."

Cummins quickly erased the gap as he threw his car to the bottom on the entry to turn three as Thomas rode the cushion, surprising even Cummins to an extent.

"I thought there was no way I'd be that close to him," Cummins admitted. "I'm like 'where'd he go?'

Cummins took over the lead when he slid up in front of Thomas at the exit of turn four. Thomas quickly countered under Cummins and, in a drag race to the line, defeated Cummins by a mere 0.053 seconds to win his second "Haubstadt Hustler." Meseraull, Chet Williams and Tyler Courtney rounded out the top-five.


Kevin Thomas, Jr. (middle) proudly displays the $12,500 combined prizes for winning Saturday night's 'Haubstadt Hustler' at Tri-State Speedway. Thomas is joined in victory lane by second-place finisher Kyle Cummins (right) and third-place finisher Thomas Meseraull. (David Nearpass Photo)

Thomas picked up his third USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car points-paying feature of the year in his KT Motorsports/Jeff's Jam-It-In Storage - Abreu Vineyards/DRC/Speedway Chevy. It marked the first National victory with newly-hired crew chief Davey Jones who the team brought aboard during USAC/CRA's "California Sprint Week" a couple weeks back, marking three wins out of six for the combo since joining forces.

After throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Thomas on the final restart, Princeton, Indiana's Cummins came up just short, finishing in the runner-up position in his Rock Steady Racing/Debra Corn Foster Care - ProGlide Bearings/Mach-1/Cummins.

Throughout the race, Cummins' mount continually got better and better, but was quite a handful at the beginning of the 40-lapper.

"I knew at the beginning we were going to be way too tight," Cummins acknowledges. "The track looked like it had moisture, but then I thought it was going to blow off a little bit better, so we tightened it up quite a bit more. At the beginning, I had to be careful. The car was wanting to wheelie. I thought as the race went on, every time we had a yellow, the car got a little better."

"We know next time to go ahead and keep it a little looser," Cummins said in retrospect. "I got it as loose as I could with the shocks. At the end, I just got it to where it was good. If we had a chance to do it all over again, it would've been so much better. But at the last race, we said 'this is what we're going to do. We're going to tighten her up just a hair more.' But the track just didn't get slick enough for us. On the last lap, I didn't think it was even going to be close. I was so tight, even the middle was decent. But, now we know for the next time and we'll get it a little looser."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Tri-State Speedway included Kyle Cummins (Unique Breedz/ProSource Fast Qualifier & Indy Race Parts Heat 4 winner), Chet Williams (13th Fastest Qualifier - Free Right Rear Tire from Roger & Barb Tapy), Thomas Meseraull (Simpson Race Products Heat 1 Winner), Chet Williams (Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 2 Winner), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Chalk Stix Heat 3 Winner), Brady Short (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Dave Darland (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 16, 2017 - Haubstadt, Indiana - Tri-State Speedway - "Haubstadt Hustler" (Co-Sanctioned by MSCS)

UNIQUE BREEDZ/PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Rock Steady-13.624; 2. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-13.843; 3. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-13.916; 4. Shane Cottle, 57, Hazen-13.942; 5. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-14.032; 6. Stephen Schnapf, 61m, Schnapf-14.046; 7. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-14.126; 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-14.126; 9. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-14.180; 10. Aric Gentry, 10, Gentry-14.185; 11. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.202; 12. Dave Darland, 17GP, Dutcher-14.238; 13. Chet Williams, 38, Williams-14.285; 14. Carson Short, 21, RCM-14.305; 15. Brian Karraker, 23, Karraker-14.339; 16. Brady Short, 11p, Pottorff-14.368; 17. Scotty Weir, 17G, On The Gass-14.388; 18. Dakota Jackson, 3, Jackson-14.396; 19. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-14.417; 20. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-14.448; 21. Donny Brackett, 4B, Brackett-14.476; 22. Kendall Ruble, 17, Ruble-14.492; 23. Mario Clouser, 6, MCM-14.504; 24. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-14.639; 25. Thomas Meseraull, 5B, Briscoe-14.643; 26. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-14.670; 27. Collin Ambrose, 36, Ambrose-14.714; 28. Jon Stanbrough, 81, Stanbrough-14.819; 29. Kent Schmidt, 5K, Schmidt-15.050; 30. Ben Knight, 45K, Knight-16.114; 31. Jeff Pritchett, 2J, Pritchett-NT; 32. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Meseraull, 2. Brackett, 3. Hodges, 4. Stanbrough, 5. Mattox, 6. Ambrose, 7. Knight, 8. Pritchett. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Williams, 2. Leary, 3. Chapple, 4. Courtney, 5. Boespflug, 6. Clouser, 7. Schmidt, 8. Karraker. NT

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Stockon, 3. Gentry, 4. Jackson, 5. Darland, 6. C. Short, 7. B. Short, 8. Weir. 2:20.46

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT (10 laps): 1. Cummins, 2. Grant, 3. Cottle, 4. Windom, 5. Ballou, 6. Bacon, 7. Schnapf, 8. Ruble. 2:17.45

SEMI (12 laps) 1. Boespflug, 2. Ballou, 3. C. Short, 4. Darland, 5. B. Short, 6. Mattox, 7. Weir, 8. Bacon, 9. Schanpf, 10. Ruble, 11. Ambrose, 12. Clouser, 13. Schmidt, 14. Knight, 15. Pritchett. NT

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. Kyle Cummins, 3. Thomas Meseraull, 4. Chet Williams, 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Chris Windom, 7. Brady Short, 8. Robert Ballou, 9. C.J. Leary, 10. Justin Grant, 11. Chad Boespflug, 12. Carson Short, 13. Dave Darland, 14. Donny Brackett, 15. Chase Stockon, 16. Isaac Chapple, 17. Josh Hodges, 18. Brady Bacon, 19. Dakota Jackson, 20. Aric Gentry, 21. Brandon Mattox, 22. Jon Stanbrough, 23. Shane Cottle, 24. Kendall Ruble. NT
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**Karraker flipped during the second heat. Knight flipped during the semi.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Cummins, Laps 4-40 Thomas.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Brady Short (21st to 7th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Dave Darland

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1-Grant-1775, 2-Windom-1705, 3-Courtney-1622, 4-Boespflug-1593, 5-K. Thomas-1587, 6-Stockon-1515, 7-Leary-1385, 8-Bacon-1329, 9-Ballou-1266, 10-Darland-1158.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 23 - Eldora Speedway - Rossburg, Ohio - 36th "4-Crown Nationals"

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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WINDOM STRIKES AGAIN FOR 2ND STRAIGHT "JIM HURTUBISE CLASSIC" VICTORY

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Terre Haute, Indiana......September 15, 2017 - Since its inception more than six decades ago, the Terre Haute Action Track has had distinct eras that seem to resonate with a particular driver.

Lately, this era at the famed half-mile dirt oval has belonged to Chris Windom who ran fourth with just four laps remaining and used a daring late-race move on Kevin Thomas, Jr. to capture his third-straight USAC victory at Terre Haute in Friday night's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car "Jim Hurtubise Classic" aboard the Baldwin Brothers Racing/Fox Paving - AMSOIL/DRC/Claxton Mopar.

The Windom/Baldwin connection has now netted four USAC Sprint Car feature wins at Terre Haute dating to 2011. The victory also allowed Windom to join Jack Hewitt as just the second driver to win the "Hurtubise Classic" three times. Windom also became the first to win back-to-back "Hurtubise Classic" races since Hewitt in 1990-1991.

Chris Windom joined Jack Hewitt as the second three-time winner of the 'Jim Hurtubise Classic' with Friday night's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track.
(Gene Crucean Photo)

"This place is special to me," Windom praised. "Crew chief Derek (Claxton) and I are always good here. Even when we don't have the fastest car, we just dig deep at the end of the race and get the wins here. I wish we could race here about ten times a year!"

Terre Haute served as a sweet renaissance for the Canton, Illinois driver who hadn't been victorious in the series in nearly three months. Although, the 30-lap feature wouldn't start as triumphantly for the second-place driver in the series standings as it would turn out.

For much of the race, Thomas maintained the dominant car. In the first half, Thomas was clicking off laps a half-second faster than second-running Robert Ballou as he extended his lead to a full-straightaway by the seventh lap.

By the 12th lap, Windom had worked his way to third with a turn two slider on Aaron Farney, then set forth on a mission to run down Thomas and Ballou running one-two.

By mid-race, Ballou was able to hang with Thomas, staying within three car-lengths from the tail of the 9K as the cushion pushed all the way to the concrete at the exits of turns two and four while the two past Action Track winners worked the tail end of lapped traffic. Thomas continuously gapped himself from Ballou by chipping away one car at a time, first getting around the outside of Chapple exiting turn four. As soon as Ballou cleared Chapple, Thomas had regained precious ground once again by diving under Mario Clouser in turn three to pin Ballou, the 2015 USAC champ, behind the trailing car.

With six laps remaining, Windom traded sliders with Farney and fell to fourth where he would remain with four laps to go with the race seemingly out of reach. However, a domino of circumstances befell the front runners to aid Windom's resurgent emergence. First, as Ballou worked on Thomas for the race lead, his right rear tire gave way, sending him to the infield work area for fresh rubber, thus, relegating him to the tail for the lap 27 resumption.

Though standing third in line on the restart behind Thomas and Farney, Windom knew this was the moment of attack to have any chance at victory. Windom dove to the bottom of turn one as the green dropped, disposing of Farney and pulling alongside Thomas before falling back into line in second behind Thomas exiting the second turn.

However, the move would quickly be negated as Chapple slowed to a stop in turn two, sending Windom back to third and forcing him to repeat the exercise once again.

On take two, it appeared to be a carbon copy of the events that had just transpired moments before. Windom dove to the bottom of one, leaving Farney behind as he went toe-to-toe with Thomas before ducking in behind the leader exiting two. That's where he knew his golden opportunity had arrived.

"I just tucked in behind KT and there was a little strip of rubber off turn two you could catch," Windom explained. "I caught that and slid him going into turn three. For the first three-quarters of the race, we weren't the best car, but sometimes on those late-race restarts, you just got to dig deep and make something of it. I knew that was my only shot to get there and I knew there was less than five to go. I knew I had to do something."

Shortly thereafter, on lap 28, second-running Thomas began to slow coming off turn two with, as it turns out, a lack of fuel. That created a bunch up that collected Thomas, the third-place running car of Farney and fourth-running Boespflug who all climbed over each other to varying degrees down the back straightway, yet all remained afloat and continued. Eighth running Shane Cottle wasn't as fortunate, though, and came to a stop while trying to avoid the wreckage to no avail.

On the ensuing restart, Windom broke away while second-running Thomas coasted on fumes to the inside and Boespflug slid by Farney for the runner-up spot. Tyler Courtney and Justin Grant would follow suit on the final lap to take over third and fourth, respectively, as Farney fell to fifth.

Meanwhile, Windom rose head and shoulders above the fray to win by a tick under two seconds over Boespflug, Courtney, Grant and Farney, who gingerly walked away from a nasty-looking barrel-roll flip down the front straightaway underneath the checkered flag after contact with Grant. Farney climbed from the car under his own power, but was transported to the hospital for further observation.

'This place is special to me,' Windom praised. 'Crew chief Derek (Claxton) and I are always good here. Even when we don't have the fastest car, we just dig deep at the end of the race and get the wins here. I wish we could race here about ten times a year!'
(David Nearpass Photo)

For the second year in a row, Hanford, California's Chad Boespflug finished in the runner-up position behind Windom in the "Hurtubise Classic." This occasion occurred under different circumstances as Boespflug utilized a brand-new crew after shuffling the deck in an attempt to right the ship that had seen its share of choppy waters over the past several weeks in his Dynamics, Inc./Mean Green - PAC Springs/Maxim/Claxton.

"We made some changes over the past couple weeks," Boespflug acknowledges. "We're just trying to get things fun and exciting again. I hired Robert (Brown) and A.J. (Parker) to come help. Things went well tonight right from the start. In hot laps, we didn't have the speed we wanted, but we found something pretty good for qualifying and just continued to progress. It's comforting to work with Robert at such a fast pace to get this thing comfortable. We were actually too good early and really good at the end. The car definitely came to us in the end. It's good to finally run second again after running so terribly the past month and a half or so. It's been pretty up and down to run second, then run bad, then good, then bad."

"Early in the night with a new crew, it can definitely make you tentative, I guess, especially with the tendencies the car has had in the past several races," Boespflug believes. "I tip-toed into it and wasn't as comfortable as I wanted to be early. In qualifying, we made the right changes, got it great and made another good, big change for the heat race. At that point, I had a lot of confidence in what Robert was going to do next. Were we a second-place car? I think we were close, at least third if everything worked out. I'll take it any way I can get it. It's a race to the end, not the middle."

Following a pair of victories in the two most recent series races at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway in August, Tyler Courtney emerged from his 16th starting position to score a solid third in his TOPP Motorsports/TOPP Performance Race Parts - Custom Pump & Controls/Maxim/Gaerte by TOPP.

"We have a really good racecar," Courtney stated. "I put us behind the eight ball in qualifying. It's not what you want to do at a place like this, especially without cautions. We were mired back there in 10th or 11th. With some luck on those cautions, it really played into our hands. You have to get every spot you can if you want a chance (at the championship) at the end of the year, but it's tough when Chris (Windom) and Justin (Grant) run top-five too."

"We had to run everywhere guys weren't," Courtney said. "I made sure that if I had to wait one more lap to get a better run to make sure I cleared a guy so I don't have to mess with him again after that. On restarts, I made sure to protect myself or, if I got a really good run into one, I'd try to kill a guy's momentum and slide him off into one, then hopefully clear him off of two and get the rubber coming off to propel down the back straight. It was tricky to not blow through it and to make sure not to run over the guy you're sliding because you knew he was going to have a run coming down the hill. Luckily, we were in the right place at the right time. A couple times, guys were banging wheels there, but we came out mostly unscathed. We had a couple dings and dents here and there, but that's racing. Sixteenth to third, coming off two wins and another podium, you can't be disappointed about that."

Contingency award winners Friday night at Terre Haute included Robert Ballou (B & W Auto Mart/ProSource Fast Qualifier), Chris Windom (Simpson Race Products Heat 1 Winner), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 2 Winner), Chase Stockon (Chalk Stix Heat 3 Winner), Justin Grant (Indy Race Parts Semi Winner), Brady Bacon (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Jarett Andretti (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 15, 2017 - Terre Haute, Indiana - Terre Haute Action Track - "Jim Hurtubise Classic"

B & W AUTO MART & PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-20.477; 2. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-20.602; 3. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-20.674; 4. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-20.873; 5. Aaron Farney, 15F, DCT-20.880; 6. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-20.953; 7. Scotty Weir, 17G, On The Gass-21.069; 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-21.083; 9. Dave Darland, 17GP, Dutcher-21.136; 10. Jon Stanbrough, 81, Stanbrough-21.225; 11. Mario Clouser, 6, MCM-21.238; 12. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-21.263; 13. Carson Short, 21, RCM-21.307; 14. Shane Cottle, 57, Hazen-21.316; 15. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-21.418; 16. Nate McMillin, 24, McMillin-21.516; 17. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-21.529; 18. Aric Gentry, 10, Gentry-21,588; 19. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-21.735; 20. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-21.767; 21. J.J. Hughes, 76, Hughes-21.779; 22. Patrick Budde, 90, Budde-21.982; 23. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-22.101; 24. Steve Thomas, 20, Thomas-22.404; 25. Kyle Robbins, 17R, Robbins-22.457; 26. Eric Burns, 99, Gasway/Rolison-23.996. (Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-21.986-Time Disallowed).

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Stanbrough, 3. Ballou, 4. Short, 5. Weir, 6. Mattox, 7. McMillin, 8. Robbins, 9. Budde. 2:51.95

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. K. Thomas, 2. Courtney, 3. Cottle, 4. Leary, 5. Farney, 6. Grant, 7. Chapple, 8. Clouser, 9. Burns. 2:52.56

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Bacon, 3. Boespflug, 4. Darland, 5. Gentry, 6. Hodges, 7. Andretti, 8. Hughes, 9. S. Thomas. 2:56.68

INDY RACE PARTS SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Grant, 2. Hodges, 3. Andretti, 4. Clouser, 5. Chapple. 6. Hughes, 7. Robbins, 8. Mattox. 9. McMillin, 10. Budde, 11. S. Thomas. 12. Burns. 4:34.38

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Chad Boespflug, 3. Tyler Courtney, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Aaron Farney, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Brady Bacon, 8. Scotty Weir, 9. C.J. Leary, 10. Dave Darland, 11. Jon Stanbrough, 12. Robert Ballou, 13. Jarett Andretti, 14. Josh Hodges, 15. Carson Short, 16. Kyle Robbins, 17. Mario Clouser, 18. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 19. Shane Cottle, 20. J.J. Hughes, 21. Isaac Chapple, 22. Aric Gentry. NT
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**Farney flipped at the checkered flag.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-26 K. Thomas, Laps 27-30 Windom.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Brady Bacon (22nd to 7th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Jarett Andretti

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1-Grant-1732, 2-Windom-1650, 3-Courtney-1564; 4-Boespflug-1552, 5-K. Thomas-1519, 6-Stockon-1482, 7-Leary-1339, 8-Bacon-1302, 9-Ballou-1217, 10-Andretti-1145.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 16 - Haubstadt, Indiana - Tri-State Speedway - "Haubstadt Hustler" - Co-sanctioned by MSCS

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

USAC EAST COAST SPRINT CARS SET TO DEBUT IN 2018

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

USAC Sprint Car racing is coming eastbound on a full-time basis in 2018 when the newly-formed USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series makes its debut.

USAC's newest division joins the slate after series director Curt Michael and the United Racing Club conducted a pair of wingless sprint car events during the 2017 season.

"The very first one at Big Diamond, we had 16 cars and the place was packed," Michael explained. "(The promoter) took two races this year because he's seen it's something to build on. The next time out at Path Valley, we had 26 cars and I think it's only going to get better."

Michael believes the series, which will utilize engines that are 360 c.i., 358 and under in size, creates a place for young drivers competing in wingless micros to step up to where they can run sprint cars without the wing, a foundation he saw being laid down in this past year's events.

"They're cool cars and it's different," Michael said of wingless sprint car racing. "The biggest thing is these kids coming up are racing 600 micros, 270s and SpeedSTRs. It's a big thing in the lower ranks. We brought in a whole bunch of new guys to race with us this year. It didn't hurt URC's wing deal. We even had a couple wingless guys buy wing cars."

The East Coast and, particularly, the state of Pennsylvania is obviously well-known for wing sprint car racing. Michael, who, himself, has made a living racing with the wing as a 9-time URC champion and will continue to race with URC in addition to his new side endeavor leading the USAC East Coast Sprint Cars, sees an opportunity for a different breed of racing to feed the appetite of drivers, teams and fans in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware region.

"I know there's a lot of classes and that's a bad thing in racing," Michael admits. "But on the east coast, nobody can tell me where to go to see wingless sprint cars. It's one thing we don't have out here yet, but it seems like fans and racers want it. There's no doubt about it that it's cheaper. I've done both now. It's less fuel, it's easier on the tires, you don't need wings and you don't need a big trailer. I'm not putting down the wing deal, but it's a fact. It's cheaper to run a wingless sprint car."

Michael is adamant that the USAC East Coast Sprint Cars will not be competing with URC, where he serves as vice-president. The wingless series will be competing on URC's open weekends. A full 2018 schedule is in the works and will be announced at a later date.

"It just seems like it would be best if I did it on my own on the side and didn't book against URC races," Michael explained. "I'm hoping both series will help each other. URC is known as a wing series, which it will remain, and the USAC East Coast Sprint Cars will be the wingless series."

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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SWANSON A SHOE-IN WITH TED HORN 100 WIN AT Du QUOIN

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois...September 3, 2017-Over the past eight seasons, Kody Swanson has steadily climbed the ranks to become the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car presented by TRAXXAS division’s second winningest driver. The foundation for the Kingsburg, California native’s remarkable run of success in the decade of the 2010s was laid at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds where he notched victory number one back in 2010.

Since then, Swanson had picked up 17 additional series victories, including seven more on one-mile dirt ovals. Yet, another win at Du Quoin had eluded him until Sunday night when the two-time series champ flipped on the figurative switch in his patented style with less than ten laps remaining, passing Jeff Swindell in traffic to win his second career “Ted Horn 100” in his DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital – Hampshire Racing Engines/Maxim/Hampshire Chevy.

“To have a chance to win any Silver Crown race is a neat opportunity. To drive this car and win for this team is special no matter where it is. We’ve been fast here a number of times, but just couldn’t catch the breaks,” Swanson recalls. “There’s a lot that can happen that can take you out of a Silver Crown race. That’s why they’re so special when you do get them. Tonight, it was a battle. There’s so many good cars nowadays, you don’t get to rest or ride to save your tires.”

Among those good cars running up front early on was C.J. Leary who led the opening seven laps from the outside of the front row before Swanson ripped the top spot away briefly on lap eight with an inside pass coming out of turn four. Leary immediately responded by snatching the lead back away from Swanson on the outside into turn one where he would lead through the 22nd circuit.

As opposed to starting 28th such as he did at Springfield, Swindell didn’t have as much traffic to wade his way through this time around following a solid sixth-place qualifying effort. Just shy of a quarter-way through the 100-miler, Swindell rode the inner rail inside turn two past Leary to capture the lead and, by lap 30, had built up a half-straightaway cushion.

After halfway, Swanson put a charge on Leary just as Swindell did earlier, getting underneath in turn two to grab the second spot where he would remain until the final restart brought out by the slowing car of Robert Ballou in turn three, which bunched up the field and erased Swindell’s sizable advantage.

On the lap 77 restart, Swindell shot away just as he had done time-and-time again, slamming the screen door shut behind him before his followers even had a chance to react. Third-running Chris Windom did react though when Swanson stumbled in second. Windom dove inside on the front straightaway to take second and began his pursuit on Swindell for the race lead.

A repeat of last year’s epic duel between Swindell and Windom commenced, but a bid for a second consecutive Windom victory at the “Magic Mile” ended abruptly just four laps later, on lap 81, when he began to slow coming off turn four before pulling into the infield, sidelining him for the night. Swanson inherited second with 19 laps remaining, but had a half-straightaway of ground to erase to catch up with Swindell, plus the issue he encountered on the restart that he couldn’t immediately identify.

“I didn’t know if we had a bleeder stick or what,” Swanson explains. “As we were coming to green, I came over the radio and said ‘hey, you got to keep an eye out because something’s wrong.’ I don’t know what happened to the car, but it felt like it was down on the left side. I didn’t know if we had a torsion bar stop or something going funny. With us being so loose with the tire situation we had, I didn’t think we were ever going to see Windom again. I still don’t know if we would’ve if he hadn’t had that trouble.”

“After the race, I saw the left rear go flat,” Swanson added. “We were loose, way worse than we had been all race long. The longer we ran, the better we got, but we were still not the same as we had been throughout the middle of the race. I just had my fingers crossed that we wouldn’t have another caution.”

Swanson’s wish would be granted as the race would continue without a yellow, but it did force he and Swindell to maneuver through the throes of heavy lapped traffic in the final ten-lap run which was to Swanson’s advantage and Swindell’s disadvantage.

On the 91st lap, Swindell had trouble negotiating the lapped car of Aaron Pierce in turn three. As he stepped to the outside of Pierce, that opened the door for Swanson to capitalize on the bottom to snare the lead away with nine laps remaining. Swindell didn’t go away lightly as he came back a lap later to avenge his turn three defeat to no avail.

“It was tough trying to track down Jeff,” Swanson said. “Those guys were really good all day. Yeah, we run for the championship, but I want to win races. I said ‘it’s time to lay it down. I don’t know if the tires are going to last or not, but I want to try to win.’ It took everything we had to try to catch up. As we got loose, I had to keep moving, keep changing my line a little bit and try to figure how you can help your racecar. We got a little better just in time. I got a little bit of a run on him and closed enough to where if something happened, hopefully we could capitalize and we did.”

A lap later, Swanson knew if he didn’t get through the lappers in a timely manner, he could envision Swindell doing the same thing that just occurred to him. Swanson went on the aggressive heading into turn three, splitting through the middle between David Shain and Joey Moughan to escape Swindell who saw access to the opening close in a hurry.

“Lapped traffic is so tough on these miles,” Swanson said. “The way the racetrack is, as narrow as it gets, makes it hard to predict. We were able to capitalize on a moment there in lapped traffic and get to the lead. I got stuck a few laps later and was worried if I didn’t make the right decisions, Jeff would return the favor. I had to make a pretty big move down the backstretch by splitting between two lapped cars. I don’t know if that was a good idea or not, but tonight, it worked out. Maybe that was what sealed the deal.”

That move and the clearing of J.C. Bland - the final car in the pack - provided Swanson a road paved in gold toward the finish line where he finished off his fourth win of the season by five seconds over Shane Cockrum, who got by Swindell for second with four laps remaining. Swindell took third ahead of C.J. Leary and ProSource pole winner Jerry Coons, Jr.

Local favorite Shane Cockrum of Benton, Illinois, finished a season-best second in his Hardy Boys Motorsports/Financial Transportation Services – Infinity Shocks/Maxim/Claxton Chevy. Top-tier finishes have become commonplace for Cockrum at Du Quoin in recent years, but the two-time “Ted Horn 100” winner’s bid to even compete on Sunday was up in the air until recently after brake and engine issues at Springfield gave the team a major setback. The team loaned an engine from Carli Motorsports that had previously been used by Justin Grant to sit on the pole at Syracuse and Springfield in recent years and was the powerplant of choice for Tracy Hines’ final Silver Crown on the Belleville (Kans.) High Banks in 2013.

“I want to thank the Carli bunch again,” Cockrum praised. “To loan a motor out that may potentially outrun them, hats off to them. If it wouldn’t have been for them, we wouldn’t even be out here.”

Annually, there is no louder cheer for anyone than there is for Cockrum at Du Quoin as a large throng of fans certainly had something to cheer about this night with a runner-up finish.

“I go to all the miles and I don’t think there’s anybody that cheers any louder for anybody at any track than they do here for me. We’re pretty tickled,” Cockrum beamed. “I want to get half my hometown here. We’re 15 minutes away and I think we keep getting a few more every year, which is really cool.”

A number of records and milestones were on the line Sunday night if Germantown, Tennessee’s Jeff Swindell could’ve brought home his Swanson Racing/Jet Star – Rosewood Machine & Tool – Jeff Freel/Maxim/Toyota to victory lane at Du Quoin, such as he did in 1990. It’s been 24 years since his most recent series victory and he would’ve become the series’ oldest ever race winner. Yet, after borrowing a pair of shoes from Kody Swanson (that were too small for his feet), leading 68 laps and earning his third-straight podium finish with a third-place run, Swindell came up just short of getting the only record he wanted on this night: 2017 “Ted Horn 100” winner.

“We gave it away,” Swindell point blanked. “We had the dominant car the whole feature. We kept pulling away on all the restarts and my crew kept giving me the ‘wide open’ hand signals. We lost the radio about 25 laps in and, once we got to lapped traffic, I couldn’t tell where we were. I didn’t know (Kody) was that close. I tried to sneak around one of those lapped cars going into (turn) three. When I did, he slid out and about sent me out to the wall. That cost me dearly and left a hole open for Kody to come through. If I had known he was that close behind, I probably would’ve just sat behind the guy and waited. We got back around Kody on the outside there, then he split two lap cars going into three, but they closed up on me and that was the end of it. He got a good lead after that. It’s really sad because I think we definitely had the car to win.”

Contingency award winners Sunday night at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds include Jerry Coons, Jr. (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Casey Shuman (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Dakota Jackson (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR SERIES (presented by TRAXXAS) RACE RESULTS: September 3, 2017 – Du Quoin, Illinois – Du Quoin State Fairgrounds – “Ted Horn 100”

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Jerry Coons Jr., 20, Nolen-31.216; 2. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-31.514; 3. Aaron Pierce, 26, Pierce-31.670; 4. Chris Windom, 92, Kazmark-31.722; 5. Joey Moughan, 29, Moughan-31.808; 6. Jeff Swindell, 21, Swanson-31.836; 7. Shane Cockrum, 71, Hardy-31.935; 8. Kody Swanson, 63, DePalma-31.962; 9. Hunter Schuerenberg, 120, Nolen-32.024; 10. Justin Grant, 91, Carli/Hemelgarn-32.077; 11. Mark Smith, 54, Lane-32.207; 12. Dave Darland, 97, Lein-32.238; 13. Brian Tyler, 12, Galas-32.283; 14. Austin Nemire, 16, Lesko-32.392; 15. Shane Cottle, 81, Williams-32.405; 16. David Byrne, 40, Byrne-32.423; 17. David Shain, 7, Hardy-32.436; 18. Dakota Jackson, 201, Nolen-32.511; 19. Patrick Bruns, 95, Full Throttle-32.841; 20. Joss Moffatt, 32, Williams & Wright-33.198; 21. Ken Schrader, 14, McQuinn-33.282; 22. Steve Buckwalter, 53, SET-33.286; 23. J.C. Bland, 5, Bland-33.309; 24. Casey Shuman, 55, Bateman-33.341; 25. Patrick Lawson, 2, Lawson-33.547; 26. Chris Urish, 77, Urish-33.644; 27. Johnny Petrozelle, 08, Cornell/Petrozelle-33.871; 28. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-34.235; 29. Terry Babb, 42, Babb-34.261; 30. Bill Rose, 75, Rose-34.328; 31. Keith Burch, 24, Burch-34.629; 32. Danny Long, 44, Long-35.368; 33. Robert Ballou, 6, Klatt-NT; 34. Korey Weyant, 99, Weyant-NT; 35. Chris Fetter, 88, Fetter-NT.

FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Kody Swanson, 2. Shane Cockrum, 3. Jeff Swindell, 4. C.J. Leary, 5. Jerry Coons, Jr. 6. Justin Grant, 7. Shane Cottle, 8. Brian Tyler, 9. Mark Smith, 10. Casey Shuman, 11. Hunter Schuerenberg, 12. Dave Darland, 13. Dakota Jackson, 14. David Shain, 15. Joey Moughan, 16. Aaron Pierce, 17. Chris Urish, 18. Joss Moffatt, 19. Ken Schrader, 20. J.C. Bland, 21. Matt Goodnight, 22. Austin Nemire, 23. Danny Long, 24. Chris Windom, 25. Patrick Bruns, 26. Robert Ballou, 27. Terry Babb, 28. David Byrne, 29. Keith Burch, 30. Johnny Petrozelle, 31. Steve Buckwalter, 32. Patrick Lawson. NT

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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Leary, Lap 8 Swanson, Laps 9-22 Leary, Laps 23-90 Swindell, Laps 91-100 Swanson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Casey Shuman (24th to 10th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Dakota Jackson

NEW USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR POINTS: 1-Swanson-624, 2-Coons-519, 3-Windom-458, 4-Grant-415, 5-Byrne-387, 6-Pierce-380, 7-Bobby Santos-350, 8-Moffatt-269, 9-Joe Liguori-258, 10-Damion Gardner-248.

NEXT USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMP CAR RACE: September 23 – Rossburg, OH – Eldora Speedway – 36th “4-Crown Nationals”

Categories : News, USAC Silver Crown
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Contact: Richie Murray - USAC Media / richie@usacracing.com

COURTNEY CONQUERS KOKOMO FOR SMACKDOWN VI VICTORY

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Kokomo, Indiana.....August 26, 2017 - Rarely does an event truly live up to its moniker, but Saturday night's "Sprint Car Smackdown VI" was an apt description of how the final laps and post-race theatrics unfolded Saturday night at Kokomo Speedway.

Tyler Courtney utilized a slider to grab the lead from race-long leader Tyler Thomas on the final green-white-checkered restart to win his second USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at the quarter-mile in as many nights.

Such as it was the night prior when he flipped in qualifying before returning to win the Friday feature at Kokomo, the trail for Indianapolis, Indiana's Courtney to victory lane on Saturday night wasn't quite a point A to B type of deal. After fighting engine issues early on in the night, Courtney encountered a maze that took just two laps, but resulted in jubilation for some, heartbreak for others and grass stains for a few who rolled around in the infield after voicing their displeasure with the way things played out down the stretch.

Tyler Thomas simply dominated from the drop of the green every single time action resumed, using the turn two wall as an extension of the racing surface by tapping the right rear rubber against the concrete to propel himself down the back straightaway.

One-hundred-eighty-seven USAC National Sprint Car wins were present throughout Saturday night's stacked feature lineup, yet none belonged to Tyler Thomas coming in. On the final lap, with victory a near certainty for the Collinsville, Oklahoma native, the yellow flag flew for the spun car of Brady Bacon in turn four. By rule, that set up a green-white-checker, two-lap dash situation.

It became a duel between the two unrelated Thomases - Tyler and Kevin Jr. - when racing resumed. K. Thomas attempted a slider for the lead in turn one on the restart to no avail as T. Thomas sped away once again. On the final lap, T. Thomas banged the turn two wall with the right rear. Just behind him, mimicking the same concrete kiss was K. Thomas, who snagged it just a bit harder and flipped wildly to end his bid at a repeat "Smackdown" victory.

On the next GWC try, Chris Windom was lined up right on the tail tank of T. Thomas in the second position. Windom had no doubt in his mind what his plan was as he immediately dove to the bottom of one to successfully slide up in front of T. Thomas on the top midway between turns one and two. T. Thomas once again hooked the wall, but recovered and was able to slide past Windom into turn three as did Courtney nearly simultaneously. Dropping to third momentarily, Windom, using a diamond pattern off turn three, miraculously dove from the top to the bottom from turn three to four to drive underneath both drivers to reclaim the lead as the white flag waved.

Windom once again slid up to the top in front of both Courtney and T. Thomas running side-by-side in turn one. T. Thomas rocketed around the outside of Courtney first, then nudged the turn two wall with the right rear and split between Courtney and Windom off of two. T. Thomas pulled alongside Windom down the back straight and the two made contact! T. Thomas' right rear hurdled Windom's left front, sending Windom sideways as T. Thomas continued on. Third-running Courtney couldn't completely avoid the carnage either and ramped over the nose of Windom, tearing off the nose of Windom's car and sending him into a 360-degree spin and ending his race.

During the yellow, Windom took umbrage with T. Thomas. T. Thomas was mandated by officials to stop for a safety check to remove Windom's steering wheel that was stuck in the left side nerf bar of his car before he could continue at the front of the pack.

Some say the third time is the charm, but that would not be the case for T. Thomas on the third attempt at a GWC finish. T. Thomas changed up the plan and went topside off turn four on the lap 39 restart. Courtney shadowed every T. Thomas movement until turn one when he took the middle and reared back for his shot at the race lead, this time pulling it off successfully. T. Thomas tried to counter to the inside, but lost momentum between turns one and two, but still had one remaining breath left in the tank.

With the white flag in the air, T. Thomas went to the bottom of one and aimed for his last shot, sliding wheel-to-wheel beside Courtney between one and two, so close you could hardly slide a credit card between each's tires. Courtney anticipated the action, but kept his foot in it and sped around the outside of T. Thomas to remain in front where he would finish off the biggest win of his career just ahead of T. Thomas, Robert Ballou, Scotty Weir and Dave Darland.

One night following a prelim victory at the track in which he made his USAC Sprint Car debut, Courtney added another sweet note to his ever-growing resume by scoring the $10,000 check. Picking up a win at any track in USAC National competition is a tall task, but a win after overcoming so much adversity makes the nectar of success taste even sweeter.

"It's a lot sweeter," Courtney exclaimed. "Last night was obviously pretty special getting my first sprint car win at Kokomo. That's a hard feat to accomplish in itself. To back it up in the biggest race at the track is amazing. Really, all this goes to my guys. They busted their tails all weekend. Tonight, we fought engine troubles all the way up until King of the Hill Qualifying. These guys never give up and this is the least I can do to repay them. To keep coming back from adversity really the shows the kind of team we have."

"When we turned it over, it hurt the magneto in the engine," Courtney explained. "Today, it just didn't fire. We changed one thing and it didn't run, so we changed another thing and finally got it running. Thank god it did!"

To win, one must first put themselves in a position to win. Despite a few close calls and running between third and sixth throughout much of the 40-lapper, Courtney was there when it counted to score his series-leading fifth USAC National Sprint Car win of 2017 in his TOPP Motorsports/TOPP Performance Race Parts - Custom Pump & Controls/Maxim/Gaerte by TOPP.

"We weren't a winning car for 99% of that race," Courtney admits. "But we put ourselves in the right position to stay up there and remain in the hunt and it paid off. We got ourselves into second after Tyler (Thomas) and Chris (Windom) got together and I was able to capitalize on the restart."

"On the restart, I did exactly what I wanted to do," Courtney explains. "I was going to make him lift. Sure enough, he did. I got a good head of steam going down into three and was able to rip it pretty good. I slid myself back into one and two and just made sure to protect. This is special. It's kind of hard to put into words right now. If you ask me a couple days from now, I might be able to. This is the biggest one yet."

On the flipside of the thrill of victory is the agony of defeat. After answering every bell on an emotional roller coaster ride in which he admits he thought he had the race won at least four times, Tyler Thomas still came home with a career-best second-place finish in his Michael Dutcher Motorsports/Griffin's Propane - Tri-Star Motorsports - Indiana Underground/Maxim/Fisher. So, so close, yet there is still a sense of pride in Thomas' voice in what he accomplished Saturday night and what lies ahead for him and Dutcher.

"What makes me feel good is these are the best race car drivers in the country, in my opinion," Thomas begins. "Last year, I was just pumped to make the A-feature on Saturday night. I'm pretty heartbroken about how this one ended. I guess it'll just make the first win that much sweeter. I thought we had it, but it's just not your night sometimes."

Shortly after the checkered flag, there was a little bit of extracurricular activity that took place on the front straightaway as Windom confronted Thomas following their on-track incident. Words and actions were exchanged and several crew members ended up on the infield grass in a tussle as a dejected Thomas could only look on and wonder what could've been. Thomas was deeply apologetic to Windom in the immediate aftermath.

"I was expecting a slider from Chris on the restart in turn one," Thomas recalled. "I knew if I could just get through turn one smooth and not hit the wall, I'd be in good shape. But he cleared me and I hit the wall. I got back underneath him and I tried to leave him a lane, but it's so slick on the straightaway. I'm not sure if he came down or if I came up. The bottom line is I ran over his left front. I hate doing that. I don't race that way. I hate to cost somebody else a win."

Restart after restart can be mentally wearing on any driver, let alone one seeking his first USAC win. Thomas was flawless on each of them, but it was the final one that bit him.

"I did really well staying calm, cool and collected even after that first time when we were coming to the checkered flag," Thomas said. "I was doing alright. I knew I could get through turns one and two okay. After the third GWC restart, my mind was going crazy trying to figure out what I could do to get the jump I needed, which was tricky because it was slick. You don't know whether to slide yourself or go right to the top. I figured if I could just get my momentum up as quickly as possible, I'd be okay. Tyler slid by me and got to the cushion and there wasn't anything I could do with him after that."

Robert Ballou's topsy-turvy race took him from pursuing T. Thomas for the lead in second with six laps remaining to waxing the turn two wall and dropping to fifth, then regathering himself to take his Robert Ballou Motorsports/Deaton's Waterfront Services - Dickinson Farms/Boss/Ott to a solid third-place finish.

Despite a slider attempt at Thomas on a restart with 11 laps to go, Ballou never believed he had the car to compete for the victory.

"I was too free," Ballou said. "In six years of Smackdown, if I haven't crashed, I've been too tight the whole race until the last five laps. You just can't race that way. We were pretty tight in King of the Hill Qualifying, so I went up and watched the race track, came back and Derrick had tightened the racecar up. I knew I wasn't going to make it past the first corner. I had to go up and do driver intros and I told him this wasn't going to work. Then, he went the other way too far. It's just one of them deals. You have to be able to communicate perfectly every time. It's a shame on me. I'm the one who spooked him and I knew we were going to be struggling at the end. I didn't think the cushion would build up as high as it did in turns three and four. I was too good too early and I was just a sitting duck at the end."

USAC contingency award winners Saturday night at Kokomo included Kevin Thomas, Jr. (B & W Auto Mart King of the Hill Qualifying Winner), Chad Boespflug (Simpson Race Products Qualifying Race 1 Winner), Jarett Andretti (Competition Suspension, Inc. Qualifying Race 2 Winner), Chris Windom (Chalk Stix Qualifying Race 3 Winner), Justin Grant (Indy Race Parts Qualifying Race 4 Winner), Dave Darland (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Kody Swanson (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 26, 2017 - Kokomo, Indiana - Kokomo Speedway - "Sprint Car Smackdown VI"

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Chad Boespflug (#69 Dynamics), 2. Scotty Weir (#17G On The Gass), 3. Isaac Chapple (#52 LNR/Chapple), 4. Mario Clouser (#6 MCM), 5. Brady Short (#19AZ Reinbold/Underwood), 6. Logan Jarrett (#29 Jarrett), 7. Travis Hery (#21H Hery). 2:11.53

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Jarett Andretti (#18 Andretti), 2. Chase Stockon (#32 32 TBI), 3. Aaron Farney (#15F DCT), 4. Tom Harris (#5E Harris), 5. Matt Goodnight (#39 Goodnight), 6. Chet Williams (#38 Williams), 7. Colten Cottle (#1RL Lambertson). NT

CHALK STIX THIRD QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Chris Windom (#5 Baldwin), 2. Dave Darland (#40 Hery), 3. Josh Hodges (#74x Hodges), 4. Kyle Robbins (#17R Robbins), 5. Brian Karraker (#23 Karraker), 6. Josh Spencer (#66J Spencer), 7. Parker Frederickson (#34 Frederickson). 2:10.23 (New Track Record)

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Justin Grant (#11 McGhee), 2. Shane Cottle (#57 Hazen), 3. Kody Swanson (#2E Epperson), 4. Brandon Mattox (#28 Mattox), 5. Tyler Hewitt (#97x One More Time), 6. Cole Ketcham (#41 Ketcham), 7. Robert Bell (#71 Bell). 2:11.67

B & W AUTO MART "KING OF THE HILL" 2-CAR SHOOTOUTS: (3 laps each) Round 1: C.J. Leary (#30 Leary) defeated Brady Bacon (#63 Dooling/Hayward); Tyler Thomas (#17GP Dutcher) defeated Kyle Cummins (#3R Rock Steady); Hunter Schuerenberg (#19 Reinbold/Underwood) defeated Robert Ballou (#12 Ballou) and Kevin Thomas Jr. (#9K KT) defeated Tyler Courtney (#23c TOPP). Round 2: T. Thomas defeated Leary and K. Thomas defeated Schuerenberg Final Round: K. Thomas defeated T. Thomas.

SEMI: (15 laps) 1. Farney, 2. Hodges, 3. Chapple, 4. Swanson, 5. Hewitt, 6. Clouser, 7. B. Short, 8. Mattox, 9. Karraker, 10. Robbins, 11. Goodnight, 12. Williams, 13. Hery, 14. Spencer, 15. Bell, 16. Harris, 17. Frederickson, 18. Ketcham, 19. Jarrett. NT

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Tyler Courtney, 2. Tyler Thomas, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Scotty Weir, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Justin Grant, 7. C.J. Leary, 8. Jarett Andretti, 9. Chad Boespflug, 10. Chase Stockon, 11. Hunter Schuerenberg, 12. Aaron Farney, 13. Kody Swanson, 14. Josh Hodges, 15. Tyler Hewitt, 16. Kyle Cummins, 17. Mario Clouser, 18. Chris Windom, 19. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 20. Brady Bacon, 21. Isaac Chapple, 22. Shane Cottle. NT
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**Jarrett flipped during the Semi. Harris flipped during the Semi. Chapple flipped on lap 16 of the feature. K. Thomas flipped on lap 40 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-38 T. Thomas, Laps 39-40 Courtney.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Dave Darland (15th to 5th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Kody Swanson

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1-Grant-1662, 2-Windom-1569, 3-Courtney-1493, 4-K. Thomas-1484, 5-Boespflug-1478, 6-Stockon-1419, 7-Leary-1288, 8-Bacon-1243, 9-Ballou-1166, 10-Andretti-1102.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 15 - Terre Haute Action Track - Terre Haute, Indiana - "Jim Hurtubise Classic"

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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