Archive for Midgets

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

BOAT SINKS PA MIDGET WEEK VICTORY NO. 2 IN LINDA'S USAC MIDGET DEBUT

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Jonestown, Pennsylvania..... August 17, 2017 - The Keystone state suited Chad Boat like a glove during "Pennsylvania Midget Week" as the Phoenix, Arizona native capped the four-race series with his second victory of the week in the USAC Midget National Championship's debut at Linda's Speedway.

Like last year, Boat got into the flow when the calendar flipped to the month of August. In 2016, he won three of four to begin the month while this year, it was three of six with a "Belleville Midget Nationals" prelim win serving as a prelude to his two wins in Pennsylvania.

Chad Boat won Thursday night's USAC National & ARDC Midget event at Linda's Speedway in Jonestown, PA, his second victory of the week.(Steve Koletar Photo)

Boat's ownership of the month of August over the past two seasons may seem like a strange, coincidental anomaly, but to him, it makes perfect sense considering their racing schedule.

"Obviously, you'd like to start the season out faster," Boat acknowledges. "We were trying some different things at the beginning of the year, but now we've figured out what we like. I think a lot of it is because we run so few times a year. A lot of these guys will race 60 times this year while this is only our 21st race. That puts us at a little bit of a disadvantage and it takes us a little while to catch up."

From the get-go, Boat was silky smooth through the middle in his Tucker-Boat Motorsports/PristineAuction.com - K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota as he powered away to an eventual one-and-a-half second lead by the 11th lap over Shane Golobic and Tyler Courtney as the front of the field began to wade into lapped traffic. Every car on the track ahead of Boat seemed to be involved in a furious, side-by-side battle for position, making navigating inside, outside or between them a treacherous chore that allowed Golobic to get close enough to stick his foot in the door.

However, a substantial break came to Boat just prior to the halfway point in the form of two simultaneous spins involving teammates Alex Bright and Andrew Layser at opposite ends of the racetrack to bring out the yellow. That instantly cleared out the traffic for Boat to provide him clear sailing ahead.

"Traffic was tricky," Boat admits. "I got to traffic and I wasn't that much better than them. They were kind of holding me up, so when that caution came, it fell at the right time."

Cautions inherently bring restarts and nobody was in the same zip code as Boat when it came to that category. Time-and-time again, Boat used a monstrous surge when the green flag dropped to capture a healthy advantage.

"It goes back to our engines that make us take off so well," Boat praised. "I definitely wanted to find the grip and I knew if I put my car where the grip was, I'd have a great restart. Usually, you can tell if you're having a good restart or not. I also tried to change it up as much as I could to keep Shane guessing on what I was going to do. I felt comfortable with Shane behind me. He's one of the cleanest drivers in the field. If he was better than me, he'd get by me. If he wasn't better than me, we'd race it out to the end."

'Obviously, you'd like to start the season out faster. We were trying some different things at the beginning of the year, but now we've figured out what we like. I think a lot of it is because we run so few times a year. A lot of these guys will race 60 times this year while this is only our 21st race. That puts us at a little bit of a disadvantage and it takes us a little while to catch up.' - Chad Boat (Michael Fry Photo)

On a lap 20 restart following a yellow brought about for a flat left rear tire on the car of ninth-place-running/ARDC point leader Ryan Greth, Golobic was able to stay within shirt-tugging distance of Boat for the first lap. Gradually, Boat got away, this time to a seven-tenths of a second clip two laps following the restart until action relented again when Eric Heydenreich flipped on the back straight entering turn three. He would walk away.

On the final restart with nine to go, Golobic was able to stick a nose underneath and pull even with Boat entering turn one. Boat was unfazed and remained on his line through the middle to inch ahead by the time the pair exited the second turn.

"I knew I could run as hard as I possibly could for nine laps, just like a heat race," Boat relayed. "I felt really good, especially in the first two laps after a restart. I started getting a little bit loose on entry and then slid up. I didn't know exactly where I wanted to be. I just knew if I kept running it hard and he showed me a nose, I could move down. He showed me a little bit of nose, so I moved down slightly in (turns) one and two."

Yet, in the final three laps, Golobic found new life as Boat's line began to fade slightly. Golobic dug out two-tenths per lap on the interval between he and Boat and, on the final lap, entering turn three for the final time, was able pull side-by-side briefly with Boat through the middle of the corner. Boat had the momentum higher up on the surface to clear Golobic and win his third of the month over Golobic, Spencer Bayston, Courtney and Justin Grant.

While many of the ARDC regulars have extensive experience at Linda's with it being a regular stop on their season schedule, it was the first appearance by USAC's National Midget contingent. You often hear a driver explain the difficulties of leading, which creates a situation behind them where they are not fully aware of how their closest competition is running and how they are adapting to the changes in the track.

That becomes doubly complicated when competing on a track for the initial time, yet it also evens the playing field when the track is an unknown quantity to everyone, as was the case Thursday night at Linda's.

"I just tried to stay aggressive, run it as hard as I could and not let the car slip," Boat explained. "I knew if I was driving forward, I had good bite and I could keep running there. I tried to move around; there was a hole in turn three that made it a little bit tricky. Shane (Golobic) was running below it and I was running above it. My line started wearing out a little bit in the end. I could feel myself getting looser and sliding up more on entry, so I was definitely glad to see the race coming to an end."

Contingency award winners Thursday night at Linda's Speedway include Brady Bacon (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Adam Pierson (Simpson Race Products 1st Heat Winner), Tanner Carrick (Competition Suspension, Inc. 2nd Heat Winner), Tyler Courtney (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts 3rd Heat Winner), Landon Simon (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Trevor Kobylarz (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP & EASTERN REGIONAL MIDGETS PRESENTED BY ARDC RACE RESULTS: August 17, 2017 - Linda's Speedway - Jonestown, Pennsylvania - "Pennsylvania Midget Week"

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-12.084; 2. Justin Grant, 39BC, Clauson/Marshall-12.091; 3. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall-12.114; 4. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.117; 5. Shane Golobic, 17w, Clauson-Marshall/Wood-12.131; 6. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-12.149; 7. Holly Shelton, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.219; 8. Tanner Carrick, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.252; 9. Ryan Greth, 4R, Lesher-12.255; 10. Brayton Lynch, 1K, RKR-12.290; 11. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.420; 12. Tony DiMattia, 50, TDM-12.428; 13. Adam Pierson, 76E, Mancini-12.534; 14. Brett Arndt, 46, Arndt-12.550; 15. Timmy Buckwalter, 29s, Seymour-12.551; 16. Kenny Miller, III, 23m, Miller-12.626; 17. Andrew Layser, 77L, Bright-12.631; 18. Landon Simon, 29, Clover-12.677; 19. P.J. Gargiulo, 5, JHG-12.773; 20. Eric Heydenreich, 11, Heydenreich-12.792; 21. Rob Marhefka, 99, FM-13.437; 22. Trevor Kobylarz, 14, RT-16.916; 23. Josh Heckman, 12, Heckman-NT; 24. Alex Bright, 77, Bright-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Pierson, 2. Shelton, 3. Bayston, 4. Bacon, 5. Lynch, 6. Miller, 7. Kobylarz, 8. Gargiulo. 2:09.39

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Carrick, 2. Thorson, 3. Grant, 4. Golobic, 5. Layser, 6. Heydenreich, 7. Arndt. 2:05.13

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. Boat, 3. Buckwalter, 4. Simon, 5. Greth, 6. DiMattia, 7. Marhefka. 2:07.38

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chad Boat, 2. Shane Golobic, 3. Spencer Bayston, 4. Tyler Courtney, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Tanner Thorson, 7. Brady Bacon, 8. Holly Shelton, 9. Tanner Carrick, 10. Landon Simon, 11. Brayton Lynch, 12. Adam Pierson, 13. Trevor Kobylarz, 14. Brett Arndt, 15. Alex Bright, 16. Ryan Greth, 17. Kenny Miller III, 18. P.J. Gargiulo, 19. Timmy Buckwalter, 20. Eric Heydenreich, 21. Tony DiMattia, 22. Andrew Layser. NT
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Boat.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Landon Simon (18th to 10th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Trevor Kobylarz

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-1293, 2-Bacon-1233, 3-Golobic-1219, 4-Thorson-1198, 5-Courtney-1171, 6-Grant-1167, 7-Boat-1032, 8-Shelton-933, 9-Carrick-857, 10-Jerry Coons, Jr.-808.

NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 23 - Eldora Speedway - Rossburg, Ohio - "4-Crown Nationals"

Categories : Midgets, News, Short Track, USAC
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THORSON REPEATS USAC MIDGET WIN AT LANCO!

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Newmanstown, Pennsylvania.....August 15, 2017 - One year ago at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, Tanner Thorson needed all the heroics he could muster to pull off a last-lap, last corner pass to take the victory.

In Tuesday night's third round of "Pennsylvania Midget Week" with the USAC Eastern Midgets presented by ARDC at the 1/8-mile bullring, it was a relative comfort cruise for Thorson as he led all 40 laps to take his second USAC National Midget victory of the year in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/JBL Audio - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota.

Lanco winner Tanner Thorson (#67) leads Brady Bacon in Tuesday night's 'Pennsylvania Midget Week' feature at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. (Michael Fry Photo)

After a tumultuous 48-hour period that saw him lose his lead on the final restart on Sunday at Susquehanna, then some, shall we say, fireworks on the final lap of Monday's feature at Path Valley Speedway Park, Thorson was champing at the bit to return to the seat after seeing near victories go by the wayside the last two nights.

"Very, very eager." Thorson exclaimed. "I've learned to put my past races behind me. If you keep worrying about the stuff that happened the last couple of nights, you lose focus and forget what you're doing here today. The best thing you can do is go out there and do what you do best and put it behind you."

Thorson was the beneficiary of an outside front row starting position after an opening lap tangle between Clauson/Marshall Racing teammates Tyler Courtney and Justin Grant. Exiting turn two, Grant ramped over the right rear tire of Courtney's car, sending him flipping wildly, ending his night. After winning the "PA Midget Week" opener on the last lap at Susquehanna, Grant has found himself upside down on consecutive nights.

A double-file complete restart would move Thorson up a row from the outside of row two to the outside of row one alongside Courtney. Immediately, Thorson was gone and quickly dove down the bottom in front of Courtney to secure the position. The bottom would prove to be the place to stay on a heavy surface that was doused with moisture from Mother Nature over the past several days that didn't require the use of a water truck at any point in the track's preparation.

In most cases, you'd hear a driver describe the benefits of starting up front, but Thorson has a unique perspective contrary to the norm regarding where he prefers to begin his races. But after watching the prelims leading up to the 40-lap main event, Thorson changed his perspective, at least for this night.

"I was kind of glad I got to start on the outside of the front row," Thorson admits. "I had a feeling the track was going to stay on the bottom based on watching the micro sprint heats and B-mains. I'm not one who usually likes to start on the front row. I seem to lose more races starting on the front row than I do starting in the second or third row on back."

'I'm not here to race for points,' Thorson (middle) said. 'I'm going to take each race by itself as it comes. If I win, I win. If I don't, I want to run the best that I possibly can. I'm not going to dwell over worrying about points. Last year, I didn't do it one bit until the last couple of races. That's the plan this year and we'll see how it plays out. We come here to win and Keith (Kunz) has a lot of expectations for us because of his past success and the equipment that we're in. I'm really fortunate to be with the group of people I'm with.' (Rich Forman Photo)

"Last night, Brady (Bacon) ran a little different line than I was and that made me a sitting duck, not knowing what was going on behind me," Thorson expounds. "I like to be in that 2nd or 3rd row spot so I can have room to move around and find out which line is faster. I was kind of upset at first having to move up to the front row until we started and I saw that the track was moving down toward the bottom."

On the fourth lap, Brady Bacon got to the inside of Spencer Bayston entering turn three and was able to stick it on the bottom to claim second. Bacon led a combined 18 laps over the first two nights of "PA Midget Week" and put himself in position to make a bid for the lead if opportunity knocked.

Thorson would have to endure restart after restart, the last of which came after Holly Shelton and Kenny Miller, III got together on the back straightaway on lap 21, sending Shelton flipping multiple times. She walked away.

Consistency is the key when track position is so substantial. One slip up is all it takes and all could be lost as a freight train of cars drive by for the position. Thorson wasn't keen on letting that happen to him tonight.

"When the track's that heavy, the biggest thing is hitting your marks," Thorson notes. "The closer you could get to the infield tires, the better and not let anybody get underneath you. The way you could see the track forming up, nobody was running up there at all. It was rough and crumbly up there. It helps your mindset coming back from a yellow knowing that nobody's going to blow around you. I think that's a huge part of knowing the track and looking at it as you're rolling around there under the yellow."

With 19 to go, Thorson, Bacon and Courtney ran nose-to-tail, but gradually, Thorson kicked open the lead ever so slightly to leave Bacon and Courtney no chance down the stretch as Thorson drove away to his 12th career USAC National Midget win, tying him with a list of drivers that includes Danny Caruthers, Gene Force, Russ Gamester, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Grim and Ron Shuman. Bacon, Courtney, Bayston and Shane Golobic rounded out the top-five.

It was the second year in a row for Thorson to claim victory at Lanco, a place that he took to right from the get-go due to the similarities it shares with a track he grew up competing on regularly.

"It kind of reminds me of a go-kart track I raced at back home called Cycleland Speedway," Thorson explains. The track layout itself is the same, just a little bigger car and a little bigger track this time around."

Coming into August, Thorson stood 6th in the USAC Midget National Championship standings, 132 points out of the lead. After rattling finishes of 1st, 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 2nd in his first five starts of the month, and now another victory, Thorson finds himself 4th and 84 points back as he steadily makes a charge to become a back-to-back series champ, yet the Minden, Nevada native admits that hasn't played on his mind just yet.

"I'm not here to race for points," Thorson said. "I'm going to take each race by itself as it comes. If I win, I win. If I don't, I want to run the best that I possibly can. I'm not going to dwell over worrying about points. Last year, I didn't do it one bit until the last couple of races. That's the plan this year and we'll see how it plays out. We come here to win and Keith (Kunz) has a lot of expectations for us because of his past success and the equipment that we're in. I'm really fortunate to be with the group of people I'm with."

Contingency award winners Tuesday night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway include Shane Golobic (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Justin Grant (Simpson Race Products 1st Heat Winner), Tim Buckwalter (Competition Suspension, Inc. 2nd Heat Winner), Alex Bright (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts 3rd Heat Winner), Landon Simon (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Andrew Layser (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP & EASTERN REGIONAL MIDGETS PRESENTED BY ARDC RACE RESULTS: August 15, 2017 - Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway - Spring Run, Pennsylvania - "Pennsylvania Midget Week"

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Shane Golobic, 17w, Clauson-Marshall/Wood-10.554; 2. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-10.672; 3. Tony DiMattia, 50, TDM-10.678; 4. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-10.687; 5. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-10.715; 6. Brayton Lynch, 1K, RKR-10.740; 7. Justin Grant, 39BC, Clauson/Marshall-10.751; 8. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall-10.752; 9. Alex Bright, 77, Bright-10.858; 10. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-10.871; 11. Timmy Buckwalter, 29s, Seymour-10.963; 12. Andrew Layser, 77L, Bright-11.005; 13. Ryan Greth, 4R, Lesher-11.020; 14. Tanner Carrick, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.047; 15. Holly Shelton, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.073; 16. Kenny Miller, III, 23m, Miller-11.175; 17. Landon Simon, 29, Clover-11.195; 18. Adam Pierson, 76E, Mancini-11.275; 19. Eric Heydenreich, 11, Heydenreich-11.437; 20. Shawn Jackson, 7J, Jackson-11.483; 21. Jimmy Glenn, 07, Glenn-11.672; 22. Tommy Kunsman, Jr., 21, Kunsman-11.859; 23. Kenney Johnson, 46x, Johnson-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Grant, 2. Golobic, 3. Bayston, 4. Miller, 5. Boat, 6. Heydenreich, 7. Greth. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Buckwalter, 2. Carrick, 3. Thorson, 4. Simon, 5. Courtney, 6. Bacon, 7. Johnson, 8. Jackson. 1:51.30

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bright, 2. Pierson, 3. Layser, 4. Lynch, 5. Shelton, 6. DiMattia, 7. Glenn. NT

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Tyler Courtney, 4. Spencer Bayston, 5. Shane Golobic, 6. Chad Boat, 7. Timmy Buckwalter, 8. Tanner Carrick, 9. Tony DiMattia, 10. Landon Simon, 11. Kenny Miller, III, 12. Ryan Greth, 13. Andrew Layser, 14. Eric Heydenreich, 15. Holly Shelton, 16. Adam Pierson, 17. Brayton Lynch, 18. Alex Bright, 19. Tommy Kunsman, Jr., 20. Shawn Jackson, 21. Kenney Johnson, 22. Justin Grant. NT
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**Greth flipped during the first heat. Grant flipped on the opening lap of the feature. Shelton flipped on lap 21 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-40 Thorson.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Landon Simon (17th to 10th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Andrew Layser

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-1220, 2-Bacon-1170, 3-Golobic-1145, 4-Thorson-1136, 5-Grant-1098, 6-Courtney-1098, 7-Boat-954, 8-Shelton-877, 9-Jerry Coons, Jr.-808, 10-Carrick-803.

NEW USAC EASTERN REGIONAL MIDGETS PRESENTED BY ARDC POINTS: 1-Greth-1317, 2-Bright-1174, 3-Miller-1102, 4-Pierson-1044, 5-Jackson-1019, 6-Layser-810, 7-Trevor Kobylarz-764, 8-Brett Arndt-754, 9-Josh Heckman-705, 10-Kunsman, Jr.-678.

NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: August 17 - Linda's Speedway - Jonestown, Pennsylvania - "Pennsylvania Midget Week"

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

BOAT ESCAPES TROUBLED WATERS FOR PATH VALLEY SCORE

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Spring Run, Pennsylvania.....August 14, 2017 - The path to victory lane was certainly not a linear line for Chad Boat in Monday's second night of "Pennsylvania Midget Week" at Path Valley Speedway Park.

Path Valley Speedway Park 'Pennsylvania Midget Week' winner Chad Boat. (Rich Forman Photo)

The topsy-turvy 30-lap feature saw its share of lead changes, sliders, beating, banging and hot tempers that concluded with Boat using a turn one slide job on Tyler Courtney coming to the white flag on a late-race green-white-checkered situation to win his second USAC National Midget feature in a span of 11 days.

Like Justin Grant one night earlier, Boat managed to stay clean, avoid trouble and, thus, put himself in a position to pounce when things went awry in front of him during the closing laps.

"The top-seven or eight of us are so close in speed, any of us can win on any given night," Boat acknowledges. "When other guys have misfortune, you have to capitalize. When you put yourself in a position to win races, you'll have nights like tonight or you might have a night like Belleville when you lead all 25 laps. It all seems to even out over the course of a year."

Boat began the main event from the fifth position and settled into a groove just inside the top-five for the first several circuits while series rookie Brayton Lynch took off from the pole to lead the first nine.

Meanwhile, on the sixth lap, Tanner Thorson and Tyler Courtney battled for second when, suddenly, Courtney found himself in a half-spin in turn four, dropping him from third to 12th while Bacon slipped by Thorson for second.

On the tenth lap, Thorson diamonded off the turn two cushion, diving low and blasting past both Bacon and Lynch in one fell swoop to take the race lead entering turn three.

Once the leaders began working lapped traffic with 13 laps remaining, that's when things began to get dicey among the front runners and would remain that way throughout the rest of the feature. Bacon closed to within a single car length of Thorson during the following pair of laps and, on lap 20, Thorson chose the low groove for his line of work around Shawn Jackson entering turn three while Bacon was clear and free up top. Thorson showed Jackson a nose and was able to get completely underneath Jackson exiting turn four. Bacon had the momentum up top and was set to make a charge at Thorson on the front straight when Bacon and Jackson made contact, sending Jackson into a spin entering turn one to bring out the yellow flag.

On the ensuing restart, Thorson instantly broke away, yet Bacon was intent on reeling him back in as soon as it was humanly possible. The two repeatedly swapped the lead back-and-forth, using slide-job after slide-job to overtake each other on each end of the quarter-mile.

With five to go, Bacon slid Thorson on the bottom entering the third turn. The two continued side-by-side through the corner just inches apart when Bacon's car became sideways, slowing yet still rolling forward atop the fourth turn cushion, giving fourth-running Spencer Bayston nowhere to go. The series point leader ramped over Bacon's left rear wheel, sending him flipping twice down the banking. Bacon would restart after taking his car to the work area and returned to finish ninth. Bayston exited the race with a 19th place finish and was uninjured in the incident.

Thorson now found himself in a similar position as he did one night prior at Susquehanna - leading the pack on a late-race restart. Thorson opted for the high line in turns one and two and the bottom in three and four with Courtney close behind.

'The top-seven or eight of us are so close in speed, any of us can win on any given night. When other guys have misfortune, you have to capitalize. When you put yourself in a position to win races, you'll have nights like tonight or you might have a night like Belleville when you lead all 25 laps. It all seems to even out over the course of a year.' (Rich Forman Photo)

Coming to the checkered flag, Courtney took one last shot in the final set of turns and dove to the bottom of turn three underneath Thorson. The two made contact, sending Thorson into a 360 spin in the middle of the fourth turn. Third-running Boat was hard on the binders, just narrowly missing Thorson by the width of a credit card. Previous night's "Pennsylvania Midget Week" opener winner Justin Grant ran into the melee after smacking into the back of Boat and went flipping near the turn four wall. He exited the car without injury.

Boat, who just a week-and-a-half ago, was a "Belleville Midget Nationals" night one winner, had stayed relatively unscathed throughout the feature up to that point, but the Phoenix, Arizona native had to take evasive action to avoid this particular melee as it played out.

"I was hard on the brakes trying to avoid Tanner," Boat recalls. "I saw him spinning and he was on the gas. I knew it was going to be close, but I just whoa'd up and, luckily, the way it worked out, I was able to barely miss it. Sometimes, when it's your night, it's your night."

Courtney now led with Boat trailing just behind as the two set up for the green-white-checkered finish. Courtney stumbled on the turn one cushion when racing resumed, allowing Boat's slider to easily clear Courtney. Courtney made a run back at Boat entering the third turn, but wasn't close enough to make anything stick.

Boat split away from Courtney on the final lap to win by a quarter of a second over Courtney, Ryan Greth, Holly Shelton and Brayton Lynch.

Though Boat ran near or in the top-five for much of the event, he was one of few who managed to avoid all the catastrophes that befell most of the frontrunners to win his fifth career USAC National Midget victory in his Tucker-Boat Motorsports/PristineAuction.com - K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota. In fact, all five of his career wins in the series have now come in the month of August over the past two seasons, but this was one "Mr. August" had to work for after standing all the way back in sixth with a mere five laps to go.

"Our car was really good all throughout the feature. Early on, we kind of got used up and fell back. I had to put my nose down and get digging. For a while there, I thought we were going to run fifth or sixth with a car capable of winning. But on that run with five to go after Spencer's crash, I really got the middle working in (turns) one and two. I just had to find a place to run in three and four. I knew where I wanted to go when I was working on getting by Justin (Grant)."

It was an eventful evening for Indianapolis, Indiana's Tyler Courtney who ran up front early before falling to 12th, then worked his way back to the front and the lead for the final restart, only to see the race slip from his fingers coming to the white flag in his Clauson-Marshall Racing/Driven 2 Save Lives - Indiana Donor Network/Spike/Stanton SR-11.

"I should've went in a car-width lower than I did. I just had a brain fart there," Courtney admitted. "I feel bad for my guys because they busted their tails all night. We had to change a steering gear after the heat race and they got me out just in time to roll off for the feature. I drove my butt off to get us back up there in a position to win the race and I gave it away. That's all there is too it. I messed up."

USAC/ARDC Midget point leader Ryan Greth earned a career-best USAC National Midget finish of third in his Wayne Lesher/Hyper Racing - DeGre Engineering/Hyper/Stanton SR-11.

"We have a lot of laps at this place," Greth points out. "You have to make good decisions here. Sometimes you sort of get lucky over which lane you choose. A couple times, I got in there, I saw cars flipping everywhere. I had to turn down off the cushion and get out of there as quickly as I could and hoped I didn't get hit from behind. All those laps around here sure do help. I sort of knew how much the track was going to blow off. We knew where to be and were able to make the right changes."

Contingency award winners Monday night at Path Valley Speedway Park include Spencer Bayston (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Tyler Courtney (Simpson Race Products 1st Heat Winner), Justin Grant (Competition Suspension, Inc. 2nd Heat Winner), Timmy Buckwalter (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts 3rd Heat Winner), Ryan Greth (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Eric Heydenreich (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP & EASTERN REGIONAL MIDGETS PRESENTED BY ARDC RACE RESULTS: August 14, 2017 - Path Valley Speedway Park - Spring Run, Pennsylvania - "Pennsylvania Midget Week"

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.213 (New Track Record); 2. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-11.256; 3. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.259; 4. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall-11.299; 5. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-11.357; 6. Brayton Lynch, 1K, RKR-11.405; 7. Shane Golobic, 17w, Clauson-Marshall/Wood-11.422; 8. Justin Grant, 39BC, Clauson/Marshall-11.459; 9. Holly Shelton, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.480; 10. Alex Bright, 77, Bright-11.493; 11. Tanner Carrick, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.520; 12. Landon Simon, 29, Clover-11.550; 13. Ryan Greth, 4R, Lesher-11.568; 14. Brett Arndt, 46, Essay-11.601; 15. Timmy Buckwalter, 29s, Seymour-11.624; 16. Adam Pierson, 76E, Mancini-11.626; 17. Kenny Miller, III, 23m, Miller-11.734; 18. Kenney Johnson, 46x, Johnson-11.758; 19. Andrew Layser, 77L, Bright-11.884; 20. Eric Heydenreich, 11, Heydenreich-11.893; 21. Jimmy Glenn, 07, Glenn-12.128; 22. Josh Heckman, 12, Heckman-NT; 23. Shawn Jackson, 7J, Jackson-NT; 24. Jim Radney, 95, Radney-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. Bayston, 3. Greth, 4. Pierson, 5. Golobic, 6. Layser, 7. Bright, 8. Heckman. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Grant, 2. Arndt, 3. Boat, 4. Carrick, 5. Bacon, 6. Miller, 7. Heydenreich, 8. Jackson. NT

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. T.Buckwalter, 2. Thorson, 3. Shelton, 4. Simon, 5. Lynch, 6. Glenn, 7. Johnson. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chad Boat, 2. Tyler Courtney, 3. Ryan Greth, 4. Holly Shelton, 5. Brayton Lynch, 6. Timmy Buckwalter, 7. Tanner Carrick, 8. Brett Arndt, 9. Brady Bacon, 10. Landon Simon, 11. Adam Pierson, 12. Kenny Miller, III, 13. Eric Heydenreich, 14. Tanner Thorson, 15. Justin Grant, 16. Jimmy Glenn, 17. Andrew Layser, 18. Shawn Jackson, 19. Spencer Bayston, 20. Shane Golobic. NT
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**Bayston flipped on lap 26 of the feature. Grant flipped on lap 29 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 Lynch, Laps 10-24 Thorson, Lap 25 Bacon, Laps 26-28 Thorson, Laps 29-30 Boat.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Ryan Greth (11th to 3rd)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Eric Heydenreich

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-1150, 2-Golobic-1095, 3-Bacon-1074, 4-Grant-1067, 5-Thorson-1058, 6-Courtney-1030, 7-Boat-895, 8-Shelton-840, 9-Jerry Coons, Jr.-808, 10-Carrick-747.

NEW USAC EASTERN REGIONAL MIDGETS PRESENTED BY ARDC POINTS: 1-Greth-1241, 2-Bright-1110, 3-Miller-1018, 4-Pierson-979, 5-Jackson-969, 6-Trevor Kobylarz-764, 7-Arndt-754, 8-Layser-735, 9-Heckman-705, 10-Jay Hartman & Tommy Kunsman, Jr.-631.

NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: August 15 - Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway - Newmanstown, Pennsylvania - "Pennsylvania Midget Week"

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

GRANT LARCENY IN PENNSYLVANIA MIDGET WEEK OPENER AT SUSKY!

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

York Haven, Pennsylvania....August 13, 2017 - The old saying goes, "sometimes you'd rather be lucky than good." That's true to an extent, but the fact of the matter is that one must first put themselves in a position for good fortune to fall their way.

Justin Grant (middle) poses in victory lane with 2nd-place finisher Tanner Thorson (left) and 3rd place finisher Spencer Bayston (right) following Sunday night's 'Pennsylvania Midget Week' opener at Susquehanna Speedway.
(Michael Fry Photo)

Justin Grant was in that position on the final lap of Sunday night's "Pennsylvania Midget Week" opener at Susquehanna Speedway when he passed not one, but two of Keith Kunz's bunch, to win from third on the final corner of the last lap to score his second USAC Midget National Championship victory of the season aboard the Clauson-Marshall Racing/Driven 2 Save Lives - Priority Aviation/Spike/Stanton SR-11.

In fact, with just five laps remaining, Grant was running a mere fifth behind Tanner Thorson, Spencer Bayston, Brady Bacon and teammate Shane Golobic. Grant took advantage of fortuitous opportunities to the front, getting by Golobic with four to go, then advancing another spot to third when third-running Bacon slowed to a stop with a broken U-Joint with two laps remaining. Bacon had been the dominant driver throughout the mid-portion of the 30-lap feature, leading the ensuing 17 laps after snaring the lead from Thorson on lap six and held a nearly two second advantage with 13 laps remaining.

The race appeared it would be settled between reigning series champ Thorson and current point leader Spencer Bayston on the first attempt at a green-white-checkered while Grant lurked in third. As soon as the green flag dropped, Thorson got a solid jump while Grant put a move underneath Bayston for second, which would prove to be a harbinger of things to come.

Yet, the car of 15th running Jim Radney stalled on the front straightaway, negating the start and moved everyone back into single-file order for a second attempt with Thorson, Bayston and Grant running one-two-three at the head of the class.

Though Grant was able to pull even with Bayston during the initial restart, he admits he bobbled pretty bad off the second turn. He knew if he had one more shot, if he could hit it right, it was going to work out pretty well for him.

Right off the bat, Bayston put his own plan into fruition, sliding Thorson for the lead in turn one on lap 29. Thorson attempted to counter with a run into turn three to no avail as Bayston used the momentum from the high line to remain in front with the white flag in the air.

"On restarts like that, the guy not leading has the advantage, which was me," Bayston believes. "I kind of knew what Tanner was going to do and I knew if I could get a good restart, I could at least get in front of Tanner and break his momentum. If I didn't get a good restart, I knew he'd have track position and it would be tough to beat him."

As soon as it looked as if Bayston appeared to secure the spot, on the final lap, Thorson fought back to pull alongside Bayston midway through the back straightaway while, suddenly, Grant made a play to the far bottom and the trio were three-wide briefly before heading into three.

Both Bayston and Thorson slid side-by-side into the corner, never lifting, but both stumbled atop the cushion, allowing Grant to dart underneath both off turn four to win his first USAC National Midget feature since the season opening "Shamrock Classic" at the Southern Illinois Center in March. Thorson also slipped past Bayston off the final corner to take second while Bayston dropped to third ahead of Golobic and Tanner Carrick.

"I thought we could at least get one of them there on that restart, but I wasn't sure about both of them," Grant admits. "After Bayston threw the slider into three, I kind of figured, 'Well, we're going to end up second, maybe third.' I got Thorson and said, 'Okay, at least we're going to have second." Then, Bayston had a big bicycle and I thought 'Holy cow,' I think we're going to win this thing!' I was just hoping that he kept it going and a caution or red didn't come out and we'd have to do it all over again and fend them off another time or give the spot back to Thorson, but, luckily, it all worked out."

After Bayston threw the slider into three, I kind of figured, 'Well, we're going to end up second, maybe third.' I got Thorson and said, 'Okay, at least we're going to have second.' Then, Bayston had a big bicycle and I thought 'Holy cow,' I think we're going to win this thing!' - Justin Grant
(Rich Forman Photo)

"I'd been getting a good run off the bottom of (turn) two, especially late in the race," Grant continued. "I got up alongside those guys off two and almost was in a position to slide them both into three, but not quite. Bayston ran the big slider block on Thorson and I was able to slide past Thorson getting into the middle of the corner and he kind of got messed up on the cushion right as we were getting there. Bayston had so much speed sliding across the middle from blocking the slider that he hit the curb and bicycled and we were able to skate on through there unscathed."

While Grant's midget season hasn't been a disappointment by any means, the consistent strong runs just haven't translated into as many wins as he's had during his 2017 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car campaign where he owns the point lead and four wins. The pressure can mount in such situations for any driver with the competitive nature that Grant possesses, but the 26-year-old feels he's in the right spot now with the right team.

"Sometimes, if you can't be the best guy, you've got to be the luckiest," Grant quips. "You have to be in the right spot to win them and, tonight, it worked out in our favor. We were good enough to capitalize on their mistake and that's what you've got to do sometimes. I've been running well, but I just haven't gotten a win in a few months. Running second, third, fourth and fifth, that's good and all, but it really starts to wear on you after a while, especially when you start out the year so strong and then kind of taper off. I put a lot of pressure on myself to win, but this team's really great. They let you do what you can do and they want to win, but they're not breathing down your back and that makes it a lot easier to do your job. Across the board, all the people I race with are that way and it makes it really fun and easier to do your job, for sure."

Minden, Nevada's Tanner Thorson appeared to be the dominant driver when the final caution occurred with two laps remaining, leading two different stints of the 30-lap feature in the opening and latter stages for a total of 11 laps before finishing second in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/JBL Audio - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota. Yet, to him, leading on a late-race restart such as he was is not the ideal place to be.

"It's a pretty big disadvantage," Thorson readily admits. "You're kind of a sitting duck there. When you're committed to running one line and that's it, you don't know exactly where everybody's going to go on the restart, what's going to work and what's not going to work. It's a situation I'd have rather been sitting in the second or third spot like Spencer and Justin. Spencer and I are teammates, but we're both here to win and we're going to do it what it takes to get it done. I wouldn't say we were worse than Justin or Justin was better than us, but I'd definitely say Spencer and I we're both pretty dominant throughout the whole race."

"It was a matter of three cars going into one turn and none of us were lifting," Thorson said of the final lap battle between he and Bayston. "We're all here to win and we're all going to do what it takes to win. I wasn't lifting, Spencer wasn't lifting for me and I wasn't lifting for Justin. Justin was on the line to be in and it definitely showed right there. It was a little bit slick through turn three. Our cars took off like rockets and gained some speed getting into the corner, which made matters a little worse and sent us hopping the cushion. I was able to get the car turned back down, get going and managed to get second. Can't be too mad about that. We just got beat."

Just eight days following his masterful performance on the Belleville High Banks, Lebanon, Indiana's Spencer Bayston came within one corner of becoming the season's fourth different repeat winner in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/IWX - Curb Records - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota.

"Neither Tanner or I wanted to lose, so we both drove it in deep," Bayston said. "I drove it in really deep and got up over the cushion and biked it up a little bit. Grant was there at the right time and just stole it from us. Both Tanner and I wanted to win really badly. I think both of our cars were better than the rest of the field's. it's kind of unfortunate the way it ended up."

Contingency award winners Sunday night at Susquehanna Speedway include Tyler Courtney (ProSource Fast Qualifier & Simpson Race Products 1st Heat Winner), Brady Bacon (Competition Suspension, Inc. 2nd Heat Winner), Tanner Thorson (Chalk Stix 3rd Heat Winner), Adam Pierson (Indy Race Parts Semi Winner), Tanner Carrick (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Brayton Lynch (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP & EASTERN REGIONAL MIDGETS PRESENTED BY ARDC RACE RESULTS: August 13, 2017 - Susquehanna Speedway - York Haven, Pennsylvania - "Pennsylvania Midget Week"

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall-17.713; 2. Justin Grant, 39BC, Clauson/Marshall-17.998; 3. Shane Golobic, 17w, Clauson-Marshall/Wood-18.050; 4. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-18.137; 5. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-18.142; 6. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-18.164; 7. Trevor Kobylarz, 14, RT-18.169; 8. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-18.259; 9. Ryan Greth, 4R, Lesher-18.323; 10. Brayton Lynch, 1K, RKR-18.364; 11. Alex Bright, 77, Bright-18.450; 12. Jim Radney, 95, Radney-18.486; 13. Steve Buckwalter, 74, Speers-18.496; 14. Adam Pierson, 76E, Mancini-18.587; 15. Holly Shelton, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-18.643; 16. Tommy Kunsman, Jr., 21, Kunsman-18.676; 17. Tanner Carrick, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-18.693; 18. Brett Arndt, 46, Essay-18.802; 19. P.J. Gargiulo, 5, JHG-18.886; 20. Kenney Johnson, 46x, Johnson-18.913; 21. Kenny Miller, III, 23m, Miller-18.938; 22. Landon Simon, 29, Clover-18.939; 23. Andrew Layser, 77L, Bright-19.136; 24. Jimmy Glenn, 07, Glenn-19.377; 25. Josh Heckman, 12, Heckman-19.390; 26. Rob Marhefka, 99, FM-20.259; 27. Jason Rice, 57, Rice-NT; 28. Shawn Jackson, 7J, Jackson-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. Kunsman, 3. Kobylarz, 4. Bayston, 5. Buckwalter, 6. Gargiulo, 7. Lynch, 8. Jackson, 9. Simon, 10. Heckman. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Bright, 3. Grant, 4. Boat, 5. Carrick, 6. Pierson, 7. Johnson, 8. Layser, 9. Marhefka. NT

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Thorson, 2. Shelton, 3. Golobic, 4. Arndt, 5. Greth, 6. Miller, 7. Radney, 8. Glenn. NT

INDY RACE PARTS SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Pierson, 2. Lynch, 3. Radney, 4. Gargiulo, 5. Miller, 6. Layser, 7. Simon, 8. Glenn, 9. Johnson, 10. Jackson, 11. Heckman, 12. Marhefka. 3:45.25

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Spencer Bayston, 4. Shane Golobic, 5. Tanner Carrick, 6. Chad Boat, 7. Alex Bright, 8. Holly Shelton, 9. Brett Arndt, 10. Trevor Kobylarz, 11. Adam Pierson, 12. Kenny Miller III, 13. Brayton Lynch, 14. Andrew Layser, 15. Tyler Courtney, 16. Brady Bacon, 17. Jim Radney, 18. Steve Buckwalter, 19. Kenney Johnson, 20. Landon Simon, 21. P.J. Gargiulo, 22. Tommy Kunsman, Jr., 23. Ryan Greth. NT
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Thorson, Laps 6-22 Bacon, Laps 23-28 Thorson, Lap 29 Bayston, Lap 30 Grant.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Tanner Carrick (14th to 5th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Brayton Lynch

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-1112, 2-Golobic-1047, 3-Bacon-1043, 4-Grant-1026, 5-Thorson-1012, 6-Courtney-952, 7-Boat-814, 8-Jerry Coons, Jr.-808, 9-Shelton-717, 10-Carrick-690.

NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: August 14 - Path Valley Speedway Park - Spring Run, Pennsylvania - "Pennsylvania Midget Week"

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

BAYSTON BLAZES THE HIGH BANKS FOR FIRST BELLEVILLE VICTORY

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Belleville, Kansas.....August 5, 2017 - All year long, the focus for Spencer Bayston and the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team has been to win Belleville.

After running second to Chad Boat in the 2016 Saturday night finale, then again to Boat in this weekend's Friday prelim, the target was clear. It included pulling out all the stops, including a new, specially-built chassis designed to take on the Belleville High Banks.

After another weekend of Boat domination, the tide turned when Bayston established new 4-lap and 8-lap track records earlier Saturday, solidifying his position on the pole for the 40-lap main event by defeating Boat head-to-head in the 4-lap dash.

Spencer Bayston celebrates victory in Saturday night's 40th 'Belleville Midget Nationals' at the Belleville (Kans.) High Banks. (Rich Forman Photo)

The stage was set for the Lebanon, Indiana native to rout the 24-car field in a stirring high-wire act up against the fence for 40-straight laps in the 40th annual event to capture his first "Belleville Midget Nationals" victory, a win that was 365 days in the making.

"We've been focused on Boat all year long," Bayston said. "Knowing how good he was last year, we knew we had to be on our game coming into this weekend. We built this car especially for this place and we've been working hard all-year-long to try to build up for this weekend. To bring it home on this night really means a lot."

Right from the start, Bayston blazed a trail in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/IWX - Curb Records - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota that no other driver could keep pace with as he separated from Boat exiting turn two while teammate Tanner Thorson followed in tow, powering by Boat for second heading into turn three. By the third lap, Bayston's advantage was a half-straightaway and, by lap 10, the lead was a full-straight.

Dissimilar from the night before, the track was wide and vast from lap one, up on the rail in classic Belleville style. Bayston stood on the loudpedal, never breaking stride as he threaded the needle through lapped traffic, slicing between Terry Goodwin and Scott Hatton in turn four on lap 15.

Just before halfway, all three Clauson/Marshall Racing cars with drivers Shane Golobic, Tyler Courtney and Justin Grant saw right rear tires go down, putting into question the factor of tire wear in an intense 40-lap contest. Keeping the car as straight as possible up top was the key for Bayston.

"I knew going into it that we'd have to be somewhat careful with our tires," Bayston explained. "Last year, this place wore down on left rears before it started to get cleaned off there up top. I was trying to pace myself and figure out what I need to be doing there. The higher you go, the faster you go here. I could lean on the cushion and keep the car as straight as possible and the wheel spin down."

Conversely, second-running Thorson wasn't as concerned, which he credits to the work his team does in addition to his growing experience behind the wheel of a stock car in races that are 200-300 laps in length in most cases.

"I wasn't too worried," Thorson admits. "I could kind of feel our tires. They're really good and the way our guys groove these things and get them ready for us is pretty awesome. I was just hoping for some rubber there at the end. I'd say I'm a better rubber racer here than I am anything else. I hoped that, in the long run, we would have something to worry about with tire wear and I would've been able to save my stuff and been better at the end. It's something you've got to look at with these longer races. It's something that running stock cars has really helped me with."

On the lap 23 restart, Thorson was finally able to stick with Bayston as the light switched green, shadowing his teammate up on the topside. Thorson remained in racing purgatory, not moving forward or backward as the laps wound down past the three-quarter mark while Thorson took on a bit of a conservation mode in hopes that the track would change in his favor near the conclusion.

'You look into the past with guys like Larson, Bell and even guys that are in our pit area with us, like Jay Drake (a 1996 and 2000 prelim feature winner). There's a long list of very talented drivers who've achieved big things. To put my name up there with those guys, it's a true honor.' - Spencer Bayston ...(Rich Forman Photo)

"The race just kind of came to me," Thorson explains. "I was trying to save my stuff a little bit toward the end. I saw the top was starting to get a little bit black. I was saving my stuff with the hope that if there's rubber, we'd have a little bit more tire, but it didn't work out that way. We had a couple of restarts and we were able to get close. Longer in that run, we got messed up with some lapped cars, but I don't know if we were good enough to pass him. We were only good enough to hang with him for a little bit, but each time, he started to pull away a bit. I just felt like I wasn't in the track as much as I was in the beginning part of the race. Maybe I should've attacked a little harder at the beginning."

As the laps ticked inside ten to go, Bayston carved out another two-tenth increase over Thorson from 0.6 to 0.8 to 1.0 to 1.2 seconds over a four-lap span by lap 36 and appeared to be putting the finishing touches on a masterful performance.

However, with two laps remaining, Terry Goodwin found himself skidding to a stop at the entry of turn one. Sixth-running Ryan Robinson entered turn one with nowhere to go and pitched his mount sideways in an attempt to avoid Goodwin, to no avail. Robinson's right rear contacted the front left of Goodwin, sending Robinson end-over-end into turn one. Robinson climbed out of the car without serious injury.

That set up a two-lap dash to the finish. Under the red flag, Bayston was content with what he had. The car was on a rail, but he felt his teammate had something up his sleeve. Yet, Thorson felt the benefits of the red flag to his race were miniscule.

"I don't know if that red flag helped us at all," Thorson wonders. "I'm never good when it comes to restarts following red flags and yellow flags. I like to keep the green flag pace going. I'm not sure if our right rear tire sealed up or what, but we didn't have as much drive as we did just before that red flag."

A green-white-checkered finish is practically a two-lap qualifying run and Bayston was on the clock from the word 'go.' Incredibly, despite 38-lap old rubber and a track that had seen 38 laps of green flag action, Bayston ripped off his two fastest laps on lap 39 and 40 to seal the deal for the biggest win of his career.

"I ran the first few laps trying to get away and build a big lead," Bayston admits. "On that last red, I knew I really had to break away. For the whole race, I was maintaining, just being patient and smart. I got really comfortable and set it on cruise control, almost. Those last few laps, I was running as hard as I could and as fast as I could. Throughout the race, the car got better and the crew had the thing absolutely spot on. That really tells you the type of team this is."

Bayston provided car owner Keith Kunz with his sixth Belleville Saturday night victory, following in the footsteps of drivers Page Jones (1993), Kevin Doty (1994), Kyle Larson (2011), Christopher Bell (2013), Rico Abreu (2014).

"You look into the past with guys like Larson, Bell and even guys that are in our pit area with us, like Jay Drake (a 1996 and 2000 prelim feature winner)," Bayston begins. "There's a long list of very talented drivers who've achieved big things. To put my name up there with those guys, it's a true honor."

Belleville has become a more comfortable place for Bayston since his 22nd place debut in 2015. Since then, the 18-year-old has scored successive finishes of 4th, 2nd, 2nd and 1st.

"It's a place you have to respect," Bayston laid out. "When I first came here, racing for Bryan Clauson, Kokomo is his place of worship, but this place was also special in his heart. He dominated here and, every time he came here, he was the one to beat. The first year here, we were just trying to get comfortable and didn't run too great. Last year, we were so close and I got so much more comfortable throughout the feature. This year, coming in, I knew we had a really good shot at beating Chad. I have a lot of confidence in this team and the car that they've given me. We've been fast all year long and, to come here to this place, it really is a good feeling to know how fast we truly are."

Reigning USAC National Midget champion Tanner Thorson was knocking all around the podium both Friday and Saturday night in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/JBL Audio - TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota, following up Friday's third-place finish with a runner-up result in Saturday's finale.

"I'm not happy if I don't win," Thorson said point blank. "That's how it is. If I don't win, I'm not happy. We're all here to win and I think that shows how much drive our team has."

Chad Boat's streak of three consecutive Belleville wins came to a close with a third-place finish in his Tucker-Boat Motorsports/PristineAuction.com - K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota. After swapping engines following Friday night's victory, Boat found the car to be just a tick off, which, at Belleville, can be the decisive factor in running first, second, third or tenth.

"It's a pretty fine line," Boat said. "If you're just a little off, it rears its head, especially in a 40-lapper. The track took us a little bit by surprise. It was a lot slicker last year and that's where we excelled. Our car was just a little bit too tight all night. I felt like I was just trying to hang on this year, but overall, the car performed pretty well all weekend. We tried to make a couple changes, but on that two-lap run, we knew it was going to be tough. Those guys were just a little better than we were. What we needed to change, we really couldn't change under a red."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at the Belleville High Banks include Chad Boat (Simpson Race Products 1st Heat Winner), Spencer Bayston (Competition Suspension, Inc. 2nd Heat Winner), Jerry Coons, Jr. (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts 3rd Heat Winner), Brady Bacon (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Tyler Courtney (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 5, 2017 - Belleville, Kansas - Belleville High Banks - 40th "Belleville Midget Nationals"

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Chad Boat (#84 Tucker/Boat), 2. Ryan Robinson (#21 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Tyler Courtney (#7BC Clauson/Marshall), 4. Jeff Stasa (#91 SBR Motorsports), 5. Terry Goodwin (#2G Goodwin), 6. Robert Bell (#71½ Bell), 7. Ashley Oerter (#16 RKO Management), 8. Ryan Oerter (#43 RKO Management). NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Spencer Bayston (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Tanner Carrick (#71K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Shane Golobic (#17w Clauson/Marshall/Wood), 4. Justin Grant (#39BC Clauson/Marshall), 5. Brayton Lynch (#1K RKR), 6. Zach Middleton (#43A RKO Management), 7. Cody Brewer (#96 Central Motorsports). 2:17.56 (New Track Record)

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Jerry Coons, Jr. (#25 Petry/Goff), 2. Tanner Thorson (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Brady Bacon (#76m FMR), 4. Holly Shelton (#67K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 5. Scott Hatton (#1 Hatton), 6. Ty Williams (#91s SBR Motorsports), 7. Collin Rinehart (#20 Rinehart), 8. Randy Oerter (#48 RKO Management). 2:22.26

POLE DASH: (4 laps) 1. Bayston, 2. Boat, 3. Thorson, 4. Robinson, 5. Coons, 6. Carrick. 1:08.98 (New Track Record)

B-DASH: (4 laps) 1. Golobic, 2. Courtney, 3. Grant, 4. Bacon, 5. Shelton, 6. Stasa. 1:10.80

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Spencer Bayston, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Chad Boat, 4. Jerry Coons, Jr., 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Holly Shelton, 7. Justin Grant, 8. Tanner Carrick, 9. Shane Golobic, 10. Ryan Robinson, 11. Jeff Stasa, 12. Terry Goodwin, 13. Tyler Courtney, 14. Robert Bell, 15. Scott Hatton, 16. Collin Rinehart, 17. Brayton Lynch, 18. Ryan Oerter, 19. Matt Johnson (#85 Central Motorsports), 20. Zach Middleton, 21. Randy Oerter, 22. Ty Williams, 23. Ashley Oerter, 24. Cody Brewer. NT
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**Robinson flipped on lap 39 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-40 Bayston.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Brady Bacon (10th to 5th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Tyler Courtney

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-1040, 2-Bacon-1002, 3-Golobic-976, 4-Grant-945, 5-Thorson-936, 6-Courtney-905, 7-Coons-808, 8-Boat-754, 9-Shelton-717, 10-Robinson-671.

NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: August 13 - York Haven, PA - Susquehanna Speedway - "Pennsylvania Midget Week" (With the USAC Eastern Midgets presented by ARDC)

Categories : Midgets, News, Short Track, USAC
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