Archive for USAC

The United States Auto Club.

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

2011 'Tony Hulman Classic' winner Chris Windom leads the pack last season at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track. (Gene Crucean Photo)



48TH "TONY HULMAN CLASSIC" KICKS OFF BIG WEEK OF USAC RACING

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Terre Haute, Indiana.........Kevin Thomas, Jr. has seemingly had the Midas touch in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car competition over the past two years. No driver has accumulated more victories than the Cullman, Alabama driver over that stretch and he arrives at this Wednesday night's 48th running of the "Tony Hulman Classic" as the reigning race winner and the current series point leader.

Thomas has already won twice this season at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. and Plymouth (Ind.) Speedway. Last fall, though, Thomas picked up one of the biggest victories of his career as he slid his way past Dave Darland with five laps remaining, then ran down leader Chase Stockon with three to go to win his first USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at the Action Track in four seasons.

Thomas owns two career USAC National Sprint Car victories at the half-mile dirt oval in Terre Haute, also winning back in 2013 during "Indiana Sprint Week" in a ferocious battle with Darland. His Dynamics, Inc./Hoffman Auto Racing team has won four times at Terre Haute, including one "Hulman Classic" with Jerry Coons, Jr. in 2010.

The "Hulman Classic" has been a special event for Darland over the years. It's the home of the Lincoln, Indiana native's first career series win back in 1993. A mere 21 years later, in 2014, he was back in victory lane at the Action Track for his second "Hulman Classic" win. The resurgence of Darland has already led him to victory lane at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway in April.

Second in points, Chris Windom has a full plate of racing on his docket for this week, beginning with Wednesday's "Hulman Classic." The 2011 "Hulman Classic" winner also intends to run Thursday's "Hoosier Hundred" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic" at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana on Friday and the Payless "Little 500" on Saturday at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. Sandwiched between all that is his debut appearance with the Indy Lights series in the "Freedom 100" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, marking 770 laps of competition in five races for the Canton, Illinois native in main events over a four-day span.

Robert Ballou, sixth in the standings, collected the two most recent "Hulman Classic" rifles prior to Thomas, winning the "Hulman" back-to-back in 2015 and 2016. After a tough start to the season, the 2015 series champ out of Rocklin, Calif. has finished in the top-five in his last three starts with two second-place finishes.

Another past series champ who's returned to form in the most recent races after a sluggish start is Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon. The 2014 and 2016 champ has finished in the top-five in each of his past three starts, including a victory at Eldora two weeks ago to rise up to eighth in the standings.

Ninth in points, Ione, California's Justin Grant is USAC's most recent winner at Terre Haute, capturing the "Sumar Classic" for the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car division in late April. Starting from the pole position in that race was Tyler Courtney from Indianapolis, Indiana. The driver known as "Sunshine" is third in points on the strength of two early season victories in Ocala, Fla.

Like Grant, C.J. Leary has reached the peak at Terre Haute in USAC competition, but not yet in a sprint car. In 2016, the Greenfield, Indiana native picked up a "Sumar Classic" Silver Crown victory and has been a perennial frontrunner in that event. He recently finished fifth in this year's edition and is looking to break through for his first USAC National Sprint Car win of the year following a banner year in 2017 in which he earned a career-high five wins.

Jerry Coons, Jr. is one of three multiple-time "Hulman Classic" winners entered for Terre Haute, bagging that crown in 2010 and 2013. The Tucson, Arizona native, and one of six USAC Triple Crown champs, returns to action in the Krockenberger Racing No. 21K.

Chase Stockon, fifth in the standings, finished third in last year's "Hulman," coming up just three laps short of the win after leading the first 27 laps of the 30-lap feature. You can count on the Fort Branch, Indiana driver being one of the contenders yet again this Wednesday. After all, he is a past USAC National Sprint Car winner at Terre Haute back in 2016 at the "Don Smith Classic."

Hanford, California's Chad Boespflug resides 10th in the standings, and has come close to winning at Terre Haute twice with a pair of runner-up finishes in two of his last three USAC Sprint Car appearances there.

The "Tony Hulman Classic" began in 1971 and is the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car division's longest-running annually-contested event. George Snider was victorious in the first edition. Other winners over the years include, just to name a few, Joe Saldana, Gary Bettenhausen, Pancho Carter, Jan Opperman, Sheldon Kinser, Jack Hewitt, Ron Shuman, Rich Vogler, Steve Butler, Doug Kalitta, J.J. Yeley, Tracy Hines, Jon Stanbrough Cory Kruseman, plus the only three-time winners of the event: Cary Faas and Levi Jones.

USAC's "The Week of Indy" begins at the Terre Haute Action Track on Wednesday, May 23. The "Tony Hulman Classic" will feature the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car tour and the Scott's Custom Colors UMP DIRTcar Modifieds.

Terre Haute pits are scheduled to open at 3pm, grandstands at 4pm, hot laps at 6:30pm, and racing action is scheduled to begin at 8pm. General admission tickets for the "Tony Hulman Classic" will be sold at the gate for $25 on raceday. Infield tickets are also available for $15, while children 11 and under are free.

Tickets can be obtained by calling Track Enterprises at 217-764-3200 or at the gate on raceday. A three-day special Superticket for the full week of Indy including the "Tony Hulman Classic" at the Terre Haute Action Track on Wednesday, May 23, the "Hoosier Hundred" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Thursday, May 24 and the "Dave Steele Carb Night Classic" at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday, May 25 is also available at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2018-week-of-indy.

The "Tony Hulman Classic" will be streamed LIVE on www.SpeedShiftTV.com/. A day later, you can watch it again, on-demand, at http://www.Loudpedal.TV/.

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"TONY HULMAN CLASSIC" WINNERS:

Terre Haute Action Track
1971: George Snider
1972: Bruce Walkup
1973: Joe Saldana
1974: Gary Bettenhausen
1975: Pancho Carter
1976: Jan Opperman
1977: James McElreath
1978: Dick Tobias
1979: Pancho Carter
1980: Eddie Leavitt
1981: Sheldon Kinser
1982: Chet Johnson
1983: Jack Hewitt
1984: Rick Hood
1985: Ron Shuman
1986: Rich Vogler
1987: Steve Butler

Indianapolis Raceway Park
1988: Steve Butler
1989: Rich Vogler
1990: Jeff Bloom
1991: Eric Gordon

Terre Haute Action Track
1992: Cary Faas
1993: Dave Darland
1994: Cary Faas
1995: Jack Hewitt
1996: Doug Kalitta
1997: J.J. Yeley
1998: Cary Faas
1999: Terry Pletch
2000: Jay Drake
2001: Tracy Hines
2002: Jon Stanbrough
2003: J.J. Yeley
2004: Cory Kruseman
2005: Levi Jones
2006: Daron Clayton
2007: Jon Stanbrough
2008: Levi Jones
2009: Levi Jones
2010: Jerry Coons, Jr.
2011: Chris Windom
2012: Bud Kaeding
2013: Jerry Coons, Jr.
2014: Dave Darland
2015: Robert Ballou
2016: Robert Ballou
2017: Kevin Thomas, Jr.

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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May
13

Thunder on the Hill News

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MAY 13, 2018
CONTACT: BOB MILLER 443 513 4456
THUNDER ON THE HILL RACING SERIES

NAPA AUTO PARTS THUNDER ON THE HILL RACING SERIES PRESENTS. . . .

PIONEER POLE BUILDINGS 21ST ANNUAL MODIFIED TRAFFIC JAM, SPORTSMAN & SPRINTS IN TRIPLE THUNDER THRILLER AT GRANDVIEW SUNDAY, MAY 27, PLUS FAN FUN STUFF

BECHTELSVILLE, PA (May 13, 2018) – It’s that time of the year for honoring the American flag, enjoying a barbecue, tail-gating and taking in a night on the hill with a show of Modified, Sportsman and Sprint Car Racing all in one night. Thanks to the Thunder Series sponsor NAPA Auto Parts and race event sponsor Pioneer Pole Buildings, it will all happen at the Grandview Speedway on Sunday night, May 27 as the 29th season of Thunder on the Hill takes the first green flag of the season.

It’s an exciting Memorial Day holiday weekend for Grandview Speedway race fans; as this is more than just a race, the Sunday, May 27 event will showcase the 21st Annual Pioneer Pole Buildings TRAFFIC JAM. This event is just loaded with prestige and is one of those events every modified driver wants to add to their resume of greatest wins. Who won this event in the past ?

Previous Traffic JAM winners include Brett Hearn a four-time winner and the inaugural victor in 1998. Other TRAFFIC JAM winners include Matt Sheppard, Jimmy Horton, Tim McCreadie, Craig VonDohren, Jeff Strunk, Alan Johnson, Frank Cozze, Rick Laubach, Danny Johnson, Tim Fuller and the youngest Traffic Jam winner, 25-year-old Brett Kressley of Orefield, PA, the 2017 defending winner of this event.

Kressley, off to a strong start in 2018 would like nothing more then to make it a back-to-back Traffic Jam victory.

With a 7:30 PM start time, the Thunder Series kick-off show includes three exciting racing divisions competing on the Berks County dirt track – with the 40-lap Traffic Jam paying $5,000-to-win, $1,000 for tenth and $500 to start the Modified main event, a $1,300-to-win Sportsman showdown, and the MASS Sprint Car Series.

There is no entry fee and no track/series license required to compete in this event. A special rules package was created to accommodate all area competitors. Both American Racer and Hoosier tires will be allowed for competition, and Big-Block or Spec Small-Block engines are permitted.

To pre-enter teams can call 443-513-4456 or visit www.thunderonthehillracingseries.com

Along with the Modifieds, the Sportsman will be in action competing in a 25-lap event with $1,300 going the winner. A similar relaxed rule package is available to the Sportsman teams and, as per Grandview Sportsman rules, sail panels will be allowed during this event.

The sprint cars round out this Triple Thunder Thriller with the MASS Sprint Car series participating in qualifying events and a 25-lap feature event.

Special thanks to Delaware Auto Exchange, sponsors of the Mid-Atlantic Sprint Series and they will be at the track early greeting the first 150 fans through the front gate with Delaware Auto Exchange koozie’s plus, as the night goes on, $800 worth Delaware Auto Exchange gift cards will be handed out.

As always, GALCO Business Communications are back at the Hill. GALCO is second only to NAPA Auto Parts as the longest sponsors of Thunder on the Hill. GALCO representatives Tom Cooper and Paul Lorenz are thrilled to again add some special spectator give-aways. Long time Thunder Series friend, Jim Gallagher will be at many of the events on behalf of GALCO. Jim is usually at the front gate meeting new fans.

The Pioneer Pole Buildings Mobile Sales Unit will be on display in the mid-way along with all of the Thunder on the Hill Racing Series mainstay promotions including the Low Down & Dirty Radio Show pre-race Meet and Greet, pit area tours, the Inside/Out Experience – where fans can watch hot laps from the infield, Joe ‘The Pizza Dude’ offering up free pizzas to the rowdiest fans, give-a-ways, and appearances by Miss Thunder on the Hill.

Helping to celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend will be a special fireworks display before the start of the main event.

Spectator gates will open at 5 PM, with racing action set for 7:30 PM. Adult General Admission is $25, Children 6-11 are $10, and Children 5 and Under are Free of Charge. Pit Area pricing is $35, and a license is not required.

Race fans interested in early admission can take part in our Advance Ticket Reserve. Advance tickets are available by calling 443-513-4456. You can leave a message with your name, contact number, and the number of tickets you’re requesting. Tickets may be picked up and paid for at the Grandview Speedway will call window on race night after 4:00 PM. Advance ticket holders are eligible to enter the grandstands at 4:30 PM a full half-hour before General Admission tickets go on sale.

NAPA Auto Parts continues their long run with the Thunder on the Hill Racing Series as the title sponsor joined by Pioneer Pole Buildings, Levan Machine and Truck Equipment and GALCO Business Communications.

2018 Race Dates

Sunday, May 27 Thunder on the Hill Racing Series 7:30 PM
21st Annual Traffic Jam Big Block/358 Modifieds*, Sportsman, MASS Sprints

Thursday, June 14 Thunder on the Hill Racing Series 7:30 PM
12th Annual USAC Non-Wing Sprints Jesse Hockett Classic Plus 358 Modifieds*

Tuesday, July 3 Thunder on the Hill Racing Series 7:30 PM
24th Annual 410 Pennsylvania Sprint Speed Week Series Plus 358 Modifieds*

Thursday, August 23 Thunder on the Hill Racing Series 7:30 PM
All Star 410 Sprints & 358 Modifieds*

Saturday, October 13 Thunder on the Hill Racing Series 6 PM
Mods at the MADHOUSE Halloween Party Big Block/358 Modifieds, Sportsman, MASS Sprints

Grandview Speedway

GPS USERS: 43 Passmore Road, Bechtelsville, PA 19505
Located less than a mile off Route 100, 10 miles north of Pottstown, PA
Speedway Phone: 610-754-7688
Thunder on the Hill Racing Series Phone: 443-513-4456
Thunder Series Website: Track Website: www.grandviewspeedway.com
Twitter/Instagram: @TOTHRACING
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thunderonthehill

About Grandview Speedway

Grandview Speedway is a high-banked one-third mile clay oval, celebrating their 56th Anniversary season in 2018. The facility offers free parking, quality food at reasonable prices (be sure to try the french fries), a program book, Grandview Speedway and Thunder on the Hill race wear and great viewing from every seat in the house. Race fans may take part in the Inside/Out promotion, where you can sign up (no charge) to watch warm-ups from inside turn four. Race fans are also invited to victory lane following the racing program and, race fans may enter the pits after the races to meet the drivers. Be ready to enjoy the spine-tingling fireworks salute on the feature event parade lap. For more information visit: www.thunderonthehillracingseries.com

The United States Auto Club.

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

Chris Windom captured Saturday night's #LetsRaceTwo USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at Eldora Speedway. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

WINDOM WAXES 'EM AT ELDORA'S #LETSRACETWO

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio....May 12, 2018 -For Chris Windom, this is supposed to be his big May. The reigning USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ has a jampacked schedule of short track races across the Midwest to compete in and is on the verge of his first start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

If Saturday night's #LetsRaceTwo at Eldora Speedway was any indication of how this May will play out for the Canton, Ill. native, this month will truly be one to remember.

Windom took the lead from Kevin Thomas, Jr. on the fourth lap of the 30-lap feature at the western Ohio half-mile dirt oval and went on to hammer home USAC victory number one for 2018 and his first Sprint Car win at the track since 2013.

Rain was on the forecast and urgency was at the forefront as the show was pushed along to defeat Mother Nature. Yet it was Thomas who initially looked like the one to take the bull by the horns at the start, splitting between Chase Stockon and Windom just past the flag stand, then sliding up in front of pole sitter Joe Stornetta to grab the lead by turn one.

Windom immediately charged forth and tried to redeem a two-for-one discount coupon, sliding by Stornetta and Thomas in quick succession entering turn three to briefly snare the top spot before Thomas ducked back underneath to regain control exiting the fourth turn.

The first big incident of the night occurred in turn two on the third lap when 11th-running Justin Grant and another car made contact, sending the Ione, Calif. native on a wild ride that he would walk away from unscathed.

On the ensuing restart, more trouble ensued when third-running Stornetta climbed the outside wall between turns three and four and cartwheeled several times before coming to rest near the bottom of turn four. The series Rookie making just his second start at Eldora escaped injury.

'We've had a lot of good runs. I think we've had four or five podium finishes so far, but you get sick of those after a while and you just want to win a race. It's awesome to start it here!' - Chris Windom (Ryan Sellers Photo)

On the restart, Windom got up on the wheel once again and went on the attack, running down Thomas with a successful turn one slider. Thomas fought back on both ends of the racetrack with a two-pack of sliders, to no avail.

"I don't know if there was urgency, but clean air here, even in a non-wing car, is crucial," Windom pointed out. "With the dust, and watching guys mess up on the cushion, it's just a lot easier being in the lead. I knew that the slider line (Thomas) was running would work on restarts, but I thought if I could get up and start getting my momentum going up top, it'd be better, and it was. When I saw the opportunity, I just took it. I wanted to get out to the lead and get away from everybody as quick as possible. Obviously, it helps with the great racecar (crew chief) Derek Claxton gave me."

Though it appeared Windom and the Baldwin Brothers Racing team had the "it" factor going on from the get-go, it wasn't initially clear to Windom how well his car was going to react as the race wore on at a feisty joint like "The Big E."

"The first couple of laps, I didn't know how great my car was with the way we were sliding ourselves," Windom admitted. "Once we started rolling the top, I knew the car was really good. As long as I didn't mess up on my end, it was going to be tough for anyone to get to us. This place is just so mentally and physically demanding. Running the cushion like that is tough to do for 30 laps."

By halfway, Windom's lead was a full-straightaway - a country mile, if you will - as a pack that included Stockon, Tyler Courtney, Robert Ballou and Friday night winner Brady Bacon sorted out the runner-up spot lap-after-lap with Courtney finally able to emerge with the second position on the 19th lap. But, by then, Windom's lead was a nearly insurmountable 4.843 seconds. It was a lead so large that Windom was unaware of how large it actually was.

"I didn't know I had that big of a lead," Windom exclaimed. "I knew we were pretty good, but when you start getting into lapped traffic, every little lapped car can slow you down just enough. It's such a momentum racetrack for a guy to catch you. You have to be slow and methodical through lapped traffic, but you can't let up too much. I tried to pick them off as quickly as I could and tried to get some guys between me and second."

By race's end, Windom had lapped up to eighth place. Courtney was able to make up some ground as Windom got hung up while threading the needle through traffic. But the hang-up was a brief one and not nearly enough to stall Windom as he finished hammering the proverbial nail, winning by a margin of 2.3 seconds over Courtney, Stockon, Bacon and Ballou.

"We've had a lot of good runs," Windom recalled. "I think we've had four or five podium finishes so far, but you get sick of those after a while and you just want to win a race. It's awesome to start it here!"

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Eldora Speedway included Chase Stockon (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Chris Windom (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts Third Heat Winner), Paul Dues (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Chad Boespflug (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher) and Isaac Chapple (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: May 12, 2018 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - "#LetsRaceTwo"

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-15.940; 2. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-16.048; 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 69, Dynamics-16.086; 4. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-16.135; 5. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-16.181; 6. Joe Stornetta, 44, Pace-16.182; 7. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-16.205; 8. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-16.284; 9. Chad Boespflug, 98, NineEight-16.300; 10. Brady Bacon, 99, Bacon-16.385; 11. Dave Darland, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-16.460; 12. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-16.609; 13. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-16.706; 14. Dallas Hewitt, 18, Keen-16.772; 15. Kyle Cummins, 3c, EZR/Cummins-16.924; 16. Bill Rose, 6, Rose-17.023; 17. Chad Wilson, 14, Wilson-17.106; 18. Carmen Perigo, 21, Stehman-17.135; 19. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-17.444; 20. Paul Dues, 87, Dues-17.691; 21. Riley VanHise, 96, VanHise-17.868.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer) 1. Stockon, 2. Bacon, 3. Rose, 4. Grant, 5. Leary, 6. Chapple, 7. Goodnight. 2:19.73

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer) 1. Windom, 2. Ballou, 3. Courtney, 4. Darland, 5. Hewitt, 6. Dues, 7. Wilson. 2:18.57

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer) 1. Thomas, 2. Stornetta, 3. Perigo, 4. Westfall, 5. Boespflug, 6. Cummins, 7. VanHise. 2:26.50

FEATURE: (30 laps - starting position in parentheses) 1. Chris Windom (2), 2. Tyler Courtney (5), 3. Chase Stockon (3), 4. Brady Bacon (10), 5. Robert Ballou (8), 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (4), 7. C.J. Leary (6), 8. Matt Westfall (12), 9. Kyle Cummins (15), 10. Dallas Hewitt (14), 11. Dave Darland (11), 12. Paul Dues (20), 13. Chad Boespflug (9), 14. Carmen Perigo (18), 15. Chad Wilson (17), 16. Isaac Chapple (13), 17. Riley VanHise (21), 18. Bill Rose (16), 19. Matt Goodnight (19), 20. Joe Stornetta (1), 21. Justin Grant (7). NT
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**Grant flipped on lap 3 of the feature. Stornetta flipped on lap 3 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Thomas, Laps 4-30 Windom.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Paul Dues (20th to 12th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Chad Boespflug

ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Isaac Chapple

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Thomas-572, 2-Windom-556, 3-Courtney-523, 4-Leary-494, 5-Stockon-486, 6-Ballou-476, 7-Darland-469, 8-Bacon-452, 9-Grant-426, 10-Boespflug-384.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: May 18 - Granite City, Illinois - Tri-City Speedway & May 19 - Pevely, Missouri - Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 - "River Town Showdown"

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

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

Brady Bacon celebrates his #LetsRaceTwo Night #1 victory Friday night at Eldora Speedway. (Travis Branch Photo)

BACON BLAZES ELDORA FOR #LETSRACETWO NIGHT ONE WALLOP

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio.....May 11, 2018 -Brady Bacon is a renaissance man of sorts. Wing or wingless, running the top or the bottom, the Broken Arrow, Okla. native seems to adapt to a multitude of situations on any given racetrack.

Under the Friday night lights of Eldora Speedway's #LetsRaceTwo, Bacon was thrust into performing all those roles within a single performance as the lone wheelman pulling double-duty with both the USAC AMSOIL National and World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars.

Bacon was exemplary on both ends of the spectrum, conquering his second career USAC Sprint Car victory on the high banks, doing so by riding his way to victory on the wave of the expected and the unexpected.

Wheels right up against the concrete - that's the expected line at Eldora that involves putting the right rear rubber smack dab up against the outer wall. Then there's the not-so-expected hide-and-seek line in which the left side wheels are within earshot of the inside walls in the corners before the car emerges from the bottom having gained substantial ground.

Bacon did it all in one night and even translated what he learned from one car to the other to get a feel for the track and find a comfort zone for himself.

"The B-Feature (in the wing car) really helped me," Bacon admitted. "I ran the top pretty much wide open. It's not as fast in a non-wing car, but you have a lot less control too. If the wing cars are on the cushion, then the non-wing cars are definitely going to be up there. It was an old-school Eldora tonight. I did kind of make the bottom off (turn) four work a little bit, which is a little uncharacteristic for here, but it's been working for us the last couple times."

Yet, Bacon would have his work cut out for him. He had to start eighth in the field, trailing a lineup that held a collective eight career USAC National Sprint Car victories at "The Big E" coming into the night's 30-lap main event, five of which belonged to Robert Ballou, who slid up to the lead past Chris Windom from the pole position to hold the early lead.

As the front runners ringed their way around the top, Bacon inch-wormed his way forward on the bottom and, by halfway, was erasing Ballou's once-happening lead. Bacon hit the top-shelf with authority between turns one and two and tickled the twines of the bottom line in three and four. Although, at times, lapped traffic would stifle Bacon's baseline shuffle, it would not deter him for long.

'It was getting trickier to hit the bottom, but I just kept it in my back pocket. I knew it was so treacherous up top and easy to lose your momentum. There really wasn't much grip to gain your speed back. I just knew if he got slowed up or started making mistakes, I could probably get underneath him on the bottom. We still got trapped under some lapped cars, but we were able to clear them before he did. I was a little worried he was going to come back around us, but once we got out there, I tried not to make any mistakes. I knew it was going to be hard for anyone to pass me.' - Brady Bacon on his winning pass of Robert Ballou. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

On the 19th lap, Bacon took the initiative and went on the attack, using a big run to split between Ballou on the high side and the lapped car of Chad Boespflug on the inside. Like a motorist gracefully avoiding a rush hour headache by hitting the exit ramp just prior to traffic backing up to a standstill, Bacon found the open road, put the top down, mashed the throttle and checked out.

"It was getting trickier to hit the bottom, but I just kept it in my back pocket," Bacon explained. "I knew it was so treacherous up top and easy to lose your momentum. There really wasn't much grip to gain your speed back. I just knew if he got slowed up or started making mistakes, I could probably get underneath him on the bottom. We still got trapped under some lapped cars, but we were able to clear them before he did. I was a little worried he was going to come back around us, but once we got out there, I tried not to make any mistakes. I knew it was going to be hard for anyone to pass me."

From there, Bacon gradually constructed what would become an insurmountable advantage in the caution-free event, which eventually ballooned to a full-straightaway by race's end, defeating Ballou by a margin of 5.733 seconds. Windom was third ahead of Justin Grant and Kevin Thomas, Jr.

A full slate of non-stop competition that included jumping back-and-forth, to-and-fro from the USAC car to the WoO car was not an issue for the two-time USAC National Sprint Car champ on this night. Neither was a caution-free affair that was completed at a clip of less than nine-and-a-half minutes, something that is not as physical to Bacon as it may seem to the outsiders.

"This place is more mental than physical," Bacon contends. "You can get mentally worn out. That happens more to me after the '4-Crown.' I just kind of zone out after it's over. As long as you're breathing and doing everything right, it's not that tiring. It's definitely a lot easier when things are going your way."

After a rough start to the season that included exiting the Dooling-Hayward Motorsports/Richard Childress Racing ride following a tumultuous term at Ocala, Fla. in February, Bacon brought his own team to the forefront to compete on the USAC trail. It's something that has been a challenge to get back up and going, but now Bacon is beginning to reap those rewards.

"We've come a long way," Bacon reflects. "I knew we had all the ingredients to win. We just had to figure out how to put them all together. It's been a few years since I've run this package. We've kind of been looking back; we called the Hoffmans a couple times and brought out the notebook to figure out where we were. Things have changed a lot in a couple years; it's constantly evolving. The shocks are getting better and what we used to do doesn't really work anymore. We're trying to find the balance to be fast at the beginning and at the end of the night. This place caters to me or the more experienced drivers. It's good to get a win close to where I live. Lots of friends are here watching and, obviously, this is a prestigious place."

Contingency award winners Friday night at Eldora Speedway included Dave Darland (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner & Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier), Justin Grant (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Brady Bacon (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts Third Heat Winner & KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Dallas Hewitt (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: May 11, 2018 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - "#LetsRaceTwo" - "Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic"

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 69, Dynamics-15.318; 2. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-15.384; 3. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-15.631; 4. Chad Boespflug, 98, NineEight Motorsports-15.656; 5. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-15.671; 6. Tony DiMattia, 50, TDM-15.814; 7. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-15.895; 8. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-15.904; 9. Brady Bacon, 99, Bacon-15.931; 10. Joe Stornetta, 44, Pace-15.976; 11. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-15.991; 12. Kyle Cummins, 3c, EZR/Cummins-16.067; 13. Dave Darland, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-16.085; 14. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-16.094; 15. Nick Bilbee, 17, Bilbee-16.103; 16. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-16.237; 17. Dallas Hewitt, 18, Keen-16.462; 18. Paul Dues, 87, Dues-16.493; 19. Johnny Petrozelle, 59, Petrozelle-16.656; 20. Chad Wilson, 14, Wilson-16.876; 21. Carmen Perigo, 21, Stehman-16.920; 22. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-16.996; 23. Michael Fischesser, 44s, Fischesser-NT; 24. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer) 1. Darland, 2. Windom, 3. Thomas, 4. Stornetta, 5. Westfall, 6. Boespflug, 7. Goodnight, 8. Petrozelle. 2:10.19

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer) 1. Grant, 2. Ballou, 3. Stockon, 4. Courtney, 5. Chapple, 6. Wilson, 7. Hewitt, 2:09.85

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer) 1. Bacon, 2. Leary, 3. Bilbee, 4. Cummins, 5. Dues, 6. Perigo, 7. DiMattia. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps - starting position in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (8), 2. Robert Ballou (1), 3. Chris Windom (2), 4. Justin Grant (10), 5. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 6. Tyler Courtney (3), 7. Chase Stockon (5), 8. Dave Darland (12), 9. C.J. Leary (4), 10. Kyle Cummins (11), 11. Joe Stornetta (9), 12. Nick Bilbee (14), 13. Dallas Hewitt (16), 14. Matt Westfall (15), 15. Chad Wilson (18), 16. Paul Dues (17), 17. Isaac Chapple (13), 18. Chad Boespflug (7), 19. Carmen Perigo (19), 20. Matt Goodnight (20). 9:24.44
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**DiMattia flipped during the third heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-18 Ballou, Laps 19-30 Bacon.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Brady Bacon (8th to 1st)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Dallas Hewitt

ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Dave Darland

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Thomas-505, 2-Windom-476, 3-Courtney-445, 4-Leary-432, 5-Darland-423, 6-Stockon-411, 7-Ballou-411, 8-Grant-398, 9-Bacon-384, 10-Boespflug-343.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: May 12 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - "#LetsRaceTwo"

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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Kevin Thomas, Jr. cagestands after winning Saturday's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at Plymouth (Ind.) Speedway. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

THOMAS AUTOCORRECTS ON LAST LAP TO WIN PLYMOUTH BARNBURNER

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Plymouth, Indiana May 5, 2018 .........A little tap never hurt anyone. A solid tap of a golf ball on a put can be the difference between winning and losing in a round of golf. A swift tap of the mic can reinforce that everything is A-Okay with the audio. A soft tap on the shoulder can gain another person's attention.

However, a little tap on the rear bumper of Kevin Thomas, Jr.'s ride on the final lap nearly proved disastrous. But the Cullman, Ala. driver gathered himself and kept his composure to run down Robert Ballou in the third turn with a go-for-broke slider that paid off with his second-straight USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car win Saturday night at Plymouth Speedway.

Thomas executed a rare perfect night by setting fast time, winning his heat race and capturing the night's feature, something that's only been done once in each of the last four seasons.

Thomas started his methodical march to the front from the sixth position as a host of drivers in the first two rows battled for the lead. Recent Bloomington winner Dave Darland emerged as the initial leader on lap one by mere inches while one-lap track record holder Chase Stockon wheel-stood his way past Darland to the lead by the time the field reached turn one.

Meanwhile, third-starting Tyler Courtney had flipped the switch and motored around the outside of Stockon in turn four on the fourth circuit to snare the lead. Courtney had much less ground to make up compared to a year ago at Plymouth when he charged to second from his 18th starting position. This time, he appeared to have the field covered throughout the first half of the 30-lapper, constructing a three-fourths of a straightaway lead by the 14th lap when Kyle Cummins was found turned around at the exit of turn four.

The caution bunched up the field momentarily, but Courtney came off the starting block like an Olympic sprinter to post an eight-car length lead when racing resumed. As he appeared to check out on the rest of the field, Thomas and Ballou became the naysayers to that notion. On the 17th lap, Thomas muscled his way around Stockon on the high side of turn four for second and, moments later, Ballou scooted by Stockon on the inside of the back straightaway to occupy third.

In the blink of an eye, Courtney's lead began to shrink as Thomas tightened the leash on Courtney's collar three car-lengths back. But on lap 20, Daylan Chambers pancaked the back straightaway wall, scattering debris across the countryside as he slanted toward the infield to bring out the final caution period of the night.

Thomas was now in a position to go to school on Courtney, benefitting from shadowing the leader late in the going, just as he did exactly one week ago in his victory at Indiana's Tri-State Speedway.

'My initial thought was that I was going to spin out,' Thomas admitted. 'I had just enough to get it back pointed straight. He (Ballou) was just not far enough ahead to get away and I thought I could do a slider that wasn't going to crash both of us and do something stupid by ruining a good finish for both of us. It was just that little bit of moisture on the bottom of the racetrack that nobody really runs because this place is so sweeping.' (Gene Crucean Photo)

"Once again, it was kind of beneficial to be behind the leader," Thomas acknowledged. "Once I started running the top there in (turns) three and four, I figured out it had some grip and some speed. Once we got to lapped traffic, I went to the bottom a few times and had a pretty good drive. So, on the restart, I started working the bottom in one and two and the top in three and four. I could stay with him a lot better in one and two and he'd make up ground in three and four."

On the 23rd lap, Courtney continued to run the middle/low line while Thomas put his Dynamics, Inc. No. 69 up top. At the exit of four, Courtney swung wide toward the outside wall to keep Thomas at bay. Thomas replied by countering to the bottom entering turn one as Courtney remained high. Thomas slipped by and Ballou tagged along for the ride as well, executing a sweeping pass around the outside of Courtney for second between turns one and two a half-lap later.

"It's one of those deals," Thomas explained about the pass on Courtney. "He was just running where he got the lead at. It's no fault of his. It's the unfortunate part about leading. The track changed so much there at the end and, if you're leading, you don't want to search, but that's just the beneficial part for us running in second, being able to search."

On the final lap, Ballou was surging as Thomas and he worked around the lapped car of Johnny Petrozelle. Entering turn one, Ballou completely erased the interval and closed so rapidly on Thomas, the two made contact with Ballou's front bumper lightly tapping Thomas' rear bumper. It was enough to send Thomas squirrelly at the exit of turn two, allowing Ballou to overtake Thomas for the lead by a single car-length entering turn three. After gathering his marbles, Thomas reached into his back pocket and fired a slider across the nose of Ballou. Ballou pitched the car 90 degrees, nearly losing control, allowing Thomas to break away for his 20th career series win while Courtney slipped underneath Ballou for his second-straight runner-up finish at Plymouth. Ballou recovered to grab third ahead of Stockon and Brady Bacon.

"My initial thought was that I was going to spin out," Thomas admitted. "I had just enough to get it back pointed straight. He (Ballou) was just not far enough ahead to get away and I thought I could do a slider that wasn't going to crash both of us and do something stupid by ruining a good finish for both of us. It was just that little bit of moisture on the bottom of the racetrack that nobody really runs because this place is so sweeping."

Regarding the tap from Ballou on the last lap, Thomas saw it as just racing, nothing more. In fact, he pointed the finger squarely at himself for the initiation of the contact.

"That's just racing on the bottom," Thomas acknowledged. "It's no big deal. That's just the way it is. Honestly, it's my fault. I chalked it up a little too much. He was agressive and he could've spun me out if he really wanted to. He could've just completed the process, but he didn't. He just made a little bit of contact. It is what it is. We'll race hard again next week and the week after. It's just no big deal."

Ballou slipped to third at the end, but the race very well could've been his had Thomas not gathered it up so quickly after the contact on the final lap.

The whole race he was running it in there really hard. He had moved up a little bit, he moved down, he was doing the same thing I was, searching for the fastest lane possible.

"I don't know what he was thinking," Ballou pondered. "He just came to a stop. He slowed down more than he had done on any other lap. I had the thing stuck and I had no choice but to run into him. If I wanted to, I could've spun him completely around, but that isn't the right thing do. I don't want to win a race by spinning out a guy to win. I eased off as long as I could and let him get unhooked from my front bumper. I didn't have a good run down the back straightaway and he was in the moisture. He was going to beat me to the outside lane in the middle of (turns) three and four. I'd have probably ended up out on 31 if I hadn't lifted and tried to do something different. When I tried to turn the car and get a run across the racetrack, it just busted free and tried to spin out on me. I was just thankful to salvage a third-place by that point."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Plymouth Speedway included Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner & Saldana Racing Products Clean Sweep Winner), Shane Cottle (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Chris Windom (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts Third Heat Winner), Robert Ballou (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Jarett Andretti (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher) and Clinton Boyles (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: May 5, 2018 - Plymouth, Indiana - Plymouth Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 69, Dynamics-13.089; 2. Carson Short, 21, RCM-13.154; 3. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-13.175; 4. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-13.185; 5. Dave Darland, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-13.198; 6. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-13.268; 7. Brady Bacon, 99, Bacon-13.301; 8. Chad Boespflug, 98, NineEight-13.314; 9. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-13.363; 10. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-13.383; 11. Tony DiMattia, 50, TDM-13.485; 12. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-13.459; 13. Clinton Boyles, 57, Hazen-13.503; 14. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-13.546; 15. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-13.598; 16. Kyle Cummins, 3c, EZR/Cummins-13.678; 17. Shane Cottle, 71p, Daigh/Phillips-13.708; 18. Daylan Chambers, 4c, Chambers-13.768; 19. Johnny Petrozelle, 59, Petrozelle-14.100; 20. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-15.117; 21. Aric Gentry, 10, Gentry-NT; 22. Joe Stornetta, 44, Pace-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer) 1. Thomas, 2. Courtney, 3. Cummins, 4. Bacon, 5. Leary, 6. Boyles, 7. Petrozelle. 2:12.03 (New Track Record)

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer) 1. Cottle, 2. Ballou, 3. Chapple, 4. Short, 5. Darland, 6. Boespflug, 7. Bell. 2:16.02

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, all transfer) 1. Windom, 2. Grant, 3. DiMattia, 4. Stockon, 5. Andretti, 6. Chambers. 2:15.96

FEATURE: (30 laps - starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 2. Tyler Courtney (3), 3. Robert Ballou (11), 4. Chase Stockon (4), 5. Brady Bacon (7), 6. Dave Darland (2), 7. Carson Short (5), 8. Justin Grant (9), 9. Chad Boespflug (8), 10. C.J. Leary (10), 11. Chris Windom (15), 12. Shane Cottle (17), 13. Jarett Andretti (1), 14. Kyle Cummins (16), 15. Tony DiMattia (12), 16. Clinton Boyles (13), 17. Johnny Petrozelle (19), 18. Robert Bell (20), 19. Isaac Chapple (14), 20. Daylan Chambers (18), 21. Aric Gentry (21), 22. Joe Stornetta (22). NT
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Darland, Laps 2-3 Stockon, Laps 4-22 Courtney, Laps 23-30 Thomas.

SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS CLEAN SWEEP: Kevin Thomas, Jr.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Robert Ballou (11th to 3rd)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Jarett Andretti

ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Clinton Boyles

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Thomas-435, 2-Windom-405, 3-Courtney-383, 4-Leary-375, 5-Darland-366, 6-Stockon-348, 7-Ballou-337, 8-Grant-329, 9-Boespflug-310, 10-Bacon-306.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: May 11-12 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway

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

Kevin Thomas, Jr. captured his first win for the Dynamics, Inc. team Saturday night in the 'Spring Showdown' at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana. (Dallas Breeze Photo)

IT'S A TRI-STATE TRIUMPH FOR THOMAS AT THE SPRING SHOWDOWN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Haubstadt, Indiana.........Recently, it seems when the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars come to Tri-State Speedway, Kevin Thomas, Jr. finds himself in the mix at the front.

On two occasions last year, he was involved in last lap battles on the quarter-mile paperclip - one of which went his way and one that did not.

On Saturday night, the wave went KTJ's way once again as he surged to the lead through the tight crevice between the outside wall and C.J. Leary's right-side wheels exiting turn four with four laps remaining to win the "Spring Showdown," co-sanctioned by the Midwest Sprint Car Series.

The Cullman, Alabama driver has found his groove in Haubstadt in recent times, winning his second consecutive USAC race there and fourth overall dating back to 2013. But it's more than just simply being fast at this tricky joint. So many things can occur in the snap of a finger. You have to be on your toes, yet you have to keep your cool to put yourself in a position to win, which Thomas has been a natural at when it comes to Tri-State Speedway.

"Sometimes it's hard for me to do, but you have to be as patient as possible here," Thomas admitted. "Even right there at the beginning, I fell back a little bit. You get to racing with others, you fall back and you're not on the aggressive side. I just started picking them off; (Justin) Grant and I had a good race midway through the feature. We're sliding each other back and forth and that's fun, but whenever you're doing that, people are steadily driving away. Once we got cleared, we kind of had the seas part for us."

From the start, though, it was Kody Swanson who controlled much of the first half of the event, leading the opening 12 laps as Leary frisked the three-time USAC Silver Crown champ repeatedly. Leary had the middle line working, poking ahead of Swanson momentarily on each end of the track, but not enough to complete the pass on Swanson who carried the high-side momentum downhill off turns two and four to maintain the advantage.

On the 13th lap, as the leaders were mired in heavy lapped traffic, Leary's tireless work paid off handsomely as he slid up across the nose of Swanson's ride off turn four to complete the pass and possess the lead.

Two laps later, Swanson and Friday night Bloomington winner Dave Darland were engaged in a grapple for second. The two banged wheels, allowing Thomas and Logan Seavey to be the beneficiaries as they capitalized and moved past both to rotate into the second and third positions, respectively.

'I think it's beneficial as many times we've run here throughout the year because this track does different things,' Thomas said. 'Last year, we had a track similar to this and got really, really tight. We looked at our notebook, went back on that and freed our car up a little bit. Even though we were still tight, we were way freer than what we were.' (Ryan Sellers Photo)

"When Dave and Kody got together, they split wide open and we went through both of them and got to second," Thomas recalled. "Lapped traffic is a key here too. You can't miss a step. As soon as the leader gets clear, he's going to pick up the pace quite a bit. If you're stuck three or four cars back, you can end up about a straightaway behind. You have to watch yourself really closely there and you have to make stuff happen. Once we got to second, I had to be the aggressor. Running second for a while tonight allowed me to move around a little bit. Tonight was one of those nights when running second was better."

Leary was indeed clear on the restart with 12 laps remaining. With a clear track ahead and lapped cars separating he and second-running Thomas, the advantage was all his. Yet, Thomas made quick work, clearing the traffic, but still remained a second-and-a-half back from Leary.

Following a Donny Brackett back straightway spin with six laps remaining, Thomas threw a series of curveballs, sliders and spitballs at Leary to no avail as Leary clung to the spot by the quick of his nails until Aric Gentry's car went up in a ball of flame and smoke to bring out the final yellow with four laps to go, forcing one final restart. Thomas acted a student on the previous restart, taking notes for the final exam he would have one more opportunity to ace on the lap 27 restart.

"I was watching C.J. in front of me, seeing where I could gain ground and where I couldn't," Thomas said. "I could gain ground in (turns) one and two and I'd lose it all in (turns) three and four. We were pretty tight, so I just couldn't figure out how to get through three and four without the nose pushing a little bit. I just spent a few laps working on my line in that corner, and then once I figured it out, luckily, we had a caution."

With Leary maintaining his midline route, Thomas stuck his Dynamics, Inc./Mean Green - Jonathan Byrd/DRC/Speedway Chevy on the high-line and, at the exit of turn four, emerged with the lead, squeaking by Leary without much room to spare on either side. Thomas would pull away in the final laps to win his first race for the famed Hoffman team by just a tick under a full second over Leary, Seavey, Darland and Grant.

"We were able to put it up top there," Thomas explained. "There wasn't as much grip up there, but it was better for me because we were really tight. I got up there in the crumbs a little bit and freed the car up, but I was still able to keep my momentum going. I think that move is all it took right there because he was every bit as fast as us. I was talking to him right after the feature he said that one of the spokes on his steering wheel ended up breaking after contact with another driver. That's crazy to be able to do as good as he did with the equipment breaking like that."

One night following a disastrous slip from 6th to 19th place in just two corners after jumping the turn three curb during the feature at Bloomington, Thomas found his mojo once again, but this time he did it by doing things a bit differently, equaling the same result as his most recent Tri-State trip.

"I think it's beneficial as many times we've run here throughout the year because this track does different things," Thomas said. "Last year, we had a track similar to this and got really, really tight. We looked at our notebook, went back on that and freed our car up a little bit. Even though we were still tight, we were way freer than what we were. This place is small and tight, but if you can't keep your momentum up and can't keep the front wheels on the ground, it's a tough place to get around. Honestly, I still struggle with that until probably the last five laps of the feature. It was just a few little notes that helped us out tonight and a few little adjustments here and there. I'm just glad to bounce back after running off the track last night!"

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Tri-State Speedway included C.J. Leary (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Chase Stockon (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Dave Darland (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Robert Ballou (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Kellen Conover (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer), Brandon Mattox (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher) and Chris Windom (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: April 28, 2018 - Haubstadt, Indiana - Tri-State Speedway (Co-Sanctioned by MSCS)

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-13.252; 2. Logan Seavey, 5B, Briscoe-13.333; 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 69, Dynamics-13.385; 4. Dave Darland, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-13.552; 5. Kyle Cummins, 3c, EZR/Cummins-13.778; 6. Carson Short, 21, RCM-13.570; 7. Chad Boespflug, 98, NineEight-13.879; 8. Tyler Thomas, 17GP, Dutcher-14.068; 9. Donny Brackett, 4B, Brackett-14.077; 10. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-14.086; 11. Kody Swanson, 3R, Rock Steady-14.131; 12. Chet Williams, 38, Fortune-14.143; 13. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-14.145; 14. Brian Wallace, 27, Wallace-14.253; 15. Brian Karraker, 23, Karraker-14.258; 16. Stephen Schnapf, 61m, Edwards-14.266; 17. Aric Gentry, 10, Gentry-14.267; 18. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-14.286; 19. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-14.292; 20. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-14.355; 21. Stevie Sussex, 04, Burton-14.368; 22. Brady Bacon, 99, Bacon-14.423; 23. Joe Stornetta, 44, Pace-14.466; 24. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.474; 25. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox/Nigg-14.548; 26. James Lyerla, 11, JL-14.553; 27. Johnny Petrozelle, 59, Petrozelle-14.743; 28. Kellen Conover, 5K, Schmidt-14.796; 29. Collin Ambrose, 36, Ambrose-14.983; 30. Eric Perrott, 45, Perrott-20.727; 31. Jim Shelton, 41, Shelton-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Leary, 2. Windom, 3. Gentry, 4. Sussex, 5. Cummins, 6. Mattox, 7. Ambrose, 8. Brackett. 2:20.97

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Stockon, 2. Short, 3. Bacon, 4. Grant, 5. Seavey, 6. Lyerla, 7. Wallace, 8. Perrott. NT

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. K. Thomas, 2. Courtney, 3. Swanson, 4. Stornetta, 5. Boespflug, 6. Karraker, 7. Petrozelle, 8. Shelton. NT

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Darland, 2. Ballou, 3. Schnapf, 4. Chapple, 5. Conover, 6. T. Thomas, 7. Williams. NT

SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer) 1. Seavey, 2. Mattox, 3. Brackett, 4. Cummins, 5. Ambrose, 6. Karraker, 7. Conover, 8. Wallace, 9. Petrozelle, 10. T. Thomas, 11. Shelton, 12. Boespflug, 13. Perrott, 14. Lyerla. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps - starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (5), 2. C.J. Leary (6), 3. Logan Seavey (7), 4. Dave Darland (4), 5. Justin Grant (2), 6. Chris Windom (10), 7. Robert Ballou (20), 8. Kody Swanson (1), 9. Carson Short (3), 10. Chase Stockon (14), 11. Joe Stornetta (19), 12. Tyler Courtney (15), 13. Brandon Mattox (21), 14. Brady Bacon (18), 15. Donny Brackett (9), 16. Stephen Schnapf (12), 17. Isaac Chapple (16), 18. Kyle Cummins (8), 19. Collin Ambrose (22), 20. Aric Gentry (13), 21. Brian Karraker (11), 22. Tyler Thomas (23), 23. Stevie Sussex (17). NT
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**Williams flipped during the fourth heat. Cummins flipped on lap 7 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-12 Swanson, Laps 13-26 Leary, Laps 27-30 K. Thomas.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Robert Ballou (20th to 7th)

SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS FIRST NON-TRANSFER: Kellen Conover

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Brandon Mattox

ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Chris Windom

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-356, 2-K. Thomas-351, 3-Leary-328, 4-Courtney-306, 5-Darland-305, 6-Stockon-278, 7-Grant-273, 8-Seavey-271, 9-Ballou-266, 10-Boespflug-261.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: May 5 - Plymouth, Indiana - Plymouth Speedway

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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Dave Darland became the first driver to reach 60 career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature wins with his victory Friday night at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

DARLAND FIRST TO 60 USAC SPRINT WINS WITH BLOOMINGTON SCORE

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Bloomington, Indiana......April 27, 2018 - In the history of USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car racing, no driver has earned more victories or started more feature events than has Dave Darland.

On Friday night at Bloomington Speedway, perhaps no driver has ever had a more popular win in the history of the series than has Dave Darland.

On a night when "The People's Champ" became the first to reach 700 starts in the series, he also became the first to hit 60 career wins after leading the final 18 laps of the 30-lap feature to score his first victory in USAC National competition since November of 2016 to end a 40-race winless streak.

"It's just taken me forever," Darland said with a laugh. "Seven-hundred starts and 60 wins. I don't know what happened the other 640 times, but it's been a great career for me. I still love driving racecars and, on nights like this, it's such a great feeling."

The monumental victory is actually the second for Darland in a Goodnight-owned car - the first coming in July of 2010 during "Indiana Sprint Week" at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway. After the two entities paired up last year, the combination has been electric with Darland picking up three fast qualifying times in as many appearances to finish out last year's USAC season. Just last week, Darland and Goodnight reeled off their first victory of the season together in local competition at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana. Yes, they're reunited and it feels so good.

"Things went well for a long time, but the last couple years, we've been struggling to run well and get victories," Darland said. "We've run decent most of the time, but victory lane was a little hard to find. When I began driving (for the Goodnight team) last year, we started out great and it's been great ever since. I've run this car about ten times now and we've had a chance to win all ten of them. It's great to be back with a team that I jell with. This car drives great and I'm glad where I'm at."

Darland began the race from the outside of the front row and, right from the get-go, he and pole starter Chase Stockon were locked in a near dead-heat continuously throughout much of the first half of the event, interrupted only by a Dakota Jackson turn three flip on the third lap of the feature.

On the restart, Darland instantaneously returned to his comfort zone, rim-riding on the ledge while Stockon tethered himself to the bottom. Just as Darland appeared to have the upper hand, the top line seemingly vamoosed for a moment as a re-energized Stockon surged ahead on the bottom to snare the lead by the length of a shoe at the line on lap seven.

As Stockon opened a canyon-wide margin on Darland, the Lincoln, Indiana driver was undeterred, staying true to himself and refusing to wilt and pedal to the bottom. Darland paved his own trail and was going to risk fate, letting his race ride or die on the outstretched arms of the red clay.

Dave Darland (top in #36D) battles for the lead with #32 Chase Stockon during Friday night's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway. (Neil Cavanah Photo)

"I just decided to stay on top," Darland said firmly. "Everybody's been asking me 'Did you ever consider going to the bottom after getting passed?' I said no, not really. Hell no! But, really, I kind of did. I just knew that the top had potential, but I just had to figure out how to run it better."

"When Chase (Stockon) got around me, I just learned how to run the top harder and that's what I did. I just started running it harder," Darland said. "I figured out where I could hit it and where I had to get away from it, especially down in (turns) one and two where the lip was really tall. You had to be careful not to snag it and throw the front end over the bank. But, down here in (turns) three and four, it was kind of up-on-the-edge where you couldn't go in too hard and go over the edge. Both ends were a little bit different, but both ends had potential up there. So, I just had to figure out what it had and hit it in the right spots at the right time."

By the 13th circuit, Darland's high-wire act had led him right back into the corner of Stockon's right eye as he plucked the lead away by the length of an eyelash at the stripe on the outside. Each lap thereafter, Darland constructed an advantage that was impenetrable - to a half-second, then to a full-second, and, finally, to a crescendo of over a second-and-a-half as he entered lapped traffic with less than five laps to go.

Darland had to be perfect shaving the highline with his Hoosier rubber lap-after-lap, but instead of searching high-low-middle to find the fastest way around, the USAC Triple Crown champ applied Occam's razor to find the solution - stick with your gut go to the front.

Darland's lead ballooned to 1.76 seconds at the checkered flag to defeat Chris Windom, KSE Hard Charger Logan Seavey (from 15th), Chad Boespflug and C.J. Leary.

Contingency award winners Friday night at Bloomington included Robert Ballou (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Kyle Cummins (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winners), Dave Darland (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Tyler Courtney (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Logan Seavey (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Kody Swanson (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer), Jordan Kinser (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher) and Brady Bacon (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: April 27, 2018 - Bloomington, Indiana - Bloomington Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Tyler Thomas. 17GP, Dutcher-10.954; 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 69, Dynamics-11.085; 3. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-11.179; 4. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-11.238; 5. Jeff Bland Jr., 18w, Waltz-11.240; 6. Chad Boespflug, 98, NineEight-11.252; 7. Dave Darland, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-11.281; 8. Stevie Sussex, 04, Burton-11.290; 9. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-11.291; 10. Joe Stornetta, Jr., 44, Pace-11.355; 11. Jordan Kinser, 70, Hurst-11.437; 12. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-11.454; 13. Brady Bacon, 99, Bacon-11.489; 14. Kody Swanson, 3R, Rock Steady-11.498; 15. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-11.543; 16. Logan Seavey, 5B, Briscoe-11.553; 17. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-11.560; 18. Kyle Cummins, 3c, EZR/Cummins-11.585; 19. Nick Bilbee, 2E, Epperson-11.596; 20. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-11.605; 21. Dakota Jackson, 3, Jackson-11.823; 22. Jerry Coons Jr., 21K, Krockenberger-11.848; 23. Shelby VanGilder, 22v, VanGilder-11.851; 24. Lee Underwood, 24L, Underwood-11.905; 25. Chet Williams, 38, Fortune-11.906; 26. Johnny Petrozelle, 59, Petrozelle-12.037; 27. Jadon Rogers, 14J, Rogers-12.353; 28. Stephen Schnapf, 61m, Edwards-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Ballou, 2. Bacon, 3. Jackson, 4. Stockon, 5. Bland, 6. T. Thomas, 7. Williams. 1:57.74

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Cummins, 2. Boespflug, 3. K. Thomas, 4. Coons, 5. Stornetta. 6. Swanson, 7. Petrozelle, 1:57.38

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Darland, 2. Bilbee, 3. Leary, 4. Kinser, 5. VanGilder, 6. Rogers, 7. Grant. NT

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer) 1. Courtney, 2. Underwood, 3. Chapple, 4. Windom, 5. Sussex, 6. Seavey, 7. Schnapf. 2:02.42

SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer) 1. T. Thomas, 2. Stornetta, 3. Bland, 4. Seavey, 5. Grant, 6. Sussex, 7. Swanson, 8. Rogers, 9. Williams, 10. VanGilder, 11. Petrozelle. 2:38.40

FEATURE: (30 laps - starting positions in parentheses) 1. Dave Darland (2), 2. Chris Windom (4), 3. Logan Seavey (15), 4. Chad Boespflug (3), 5. C.J. Leary (5), 6. Jeff Bland Jr. (8), 7. Chase Stockon (1), 8. Brady Bacon (13), 9. Joe Stornetta (10), 10. Tyler Courtney (12), 11. Justin Grant (14), 12. Tyler Thomas (7), 13. Jordan Kinser (11), 14. Kyle Cummins (17), 15. Nick Bilbee (18), 16. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 17. Robert Ballou (16), 18. Isaac Chapple (19), 19. Jerry Coons Jr. (21), 20. Lee Underwood (22), 21. Stevie Sussex (9), 22. Kody Swanson (23), 23. Dakota Jackson (20). NT
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**Jackson flipped on lap 3 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Stockon, Laps 2-6 Darland, Laps 7-12 Stockon, Laps 13-30 Darland.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/PROSOURCE HARD CHARGER: Logan Seavey (15th to 3rd)

SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS FIRST NON-TRANSFER: Kody Swanson

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Jordan Kinser

ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Brady Bacon

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-294, 2-K.Thomas Jr.-269, 3-Courtney-260, 4-Boespflug-251, 5-Leary-247, 6-Darland-233, 7-Stockon-227, 8-Cummins-215, 9-Grant-210, 10-Ballou-207.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: April 28 - Haubstadt, Indiana - Tri-State Speedway - "Spring Showdown"

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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