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

THOMAS TAMES TERRE HAUTE IN "HULMAN/SMITH CLASSIC"

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Terre Haute, Indiana.........It was just a month ago when Kevin Thomas, Jr. saw hopes of a Terre Haute Action Track victory dashed in the final laps as he ran out of fuel while leading on a late race restart.

On the final restart of Saturday night's "Tony Hulman/Don Smith Classic," Thomas was fueled by determination and a sense of redemption 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.

Kevin Thomas, Jr. won Saturday night's 'Tony Hulman/Don Smith Classic'
at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track. (Gene Crucean Photo)

With his third victory in the last five events, Thomas became the third member of the five-win club with the series in 2017 alongside Tyler Courtney and C.J. Leary. But, on Saturday night, the Cullman, Alabama driver added a victory in one of the premier events on the schedule, as well as the traditional rifle awarded in victory lane, in his KT Motorsports/Jeff's Jam-It-In Storage - Abreu Vineyards/DRC/Speedway Chevy.

"Winning the 'Hulman' is such a great honor," a proud Thomas exclaimed. "Not many people have one of those rifles. To be able to have one of those sitting up in your living room is pretty amazing. This is such a legendary track. It's tough to get around and tough to tame."

Thomas became just the third driver to win both the "Tony Hulman Classic" and "Don Smith Classic" in his career. Yet, it would take all he could muster to accomplish the feat as Stockon held the command up front for much of the 30-lap event. Stockon's most recent series victory came at the Action Track 15 months earlier and the series' current consecutive starts leader with 215 was playing the lead role to perfection.

With Thomas bearing down in second as the laps dwindled to less than ten remaining, Stockon had to be on the attack as he guided his way through lapped traffic with slider after slider to create separation between he and Thomas. However, Thomas answered every move of Stockon's on Terre Haute's half-mile chessboard with a slew of successful sliders of his own to stay within shouting distance of Stockon, but, to that point, had not yet erased any of the deficit.

"I was right behind him and couldn't catch him," Thomas admitted. "When I was sliding lapped cars, I realized I really wasn't losing that much ground to Chase. I figured the only way I was going to be able to pass those guys is by just throwing dive bombs. At the end of the race, that's what you got to do. I'm sitting third in points and don't have much to lose. It's either try to run those guys down or crash trying to do it. The only way you're going to gain points is if you win."

Kevin Thomas, Jr. celebrates with the traditional rifle awarded to the winner of the 'Tony Hulman/Don Smith Classic' at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track. (David Nearpass Photo)

Meanwhile, ProSource Fast Qualifier and heat race winner Darland was hauling in third and closing rapidly on both Stockon and Thomas. It was now a three-car race with just seven laps remaining and Thomas felt the time was now to throw a haymaker at Stockon for the race lead with a slide job entering turn three. Thomas momentarily grabbed the lead until hitting the turn four cushion where he got bogged down and dropped to a distant third while Darland capitalized by moving to second with an inside pass on Thomas exiting the fourth corner.

"Once you get to the center of the corner, and you get two car lengths away from the cushion, you have to whoa yourself down quite a bit," Thomas said. "The first time, I didn't do that. I trusted the cushion a little too much, blasted off in there and got four wheels above it. It got kind of mushy up there and I couldn't get back going. You had to be patient with it, but also very aggressive. It's just a matter of timing, honestly. You get lucky a few times, then you figure it out and you just keep doing whatever you did that got you there. I just stuck to that game plan."

While Thomas stuck to his plan, it appeared that Darland might be destined for his first series victory of the season as he clamped down on Stockon for the lead. Just as the stage was set for that duel to play out in front of the large throng of race fans with a mere five laps to go, Dylan Shaw, who was making his first career USAC start, climbed the wall between turns three and four before flipping over. He walked away uninjured.

During the red, thoughts run through each driver's mind as they hatch their plan to get around the car in front of them. Thomas had two dominoes that needed to fall for him to reach his goal, but first, he had to devise a plan to take on the series' all-time master, Dave Darland.

"Under the red, I'm just thinking to myself how to get by Dave because I know he has such a good awareness of where other cars are and he's also pretty aggressive," Thomas explained. "I didn't know if he was going to slide the guy in front of me or not. I was just sitting there thinking on how to manipulate what he was going to do."

"If they restart off the bottom and their car hangs just the slightest bit to the right, you can run down to the bottom on the straightaway and get a good run on the entry of the corner," Thomas continued. "The sketchy part tonight was that there was a hole right on entry. If you didn't have your angle right, you'd hit that hole and bounce. It's so far around here, the shortest distance is to the middle of the corner. It's just what I had to do and it ended up working out."

On the lap 26 restart, Darland chose to ride the high line, opening up the bottom for Thomas who slid past Darland for second right away and then set his sights on Stockon for the race lead. It only took one lap for Thomas to fire his next shot at Stockon entering turn one, but he wasn't close enough quite yet.

Lap 28 would be the charm, however, though not initially. Thomas' first attempt in turn one worked momentarily, but Stockon was able to counter back underneath off turn two and recapture the point. Thomas reloaded the chamber and immediately went right back to work on Stockon entering turn three, making amends for his similar move on lap 24 by making this one stick. Thomas instantly stretched out the advantage while Windom also was able to get around Stockon as well to secure second on the 29th lap.
Thomas locked it up and threw away the key at the end, capturing the victory by eight-tenths of a second over Windom, Stockon, KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Brady Bacon (from 13th) and Darland.

With the win by Thomas, Windom's three-race winning streak at Terre Haute came to a close. The Canton, Illinois driver had won all three USAC National events at the Action Track since October of 2016 and had the opportunity coming in to become the first driver ever to sweep every USAC National event held at Terre Haute in a single season, but had to take home a solid second in his Baldwin Brothers Racing/Fox Paving - AMSOIL/DRC/Claxton Mopar.

"The first half of the race, I was really trying to be consistent and trying to save my tires," Windom detailed. "With the line we were running, I knew the top will wear down the right rear tire. We probably didn't have four or five more laps in ours. Late race restarts here are key, though. If you know what to do, you can make stuff happen. Unfortunately, KT was in front of me there and was doing the same thing I was and that made it hard to get by him."

The big picture scenario for Windom shows that he closed his 45-point deficit to just 29 points behind Justin Grant heading into the final five-race stretch at Arizona Speedway Nov. 3-4 and Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway Nov. 9-11. Windom has won at both venues before in his career, including a sweep of both nights last season at Arizona.

"We closed the gap on the points, but it's definitely something I try not to think a lot about," Windom admits. "But, definitely, this late in the year, it's what's on your mind every time you're on the racetrack."

Fort Branch, Indiana's Chase Stockon owns two career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victories at Terre Haute and number three looked like a good bet for the first 27 laps of the feature as he paced the field throughout the duration, but, in the end, placed third in his 32 TBI Racing/Superior Tank & Trailer - Crescent Electric Supply/DRC/Fisher.

"I knew we were going to have to get out front and I committed to run the top the whole race because, anytime you win here, it's going to be on the top," Stockon explained. "We were able to pull away through the middle of the race, but I don't if under that red flag, our tire pressure just went down too much or what the deal was. We couldn't really get going after that restart. We won the 'Don Smith Classic' and the 'Jim Hurtubise Classic,' but it's very, very disappointing after leading 27 of the 30 laps to not hang that (Hulman Classic) rifle on the wall."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at the Terre Haute Action Track included Dave Darland (ProSource Fast Qualifier & Simpson Race Products 1st Heat Winner), Brady Bacon (Competition Suspension, Inc. 2nd Heat Winner & KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Kyle Robbins (Chalk Stix 3rd Heat Winner), Tyler Courtney (Indy Race Parts 4th Heat Winner) and Stevie Sussex (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: October 14, 2017 - Terre Haute, Indiana - Terre Haute Action Track - 47th "Tony Hulman/Don Smith Classic'

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Dave Darland, 39G, Goodnight-19.895 2. Kevin Thomas, 9k, KT-19.985; 3. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-20.122; 4. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-20.187; 5. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-20.348; 6. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-20.390; 7. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-20.405; 8. Tyler Hewitt, 97x, One More Time-20.464; 9. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-20.467; 10. Shane Cottle, 17GP, Dutcher-20.478; 11. Kyle Cummins, 3c, Cummins-20.489; 12. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-20.511; 13. Joe Bares, 19, Test-20.551; 14. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Haywrd-20.595; 16. Jerry Coons Jr. 21K, Krockenberger-20.653; 16. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-20.660; 17. Scotty Weir, 17G, On the Gass-20.712; 18. Joss Moffatt, 5J, Moffatt-20.835; 19. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-20.912; 20. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-21.030; 21. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-21.055; 22. Kyle Robbins, 17R, KR-21.116; 23. Aric Gentry, 10, Gentry-21.121; 24. Chet Williams, 38, Williams-21.415; 25. Stevie Sussex, 21x, Pollock-21.439; 26. Nate McMillin, 24, McMillin-21.454; 27. Jadon Rogers, 14, Rogers-21.744; 28. Tony McVey, 7M, McVey-21.972; 29. Patrick Budde, 90, Budde-22.359; 30. Dylan Shaw, 12k, Meneely-NT; 31. Jon Stanbrough, 81, Stanbrough-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Leary, 3. Stockon, 4. Weir, 5. Maddox, 6. Bares, 7. Sussex, 8. Budde. 2:44.66

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Thomas, 3. Andretti, 4. Cottle, 5. Gentry, 6. Moffatt, 7. McMillin. 2:44.29

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT (8 laps) 1. Robbins, 2. Ballou, 3. Cummins, 4, Grant, 5. Chapple, 6. Coons, 7. Rogers. 2:48.01

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. Windom, 3. Hodges, 4. Boespflug, 5. Hewitt, 6. Williams, 7. McVey. 2:48.72

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Bares, 2. Moffatt, 3. Coons, 4. Sussex, 5. Mattox, 6. Shaw, 7. Chapple, 8. McMillin, 9. Hewitt, 10. Budde, 11. McVey, 12. Rogers, 13. Williams, 14. Gentry. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. Chris Windom, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Tyler Courtney, 7. Justin Grant, 8. C.J. Leary, 9. Kyle Cummins, 10. Jerry Coons, Jr., 11. Jarett Andretti, 12. Chad Boespflug, 13. Stevie Sussex, 14. Josh Hodges, 15. Scotty Weir, 16. Kyle Robbins, 17. Joe Bares, 18. Brandon Mattox, 19. Joss Moffatt, 20. Dylan Shaw, 21. Shane Cottle, 22, Robert Ballou. NT
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**Williams flipped during the semi. Shaw flipped on lap 26 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1-27 Stockon, Laps 28-30 Thomas.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Brady Bacon (13th to 4th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Stevie Sussex

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Grant-2006, 2-Windom-1977, 3-Thomas-1891; 4-Courtney-1862, 5-Stockon-1741, 6-Boespflug-1735, 7-Leary-1673; 8-Bacon-1539, 9-Ballou-1501, 10-Darland-1372.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: November 3-4 - San Tan Valley, AZ - Arizona Speedway - 50th Annual "Western World Championships"

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

THOMAS FINDS REDEMPTION AND $10K WITH "FALL NATIONALS" WIN AT THE BURG

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Lawrenceburg, Indiana.........Kevin Thomas, Jr. made all the right moves in Saturday night's Lawrenceburg Speedway "Fall Nationals," becoming $10,000 richer with a flawless drive for his fourth USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car points win of the season.

It was certainly a reversal of roles and fortunes for Thomas from the night before at Montpelier (Ind.) Motor Speedway when he pulled no punches in his post-race interview lamenting how he cost himself the race on the final lap due to his decision making.

Kevin Thomas, Jr. won $10,000 with Saturday night's 'Fall Nationals' victory
at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.(Dallas Breeze Photo)

"Tonight, where there's a fine line, you have to know the racetrack you're racing on," Thomas begins. "Last night I did a poor job of that. Tonight, we knew we were catching lapped cars and we knew we had to put some distance between us and whoever was back there. I knew it either had to be (Justin) Grant or (C.J.) Leary. They're always good. It's not about racing the person behind you. It's about racing the people in front of you. Last night, I was racing people behind me and I made a mistake on the last lap that cost us the race. I had to be a little smarter tonight, a little bit more aggressive to know what I was dealing with."

Thomas has been one of the most scorching-hot drivers in the series since late July, running in the top-five night-after-night over the past two months. Yet, the Cullman, Alabama native seemed to show an extra sense of determination and focus Saturday night, when he disposed of fellow second row starter Leary, then front row combatants Robert Ballou and Justin Grant in a rapid-fire succession of precision with an outside move off turn two that propelled him from fourth to first.

"There was quite a bit of moisture coming off four at the start," Thomas detailed. "I peeked out a little bit and got a good run. I thought they were both going to slide each other, then I was going to try to slide them. Instead, they both went bottom/middle and left the top open for me and I took advantage of it."

"Starting fourth, you got to go," Thomas continued. "With Robert (Ballou) starting on the front row alongside Grant and Leary starting inside of you, there's no time to waste. With the way the track was, track position was really everything, especially timing yourself when you get to lap cars and trying to put cars between you and second. You can't just sit there and be patient. There's certain races where you can, but this just wasn't one of them."

Thomas quickly opened up a six to seven car-length lead by lap two when the race saw its first caution of the night as Chad Boespflug came to a stop on the front straightaway with the right front corner absent from his ride following contact with another car. He would not restart.

On the ensuing restart, previous night's winner Leary threw himself into contention by elbowing his way into second past Ballou between turns one and two for the third spot, dropping Ballou to sixth. Yet, one lap later, Dave Darland made a daring move into turn one, threading the eye of the needle between both Chris Windom and Leary to move into the top-three.

Meanwhile, Thomas had extended his lead to a commanding half-straightaway advantage that he constructed during the first ten laps as he moved his line from the bottom to the top.

"I was a little worried that we were too good too early," Thomas explained. "This place can get really black and icy. I'm just glad it held together and everything was nice and balanced for me because, in the beginning, I was running middle to bottom in turns three and four. It finally slowed up enough and I had to jump up to the top. It was good down on the bottom and good up there on the big ol' curb. That's all you can really ask for in a racecar."

Darland, though, seemed destined to throw a wrench into Thomas' plans when he secured the second position with a lap nine, turn one slider on Justin Grant.

'Tonight, where there's a fine line, you have to know the racetrack you're racing on. Last night I did a poor job of that. Tonight, we knew we were catching lapped cars and we knew we had to put some distance between us and whoever was back there. I knew it either had to be (Justin) Grant or (C.J.) Leary. They're always good. It's not about racing the person behind you. It's about racing the people in front of you. Last night, I was racing people behind me and I made a mistake on the last lap that cost us the race. I had to be a little smarter tonight, a little bit more aggressive to know what I was dealing with.' - Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

Up ahead, a logjam of lapped traffic gridlocked all lanes of the highway for Thomas as Darland deleted the space between first and second to close right on the tail of Thomas just before midway. As Darland seemed poised to make his bid for the lead, suddenly, he began to slow to a crawling pace off turn two with a broken U-joint, relegating him to the sidelines.

Thereafter, Leary reentered contention, first sliding across the nose of Grant for second in turn one for the second spot, yet remained a half-straightaway behind Thomas who was as precise as an X-ACTO Knife at the front.

Once again, lapped traffic was on the horizon and Leary managed to whittle Thomas' lead down to just a two car-length separation entering turn three with a couple laps remaining. Thomas amended his previous night's foible by going on the attack, diving to the bottom of three by the lapped car of Joss Moffatt to create separation between he and Leary which would not be overcome as Thomas raced to a half-second victory over Leary, Grant, Ballou and KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Tyler Courtney from 16th.

Thomas took the race into his own hands down the stretch in his KT Motorsports/Jeff's Jam-It-In Storage - Abreu Vineyards/DRC/Speedway Chevy, making the right decisions at the right moments to win for the 16th time in his career to tie Damion Gardner for 31st all-time on USAC's National Sprint Car win list.

"There's always a little bit of urgency here," Thomas noted. "When the track's fast like that, those guys run the cushion just as good as I do or, like Dave (Darland), he's the best at it. Whenever you're running the cushion that hard, you know somebody's going to be chasing you. Restarts bunch everybody up and put them right back on your tail. Whenever you see lap cars, you try your best to split 'em, slide 'em and do whatever you got to do. We just made the right moves at the right time. That's the luxury of leading. Some places it's good to be in the lead, some places it's not. Tonight, it was good. Tonight, timing was everything."

Greenfield, Indiana's C.J. Leary came just short of repeating his September magic once again, coming one spot shy of becoming the first driver in the series this season to win three-in-a-row, ultimately finishing second in his Leary Racing/Leary Construction - Highsmith Guns/DRC/1-Way Chevy.

"I wish it was a 40-lapper tonight," Leary lamented. "But, man, we just needed more time, or a yellow, there at the end to try and have something for him. I reeled him in from a straightaway back. I thought we had the better car at the end. It's just unfortunate we didn't have a chance to race him at the end. KT just timed that pass better than I did and made it to where I didn't have a shot at him."

"We weren't really happy with our racecar most of the night," Leary admitted. "We got through qualifying fourth quick and I felt like that was the hardest part of the night, which gave us an opportunity to start up front. In these races, it's so hard to pass because everyone's so fast. Tonight, Lawrenceburg was hammer down up on the fence, which made it really tough. We'll just continue on to Terre Haute (Oct. 14) and, hopefully, we can continue this momentum."

It wasn't quite a win for Justin Grant, but considering the tumultuous night he endured Friday at Montpelier in which he got upside down, a third-place result was a sigh of relief for the Ione, California driver who wheeled the Sam McGhee Motorsports/ProGlide Bearings - Mike McGhee & Associates/Maxim/Foxco to a solid finish to bump up his series point lead to 45 with just six races remaining.

"In the past, when I was tight on the curb, if I turned over, I turned over trying to win," Grant explained. "Setting out to chase the points deal, you have in your mind that you can't do that anymore. If I'm a third-place guy, I'm a third-place guy. It doesn't mean I don't want to win or that I'm not trying my hardest to win, but I also know I can't turn the car over when I shouldn't. That definitely plays on your mind and that mindset has made me a better all-around racer. Maybe I could have used that mindset a couple years ago and I'd be a little ahead of where I am now! You think about it a little bit, but you're still out to win races. The guys in the points behind you are trying to catch you just as hard as you're trying to go forward. You can't afford to ride around and let them catch you. Every car you pass means more points and it pays more money the closer to the top you are."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Lawrenceburg Speedway included Dave Darland (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Tyler Courtney (Simpson Race Products Heat 1 Winner), Chase Stockon (Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 2 Winner), Isaac Chapple (Chalk Stix/Indy Race Parts Heat 3 Winner), Tyler Courtney (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Joss Moffatt (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 30, 2017 - Lawrenceburg Speedway - Lawrenceburg, Indiana - "Fall Nationals"

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Dave Darland, 39G, Goodnight-14.016; 2. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-14.098; 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-14.160; 4. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.185; 5. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-14.197; 6. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.210; 7. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-14.211; 8. Kyle Robbins, 17R, KR-14.237; 9. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-14.283; 10. Shawn Westerfeld, 17GP, Dutcher-14.314; 11. Nick Bilbee, 17N, Bilbee-14.318; 12. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-14.345; 13. Joss Moffatt, 5J, Moffatt-14.355; 14. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-14.366; 15. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-14.387; 16. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-14.431; 17. J.J. Hughes, 76, Hughes-14.515; 18. Garrett Abrams, 32A, Abrams-14.531; 19. Jon Stanbrough, 81, Stanbrough-14.689; 20. Jerry Coons, Jr., 21K, Krockenberger-14.692; 21. Tony McVey, 7m, McVey-14.863; 22. Scotty Weir, 22s, Simon-14.976; 23. Aric Gentry, 10, Gentry-NT; 24. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. Moffatt, 3. Darland, 4. Hodges, 5. Leary, 6. Westerfeld, 7. Stanbrough, 8. Weir. 1:54.46

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Bilbee, 3. Grant, 4. Windom, 5. Hughes, 6. Gentry, 7. Coons, 8. Robbins. NT

CHALK STIX/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Chapple, 2. Boespflug, 3. Ballou, 4. Bacon, 5. Thomas, 6. McVey. 1:57.96

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Chris Windom, 8. Josh Hodges, 9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 10. Jon Stanbrough, 11. Nick Bilbee, 12. Scotty Weir, 13. Joss Moffatt, 14. Chase Stockon, 15. Kyle Robbins, 16. Isaac Chapple, 17. Garrett Abrams, 18. J.J. Hughes, 19. Tony McVey, 20. Dave Darland, 21. Aric Gentry, 22. Shawn Westerfeld, 23. Chad Boespflug. NT
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**Gentry flipped during practice.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1-30 Thomas.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Tyler Courtney (16th to 5th)
WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Joss Moffatt

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Grant-1945, 2-Windom-1900, 3-Thomas Jr.-1809; 4-Courtney-1799, 5-Boespflug-1691, 6-Stockon-1669, 7-Leary-1617, 8-Ballou-1471, 9-Bacon-1470, 10-Darland-1300.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: October 14 - Terre Haute Action Track - Terre Haute, Indiana - "Tony Hulman/Don Smith Classic"

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

LEARY LUNGES FROM 3RD TO 1ST ON FINAL LAP TO SCORE IMPROBABLE MONTPELIER WIN

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Montpelier, Indiana.....September 29, 2017 - C.J. Leary was content to run third late in Friday's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at Montpelier Motor Speedway. However, after a late-race red flag, Leary's newfound spirit saw him split between both Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas, Jr. on the back straightaway on the final lap to emerge with his second consecutive series victory and equaling a series-best with his fifth win of the year.

"We just fell in line and started riding at the beginning," Leary recalls. "I didn't really feel like we had that great of a racecar. We had some yellows and adjusted on the shocks a little bit. Once the track slicked up, we picked off a car, then another car. I was content with third, but then the red came out on the last lap. I thought we'd have a chance to win because I knew KT and Windom were going to go at it pretty hard."

Leary began the race from the third position, but would run in the fifth or sixth spot throughout the majority of the 30-lapper as Windom captured the early race lead from the outside of the front row. However, a pair of red flags in the first half would stifle the action on multiple occasions.

C.J. Leary came from 3rd to 1st on the final lap to win Friday night's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at Indiana's Montpelier Motor Speedway. (Travis Branch Photo)

On lap seven, Cooper Clouse broadsided the stopped car of Jarett Andretti before tipping over on his side. One lap following the restart, a similar-looking incident occurred on the opposite end of the racetrack with a different set of players. Jon Stanbrough spun sideways between turns one and two as series point leader Justin Grant plowed into the left side of Stanbrough and flipped over. The incident proved damaging to Grant's championship hopes with his lead shrinking from 77 to 35 over Windom by night's end.

When racing resumed, Dave Darland was the man on the move in his first ride of the season in Gene Goodnight's No. 39G. After working and working on Windom for the position, Darland edged ahead on the outside to lead both laps 14 and 15. On the 16th lap, Windom held serve by sliding up off four in front of Darland to secure the lead.

Meanwhile, that brief side-by-side battle allowed Thomas to enter the fray and, by lap 19, he slid by Darland entering turn four, as Darland snagged the cushion, to secure second and immediately began to chase down Windom as lap traffic loomed.

After dodging a Kyle Robbins spin right in front of the leaders with three laps remaining, lap traffic would be cast to the background, although the surging Shane Cottle and C.J. Leary would soon be cast with lead roles on the quarter-mile stage.

Cottle, running fourth, applied pressure to Darland for third on the restart and, on lap 28, made a move to the inside of Darland for the position entering the bottom of turn three. With minimal room to spare, the two made slight contact, sending Cottle sliding sideways to a halt in the middle of turn three. With no place to go, Chad Boespflug made heavy contact with the sitting duck that was Cottle. Boespflug immediately ran over to check on Cottle following the crash, but both walked away from the scene albeit with a pair of battered racecars.

On the lap 28 restart, Windom stayed true on the bottom as Thomas worked the high side. Coming to the white flag, Windom slipped off the bottom between turns three and four, drifting to no man's land in the middle while Thomas used a monster run off four to snare the lead and appeared to lock it up and bury the key as he took over the low line from Windom heading into one.

"It's just one of those wait-and-be-patient deals," Thomas explained. "I knew I was faster through turns three and four. He didn't know the top was there. He'd been leading where he'd been running the entire race. I was trying to run the top in turns one and two and it was getting a little dusty. Then we started wearing the bottom out, but it was still just a little bit better. Once we had the caution with three to go, I decided to follow him into one and two. That's where I was losing ground and tried to get him in three and four."

Windom took one last shot at Thomas into three, but wasn't close enough to pull off a slider as Thomas headed for a surefire victory. However, with victory cradled in both arms coming off four, the red flag was displayed when Robbins got upside down in turn two. Clouse was also involved, but both were uninjured.

By rule, that set up a green-white-checker finish with a top-three running order of Thomas, Windom and Leary. Leary appeared to be the wild card of the bunch, yet just prior to the red, Leary hung right with the lead pack and it seemed as if one slip up by the front two could put him in just the right position at the right time.

"Our car got really good at the end," Leary explained. "My guys were watching Race-Monitor and said our times were getting faster and faster at the end while theirs stayed the same or slowed down a little bit."

Thomas led the green-white-checker finish by tip-toeing around the infield tires as he directed the field to the green flag. Thomas and Windom clung to the bottom while Leary was the lone bandit up top. Thomas held a four car-length advantage over Windom as the two raced off the second turn. Windom dove to the bottom of Thomas in three, successfully completing the slide job to lead lap 29 at the line by a single car-length.

Simultaneously, Leary had pulled even with Thomas on the outside in second at the flag stand. Windom missed the bottom in turn one, allowing Thomas to squeeze underneath to take the lead as Leary raced around the outside of Windom off turn two. Thomas drifted up to the top of the back straight in front of Leary as Windom surged back to pull side-by-side with Thomas just as Leary moved to the inside of Thomas.

Midway down the back straightaway, Windom, Leary and Thomas were three-wide for the lead. Emerging through the middle with the lead into three was the third-place car of Leary who dove to the bottom of turn three with a full head of steam before sliding back up to the top to score the improbable win as Windom slid past Thomas for second on the final corner. Darland and Robert Ballou rounded out the top-five.

Whether it was lap 1, 15 or 30, Leary admits that, provided the same opportunity, he would take advantage of the chance he saw to win Friday night. As he quipped, if you quit taking those chances when opportunity arises, you're no longer a racecar driver.

"Coming off turn two, KT came from the bottom all the way to the top," Leary remembered. "I turned it down and I didn't really know if I was going to be able to drag race by him back across the line, but he wasn't even there. When I slid myself, I just banged off the curb and was able to get off the corner really good. I was so worried about banging the cushion because it was so big off turn four."

It marked Leary's first win with this particular DRC/1-Way Chevy combination in his Leary Racing/Leary Construction - Highsmith Guns-sponsored No. 30. It was intended to be the team's primary car for 2017, but Leary admits that he just didn't feel all that fast with it after competing the first half of the season in it.

Winner C.J. Leary (middle) is joined on the podium with fellow top-three finishers Chris Windom (left, 2nd place finisher) and Kevin Thomas, Jr. (right, 3rd place finisher).(Ryan Sellers Photo)

Despite everything clicking right now for the team from top to bottom, the most power comes from the confidence beaming from the driver's seat, which Leary has an abundance of right now.

"My confidence is up for sure," Leary acknowledges. "We've got really fast race cars right now. You put us up front and it's going to be hard to beat us. This team's on a roll right now and I don't see much stopping us at this point."

Although victory eluded him after leading a race-high 27 laps, Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois made up an enormous amount of ground in the championship race with a second-place run in his Baldwin Brothers Racing/Fox Paving - AMSOIL/DRC/Claxton Mopar. Grant's misfortune was Windom's gain as more than half of his deficit was erased Friday night with now just seven races remaining.

Cullman, Alabama's Kevin Thomas, Jr. seemingly had the winner's check signed, sealed and delivered to him as he headed for victory on the final lap, but misfortune befell him once again after a magnificent late-race charge. However, the driver of the KT Motorsports/Jeff's Jam-It-In Storage - Abreu Vineyards/DRC/Speedway Chevy had to settle for third after leading with just half a lap to go.

"I didn't know if it was Leary or Darland behind me," Thomas admitted. "When I restarted behind Windom, I saw somebody up there. I figured it was Dave. I didn't know it was Leary. Once I got by Windom on the last lap, he missed the bottom a little bit and I got under him down there where the track was a little greasy. That got it a little tight, a little push-tight. I just let it float and kept my speed up. Obviously, that was the wrong move. I got slid by C.J. and tried to cross him under. I just didn't have enough grip to get by him on the cross under. I really don't like losing races, especially on the last lap. It (ticked) me off. I'll just go faster tomorrow."

Contingency award winners Friday night at Montpelier Motor Speedway included Dave Darland (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Robert Ballou (Simpson Race Products Heat 1 Winner), Chad Boespflug (Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 2 Winner), Justin Grant (Chalk Stix Heat 3 Winner), Colten Cottle (Indy Race Parts Heat 4 Winner & KSE Racing Products/The Lightle Family in Honor of Bryan Clauson Hard Charger Award) and Isaac Chapple (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 29, 2017 - Montpelier Motor Speedway - Montpelier, Indiana

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Dave Darland, 39G, Goodnight-13.585 (New Track Record); 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-13.615; 3. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-13.754; 4. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-13.761; 5. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-13.804; 6. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-13.823; 7. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-13.832; 8. Tyler Hewitt, 97x, One More Time-13.904; 9. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-13.916; 10. Jon Stanbrough, 81, Stanbrough-13.931; 11. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-13.985; 12. Cooper Clouse, 14, Clouse-13.987; 13. Thomas Meseraull, 17GP, Dutcher-13.995; 14. Shane Cottle, 57, Hazen-14.052; 15. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-14.070; 16. Scotty Weir, 22s, Simon-14.076; 17. Kyle Robbins, 17R, KR-14.121; 18. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-14.179; 19. Justin Grant, 11, McGhee-14.244; 20. Colten Cottle, 1RL, RL-14.283; 21. Josh Spencer, 66J, Spencer-14.321; 22. Michael Koontz, 17K, Koontz-14.339; 23. Dustin Ingle, 2DI, DPI-14.468; 24. Matt Westfall, 54. Westfall-14.488; 25. Lee Underwood, 24L, Underwood-14.595; 26. Gage Etgen, 99, Etgen-14.612; 27. Dallas Hewitt, 18H, Keen-14.784; 28. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-14.854.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Darland, 3. Meseraull, 4. Robbins, 5. Spencer, 6. Underwood, 7. Chapple. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Boespflug, 2. Thomas, 3. S. Cottle, 4. Windom, 5. Stanbrough, 6. Etgen, 7. Koontz. NT

CHALK STIX THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Grant, 2. Andretti, 3. Stockon, 4. Courtney, 5. Hodges, 6. Ingle, 7. D. Hewitt. 2:22.83 (New Track Record)

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. C. Cottle, 2. Weir, 3. Clouse, 4. Leary, 5. Westfall, 6. T. Hewitt, 7. Goodnight. 2:25.82

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Chapple, 2. Stanbrough, 3. T. Hewitt, 4. Hodges, 5. Koontz, 6. Westfall, 7. D. Hewitt, 8. Ingle, 9. Spencer, 10. Goodnight, 11. Underwood, 12. Etgen. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 4. Dave Darland, 5. Robert Ballou, 6. Tyler Courtney, 7. Chase Stockon, 8. Josh Hodges, 9. Thomas Meseraull, 10. Colten Cottle, 11. Scotty Weir, 12. Tyler Hewitt, 13. Isaac Chapple, 14. Matt Westfall, 15. Jarett Andretti, 16. Kyle Robbins, 17. Cooper Clouse, 18. Shane Cottle, 19. Chad Boespflug, 20. Jon Stanbrough, 21. Justin Grant, 22. Michael Koontz. NT
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**Underwood flipped during the semi. Clouse flipped on lap 7 of the feature. Grant flipped on lap 9 of the feature. Robbins flipped on lap 30 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1-13 Windom, Laps 14-15 Darland, Laps 16-28 Windom, Lap 29 Thomas, Lap 30 Leary.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS/THE LIGHTLE FAMILY IN HONOR OF BRYAN CLAUSON HARD CHARGER: Colten Cottle (20th to 10th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Isaac Chapple

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Grant-1873, 2-Windom-1838, 3-Courtney-1733, 4-Thomas-1731; 5-Boespflug-1661, 6-Stockon-1626, 7-Leary-1543, 8-Brady Bacon-1410, 9-Ballou-1403, 10-Darland-1265.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 30 - Lawrenceburg Speedway - Lawrenceburg, Indiana - "Fall Nationals"

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

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

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-50 Courtney.

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

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Joe Liguori

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

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

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

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Nick Bilbee

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

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

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

BAYSTON ADDS ANOTHER CROWN JEWEL WITH USAC MIDGET WIN AT ELDORA

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Bayston.

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

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Adam Pierson

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

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

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



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

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Dave Darland

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

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

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

WINDOM STRIKES AGAIN FOR 2ND STRAIGHT "JIM HURTUBISE CLASSIC" VICTORY

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Jarett Andretti

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

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

Categories : News, Short Track, Sprints, USAC
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