$20,000 AWAITS THURSDAY'S "LEFFLER MEMORIAL" WINNER; FANS INVOLVED IN $50,000 CASH BONUS!
The logjam at the top of the USAC National Midget standings is sure to create added excitement at this Thursday night's "Jason Leffler Memorial" race at Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Ill., not to mention the $20,000 winner's share of the purse, which will provide the biggest payday for a midget feature winner in the USA all year!
Co-sanctioned by POWRi, Thursday's race is the fourth since Leffler, the three-time USAC National Midget Champion, perished in a 2013 Sprint race in New Jersey.
Track owner Doug Stringer has not only created a more competitive atmosphere for this year's race with the new date, but has also sweetened the pot for race fans attending with their own pot of gold!
One lucky fan will have an opportunity to win $50,000! A bin with 100 envelopes will be assembled, one containing the $50,000 prize, among other prizes. If the winning driver, who selects first, does not draw the $50,000 prize, then it becomes some lucky fan's opportunity to try to draw the lucky $50,000 envelope!
On the race track, drivers will vie for valuable points toward the USAC and POWRi championships. The top four USAC drivers are separated by just 77 points, with only Thursday's race and the November 24 "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at Ventura, Calif. remaining on the calendar.
Spencer Bayston leads teammate Tanner Thorson by just nine points in the latest USAC standings, with Chad Boat 40 points behind the leader and Brady Bacon 77 behind.
The new race date has allowed drivers from other racing series to compete, which will see USAC graduates Kyle Larson, Rico Abreu and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. return for another crack at winning the race as well as 2013 World of Outlaws champion Daryn Pittman and newly-crowned ARCA champion Chase Briscoe.
Each year, a portion of the proceeds from the Leffler Memorial Auction and the Leffler Memorial Race are donated to the Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust for Jason's son Charlie. The 2016 Jason Leffler Memorial Auction will take place Wednesday.
Mike Curb of Nashville, Tenn. will try to become USAC's all-time winningest National car owner Thursday. He has tied Wilke Racers/Leader Cards at the top with 136 total USAC National wins and a victory Thursday would be Curb's first in the "Leffler Memorial."
The Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian team includes the top two in USAC's National points (Bayston and Thorson), plus drivers Carson Macedo (USAC's 2016 Indiana Midget Champ), Ryan Robinson and Holly Shelton, plus NASCAR vets Larson and Abreu, who will return for this special event.
Zach Daum won the inaugural "Jason Leffler Memorial" in 2013, while Daryn Pittman won in 2014 and Bryan Clauson last year.
Pit gates open for Thursday's "Leffler Memorial" at noon with the front gates opening at 5pm. Cars hit the track Hot laps at 6pm and racing getting underway at 7pm.
WINDOM BESTS BOESPFLUG IN BREATHTAKING "HURTUBISE CLASSIC" AT TERRE HAUTE
Terre Haute, Indiana.........Over the last three-months, the red-hot Chris Windom has been on a tear.
However, the Canton, Illinois veteran driver may have saved his best performance of the year for Saturday night's "Jim Hurtubise Classic" USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at the famed Terre Haute Action Track.
Windom battled back-and-forth, lap-after-lap, in a "hold your breath" 30-lap boxing match with Chad Boespflug that saw an astonishing 26 unofficial lead changes - four officially at the start/finish line!
The last lead change occurred with just three laps remaining when Windom made a turn three slider stick, then held Boespflug at bay off the fourth corner to claim the spot for good before going on to victory lane after one of the most memorable races witnessed in the long, storied history of the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds' half-mile.
During this stretch since mid-July, Windom has been victorious in the "Ted Horn 100" at Du Quoin and the "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora on his way to the USAC Silver Crown title and, one night after his midget victory in the "Kokomo Klash," Windom picked up his second career "Jim Hurtubise Classic" trophy, joining Jack Hewitt as the only multiple-time winner of the race that debuted in 1990.
Plus, Windom's impressive streak of top-six finishes in USAC National races continues, a stretch that dates back to July 17th's "Indiana Sprint Week" feature at Terre Haute.
It was the second USAC National Sprint Car victory of the year for the team after the return of Windom to the Baldwin Brothers Racing the same core group that captured the "Hurtubise Classic" back in 2011.
"You can race Chad (Boespflug) clean like that and you don't have to worry about anything," Windom said. "We had a hell of a race going on there. He found the top and got around me in the middle part of the race. Once I moved up and got in his line, we were a little better than him. We just kept slicing and dicing in (turns) three and four and, finally, I got a slide job to stick and got back in front of him. I thought once we got there, we'd be good."
"I knew at the start, it was really good on the bottom and, as we were going, it felt a little slower and slower," Windom added. "You're kind of a sitting duck when you're leading the race and you just don't know. I kept watching and watching and saw him rip by me. He ran a really good turn four, so we had to get in line behind him and chase him back down."
Unseasonably comfortable weather brought a sizable crowd for the USAC National Sprint Car Midwest season finale and, right from the get-go, the drivers up front put on a show that none of the fans in attendance would forget over the long Indiana winter.
On the start, pole sitter Justin Grant slid up in front of outside front row starter Thomas Meseraull to take the lead into turn one.
Meanwhile, Boespflug ducked down to the low side, briefly sticking his nose in front of Grant in turn two. The two continued their side-by-side battle throughout the first lap with Grant able to inch ahead at the stripe by two car lengths.
The two were stuck together as if they were racing side-by-side on a slot car track throughout the second circuit with Grant able to hold onto the top spot by the skin of his teeth at the line. Boespflug immediately pulled the bow and shot like an arrow down to the bottom of turn one, sliding up in front of Grant to grab the lead by the time the pair reached turn two.
One lap later, as Boespflug and Grant ran one-two, seventh-starting Windom seemingly came out of nowhere, rocketing from third to first in one-fell-swoop using a monster run off of turn two.
Windom's initial bid for the lead was short-lived as Boespflug was able to recapture the point on lap three, but the signs were there that Windom would play a lead role on tonight's stage.
On the ensuing lap, Windom once again used the bottom of turn two to power past Boespflug, instantaneously manufacturing a seven-car-length advantage as he appeared to be on the verge of a runaway.
Not so fast, my friend.
Little-by-little, lap-after-lap, Boespflug began to reel in Windom near the midway point as he altered his plan of attack by hitting the bottom of turns one and two and then formed his own groove up near the outside wall between turns three and four, running a line that would've made five-time Action Track winner Jim Hurtubise proud.
With 13 laps to go, the high line would pay off as Boespflug raced out of turn four with a full head of steam to slip by Windom for the lead on the outside, then cutting down to take away Windom's line as the two entered turn one. Windom responded with an unsuccessful turn three slider, falling in line behind Boespflug as he reloaded the chamber for his next shot at the lead.
Windom took his next run at Boespflug into turn three with 11 laps to go, blasting across the front of Boespflug's nose as they both drifted up to the red, white and blue-striped concrete. Boespflug countered, turning underneath Windom and nearly making contact when sliding across Windom's front bumper as the two raced mere inches apart off turn four.
The two drag-raced side-by-side down the front stretch, never giving an inch to each other through the first and second turns. With Windom whispering into the inside guardrail with his left front wheel and Boespflug just to his outside, the pair aimed for the same spot on the bottom of turn two where something had to give. Windom ran out of room, cracking the throttle just enough to allow Boespflug to assume the point for the time-being.
On laps 23 and 24, Windom went to the well once again, using a run off of turn two to pull even with Boespflug as they entered the third turn, but to no avail, as the two now encountered lapped traffic.
On laps 25 and 26, Windom fell into line behind Boespflug, shadowing his rear bumper off turn two each time as he contemplated his next move.
With three laps left, leader Boespflug and Windom had lapped cars high and low across the racetrack to contend with. Boespflug followed Corey Smith while Windom stalked Isaac Chapple with the leaders separated by a half-car-length.
Boespflug moved up a couple lanes to split between Chapple and Smith while Windom briefly got hung up behind Chapple.
But, as was the case all night, turn two was Windom's personal ATM as he disposed of Chapple and once again rocketed off the second turn and down the back straightaway to beat Boespflug into turn three, sliding up to the outside wall as Boespflug crossed over, trying with all his might to fight his way back to Windom off of turn four. Windom had just enough bite to sprint off of turn four to beat Boespflug to the line by a single car length before he ripped Boespflug's line away going into turn one.
That action proved to be the winning move for Windom as he finished off the final two laps in style to take his second USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature victory of the year followed by Boespflug, Jerry Coons, Jr., Chase Stockon and Grant.
Hanford, California's Boespflug officially led at the start/finish line on two different occasions, running at the front for a total of 13 laps before settling for second-place.
"That was fun," Boespflug exclaimed. "That was a great battle between Chris and I. I was trying to think of how I was going to hold him off. He was so much better off of 2. I gained a lot of ground in 3 and 4. This car was awesome tonight. It was so stable. I had so much forward drive. Man, that was a lot of fun. It took the breath out of me!"
Third-place finisher Jerry Coons, Jr. of Tucson, Arizona, the 2013 "Jim Hurtubise Classic" winner, came home with his best USAC Sprint Car finish of the season in what may have been longtime team owner Edison's farewell race.
"I just want to thank Monte and all these guys," Coons praised. "It's been a lot of fun driving for these guys. They work very hard and they put a nice racecar together week in week out. It's been a blast. I'm looking forward to seeing what next year brings."
"You see them up there dicing it up and think, 'Hey, maybe we will win this thing," Coons said regarding Windom and Boespflug's battle for the lead. "These guys are great racers and, obviously, they respect each other. It looks like it was pretty exciting up there. We had a good racecar. I wish I could've been up there to spice it up a little bit."
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: October 15, 2016 - Terre Haute, Indiana - Terre Haute Action Track - "Jim Hurtubise Classic"
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Chad Boespflug. 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 4. Chase Stockon, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Tyler Courtney, 7. Brady Bacon, 8. Jon Stanbrough, 9. C.J. Leary, 10. Aaron Farney, 11. Bret Mellenberndt, 12. Thomas Meseraull, 13. Dave Darland, 14. Kevin Thomas Jr., 15. Carson Macedo, 16. Corey Smith, 17. Isaac Chapple, 18. Kyle Robbins, 19. Joe Bares, 20. Nate McMillin, 21. J.J. Hughes, 22. Jeff Pritchett. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Grant, Laps 3-4 Boespflug, Laps 5-16 Windom, Laps 17-27 Boespflug, Laps 28-30 Windom.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Brady Bacon (17th-7th)
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-2,327, 2-Stockon-2,094, 3-Darland-1,968, 4-Meseraull-1,955, 5-Robert Ballou-1,919, 6-Boespflug-1,885, 7-Leary & Windom-1,858, 9-Farney-1,287, 10-Max McGhee-1,264.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: November 4-5 - Queen Creek, AZ - Arizona Speedway - "49th Western World Championships"
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: October 15, 2016 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Brody Roa, 3. Richard Vander Weerd, 4. Austin Liggett, 5. Austin Wiliams, 6. Tommy Malcolm, 7. Jake Swanson, 8. Danny Faria Jr., 9. Stevie Sussex, 10. Chris Gansen, 11. Parker Colston, 12. Jeremy Ellertson, 13. Verne Sweeney, 14. Logan Williams, 15. Matt Stewart, 16. Randy Waitman, 17. Cal Smith, 18. Mike Spencer, 19. Cody Williams, 20. Kyle Edwards, 21. Tony Everhart, 22. Corey Ballard, 23. A.J. Bender. NT
**Gardner flipped during the first heat. L.Williams & A.Sweeney flipped during the semi.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-16 Roa, Laps 17-30 Gardner.
NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACES: November 4 & 5 – Queen Creek, AZ – Arizona Speedway – “Western World Championships”
USAC INDIANA MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS:October 14, 2016 - Kokomo, Indiana - Kokomo Speedway - "Kokomo Klash X"
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Dave Darland, 3. Tanner Thorson, 4. Gage Walker, 5. Holly Shelton, 6. Davey Ray, 7. Ryan Robinson, 8. Carson Macedo, 9. Chett Gehrke, 10. Kyle O'Gara, 11. Kurt Mayhew, 12. Ray Seach, 13. Ryan Secrest, 14. Dave Camfield, 15. Anton Julian, 16. Spencer Bayston, 17. Don O'Keefe, 18. Cole Fehr, 19. Jerry Coons Jr., 20. Tony DiMattia. NT
**Wissmiller flipped during qualifying. Bayston flipped on lap 19.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Windom.
FINAL USAC INDIANA MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Macedo-217, 2-Thorson-261, 3-Robinson-248, 4-Bayston-219, 5-Walker-216, 6-Shelton-215, 7-Ray-198, 8-Darland-192, 9-Justin Peck-160, 10-Brayton Lynch-146.
USAC/CRA SPRINT CARS FINAL PAS TUNE UP FOR OVAL NATIONALS SATURDAY!
(Perris, CA, October 10, 2016) This Saturday night, October 15th, the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will have their final tune up at Perris Auto Speedway for November’s prestigious 21st Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals Presented by All Coast Construction. The PAS Senior and Young Gun Sprint Cars will also be on Saturday’s program at the “Southern California Home of Major League Sprint Car Racing.” Spectator gates will open at 5:00 PM and the first race will be at 7:00.
Thus far in 2016, the USAC/CRA Series has made eight stops at the famous Riverside County clay oval and the competition has been at the highest level. Seven different drivers have posted wins in the eight races. The only repeat winner has been “The Big Game Hunter” Austin Williams. The Yorba Linda based 26-year-old, who spent last weekend lobster fishing, scored wins at the “Salute to Indy” on May 28 and the “Glenn Howard Memorial” on September 24th. Other winners at The PAS thus far in 2016 have been the late Bryan Clauson, New Mexico’s Josh Hodges, Richard Vander Weerd of Visalia, Santa Maria’s Danny Sheridan, new father Matt Mitchell of Yorba Linda and four-time series champion Damion Gardner of Concord.
Gardner, a two-time winner of the Oval Nationals and one of the favorites for this November’s edition of the race, comes into Saturday’s show with a comfortable 107-point lead in the Amsoil USAC/CRA standings over Vander Weerd. Counting Saturday’s race at The PAS, there are only six races to go in 2016. This Saturday and the three nights of the Oval Nationals as well as the November 4th and 5th Western World Championships at Arizona Speedway. If Gardner prevails at the top of the heap, it will give a total of five USAC/CRA titles (he has previously won the championship in 2005, 2013, 2014 and 2015). That would tie him for first overall with rival Mike Spencer of Temecula.
Chasing Gardner and Vander Weerd and rounding out the top five in the standings are Anaheim’s Jake Swanson, who won his first ever USAC/CRA main event at Peoria Arizona’s Canyon Speedway Park two weeks ago, Brody Roa of Garden Grove and Williams.
Saturday’s show will consist of qualifying, heat races, B main (if needed) and a 30-lap A Main for the USAC/CRA Series. The Senior Sprints (drivers 45 and older) and Young Gun Sprints (drivers 14-25 with no prior sprint car experience) will contest heat races and main events.
Adult tickets are $25.00. Seniors 65 and older get in for $20.00. Active military members with proper id, teens 13-18 with their school id and kids 6-12 get in for just $5.00. Children 5 and under are admitted free. The event will not sell out and there will be plenty of tickets available for everyone at the ticket window on Saturday. Parking on the fairgrounds is $8.00.
For patrons who wish to purchase tickets in advance, they can do so 24-hours a day by clicking on the following link October 15th tickets or by calling 1-800-595-4849.
Camping is available for $25.00 per night for all PAS events. The campground opens at noon the day before each event. Tailgating in the spectator parking lot will begin at 1:00 PM.
Amsoil USAC/CRA Points
1. Damion Gardner - Concord, CA - 1212
2. Richard Vander Weerd – Visalia, CA – 1105
3. Jake Swanson – Anaheim, CA – 1089
4. Brody Roa – Garden Grove, CA – 1003
5. Austin Williams – Yorba Linda, CA – 995
6. Mike Spencer - Temecula, CA – 896
7. Max Adams - Loomis, CA – 805
7. Logan Williams – Yorba Linda, CA – 689
9. Cody Williams - Corona, CA – 646
10. Jace Vander Weerd – Visalia, CA - 602
USAC SPRINTS MAKE FINAL MIDWEST APPEARANCE AT TERRE HAUTE THIS SATURDAY FOR "JIM HURTUBISE CLASSIC"
Rich Forman Photo
The USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship makes its final Midwest appearance of the 2016 season, before heading out west, this Saturday night, October 15 at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track for the 17th "Jim Hurtubise Classic."
The race honors Hurtubise, the auto racing legend who dominated the Action Track back in the early 1960s. The North Tonawanda, New York native known as "Herk" racked up five consecutive USAC Sprint Car wins from 1960 to 1962, a feat that hasn't been matched in the ensuing 54 years.
The "Hurtubise Classic" dates back to 1990 when Jack Hewitt won the inaugural edition of the event, but this year's race marks just the 17th running; the tradition resumed after a ten-year hiatus from the schedule from 2000 to 2009.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon enjoys a hefty 245-point lead over Chase Stockon in the series standings. Bacon and Stockon are among the five past "Hurtubise Classic" winners expected to compete in Saturday night's event.
Bacon's lone Terre Haute triumph came at the "Hurtubise" in the fall of 2014 while Stockon raced to victory in 2012. Stockon's most recent series victory came at Terre Haute just three months ago at the "Don Smith Classic" during "Indiana Sprint Week."
Those two will be joined by recent "Hurtubise" winners Jerry Coons, Jr. (2013), Chris Windom (2011) and Jon Stanbrough (2010).
The event has proven to be wide-open over the years, producing 14 different feature winners in the 16 runnings of the race. Only the great Jack Hewitt was able to win multiple "Hurtubise Classics" throughout his career, taking three of them, including the first two in 1990 and 1991, before grabbing his third one in 1995.
In fact, the last 11 "Hurtubise Classic" have produced a different winner each time. Terre Haute USAC winning drivers looking for their first "Hurtubise" trophy this Saturday include the USAC National Sprint Car division's winningest driver, Dave Darland, as well as 2016 "Sumar Classic" Silver Crown winner C.J. Leary, 2015 "Don Smith Classic" victor Aaron Farney and 2013 "Don Smith Classic" winner Kevin Thomas, Jr., who will continue to sport the No. 1 on his car for Robert Ballou, winner of the 2015 "Hurtubise" as he continues to recover from injuries sustained in USAC/CRA Sprint Car crash at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway in September.
Pit gates for Saturday night's event open at 3:00pm with front gates opening at 4. Hot laps get underway at 6 with ProSource Qualifying set for 6:30 and racing beginning at 7.
THORSON THWARTS MACEDO'S LATE-RACE CHARGE TO SWEEP 2ND STRAIGHT "GOLD CROWN" AT GRANITE CITY
(RICH FORMAN PHOTO)
Granite City, Illinois.........For the second consecutive year, the "Gold Crown Midget Nationals" became the "Tanner Thorson Show" at Tri-City Speedway.
The 20-year-old Minden, Nevada native held off hard-charging teammate Carson Macedo after a late-race restart to win his fifth "Gold Crown" feature in a row dating back to the 2015 event.
Thorson's unforgettable weekend also vaulted him to within arm's reach of the USAC Midget National Championship point lead behind teammate Spencer Bayston with two races remaining as he now stands in the shadows of Bayston just nine back by virtue of three consecutive victories in his Keith Kunz - Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD - JBL Audio/Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
"I could see those guys on the restarts throwing sliders at each other, so I knew I just needed to hit my marks perfectly on the last one," Thorson said. "I knew it'd happen to me eventually, but thankfully, we had enough of a buffer over Carson when we got to turn one that we were able to hold on. I love this place, though; it's so much fun to race on. The "Gold Crown" is a marquee event and to sweep it two years in a row is awesome. Big Al (Scroggins) gave me an awesome setup tonight and that makes my job easy."
As high-point man for the night, Thorson began Saturday night's 40-lap finale from the pole and, from the outset, he immediately established himself as the driver to beat, constructing a lead of more than a second-and-a-half over his fellow championship contenders Bayston, Chad Boat and Brady Bacon who ran first through fourth in the early going.
But on lap nine, two of those contenders would see their nights take an unexpected turn for the worse.
Entering turn one side-by-side, Boat's right rear tire ramped over Bacon's left front, sending Bacon into a series of violent snap rolls into the catch fencing before coming to a rest on the track surface.
With the fence heavily damaged, extensive repairs had to be made before racing could continue. Uunder the lengthy red flag, Brady Bacon's FMR Racing crew thrashed feverishly to make repairs to their Beast/Toyota in time for the restart as did Boat who joined Bacon at the tail of the field when the race resumed.
With Bacon and Boat both out of the contention at the front for the meantime, it became a two-car race between Thorson and Bayston at the head of the pack.
Thorson found a comfort zone at the top of turns one and two and the bottom of turns three and four with Bayston in tow, hugging the low line all the way around the 3/8-mile dirt oval.
However, Bayston was only able to hang with Thorson for a couple of laps following the restart before Thorson began separating himself from the field once again as the race crossed the halfway point.
On the lap 24 restart following Kyle Jones' slide into the infield with a collapsed front end, the fiercest battle for position became the race for second as Macedo hit the bottom of turn one before sliding up in front of Bayston. Macedo took the position, albeit briefly, when Bayston countered and dove underneath to reclaim the spot exiting turn two.
One lap later, Macedo gave the all-out assault on Bayston one more try, but saw the same result once again as Bayston answered each successive challenge that was thrown at him.
With less than ten laps remaining, Brad Loyet was a man on a mission just laps after entering the top-five from the back half of the field in Ken Malpocker's No. 22. A furious battle between the two waged on and, on the 33rd circuit, Loyet raced high into turn one alongside Bright for fourth. Loyet ran out of racetrack and out of luck as he rode his right side wheels up the concrete perimeter, somersaulting nose-to-tail a couple of times before coming to a rest on his wheels.
The ensuing restart presented another opportunity for Macedo to set up a slide job on Bayston for second. This time was a success las Macedo blasted by his teammate in turn one. Bayston once again crossed-over, cutting beneath Macedo exiting turn two, then partaking in a side-by-side drag race into turn three that was won by Macedo.
Macedo could now set his laser-focus on running down Thorson, who hadn't yet faced much of a battle at the end of the feature during the first two nights of the "Gold Crown." But Macedo was only able to trim a miniscule amount of time between he and Thorson as the laps ticked away and the odds became slimmer.
With just two laps to go, Thorson had victory just within his grasp, but the hard-charging Zach Daum, who was running fourth, tagged the outside wall with quite a force between turns one and two before coming to a stop, necessitating a yellow flag.
With Macedo right on Thorson's tail for the green-white-checkered finish, Macedo shot to the bottom entering turn one on the restart, overtaking the top spot from Thorson momentarily, but Thorson anticipated the move and crossed over, using the downhill momentum off the turn two banking to drive back by Macedo for the lead.
That proved to be Macedo's last shot as Thorson was able to thwart the attack and pull away on the final lap and a half to defeat Macedo by 0.724 seconds, followed by Bayston and a remarkable comeback by Brady Bacon who raced from the tail to grab fourth after nearly clearing the turn one fence earlier in the feature. Ryan Robinson rounded out the top-five.
Carson Macedo's second-place run in his Keith Kunz - Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD - Mobil 1/Bullet/Speedway Toyota equaled his best career result set back in June of this season in West Memphis, Arkansas. With two races remaining, Macedo, the series' leading rookie in the standings, seeks to become just the 13th driver (and the first since Christopher Bell in 2013) to win the USAC National Midget "Rookie of the Year" award and be victorious in a feature in the same season.
"We were really fast," Macedo stated matter-of-factly. "I thought I had a shot. I was pretty thankful when that yellow came out with three (laps) to go. I threw everything I had at him and we just came up short. Overall, though, I'm happy with the weekend. We were consistent and that's big. I really like this race track and had a blast; I just wish we were up there in victory lane tonight."
Lebanon, Indiana's Spencer Bayston continues to hold onto the USAC Midget National Championship lead after his third place finish Saturday night in his Keith Kunz - Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD - Mobil 1/Bullet/Speedway Toyota, though the gap has now shrunk to a mere nine points over the rapidly-approaching Thorson.
"Early on, I was following Tanner and trying to learn," Bayston explained. "We didn't lose too much ground on him there and then, once we went up top, I felt stronger. Under the red, we started to have a right rear issue and it blistered when we went back to green. I was sort of in defense mode at the end, which allowed Carson to get by. I'm happy for Tanner, though. To sweep this race two years in a row and for us to sweep the podium tonight tells you how good this team is and how hard everybody works."
USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: October 8, 2016 - Granite City, Illinois - Tri-City Speedway - "Gold Crown Midget Nationals"
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ryan Robinson (#71 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Tanner Thorson (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Jerry Coons, Jr. (#25 Petry/Goff), 4. Zach Daum (#5D Daum), 5. Jake Neuman (#3N Neuman), 6. Holly Shelton (#67K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 7. Tyler Roth (#13 Zero), 8. Joey Rinne (#0 Zero). 2:02.83
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Carson Macedo (#71K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Brady Bacon (#76m FMR), 3. Tyler Thomas (Thomas #91T), 4. Chad Boat (#84 Tucker/Boat), 5. Gage Walker (#7 Walker), 6. Davey Ray (#23 Two-Three), 7. Broc Hunnell (#73 Hunnell). 2:01.95
BENIC ENTERPRISES/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Spencer Bayston (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Kyle Jones (#5B Daum), 3. Alex Bright (#77 Hemler), 4. Brayton Lynch (#1K RKR), 5. Dave Darland (#11AG Gray), 6. Ryan Greth (#4 Lesher), 7. Brad Loyet (#22 Malpocker). 2:03.41
FIRST QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Thorson, 2. Bacon, 3. Greth, 4. Jones, 5. Lynch, 6. Hunnell, 7. Roth. 2:34.51
SECOND QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Robinson, 2. Ray, 3. Walker, 4. Loyet, 5. Thomas, 6. Bright, 7. Neuman. 2:35.61
THIRD QUALIFYING RACE: (10 laps) 1. Shelton, 2. Boat, 3. Bayston, 4. Macedo, 5. Daum, 6. Darland. 2:37.03
FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Carson Macedo, 3. Spencer Bayston, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Ryan Robinson, 6. Holly Shelton, 7. Jake Neuman, 8. Alex Bright, 9. Chad Boat, 10. Tyler Thomas, 11. Gage Walker, 12. Dave Darland, 13. Brayton Lynch, 14. Davey Ray, 15. Joey Rinne, 16. Zach Daum, 17. Brad Loyet, 18. Broc Hunnell, 19. Kyle Jones, 20. Ryan Greth, 21. Tyler Roth, 22. Jerry Coons, Jr. NT
**Bacon flipped on lap 9 of the feature. Loyet flipped on lap 33 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-40 Thorson.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Jake Neuman (21st to 7th)
NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-1136, 2-Thorson-1127, 3-Boat-1096, 4-Bacon-1059, 5-Macedo-994, 6-Robinson-843, 7-Shelton-787, 8-Bryan Clauson-720, 9-Thomas-704, 10-Greth-562.
NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: October 20 - Wayne City, IL - Wayne County Speedway - "Jason Leffler Memorial" (Co-Sanctioned by POWRi)
USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET SERIES RACE RESULTS:October 8, 2016 - Tulare, California - Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway -"KRC Safety Fall Shootout"
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Ronnie Gardner, 2. Frankie Guerrini, 3. Courtney Crone, 4. Cory Elliott, 5. Maria Cofer, 6. Cody Swanson, 7. Alex Schutte, 8. Shannon McQueen, 9. Robert Dalby, 10. Michael Faccinto, 11. Randi Pankratz, 12. Tyler Dolacki, 13. Nate Wait. NT
**Swanson and Pankratz flipped during the second heat. McQueen and Dalby flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Schutte, Laps 29-30 Gardner.
NEW USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET POINTS: 1-Gardner-842, 2-Faccinto-734, 3-Guerrini-665, 4-Elliott-645, 5-Crone-567, 6-Swanson-494, 7-Cofer-481, 8-R.Pankratz-478, 9-Dalby-476, 10-Dolacki-377.
NEXT USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET RACES: October 29 - Ventura (CA) Raceway
THORSON WINS 4TH IN A ROW AT GRANITE CITY; CRUISES TO NIGHT #2 "GOLD CROWN" VICTORY
Granite City, Illinois.........Throughout history, certain tandems have become synonymous with each other: Lewis and Clark, Lennon and McCartney, Calvin and Hobbes, Milk and Cookies, etc.
After his USAC Midget National Championship feature victory Friday night, a new duo to add to the list may very well be Tanner Thorson and Tri-City Speedway.
The Minden, Nevada driver dominated every lap of the caution-free affair in which he established a new 35-lap track record at the 3/8-mile dirt oval on the way to his fourth straight "Gold Crown Midget Nationals" win dating back to 2015.
In the process, Thorson was able dig a little closer to the point-lead, as he is now just 15 points behind teammate Spencer Bayston in the latest series standings with three events remaining including Saturday night's "Gold Crown" finale.
Thorson began the feature from outside of the front row alongside Brady Bacon and immediately established the point as the field hit turn one on the opening lap.
Bacon, another driver in the thick of the series point race, encountered trouble one night prior after suffering a cut tire while leading with six laps to go. On this night, the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native settled into second in the early going, running the high side as Thorson worked the bottom.
Suddenly, on lap six, heartbreak met Bacon for the second consecutive night as his mount began to slow dramatically entering turn three, resulting in an early exit, a 20th place finish and the loss of substantial ground in the title race - a race that he now finds himself 74 points out of the lead after entering Thursday down just 22.
With Bacon now out of sight, no one was able to put up much of a fight on Thorson for the remaining 30 laps and, though, Thorson quickly distanced himself to a three-second lead by the 15th lap, he was unable to completely break away from his fellow competitors involved in the point race.
With his pass on Thursday night runner-up Zach Daum, Chad Boat positioned himself in third, a straightaway behind leader Thorson and Bayston with 20 to go.
The only obstacle separating Thorson from certain victory in the second half of the contest was lapped traffic. But, with a full straightway lead, Thorson was in a zone and a backmarker or two wasn't going to trip him up on this night.
Thorson had to negotiate the eighth, ninth and tenth place cars with less than five laps to go as the battle for position between Holly Shelton, Jerry Coons, Jr. and Kyle Jones waged on in front of the leader.
Thorson had little trouble as he stuck to the bottom while the lappers pursued the high side, providing Thorson a clear path to an eventual, commanding 4.85 second victory over Bayston, Boat, Ryan Robinson and Carson Macedo.
Thorson completed the 35-lap feature at a track record time of nine minutes, 24.36 seconds in his Keith Kunz - Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD - JBL Audio/Bullet/Speedway Toyota, his series-leading fifth USAC National Midget victory of the 2016 season and the ninth of his career.
"I don't know if it's me or this car that keeps getting to victory lane, but these Keith Kunz guys are awesome," Thorson exclaimed. "They deserve to be here. The track was in our favor tonight, for sure. You can't enter the bottom too early here; that makes it tough, but having that track position at the start was really big. Our confidence level is really high heading into tomorrow and I'm looking forward to trying to make it two 'Gold Crowns' in a row."
Lebanon, Indiana's Spencer Bayston held serve at the head of the points race, finishing one spot behind Thorson in Friday night's feature to take second in his Keith Kunz - Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD - Mobil 1/Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
"I was more confident tonight than I was last night," Bayston thought. "I made a couple mistakes earlier in the night and the guys made sure to point them out to me so we could correct them for the feature; I feel like we made some progress in that sense. Tanner was really good through the lapped cars. I felt like I was catching him a little bit, but he was so strong on the bottom that it was hard to make up any ground. We probably needed a yellow, but we'll take a second for points, though, and go try to get a win tomorrow."
Chad Boat, of Phoenix, Arizona, now stands 22 markers out of the lead and seven behind Thorson in the updated series standings after earning third in his Tucker-Boat Motorsports/PristineAuction.com - K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota.
"Track position hurt us a little bit," Boat admitted. "We were rolling there for ten laps or so and I thought we could get Spencer. I felt like we were better than Tanner, but then our tire went away and I just had to hold on. Overall, though, it was a decent night. We learned some things last night and got better tonight, so we'll hopefully be two spots better tomorrow."
USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: October 7, 2016 - Granite City, Illinois - Tri-City Speedway - "Gold Crown Midget Nationals"
FEATURE: (35 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Spencer Bayston, 3. Chad Boat, 4. Ryan Robinson, 5. Carson Macedo, 6. Zach Daum, 7. Brad Loyet, 8. Holly Shelton, 9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 10. Kyle Jones, 11. Dave Darland, 12. Alex Bright, 13. Jake Neuman, 14. Tyler Thomas, 15. Justin Peck, 16. Gage Walker, 17. Brayton Lynch, 18. Davey Ray, 19. Tyler Roth, 20. Brady Bacon, 21. Johnny Murdock, 22. Ryan Greth. 9:24.36
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-35 Thorson.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Alex Bright (22nd to 12th)
NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-1072, 2-Thorson-1057, 3-Boat-1050, 4-Bacon-998, 5-Macedo-927, 6-Robinson-785, 7-Shelton-732, 8-Bryan Clauson-720, 9-Thomas-661, 10-Greth-539.
NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: October 8 - Granite City, IL - Tri-City Speedway - "Gold Crown Midget Nationals"
USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: October 6, 2016 - Granite City, Illinois - Tri-City Speedway - "Gold Crown Midget Nationals"
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Carson Macedo, 4. Chad Boat, 5. Spencer Bayston, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Kyle Jones, 8 Jerry Coons, Jr., 9. Dave Darland, 10. Holly Shelton, 11. Jake Neuman, 12. Justin Peck, 13. Tyler Thomas, 14. Gage Walker, 15. Andy Malpocker, 16. Ryan Robinson, 17. Steve Buckwalter, 18. Johnny Murdock, 19. Brayton Lynch, 20. Tyler Roth, 21. Alex Bright, 22. Davey Ray, 23. Ryan Greth. NT
**Ray and Greth flipped on lap 2 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Boat, Laps 8-24 Bacon, Laps 25-30 Thorson.
NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-1005, 2-Thorson-987, 3-Boat-986, 4-Bacon-975, 5-Macedo-869, 6-Robinson-724, 7-Bryan Clauson-720, 8-Shellton-683, 9-Thomas-626, 10-Greth-516.
NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: October 7-8 - Granite City, IL - Tri-City Speedway - "Gold Crown Midget Nationals"
GOLD CROWN MIDGET NATIONALS BRINGS HEATED POINT RACE TO GRANITE CITY OCT. 6-7-8
A mere 30 points separate the top-four in a heated USAC National Midget Championship race that rides into Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois this weekend for three straight nights of the prestigious "Gold Crown Midget Nationals."
The three-night spectacular in Granite City features three complete points-paying events beginning with Thursday night, Oct. 6th's $3000-to win event, a $4000-to-win feature on Friday night, Oct. 7th before concluding with Saturday night's finale on Oct. 8th that pays $5000 to the winner.
With only five races remaining on USAC's National Midget calendar, this weekend's tripleheader slate will prove crucial toward determining this year's newest series champion.
Leading the way with a 22-point advantage is Spencer Bayston. The 18-year-old looks to join Jeff Gordon in 1989 and 1990 as just the second driver to win the USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year award and the series title in consecutive years. Only four teenagers have ever won the USAC National Midget title: Gordon in 1990, Bobby East in 2004, Cole Whitt in 2008 and Christopher Bell in 2013.
With his lone victory coming in Gas City's "Indiana Midget Week" round in June, Bayston remains in the driver's seat for the title ahead of Phoenix, Arizona's Chad Boat. The 2008 series "Rookie of the Year" returned to the series this year with a bang, winning at Nebraska's Jefferson County Speedway in August before following it up by sweeping both nights of this year's "Belleville Midget Nationals." Boat lies just 22 points behind Bayston and five ahead of third-place Brady Bacon out of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Bacon currently holds a commanding lead in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car standings, but he's hungry for more, sitting third in the USAC National Midget points, just 27 out of the lead behind Bayston.
Bacon aims to join the ranks of Rich Vogler, Tony Stewart and J.J. Yeley as the only drivers to win the USAC National Sprint and Midget titles in the same season. Though Bacon is still searching for his first USAC National Midget victory since the 2012 "Hut 100" in Haubstadt, Indiana, the veteran driver's seven top-five finishes have kept him in the hunt throughout the season.
Along with Boat, Minden, Nevada's Tanner Thorson is this season's winningest driver in USAC National Midget competition with three victories. Despite occasional bouts of inconsistency during the season, Thorson's wins at Putnamville, West Memphis and Lanco have put him right in the thick of the title hunt. Just 30 out of the lead, Thorson's Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team will be aiming for their fourth consecutive "Gold Crown" victory. Kyle Larson won in 2012, Christopher Bell in 2013 and, after a rainout in 2014, Thorson was able to return the team to victory in 2015.
In fact, Thorson swept both nights of last year's "Gold Crown" including a spectacular showing in Saturday night's 40-lap finale after going from first to worst and back to first after tagging the turn two wall and banging the turn three cushion, forcing him to pit to change a flat right rear tire just after the halfway point. He then proceeded to restart from the tail, working his way back through the field, passing Zach Daum heading to the white flag and drove away to capture the 2015 "Gold Crown Midget Nationals" in spectacular fashion!
All three nights at Granite City, the pit area opens at 3pm with spectator gates opening at 5:30 and racing getting underway at 7.
General admission tickets are $20 on Thursday, $25 on Friday and $28 for the finale on Saturday. Kids 12 and under are FREE all three nights while pit passes are $35.
MOWA Sprint Cars will also be on the card on Friday and Saturday night.
Granite City's Saturday night feature is round six of seven of the 2016 Jonathan Byrd's "Indy Challenge." Rico Abreu has won twice (Kokomo and Eldora), Chad Boat twice (both at Belleville) and Michael Faccinto (Calistoga). The final race of the "Indy Challenge" will take place Thanksgiving night, Thursday, November 24.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: October 1, 2016 - Lawrenceburg, Indiana - Lawrenceburg Speedway - "Fall Nationals"
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Josh Hodges, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Dave Darland, 4. Kyle Cummins, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Tyler Courtney, 7. Jon Stanbrough, 8. Stevie Sussex, 9. Brady Bacon, 10. Jarett Andretti, 11. Chase Stockon, 12. Kevin Thomas Jr., 13. Carson Short, 14. Bret Mellenberndt, 15. Nick Bilbee, 16. A.J. Hopkins, 17. C.J. Leary, 18. Chad Boespflug, 19. Isaac Chapple, 20. Aaron Farney, 21. Joss Moffatt, 22. Landon Simon, 23. Drew Abel. 7:21.09 (NTR)
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-17 Darland, Laps 18-30 Hodges.
NEW AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-2,268, 2-Stockon-2,023, 3-Darland-1,929, 4-Robert Ballou-1,919, 5-Thomas Meseraull-1,910, 6-Boespflug-1,809, 7-Leary-1,807, 8-Windom-1,780, 9-Max McGhee-1,264, 10-Farney-1,233.
NEXT AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: October 15 - Terre Haute (IN) Action Track - "Jim Hurtubise Classic"
SHELTON EQUALS USAC RECORD WITH 5TH PLACE RUN AT ELDORA
USAC National Midget driver Holly Shelton continues to impress during her rookie campaign in the series.
Just last Saturday at Rossburg, Ohio's Eldora Speedway, the 20-year-old Sacramento, California native recorded her first career top-five finish of the season. That accomplishment put her in exclusive company.
Shelton became just the third female driver to record a top-five finish in a dirt USAC National Midget feature event. She joins the late Jeri Rice and Sarah McCune as the only ones to accomplish the feat.
Tucson, Arizona's Rice recorded a 5th place finish at Eagle (Neb.) Raceway on Aug. 2, 1988 and Perrysburg, Ohio's Sarah McCune was a 5th place finisher at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois on June 4, 2003.
Shelton's result was the best finish - pavement or dirt - for a female in a USAC National Midget feature in three years when Taylor Ferns from Shelby Township, Michigan took 5th on the pavement at Fountain, Colorado's Pikes Peak International Raceway on June 29, 2013.
No female has ever won a USAC National Midget, National Sprint Car or Silver Crown feature. The best ever finish for a woman in a USAC National event was a 2nd, earned by McCune at a midget race at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway on Sept. 19, 1999.
Other top-fives earned by ladies throughout the history of USAC National Midget racing include Zionsville's Bev Griffis, who finished 3rd at Winchester on April 7, 1991, and Westfield, Indiana's Stephanie Mockler - the only female driver to score multiple top-fives in USAC National Midget competition - who took a 3rd at Indianapolis Raceway Park on May 27, 2006 and a 5th at Toledo (OH) Speedway on July 6, 2007.
Furthermore, Shelton currently stands 8th in the 2016 USAC National Midget points standings. Ferns, back in 2013, is the only female to finish in the top-10 of the National Midget points (9th). With only five races remaining in the season and holding a 51-point advantage over her nearest competitor, Shelton may very well add that to her rapidly growing résumé.
Hall of Fame Classic Time at CSP
Lonnie Wheatley, PEORIA, Ariz. (September 28, 2016) – It’s Hall of Fame Classic time at Canyon Speedway Park which means it’s also time for the lone USAC/CRA Sprint Car weekend of the year atop the 1/3-mile clay oval near Phoenix.
While the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars take center stage on Friday and Saturday at the 16th Annual Sands Chevrolet USAC Hall of Fame Classic, the IMCA Stock Cars, Micro Sprints, Mod Lites and Vintage Cars will be in action as well.
The weekend double will be preceded by an open practice session on Thursday night from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Racing action on Friday and Saturday gets under way at 7:00 p.m.
Vying for a fourth consecutive USAC/CRA crown, Concord, California native Damion Gardner leads the way into the weekend with a 104-point advantage over Visalia’s Richard Vander Weerd in the title chase.
Along with Gardner and Vander Weerd, other top USAC/CRA contenders include the likes of Jake Swanson, Brody Roa, Austin Williams and five-time series champion Mike Spencer. CSP aces such as R.J. Johnson, Charles Davis, Jr., and Mike Martin will be among those in action as well.
Gardner and Spencer split Hall of Fame Classic honors last year at CSP with Roa the only driver to land on the podium on both nights with finishes of second and third.
Jimmy Blanton, Grand Marshal for the event, will be among several Arizona racing legends scheduled to sign autographs as the Arizona Motorsports Hall of Fame inducts a handful of new members.
George Fronsman leads the Allscapes IMCA Stock Car vs. SCRA Stock Cars ranks into the weekend with last weekend’s triumph running his overall win total for the year at CSP to eleven triumphs.
Ryan Hennessey bested the Micro Sprints last weekend while John Priest has taken three of the last four Western Mod Lite wins at CSP.
Tickets for the 16th Annual Sands Chevrolet Hall of Fame Classic are just $20 on Friday and $25 on Saturday with children ages 7-12 just $10. VIP Suite passes are available for $30 on Friday and $35 on Saturday with All Access Passes for $35 on Friday and $40 on Saturday.
8 INDUCTEES ANNOUNCED FOR NATIONAL MIDGET HALL OF FAME; TOMMY HUNT, KEVIN TRIPLETT JOIN BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Five drivers, two car owners and a race organizer comprise the 2017 class of inductees for the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
Alphabetically they are: Steve Cannon, Sim Clark, Jay Drake, Billy Garrett, Johnny Mantz, Mitch Miller, Wes Saegesser and Gary Zarounian. They will be officially inducted during ceremonies in Tulsa, Okla. on January 14 during the week of the Chili Bowl Nationals Midget event.
Cannon, of Oakwood, Ill., was one of two brothers (Larry) who excelled in motorsports. Especially proficient on the small bullrings of the Midwest, Cannon racked up 21 USAC National Midget wins during his career. A licensed barber in Danville for 50 years, he also was a firefighter and was once named "Firefighter of the Year. He began racing modifieds in the early 1960s and in 1974 he won USAC's Indoor Midget title. He succumbed to Parkinsons Disease in 2015.
Clark, after a stint with ARDC on the East coast in the pre and post-war era, moved to California and excelled as a car owner. In 1951 he won the Indoor BCRA Midget car owner title with Ed Normi as the driver. Later, he fielded title winning cars for Tommy Copp indoors in 1959 and 1961, plus full titles for Dick Atkins in 1964, Bob DeJong in 1969 and Hank Butcher in 1971 and 1972. One of his early hot-shoes was also Billy Vukovich, Jr.
Drake, another transplanted Californian, had tremendous success not only in USAC's National Midget Series, where he scored 17 victories, but also in the Silver Crown cars (5 wins) and Sprint Cars (25 wins). USAC's 1990 and 1991 TQ Midget Champ and 1996 Western States Midget king, he went on to claim the 2004 USAC Sprint Car crown. Named the USAC National Midget Most Improved driver, he won the 2000 Hut Hundred and the 2001 Chili Bowl. He also competed in the Infinity Pro Series. In 2000 he was the USAC Indiana Sprint Week Champ
Garrett, born in Princeton, Ill. in 1933, won the 1954 and 1955 URA Midget Championship and graduated to Championship cars where he started the 1956 ad 1958 Indianapolis 500s He finished 16th in 1956 but encountered mechanical problems in 1958. He suffered critical injuries in the 1958 100-mile championship race at the Milwaukee Mile and never fully recovered. He passed away in 1999 in California.
Mantz, born in Hebron, Ind., earned reknown for his exploits in the National Championship and Stock Car series, although his expertise spanned several motorsports venues. A top-ranking URA Midget driver, he was second in the 1947 Blue (Offy) circuit and fourth in the Red (Non-Racing Engines) Circuit. He debuted in the Indianapolis 500 in 1948, then returned and finished seventh in the 1949 race. In 1956 he earned the inaugural championship of the very competitive USAC National Stock Car Series. In 1950 he became the first winner of the famous "Southern 500" NASCAR race at Darlington, S.C. He was fatally injured in a highway crash in 1972.
Miller, a Colorado motorsports icon, is credited with having founded the prestigious "Belleville Midget Nationals" in 1978, a race which continues to this day. He has long been associated with the sport, was heavily involved with the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association (RMMS) and organized the Southwest Independent Midget Series (SWIMS) and the AIMS. Between 1966 and 1984 he served as a seven-time President of RMMRA as well as Competition Director and Business Manager. He is a member of the Colorado and Belleville High Banks Motorsports Halls of Fame.
Saegesser, who eventually took a post as the AAA Southwest Zone Supervisor in the 1940s, retired from driving in 1950 after a long and distinguished Midget racing career that included more than a hundred feature victories. He scored wins in 11 states and Canada and his first win came at Kansas City in 1937. He was the 1937 Southwest and Tulsa Midget Champion, then won the 1942 Texas/Oklahoma title and was the Houston Speed Bowl king in 1942. All this while competing with a shortened left arm which sported no hand!
Zarounian, whose family built car dealerships in central California, immersed himself in not only auto racing but also in numerous business ventures and in 1976 he competed in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nev. The Zarounian team hired the best drivers in the business and their success was immense. In addition to eight USAC Silver Crown victories and 11 in the USAC National Midget wars, they fielded cars for drivers like Sleepy Tripp, who racked up two National and seven Western States titles. During the 1980s and 1990s the Tripp-Zarounian Western team was nearly unbeatable. In 1990 Jeff Gordon also posted a victory at Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif. driving a Zarounian Midget. George passed away in 2014 at the age of 93.
WINDOM IS SILVER CROWN CHAMP WITH 4-CROWN VICTORY AT ELDORA
Rich Forman Photo
Rossburg, Ohio.........Chris Windom left no doubt that he came to Eldora Speedway Saturday night in championship mode.
The Canton, Illinois driver arrived at Eldora's "4-Crown Nationals" with a ten-point deficit to two-time and defending USAC Silver Crown champion Kody Swanson.
By the time Windom pulled into victory lane after a dominating, soul-crushing performance on the half-mile dirt oval, he was the USAC Silver Crown division's newest champion.
Earlier in the night, it appeared that Windom's fortunes would not play in his favor after teammate Tyler Courtney knocked him off the pole with a great qualifying run late in the session, thus denying Windom the three bonus points that go along with being ProSource Fast Qualifier in the Silver Crown Series.
Despite that, Windom still had a seat on the outside of the front row for the series' season finale with Courtney on the inside of the front row. Swanson started fourth.
The objective for Swanson was clear: finish 3rd or better and the Silver Crown title was his. And that's where Swanson intended to get to as soon as possible.
At the drop of the green flag, a four-car scramble for the lead ensued with Jeff Swindell ducking underneath polesitter Courtney while Swanson split between the cars of Courtney and Windom as he shot into turn one. Windom utilized the high side and the momentum to zip to the point off turn two on the opening lap with Swanson occupying second.
By lap ten, Windom had already built up a half-lap advantage and had already begun to enter heavy lapped traffic. Windom continued to put the hurt on the field, but, unfortunately for him, there are no style points for the margin of lead a driver has. Though Swanson was on the opposite side of the track as Windom, as long as Swanson maintained that position in the top-three, he would retain the point lead.
However, on lap 15, disaster dashed Swanson's championship dream.
As Swanson ducked low into turn one, he came upon the lapped car of Dakota Jackson. The two made contact, causing both Swanson and Jackson to spin to a stop.
Swanson would return to the work area in the pits where the DePalma Motorsports crew assessed the extent of the damage. The front bumper was broken off and the steering was seriously hindered with the front wheels not angled in their intended direction.
Yet, Swanson and his crew refused to throw in the towel and sent him back out onto the racetrack where he would restart eighth on the lap 15 restart. But, as soon he entered turn one, Swanson promptly looped it on his own to bring out another yellow.
On the ensuing restart, Windom was gone, where he'd eventually build an insurmountable 16.9 second lead around the half-mile as he set a torrid pace in which he lapped all the way up to third-place!
Just as Windom was setting up to put a lap on his teammate Courtney, who was running third, with 14 laps to go, Davey Ray completed a 360 spin at the bottom of turn four to bring out the night's final caution.
Meanwhile, Swanson had amazingly carried his car to the end of the 50-lap race in which he had actually worked his way up to fifth in the final laps. If a couple of cars in front of him in the running order encountered trouble of some sort, causing them to drop out, Swanson would be right back in championship contention.
However, none of these scenarios would play out as Windom continued to absolutely hammer the field in his RPM-Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise/Maxim/Wallace on his way to his third Silver Crown victory of the season over Justin Grant, Tyler Courtney, Brady Bacon and Kody Swanson.
"I'm at a loss for words," a thrilled Windom said. "I knew it was going to be a big feat coming in. It was tough to see Kody (Swanson) go out with hardships ike that early in the race. We fought all year and we've earned every bit of this championship. From Rob Hart at the start of the year to bringing on Evan Avart, he's been spot on for me. This car drove itself around here. It was amazing! (The car) was perfect. It couldn't have been any better. I got to thank Fred and Gloria (Gormly). I'm so happy to get them a championship. We're going to celebrate now!"
With the points accumulated by a trio of victories at Pennsylvania's Williams Grove Speedway, the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois and Eldora as well as a top-five finish in all nine series races this season, Windom defeated Swanson in the final Silver Crown standings by a mere five points, making it one of the closest point races in the history of the United States Auto Club.
It's the first time since 1992 that an Eldora Silver Crown season finale featured a points change at the top. Furthermore, Windom's victory marked the 12th time in the 46-year history of the series that the winner of the season finale race was also the season champion.
USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 24, 2016 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 35th "4-Crown Nationals"
FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Tyler Courtney, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Kody Swanson, 6. Jeff Swindell, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Jerry Coons Jr., 9. Shane Cottle, 10. Bill Rose, 11. Chris Fetter, 12. Steve Buckwalter, 13. Joe Liguori, 14. Dakota Jackson, 15. Austin Nemire, 16. David Byrne, 17. Davey Ray, 18. Mitch Wissmiller, 19. Billy Puterbaugh Jr., 20. Dave Berkheimer, 21. Aaron Pierce, 22. C.J. Leary. NT
**Tyler flipped during qualifying.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-50 Windom.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS/MARTENS MACHINE SHOP/LARRY RICE HIGH PERFORMANCE HARD CHARGER AWARD: Shane Cottle (21st to 9th)
FINAL USAC SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Windom-588, 2-Swanson-583, 3-Grant-474, 4-Coons-465, 5-Byrne-400, 6-Cottle-381, 7-Shuman-376, 8-Nemire-342, 9-Liguori-318, 10-Bacon-268.
GRATEFUL GRANT GETS THE SPRINT WIN AT ELDORA'S "4-CROWN NATIONALS"
Rich Forman Photos
Rossburg, Ohio.........Eldora Speedway has provided the highest of highs and lowest of lows to Justin Grant over the last couple of seasons.
Just a little over four months after his most recent visit to Eldora Speedway, Grant, a 2015 Eldora USAC Sprint Car winner, found himself without a full-time sprint car ride.
Throughout the summer the Ione, California driver bounced around between a handful of different teams searching for consistent success, but since joining forces with the Sam McGhee Motorsports team in mid-August, the pair have jelled to become a force night-in, night-out.
Saturday night at Eldora, it all finally came together for the team and the driver as they both recorded their biggest wins to date in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car portion of the 35th running of the "4-Crown Nationals."
On the opening lap, outside front row starter Matt Westfall held off a Thomas Meseraull slider in the first turn to secure the lead early on. Instantly, Grant followed Westfall on the outside to fall in line in the second spot.
Westfall, an Eldora USAC Sprint Car winner back in 2006, looked solid in the early going, leading the first third of the feature. But Grant was on a mission that saw him dive to the bottom of turn three on lap 11, sliding up in front of Westfall to claim the lead as Westfall began to fade.
Eighth starting Chris Windom began to ascend by the midway point of the 30-lapper as he reeled in Grant just before a lap 13 caution fell for the stopped car of Scotty Weir, who was caught up in a back straightaway kerfuffle that involved a few cars, with Weir being the unluckiest one of the bunch.
The yellow placed Windom on the tail of Grant for the lap 13 restart, providing a prime opportunity for Windom to challenge Grant.
Windom hurried to the bottom for a slide job on Grant, momentarily nosing ahead between turns one and two, but with little room to spare with Windom underneath him and the concrete wall to his outside, but Grant kept his foot on the gas to escape through the narrow alley left open to reclaim the lead.
Grant would extend his lead to a full second over Windom, and by the time he would reach lapped traffic with ten to go, Grant would gladly accept all the extra breathing room he could get.
The two continued to engage in a high-speed, high-wire act through the back of the field as they came upon the car of Jerry Coons, Jr. with five laps to go. Grant had to briefly step out of the throttle, allowing Windom to pull alongside the inside of Grant momentarily, but was unable to rip the lead away from Grant.
Windom remained within striking distance of Grant in the final circuits as Grant threaded the needle, going for the jugular as he squeezed his way between the lapped cars of Bret Mellenberndt and Jarett Andretti at the entrance of turn one.
Grant manufactured a little bit of space between himself and Windom that might've made all the difference. And Grant certainly knows all too well how quickly things can happen at Eldora for better or worse, having stolen a victory from C.J. Leary's grasp at Eldora during the 2015 "Mother of All Sprint Car Weekends."
On the final corner of the final lap, Windom was close, but not close enough for any last lap heroics on this night, as Grant hung on to win his fourth career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature and the first ever for the Sam McGhee Motorsports Team over Windom, Brady Bacon, Dave Darland and Tyler Courtney.
"I don't know what it was like behind me, but it was exciting looking out of the front of the 17 car," the exuberant Grant said in victory lane. "The holes in one and two were a handful. It seemed like it was fastest just to run right through them. (Turns) three and four were real tricky. I had to be careful not to get into the fence down there. When you get in lapped traffic, you're just kind of on a hope and a prayer."
"I can't thank the McGhee family enough," Grant continued. "Sam McGhee does an amazing job with this racecar. He's 16 years old. He does all the work on this thing, sets it up and calls all the shots; he's incredible! This race has always been one of the big ones to me, if not the biggest one. I've won at Eldora before, but the "4-Crown" is a whole other level of special."
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 24, 2016 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 35th "4-Crown Nationals"
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Dallas Hewitt, 7. Chase Stockon, 8. Matt Westfall, 9. Josh Hodges, 10. Nick Bilbee, 11. Brandon Whited, 12. Kevin Thomas Jr., 13. Bret Mellenberndt, 14. Jarett Andretti, 15. Isaac Chapple, 16. Thomas Meseraull, 17. Jerry Coons Jr., 18. Matt Goodnight, 19. Carson Short, 20. Aaron Farney, 21. Chad Boespflug, 22. Kody Swanson, 23. Scotty Weir, 24. Landon Simon, 25. C.J. Leary. NT
**Courtney flipped during the fourth heat. DiMattia flipped during the semi.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-10 Westfall, Laps 11-30 Grant.
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-2,214, 2-Stockon-1,979, 3-Robert Ballou-1,919, 4-Meseraull-1,910, 5-Darland-1,855, 6-Boespflug & Leary-1,774, 8-Windom-1,708, 9-Max McGhee-1,264, 10-Farney-1,209.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: October 1 - Lawrenceburg (IN) Speedway -"Fall Nationals"
RICO ROMPS IN ELDORA 4-CROWN MIDGET ROUT
Rich Forman Photos
Rossburg, Ohio.........Rico Abreu arrived at Eldora Speedway Saturday evening via an airplane ride alongside Tony Stewart after competing in the afternoon's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in New Hampshire.
As soon as the St. Helena, California driver hit the western Ohio half-mile for the first time on Saturday, it almost seemed as if Abreu was still on-board a jet as he piloted his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports entry to a complete sweep of the night's USAC National Midget events, recording ProSource Fast Qualifying time, then following that up with a new 8-lap track record run on his way to a heat race victory before slashing his way to third from his sixth starting position by the end of the first lap of the feature.
Abreu rocketed around the outside of teammate Tanner Thorson in turn two on the second lap, and then quickly ran down leader Chad Boat by the time the two got to turn three.
Abreu instantly shot down to the bottom of turn three for a classic Eldora slide job right up in front of Boat to take the top spot as Boat countered underneath Abreu and drag raced to the line with Abreu beating Boat back to the stripe by a wheel.
Boat, who won both nights at the "Belleville Midget Nationals," one month ago, made one more attempt on Abreu into turn one on the third lap, but came up short as Abreu shot out of a cannon off the turn two cushion to instantly leave Boat in his afterthoughts.
By the tenth lap, Abreu had established a full-straightaway lead that continued to grow as he sliced, diced and pureed his way through the backmarkers while the lap counter on the scoreboard ticked away, but with just four laps remaining, Abreu's lead would be wiped away as Tyler Courtney slowed with a broken U-Joint.
On the lap 22 restart, it was no contest as Abreu pulled away without missing a beat, but the battle for second waged between Boat, Thorson and Brady Bacon became the race to watch as Thorson slid by Boat for second entering turn one. Bacon slipped past Boat as well for third and made a mad-dash toward Thorson for second in turn one a lap later that came up short.
Yet, in the distance was Abreu who finished off one of the most impressive drives in "4-Crown" midget history as he lapped up to sixth place on his way to his second career USAC Midget victory at Eldora (2013).
"Keith Kunz gives me phenomenal racecars every time I come and race with him. I'm very fortunate I get to race with him," Abreu praised. "It's special every time I get to stand up here (at Eldora). I've come close a lot this year and last year, but just never was able to get a win, but we've had solid finishes here."
Minden, Nevada's Tanner Thorson took second as he edged his way into the thick of a tightened USAC National Midget point race where he now sits just 30 points out of the lead behind Spencer Bayston who dropped out on the sixth lap of Saturday night's feature and finishing in the 22nd position.
Brady Bacon, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, finished third in. With five races remaining, Bacon finds himself 27 points out of the lead in the series standings and just five behind Boat.
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS: September 24, 2016 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 35th "4-Crown Nationals"
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Rico Abreu, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Chad Boat, 5. Holly Shelton, 6. Davey Ray, 7. Carson Macedo, 8. Ryan Robinson, 9. Jerry Coons Jr., 10. Dave Darland, 11. Andrew Felker, 12. Justin Grant, 13. Jake Neuman, 14. Isaac Chapple, 15. Jake Blackhurst, 16. Bear Wood, 17. Robert Bell, 18. Tyler Courtney, 19. Eric Hein, 20. Gary Gipson, 21. Ryan Greth, 22. Spencer Bayston, 23. Steve Buckwalter. NT
**DiMattia and Macedo flipped during qualifying.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Boat, Laps 2-25 Abreu.
NEW USAC NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bayyston-947, 2-Boat-925, 3-Bacon-920, 4-Thorson-917, 5-Macedo-805, 6-Bryan Clauson-720, 7-Robinson-693, 8-Shellton-640, 9-Tyler Thomas-589, 10-Greth-493.
NEXT USAC NATIONAL MIDGET RACES: October 6-7-8 - Granite City, IL - Tri-City Speedway - "Gold Crown Midget Nationals"
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 24, 2016 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – “9th Annual Glenn Howard Classic”
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Austin Williams, 2. Richard Vander Weerd, 3. R.J. Johnson, 4. Brody Roa, 5. Damion Gardner, 6. Ronnie Gardner, 7. Jake Swanson, 8. Logan Wiliams, 9. Trey Marcham, 10. Tommy Malcolm, 11. Austin Liggett, 12. Danny Faria Jr., 13. Jace Vander Weerd, 14. Matt Mitchell, 15. Mike Spencer, 16. Chris Gansen, 17. Corey Ballard, 18. Verne Sweeney, 19. Anthony Lopiccolo, 20. Max Adams, 21. Matt Stewart, 22. Cody Williams. NT
**Ellertson flipped on lap 7 of the semi..
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 R.Vander Weerd, Laps 6-30 A.Williams.
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-D.Gardner-1,080, 2-R.Vander Weerd-976, 3-Swanson-958, 4-Roa-915, 5-A.Williams-883, 6-Spencer-758, 7-Adams-688, 8-J.Vander Weerd-602, 9-L.Williams-595, 10-Ellertson & C.Williams-552.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: September 30 - Peoria, AZ - Canyon Speedway Park - 16th Annual Sands Chevrolet USAC "Hall of Fame Classic"
THE ROOTS OF ELDORA'S 4-CROWN NATIONALS DATE BACK TO AN IDEA AND A CAR RIDE
RICHIE MURRAY - USAC MEDIA
Eldora Speedway has been a stronghold of USAC racing for 55 of the series' 61 years, but in 1981, the half-mile high-banked oval crafted by Earl Baltes in western Ohio became the host of a new tradition that gave life to what instantly became one of USAC's most prestigious events, the "4-Crown Nationals."
Thirty-five years have now passed since that fall October day at Eldora in 1981. Playing to an audience that included a new, fledgling start-up cable television network named ESPN, the channel provided coverage that day with Bob Jenkins and Larry Nuber on the microphone.
That day, a young Steve Kinser provided the theatrics by winning a pair of features in a masterful display of driving. Playing the fill-in role for the injured Rich Vogler in a pair of Johnny Vance-owned Aristocrat Products cars, the 27-year-old Kinser first raced to victory in the USAC Sprint Car feature, then followed that up with a spectacular performance in the USAC Silver Crown feature.
Starting in the 18th spot in a car originally qualified by Joe Saldana, Kinser carved his way through the field from his position in the next to last row, taking the lead on lap 31 from eventual second-place finisher Larry Rice to score the 50-lap victory.
Ken Schrader won the very first feature held that day, a 20-lap USAC Midget race, while Joe Wallace grabbed the 40-lap USAC Stock Car event.
But the story of the "4-Crown Nationals" didn't simply start with the racing; it started with an idea. An idea that seemed obvious at first, but had never been put into place.
It was an idea, a brainchild of USAC Officer and Board of Director member Johnny Vance, who envisioned an event that would bring each of USAC's four national divisions together on one weekend for a single event.
In 1980, Vance brought the idea to Eldora owner Earl Baltes' attention, who liked the idea, but was hesitant to become involved initially.
"I went up to Earl and suggested it and he thought it was pretty good idea, so we decided to give it a shot and see how it would go," Vance recalled.
Vance refused to let the idea fade away into a memory; he put his words into action and, thus, leased the track for a weekend in mid-October 1981 for the event's debut.
With just a single month remaining before the event, there was still one big issue to be resolved. This big blockbuster event was still without a name!
"About a month before the inaugural race, Johnny (Vance) and I were riding down to Paragon Speedway for a USAC Sprint Car race," USAC Director of Communications Dick Jordan said. "Johnny hadn't come up with a name for the event yet and wanted to discuss some possibilities. We were kicking ideas around a little bit I came up with '4-crown.' I envisioned four guys standing on the victory lane stage with crowns on their heads. He liked it and that's what we decided to do."
Not only was the first "4-Crown" a rousing success, Vance's Sprint and Silver Crown cars were victorious as well. But it was the support from fans and teams that gave credence to continuing the event the next year in 1982.
"It went really well the first year," Vance said. "So we did it again the next year and each year thereafter, it just got a little bigger and better."
Vance would stay involved as the promoter of the event through 1982 before Baltes and Eldora Speedway assumed full control. It's a legacy that continues to this day, 35 years later.
"The '4-Crown' is a signature event for racefans in the Midwest," Jordan explained. "The significance of winning one of the crowns, let alone all four as Jack Hewitt did, gives drivers an ultimate career target, one which will solidify their legacy with race fans for all time."
The "4-Crown" has provided the stage for some of the greatest accomplishments in auto racing history, including Hewitt's 1998 sweep as well as Kyle Larson's trifecta in 2011 when he won all three of USAC's national races that day.
Down through the years, the "4-Crown" has had a variety of series occupy the fourth and final crown beginning with the defunct USAC Stock Car division from 1981-1983, USAC-sanctioned late models from 1985-1995 and then the UMP Modifieds from 1996-2007.
The "4-Crown" became all open wheel with the World of Outlaws joining in 2008 and now the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions join the fray for this Saturday night's 35th running.
Sixty-two different feature winners and a plethora of memorable moments later, the "4-Crown Nationals" have become a staple of the auto racing calendar over these past three and a half decades. The next edition promises to bring new memories with the continuation of a tradition that has long since become a fan favorite, which all started with a simple idea - an idea to bring four top-line classes of racecars to a world-class dirt track for a single weekend - something that racefans can be assured of witnessing this Saturday night.
Spectator gates for Saturday's "4-Crown Nationals" open at noon, while hot laps are set to begin at 4:30pm with qualifications and racing to immediately follow.
BACON AND COURTNEY READY FOR QUADRUPLE DUTY SATURDAY NIGHT AT ELDORA'S "4-CROWN NATIONALS"
BY: RICHIE MURRAY - USAC MEDIA
Two drivers have each thrown their hat into the ring and will put themselves to the mental and physical test involved with running all four legs of this Saturday's 35th running of the "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon and Indianapolis, Indiana's Tyler Courtney have both secured rides in the USAC Silver Crown, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car, USAC National Midget and Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions for Saturday's spectacular.
Bacon will be behind the wheel of four machines that he is quite familiar with: the Paul Martens No. 48 Silver Crown car, the Hoffman Auto Racing/Dynamics No. 69 AMSOIL Sprint Car, the FMR Racing No. 76m Midget and his own No. 99 Wing Sprint Car in the All Star portion of the program.
In addition to his duties piloting the four machines on Saturday, Bacon is involved in two different USAC National points races. He has a commanding 219-point lead in the AMSOIL National Sprint Car standings and also sits third in National Midget points, just 66 markers out of the lead.
Courtney, on the other hand, has dabbled in several different series this season with the TOPP Motorsports No. 23c sprint car that he will wheel in both the USAC Sprint and All Star divisions. But this Saturday night, he will make his return to the Silver Crown and National Midget series with his debut in the RPM/Fred Gormly No. 99 champ car and the Kenny Irwin, Sr. No. 7K - a car in which made a handful of starts in during the 2015 season.
Bacon, who owns a victory in the USAC Sprint Car feature at the "4-Crown" in 2014, has run three classes in one night during the two previous years of the "4-Crown," but 2016 will mark the first time he will do quadruple duty in one night, which he notes is actually more mentally taxing than it is physical.
"Mental fatigue and trying to think about all of the different cars and circumstances you are in is the most tiring part," Bacon said. "Physical fatigue isn't as big of an issue at Eldora as the mental aspect."
Courtney, who will attempt "the quadruple" for the first time on Saturday, anticipates that he won't have a problem with fatigue because, after all, it's Eldora Speedway.
"I've never done all four classes before, so I'm not sure if the fatigue is going to play a factor," Courtney wondered. "If I had to guess, though, your adrenaline is going to be pumping all night. It's Eldora! If that place doesn't pump your adrenaline, then I don't know what will."
All four cars running Saturday night are similar, yet have their own unique characteristics. Courtney notes that the advice he's received from friend and current NASCAR star Kyle Larson tells him that more track time you get, the more it helps you throughout the night.
"From talking to Kyle Larson a few times, he says the more cars you run there, it doesn't necessarily get easier throughout the night, but it does help you the more laps you run just figuring out the track and how to get around it."
Bacon, on the other hand, says that things begin to slow down for you after stepping foot in a sprint car at "The Big E."
"Running the wing and non-wing sprint car helps a lot with the other classes and slows things down for you because the sprint cars are so much faster at Eldora than the other divisions," Bacon explained.
Bacon, the 2014 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National champion, relishes the opportunity to be in such good equipment night-in, night-out that has propelled him to become the only driver to occupy a spot in the top-12 in all three USAC National standings.
"I am extremely excited about having great car owners and equipment to have a legitimate shot at every division," Bacon beamed. "I think the hardest part is having cars capable of winning in every class. It would be a huge accomplishment to put my name on the same list as Jack Hewitt winning all four or even Kyle Larson by winning three."
Courtney has been an outlaw racer this year behind the wheel of a sprint car, running non-wing and wing races whenever and wherever he can without a single thought of points racing running through his mind.
"I think it does give me a slight advantage racing a little bit of everything this year," Courtney believes. "Seat time in anything is always beneficial; I think the best example of that was Bryan Clauson. Bryan was always one of the best, but this year, he got to race over 100 times and really got to fine tune his craft and it truly showed. He kicked our butts even worse than before! I believe racing a little bit of everything this year has helped me get prepared for this weekend and I think myself and the teams I'm running for are ready to go."
Courtney explains that you can't tiptoe around Eldora and be fast. Who's willing to put their right rear right up against the wall and stand on the gas will determine if you're going to be running at the front or the back when the checkered flag falls on the night.
"Throughout the night, the biggest difference you notice is just the speed difference between all the cars," Courtney noted. "At the end of the day, it's Eldora and, if you aren't up on the fence in every car that you're in, you're not going to be fast! You're basically doing the same thing in every car, just at different speeds."
With the return of "4-Crowns" to a single night for the first time since 2007, along comes a bonus that carries a large sum of money if Bacon or Courtney are able to persevere and match Jack Hewitt's four wins or Kyle Larson's three victories.
Scoring four wins in each of the four features Saturday night will net a driver a $100,000 bonus. A driver who grabs three out of four checkered flags will still receive a nice $25,000 bonus to go along with their winnings.
Believe it or not, in 15 of the 34 editions of the "4-Crown," one driver has won multiple features. Only two drivers have won multiple features in a single night more than once. Dave Darland did it in 1999 and 2004 while the incomparable Jack Hewitt accomplished the feat on four occasions (1991, 1996, 1997 and the unforgettable night in 1998 when he became the first and only driver to sweep all four divisions.)
Kyle Larson was the last to sweep all three USAC divisions in one night during his first ever visit to the Eldora high banks back in 2011.
Other drivers to have won at least two of the four crowns in a single night include Steve Kinser (1981), Larry Rice (1985), Rich Vogler (1986), Tony Stewart (1995), J.J. Yeley (2001), Dave Darland (2004), Tracy Hines (2006), Chris Windom (2013) and Christopher Bell (2015).
Spectator gates for Saturday's "4-Crown Nationals" open at noon, while hot laps are set to begin at 4:30pm with qualifications and racing to immediately follow.
SWANSON AND WINDOM PREPARE TO DUEL FOR SILVER CROWN TITLE SATURDAY AT ELDORA
In the 46-year history of the USAC Silver Crown Championship, only six times has the race for the series title been separated by ten points or less heading into the final event of the season.
That scenario is the story that headlines this Saturday night's 35th running of the "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
On the strength of a season-high three wins this season, Kingsburg, California's Swanson leads Canton, Illinois driver Chris Windom in the Silver Crown Championship standings heading into the final race. Yet, Windom sits only ten points behind Swanson by virtue of no finishes outside of the top-five in 2016.
Swanson is on the verge of becoming the Silver Crown series' first driver to win three consecutive championships. In 2014, the points race went right down to the wire at the final race in Syracuse, New York, with Swanson holding on to take his first title.
One year later in 2015, it was a completely different story as Swanson had already clinched the title before his DePalma Motorsports team had even rolled the No. 63 out of the hauler at the last race.
This time around, it's another tight title battle for Swanson who's seen the points race play in his favor from multiple angles based on his past experience.
"Our first championship in 2014 was very nerve-wracking because of how close it was," Swanson admitted. "Since it worked out, it was a great feeling to have won it and to finally have that relief. On the other hand, 2015 was fun going into (the final race at) Syracuse because we finally got a chance to race without having to consider any championship effects; we just got to race to win."
"It is definitely a tough race mentally," Swanson continued. "Knowing that the points are so close, and that it's the finale, it means there are no more second chances. Throughout the race, you never feel safe, no matter where you're running, you hear every noise, feel every vibration and you're just nervous about the finish until it's finally over."
Conversely, Windom is seeking his first USAC National Championship and feels that being the "chaser" at the finale gives him a "nothing to lose" mentality.
"In this position, I'm the one chasing and Kody is being chased," Windom explained. "So, I think you just have to go for it and race to win like you would any other night. There may always come a time, especially late in the race, where you may take a risk or a chance you normally wouldn't if it means a championship."
Bobby Olivero (1979), Dave Darland (1995 & 2000), Bud Kaeding (2010) and Bobby East (2012 & 2013) are among the drivers who've entered the season finale hanging by a thread with a less than ten-point lead. Three of those drivers were able to retain their lead and hang on for the title; three did not (Darland twice and Kaeding).
The odds are not impossible for Windom to overcome the ten-point deficit Saturday night. There's been nine occasions when the point lead changed hand in the final event, but none since 2010 when Levi Jones overtook Kaeding in the finale at Toledo Speedway by a single position!
Others include Al Unser over both Mario Andretti and Tom Bigelow in 1973, Billy Cassella over Johnny Parsons in 1976, Mike Bliss over Ron Shuman in 1993, Tony Stewart over both Darland and Jack Hewitt in 1995, Jimmy Sills over Kenny Irwin, Jr. in 1996, Jason Leffler over Brian Tyler in 1998 and Tracy Hines over Darland in 2000.
The last season finale held at Eldora that involved a lead change at the top of the standings came back in 1992 when Steve Butler erased an 18-point deficit behind Jeff Swindell to take the championship.
"It would be a major accomplishment for me," Windom said. "I've been so close in both the Sprint Car and Silver Crown series. I also know how much it would mean to my team owners Fred and Gloria (Gormly). I've been working hard toward this the last few years and I believe we have a great combination with Evan (Avart) and the RPM Motorsports team to come in and steal this championship."
Saturday's fifty-lap race on the half-mile differs from all others on the schedule based on its distance - 25 miles. The majority of Silver Crown races are determined by who best manages the balance between conservation and aggression. The shorter race eliminates those elements, which makes it a different ballgame for the competitors.
"I feel like it is more like a sprint car race," Swanson said. "The physical length of the race being shorter changes things. You don't have to worry about saving equipment as much, but you don't have time to let passes go and just plan on getting them back later. Since we don't run a full load of fuel, the car handling doesn't change as much either, so you lose that element too."
"Eldora does seem to go by quicker than any other Crown race," Windom acknowledged. "Typically, tire wear isn't an issue, so it allows you to go all out more like a sprint car race. I personally enjoy being able to attack a Crown car for the full 50 laps."
Swanson and Windom will have to compete against a hungry field of drivers who make up Saturday's 26-car Silver Crown entry list for Eldora.
Spectator Gates open at noon, while hot laps are set to begin at 4:30pm with qualifications and racing to immediately follow.
Saturday night's card at Eldora also features the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, the USAC Midget National Championship and the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.
USAC/CRA SPRINT CARS RETURN TO PERRIS FOR “GLENN HOWARD CLASSIC”
By Lance Jennings
SEPTEMBER 20, 2016... This Saturday, September 24th, the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will return to action at Perris Auto Speedway. Promoted by Don Kazarian, “9th Annual Glenn Howard Classic" will also showcase the PAS Senior Sprints and the PAS Young Gun Sprints. The spectator gates will open at 5:00pm and racing at "America's Premier Dirt Track" will start at 7:00pm. For more event information, visit the track’s website at www.perrisautospeedway.com or call 951.940.0134.
NOTICE TO USAC/CRA COMPETITORS: The Hoosier 105/16 Medium is the ONLY legal right rear tire and all four corners must be Hoosier tires. The Hoosier 105/16 Medium is also the current legal tire with the USAC West Coast, USAC SouthWest, and VRA Sprint Cars. Cars must pass a tech inspection and one-way radios are mandatory for drivers. USAC/CRA charges a $25 entry fee to all competitors and the series rule book can be found online at www.usacracing.com.
Saturday's event honors Glenn Howard who is considered by many in the industry as a "racer's racer." Throughout his involvement in racing, Glenn had served as a crew member, driver, car owner, sponsor, official, and business man. Howard's So-Cal Performance was recognized as a major parts supplier to racers across the globe for many years. In 1993, Glenn became the first president of the Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) and helped to build the foundation of the nationally respected club. After his term was over, Howard remained active in motorsports until his passing in September 2007. Kazarian, Perris Auto Speedway, and the Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series are proud to honor Glenn's memory with the annual event and the winner’s list is at the end of the release.
Since March 6, 2004, the Lake Perris Fairgrounds has held 188 USAC/CRA Sprint Car events. “The Demon” Damion Gardner leads all drivers with 37 victories and Nic Faas set the 1-lap qualifying record of 15.833 on February 25, 2012. To date, there have been seven previous “home track” shows and seven different drivers have taken the checkered flags. Indiana’s Bryan Clauson, New Mexico’s Josh Hodges, and California’s Austin Williams, Richard Vander Weerd, “Showtime” Danny Sheridan, Matt Mitchell, and “The Demon” Damion Gardner have stood atop the podium. A complete series win list at Perris Auto Speedway is at the end of this release.
After earning his second “California Sprint Week” crown, “The Demon” Damion Gardner (Concord, California) leads the standings with a 106-point advantage. Racing Mark Alexander’s #4 Scott Sales Company / Weld Racing Spike, Gardner enters the sixteenth point race with three feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, nine heat race victories, one Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Semi-Main win, twelve top-10 finishes, and 86 feature laps led. “The Demon” leads all USAC/CRA drivers with 68 victories and will be looking for his third consecutive Howard Classic win.
Richard Vander Weerd (Visalia, California) ranks second in the USAC/CRA point chase. Driving the family owned #10 Vander Weerd Construction / Stone Gate Development Maxim, Richard has one feature win, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, three heat race victories, eleven top-10 finishes, and 56 feature laps led on the year. The 2011 USAC West Coast Champion has six career USAC/CRA wins and will have his sights on the “Glenn Howard Classic” victory.
Jake Swanson (Anaheim, California) sits third in the chase for the championship. Piloting Tom and Laurie Sertich’s #92 Huntington Beach Glass & Mirror / Clackamas Rigging and Transfer XXX, Swanson has three Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, one heat race victory, two Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Semi-Main wins, and eleven top-10 finishes on the season. The 2012 Rookie of the Year will be looking to score his first career USAC/CRA win at Perris Auto Speedway.
Brody Roa (Garden Grove, California) is fourth in the USAC/CRA championship points. Racing the BR Performance #91R HD Industries / Lee & Norma Leonard Maxim, Roa has one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, four heat race victories, nine top-10 finishes, and 36 feature laps led in the campaign. The USAC West Coast Series Champion has one career USAC/CRA triumph and will have his sights on adding the “Glenn Howard Classic” to his resume.
“The Big Game Hunter” Austin Williams (Yorba Linda, California) ranks fifth in the point standings. Driving Jack Jory’s #2 John Jory Corporation / AMA Plastics Spike, Williams has posted one feature win, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, one heat race victory, one Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Semi-Main win, two BR Motorsports / King Racing Products Hard Charger Awards, ten top-10 finishes, and 30 feature laps led in the campaign. The 2009 Rookie of the Year has 4 career USAC/CRA victories and will be looking add his name to the winner’s list of the “Howard Classic.”
Currently ranked seventh in points, Max Adams (Loomis, California) leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors. Andrew Sweeney (Lomita, California), Trent Williams (Victorville, California), and Mikey Lovas (Wildomar, California) are also in contention.
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Mike Spencer, Jace Vander Weerd, “The Bear” Jeremy Ellertson, Logan Williams, “The Cadillac” Cody Williams, Chris Gansen, Stevie Sussex, A.J. Bender, Verne Sweeney, “Thunder” Tommy Malcolm, Anthony Lopiccolo, and more.
Perris Auto Speedway is located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in Perris, California. Adult tickets are $25, Senior tickets (65 and over) are $20, Active Military (with ID), Students (13-18 with School ID), and Kids tickets (6-12) are $5. Children’s tickets (5 and under) are FREE. Advance tickets are available and for more information, visit the track’s website at www.perrisautospeedway.com or call 951.940.0134.
The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series thanks Hoosier Tire, All Coast Construction, BR Motorsports, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Circle Track Performance, Competition Suspension Incorporated, DJ Safety, Diversified Machine Incorporated, Extreme Mufflers, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, King Racing Products, Rod End Supply, Stand 21 Racer Goes Safer Foundation, surfnsprint.com, Ultra Shield Race Products, and Woodland Auto Display for their support. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, email PR Director Lance Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on USAC/CRA, visit the United States Auto Club (USAC) website at www.usacracing.com. You can also find exclusive content on the USAC/CRA Facebook and Twitter pages.
Loudpedal Productions has USAC/CRA DVDs and videos on demand available for purchase at www.loudpedal.tv and 805.407.7229.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONS:
2004-Rip Williams, 2005-Damion Gardner, 2006-Cory Kruseman, 2007-Tony Jones, 2008-Mike Spencer, 2009-Mike Spencer, 2010-Mike Spencer, 2011-Mike Spencer, 2012-Mike Spencer, 2013-Damion Gardner, 2014-Damion Gardner, 2015-Damion Gardner.
GLENN HOWARD CLASSIC/MEMORIAL WINNERS:
2008-Tony Jones, 2009-Bryan Clauson, 2010-Cory Kruseman, 2011-Nic Faas, 2012-Mike Spencer, 2013-Nic Faas, 2014-Damion Gardner, 2015-Damion Gardner.
PERRIS AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR WINS:
38-Damion Gardner, 24-Mike Spencer, 19-Tony Jones, 17-Cory Kruseman, 9-Nic Faas, 8-David Cardey, 7-Rip Williams, 6-Bryan Clauson, 6-Mike Kirby, 6-Matt Mitchell, 6-Danny Sheridan, 5-Rickie Gaunt, 5-Richard Vander Weerd, 4-Robert Ballou, 3-Dave Darland, 3-Garrett Hansen, 2-Darren Hagen, 2-Jesse Hockett, 2-Levi Jones, 2-Blake Miller, 2-Chris Windom, 1-Greg Bragg, 1-Daron Clayton, 1-Charles Davis Jr., 1-Josh Ford, 1-Josh Hodges, 1-R.J. Johnson, 1-Bud Kaeding, 1-Adam Mitchell, 1-Johnny Rodriguez, 1-Scotty Weir, 1-Austin Williams, 1-Jason York.
2016 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR WINS:
3-Damion Gardner, 2-Ryan Bernal, 2-Thomas Meseraull, 1-Brady Bacon, 1-Bryan Clauson, 1-Josh Hodges, 1-Matt Mitchell, 1-Troy Rutherford, 1-Danny Sheridan, 1-Richard Vander Weerd, 1-Austin Williams.
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS:
1. Damion Gardner-1008, 2. Richard Vander Weerd-902, 3. Jake Swanson-893, 4. Brody Roa-847, 5. Austin Williams-806, 6. Mike Spencer-721, 7. Max Adams-659, 8. Jace Vander Weerd-560, 9. Jeremy Ellertson-542, 10. Logan Williams-541, 11. Cody Williams-526, 12. Chris Gansen-485, 13. Stevie Sussex-412, 14. Thomas Meseraull-383, 15. Geoff Ensign-342, 16. Chad Boespflug-325, 17. A.J. Bender-315, 18. Verne Sweeney-311, 19. Kevin Thomas Jr.-304, 20. Tommy Malcolm-294.
2016 AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SCHEDULE
September 24: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Glenn Howard Classic)
September 30: Canyon Speedway - Peoria, AZ (Hall of Fame Classic)
October 1: Canyon Speedway - Peoria, AZ (Hall of Fame Classic)
October 15: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA
November 4: *Arizona Speedway - Queen Creek, AZ (Western World Championships)
November 5: *Arizona Speedway - Queen Creek, AZ (Western World Championships)
November 10: *Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction / $5,000-to-win)
November 11: *Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction / $5,000-to-win)
November 12: *Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction / $25,000-to-win)
USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: September 17, 2016 - Queen Creek, Arizona - Arizona Speedway - "Arizona College Night"
FEATURE: (25 laps - Shortened from 30 due to curfew) 1. Stevie Sussex, 2. Josh Pelkey, 3. R.J. Johnson, 4. Charles Davis Jr., 5. Matt Rossi, 6. Tye Mihocko, 7. Chris Bonneau, 8. Tom Ogle, 9. Dennis Gile, 10. Kyle Shipley, 11. Michael Curtis, 12. Landon Cling, 13. Brian Hosford, 14. Mike Martin, 15. Shon Deskins, 16. Cody Batten, 17. Matt Lundy, 18. Joe Schoepner, 19. Tanner Grau, 20. Bruce St. James, 21. Lealand Fuller, 22. Andy Reinbold. NT
**Madrid flipped during the fourth heat. Reinbold flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-19 Pelkey, Laps 20-25 Sussex.
HARD CHARGER: Dennis Gile (17th to 9th)
NEW USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Johon-1,135, 2-Davis-1,022, 3-Rossi-928, 4-Martin-881, 5-Mihocko-769, 6-Gile=722, 7-Sussex-718, 8-Nick Aiuto-639, 9-Bonneau-609, 10-Hosford-587.
NEXT USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT RACE: October 15 - Queen Creek, AZ - Arizona Speedway
CUMMINS FINALLY BREAKS THROUGH FOR FIRST HAUBSTADT USAC WIN
Haubstadt, Indiana.........It took Kyle Cummins a decade to kick open the door that separated him from his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car win back in July at Kokomo Speedway's "Indiana Sprint Week" round.
It would only take another two months for the Princeton, Indiana native to break through for that elusive first USAC victory at his home track - Tri-State Speedway.
Just one year after he saw his bid for a first USAC victory at Tri-State slip through his fingers after being caught up in an accident with a stopped car just five laps from the end, Cummins refused to let this one get away after taking the lead near the halfway point.
Cummins was then able to gracefully navigate his way through traffic without incident and withstood a late caution that bunched up the field to take the victory in Saturday night's "Haubstadt Hustler" co-sanctioned by MSCS.
"We had the car a little looser than we planned on," Cummins said. "I knew I couldn't get Tyler (Courtney) off the middle to bottom. I ran with him up top and adjusted on the shocks and tried the bottom again. I could hang with him, but I couldn't pass him. I just started hammering the top and, when he made a mistake, we were there to pounce."
"The track was tricky," Cummins added. "The cushion was built up probably a foot tall, so I backed the corner up a lot and tried to just catch it on the exit. As soon as it hit on exit, the car would launch and I knew there was no way somebody was going to get around us. I just kept trying to hit my marks and get through the lapped cars. I got into a rhythm for a little bit and just tried to keep clicking them off. I've had a yellow with one to go on both races I've won, so that makes it nerve-racking, but tonight was great and we took home a little bit of money. I can't complain."
Cummins would start fifth in the 23-car starting field for the series' second 40-lap feature of the season while Carson Short, Tri-State's "Indiana Sprint Week" winner two months prior, began the race from the pole position and shot out to the early lead.
It was smooth sailing for Short early on as he looked to replicate his most recent USAC visit to the southwestern Indiana quarter mile paperclip after cruising to a healthy ten-car-length lead in the opening laps over Tyler Courtney in the second spot.
But on the eighth lap, Short's dream of a repeat performance came to a rest upside down in the second turn after he bicycled on the high side of the racetrack, making slight wall contact with his right rear tire that tipped him over. Incredibly, Short restarted from the tail and worked his way back to a strong seventh place finish at the checkered!
Courtney inherited the lead at that point, but he had a hungry Cummins right on his tail tank for the lap eight restart. Cummins went low while Courtney utilized the top side to pull away a bit from Cummins initially, but a bobble on the cushion in turns three and four by Courtney allowed Cummins to close, initiating an intense side-by-side duel between the two that lasted lap-after-lap.
Each time Cummins was able to edge ahead underneath Courtney exiting turns two and four, Courtney was able to successfully use the downhill momentum off the banking to beat Cummins to the stripe by a half-car length on laps 9-11.
By lap 20, Courtney was able to extend his lead to six-car-lengths over Cummins, but he would suffer nearly the same fate as did early race leader Short, banging his right rear Hoosier off the turn one cushion, biking the car off of its left side wheels before all four pieces of rubber came back to Earth.
As Courtney scrambled to regain control of his machine, that's when Cummins saw the light peeking through the cracked-open door as he darted to the bottom of Courtney to sprint into the lead off of the second turn.
One lap later, at the halfway point, ProSource Fast Qualifier Tyler Hewitt escaped injury after getting upside down in turn two. The damage was minimal to Hewitt's car, allowing him to restart from the tail of the field.
Closing in on ten laps to go, Cummins found himself with a fairly comfortable lead up front, but that certainly didn't present an opportunity to relax as lapped traffic beckoned.
Opposed to last year's "Haubstadt Hustler," luck would play into Cummins' hands this time around as misfortune found Brady Short, whose night went up in a plume of smoke in the second turn on lap 31.
The caution gave Cummins a clear field of vision void of obstacles, leaving just him vs. the racetrack to settle their longstanding score. Additional assistance was found with the lapped car of Dakota Jackson serving as a buffer between Cummins and second-running Courtney on the restart with ten laps to go, thus allowing Cummins to make a clean getaway out of the gate as soon as Tom Hansing's green flag flew.
In the late stages, a new player emerged near the front of the pack in Sikeston, Missouri's Daron Clayton, who was making his first start since the 2015 "Haubstadt Hustler." Clayton, a five-time USAC Sprint winner at Tri-State, had steadily moved his way to third with five laps to go, climbing his way forward from the 17th starting spot in his patented thrilling style.
Yet, Clayton's ride to the front ended nearly as soon as he entered the top-three, getting way out of shape in turn two with three laps to go, thus allowing Shane Cottle to capitalize and rip the third spot away to reclaim the final spot on the podium.
As Cummins eyed a surefire victory on the final lap, fourth-running Clayton encountered trouble, sliding sideways through the second turn once again, but this time coming to a stop to bring out the yellow.
Cummins would have to survive one last round before this fight was over, having to withstand a green-white-checkered race to the finish.
Cummins dug down deep on the lap 39 restart, hammering the throttle to pull away from Courtney at the drop of the green. As Cummins cruised away to his second career USAC victory, the battle was on for second as Courtney and Cottle waged war for the final pair of laps.
As the two came out of turn four locked wheel-to-wheel for the checkered, Courtney was able to muster up enough power on the outside to beat Cottle to the line by less than a tenth of a second to grab the runner-up spot over Cottle with Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Chase Stockon rounding out the top-five.
It was yet another solid result for second-place finisher Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis, Indiana, who drove to his seventh top-five and 13th top-ten finish in 14 USAC Sprint starts during the 2016 season.
"This is my fourth year coming here and this is the most frustrating place I've ever ran," Courtney lamented. "It's almost more of a relief to have a good run here. We usually have fast cars, but it's taken me a while to figure it out as a driver. To nail it both on the setup and as a driver tonight is really rewarding. It gives me confidence that when we come back here next year, we're going to be in the hunt. I've never even finished a race on the lead lap here, so running second to Kyle Cummins - one of the best ever down here - is nothing to hang our heads about."
Shane Cottle came within mere feet of taking second away from Courtney on the final lap, but settled for a fine third-place run. It was the Kokomo, Indiana driver's best run in the series since scoring a third at Putnamville, Indiana's Lincoln Park Speedway in July of 2014.
"I was too tight to run the top, so we committed to the bottom," Cottle explained. "Then, it got technical down there too as the moisture kept creeping down towards the tires. It feels great to have a good run. We've had a handful of issues this year with motors and other things breaking; we've just been having all-around bad luck. To run strong tonight is a great morale booster as we get ready to head to Eldora next weekend."
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 17, 2016 - Haubstadt, Indiana - Tri-State Speedway - "Haubstadt Hustler" (Co-Sanctioned by MSCS)
FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Kyle Cummins, 2. Tyler Courtney, 3. Shane Cottle, 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 5. Chase Stockon, 6. Chris Windom, 7. Carson Short, 8. Justin Grant, 9. Brady Bacon, 10. Jon Stanbrough, 11. C.J. Leary, 12. Dave Darland, 13. Brian Karraker, 14. Tyler Hewitt, 15. Brandon Mattox, 16. Tyler Thomas, 17. Daron Clayton, 18. Dakota Jackson, 19. Brady Short, 20. Chad Boespflug, 21. Thomas Meseraull, 22. Donny Brackett, 23. Aaron Farney. NT
**Mellenberndt flipped during the fifth heat. C. Short flipped on lap 8 of the feature. Hewitt flipped on lap 21 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 C. Short, Laps 8-19 Courtney, Laps 20-40 Cummins.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Jon Stanbrough (22nd to 10th)
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1-Bacon-2138, 2-Robert Ballou-1919, 3-Stockon-1917, 4-Meseraull-1874, 5-Darland-1787, 6-Boespflug-1748, 7-Leary-1743, 8-Windom-1635, 9-Max McGhee-1264, 10-Farney-1178.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 24 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 35th "4-Crown Nationals"
USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET SERIES RACE RESULTS:September 17, 2016 - Santa Maria, California - Santa Maria Raceway
LIGHT UP THE WORLD BEVERAGES FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Cody Swanson, 2. Ronnie Gardner, 3. Cory Elliott, 4. Frankie Guerrini, 5. Shannon McQueen, 6. Michael Faccinto, 7. Tyler Dolacki, 8. Courtney Crone, 9. Maria Cofer, 10. Randi Pankratz, 11. Dylan Ito, 12. Robert Dalby. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-.24 Elliott, Laps 25-30 Swanson.
NEW USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET POINTS: 1-Gardner-763, 2-Faccinto-681, 3-Guerrini-589, 4-Elliott-578, 5-Crone-493, 6-Pankratz-433, 7-Swanson-431, 8-Dalby-427, 9-Cofer-418, 10-Dolacki-335.
NEXT USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET RACES: October 8 - Tulare, CA - Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Speedway - "KRC Safety Fall Shootout"
USAC'S JIM HURTUBISE CLASSIC POSTPONED TO OCTOBER 15
Friday night's "Jim Hurtubise Classic" at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track featuring the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship has been postponed to Saturday night, October 15 due to heavy afternoon rains which put a damper on racing at the ½-mile dirt oval.
A first batch of rain came through the Vigo County area around 12:30pm, but it was the rainfall arriving about an hour later that forced the postponement.
USAC and Track Enterprises officials have come together on a plan to reschedule the "Jim Hurtubise Classic" for Saturday night, October 15 at the Action Track in which the pit gates will open at 3:00pm and grandstands at 4:00. Hot laps will be on track at 6:00 with ProSource Qualifying at 6:30 and racing beginning at 7:00.
DARON CLAYTON RETURNS THIS SATURDAY FOR HAUBSTADT HUSTLER
Fan favorite Daron Clayton makes his triumphant return to the seat of a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car this Saturday night, September 17 at Tri-State Speedway's "Haubstadt Hustler" (co-sanctioned by MSCS) in southwestern Indiana.
The Sikeston, Missouri native has earned the "Modern Day Cowboy" moniker for his thrilling drives throughout the last decade on dirt tracks across the USA, routinely wowing fans with his performances, especially at the track that he is most associated with - Tri-State Speedway - where he's scored five of his 11 career USAC wins as well as several victories with MSCS.
Though most well-known for his exploits in his own yellow no. 92, Clayton will join the Jeff Walker/Curb-Agajanian Racing team this Saturday as a teammate to the USAC National Sprint division's winningest driver, Dave Darland.
However, Walker and Clayton are no strangers to success when working together. Clayton picked up the win at Tri-State driving Walker's no. 11D back in 2007.
Clayton, the only two-time "Haubstadt Hustler" winner (2012 & 2014), has curtailed his participation in recent years, last making a USAC appearance in the 2015 "Haubstadt Hustler" in which he started on the front row, but, unfortunately, had to pull off to the sidelines with handling issues early in the 40-lapper. But Clayton is thrilled to be back in the saddle once again this Saturday at the Haubstadt, Indiana quarter-mile.
"I have had so many things going on this past year," Clayton explained. "We moved to Missouri for a year and now we've come back, fixing up our house we bought in Brownsburg. I'm just making sure my primary obligations are taken care of first and now I have reached a point in which I can focus on other things that make myself happy without feeling like I'm being selfish. "I just wanted to make sure I'm 100 percent in the game. I don't do things half (hearted). I had actually been contemplating (coming back) a lot this past week. Then, Jeff Walker calls up and I knew it was time."
See Daron Clayton in his Jeff Walker-Curb-Agajanian Racing/Jam-It-In Storage - Hoosier Tire/Maxim/Claxton and the stars of the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship this Saturday at Tri-State Speedway. Gates open at 3:30pm and grandstands at 4:30pm. ProSource Qualifying starts at 6:30pm with racing to begin at 7:30pm (CST).
FARNEY JOINS DUTCHER MOTORSPORTS FOR REMAINDER OF 2016 USAC SPRINT SEASON
Michael Dutcher Motorsports and 2015 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Aaron Farney have joined forces to tackle the remaining nine events on the series' 2016 calendar beginning this weekend with a pair of races: Friday, Sept. 16 at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track and Saturday, Sept. 17 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
"Aaron's a great kid who loves the sport and wants to succeed," Dutcher said. "He has a lot of potential; he was the 2015 National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year. We plan on getting up to speed very quickly."
Farney, a Brookston, Ind. native, has competed full-time for the last two years in his family-owned no. 15F, but has yet to match the glimpses of success he displayed during his rookie season thus far after winning last year's "Don Smith Classic" Indiana Sprint Week event in dominating fashion at Terre Haute.
Making 28 starts in 32 series events this season, Farney currently resides tenth in series points after scoring seven top-tens with his lone top-five result coming on the half-mile at Terre Haute in July of 2016.
Dutcher's potent machine has found much success, racking up 12 USAC Sprint victories with drivers Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Jon Stanbrough since 2013. Yet, the team hasn't been able to reach victory lane this season despite being consistently fast with drivers Brady Short, C.J. Leary and Thomas Meseraull. Perhaps now with Farney behind the wheel, the team will see a reversal of its fortunes.
"We've had a lot of success with young drivers over the years; Aaron's an up-and-comer who isn't afraid to go fast," Dutcher added. "At Terre Haute last year, he got his first win and beat us pretty bad in doing so. He gets around that track really well. We've won there in the past as well (with Kevin Thomas, Jr.), and we've been really good at Haubstadt over the years, so we hope to give him a racecar that can win this weekend because we're both very capable."
Friday will not be Farney's first time in the seat of Dutcher's no. 17GP. That came back on Sept. 2 at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway during the "Bryan Clauson Celebration of Life" event in which Farney qualified in the top-ten in a 47-car field and ran 13th in the feature in his debut in the Griffin's Propane - Indiana Underground/Maxim/Fisher.
Friday night's "Jim Hurtubise Classic" at the Terre Haute Action Track gets underway with pit gates opening at 3pm and grandstands at 4pm. Cars hit the track at 6:30pm for hot laps, ProSource Qualifying is slated for 7pm and racing is scheduled to begin at 7:30 (EST).
Saturday night's "Haubstadt Hustler" at Tri-State Speedway has the pit gates opening at 3:30pm and grandstands at 4:30pm. ProSource Qualifying starts at 6:30pm with racing to begin at 7:30pm (CST).
USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 10, 2016 - Hanford, California - Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds - All-Coast Construction California Sprint Week
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Brady Bacon, 2. Ryan Bernal, 3. Richard Vander Weerd, 4. Brody Roa, 5. Jace Vander Weeerd, 6. Danny Faria Jr., 7. Geoff, Ensign, 8. Max Adams, 9. Kyler Shaw, 10. Jeremy Ellertson, 11. Koen Shaw, 12. Damion Gardner, 13. Stevie Sussex, 14. Thomas Meseraull, 15. Chris Gansen, 16. Austin Liggett, 17. Chad Boespflug, 18. Logan Williams, 19. Austin Williams, 20. Kevin Thomas Jr., 21. Mike Spencer, 22. Jake Swanson. NT
**Gardner flipped during the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Bacon
BR MOTORSPORTS/KING RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Jace Vander Weerd (19th to 5th)
FINAL ALL COAST CONSTRUCTION CALIFORNIA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Gardner-406, 2-Meseraull-383, 3-Bernal-362, 4-Ensign-342, 5-Boespflug-325, 6-R.Vander Weerd-316, 7-Thomas-304, 8-Swanson-299, 9-Bacon-284, 10-Roa-281.
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Gardner-1,008, 2-R.Vander Weerd-898, 3-Swanson-893, 4-Roa-847, 5-A.Williams-806, 6-Spencer-721, 7-Adams-659, 8-J.Vander Weerd-560, 9-Ellertson-542, 10-L.Williams-541.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: September 24 - Perris (CA) Auto Speedway - "Glenn Howard Classic"
USAC WESTERN HPD MIDGET RACE RESULTS: September 10, 2016 - Ventura, California - Ventura Raceway
FEATURE: (20 laps) 1. Daniel Anderson, 2. Randi Pankratz, 3. Jesse Love IV, 4. Tristin Thomas, 5. Jet Davison, 6. David Prickett, 7. Tyler Slay, 8. Jessica Valentine, 9. Brandon Biggs, 10. Ashley Hazelton, 11. Joel Rayborne, 12. Zac Bogner. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-20 Anderson.
NEW USAC WESTERN HPD MIDGET POINTS: 1-Love-1,282, 2. Annie Breidinger-1,031, 3-Boscacci-823, 4-Toni Breidinger-800, 5-Hazelton-672, 6-Blake Brannon-503, 7-Tom Paterson-462, 8-Prickett-391, 9-Davey Hamilton Jr.-347, 10-Cody Jessop-332.
NEW USAC WESTERN HPD MIDGET DIRT POINTS: 1-Love-639, 2-Hazelton-507, 3-Boscacci-454, 4-Annie Breidinger-443, 5-Prickett-331, 6-Tom Paterson-284, 7-Anderson-283, 8-Rayborne-170, 9-R.Pankratz-156, 10-Wally Pankratz-145.
NEXT USAC WESTERN HPD MIDGET RACE: September 16 - Madera (CA) Speedway - 45th Annual "Harvest Classic"
DAVEY RAY SHOWS AUTHORITY AT DAUGHERTY; WINS USAC INDIANA MIDGET FEATURE
Boswell, Indiana.........Davey Ray ran down Tanner Thorson in lapped traffic in the final five laps, battling wheel-to-wheel all the way around the three-eighths-mile dirt oval until Ray's winning move on Thorson in turn two on lap 22. Ray, of Davenport, Iowa, had to withstand one final green-white-checkered restart, yet was able to cruise away to his first USAC Indiana Midget Championship victory Saturday night at Daugherty Speedway.
Ray, in his Team RAYPRO/Spike/RAYPRO Mopar no. 33, took the lead from Thorson just four laps from the finish after the two made contact off the exit of the second turn. Thorson got extremely sideways down the back straightaway, spraying the outside wall with dirt as he tried to maintain control of his car. Thorson straightened his car out by the time he reached the bottom of the racetrack, but, by then, Ray had pulled away to a 15-car-length lead.
On lap 24, an incident involving Spencer Bayston, Justin Dickerson and Kyle Schuett, who got upside down, slowed the action as Ray headed for sure victory. Meanwhile, second-running Thorson left the track with a flat right rear tire, but would return, only managing a 14th place finish at the checkered.
However, the field would be bunched up on the restart with Ray leading, followed by Tyler Courtney and Carson Macedo. Macedo was able to slip by Courtney for second at the end, but up front, Ray was able to distance himself from the two to take the victory over Macedo, Courtney, Austin Prock and Justin Peck.
It was Ray's first USAC-sanctioned win since a D1 Midget victory at Montpelier (Ind.) Motor Speedway in 2011 and the first USAC-sanctioned race at Daugherty Speedway since a 2009 National Sprint Car race won by Dave Darland, back when the track was known as Kamp Motor Speedway.
Although finishing a distant second, Macedo took over the series point lead from Thorson and now holds a 23-point advantage in the USAC Indiana Midget Championship heading into a Saturday, September 17th date at Montpelier.
USAC INDIANA MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 10, 2016 - Boswell, Indiana - Daugherty Speedway
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Davey Ray (#33 RAYPRO), 3. Austin Prock (#41 Prock/Hayward), 4. Scott Hatton (#1 Hatton), 5. Gage Walker (#7 Walker), 6. Kyle Schuett (#9K Schuett), 7. Justin Dickerson (#21D Dickerson), 8. Don O'Keefe (#0K LOK). NT
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Anton Julian (#44 Pace), 2. Justin Peck (#5x Peck), 3. Holly Shelton (#67K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. J.B. Gilbert (#83B Beasley), 5. Rich Drangmeister (#3 Drangmeister), 6. Shane Hollingsworth (#85 Hollingsworth). NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Tyler Courtney (#5 Baldwin), 2. Ryan Robinson (#71 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Carson Macedo (#71K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Spencer Bayston (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 5. Mark Chisholm (#56x Chisholm), 6. Brayton Lynch (#1K RKR), 7. Ken Drangmeister (#76 Drangmeister). NT
ALSO AT THE TRACK: Daniel Robinson (#56Y Chisholm)
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Davey Ray, 2. Carson Macedo, 3. Tyler Courtney, 4. Austin Prock, 5. Justin Peck, 6. Ryan Robinson, 7. Gage Walker, 8. Scott Hatton, 9. J.B. Gilbert, 10. Mark Chisholm, 11. Brayton Lynch, 12. Kyle Schuett, 13. Don O'Keefe, 14. Justin Dickerson, 15. Tanner Thorson, 16. Spencer Bayston, 17. Ken Drangmeister, 18. Anton Julian, 19. Holly Shelton, 20. Rich Drangmeister. NT
**Julian flipped on lap 3 of the feature. Schuett flipped on lap 24 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-21 Thorson, Laps 22-25 Ray.
NEW USAC INDIANA MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Macedo-214, 2-Thorson-191, 3-Robinson-189, 4-Bayston-180, 5-Peck-160, 6-Shelton-152, 7-Walker-151, 8-Lynch-146, 9-Ray-137, 10-Dave Darland-118.
NEXT USAC INDIANA MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 17 - Montpelier, Indiana - Montpelier Motor Speedway
AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: September 9, 2016 – Watsonville, California – Ocean Speedway – “All Coast Construction California Sprint Week”
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Damion Gardner, 3. Chad Boespflug, 4. Ryan Bernal, 5. Jake Swanson, 6. Austin Williams, 7. Brody Roa, 8. Brady Bacon, 9. Stevie Sussex, 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 11. Danny Faria Jr., 12. Kyle Shaw, 13. Richard Vander Weerd, 14. Jace Vander Weerd, 15. Max Adams, 16. Geoff Ensign, 17. Jeremy Ellertson, 18. Koen Shaw, 19. Chris Gansen, 20. Logan Williams, 21. Austin Liggett, 22. Mike Spencer. NT
**Garris flipped during first heat. Ky.Shaw flipped during second heat.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Bernal, Laps 4-29 Gardner, Lap 30 Meseraull.
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS:
NEW ALL COAST CONSTRUCTION CALIFORNIA SPRINT WEEK POINTS:
NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: September 10 – Hanford, CA – Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds – “All Coast Construction California Sprint Week”
1. Brady Bacon 2327
2. Chase Stockon 2094
3. Dave Darland 1968
4. T. Meseraull 1955
5. Robert Ballou 1919
6. Chad Boespflug 1885
7. C.J. Leary 1858
7. Chris Windom 1858
9. A. Farney 1287
10. Max McGhee 1264
1. S. Bayston 1005
2. Tanner Thorson 987
3. Chad Boat 986
4. Brady Bacon 975
5. Carson Macedo 869
6. Ryan Robinson 724
7. Bryan Clauson 720
8. Holly Shelton 683
9. Tyler Thomas 626
10. Ryan Greth 516
1. K. Swanson 525
2. Chris Windom 515
3. Jerry Coons Jr. 416
4. Justin Grant 407
5 David Byrne 369
6 Casey Shuman 366
7. Shane Cottle 335
8. Austin Nemire 309
9. Joe Liguori 281
10. Shane Cockrum 241
1. Damion Gardner 1212
2. R. Vander Weerd 1105
3. Jake Swanson 1089
4. Brody Roa 1003
5. Austin Williams 995
6. Mike Spencer 896
7. Max Adams 805
7. Logan Williams 689
9. Cody Williams 646
10. J. Vander Weerd 602