JULY 29-30 SPRINTS AT TRI-CITY REMOVED FROM 2016 CALENDAR
The United States Auto Club is cancelling the originally-scheduled two-night July 29-30 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car races at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill.
"We have decided that, due to MOWA Sprint Car events at competing tracks in the region, it would be in our best interest to forego these events and not divide car counts and fans alike," said USAC Competition Director Levi Jones.
"We look forward to the October 6-7-8 "Gold Crown Midget Nationals" which will feature the USAC National Midgets at Tri-City," added Jones.
The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car series will resume in late-August with the "Sprint Car Smackdown" spectacular at the Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway. A pair of USAC-sanctioned "special events" will precede those races, August 20 and 21 at Brandon. S.D. and August 24 at Kokomo.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 17, 2016 - Terre Haute, Indiana - Terre Haute Action Track - "Indiana Sprint Week" - "Don Smith Classic"
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chase Stockon, 2. Robert Ballou, 3. Tyler Courtney, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Aaron Farney, 6. Chris Windom, 7. Logan Jarrett, 8. Jerry Coons Jr., 9. Bryan Clauson, 10. C.J. Leary, 11. Max McGhee, 12. Chad Boespflug, 13. Dave Darland, 14. Thomas Meseraull, 15. Jon Stanbrough, 16. Carson Short, 17. Riley Kreisel, 18. Jarett Andretti, 19. Tyler Thomas, 20. Bret Mellenberndt, 21. Kevin Thomas, Jr.. 22. Tom Harris. NT
**Harris flipped on lap 2 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Stockon.
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,937, 2-Ballou-1,771, 3-Stockon-1,725, 4-Meseraull-1,695, 5-Darland-1,575, 6-Boespflug-15.40, 7-Leary-1,528, 8-Windom-1,386, 9-McGhee-1,264, 10-Farney-1,089.
FINAL USAC INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Bacon-448, 2-Ballou-439, 3-Courtney-390, 4-Stockon-382, 5-Windom-359, 6-K.Thomas Jr.-340, 7-Boespflug-336, 8-Andretti-327, 9-Coons-295, 10-Kyle Cummins-291.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: July 29-30 - Granite City, IL - Tri-City Speedway
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 16, 2016 - Haubstadt, Indiana - Tri-State Speedway - "Indiana Sprint Week"
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Carson Short, 2. Kyle Cummins, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Jarett Andretti, 6. Critter Malone, 7. Brady Bacon, 8. Chad Boespflug, 9. Kevin Thomas Jr., 10. Max McGhee, 11. Josh Hodges, 12. Jon Stanbrough, 13. Brady Short, 14. Logan Jarrett, 15. C.J. Leary, 16. Aaron Farney, 17. Dakota Jackson, 18. Chris Windom, 19. Thomas Meseraull, 20. Jeff Bland Jr., 21. Tyler Thomas, 22. Tyler Courtney, 23. Isaac Chapple, 24. Dave Darland. NT
**Brackett flipped during the semi.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 C.Short.
KSE/B & W AUTO MART HARD CHARGER: Robert Ballou (16th-4th)
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,863, 2-Ballou-1,696, 3-Meseraull-1,652, 4-Stockon-1,650, 5-Darland-1,532, 6-Boespflug-1,496, 7-Leary-1,488, 8-Windom-1,323, 9-McGhee-1,222. 10-Farney-1,028.
FINAL USAC INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Bacon-374, 2-Ballou-364, 3-Courtney-318, 4-K.Thomas Jr.-314, 5-Stockon-307, 6-Windom-296, 7-Andretti-295, 8-Boespflug-292, 9-Cummins-291, 10-Meseraull-246.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: July 17 - Terre Haute (IN) Action Track - "Indiana Sprint Week" - "Don Smith Classic"
BLOOMINGTON BELONGS TO BEAUCHAMP;BECOMES USAC SPRINTS' 3RD NEW WINNER IN ISW
Bloomington, Indiana.........In a week chock-full of veteran drivers entering USAC victory lane for the first time, Brent Beauchamp became the latest to break through after prevailing in a classic duel with Dave Darland throughout the majority of the 30-lap event during round five of "Indiana Sprint Week" at Bloomington Speedway's 28th annual "Sheldon Kinser Memorial." A race that featured the most lead changes in a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car race in 15 years!
Beauchamp would start third in the 30-lap event, directly behind Dave Darland who began his race from the pole position for the second consecutive night.
As the green flag flew, Darland drew first blood, sliding up in front of outside front row starter Brady Bacon as the 24-car field filed into turn one.
Immediately, Darland gained company as Beauchamp utilized the bottom of the racetrack to pull even with Darland entering turn three, resulting in a dead heat at the line at the conclusion of lap one.
With Beauchamp up on the high line and Darland hugging the infield tires, the two engaged in a side-by-side war lap-after-lap with neither driver able to put more than a half car length's advantage between each other at the flag stand for the first eight laps of the feature.
Though credited with only three "official" lead changes at the start/finish line during the first one-third of the race, Darland and Beauchamp swapped the top spot a dozen times in the first eight laps. Darland's strong suit was on his entry into turns one and three where he was able to pull ahead by a car length midway through the corner while Beauchamp was able to propel himself off the exit of turns two and four to pull even on the inside of Darland down the front and back straightaways.
The two put on a show for the ages, running several identical-looking, side-by-side laps resulting in numerous photo finishes at the line with each successive circuit appearing as if the two were on a high-speed pace lap.
Without either able to break away up front, Beauchamp was able to edge ahead of Darland by mere inches at the scoring loop on lap five, but the lead would be short-lived as Darland fought back to claim the top spot at the stripe on the sixth and seventh laps.
On lap eight, Beauchamp got a titanic run on the bottom that lunged him forward off the exit of turn four and into the lead, putting a five-car-length gap between himself and Darland in the ensuing laps.
After the stoppage of Chase Stockon brought out a caution at the halfway mark, the lap 15 restart saw Darland find his second wind. Just as the topside of the red clay surface appeared to fade, Darland quickly proved there was still something left up top as he clawed his way back on the outside to beat Beauchamp to the line on lap 16 by 14-thousandths of a second.
Meanwhile, Beauchamp drove his machine as straight as an arrow on the bottom, re-taking the lead by a car length on the 17th lap before Darland found another bullet in the chamber, reloading for another run at Beauchamp to reclaim the lead by a car length on laps 18 and 19.
By lap 20, the exit of turn two began to slip away as Darland was still able to pull even alongside Beauchamp between turns one and two, but was unable to find any moisture at the top of the second turn, hindering his forward motion as he faded and Beauchamp raced by on the inside and distanced himself from the rest of the field in the waning laps.
In the last 10 laps, it was all Brent Beauchamp, who pulled away to join Tyler Courtney and Kyle Cummins as the third different driver to claim his first career USAC victory during 2016 ISW over Brady Bacon, who slipped by Darland for second on the final lap. Kevin Thomas, Jr., a 2012 Bloomington ISW winner, was fourth while Thomas Meseraull drove the Landon Simon Racing car to its second straight fifth place finish.
Bloomington Speedway, the only track to host an ISW event in each year of the series' existence dating back to 1988, has now produced six first-time USAC National Sprint Car feature winners during its ISW round over the years: Brad Fox (1997), Cory Kruseman (1999), A.J. Anderson (2001), Brady Short (2006), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (2012) and now Beauchamp.
The spectacular 30-lap affair featured the most lead changes in a USAC National Sprint Car race since Lincoln Park Speedway's "Indiana Sprint Week" feature at Lincoln Park Speedway on July 21, 2001 that also involved Dave Darland. In that event, Jon Stanbrough got by Dave Darland on the final corner of the final lap to take a photo finish victory.
However, this night belonged to Beauchamp, the Avon, Indiana native who came into Friday night's race with only one career top-five finish in USAC National Sprint Car competition - a third at Bloomington's ISW round in 2012. He drove to a 1.85-second victory that was not indicative of the fierce battle that was waged between first-time winner Beauchamp and Darland, the winningest ISW and USAC National Sprint Car driver of all-time.
"I can't put this into words," Beauchamp said. "I said last night that winning a 'Sprint Week' race would be something that I literally would not be able to describe and, to do it here- a place that has eluded me for so long- it's a place I've wanted to win at so bad, but to do it during 'Sprint Week,' it's amazing. I felt like I was running a Kenyon car at the Speedrome when I was down there on the bottom. I just tried to roll it smooth and not get off the tires. I knew Dave was out there and I could sense that if I just hit my marks that I was better and could get away from him. When I got to the lapped cars, I just told myself not to do anything dumb and stuck it on bottom and then went wide coming to the checkered to try and block any sort of run. I am just so excited. This is amazing!"
In "Indiana Sprint Week," every little thing matters. Though he's run spectacularly all week, earlier in the night, during the Indy Race Parts fourth heat, ISW point leader Courtney skated over the turn one cushion and embarked on a wild series of flips over the backside of the banking. Though Courtney returned in a backup car for the semi-feature, he was unable to transfer, thus missing the feature and having to stand on the sidelines to witness his 32-point lead coming into Friday night quickly evaporate.
Courtney's misfortune was all Bacon's gain, as the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma driver's second place finish helped him leapfrog past Courtney to take over the ISW point lead heading into the final two races on Saturday night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt and Sunday night at the Terre Haute Action Track.
"We caught a break when Hodges went by me and we got a yellow," Bacon admitted. "I calmed down after that and just tried to run the bottom and not make too many mistakes. I thought the top was going to be the place to be, but the bottom was just too good and the top was treacherous. Hats off to the track prep crew, though. To go through 50 cars in the middle of the summer without any prep breaks is fantastic. These last three tracks are three of our best, so we've got some momentum. We had to battle back all week, but tonight, we could get to the front and just sort of hang out, so that was nice. But I padded my bank account a little bit this week, so, hopefully, we can keep it up these last two nights."
It was a valiant effort for Lincoln, Indiana's Darland, who led on four different occasions for a total of nine laps and finished a strong third.
"We've been decent this year, but we're still learning," Darland acknowledges. "Jeff (Walker) and I are getting better. We were good last night and then tonight, obviously, too. We could get around Brent (Beauchamp) a few times, but the cushion just got so tough to run. I slipped the right rear over the edge a couple times in turn two, and then would just get hung up, so it was difficult. I had to shoot off of it a little early as we got going towards the end. But we were good tonight, so it's a step in the right direction."
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 15, 2016 - Bloomington, Indiana - Bloomington Speedway - "Indiana Sprint Week" - "Sheldon Kinser Memorial"
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Brent Beauchamp, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Dave Darland, 4. Kevin Thomas Jr., 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. C.J. Leary, 7. Josh Hodges, 8. Jerry Coons Jr., 9. Jarett Andretti, 10. Robert Ballou, 11. Chad Boespflug, 12. Brady Short, 13. A.J. Hopkins, 14. Chris Windom, 15. Brandon Mattox, 16. Kyle Cummins, 17. Jon Stanbrough, 18. Isaac Chapple, 19. Chase Stockon, 20. Logan Jarrett, 21. Tyler Thomas, 22. Jordan Kinser, 23. Dakota Jackson, 24. Hunter Schuerenberg. NT
**Jackson flipped during the third heat. Courtney flipped during the fourth heat.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-4 Darland, Lap 5 Beauchamp, Laps 6-7 Darland, Laps 8-15 Beauchamp, Lap 16 Darland, Lap 17 Beauchamp, Laps 18-19 Darland, Laps 20-30 Beauchamp.
KSE/B & W AUTO MART HARD CHARGER: Robert Ballou (17th-10th)
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,808, 2-Ballou-1,625, 3M-Meseraull-1,619, 4-Stockon-1,578, 5-Darland-1,508, 6-Leary-1,445, 7-Boespflug-1,437, 8-Windom-1,294, 9-McGhee-1,178, 10-Farney-996.
NEW USAC INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Bacon-317, 2-Ballou-2,95, 3-Courtney-288, 4-Windom-267, 5-K.Thomas Jr.-263, 6-Coons-239, 7-Stockon-237, 8-Boespflug-233, 9-Andretti-230, 10-Meseraull-215.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 16 - Haubstadt, IN - Tri-State Speedway - "Indiana Sprint Week"
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 14, 2016 - Putnamville, Indiana - Lincoln Park Speedway - "Indiana Sprint Week"
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Brady Short, 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Chad Boespflug, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Jerry Coons Jr., 7. Shane Cottle, 8. Tyler Courtney, 9. Kevin Thomas Jr., 10. Dave Darland, 11. Brady Bacon, 12. Aaron Farney, 13. Jarett Andretti, 14. Tyler Thomas, 15. Brent Beauchamp, 16. C.J. Leary, 17. Justin Grant, 18. Logan Jarrett, 19. Chris Windom, 20. Zach Daum, 21. Isaac Chapple, 22. Hunter Schuerenberg, 23. J.J. Hughes, 24. Jon Stanbrough. NT
**Light flipped during qualifying. Harris flipped during the first heat. Ketcham flipped during the third heat.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Stockon, Laps 3-11 Darland, Laps 12-30 B.Short.
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,734, 2-Ballou-1,576, 3-Meseraull-1,557, 4-Stockon-1,545; 5-Darland-1,437, 6-Boespflug-1,384, 7-Leary-1,382, 8-Windom-1,251, 9-McGhee-1,168, 10-Farney-986.
NEW USAC INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Courtney-278, 2-Ballou-246, 3-Bacon-243, 4-Windom-224, 5-Stockon-202, 6-K.Thomas Jr.-193, 7-Bryan Clauson-190, 8-Coons-184, 9-S.Cottle-182, 10-Andretti-181.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 15 - Bloomington (IN) Speedway - "Indiana Sprint Week" - "Sheldon Kinser Memorial"
TERRE HAUTE INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POSTPONED TO SUNDAY
Terre Haute, IN........Heavy rains and adverse weather have forced Wednesday night's "Don Smith Classic" USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship race at the Terre Haute Action Track to be moved to Sunday, July 17.
The race will now conclude Indiana Sprint Week, which continues Thursday at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Friday at Bloomington and Saturday at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt.
Wednesday tickets and pit bands will be honored Sunday at Terre Haute, with pit gates opening at 3pm, grandstands opening at 4 and the driver's meeting taking place at 6. Practice begins at 6:30, ProSource Qualifying at 7 and heat races at 7:30.
CLAUSON ON CRUISE CONTROL AT THE BURG; CLAIMS VICTORY IN INDIANA SPRINT WEEK RD. 3
Lawrenceburg, Indiana.........Bryan Clauson continued his winning ways Sunday night during the third round of Indiana Sprint Week at Lawrenceburg Speedway, holding off a mid-race challenge from Josh Hodges and snookering the field on a late race restart to earn his 41st career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory, surpassing Gary Bettenhausen for seventh on the all-time list.
Clauson also collected his 111th career USAC-sanctioned feature victory, moving him into the top-five on the all-time list alongside some of the giants of the sport. Clauson now stands behind only Rich Vogler (171), A.J. Foyt (162), Sleepy Tripp (161) and Mel Kenyon (131) in career USAC wins.
Hunter Schuerenberg started the race from the pole position and, just as he did at Gas City two nights prior in the "Sprint Week" opener, shot out to the lead on the opening lap.
ProSource Fast Qualifier Clauson, meanwhile, had already made quick work disposing of Tyler Courtney, Justin Grant and Hodges to move from sixth to third on lap one.
With a single lap in the books, Kyle Wissmiller, who was making his first USAC Sprint Car start exactly eight years to the day of his last feature appearance in 2008, slid to a stop, bringing out the first yellow of the night.
On the ensuing restart, Clauson wasted no time resuming his charge to the front, slipping past April 2015 Lawrenceburg winner Logan Jarrett for second on the bottom off the exit of turn four.
Next on BC's radar was leader Schuerenberg, who saw his lead quickly evaporate as Clauson reeled him in in no-time flat by lap five. The duo drag raced to a dead heat at the flag stand, but Schuerenberg was able to hold steady for the time-being until Clauson was able to jet off the topside of turn four to complete the pass for the lead on lap six.
However, at the same moment, Jarett Andretti found himself turned around on the main straightaway, bringing out the caution.
Due to the lap not being fully completed, Schuerenberg would be reinserted into to the lead with Clauson relegated back to second.
On the restart, Clauson dove low, grabbing the bite off the bottom of the banking to recapturing the lead from Schuerenberg on the sixth circuit. Clauson would secure the spot for good in turn two as he slid up to the top, ripping away Schuerenberg's line and pulling away to a healthy advantage.
Quickly thereafter, Hodges grabbed second as Schuerenberg began to slip into the distance from the front of the pack. Hodges still had a more than half-straightaway deficit to overcome Clauson's lead, but a turn three tangle between April's Lawrenceburg USAC Sprint winner Dave Darland as well as Nick Bilbee and Zach Daum brought the yellow out, thereby erasing the gap and putting Hodges, an April USAC/CRA Sprint Car feature winner at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway, squarely behind the rear bumper of Clauson on the restart with 17 laps to go.
After the green flag waved, Hodges was able to hang right along with leader Clauson, chipping away at the interval little-by-little. Clauson ran his machine up top against the wall at both ends of the racetrack while Hodges ran side-by-side with Clauson, pulling even with the leader while utilizing the bottom line between turns three and four and the middle in turns one and two to pose a formidable challenge to Clauson's throne at the front throughout the middle portion of the 30-lap event.
On the 17th lap, Clauson dove to the bottom between turns three and four to see if that suited his liking, but that was short-lived as Clauson migrated back to the topside for lap 18, and each lap thereafter, as he began to gap himself and Hodges, constructing his lead to three seconds as Hodges began to drop.
With eight to go, Friday night Gas City winner Courtney started to come alive during crunch time, sticking a slide job on Schuerenberg for third in turn three and repeating the move on Hodges in turn one for the second spot with five laps remaining.
Third-running Schuerenberg's race came to an abrupt end just three laps from the finish, slowing to a stop in a puff of smoke between turns three and four, which set up one final restart - a rematch between the rapidly-closing Courtney and Clauson for a three-lap shootout.
Clauson quickly thwarted any thoughts Courtney had of repeating his Gas City triumph, blasting away to a substantial advantage heading into turn one on the restart. Nobody was able to mount a serious challenge to Clauson's supremacy during the final three laps as he pulled away for the victory in his Dooling-Hayward/B & H Contractors - Cancer Treatment Centers of America/Spike/Stanton Mopar over Courtney, Windom, Leary and Hodges.
Noblesville, Indiana's Clauson moved into the top-five in all-time Indiana Sprint Week wins with his seventh career checkered flag Sunday night at "The Burg" while also capturing his seventh USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory of the 2016 season, already equaling his best single-season win total in the series, which he accomplished during his back-to-back championship years in 2012 and 2013.
"I wanted to catch everybody by surprise on that last restart and it worked," Clauson said. "We were a little tight on the curb, so I didn't know how aggressive to be on it, but we were able to get to the front early on. It's hard sometimes, when you're out front, to know what pace to run, but we held them off. When I saw Hodges on the bottom, I went down there just to feel it out, but felt like it'd take me too long to figure out how to run it. The cushion on both ends on exit was pretty big and, if you hit it wrong, it would throw the nose. I had to be careful, but those guys behind us made me pick up the pace more than what I had been doing up to that point. Our car was good, I just had it on cruise control and tried not to make any mistakes."
Courtney, of Indianapolis, Indiana, not only retained his Indiana Sprint Week point lead with his second place run in his TOPP Motorsports/Maxim/Chevy, but extended it from 2 to 22 points over Brady Bacon and Chris Windom heading into the final four-race stretch of "Sprint Week" at the Terre Haute Action Track on Wednesday, July 13.
"I can't ask for much more, other than to have won the last two nights," Courtney said. "That last restart shows why Bryan (Clauson) is the best because he snookered the whole field. I didn't really know what to do because we're supposed to stay in line but that's the way it goes. We were pretty decent; Bryan was a little better, obviously, but we'll get it tuned up again and probably head to Terre Haute now."
Windom, of Canton, Illinois, took the Baldwin Brothers Racing/Fox Paving - AMSOIL/Maxim/Claxton Mopar to another solid third place run, tying him for second in Indiana Sprint Week points alongside Brady Bacon.
"I didn't need all those cautions at the beginning because we were better on the long run," Windom admitted. "I was trying to make something work on the middle to bottom and I could get those guys off the bottom of four when they'd get bottled up running the top. We fell back to 11th or something at some point, so to charge back up to third is good. We're right there in the hunt for this Sprint Week title, so if we can keep knocking out podiums, we're going to be in good shape."
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Tyler Courtney, 3. Chris Windom, 4. C.J. Leary, 5. Josh Hodges, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Brady Bacon, 8. Kyle Cummins, 9. Robert Ballou, 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 11. Jarett Andretti, 12. Chase Stockon, 13. Jon Stanbrough, 14. Zach Daum, 15. Landon Simon, 16. Dave Darland, 17. Tyler Thomas, 18. Thomas Meseraull, 19. Hunter Schuerenberg, 20. Logan Jarrett, 21. Nick Bilbee, 22. Chad Boespflug, 23. Kyle Wissmiller, 24. Joss Moffatt. NT
**Farney & Williams flipped during the fourth heat.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Schuerenberg, Laps 6-30 Clauson.
KSE/B & W AUTO MART HARD CHARGER: Kyle Cummins (20th to 8th)
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,694, 2-Ballou-1,507, 3-Meseraull-1,491, 4-Stockon-1,473, 5-Darland-1,389, 6-Leary-1,344, 7-Boespflug-1,311; 8-Windom-1,220, 9-McGhee-1,158, 10-Clauson-962.
NEW USAC INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Courtney-215, 2-Bacon & Windom-193, 4-Clauson-188, 5-Ballou-177, 6-Cummins-166, 7-Thomas Jr.-142, 8-Andretti-136, 9-Stockon-130, 10-S.Cottle-129.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 13 - Terre Haute (IN) Action Track - "Indiana Sprint Week" - "Don Smith Classic"
CUMMINS CRACKS WIN COLUMN; CAPTURES FIRST USAC SPRINT VICTORY BY A FOOT OVER BALLOU AT KOKOMO
Bridesmaid. Perennial runner-up. Call him what you will, but Kyle Cummins certainly cannot be labeled as such any longer. For, on Saturday night at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway, the long wait came to an end for the Princeton, Indiana driver.
After passing Chris Windom for the lead with just nine laps to go, Cummins emerged from late-race turmoil and a massive charge by Robert Ballou on the final corner of the last lap to take the win by a foot in his Rock Steady Racing/ProGlide Bearings - Tim Mason ReMax/Mach-1/Cummins-powered machine, and thereby penning his name into the record books as a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car winner Saturday on night two of the 29th annual Indiana Sprint Week.
Twenty-four hours after Tyler Courtney pulled a stunner with his victory on Friday night at Gas City, Cummins became the second consecutive new face to emerge in Indiana Sprint Week victory lane, marking the first time since September of 2008 there have been first-time winners in back-to-back USAC National Sprint Car races. Kasey Kahne Racing teammates Brad Sweet and Brady Bacon accomplished the feat in two straight races at Rossburg, Ohio's Eldora Speedway and Winchester (Ind.) Speedway, respectively.
Cummins victory following Courtney's on Friday also was only the second time Indiana Sprint Week has produced two straight first-time USAC National Sprint Car winners. In 1997, Brad Fox (Bloomington) and Bill Rose (Paragon) notched their initial series wins one after the other.
After many close calls and near triumphs throughout the years, Cummins' breakthrough performance came 13 years after his USAC debut at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track in late 2003.
"Finally," Cummins exhaled. "I about teared up when I got out. I'm so tired of second and third; I started sixth and looked at those guys ahead of me and thought, 'man, this is going to be a tough race to win.' I got better and better as the race went on. Once I got around Windom, the infield tire got moved down and I hit the slime and got into him. I hate that it happened because I want to beat them all. That yellow with one to go had me all sorts of nervous. I knew if I slipped up even a little bit, Robert would pounce. Our car would get super tight if I got into the corner straight, so I opened up my entry a little bit. I was too tight to run there at the beginning, so I started making a bigger arc as the race went on. I knew as long as I could keep the arc up, I could catch the moisture on the bottom and I'd be okay."
Chris Windom shot to the lead on the opening lap from his outside front row starting position with pole sitter Kevin Thomas, Jr. running three to four car lengths back throughout much of the first half of the race.
A lap 14 incident involving Tyler Thomas, Max McGhee Thomas Meseraull and Jon Stanbrough in turn two slowed the pace just before the halfway point, setting up a restart with Windom at the point and K. Thomas right on his tail tank.
K. Thomas shadowed Windom through turns one and two on the restart. As the pair headed into turn three, K. Thomas threw a massive slider on Windom for the lead, briefly taking the top spot before Windom clawed back to the lead at the line by a fingernail's length. However, a yellow due to the stopped car of Meseraull in turn three reset the order once again.
On the following lap 14 restart attempt, Windom pulled the front wheels off the ground twice after standing on the throttle leading the pack to the green flag. Windom finally got the power to the ground just past the flag stand, but K. Thomas was ready to pounce, pulling within striking distance of Windom as he drove down the hill off the high side of turn two, splitting between leader Windom and Chase Stockon to take the race lead heading into turn three.
However, Thomas' timing was ill-fated once again as fifth-running Brady Bacon found himself sitting backwards in turn three just after the restart. As the field scattered to miss Bacon, C.J. Leary, Logan Jarrett, Tyler Thomas and Hunter Schuerenberg couldn't avoid the trouble. Schuerenberg received the worst end of the deal, getting upside down after climbing the wall with the right side tires. He was uninjured.
Since the lap wasn't fully completed, K.Thomas lined up behind Windom once again for the ensuing restart.
Once action resumed, second-fastest qualifier and sixth-starting Cummins began his methodical dissection of the front runners. Using the bottom side of the racetrack, Cummins drove by Stockon off the inside of turn two for the third spot on lap 19 and, one lap later, slipped past K. Thomas on the bottom of turn three to steal second.
With eight laps to go, Cummins caught Windom and got the pull off the moisture on the bottom of turn two to propel him by Windom for the lead heading into turn three.
Windom countered midway between turns three and four, crossing over to get underneath Cummins at the exit of turn four. But Cummins got a tad bit sideways at the exit, initiating contact with his left rear tire and Windom's right front, sending Windom sideways and, in turn, setting off a chain-reaction incident that also collected frontrunners Chase Stockon and Bryan Clauson.
In the blink of an eye, the entire complexion of the race had changed with the second, third and fifth-place cars now out of the picture. Yet, Cummins ride wouldn't be free and easy as he now had to fend off 2013 Kokomo "Indiana Sprint Week" winner Kevin Thomas, Jr. and defending "Sprint Week" champ Robert Ballou for the final eight circuits.
Cummins remained dedicated to the low line as did Ballou while K. Thomas stayed true to the top side in the final laps. K. Thomas was able to hang close with Cummins for the lead, engaging in a battle that saw him just one car length behind at the stripe a lap after the restart.
K.Thomas (outside) and Ballou (inside) swarmed Cummins from both sides. The rapidly closing Ballou inched closer and closer on the bottom, peeking his nose inside Cummins for the lead off of turn four at the conclusion of lap 26 and in turn one on the 27th lap, but just wasn't close enough yet to attempt the knockout punch.
A four-car tangle involving Aaron Farney, Leary, Dave Darland and McGhee brought out the night's final yellow, setting up a two-lap shootout to the finish line.
Cummins worked the low-line throughout the 30-lap feature, but Ballou sunk his teeth firmly into the moisture a car length lower than Cummins while K. Thomas put his right rear Hoosier up against the outside wall for the last two laps.
On the final lap, Ballou gave it one last shot, skimming the infield tires with his front wheels as he pitched his machine sideways through the final two corners a car-width underneath leader Cummins.
Ballou got a big bite coming off the last corner in a side-by-side drag race to the checkered flag with Cummins, but Cummins had just enough to eke out the victory by a foot over Ballou while Thomas, Coons (from 22nd) and Bacon rounded out the top-five.
It was yet another solid second place run for Rocklin, California native Ballou, who nearly ripped away the win from Cummins at the end.
"I got hit in the helmet with a rock and it shattered my helmet. It felt like it broke my jaw," Ballou explained. "But we salvaged a good run. I had the best car I've ever driven here. We made some last minute changes once we were on the track before the feature and everything we changed was the right decision."
Kevin Thomas, Jr. has been a rocket during his six visits to Kokomo Speedway during the 2016 season, finishing third Saturday night after results of 1st, 1st, 3rd, 2nd and 5th in his five previous visits in non-USAC, weekly competition shows at the ¼-mile oval this year.
"There was a hole in (turns) three and four and, if you hit it wrong on the restarts, it would get the car upset, Thomas said. "Windom did that a few times and protected the bottom, and then I could get some momentum built up and slide him the next time around. I thought that was going to work for a while, but then I went to the bottom and got swarmed. Unfortunately, those guys got collected in that wreck, so we couldn't race it out. But I lived and died by the top and, tonight, it just didn't work out for us."
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kyle Cummins, 2. Robert Ballou, 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 4. Jerry Coons Jr., 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Chad Boespflug, 7. Tyler Courtney, 8. Jarett Andretti, 9. Chris Windom, 10. Shane Cottle, 11. Thomas Meseraull, 12. Tyler Thomas, 13. Logan Jarrett, 14. Chase Stockon, 15. Dave Darland, 16. Aaron Farney, 17. Max McGhee, 18. C.J. Leary, 19. Bryan Clauson, 20. Kent Schmidt, 21. Hunter Schuerenberg, 22. Jon Stanbrough, 23. Josh Hodges, 24. Cole Ketcham. NT
**Bares flipped during the fourth heat. Schuerenberg flipped on lap 14 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-21 Windom, Laps 22-30 Cummins.
KSE/B & W AUTO MART HARD CHARGER: Jerry Coons Jr. (22nd to 4th).
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,626, 2-Meseraull-1,464, 3-Ballou-1,458, 4-Stockon-1,433, 5-Darland-1,351, 6-Boespflug-1,288, 7-Leary-1,279, 8-Windom-1,148, 9-McGhee-1,148, 10-Farney-934.
NEW USAC INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Courtney-137, 2-Bacon-135, 3-Ballou & Coons-128, 5-Windom-121, 6-S.Cottle-119, 7-Cummins-116, 8-Clauson-109, 9-Boespflug & Thomas Jr.-97.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 10 - Lawrenceburg (IN) Speedway - "Indiana Sprint Week"
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES FOR 2016 FINALIZED; BUTLER, DAVIS, MEARS & OLSON LATEST HONOREES
USAC's recent social media poll to complete the 2016 list of inductees into the USAC Hall of Fame has resulted in inductions for drivers Steve Butler, Rick Mears and Kevin Olson, and car owner and chief mechanic Willie Davis.
The four new inductees received the most votes from a select list of 16 candidates and will join eight previously-announced inductees in the ceremony which accompanies the July 21 "Rich Vogler Classic" USAC Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind.
Previously-announced 2016 inductees include (alphabetically) Russ Clendenen, Jimmy Davies, Bob Higman, Tommy Hinnershitz, Dick King, Pat O'Connor, Tony Stewart and Bob Tattersall.
Steve Butler, of Kokomo, Ind., is a six-time USAC National Driving Champion. He won the Silver Crown title in 1988 and 1992 and swept three straight Sprint Car championships between 1986 and 1988 before repeating in 1990. A 2005 inductee into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, he is also in the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans Hall of Fame and has been commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel. He was USAC's Silver Crown "Rookie of the Year" in 1985 and also won an AMA Motorcycle championship in 1976. He's a 4-time "4-Crown Nationals" champ (twice each in Silver Crown and Sprint) and won back-to-back "Tony Hulman Classic" Sprint races on dirt and pavement!
Willie Davis, of Pittsboro, Ind., was one of USAC's most proficient car owners and chief mechanics. He captured USAC National Sprint Car Owner titles in 1969 and 1971, producing driver titles for Gary Bettenhausen. He recorded 34 feature victories during his tenure as a USAC car owner. In 1980, he served as the chief mechanic on Bettenhausen's third-place Indianapolis 500 entry from Armstrong Mould Racing. Having started in hot rods in the 1940s, Willie assisted with Art Bisch's 1956 CRA Sprint Car championship and later was instrumental in providing Johnny Rutherford's initial USAC Sprint car ride at Reading, Pa. In 1996, he was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
Rick Mears, of Bakersfield, Calif., is one of only three four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, having won all four under the sanction of USAC. In 1984, 1988 and 1991 he was USAC's Gold Crown Driving Champion. His six Indy 500 poles are the all-time record. He is also a three-time Indy Car World Series Champion (1979, 1981 and 1982). In 1978, he shared the Indianapolis 500 "Rookie of the Race" award with USAC Hall of Famer Larry Rice. In 1997, he was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and the following year was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Kevin Olson, of Loves Park, Ill., won USAC National Midget championships in 1982 and 1987 and captured 23 victories during his USAC career. Among his victories were wins in the 1983 Turkey Night Grand Prix and the 1996 Hut Hundred. He is a five-time Badger Midget Auto Racing Association (BMARA) Champ and also won the prestigious "Pepsi Midget Nationals" at Sun Prairie, Wisc. five times! Olson has more recently been involved in motorsports broadcasting and has worked on the team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Kevin was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1997
BALLOU GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE IN PUTNAMVILLE'S "BILL GARDNER SPRINTACULAR"
Putnamville, Indiana.........Lincoln Park Speedway has been very kind to Robert Ballou in recent years. Almost two years to the day of the Rocklin, California native's career-turning triumph at the 5/16-mile dirt oval, Ballou once again took his own team to USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory lane at the track Friday night, holding off a late charge by Chad Boespflug to take the 2nd annual "Bill Gardner Sprintacular."
Outside front row starter Ballou rolled off alongside pole-sitter Boespflug at the beginning of the 30-lap event. After battling side-by-side throughout the first circuit, Ballou was able to edge ahead of Boespflug on the outside as he shot off the turn four curb to lead lap one.
As Boespflug shifted back-and-forth from the topside to the lowside and back again in search of the fastest way around, Ballou found the legendary Putnamville cushion to his liking and, by the fifth lap, had already built up a half-straightaway lead over Boespflug in second.
By the 14th lap, Ballou held the advantage by a country mile as he entered lapped traffic just prior to the halfway point, allowing Boespflug to steadily knife his way back into contention as he closed the gap for the top spot.
With 10 to go, the top-two began to check out on the rest of the field, with Boespflug in hot pursuit of Ballou up top.
Behind them, Thomas Meseraull was beginning to charge, picking off ProSource Fast Qualifier Josh Hodges for sixth on lap 19 and Shane Cottle to move into the top-five on 20th lap. But on the 21st lap, Meseraull slid over the turn four cushion, gliding up and punching the outside wall with the right side of the car with major force, putting an end to his night and providing a damaging blow to his standing in the series points.
The lapped car of Aaron Farney separated leader Ballou and second-running Boespflug on the restart with nine laps to go. Boespflug was able to maneuver around Farney with relative ease and now put himself in a two-car shootout with Ballou and an open track ahead of them.
Boespflug evaporated Ballou's lead as the laps continued to dwindle. As flagman Tom Hansing raised his hand to signify five laps remaining, Ballou's lead was cut down to a mere three car lengths.
Yet, catching is quite different from passing in auto racing, but Boespflug had put himself in prime position to capitalize on any small mistake by Ballou.
On the 28th lap, Ballou's right rear tire hit the turn three cushion with a mighty wallop, knocking him off course just slightly enough to allow Boespflug to put his bumper within inches of the golden #1 on Ballou's tail tank. Ballou didn't panic, though. He simply stood on the throttle and was able to ward off Boespflug's attack and, in fact, was able to give himself a tad bit more breathing room entering the final two laps.
On the last lap, Ballou approached the side-by-side lapped cars of Shane Cockrum (inside) and Bret Mellenberndt (outside) entering the third turn. With Boespflug making one last bid for the win and traffic just out in front of his nose, Ballou navigated the outside without so much as a flinch to put the car in victory lane for the fourth time in 2016, defeating Boespflug, Bacon, Shane Cottle and Dave Darland.
"Everybody has stepped their game up here lately, so having a starting spot up front was big tonight," Ballou admitted. "Putnamville is always tricky and the weather today didn't help, but the water they put on before the feature helped. We've fought some issues with our whole package all year and we've been searching and trying different things. We're trying to dig out of a little bit of a low point right now and this win obviously helps. It's tough to beat Brady (Bacon) and the Hoffmans right now, but getting a win tonight is a good indication that we're moving in the right direction."
Hanford, California's Boespflug finished second coming up just short of duplicating his victory on Independence Day weekend three years ago at Putnamville.
"The track was a little greasy at the start and Robert (Ballou) got a better advantage right away, so that hurt us a little bit," Boespflug said. "We've kind of been up and down this year, so we'll take a second tonight. We had the frame on this car clipped after Susquehanna, so this was a little bit of a test run tonight and it passed pretty well, so we're happy with it heading into 'Indiana Sprint Week.' I think I was better in (turns) three and four than he was and, towards the end, I could kind of slow roll and cheat the cushion a little and I gained some ground there. Once I figured that out, I was thinking the whole time how I was going to get by him. It was going to take a haymaker, but we almost had him."
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Bacon continued his impressive streak as of late, knocking down his eighth consecutive top-four finish Friday night. In the process, he extended his point lead to a season-high 104 after capitalizing on Meseraull's misfortune.
"We took what we could get tonight," accepted Bacon. "It was a good points night for us, but there wasn't really a lot we could do. I moved up towards the end and got rolling decent, but we were just going the same speed as everybody else, so it was just kind of one of those nights where you soldier home to the finish and just get the best you can."
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Chad Boespflug, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Shane Cottle, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Josh Hodges, 8. Hunter Schuerenberg, 9. Max McGhee, 10. Chris Windom, 11. Kevin Thomas Jr., 12. C.J. Leary, 13. Jerry Coons Jr., 14. Jon Stanbrough, 15. Jarett Andretti, 16. Cole Ketcham, 17. Casey Shuman, 18. Brent Beauchamp, 19. Shane Cockrum, 20. Aaron Farney, 21. Bret Mellenberndt, 22. Thomas Meseraull, 23. Logan Jarrett, 24. Landon Simon, NT
**Chapple flipped during practice.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Ballou.
KSE HARD CHARGER: Chris Windom (22nd to 10th)
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,491, 2-Meseraull-1,387, 3-Stockon-1,343, 4-Ballou-1,330, 5-Darland-1,283, 6-Leary-1,219, 7-Boespflug-1,191, 8-McGhee-1,060, 9-Windom-1,025, 10-Farney-868.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 8 - Gas City (IN) I-69 Speedway - 29th "Indiana Sprint Week"
2016 SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY United States Auto Club
In the fast evolving world of digital media, social media can mean many things. Social media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the Internet, including to your own or someone else's web blog, journal or diary, personal web site, social networking or affinity web site, web bulletin board or a chat room, whether or not associated or affiliated with USAC, as well as any other form of electronic communication. The most common forms of social media are Facebook and Twitter, but continue to evolve with Instagram, Snapchat and other forms of peer-peer and user-generated content sites.
Even though these forums may seem informal, often they are home for people who choose to vent frustration. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for what is posted online from accounts managed by yourself, or those you may be responsible for (your children under 18). Before creating online content yourself and/or allowing others the ability to post online content for you, consider some of the risks that you may pose. Keep in mind that any of your conduct that adversely affects USAC, our track partners, our sponsors and all other members and participants of USAC may result in disciplinary action up to and including suspension.
Does This Apply To Me?
This new Social Media policy applies to all USAC Competitors and Officials. A Competitor is a Driver, Entrant, Family Member, Crew Member, or any other individual or entity who is a Member and participates competitively in a USAC Sanctioned Event. An Official is any and all authorized USAC officers, employees, agents, representatives, and subcontractors. USAC reserves the right to apply the policy to other Members as it deems appropriate.
This new policy is in effect immediately and will be posted on all USAC rulebooks and websites for members. For 2017, this policy will become part of the annual waiver and credentialing process.
Know The Social Media Rules
Carefully read these guidelines, as well as the Rule Book, and ensure your postings are consistent with these policies. Inappropriate postings that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment, and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and may subject you to disciplinary action up to and including suspension.
Always be fair and courteous to others. Also, keep in mind that you are more likely to resolve complaints by speaking directly with others than by posting complaints to a social media outlet. Nevertheless, if you decide to post complaints or criticism, avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating, that disparage others or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone's reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile trackside environment on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion or any other status protected by law, rule or policy.
Be honest and accurate
Make sure you are always honest and accurate when posting information or news, and if you make a mistake, correct it quickly. Be open about any previous posts you have altered. Remember that the Internet archives almost everything; therefore, even deleted postings can be searched. Posts are "on the record" and available to the media, public, sponsors, and other business partners and subject to discovery in litigation matters. Never post any rumors, speculation or information about USAC or others until an official announcement, release or other post by official social media accounts has been made to the public and media.
USAC prohibits taking negative action against any Member or other for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation. Any Member who retaliates against another Member or other for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
USAC reserves the right to modify this policy as it deems appropriate in its discretion. In such case, USAC will provide: i) existing Members with a bulletin and the revised policy via the electronic mail account on file with USAC for the Member, Entrant and/or Associate and post the bulletin and the revised policy on the USAC website; ii) new applicants with the revised policy as part of the membership application materials.
For more information
Of course, nothing in this social media policy is meant to discourage Members from exercising their rights to use social media. Social media plays an integral role in reaching out to and growing our fan base. It is a way to give fans direct interaction with USAC, drivers, teams, tracks, and sponsors. This policy, if used correctly, will only enhance and brighten this experience for all parties involved.
If you have questions or need further guidance, please contact Kirk Spridgeon (USAC Circle Track) at email@example.com or Jerry Coons (USAC .25) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: June 25, 2016 - Kansas City, Kansas - Lakeside Speedway
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Dave Darland, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Chris Windom, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Chad Boespflug, 8. Aaron Farney, 9. C.J. Leary, 10. Max McGhee, 11. Riley Kreisel, 12. Clinton Boyles, 13. Bret Mellenberndt, 14. Joe Bares, 15. Chris Parkinson, 16. Rob Caho, Jr., 17. Kenny Potter, 18. Landon Simon, 19. Isaac Chapple, 20. Mike Ell, 21. Warren Johnson. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Ballou.
KSE HARD CHARGER: Bret Mellenberndt (20th to 13th)
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,339, 2-Meseraull-1,278, 3-Ballou-1,203, 4-Stockon-1,203, 5-Darland-1,163, 6-Leary-1,121, 7-Boespflug-1,051, 8-McGhee-972, 9-Windom-903, 10-Farney-793.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: June 26 - Kansas City, KS - Lakeside Speedway
BOESPFLUG BREAKS OUT FOR 3RD WIN OF SEASON AT EAGLE
Coming into the 2016 season, it had been three seasons since Chad Boespflug visited USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory lane. Now, as the calendar nears the edge of the month of June, the Hanford, California native found the perfect balance on both ends of the racetrack, running the bottom in turns one and two and the topside of turns three and four to perfection to grab his third series win of the year in Friday night's "Rumble in the Bullring" at Eagle (Neb.) Raceway.
On the start, Boespflug shot to the lead from the pole position, sliding up in front of fellow front row starter Isaac Chapple at the flag stand, occupying the high line into turn one. Chapple, the top-rookie in series points, fought back on the bottom of the back straightaway to take the lead from Boespflug.
As the frontrunners came out of turn four, Chapple was in the middle of a three-wide sandwich, just barely nipping Mellenberndt (inside) and Boespflug (outside) to lead the initial lap of the 30-lap feature. The lead was short-lived, however, as Boespflug would carry the momentum from the outside to retake the top spot on the second lap.
On the third circuit, third-running Stockon got squirrely through turn two, sliding sideways down the back straightaway as he wrestled to regain control of his machine. Max McGhee, with no place to go, plowed into the left side of Stockon's car. The two came to a stop, bringing out the race's first yellow. While both would require a visit to the work area in the pits, both would return to action.
Shortly after the restart, two drivers in a position to solidify their best result of their respective seasons - Chapple and Mellenberndt - waged war for second on lap six. Mellenberndt snuck his nose underneath Chapple at the exit of turn four, but Chapple's left rear tire ramped over the right front tire of Mellenberndt, send Mellenberndt with a collapsed front end straight up to the outside wall as C.J. Leary nailed the front end of Mellenberndt's stopped car.
Meanwhile, Robert Ballou, while trying to avoid getting caught in the incident, veered left to steer away from contact. Just behind Ballou was Landon Simon, who ramped over the left side wheels of Ballou, sending him into a wild series of flips down the front straightaway. He was uninjured.
By lap seven, seventh-place starter and previous night's feature winner Brady Bacon had become a player, soaring around the outside of Chapple for second in turn two. Thirteenth place starter Dave Darland also got by the fading Chapple for third on the topside a half-lap later.
Three laps later, Darland, a two-time USAC Sprint Car winner at Eagle, made a bid for second on the bottom of turn two past Bacon, securing the post down the back stretch.
Bacon would remain within arm's length of Darland as the two closed the gap on leader Boespflug throughout the middle-stages of the race. An intense three-car clash between the three ensued, but was put to rest after the red flag was displayed for a Brandon Stevenson tumble on lap 15.
On the restart, Boespflug was able to put his car anywhere he pleased, maintaining his unique line lap-after-lap, running the bottom of turns one and two and up on the cushion in turns three and four.
On lap 17, Chris Windom and Thomas Meseraull became entangled coming off the fourth turn. Meseraull vaulted over Windom's left side wheels and landed on the sidewalls of his own left side tires while Windom was sent into a 360 degree spin. Though Windom continued on without coming to a stop, by rule, he had to restart from the tail of the field.
With Bacon glued to the bottom side of the racetrack and Darland up top, Bacon was able to grab the second spot for good with ten to go. However, Boespflug rode off into the distance, leading with a half-straight advantage with two-thirds of the race's story already written.
A lap 24 caution for McGhee's meeting with a turn three infield tire set up a six-lap shootout between Boespflug, Bacon and Darland. The Hoffman 69 came alive with Bacon at the controls in the final laps as he ran the short way around while Boespflug rode the fence.
With three to go, Bacon reached into his bag of tricks, briefly swapping lines to mimic Boespflug's tracks on the high-side of turns three and four before returning to the bottom one lap later.
Heading toward the final two turns on the final lap, Bacon appeared to edge slightly ahead of Boespflug between turns three and four, but Boespflug had the momentum, rocketing down the hill out of turn four toward the finish line to take the victory by 0.363 of a second for his third victory of the year, thereby quadrupling his USAC win total in the first four months of the 2016 season.
Rounding out the top-five behind Boespflug were Bacon, Darland, Meseraull and Ballou.
Boespflug's Eagle victory joins his "#LetsRaceTwo" Eldora Speedway victory back in May and his recent "Eastern Storm" triumph at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway on his USAC resume this season. Boespflug led the final 29 laps.
"I felt really comfortable ripping the top in (turns) three and four and I took my time up there on the last lap," Boespflug explained. "I could see Brady down there, but I knew I was getting a good run off of turn four. I tried to just start slowing down and making sure I hit my marks. We're kind of hit-and-miss right now, so we're working on a balance. These bigger, high-banked tracks seem to be to our liking right now, so if we can get the flatter tracks figured out we'll be good to go."
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Bacon earned his series-leading 13th top-five finish in 19 starts, taking second at the checkers and extending his point lead to 51 over Meseraull in the standings heading into back-to-back nights Saturday and Sunday at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.
"The last five laps, somebody had hit the infield tire and knocked it out onto the track and that hurt me going into (turn) three because I couldn't stay on the bottom all the way around the other end," Bacon said. "I moved up the last few laps and started catching the crumbs and I wish I would've tried that a lap earlier because I almost got him at the checkered. Chad never messed up too bad, even though the track was tricky tonight. It was fun, though, to get to move around and get to run the top and bottom. We survived the bumper cars at the beginning and kept our momentum rolling."
Lincoln, Indiana's Dave Darland was the victor of the two most recent USAC Sprint races at Eagle in 2014 and 2015. On Friday night, Dave was in the hunt once again throughout the duration of the event, taking third at the finish.
"We were good early around the top and gained a lot of spots that way," Darland recalled. "The track was slick, so a lot of places you had to be easy on the throttle and try to hit the cushion at the right spot to carry enough speed. Those guys were getting off both corners really well, but we did what we could and we're happy with a podium."
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 24, 2016 - Eagle, Nebraska - Eagle Raceway - "Rumble in the Bullring"
PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. C.J. Leary, 17GP, Dutcher-13.247, 2. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-13.321; 3. Thomas Meseraull, 66, Amati-13.417; 4. Bret Mellenberndt, 97, Mellenberndt-13.439; 5. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR-13.503; 6. Chad Boespflug, 98E, NineEight/EZR-13.568; 7. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-13.571; 8. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-13.614; 9. Max McGhee, 17, McGhee-13.626; 10. Rob Caho, Jr., 78, Caho-13.685; 11. Chris Windom 5, Baldwin-13.827; 12. Joe Bares, 19, TEST-13.828; 13. Dave Darland, 11, Walker/Curb-Agajanian-13.880; 14. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-13.902; 15. Robert Ballou, 1, Ballou-13.982; 16. Clinton Boyles, 77, Hockett-13.995; 17. Ryan Kitchen, 21, Kitchen-14.086; 18. Terry Richards, 18, TR's Tool Service-14.427; 19. Brandon Stevenson, 0, Stevenson-14.626; 20. Alex Schriever, 0x, Davis-14.677.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Darland, 3. Leary, 4. Mellenberndt, 5. Caho, 6. Stevenson, 7. Boyles. NT-
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Kitchen, 2. Simon, 3. Farney, 4. Chapple, 5. Stockon, 6. Schriever, 7. Windom. 2:02.07
BENIC ENTERPRISES/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Boespflug, 3. Meseraull, 4. McGhee, 5. Richards, 6. Bares. 1:59.60
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chad Boespflug, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Dave Darland, 4. Thomas Meseraull, 5. Robert Ballou, 6. Rob Caho, Jr., 7. Ryan Kitchen, 8. Chris Windom, 9. Aaron Farney, 10. Joe Bares, 11. Isaac Chapple, 12. Alex Schriever, 13. C.J. Leary, 14. Chase Stockon, 15. Max McGhee, 16. Clinton Boyles, 17. Brandon Stevenson, 18. Terry Richards, 19. Bret Mellenberndt, 20. Landon Simon. NT
**Simon flipped on lap 6 of the feature. Stevenson flipped on lap 14 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Chapple, Laps 2-30 Boespflug.
KSE HARD CHARGER: Dave Darland (13th to 3rd)
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,259, 2-Meseraull-1,208, 3-Stockon-1,134, 4-Ballou-1,125, 5-Darland-1,089, 6-Leary-1,070, 7-Boespflug-991, 8-McGhee-923, 9-Windom-838, 10-Bryan Clauson-774.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: June 25 - Kansas City, Kansas - Lakeside Speedway
THORSON TURNS UP THE HEAT IN VICTORY AT THE DITCH
West Memphis, AR.........On a hot muggy night in West Memphis, Tanner Thorson became the first repeat winner of the 2016 USAC Midget National Championship season, using a sensational turn three slide job on lap 11 to scoot past Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate Carson Macedo, which proved to be the winning move, taking the win in the series' first ever visit to the state of Arkansas Friday night at Riverside International Speedway.
At the start of the 30-lap main event, outside front row starter Chad Boat took the first step forward, sliding across the nose of pole-sitter Carson Macedo to the lead at the entry of turn one.
Series rookie Macedo would fight back, inciting a barrage of sliders with Boat throughout the first couple of circuits that each culminated with Macedo leading at the stripe.
On the third lap, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., running fourth, got an enormous run off the turn two banking. As he attempted to split the gap between the cars of Boat and Macedo, the gap quickly closed. Stenhouse ramped over the left rear tire of Boat, sending himself into a mid-air 180-degree spin, launching him off the gumbo surface like an over-inflated basketball before smacking the back of the rollcage against the track, bouncing completely over once, and then slapping the sidewalls of his right side tires off the ground which propped him up on all fours as he stayed on the gas and drove away.
The amazing, spectacular, highlight-reel save by Stenhouse resulted in a red flag. Despite Stenhouse's ability to initially drive the car away from the scene, Stenhouse's Bryan Clauson Racing mount received a myriad of mechanical issues that came about due to the incident including a broken shock, radius rod, and a bent axle. Stenhouse was unable to continue, ending his return to his home track located just 30 miles northwest across the Mississippi River from his native Olive Branch, Mississippi.
Fifth-running Bryan Clauson's trying night came to an abrupt end, pulling into the infield on the eighth lap and having to settle for a disappointing 15th place result. This came after Clauson's RKR/Dooling team thrashed to replace the rear-end of the number 63 just prior to the feature.
By the 11th lap, ProSource Fast Qualifier and fifth-place starter Thorson had reeled in race leader Macedo. With Macedo set up high at the entrance to turn three, Thorson throttled to the bottom in a daring move that allowed him to slide up in front of his teammate as Macedo got squirrelly and lost substantial ground to the flying Thorson.
Thorson was on a rail, on a one-way track and never looking back as he posted the fastest lap of the race one circuit later on the 12th lap. With less than ten to go, Thorson had extended his advantage to a full-straightaway over second-place Macedo.
At the checkered, Thorson had delivered a proverbial spanking to the rest of the field, winning by nearly five seconds and lapping all but the top-eight finishers: Macedo, Boat, Bayston, Brady Bacon, Ryan Greth, KSE Hard Charger Shane Golobic and Ryan Robinson.
It was Minden, Nevada native Thorson's sixth career USAC National Midget victory and his second in the series' first seven races of the 2016 season in his Keith Kunz - Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD - JBL Audio/Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
"These guys work their butts off," Thorson praised. "That was breathtaking. The track was awesome. It was racy and you could move around. The slide jobs were a lot of fun and you could run the bottom down in turns one and two to sneak by some guys.
Lemoore, California's Carson Macedo led the first 10 laps of his USAC National Midget career on his way to earning a series' career-best second place finish.
"This team puts great cars underneath all of us," Macedo said. "I felt like I was good enough to win; I just spent too much time up top. I didn't know Tanner was so good down on the bottom and then he got by me, so then I could see where he was running. Being a rookie in the midget, everywhere we go is new to me, so it's nice to come back and use what we learned tonight. We'll try to do that tomorrow. I know I'll have a good car under me, so it's up to me."
Chad Boat, of Phoenix, Arizona, had yet another solid run finishing in the third spot for the second straight series race.
"We'll take a third tonight," Boat contented. "Tanner was just a little better than us tonight, but it's two thirds in a row, so we're building momentum. It was a decent night for us; it just kind of felt like we were missing something all night. But we'll work on it and come back tomorrow and go for the dub."
USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 17, 2016 - West Memphis, Arkansas - Riverside International Speedway
1. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.508; 2. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 17, Clauson-13.767; 3. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.767; 4. Bryan Clauson, 63, RKR/Dooling-13.794; 5. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-13.807; 6. Carson Macedo, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.831; 7. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-13.884; 8. Ryan Greth, 4, Lesher-13.893; 9. Ryan Robinson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.914; 10. Holly Shelton, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.914; 11. Matt Sherrell, 35, Sherrell-14.110; 12. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-14.127; 13. Cody Brewer, 96, Central-14.195; 14. Kyle Jones, 54, Hefler-14.285; 15. Nick Bailey, 89, Bailey; 14.300; 16. Shane Golobic, 17w, Wood-14.319; 17. Gage Walker, 7, Walker-14.497.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Robinson, 2. Thorson, 3. Sherrell, 4. Boat, 5. Bayston, 6. Bacon, 7. Brewer, 8. Walker, 9. Bailey. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Macedo, 2. Daum, 3. Clauson, 4. Shelton, 5. Greth, 6. Stenhouse, 7. Golobic, 8. Jones. 2:23.15
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Carson Macedo, 3. Chad Boat, 4. Spencer Bayston, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Ryan Greth, 7. Shane Golobic, 8. Ryan Robinson, 9. Zach Daum, 10. Gage Walker, 11. Holly Shelton, 12. Matt Sherrell, 13. Cody Brewer, 14. Kyle Jones, 15. Bryan Clauson, 16. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., 17. Nick Bailey. NT
**Stenhouse flipped on lap 3 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-10 Macedo, Laps 11-30 Thorson.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Shane Golobic (16th to 7th)
NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-455, 2-Clauson-427, 3-Bacon-417, 4-Thorson-393, 5-Boat-382, 6-Golobic-343, 7-Macedo-312, 8-Daum-301, 9-Tyler Thomas-275, 10-Robinson-266.
NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: June 18 - West Memphis, Arkansas - Riverside International Speedway - "40 for Shorty"
8 INITIAL 2016 USAC HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES ANNOUNCED
CLENDENEN, DAVIES, HIGMAN, HINNERSHITZ, KING, O'CONNOR, STEWART & TATTERSALL
The initial eight 2016 inductees into the USAC Hall of Fame have been announced and four more, selected by popular vote from a list of 16 eligibles distributed through social mediums, will be announced June 20.
The fifth annual USAC Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held July 21 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind. in conjunction with the "Rich Vogler Classic" USAC Silver Crown race.
The eight-member class of inductees announced today includes five drivers, two officials and a car owner-chief mechanic. They are (alphabetically) Russ Clendenen, Jimmy Davies, Bob Higman, Tommy Hinnershitz, Dick King, Pat O'Connor, Tony Stewart and Bob Tattersall.
Online voting for the final four 2016 inductees into the USAC Hall of Fame will be available on the USAC website Monday (June 20) at www.usacracing.com.
Clendenen, of Dayton, Ohio, probably supervised more USAC racing events than anyone in history, spanning several series, primarily including the National Championship Series and the National Sprint Cars. Involved in Midwestern oval-track racing for more than five decades, he started as a mechanic for driver Everett Saylor, the 1937 Central States Racing Association champion. After the war, he turned to officialdom and was an assistant to AAA Midwestern Supervisor Bob Martindale. In 1958, he succeeded Martindale and, after his retirement as a full-time official, he was honored in 1982 with the prestigious Eddie Edenburn Award for his lifelong contributions to the sport. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 94.
Davies, of Gardena, Calif., was three-time USAC National Midget Champion, taking consecutive titles in 1960, 1961 and 1962. His 48 career Midget victories still rank sixth on USAC's all-time National Midget win list. A winner at age 20 in the ill-fated 1949 Del Mar, Calif. AAA 100-miler which claimed the life of Rex Mays, Davies would eventually compete in five Indianapolis 500s, recording his best finish of third in 1955. He also won USAC's Pacific Coast Midget title in 1960 and scored three victories in the prestigious "Night Before the 500" classic. Proficient in his appearances "down under," Davies won the 1963 Australian Speedcar Grand Prix and the 1963 and 1964 South Australian Speedcar titles. He lost his life in a 1966 Midget race at Santa Fe Park Speedway in Hinsdale, Ill. and in 1984 was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
Higman, of Lafayette, Ind., was instrumental in the growth of USAC's National Midget Series in so many ways, from providing top-flight cars for the top drivers to his insightful assistance into rules making as part of USAC's Advisory Board of Directors. His list of major drivers ran the gamut of America's greatest talent and he was directly responsible for USAC Midget Championships for drivers Bob Wente (1963), Mike McGreevy (1966) and Larry Rice (1973). The only man to build a successful turbo-charged Offy Midget engine, he served as the crew chief for Indianapolis 500 driver Jigger Sirois who nearly stole the pole starting position in 1969. Bob's enormous contributions resulted in his induction into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1995. He was also awarded USAC's "Jim Blunk Award" for contributions to Midget racing in 1973 and the prestigious Eddie Edenburn Award in 1988. Bob passed away January 13, 2010.
Hinnershitz, of Oley, Pa., was one of Eastern America's all-time motorsports heroes, claiming USAC Eastern Sprint Car crowns in 1956 and 1959 after winning AAA Eastern titles in 1949-1950-1951-1952 and 1955. He grabbed 11 victories in USAC Sprint racing and competed in a trio of Indianapolis 500s in the 1940s, scoring a ninth-place in 1948 and a 10th in 1941. Inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1990, he also was honored by the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. Hinnershitz died on August 1, 1999.
King, of Niagara Falls, N.Y., joined USAC as an official in 1966 and as its Safety Director for the Championship Series in 1967. Three years later, he became the chief steward for the Championship Series and in 1972 became Assistant to the USAC Executive Director and Competition Director. He served as USAC's President and Chief Executive Officer from 1976 to 1997 and also held the title of Chairman of the Board between 1979 and 1981. In 1984, he also took on the additional responsibilities of President of USAC Properties, Inc. King directed USAC through its most turbulent times, after the 1978 plane crash in Indiana which claimed the lives of eight key officials. In 1997, he was awarded USAC's most prestigious honor, the Roger McCluskey Award of Excellence. He passed away in 2004 at the age of 73.
O'Connor, of North Vernon, Ind., earned the respect of everyone with is demeanor on and off the race track and in 1958 graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in a build-up to that year's Indianapolis 500. He unfortunately perished in a first-lap crash in that year's race, but his career in the sport is legendary. Despite his somewhat brief career (10 years), he captured USAC's inaugural Midwest Sprint Car championship in 1956 and earlier had won 1953 and 1954 Midwest titles under AAA sanction. He scored eight wins in USAC's Sprint car campaign and was generally regarded as one of the "Kings of the Hills," extremely proficient at the high-banked Salem and Winchester, Ind. and Dayton, Ohio ovals. In 1956, he scored a popular victory in the "Pee Dee 200" National Championship race at the Darlington, S.C. Raceway. In 1957, he led the American contingent as they tested at the spectacular Monza, Italy Autodrome, then competed in the famed "Race of Two Worlds." His best Indianapolis 500 finishes in five starts were eighth-places in 1955 and 1957. In 1995 he was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
Stewart, of Columbus, Ind., became the first driver ever to claim all three of USAC's National championships in a single season (in 1995) and is one of only six USAC "Triple Crown Champions." He won the 1994 USAC National Midget title, then added the Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown honors the next season. Proficient in virtually every form of motorsports, he has earned three NASCAR Cup championships (2002, 2005 and 2011) and a 1997 Indy Racing League title. He has 27 USAC National Midget wins to his credit, as well as 10 wins in the Sprint cars and three in the Silver Crown series. A member of the National Midget Hall of Fame (2001), his list of impressive motorsports awards and accolades continues to grow. In five Indianapolis 500 appearances, he started first in 1996, finished fifth from the front row in 1997, was ninth in 1999 and sixth in 2001. His charitable contributions through his Tony Stewart Foundation are endless. In addition to his USAC driving titles, he also has seven Sprint Car Owner championships as well as seven in the Silver Crown Series as an owner.
Tattersall, of Streator, Ill., continues to rank fourth on USAC's all-time Midget winners list with 63 total victories. In 1969 he claimed the USAC National Midget Championship. As an ambassador for America, he travelled to New Zealand and Australia, winning over 50% of his races during a 13-year stretch! In 1966, he passed a Rookie Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway but was unable to secure a starting spot in the 500. Starting in stock cars, he switched to Midgets in 1950 and earned a pair of UARA Midget crowns. He debuted in USAC in 1960 and, in the ensuing 11 years, he never finished worse than eighth in the standings. In 1971, he passed away after a bout with cancer. In 1984, he was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
1. Brady Bacon 1937
2. Robert Ballou 17710
3 Chase Stockon 1725
4. T. Meseraull 1695
5. Dave Darland 1575
6. Chad Boespflug 1540
7. C.J. Leary 1528
8. Chris Windom 1386
9. Max McGhee 1264
10. A. Farney 1089
1. Spencer Bayston 515
2. Bryan Clauson 505
3. Brady Bacon 492
4. Tanner Thorson 455
5. Chad Boat 451
6. Shane Golobic 407
7. Carson Macedo 387
8. Zach Daum 349
9. Ryan Robinson 327
10. Gage Walker 286
1. Chris Windom 320
2. K. Swanson 309
3. Justin Grant 272
4. Shane Cottle 245
5. David Byrne 239
6. Jerry Coons Jr. 236
7. Casey Shuman 221
8. Austin Nemire 212
9. Bryan Clauson 177
10. Shane Cockrum 154
1. R.Vander Weerd 481
2. Damion Gardner 462
3. Brody Roa 455
4. Jake Swanson 452
5. Mike Spencer 429
6. Austin Williams 386
7. Jeremy Ellertson 291
7. Max Adams 291
9. Chris Gansen 281
10. Cody Williams 279