Plymouth, Indiana………Brady Bacon actually had multiple races to contend with at Friday night’s NOS Energy Drink “Indiana Sprint Week” opener at Plymouth Speedway.
First, there was the race against the persistent rain that doused the track’s surface with a plethora of moisture and remained a looming threat throughout the feature event.
Secondly, the 30-lap affair consisted of two battles within one: one for the race lead and one he wasn’t even aware of until he had already sewn up his third career ISW victory in his Brady Bacon Racing/Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts – Tony Elliott Foundation/Triple X/Rider Chevy.
“We actually had a tire going down at the end,” Bacon said. “It had a hole in it, but that actually helped me a little on the restart. I didn’t know I had a hole in the tire until (the crew) told me after the race.”
Urgency was at the forefront of matters on this night, but Bacon wasn’t sweating it. It was already in the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma driver’s playbook regardless of the weather.
“I was trying to go as fast as I could,” Bacon said. “I thought we had a decent window there. We got pushed off pretty quickly and the track didn’t take long to work in. You try to get to the front as fast as you can always because you never know when a yellow’s going to fall or when the track’s going to change.”
At the start of the 30-lapper, outside front row starter Chase Stockon raced to the lead outside pole sitter Isaac Chapple following a side-by-side battle into turns one and two.
Chapple instantly fought back on the following lap, driving to the inside of Stockon off the exit of two before Stockon stuck the point entering turn three where he paced the field for the entirety of the first half.
By the 15th circuit, Bacon had been making substantial gains a lane higher than Stockon. Stockon managed to fend off the Bacon charge by a wheel at the line to lead the lap. Stockon hurried into turn one, sliding up in front of Bacon. Bacon hunkered down underneath Stockon’s lost momentum, snaring the lead for himself on the 16th lap.
“We were good through the middle in the heat race, but I wasn’t sure it was going to come in during the feature,” Bacon admitted. “It was packed down so hard and it was slicker than I thought it was going to be. Finally, it got worked in enough, so I opened my entry into (turn) one and was slowing down and hitting the bottom coming off and it was getting hard to do that. He kind of slipped up enough for me to get underneath him and stay clear of him.”
Bacon made like a tree and got out of there as he stretched out his lead over Stockon. On the 21st lap, Chris Windom became a player in the game as he slipped past Stockon for second and went hunting after Bacon entering lapped traffic. Windom advanced on Bacon to pull within a couple car lengths from the lead. Bacon tussled with the lapped cars of Matt Westfall and Shane Cottle for a time before clearing the airway on lap 23.
The feature’s lone yellow flag flew with six to go when 2015 ISW champ Robert Ballou was turned around on the back straightaway while running ninth.
On the lap 25 restart, wide open spaces on the highway lie ahead for Bacon with traffic not playing a role in how this one would be decided. Bacon ran the middle between turns three and four and the bottom of turns one and two with Windom on the scent a few car lengths back. Though Windom appeared to cut the interval down on the entry into the corner, Bacon always was able to launch off the exits to stretch it out time and time again.
Ultimately, Bacon would be unbeatable down the stretch as he defeated Windom by seven tenths of a second. Dave Darland ran third ahead of Justin Grant and KSE Racing Products/B & W Auto Mart Hard Charger Tyler Courtney, who blitzed from 12th to a 5th place finish.
“I slipped up in lapped traffic a couple times and it slowed me down a little bit, but once I got by them, I knew it was going to be hard for anybody to pass me,” Bacon said. “On the restart, I was a little afraid the top was starting to come in. I thought I was kind of a sitting duck there. I was able to not make too many big mistakes. I made a couple, but none big enough and we were able to hold them off.”
Contingency award winners Friday night at Plymouth Speedway included C.J. Leary (Bell Helmets Fast Time Award), Dave Darland (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Chase Stockon (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Chad Boespflug (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Brady Bacon (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Tyler Courtney (KSE Racing Products/B & W Auto Mart Hard Charger), Brody Roa (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher) and Shane Cockrum (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier).