Posts in 'Kokomo Speedway' Track
August 28th, 2017
Kokomo, Indiana: Sprint Car racing is chock full of ups and downs. Sometimes you’re in victory lane and sometimes you end up on your head.
Tyler Courtney experienced both of these extremes Friday at Kokomo Speedway, recovering from a hard flip during qualifying before returning to action after several other teams pitched in to make repairs. With a lap 10 pass of Hunter Schuerenberg, Courtney persevered to win “Sprint Car Smackdown VI” Night 2 at the very track where it all began for the Indianapolis, Indiana driver affectionately known as “Sunshine.”
“My first USAC start was the first Smackdown,” Courtney reminisces. “To watch it come full circle is pretty cool. I know it’s not my first USAC win, but to get my first Kokomo sprint car win tonight is pretty dang special. This place is tough to tame and the guys who’ve won here are some of the best to ever do it. This one ranks right up there with a lot of the big ones I’ve had. Plus, if you would’ve told me I’d win four USAC races in one year, I would’ve said you’re crazy. I would’ve been happy just winning another one!”
Courtney’s ProSource Qualifying incident came a lap after nailing down second-quick time in his TOPP Motorsports/TOPP Performance Race Parts – Custom Pump & Controls/Maxim/Claxton. Track position is critical at every circuit on the schedule and each position gained through time trials is essential to making the task just a little easier with less cars to pass come feature time.
“I was really frustrated with qualifying 16th last night,” Courtney admitted. “I knew I had a pretty decent lap on the first one. You have to hang it out in qualifying to be up there in the top-six where you want to be. I just got in there too straight, biked ‘er up and set her down. That shot me right into the fence and it was over after that. It’s part of the deal. You just have to persevere through it. With help from half the pit area, we got it back together and almost transferred out of the heat race. Running the B-Main helped us tonight. My guys never give up on me and I never give up on them.”
Courtney’s fifth-place run in the heat put him one spot out of a transfer position, relegating him to the semi-feature and a second-place finish there. Courtney felt the car was a continuous “work in progress” throughout the night following the crash and that it was making a couple unfamiliar noises it wasn’t used to making. However, his qualifying efforts did procure him a spot inside the fourth-row for the feature where he quickly went to work.
Initially, it appeared as if the 30-lapper was going to be a carbon-copy of the night before when fourth-starting C.J. Leary ripped the cushion to the lead exiting turn two at the start. The rocket ship would quickly be grounded, though, when, on the second time around, Leary snagged the turn one curb before contacting the concrete and nosing over, ending the race for the previous night’s winner after only one lap.
The tumultuous start would continue one lap following the restart when two-time USAC Silver Crown champ seventh-place running Kody Swanson got sideways at the exit of turn four, then nailed the infield tire, sending him into a series of flips that he would walk away from unscathed.
Schuerenberg took a hold of the lead when racing resumed as a wild scramble for position ensued behind him between Justin Grant and Tyler Thomas. On lap eight, Thomas aimed for the race lead with a slider between turns one and two on Schuerenberg. Exiting the second turn, the two made contact, pitting Thomas sideways halfway down the back straightaway, yet was able to maintain control and hold onto the second position for the time being.
The little bit of contact was Courtney’s gain as he ate up ground on the bottom while running fourth and, a lap later, used a surge down the back straight to whip past both Grant, then Thomas in quick succession to get to second. On the tenth lap, Courtney continued to crawl the bottom to move past Schuerenberg for the race lead exiting turn four, holding the spot by a car-length at the line at the conclusion of the lap.
“My first USAC start was the first Smackdown. To watch it come full circle is pretty cool. I know it’s not my first USAC win, but to get my first Kokomo sprint car win tonight is pretty dang special. This place is tough to tame and the guys who’ve won here are some of the best to ever do it. This one ranks right up there with a lot of the big ones I’ve had. Plus, if you would’ve told me I’d win four USAC races in one year, I would’ve said you’re crazy. I would’ve been happy just winning another one!” – Tyler Courtney
(Rich Forman Photo)
With ten to go, Schuerenberg found his second wind through the middle and began to pulley himself back to within range of Courtney. Schuerenberg showed a nose to the outside of Courtney off turn two and, as Courtney noticed the bottom beginning to fade, he slid up to the middle lane entering the first turn on the 24th lap just in the nick of time to shield his position and deter the Schuerenberg charge.
Following a yellow for the turned around car of Shane Cottle with six laps remaining, Courtney ventured to the top with Kevin Thomas, Jr., Brady Bacon, Tyler Thomas and Schuerenberg duking it out for the runner-up spot. T. Thomas rung it out on the topside on lap 26, crossing over from high to low off turn four, then splitting between Bacon and Thomas on the front straight entering turn one to take second. K. Thomas countered under T. Thomas through the middle as Bacon lay low to make it three-wide off two.
A half-lap later, T. Thomas swung wide off turn four, nearly making contact with the outside wall. K. Thomas then ramped his right rear over the left front of the sideways T. Thomas, stifling his trek to the front and sending him back to fourth. Bacon capitalized and ripped the second spot away from K. Thomas on the bottom in response and began to track down Courtney instantaneously.
On the final lap, Bacon clocked in with his fastest time of the race and got a nose underneath Courtney entering turn three. One more lap might have been all Bacon needed, but it was not to be as Courtney secured USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature win number four on the year ahead of Bacon, K. Thomas, T. Thomas and Schuerenberg.
In a 30-lap span, Courtney continuously searched for the right line at the right moment, venturing from the bottom to the middle to the high side throughout the event, then used a diamond maneuver during the final laps to keep all challengers at bay for his fifth career win in the series.
“My car was pretty good on the bottom in the B-Main,” Courtney recalls. “I was set up to run there most of the feature. The bottom went away and it got slick down there toward the end. Hunter showed me a nose with seven or eight to go, so I made the jump up. I knew I was going to have to make her wide and make it tough for those guys to get by me on the final restart. Doing this for a living, you got to know when to go where. Luckily, we made all the right moves tonight.”
Consecutive runner-up finishes have earned Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon the most points throughout the two nights of “Smackdown,” locking him into Saturday night’s $10,000 to win A-Main and a spot in B & W Auto Mart’s King of the Hill Qualifying along with K. Thomas, Schuerenberg, Kyle Cummins, Robert Ballou, Courtney, Leary and Scotty Weir.
Bacon’s run from 18th to 2nd on Friday night netted him KSE Racing Products Hard Charger award in his Dooling-Hayward/B & H Contractors – Dooling Machine/Spike/Stanton Mopar. Every lap counts when the competition is as tough as it is and, on Saturday night, Bacon will start no worse than eighth. That puts him in a better position on paper, but as the two-time series champ puts it, that isn’t necessarily a harbinger for success.
“On Thursday night, we thought we had a pretty good shot starting up front and we were just a little too tight,” Bacon remembers. Tonight, we started in the back and almost won. We were actually closer to winning tonight than we were last night even though we’ve run second both nights. I had only a lap or two where I could run the line I needed to run without someone beside me. We reeled Sunshine in pretty close at the end, but it’s only 30 laps, so it doesn’t really matter.”
Defending “Smackdown” winner Kevin Thomas, Jr. of Cullman, Alabama once again finished up front at Kokomo, wrapping up a third-place finish in his KT Motorsports/Jeff’s Jam-It-In Storage – Abreu Vineyards/DRC/Speedway Chevy.
“I didn’t do very well at the start of the night,” Thomas admits. “I was pretty terrible in the heat race and we got way behind the eight-ball and had to run the B. Jeff Walker helped us figure a few things out and the car was a tick better. We’ve just been struggling with being tight. I knew we were going to have to run the top, but I just didn’t know if it was going to work. We set it up for that. With Sunshine running the bottom, there was a lane open around the top and I had to take it. Brady (Bacon) got by us there at the end, but second or third is the same to me. If it’s not a win, it really doesn’t matter.”
USAC contingency award winners Friday night at Kokomo included Tyler Thomas (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Shane Cottle (Simpson Race Products Heat 1 Winner), Tom Harris (Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 2 Winner), Dave Darland (Chalk Stix Heat 3 Winner), Chase Stockon (Indy Race Parts Heat 4 Winner), Brady Bacon (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Josh Hodges (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).
August 28th, 2017
Kokomo, Indiana………Nearly one year to the day since his breakthrough USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory in late August of last year, C.J. Leary once again found “Sprint Car Smackdown” gold on the very same spot after capturing Thursday’s “Sprint Car Smackdown VI” opener at Kokomo Speedway.
In 2016, “Smackdown” weekend was owned by Leary and Kevin Thomas, Jr., who alternated victories throughout the three nights. The trend continued Thursday night when it became Leary’s turn to plant the figurative flag for the Leary Racing/Leary Construction – Highsmith Guns/DRC/1-Way Chevy at the quarter-mile dirt oval.
Earlier in the night, things didn’t appear to be as rosy for Leary as he struggled to snare a transfer spot in his heat race until misfortune found another competitor in front of him, thus moving him into position to earn a spot in the feature event. After a fortuitous series of events, Leary wound up with a starting position from the pole. From there, the Greenfield, Indiana driver knew there were no excuses for not getting the job done.
“In the heat race, we were junk,” Leary assessed. “We probably shouldn’t have transferred, but we were fortunate, which allowed us to start on the front row for the feature. By starting up front, I felt like it was my race to lose. If something was going to go wrong, it was probably going to be my fault.”
Leary set course for the lead at the drop of the green, sliding up to the top of turn one to take the spot. Outside front row starter Hunter Schuerenberg quickly countered using a high/low move off turn two to pull even with Leary on the back straightaway. However, Leary was too strong on the top and secured the position off turn four to lead lap one.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s “#GYATK Night” winner Thomas sliced through the field from 8th to 5th on the opening lap, then became involved a tussle with series point leader Justin Grant for 4th on lap four when the left rear of Thomas and the right front of Grant greeted each other at the flag stand. The contact damaged Grant’s steering as he drove straight up the track in turn one where he came to a complete stop. Thomas continued while Grant was relegated to a last-place result of 22nd.
On the ensuing restart, as he did time-and-time again throughout the feature, Leary shot out of the starting blocks to pull away from the rest of the field. Brady Bacon used the restart to get past Schuerenberg with an inside move between turns three and four to put himself in the second position.
Leary’s lead began to dwindle through the middle stages as Bacon closed the gap to just a few car lengths when the leaders encountered visions of lapped traffic within plain sight. Simultaneously, Shane Cottle appeared backwards against the turn three wall with his front wheel disconnected and bouncing through the infield grass to bring out the yellow, therefore removing the role of the lapped cars in the contest down the stretch.
“We’ve just been tight, tight and tight. We figured if we lost tonight, it would be because we were too loose. We got it freed up and I ran it hard. I felt like I could run it as hard as I wanted to up there.” – C.J. Leary
(Travis Branch Photo)
“Lapped traffic was going to be hairy for sure,” Leary believed. “They were all running side-by-side. Luckily, the cautions kept me out of lapped traffic, which was a blessing I think because it let the field bunch up and made it more interesting, I’d say.”
A pair of restarts in the second half of the 30-lapper didn’t rattle Leary’s nerves a bit as he pulled away each time. Bacon ran the middle in pursuit of Leary, pulling alongside multiple times to no avail while Leary ripped the top – a place in which he had no intentions of leaving.
“We set the car up looser than it had been during the last couple of times here,” Leary explains. “I knew if I departed from the cushion, we’d probably end up losing the race with how free we had the racecar. The top’s my go-to place and, when we had the lead, I felt we wouldn’t be beat in open ground. (Crew Chief) Donnie Gentry had this car on rails. This thing was ripping around the top, which is my specialty here. It made my job easy tonight.”
Leary loosened it up to finish off the nearly-flawless performance by two seconds to capture the victory over Bacon, Robert Ballou, K. Thomas and Schuerenberg.
“Donnie and I argued over the setup a little bit right before the feature,” Leary recalls. “These past eight weeks, we’ve been running up here in the weekly shows. Even in the Indiana Sprint Week race, we were tight in the feature. We’ve just been tight, tight and tight. We figured if we lost tonight, it would be because we were too loose. We got it freed up and I ran it hard. I felt like I could run it as hard as I wanted to up there.”
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Bacon took second in his Dooling-Hayward/B & H Contractors – Dooling Machine/Spike/Stanton Mopar, his third consecutive top-two finish in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point races. It was also the third time this season he and Leary have run first and second with the series.
Following a third-place result the night before at Kokomo’s prelude to “Smackdown” – the non-points “GYATK Night” – Rocklin, California’s Robert Ballou ran third again in his Robert Ballou Motorsports/Deaton’s Waterfront Services – Dickinson Farms/Boss/Ott.
Contingency award winners Thursday night at Kokomo included Justin Grant (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Aaron Farney (Simpson Race Products Heat 1 Winner & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Jarett Andretti (Competition Suspension, Inc. Heat 2 Winner), Dave Darland (Chalk Stix Heat 3 Winner), Josh Hodges (Indy Race Parts Heat 4 Winner) and Brady Short (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger).
July 10th, 2017
Kokomo, Indiana………It doesn’t seem to matter to Thomas Meseraull one iota which car he’s in this season. More than likely, he’s going to put it in a position to win.
Thus far in 2017, the San Jose, California driver had already taken the Rick Pollock #21x, SC Racing #9x, SC Racing #00 and the Heffner Racing #27 to top-five finishes with the series. It took two USAC starts for Meseraull to reach victory lane for Heffner at Lincoln Speedway’s Eastern Storm stop in June. It took even less time for him to win his first USAC feature aboard Chase Briscoe Racing’s No. 5B, which he did Saturday night in the opening round of the 30th Annual Indiana Sprint Week presented by Camping World.
For the high-majority of drivers, the transition to a new team takes some time to jell. There is a familiarity phase to endure in which both driver and crew chief have to discover each other’s likes, dislikes and tendencies. There is no waiting room or grace period for Meseraull when he lands a new ride. He immediately puts the car up front, something he’s now done for the sixth time in his USAC career.
“I’m fortunate enough that the new cars I’ve been hopping into lately are top-of-the-line,” Meseraull praises. “(The Heffner No. 27) was a brand-new car, had brand-new parts and a fresh motor. Now I get to Chase Briscoe Racing and they built a new car, brand-new motor, rear end, wheels, tires, front end and shocks. I’m actually using the shocks from the 27-car because they felt so good. That makes jumping from one car to the other so much easier. You have to trust the shocks you’re running. I got to run those in Pennsylvania. It was a no-brainer. I called (Heffner crew chief) Sean Michael and was like, ‘Hey, I need to get those shocks. That car’s just sitting there.’ When you build brand new stuff, if it’s not fast it’s you. Obviously, you have to get adapted to it. I mounted my seat the same in both cars. The holes from the 27-car line right up in this 5-car. It almost felt like the same ride.”
Minus a turn two, lap one tangle involving Aaron Farney, Josh Hodges and Hunter Schuerenberg, the 30-lap feature went non-stop, green-to-checkered with 2016 Tri-State Indiana Sprint Week winner Carson Short leading the charge on the opening lap after sliding up to the cushion in front of fellow front row starter Ryan Bernal to take the position which he’d hold for the opening nine laps.
Meanwhile, seventh-starting Meseraull was on a tear, picking up three positions on the opening lap and two more on the second circuit to pull to the runner-up spot early in the going.
On the eighth lap, Short found himself slideways at the exit of turn four as Meseraull drew near to the inside. Meseraull dove low, narrowly missing the lead by inches at the line, but set himself up for a big slider on Short for the lead entering turn one.
“He got a little bit hung off four,” Meseraull recalls. “You have to capitalize when guys make little mistakes. You have to go for it, but you got to be close enough to go for it and we were.”
“If I’m catching you down the straightaway and I’m within a couple car lengths, I’m going to throw a slider, especially when the track’s around the top,” Meseraull continued. “I saw an opening and just kind of went for it and hoped, at the end of the night, that he wasn’t going to be mad at me about it.”
“There was a cushion all the way down the straightaway,” Short points out. “As soon as I tapped that, it shot me off. (Meseraull) surprised me when he took it in there, but I know T-Mez. He wasn’t going to stop. He’s coming in there for the win.”
Meseraull set a torrid pace as he tried to maneuver his way through gridlock at the tail end of the field, but there was no such luck initially, providing Short a glimmer of hope as he kept Meseraull within earshot.
“I was watching his line,” Short explains. “Coming into (turn) three, he would almost slow down more in order to go faster coming off (turn) four. Once I started doing that, I felt like I was able to reel him in. I got hung up behind (a lapped car). We kept, I would say, a five-car length distance between each other. I would love to say that I could’ve caught him, but I don’t really think I could’ve. I had nothing for that 5-car. It was definitely moving.”
In time, Meseraull was able to make some headway as he split between multiple cars, including right through the middle of Kody Swanson and Schuerenberg, with eight laps remaining to achieve a bit of separation from Short as the laps wound down. Mostly, though, Meseraull ripped the top up above the cushion where few souls brave.
Winning car owner Chase Briscoe (left) and winning driver Thomas Meseraull (right) celebrate their victory Saturday night at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway.
(David Nearpass Photo)
“I was running that line in the B-Main,” Meseraull recalls. “(Crew Chief) Kevin (Briscoe) said, ‘You think we could pull the right rear in and you could still run above the cushion?’ I was a little worried about it, but you know, if you’re the fastest car in the beginning, not usually are you the fastest car in the end. We took a gamble and pulled the right rear wheel in and just went for it. We were starting a little bit deep and you have to be good if you want to go forward. The car was really on kill tonight.”
The Briscoe No. 5 has a long, illustrious history with sprint car racing in Indiana over the past several decades, including five Indiana Sprint Week victories with Chase’s grandfather Richard as the team owner between 1990 and 2004. The baton for the No. 5 has been passed down to Chase, a recent USAC Sprint Car driver himself, the reigning ARCA champion and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series frontrunner, who entered his own name onto USAC’s win list as a car owner when Meseraull closed the deal down the stretch for a commanding 2.5 second win over Carson Short, Brady Bacon, Tyler Courtney and Kyle Cummins.
Chase’s father, Kevin Briscoe, earned all five of those Indiana Sprint Week wins as a driver in the storied No. 5. Now, Kevin is the one masterfully turning the wrenches on the Chase Briscoe Racing/Cunningham – Tex-A-Con Cut Stone/Maxim/Fisher, a talent that Meseraull wholeheartedly admires.
“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Meseraull begins. “I watched Kevin when I first moved to Indiana in 2006. I was on the sidelines just watching Kevin beat people up on the racetrack. He was Mr. Smooth, so good in the slick. He really knew how to get the car tight when it needed to be. He’s so good at reading the car. Last weekend, we go down to Haubstadt and he says the car looked tight. I’m like, ‘No I think the car’s free.’ He says, ‘Why are you shaking it loose getting it in?’ We start going back and forth. He really sees stuff that other guys don’t necessariIy see. I feel like that’s a big part of tuning the thing in. He really can see what he feels like the car is doing. I can tell him what I think the car is doing. A lot of times, you just don’t know on a grand scheme of what the track is or what the car’s doing because you’re just feeling what’s in the moment. He can see if other guys are gaining here or if you’re pulling them there. You make the best of both worlds and get the car to where it’s a little better on entry in the B because that’s where I was losing ground. So, we got the car better on entry and I just did my thing off the corners.”
Carson Short’s appearances at Kokomo Speedway have been few and far-between, but the Marion, Illinois native looked a like a longtime veteran at the quarter-mile Saturday night, leading eight laps and finishing in the runner-up position in his RCM Motorsports/RASS Restoration/DRC/SPEC.
“It’s been three years since we’ve been here and this is only the third race I’ve ever run here,” Short admitted. “It’s good to have a run like this, especially on the first night of Indiana Sprint Week. Everyone one here is good and there’s so many with a chance to win. Thomas showed me the line when he passed me. I was trying to run him back down, but he’s so good on that rough cushion.”
“Hopefully we have enough money to hit the next one,” Short stated. “We’re a little short on help. I took off work. Hopefully I have a job next week. My crewmembers all have to go back to work. We’re a little shorthanded, but we’re still going to try to keep going, though.”
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon quietly made up quite a bit of ground in a hurry, using the bottom for much of the event to race to a third-place finish from 11th in his Dooling-Hayward/B & H Contractors – Dooling Machine/Spike/Stanton Mopar.
“I was down there in the B and it felt pretty good,” Bacon recalls. “I knew it was going to get pretty hard to run. It took probably 10 laps to get everyone spread out to where we could really get to work. Once we passed a guy, we could catch the next guy, but for the first part of the race, it took us a long time to pass each car. The car was really good, but we just couldn’t get all the way there from 11th without a caution. It’s just one of them deals. We should’ve made it out of the heat race to get into the invert.”
Bacon is running a truly outlaw sprint car schedule this season, competing in several USAC Sprint Car events, a smattering of wing sprint shows and everything in-between without chasing points in any of them. The reigning Indiana Sprint Week champ intends to run just the first half of Indiana Sprint Week, which brings about a different mentality for the two-time USAC National Sprint titlist.
“I can afford to take more risks than I’d usually take,” Bacon admits. “When you’re not racing for points, you might squeeze a guy here or dive to the top a little earlier if you’re running sixth because it doesn’t really matter if you’re sixth or tenth. But you could make a move that could win you the race whereas you might not make not that type of move if you’re running for points. It’s less stressful, but we just want to come out here and win every night.”
Contingency award winners Saturday at Kokomo Speedway include Kevin Thomas, Jr. (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Jarett Andretti (Simpson Race Products 1st Heat Winner), Kyle Cummins (Competition Suspension, Inc. 2nd Heat Winner), C.J. Leary (Chalk Stix 3rd Heat Winner), Chris Windom (Indy Race Parts 4th Heat Winner), Robert Ballou (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Chase Stockon (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).
June 14th, 2017
Kokomo, Indiana………Spencer Bayston exorcised the demons that had plagued his relationship with lady luck since his first Indiana Midget Week triumph one year ago to capture his second career USAC National Midget victory Sunday night at Kokomo Speedway.
Meanwhile, Shane Golobic – a steady, heady driver who always seems to play a leading role near the front of the field – made a late-race move with three laps remaining to net himself the 2017 Indiana Midget Week title.
Coming into the final night, nine drivers remained mathematically eligible to win the IMW title. The top-five, in fact, were separated by a mere 12 points. However, misfortune seemed to plague more than its fair share of the top contenders early on.
New Zealand’s Michael Pickens led by one marker over Golobic entering the night, but in hot laps, Pickens’ night took an unexpected turn as he climbed the turn two wall and flipped wildly. His Seamount Racing crew went to work and managed to get the car repaired in time to make a qualifying attempt and continue as scheduled.
Furthermore, both Justin Grant and Brady Bacon suffered from mechanical problems of their own, forcing them into backup machines for the remainder of the night. Nonetheless, all those who ran into issues would manage to qualify for the night’s 30-lap feature event solidly.
One night following a resurgence to the front of the field after an uncharacteristic slow start to their season, a pair of Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports cars occupied both spots on the front row.
Thorson set off from the pole while Lebanon, Indiana’s Bayston set up shop on the outside. Despite a consistent run of quality finishes for much of his three-year USAC Midget career, Bayston, the 2015 series Rookie of the Year, hadn’t found the promised land of victory lane in over a year at Gas City during 2016 Indiana Midget Week.
One night ago at Lawrenceburg Speedway, Spencer suffered heartbreak when a late-race battle for the lead with teammate Holly Shelton resulted in a flat left rear tire and a relegation to the tail of the field. Four nights prior, Bayston was on the short-end of a last lap, last corner pass for the win by Pickens at Lincoln Park Speedway.
This time around, Bayston had plans to alter his fortunes from disappointment. Bayston immediately controlled the top side when racing began and wouldn’t stray too far from his comfort zone on the cushion throughout the duration of the 30-lap event.
The curb did wreak havoc with Bayston on a couple of occasions, on lap 10, when he snagged it enough to briefly bog him down. Tyler Courtney, a two-time feature winner this week, was ready to pounce on the bottom in response and did so in a three-lap dash on laps 10, 11 and 12 that resulted in three consecutive photo finishes at the line. Grant was credited with leading laps 11 and 12 by the narrowest of margins as Bayston briefly moved to the bottom to stifle Courtney’s invasion.
“I went down there one time to block and also to see just what was down there,” Bayston remembers. “I thought I’d run right back to the top and carry my momentum up there. I felt better up there. That’s where I’d been running all race, so that’s what I stayed with.”
Bayston quickly returned to the rim-riding style as Courtney settled in on the bottom and a hard-charging Bacon, in the FMR Racing backup, entered the top-three just before the halfway point.
Just after the crossed sticks were displayed, Ryan Robinson rode out a nasty flip in turn three while running in the tenth position. He would walk away uninjured.
Following the restart, Courtney would find a pulse once again as he surged on the bottom past Bayston for the point on laps 20 and 21.
Bayston never wavered from putting the right rear up near the concrete and his patience would pay off as he blew past Courtney on the back straight with nine to go to grab a lead he wouldn’t relinquish as he began to navigate lapped traffic.
“In turns one and two, there’s a lip in the center in the corner that I struggled to figure out once it got a bit ledgy and curby,” Bayston pinpointed. “That’s when ‘Sunshine’ showed me a nose and I was able to figure it out. Eventually, the bottom slicked off for him and I got faster.”
Courtney was simultaneously caught up in two separate races in the closing laps. The race for the win, which was beginning to slip away, and the on-track contest for second and third-place which would determine the Indiana Midget Week championship. Courtney’s prerogative was to finish one spot ahead of Golobic and the title was his. Yet, with just three laps to go, Golobic slipped underneath his CMR teammate in turn one for second and the position that would ultimately prove worthy.
Bayston would finish off his first USAC victory in a calendar year with relative ease in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Curb Records – TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota.
“It feels really good, but I was starting to panic,” Bayston admits. “Coming into this week, I was really hoping to get a couple wins. Each night, we had a fast car, but it just came down to whether I’d do something or something would happen on the racetrack. We were really close at Lawrenceburg. I was really disappointed at being that close and not getting it done. To get it done tonight at my favorite track, it’s a great feeling and my car was so phenomenal and so stable up front on the cushion.”
Three-plus seconds behind Bayston, Golobic was able to fend off Courtney for second at the line to capture the IMW title by just six points!
Golobic was the mark of consistency throughout Indiana Midget Week with no finishes outside the top-eight, including a strong second half of IMW that included finishes of 3rd, 4th and 2nd in his Clauson-Marshall-Matt Wood Racing/Elk Grove Ford – Driven 2 Save Lives/Spike/Stanton SR-11.
It was just the fourth time in the 13-year history of Indiana Midget Week that the champion didn’t win a single race. It’s the second year in a row with this occurrence, duplicating Bryan Clauson’s feat from 2016. Golobic was hired to run full-time for Bryan’s father Tim’s new team in 2017 and the dividends are quickly paying off the self-admitted “wing” driver.
“This whole week says a lot about this team,” Golobic begins. “I consider myself a wing sprint car driver, for the most part. I don’t get to do a whole lot of midget stuff, so when I come back here, I always feel like I’m a bit behind the eight-ball at the start racing against some of these guys who do it so often. This team provides such good cars. I felt like I was right there with them from the get-go and I just got better each night. I got more and more comfortable and my team kept giving me awesome cars. I guess I’m just the consistent guy. I don’t want to say I’m a points racer, but I’m not going to make any big mistakes that would cause a major catastrophe with the points at any time during the week.”
It was an Indiana Midget Week title that nearly didn’t come to fruition for the Fremont, California native. An hour before hot laps on Friday at Bloomington, it was still uncertain whether he’d be racing that night due to illness. Defending USAC Silver Crown champion Chris Windom was on standby and ready to step into the No. 17w if Golobic was unable to make the call.
“My girlfriend (Sarah) and I both got sick,” Golobic points out. “We came down with two different things, actually. She’s struggling with pneumonia and I had a really bad stomach flu and spent the day in E.R. before Bloomington. I wasn’t really sure if I was even going to run Bloomington. The team even had a backup driver ready just in case. Deb & Matt Wood and Sarah did a great job of keeping fluids in me and taking care of me then we went to Bloomington and ran one-two-three. From there, I just kept hydrating and getting as much sleep as I could.”
Golobic entered Sunday’s feature three-up on Courtney. He kept tabs on USAC’s social media and website to stay in-tune with the updated Indiana Midget Week standings throughout the evening and knew precisely where he needed to be and who he had to beat.
“I’m a numbers guy, so coming into the feature, I knew exactly what I needed to do,” Golobic explained. “My feature started off bad; I fell back to eighth or ninth. Pickens and Rico got by me and everybody we needed to beat was getting by us. I figured, ‘man, we got to get going here’ before finding something on the bottom. Once I got to third, I knew “Sunshine” was second in points. If I could beat him, I knew I’d be okay. Spencer was out front, but he was deep enough in points, I didn’t have to worry about him. I got to third and I knew passing ‘Sunshine’ was going to be for the Midget Week title. I wouldn’t say I would’ve wore him out to win it, but I was definitely going to race him hard. The way it worked out, we were running two different lines for a bit and I was able to sneak by him. He was awesome all week. If it weren’t for engine troubles one night this week, he’d be doing this interview right now.”
In sport and in life, when one experiences the thrill of victory by one, by nature, there is inherently someone experiencing the agony of defeat. Such is the case with Indianapolis, Indiana’s Tyler Courtney who saw the Indiana Midget Week title slip through his fingers with just three laps to go in his Clauson-Marshall Racing/Driven 2 Save Lives – Indiana Donor Network/Spike/Stanton SR-11.
“The goal every night is to go out and win,” Courtney says point blank. “When it’s a big deal like ‘Midget Week,’ you want to take it home. It’s a tough deal. When you have one bad night, it throws a hiccup in the plan. You have to keep trucking and I’ve got one of the best teams behind me. I think it shows with us running one-two in points this week. These guys never give up. We broke a motor at Gas City. The crew stayed up all night putting a new one in, then went out and ran third. Tonight, Justin ran into some mechanical issues. They pulled the backup car down and Justin ran fourth. I can’t say enough about these guys. They’re freaking awesome.”
“I hate that I couldn’t get the midget week title, but at least one of us brought it home,” Courtney said as he searched for a silver lining. “Second definitely sucks and it really hurts when it’s a deal like this, but you just got to move on. Hopefully, this is just the start. Hopefully, the rest of the season will be as good, if not better, for us than what’s going on right now. I’m with one of the best midget teams and I think we really put our name out there this week. People have really taken a note of us. The last couple of nights, Keith (Kunz) got his stuff going really good again. It’s not going to be easy the rest of the year but we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing and not worry about what they’re doing. We’ve got three really good racecars and three really good racecar drivers. As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, I think we’re going to be the guys to beat.”
Contingency award winners Sunday night at Kokomo Speedway include Shane Golobic (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Spencer Bayston (Simpson Race Products 1st Heat Winner), Tanner Thorson (Competition Suspension, Inc. 2nd Heat Winner), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Chalk Stix 3rd Heat Winner), Tyler Courtney (Indy Race Parts 4th Heat Winner), Chad Boat (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger and B & W Auto Mart Perseverance Award Winner in Honor of Kyle McCain), Gage Walker (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher) and Adam Pierson (ProSource Hard Work Award Winner).
NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 1 – Macon (IL) Speedway
April 17th, 2017
Kokomo, Indiana………The month of April has quickly become the “sweeps” period for USAC’s national series as Brady Bacon became the second driver in as many weeks to complete an undefeated weekend by capturing both nights of the “Kokomo Grand Prix” at Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway.
One week after Chris Windom claimed victories in consecutive nights at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway and the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car and Silver Crown action, respectively, it was Bacon’s turn to do a little spring cleaning of his own as he cleared out space in his cabinet to bring home a pair of brand-new trophies earned this weekend in USAC National Midget competition.
The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native took the lead from Tanner Thorson just shy of the midway point of the 30-lap affair after starting from the outside of the fifth row, then promptly dominated the second-half to grab his fifth-career USAC National Midget feature win, and third at Kokomo. Sunday night was nearly identical to Saturday night for Bacon. For the second straight evening, he entered the Midget feature just after posting a runner-up finish in the Kokomo Sprint Car main event. Yet, it would take Bacon just a little bit longer to reach the point as opposed to the night prior, but not by that much. Polesitter Chad Boat would control the pace early on as he slid up to the top to grab the lead in turn one on the opening lap. Outside second-row starter Tanner Thorson would instantly pose a threat as he took a peek to the inside of Boat off turn two on laps three and four.
On the sixth circuit, Thorson made his charge on the bottom, but Boat was able to hold onto his advantage by the skin of his teeth, more accurately the circumference of a single front wheel. One lap later, Thorson duplicated the same move, but this time was able to get enough of a run off turn four to propel him to the lead by a single wheel over Boat. Boat wouldn’t accept this fate without a fight and, instead, worked his way back around the topside to retake the lead from Thorson on the eighth lap. However, the move was negated due to a yellow for the turned-around car of ProSource Fast Qualifier Justin Grant, which reverted the running order back to the last completed lap.
Meanwhile, lurking in the shadows was third-running Bacon who had already overtaken seven positions in the first seven laps. After the green flag dropped for the restart, Thorson led the way on the bottom as Boat stayed true to the top. Bacon followed Thorson’s lead and used the low line to motor past Boat for second.
The chase was on as Thorson led a train on the bottom with Bacon in tow as he aimed to escape the rapid pursuit of the previous night’s winner. On the 13th lap, with little room for error and Bacon ready to pounce, Thorson left the door cracked open at the exit of turn four, which was just enough daylight for Bacon to squeeze through to snare the race lead away. Just as it was the night before, Bacon put his Bob East-wrenched, FMR Racing/Brown & Miller Racing Solutions – Black Watch Farms/Beast/Toyota anywhere he pleased, running the bottom between turns one and two and using a diamond pattern on the other end of the racetrack in which he’d enter on the cushion in turn three and exit turn four on the bottom.
The interval between he and Thorson continued to expand in the final laps, growing to a substantial 4.5 second margin as Bacon took the checkered ahead of Thorson, Tyler Courtney, Rico Abreu (who charged from 22nd to 4th after flipping earlier in the night during time trials) while Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top-five. Bacon’s victory puts him in an exclusive club of drivers who’ve tallied at least three USAC National Midget wins at Kokomo, joining Rich Vogler (7), Mel Kenyon (6), Jimmy Davies (3) and Bob Wente (3). Bacon’s monumental weekend has given him a healthy early-season point cushion where he stands with a 30-point lead in the standings as the series takes an extended break before returning May 19 at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill.
“We had to work a little harder tonight,” Bacon remarked. “We were able to get to the front really quickly and then the track changed quite a bit. It got pretty treacherous with some holes on the bottom. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time every time and made some good decisions. I’m just glad to have a car I can be confident moving around in, especially here. You’ve got a lot of options and there’s a big difference between the top and bottom. The car worked great wherever it went. We’ve worked so hard and, last year, we got our package together and we’re finally getting the results to show for all that hard work.” Minden, Nevada’s Tanner Thorson followed up a third-place run the night before with a second-place finish Sunday night in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/JBL Audio – TRD/Bullet by Spike/Speedway Toyota, getting back into the groove after a tough opening to the season in Du Quoin, Ill. back in March.
“We just took what it gave us tonight,” Thorson stated. “We’ve had a pretty good car here the last two days. We definitely wanted to win that one, but Brady just beat us. He was better through the holes tonight, but we’ll back and we’ll come to the next race even stronger.”
Indianapolis, Indiana’s Tyler Courtney took a wild tumble while running third in Saturday night’s feature at Kokomo. Sunday night, the team rolled out the backup car for Courtney and took a well-earned third-place finish in his Clauson-Marshall Racing/Driven 2 Save Lives – Indiana Donor Network/Spike/Stanton SR-11. “After the start I’ve had this year in the midget and sprint car, to get a podium here is a pretty good confidence booster,” a rejuvenated Courtney exclaimed.
“Hopefully, moving forward from here will be just a little smoother sailing than the start of the year. I can’t thank everybody who came to the shop last night and busted their butts. We found out just last night that our car was junk and they finished putting this backup car together, came back to the track and kept faith in me. I’ve got all the faith in the world in them and their racecars and what they do in the shop. I think it showed tonight.”
Contingency award winners Sunday night at Kokomo Speedway include Justin Grant (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Alex Bright (Simpson Race Products First Heat Race Winner & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Feature Finisher), Jake Neuman (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Race Winner) Tanner Carrick (Chalk Stix Third Heat Race Winner), Tyler Thomas (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Race Winner) and Rico Abreu (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger).
August 28th, 2016
Kokomo, Indiana………Patience is a virtue and, over the last five seasons, no one has exhibited that more than C.J. Leary. After watching five other drivers notch their first series victories this season, it was C.J.’s turn Friday night as he held off multiple mid-race challenges, then cruised his way to victory lane for his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory on night two of “Sprint Car Smackdown V” at Kokomo Speedway.
In what was his 140th career series start, Leary led all 30 laps from the pole at Kokomo, but it was not nearly as easy as the box score would indicate. Leary had to hold off Thomas Meseraull and Tyler Courtney on a heavy, lightning-quick racetrack assisted by persistent rain throughout the evening. Alongside his initial Silver Crown victory back in April at Terre Haute, Greenfield, Indiana’s Leary became the first driver since Kyle Larson in 2011 to win both his first career USAC Silver Crown and National Sprint Car victories in the same season. “I can’t even put this into words right now,” Leary said after taking the Amati Racing/Marion Underground Construction – Zeller Construction/DRC/Dynotech to BC’s victory lane. “I’ve been so close; I can finally say ‘I parked it.’ Bryan (Clauson) took a lot of wins away from me, but I can say it definitely made me better. Donnie and Cody (Gentry) had this thing on a rail. I got to thank Shane (Wade) for putting me in this car. This is unreal.”
“When I caught lapped traffic, it got real hard seeing the cushion getting into (turn) one,” Leary added. “There was a real fine line hitting the cushion just right. When I was by myself, the car was awesome. The racetrack was legendary tonight; it hasn’t been like this in a while! Hats off to the track crew for working their butts off to let us race tonight and to you fans for sticking it out.” Michael Dutcher Motorsports’ pilot Meseraull began the 30-lap feature from the pole position with Amati Racing’s Leary alongside. Just one month ago, the two drivers were in the other’s current ride before swapping teams just after the conclusion
of “Indiana Sprint Week.” Meseraull beat Leary into turn one from the inside at the start, but Leary was able
to use the high line to rocket off the turn two cushion to grab the lead, quickly distancing himself from Meseraull in the opening stages. On the ninth lap, Gas City “Indiana Sprint Week” winner Courtney entered the fray, applying pressure to Meseraull for the second spot as the two followed Leary into the treacherous land of lapped traffic. While negotiating backmarkers on the 13th lap, Meseraull stumbled on the turn two
cushion, pulling the wheels off the ground briefly and opening the door for Courtney who darted alongside Meseraull, nearly making contact with each other as the two raced down the back straightaway. However, Meseraull was able to withstand the bullet to retain the second spot for the meantime.
Race leader Leary bounced off the thick turn two cushion on lap 15, forcing Meseraull,
following just behind, to get on the binders, thus allowing Courtney to capitalize
and grab second from Meseraull exiting turn two.
Friday night at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway, C.J. Leary became the first driver since
Kyle Larson to win both his first career USAC Silver Crown and National Sprint
Car features in the same season.
(DAVID NEARPASS PHOTO)
Meseraull dove to the bottom in turn one just after passing underneath flagman Tom Hansing’s crossed flags indicating the halfway mark of the 30-lap feature as Leary went topside and Courtney played the role as the meat in a three-car sandwich in the middle. Leary would prevail off of turn two as the leader while Meseraull slotted back into second and Courtney slid to third on the back straight. Leary again ricocheted off the turn two cushion one lap later. Meseraull cut underneath Leary exiting turn two, making contact with his right front tire and Leary’s left rear which sent Meseraull’s car on four-wheel drift sideways down the back straightaway.
Courtney stood on the throttle, wheel-standing his way past Meseraull for second entering turn three, then beat him in a race back to the flagstand by a single car-length to take the position. Moments later, seventh-running Chase Stockon encountered trouble as he slowed to a crawl around the quarter-mile speedway, bringing about the yellow flag and forcing a restart on with just 13 laps to go. As Courtney bounced across the bottom of turn one on the lap 18 restart, it allowed Meseraull to get a run on Courtney that eventually garnered him the second spot coming out of turn four. Courtney refused to cower, though, as he fought back to the outside of Meseraull entering turn one, but Courtney snagged the cushion with the right rear, snapping him hard right toward the wall and forcing him off the gas which dropped him back two positions. Yet, Courtney would get a reprieve when the yellow flag fell for a turn one tangle between Cole Ketcham and Tyler Hewitt.
Under the caution, second-running Meseraull’s left rear tire was nearly completely flat, but he would remain on the track with the wounded rubber for the final 13 circuits. Leary spurted out front as the green flag flew, ringing the topside as Meseraull worked the middle and Courtney took to the bottom. Leary began to put his stamp on this night in the ensuing laps, building up a nearly two second lead over Meseraull and Courtney by the time Hunter Schuerenberg’s machine went up in smoke with six laps remaining. But the caution would fail to deter Leary – the 2015 Kokomo Speedway Sprint Car track champion – as he would once again pull away from the field, extending his lead lap-after-lap during his final six trips around the oval to finally earn that
coveted USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature winner trophy, defeating Meseraull, Courtney, Shane Cottle and Chad Boespflug at the finish. San Jose, California’s Thomas Meseraull took the Michael Dutcher Motorsports/Griffin’s Propane – Indiana Underground/Maxim/Fisher on its best run of the season Friday night, earning a second place finish as well as picking up the most combined points on Thursday and Friday of “Smackdown” to lock himself into Saturday night’s A-Main.
“We had a fast car,” Meseraull said. “With about 15 laps to go, we had a tire go down or I felt like we could’ve won. It feels good to run second. We are locked in for tomorrow and that’s the money night.” Like Leary and Meseraull, Indianapolis, Indiana’s Courtney also finds himself locked into Saturday night’s feature after collecting third in his TOPP Motorsports/Maxim/Chevy.
“We were just a little tight on the short runs there,” Courtney recalled. “We had a good 15-lap run right there when we got into lapped traffic. We were in the right place at the right time a couple times, but the yellows just came out at the wrong time, but it’s a part of it. It’s pretty cool to see another guy get his first win this year at a place like this. We’re going to try to stop him from getting his second one tomorrow night and we’ll try to park it here for BC. My thoughts and prayers are still with the Clausons. They’ve done a lot for me in my career. I definitely would not be standing here right now if it weren’t for Bryan Clauson. I’m going to miss that guy a lot; I can’t say enough about him. And thank you to the O’Connors for giving us a great racetrack after what looking like it was going to be a rainout. We don’t have to do two shows tomorrow and we can just focus on tomorrow night for the “Smackdown” for 10 grand to win.”
August 30th, 2015
Kokomo, Indiana…….It was an excited victory lane on Friday night at Kokomo Speedway as Chase Stockon held off Dave Darland to win the night’s “Sprint Car Smackdown IV” preliminary 30-lapper, scoring his first career win at the Hoosier speedway. The Elizabethtown, Indiana driver made it two wins on the season in the season aboard the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher. Wednesday’s winner Chris Windom took the lead at the outset over polesitter Tracy Hines, but Stockon cut inside Hines for second on lap two. Justin Grant was working the high side and took fifth on lap two, but as he looked underneath Scotty Weir for fourth on lap four, the two made contact. Grant ended up in the wall on the backstretch with a broken front end and collected Chad Boespflug, who restarted. Windom led Stockon, Hines, Weir, and ProSource “Fast Qualifier” Dave Darland, who cleared Weir for the fourth spot on a fast surface just before a caution on lap ten. That set up a long green-flag stretch, with Stockon trying to keep pace with Windom, while Darland drove by Hines on the restart for third.
Behind the lead trio, a few drivers coming from a back were the show. Hunter Schuerenberg carved in his line up above the cushion, finally taking fifth at the halfway point after starting 13th. AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader Robert Ballou, who broke an axle in qualifying before coming from 18th to transfer out of the semi-feature, tried to protect his point lead with a spirited drive from the back. Then, there was Brady Short, who had to scratch his primary car after an issue in qualifying. He came from 17th in the Semi-Feature to finish third and transfer to the night’s 30-lap feature. He hit the top-ten with ten laps to go and was still digging.
As Windom hit lapped traffic, the charging trio of Stockon, Darland, and Schuerenberg began to chew on his lead. With five laps to go, Windom was mired in traffic and seeing his lead dissipate quickly. On lap 28, Windom charged up on a lapped car and clipped the rear end of it, kicking him sideways and drawing a yellow flag, although Windom was able to right it and continue on in fourth-place. Due to the inadvertent yellow, Windom was put in line there and the race resumed with three laps to go.
Windom slid past Schuerenberg on the restart, but Schuerenberg wasn’t done. He charged the turn-three cushion on the next lap just as he had been doing all night, but this time it bit him. He bounced and flipped over, ending his spectacular run. He was unhurt.
With just two laps to go, Darland nailed the restart to look underneath Stockon for the lead. Stockon hammered the turn-two cushion and flashed past Darland to retain his lead, but a spin at the back of the pack gave Darland one final shot. This time, Stockon got a jump to pull away and complete the win by .655-seconds, celebrating the big triumph with a backwards victory lap. It was Stockon’s sixth-career win, tying him for 63rd all-time.
“To hold off Dave at his palace for my first win here, that’s a pretty awesome thing. This place is so, so hard. You don’t get a fluke wins here. That was all she had. I ran that thing as hard as I possibly could those last two laps. Luckily, we had the car good enough to stay up front and capitalize on Chris’ misfortune.
We’ve been fast here two years ago, and now we’re better than we’ve ever been with Matt Hummel’s Factory Kahne shocks, DRC chassis, and Fisher engines. (Crew chief) D.J. (Ott) and I are on the same page right now, and hopefully we can carry it into tomorrow,” Stockon said.
With his sixth career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature win Friday night, Chase Stockon tied Kevin Briscoe, Jac Haudenschild, Jason McCord, Jan Opperman, Tom Sneva, George Snider, and Dick Tobias on the all-time USAC National Sprint Car win list.
Darland rebounded from a tough opening night of “Smackdown” to come home second in the Phillips/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Trench Shoring #71P DRC/Foxco.
“It makes me feel good when somebody like Chase appreciates the win because he knows how tough it is to beat me here. We had a nice improvement from last night. The race track was really good tonight and more to my liking. I had a couple runs at Chase, especially on that last restart, but the yellow came out. He got a better restart the second time, and congratulations to him. He always does a good job,” Darland said. Windom finished it off third in the Rick Pollock – Bates Commodities #21x Maxim/Advanced, narrowly missing out on his second win of the week.
“I only have to be mad at myself tonight. I beat myself. Rick Pollock gave me another great race car. I tried to slide one lapped car in one and two, but he went back by me, so I tried to get him in three and four and clipped another car. It was my own fault, just being impatient. I’d like to think we can put it back up front and give ourselves to win the big one tomorrow night,” Windom said. Hines ended up fourth in his The Carolina Nut Company – MPHG Promotions #4 DRC/Stanton Chevy, and Jon Stanbrough rounded out the top-five in the MP Environmental Services
August 30th, 2015
Kokomo, Indiana…Robert Ballou continued his dream season and started off “Sprint Car Smackdown IV” in fine shape as he captured Thursday night’s 30-lap feature at Kokomo Speedway. The Rocklin, California driver made it nine wins for the year, a mark only reached eleven previous times in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car history. Chase Stockon out-gunned polesitter Tyler Courtney to take the early lead, with Brady Bacon joining them before a red flag appeared on lap two. It came out just two laps later as seventh-running C.J. Leary caught the gnarly turn-one cushion and barrel-rolled into turn-two. He was unhurt.
Stockon held the lead as Courtney took second and left Bacon, who was having issues negotiating the curb himself. He dropped spots to ProSource “Fast Qualifier” Kyle Cummins and Ballou. On lap eight, Courtney jumped to the high side in turns one and two, but it bit him. He snapped sideways and nearly saved it before catching the wall and flopping over, collecting sixth-running Kevin Thomas, Jr. in the process. Courtney walked away, and Thomas restarted at the tail.
While things were fairly calm up front, the show was being put on by Thursday’s winner Chris Windom and provisional starter Brady Short. They stormed through the field, with Short using the lower half of the track while Windom ventured above the cushion to run all the way up to sixth. Bacon and Jerry Coons, Jr. raced for fourth as Stockon continued to hold command at the front of the field. Ballou took second with ten to go and caught a caution with nine laps to go. Ballou stalked Stockon and ran his fastest lap of the race on lap 24, as they came to the line side-by-side for the lead with Stockon .010 seconds ahead. Ballou swept underneath him through turns one and two with the lead and began to put distance between himself and Stockon. Windom had taken fifth but then bicycled violently on the cushion and dropped two spots. Short took advantage, sticking his nose in the battle for a top-five. National point leader Ballou was flawless in the closing laps, taking a .957-second win in the Blakesley Auto – TwisterX #12 Maxim/Ott.
“I know there’s a lot of people up here who don’t want me to win, but we gotta keep racking these wins up if I’m gonna catch Dave Darland on the all-time win list. It was a challenge for us early, but I knew if I could get through some laps, we would be in good shape. If I wasn’t so fat, maybe we wouldn’t have that issue. You gotta bide your time in some races, and tonight we just had to get closer to the end. I got off the bottom once and it was a mistake, but I went back down and we were good there. The track definitely threw us a curveball tonight, but they got it racy and we made the most of it,” Ballou said.
Stockon capped a fine night that moved him back up to second in points with the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher. “To win up here is really difficult, and we were close tonight. It’s really frustrating to lead all that way and have him go by us late, but he’s going good right now. We could run up and kiss the top in one and two, but that dried up some on us, and it blew off pretty good through three and four. We just got too free towards the end. He kept his car stuck down low, and we couldn’t quite do that. We’re getting there, but need to fine-tune it to get a win here,” Stockon said.
Bacon came home third in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green #69 Triple X/Williams Mopar. “This place keeps you on your toes, and obviously tonight was a little different than you usually see here. I thought I had it going pretty good up top early, but then as it slicked up getting to it and the curb got bigger, I just got too tight on it and almost crashed a few times. The track moved around quite a bit, and you had to keep up with it. The top wasn’t the fastest place to be tonight and we didn’t get it tight enough, but we got a good solid finish out of it,” Bacon said. Cummins came home fourth in the Rock Steady Racing – Vincennes University #3R Mach-1/Cummins, and Short’s run from 24th ended up fifth in the Pottorff Logging – Sipe’s Body & Glass #11P Maxim/Spec. Windom’s drive from 17th to 7th earned him the TeamVWAudi.com “Hard Charger Award” presented by Maxim Chassis. In the night’s Competition Suspension (CSI) Heat Races, Dave Darland won Hinchman Indy Heat 1, Scotty Weir won STIDA.com Heat 2, Windom won Loudpedal Productions Heat 3, and Jarett Andretti won Racers Storage Heat 4. In the night’s Semi-Feature, Hunter Schuerenberg won the American Racing Ministries “Perseverance Award” as the last transfer. Max McGhee took the night’s Pace Performance Coatings “Hard Work Award” as the slowest qualifier to make the night’s feature. Shane Cottle took the Arizona Sport Shirts prize as the first non-transfer.
UPCOMING EVENT INFO
DATE: Friday, August 28, 2015
SERIES: USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship
TRACK: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, Indiana) – 1/4 mile dirt oval
EVENT: “Sprint Car Smackdown IV” Day 2
STARTING TIMES: Grandstands open at 3pm Pit gates open at 3pm Hot Laps begin at 6pm
TICKET PRICES: General Admission: $25 for adults Pit Pass (All Ages): $35
TRACK ADDRESS: 2455 N. Davis Rd., Kokomo, IN 46901
TRACK PHONE: (765) 459-3877
TRACK WEBSITE: www.kokomospeedway.net
DATE: Saturday, August 29, 2015
SERIES: USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship
TRACK: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, Indiana) – 1/4 mile dirt oval
EVENT: “Sprint Car Smackdown IV” Day 3
Grandstands open at 3pm
Pit gates open at 3pm
Hot Laps begin at 6pm
TICKET PRICES: General Admission: $35 for adults Pit Pass (All Ages): $45
TRACK ADDRESS: 2455 N. Davis Rd., Kokomo, IN 46901
TRACK PHONE: (765) 459-3877
TRACK WEBSITE: www.kokomospeedway.net
2015 “HARD CHARGER” OF THE RACE
**Most positions gained by a driver during each feature event.
Feb. 20: Bubba Raceway Park – Bryan Clauson (12 positions)
Feb. 21: Bubba Raceway Park – Jon Stanbrough (6 positions)
Feb. 22: Bubba Raceway Park – C.J. Leary (10 positions)
Feb. 26: East Bay Raceway Park – Chad Boespflug (13 positions)
Feb. 27: East Bay Raceway Park – Carson Short (5 positions)
April 4: Lawrenceburg Speedway – C.J. Leary (15 positions)
April 17: Bloomington Speedway – Chase Stockon (8 positions)
April 18: Tri-State Speedway – Carson Short (11 positions)
April 24: Eagle Raceway – Jarett Andretti (9 positions)
April 26: Lakeside Speedway – Danny Thoman (6 positions)
May 8: Eldora Speedway – Daron Clayton (7 positions)
May 9: Eldora Speedway – Brady Bacon (8 positions)
May 15: Gas City I-69 Speedway – C.J. Leary (11 positions)
June 4: New Egypt Speedway – Jarett Andretti (9 positions)
June 6: Port Royal Speedway – C.J. Leary (7 positions)
June 7: Susquehanna Speedway Park – Jarett Andretti (7 positions)
July 4: Lincoln Park Speedway – Jon Stanbrough (12 positions)
July 10: Gas City I-69 Speedway – Brady Bacon (10 positions)
July 12: Lawrenceburg Speedway – Dave Darland (7 positions)
July 15: Terre Haute Action Track – Shane Cottle (11 positions)
July 16: Lincoln Park Speedway – Brady Short (17 positions)
July 18: Tri-State Speedway – Kyle Cummins (9 positions)
Aug. 7: AMSOIL Speedway – Bill Balog (12 positions)
Aug. 8: Cedar Lake Speedway – Bill Balog (10 positions)
Aug. 9: Angell Park Speedway – Robert Ballou (8 positions)
Aug. 26: Kokomo Speedway – Robert Ballou (12 positions)
Aug. 27: Kokomo Speedway – Chris Windom (10 positions)
August 29th, 2015
Kokomo, Indiana…It had been since September of 2013 since Chris Windom had won on the AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship tour, but the Canton, Illinois driver ended that slump as he held off Dave Darland for victory in Wednesday night’s 30-lap Feature event postponed from the July 11th “Indiana Sprint Week” event. The race precedes “Sprint Car Smackdown IV” weekend at Kokomo Speedway, with three more nights ahead culminating with Saturday’s $10,000-to-win main event.
Windom took the lead from outside the front-row as polesitter Darland kept pace and set up a race-long battle for the lead. A lap-three yellow prefaced a long green-flag that put the leaders in traffic just before halfway. Darland finally darted inside Windom on lap 16 through turns three and four as Windom was stuck behind cars racing two-wide. As they came to the stripe, Darland moved low and crossed just .067 seconds behind Windom at the line.
A big move to the inside netted Darland the lead on lap 17, but as they came around to complete the lap, Kevin Thomas, Jr. spun around after colliding with Brady Bacon in a battle for third. With the race reverting back to lap 16, Windom reinherited the lead.
Darland wasted no time going at Windom, using the low-side of turn-one to draw underneath him, but Windom’s momentum on the high side kept the lead. Behind them, 15th-starting Chase Stockon and 17th-starting Robert Ballou were the two cars on the move, as Stockon powered inside the top-five on lap nineteen, while Ballou was up to eighth at the same time.
With less than ten to go, another yellow gave Darland a restart to attack Windom, and he again drove to the bottom of turn-one, sliding all the way up just as Windom rocketed by on the cushion. Stockon moved past Scotty Weir for fourth and Ballou took seventh with five laps to go.
The final caution of the night appeared with three laps to go as sixth-running Max McGhee slowed off turn-four. This time, Windom nailed the restart, completing the final three laps without issue to post a .848-second victory in the Rick Pollock – Bates Commodities #21x Maxim/Advanced. It was his tenth-career National Sprint Car win, tying him with Tony Stewart for 44th all-time.
“This is definitely one of my favorite tracks in the world, and to hold off Dave Darland here is a tall task. I thought on the restarts we’d be okay, but he was good at trying to get past me through one and two. He threw everything at us, and we just had to work hard to hold him off. Rick Pollock basically built a brand new car for this event and has worked hard for this week, so hopefully we can keep it going and make a run at it Saturday night,” Windom said. Darland crossed second in the Phillips/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Trench Shoring #71P DRC/Foxco.
“It seems like I’ve gotten screwed by the yellows right as I take the lead, and it’s starting to make me mad. It’s definitely getting old. Chris was fast, and we just about had him there before the yellow and on the restarts, but we weren’t quite good enough toward the end to have something for him. The O’Connors did a great job with the track tonight, and it’ll be even better the rest of the weekend,” Darland said. Bacon held off Stockon for fourth in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green #69 Triple X/Williams Mopar.
“The track is obviously a little wetter than normal for the feature, but we made the most of it to get to third. I thought we might have something when we got into traffic, but the yellow stopped that, and those guys are just too fast out front to get them without a major mistake. Chase was coming good on the bottom at the end, but held him off through the last restart, and hopefully we can keep this thing on the podium all weekend,” Bacon said.
Stockon’s fine run netted eleven positions as he wound up fourth in the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher, and Ballou came forward twelve spots to retain his series point lead in the Blakesley Auto – TwisterX #12 Maxim/Ott.
Justin Grant set ProSource “Fast Time” back on July 11th before being involved in a heat-race incident, ending his run for the program.
July 14th, 2015
Tonight’s resumption of the Kokomo Speedway Indiana Sprint Week AMSOIL USAC Sprint race has again been postponed by rain and will now be completed on Wednesday night, August 26 as the opening event of this year’s “Sprint Car Smackdown” at the Kokomo track. Rains forced the initial postponement at Kokomo last Saturday night during the semi feature. The August event will include the semi and the feature to complete that program.
The August 26 race will not be part of the Indiana Sprint Week activities. Indiana Sprint Week is scheduled to conclude this Saturday night, July 18 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
This week’s Indiana Sprint Week now resumes Wednesday night with the “Don Smith Classic” at the Terre Haute Action Track, followed by Thursday night’s race at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Friday night’s race at Bloomington Speedway and Saturday night’s finale at Haubstadt.
April 17th, 2014
NEW CASTLE, Ind.-Tracy Hines knew the field for the inaugural Kokomo Grand Prix at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway would be one of the largest and strongest that the Honda USAC National Midget Series and Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget Series would face all season and he was certainly on his game to match the added competition. The veteran driver earned a pair of top-five finishes at the quarter-mile in his home state of Indiana, coming home fourth in the finale at Kokomo, while he was fifth in the opener.
Hines started fourth in the 40-lap main event on the second night, April 12, and finished in that same position aboard the Parker
Machinery/Powered by Toyota Spike. The race was slowed by six yellow flags and one red flag period. Hines ran as high as third at a couple different junctures of the race, before crossing the line fourth to earn his second straight top-five finish to open the Honda USAC National Midget Series Dirt Championship.
“All in all, it was a good weekend for us,” said Hines. “We were a little off on Saturday night, but were able to run among the
top-five. The track was fast and heavy during the heats, so to come from sixth to third to earn the transfer was an accomplishment in
itself. For the first pair of outdoor midget races on the dirt this year, we were pretty close and know a few things now to work on for the next race.”
The native of New Castle, Ind., stopped the clocks fourth-fastest of the 45 drivers that took qualifying laps on Saturday night. He
charged from the outside of the third row to finish third in the fourth heat race, punching his ticket to the 40-lap main event.
In the opener on Friday, April 11, Hines took to the grid 11th for the A-Feature. He fell back a couple spots in the early going, which saw two caution flags in the first three laps. By lap-10, Hines had moved into the top-10. He ran eighth for a large part of the second half race, before a couple of strong late race restarts propelled him to fifth at the checkered flag.
“We had a good car on Friday night,” said Hines. “We just needed a little bit side-bite and that’s what we worked on for Saturday night. It’s good having two nights at the same track and you can try a few things and always learn something that helps on the second night.”
Hines timed in 16th-fastest of the 46 entries on the first night of the Kokomo Grand Prix. He lined up third in the fourth heat race and finished third to earn a spot in the 30-lap main event.
Following the Kokomo Grand Prix, Hines is third in points with the Honda USAC National Midget Series Dirt Championship, just 11 markers out of second and 25 out of the lead. The next race for the series is the Hut Hundred at Tri-City (Ill.) Speedway on May 9.
Hines returns to action on Saturday, April 19, with the Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car Series at the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio, and the running of the Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic, which he won in 2012. The event was rained out last year.
Tracy Hines Racing would like to thank: Parker Machinery, Powered by Toyota, Turbines, Inc., Afco Racing Shocks, Schoenfeld, Stanton
Racing Engines, Daum Motorsport, Indiana Underground, Hoosier, Bell and Drivin Racing Oil.
For more information on Tracy Hines Racing, visit http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ShortTrackRacingPR/1d41eae93f/84def2fbf4/179cb2ae98 . Follow
Tracy on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TracyHinesRacin – http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ShortTrackRacingPR/1d41eae93f/84def2fbf4/57337e6ece and
like him on Facebook at: http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ShortTrackRacingPR/1d41eae93f/84def2fbf4/7ae055ae15 .
April 13th, 2014
NEW CASTLE, Ind.- Kokomo Speedway in Indiana already hosts one of the biggest Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car Series events of the year, in the form of the Sprint Car Smackdown, and now the Midwest oval will add to its ever-growing national reputation of being one of the raciest tracks in the country, by hosting the inaugural Kokomo Grand Prix for the Honda USAC National Midget Series. The event was scheduled for the first time last year, but was rained out. Tracy Hines has competed in each of the first two editions of the Sprint Car Smackdown and will be in attendance for the first Kokomo Grand Prix for the midgets this weekend aboard the Parker Machinery/Powered by Toyota Spike.
The Kokomo Grand Prix, which is co-sanctioned by the Honda USAC National Midget Series and Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget Series, is
set for Friday, April 11, and Saturday, April 12. A full racing program will commence each night. The Kokomo Grand Prix will serve as
the season opening event for the Honda USAC National Midget Series Championship, which will again be contest separately from the
Pavement Championship in 2014.
“It’s always good to have a new ‘big event’ on the schedule,” said Hines. “There is going to be a very strong field of cars on hand and it’s going to be good, hard racing each night. Kokomo is a great track for midgets and has plenty of racing room. The fan support at Kokomo is always solid and with this being their opening race of the year, I would expect a fantastic turnout.”
Hines made five starts at Kokomo Speedway last season, with four of those coming with the Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car Series and the fifth with the Honda USAC National Midget Series during Indiana Midget Week. He earned a pair of top-10 finishes in the sprint car at Kokomo.
The native of New Castle, Ind., was victorious in a midget at Kokomo Speedway most recently during the 2012 Kokomo Klash, which marked the second straight year he has won during that late season event, as he was also victorious in 2011. Hines has finished on the podium in four of his last five midget starts at Kokomo over the last three seasons.
“Last year, I only raced a midget once at Kokomo, so it will be good this year to run a few more times up there,” said Hines. “We had some bad luck during Indiana Midget Week last year after starting near the front of the field, so hopefully we can make up for that. We usually have a good set-up for Kokomo in the midget. With the field that will be there, you’ll have to be on hit every time you hit the track.”
Hines began 2014 by competing in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., in January. He finished fifth in the 20-lap Race of
Champions on the opening night of the five-day event. Hines ran sixth on his qualifying night and wound up 12th in the 55-lap finale. A field of over 275 cars gathered for the annual indoor event.
Last season with the Honda USAC National Midget Series Dirt Championship, Hines recorded 13 top-10 finishes en route to finishing
third in points. He earned a season-best second-place finish at Gas City I-69 Speedway during Indiana Midget Week. Hines matched that
result on the preliminary night of the Belleville (Kan.) Midget Nationals in early August.
Hines kicked off the Traxxas USAC Silver Crow Series season last weekend, finishing second at the Terre Haute Action Track in his home
state of Indiana. He opened the event by turning the fastest lap in time trials and is currently second in points, just three markers out of the lead as he chases his second Silver Crown title.
Tracy Hines Racing would like to thank: Parker Machinery, Powered by Toyota, Turbines, Inc., Afco Racing Shocks, Schoenfeld, Stanton
Racing Engines, Daum Motorsport, Indiana Underground, Hoosier, Bell and Drivin Racing Oil.
For more information on Tracy Hines Racing, visit http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ShortTrackRacingPR/5085f1201d/84def2fbf4/1be8df48f5 . Follow Tracy on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TracyHinesRacin -http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ShortTrackRacingPR/5085f1201d/84def2fbf4/c9dd87a1e9 and like him on Facebook at: http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ShortTrackRacingPR/5085f1201d/84def2fbf4/0c122944ae .