A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Meseraull In A Thriller At Gas City
Friday, May 20 – The forecast for today was sunny skies with temperatures in the high 80's with gusty winds from the southwest at 20 to 30 mph. This combination of sun, high temperatures and lots of wind can be disastrous for a dirt track and we were worried that the track conditions for our Friday night destination, the Gas City Speedway, would be less than ideal. To our pleasant surprise the track held up very well the entire evening with only minimal dust appearing during the wingless sprint car feature. A tip of the hat to Larry Boos and the entire track crew at Gas City for providing an excellent racing surface under trying circumstances. Now let's get to the evening of racing.
The Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) were in town this evening and the pits were filled with 35 wingless sprinters to do battle along with 12 hornets, 17 D2 midgets and 16 street stocks to round out the program. BOSS runs group qualifications broken into four groups with AJ Hopkins in the Wingo Brothers #77 setting fastest overall time around the ¼ mile bullring with a time of 12.222 seconds. The D2 midgets would also do group qualifying sessions to determine the starting positions for their heat races. Stratton Briggs would be fast timer with a lap of 13.297 seconds in group qualifying.
The BOSS sprint cars would be first to the grid for their heat racing with the top four finishers moving into the 25 lap main event. Scotty Weir in the Petersen #4P went to the front in the first heat and scored the win over Cole Bodine, Kyle Shipley and Tye Mihocko. Colten Cottle wheeled the Hazen #57 to victory in heat two over Jack Hoyer, Matt Goodnight and Jamie Frederickson. Heat three fell to Thomas Meseraull in the Cheney #42 out of California besting Dave Darland, Ricky Lewis and Koby Barksdale. Korbyn Hayslett, the college student out of Ohio, captured heat four beating Paul Dues, Isaac Chapple and Jesse Vermillion.
The hornets would follow with one heat for their 12 car field before the D2 midgets would take to the track to contest their two heats for their 17 car field. The first heat would go to Stratton Briggs over Drew Rader and Wes Pinkerton. Heat two was taken by Kyle Dager besting Abby Hohlbein and Carl Peterson. The street stocks would run two heats for their 16 car field before the sprint cars would return for B mains with three to qualify into the main event.
Ryan Thomas scored the first B main win over JJ Hughes and Cody White. The second B main went to Saban Bibent over Travis Hery and Brian Ruhlman. The 22 car field was now set for the 25 lap feature event. A medical emergency in the grandstand area toward turn one delayed the program about twenty minutes which is something you cannot avoid with the person transported to the hospital before racing could continue.
The 20 lap D2 midget feature would be the first division to take to the track for their main event and would take the green flag at 9:27 with second starting Kyle Dager taking the lead from first starter, Carl Peterson, on the high side of turn two on the opening lap. The first eight laps would stay green with Dager increasing his lead by several seconds. A rash of cautions slowed the middle portion of the race with four yellows appearing between laps nine and twelve. Briggs and Rader had a good battle over the last eight laps for the third position as from that point forward the race stayed green and Dager paced the field up front. Wes Pinkerton made a late race charge from sixth to claim second with Drew Rader riding home third, Stratton Briggs fourth and Bryce Massingill, a recent winner at Circle City who had mechanical problems in his heat, marched from 13th to round out the top five with the checker waving at 9:39. This was Dager's first career win in the D2 midgets.
Landon Arcaro was the third different leader taking the lead on lap 8 after a good race up front between the top three. Arcaro would lead the remaining seven laps to score his first ever win at Gas City in a brand new car prepared for him.
Now it was time for the 25 lap BOSS sprint car feature with the front row of Thomas Meseraull and Korbyn Hayslett bringing the 22 car field to the green flag at 10:01. Hayslett got the advantage using the top of turn two to grab the lead away from Meseraull on the opening lap. Hayslett would pace the first four laps until T-Mez returned the favor on Hayslett in turn two. Arizona's Kyle Shipley in the Michael Dutcher #17GP powered by Hayslett for second on the backstretch on lap six and took up the chase of T-Mez who had opened up over a two second lead. Hayslett was not done yet and reloaded and closed in on Shipley. Lap 12 saw Hayslett take back second before the only caution of the race appeared on lap 13 when Ricky Lewis and Jamie Frederickson tangled in turn two to bring out the yellow. Meseraull's big lead was wiped out at this point. On the green Meseraull powered back out front Hayslett and Shipley in tow. Shipley regained second using the low side of turn four one lap later. Shipley found some extra speed and tracked down and passed T-Mez on the inside of turn three on lap 17 to take the lead and pulled away. Shipley looked like he might pull off his first career win at Gas City but Meseraull never gives up. T-Mez tried several different lines and started to reel in the leader. Lap twenty two saw Meseraull regain the lead but Shipley was not rolling over and came back one lap later to reclaim the top spot. A small bobble off turn four was just enough for Meseraull to make another run and at the white flag he edged ahead entering turn one. T-Mez scampered away and was able to hold off the final advances of Shipley to score the popular win at 10:11 trailed across the line by Shipley with Dave Darland looking strong in his return to racing after sitting out for a year after suffering a stroke coming home third after a tough battle with Scotty Weir who notched fourth with Hayslett holding on for fifth. Isaac Chapple moved from 12th to finish 6th with Cole Bodine 7th, Colten Cottle 8th, Tye Mihocko 9th and Koby Barksdale advancing from 15th to 10th at the finish.
With the street stocks still to come we decided to pull out as the long trip home was still ahead and it was going to be almost impossible to top the wingless sprint car feature so why bother. We arrived back in Crawfordsville around midnight fully satisfied with the well run show we witnessed and impressed at how well the race surface held up after all the sun and wind attacked it. Again a fine job by everyone involved in the track prep and race direction keeping the program moving along in a timely manner.
That's it for this report and while tying it we found out that the Hulman Classic at Terre Haute tonight (Saturday) have been postponed due to rain and the forecast moving forward for the rest of the day. The Action Track will return to run the Hulman Classic tomorrow (Sunday) with hot laps starting at 5 PM. Looking forward to this one. News, comments, notes of interest and anything else can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And hopefully the weather is better in your area so you can get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area. In the meanwhile be safe and have fun. And last but certainly not lease we want to thank you for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our thoughts and opinions we bring to you so if you thinking of visiting one of the tracks we write about you will have pertinent information to process and help your enjoyment of a visit there.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Wrapping Up The Weekend With Action At Circle City
Sunday, May 15 - We started out the morning in Columbia, Missouri at our Drury Inn where we had a nice breakfast at the buffet with real plates and metal utensils!! Then we jumped on I-70 east and began to make the long journey across Missouri and Illinois toward Indiana. As we continued East the gas prices rose from $3.99 to $4.15 when we had burned off enough to make it worthwhile to fill it back up. As we approached St. Louis the prices rose into the $4.39 range and as we crossed the border into Illinois they jumped to $4.59 a gallon. Ouch, as this could affect people's driving and vacation plans especially depending on what type of vehicle they drive. Spoke with our pastor on Tuesday and after returning from a hospital visit to Indianapolis with an empty tank and a twenty cent discount his gas bill was an incredible $105!!!!! Continuing with the present story we motored up I-70 and stopped at our favorite restaurant in Illinois, the Blue Springs, and ended our delicious family style meal sharing a slice of their famous mile high chocolate pie topped with melange. Simply heavenly!!! But the trip was not over yet as we continued on to the Circle City of Indianapolis and our destination, the Circle City Raceway in Marion County. On tap this evening was a four division program consisting of wingless sprint cars (27), D2 midgets (17), 600 micros (11) and UMP modifieds (19). We were joined by Gordy Killian making his way back home after a four track swing with two new tracks in the middle of the sandwich.
The wingless sprint cars would start off the night of racing action with four heats taking the first four finishers to the 25 lap main event. Thomas Messeraull aka T-Mez captured heat one from third in one of the Tyler Sturgeon entries over Scotty Weir in the Landon Simon car with Travis Berryhill third in the other Sturgeon car with young Rylan Gray coming home fourth. Heat two went to AJ Hopkins in the Wingo Brothers #77, one of five #77's entered this evening. Kyle Shipley finished second with Zack Pretorius third and Tim Creech in his pink and white sprinter fourth. Matt Westfall dropping by on his way home from Missouri took down heat three besting Ricky Lewis in the Wolfe #43, Frank Guerrini, another California transplant and Matt McDonald. Ryan Thomas, a local boy would win heat four in the third numbered 77 car over Chad Boespflug, Koby Barksdale and young Saban Bibent.
The D2 midgets were next on the agenda running two heats with Stratton Briggs beating Ryan Thomas, doing double duty on the evening, and Ian Creager. The second heat fell to Gunnar Lucius over Abby Hohlbein and Josh Yenser in an all Ohio sweep. Bruce Newlin Jr. and Justin Harper triumphed in the 600 micro heats while John Demoss and Derek Groomer won UMP modified heats.
Only the sprint cars would need a B main with Cole Bodine copping the win over Sterling Cling, Derek Crane making the trip down from Wisconsin and Colin Grissom.
At this point the track was dusty and slick and the track maintenance of watering the top side would do little to alleviate the situation. The front row of AJ Hopkins and Ricky Lewis brought the 20 car field to the green flag at 8:15 with Lewis wrestling the lead away from Hopkins exiting turn four on lap one. Lewis would hold the top spot until Hopkins executed a turn four slider on lap four to regain the lead. Hopkins would pace the field with Lewis and Matt Westfall in tow. The first caution flew on lap twelve when Travis Berryhill and Kyle Shipley tangled in turn two. On the restart Scotty Weir attempted a slide or die move on third running Thomas Meseraull banging his left front and sending T-Mez sideways where Chad Boespflug finished off his spin sending T-Mez to the back of the field. The field was slip sliding around the oval until lap fifteen when Cole Bodine and Ryan Thomas locked horns in turn two bringing out another caution. One lap later Koby Barksdale and Rylan Gray bumped with Gray spinning in the middle of the turn. From that point on it was all Hopkins as he paced the field over the remainder of the race. Westfall would finish second with Weir third, Zack Pretorius fourth in a good run from tenth with Frank Guerrini nailing down the fifth spot at the finish at 8:39. It was an emotional victory lane as Hopkins stated that this was his first win since his father died late last year.
The 20 lap D2 midget feature was next to the post with the green dropping at 8:50. Stratton Briggs would jump to the early lead over Josh Yenser and many folks knowing how fast Briggs is in the D2's might have figured this one was over. Briggs would lead until eighth starting Bryce Massingill would execute a high side sweep by Briggs on lap nine securing the lead at the line. Massingill would pace the field the remainder of the distance but good racing was occurring behind him with ninth starting Michael Magic passing Briggs late in the contest to claim second at the finish at 9:06 with Briggs third, Ian Creager fourth and Josh Yenser holding on for fifth.
With rain moving eastward we decided to forgo the last two features and head into the brewing storm where we encountered rain as we approached Brownsburg on I-74 and continued the rest of the way home to Crawfordsville. Somehow Circle City was able to sneak in the last two feature events with Bruce Newlin Jr. winning the 600's and Derek Losh claiming the UMP modified win.
That's it for now but check back on Saturday as we will stay local this weekend in Indiana planning on stops at Gas City on Friday for BOSS sprints and Terre Haute on Saturday for USAC sprints. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some upcoming midweek shows in your area at one of your local tracks. Comments, news and other items of interest can reach us at email@example.com. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope that you enjoy our perspective on the events that we travel to. And be safe out there in your travels.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Rain Stops US 36 & Ballou Triumphs On USAC's Return To I-70
Friday, May 13 – From midnight to early morning it rained buckets in Kansas City and surrounding areas, more than enough to bring an morning announcement from USAC that tonight's sprint car race at the US 36 Raceway was canceled due to saturated grounds. This was the track that we had heard nothing but good things about and were looking forward to visiting the high banked 3/8 mile dirt oval but it was not to be as mother nature had other plans for the race schedule. Coupled with the Twitter post from Chet Christner which described how sad he was that USAC couldn't race at this joint and it looked like an absolutely epic place to showcase USAC sprints made us even more disappointed. And adding to the pain was that the day turned out to be a nice day with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the 80's and no more rain.
Saturday, May 14 – The day dawned bright and sunny and hot. Temperatures would climb into the 90's once again and before making our way over to I-70 Motorsports Park in Odessa it was a wonderful trip to the Negro Baseball League Museum in North Kansas City at 18th and Vine Streets, the old home of the Kansas City Monarchs. It was a well thought out and assembled collection of the Negro baseball history in the United States with many placards and stories, uniforms, statues and other memorabilia. It was wonderful to see the history of black baseball in the USA with not only stories on Jackie Robinson but Satchel Paige, Larry Doby, Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson who many considered the best black ballplayer who never made it to the major leagues due to an early death. Gibson was said to have had the eyes of Ted Williams and the power of Babe Ruth all in one package and was the only player to hit a home run completely out of the old Yankee Stadium!!! There was so much more in this museum and is well worth the $10 admission ($9 for senior citizens) and the experience is well worth the time and money spent to view this living history museum. The movie just after entering the main entrance is a must see as it gives you a great perspective of life and experiences in the Negro baseball leagues before the racial barrier was brought allowing black ballplayers into the Major Leagues. After leaving the museum we encountered a black street vendor selling drawings he had done of many of the old time Negro players and after having a good conversation with him we bought one of his 8x10 drawings of Satchel Paige which will be proudly displayed in our sports room at home.
From the museum it was over to Independence, Missouri, the childhood home of Harry S. Truman, where we lunched at Big Bear Diner of California origins before working our way over to Odessa and the home of the I-70 Motorsports Park, a half mile dirt oval brought back to life in 2021. I-70 was originally an asphalt oval first opened in 1969 and later converted to dirt and ultimately closed in 2008. I-70 rose from the ashes like the Phoenix in 2021 when it was reopened as a 3/8 mile dirt oval. And what a beautiful facility it is. From the stone driveways to all the nice out buildings and the lower stadium seating and upper bleacher seating running the entire length of the homestretch it is a gem. The bathrooms are beautiful, clean and well maintained as are the entire grounds and facility that sits on it. It is truly a state of the art racing complex that includes a drag strip also.
On tap this evening was a program consisting of the USAC National Sprint Cars (28) joined by the Show Me Vintage Cars (19). The sprint car field was down by 3 from Thursday due to a split field caused by the POWRi WAR sprints running at the Lucas Oil Speedway also on this evening. Time trials would push off at 6:55 PM and wrap up by 7:17 PM with rookie Emerson Axsom setting fast time around the 3/8 mile dirt oval with a lap of 15.856 seconds. The vintage cars would be next up with hot laps before the USAC sprints in co-sanction with the USAC Midwest Wingless Racing Association would return at 7:45 to contest three heat races with the top five moving onto the 30 lap main event.
Jason McDougal driving one of the KO Motorsports entries would take down heat one over Jake Swanson, CJ Leary, Justin Grant and Emerson Axsom. Heat two fell to Brady Bacon in the Dynamics #69 besting Brandon Mattox, Matt Westfall, Robert Ballou and Alex Banales. The third and final heat would be claimed by Logan Seavey in the Baldwin/Fox #5 orange crate over Chase Stockon, Mario Clouser, Jadon Rogers and Wesley Smith.
Three heats would be run for the Show Me vintage cars and in one of the heats a car spun into the homestretch wall and drifted down off the wall into the path of another car which clipped it sending several wheels bouncing across the track. One wheel was leap frogged by another competitor and he almost flipped his bright yellow coupe but luckily returned to the track surface on all fours. It took a while to clean up the mess and we were impressed by the one wrecker which was able to lift the heavy car who hit the wall totally off the ground behind him.
The sprint car semi or B main was next on the race card with seven moving into the 30 lap feature event. Wyatt Burks who miss by one spot in the first heat dominated this one beating Xavier Doney, Mississippi's Chase Howard, Chad Frewaldt, Chad Tye, Brian Beebe and JD Black the last man in.
The 20 lap vintage car feature was spun off next before the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature took to the track. In a first for us as the sprinters were pushing off the action was suddenly red flagged. It turned out that one of the Flo Racing camera men stepped into a hidden open ditch inside turn three and his leg was lodged in the ditch and took several minutes for safety crews to dislodge with the good news that no injury was suffered and we were able to continue.
The green flag would wave at 9:44 with Mario Clouser taking the early lead with Robert Ballou and Logan Seavey in hot pursuit. Ballou executed a slider in turn one on lap one and pulled off the pass for the lead by turn two. Fifth starting Brady Bacon passed CJ Leary for third in turn four on lap five before Leary returned the favor one lap later. Bacon regained the position several laps later and went off in chase of Seavey and Clouser. Brady executed a two for one pass between turns three and four to dispose of Seavey and Clouser on lap eleven before taking up the pursuit of the long gone Ballou. The first twenty laps was all Ballou but as he entered lap traffic Bacon began to cut the deficit. With nine to go Ballou encountered Alex Banales who slowed the progress of the leader to allow Bacon to roll by Ballou on the low side of turn three and slid up in front of Ballou for the lead in turn four wedged between Banales in front of him and Ballou right on his tail. Many thought Bacon had pulled the winning move of the night but no one informed Ballou of this as Ballou dove low in turn two below Banales and Bacon to regain the lead as he motored away from the other two. The Mad Man was not going to not take advantage of his second chance and powered away over the remaining laps to over a three second lead and crossed the line at 9:54 in the second non-stop feature of the Midwest tour claiming his first win in USAC competition in 11 months and ending Bacon's two race win streak where Ballou had finished second both times. This was also Ballou's 32nd career USAC sprint win passing Tyler Courtney on the all time win list and tying Rollie Beale for 14th on the all time win list. Bacon came home second with Justin Grant advancing from eighth to third with CJ Leary fourth and Emerson Axsom rounding out the top five. Mario Clouser would lead the second five across the line with Seavey seventh, Jason McDougal eighth, Jake Swanson ninth and Matt Westfall completing the top ten. The emotional Ballou climbed to the top of his roll cage and choked up in victory lane after scoring the popular win. It was a good night of racing with everyone exiting the track grounds knowing that they had witnessed a good night of racing where the USAC sprints raced for the first time in 26 years.
That's it for now but check back tomorrow for last race we attended on the weekend after traveling back from Missouri. News, comments, stories and anything else can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as the weather finally looks like it will stay warm for us to enjoy some racing without sweatshirts or jackets. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our column as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. Take care out there and be safe.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Bacon Sizzles In USAC Return To Lakeside Speedway
Thursday, May 12 – We penciled this three day USAC sprint car tour through the Midwest on the calendar when the 2022 USAC schedule came out with Lakeside Speedway, US 36 Raceway and I-70 Speedway on the docket. We drove as far as Quincy, Illinois the first night and arose to continue the tow across Missouri into Kansas for night one of USAC racing action at the Lakeside Speedway outside of Kansas City, Kansas. The 3/8 mile black gumbo clay oval is very nice and well kept and the facility as a whole is top notch. Pennsylvania's Gordy Killian was in town making a race tour to pick up some new tracks though Lakeside was not new for him but it was for us. We also chatted with Jen Kelley and Dan Hetser from the Bloomington area before the racing began.
The weather was sunny, breezy and very hot with the temperature topping 93 degrees but we were surprised that the surface held up so well under these conditions but were glad it did. The tracks in Ohio should take note of this as it shows you can run a race on a hot, breezy sunny day and not have bellowing
dust if you have good dirt and proper maintenance including plenty of water.
The USAC sprints would push off at 7:13 for their single car time trials and when it was all said and done by 7:37 Robert Ballou was standing at the top of the leader board with a time of 16.783 seconds around the 3/8 mile dirt oval for his first fast time since 2018. The first heat racing of the evening would kick off at 7:58 with the USRA B mods spinning off three heats in an impressive time of just 13 minutes.
The USAC Natonal Sprints were joined by the USAC Midwest Wingless Racing Association on the evening and four heats would be needed for them. Kansas racer, Wyatt Burks, would hold off the USAC invaders to score the heat one win followed by Robert Ballou, Jadon Rogers and Logan Seavey. Heat two would fall to the defending WAR sprint car champion, Mario Clouser, besting Brady Bacon, Alex Banales and Brandon Mattox. Heat three was captured by Chase Stockon over Emerson Axsom, Jake Swanson and Wesley Smith. The fourth and final heat went to Jason McDougal beating CJ Leary, Justin Grant and Xavier Doney.
The USRA stock cars were the last to run their heat races with three of them called to the post. Their very competitive races were finished by 9:03 and some track maintenance was performed before the USAC sprints returned to run their semi race or B main. The top six would move into the 30 lap main event with Lone Jack, Missouri's Cody Baker looking strong in winning this one over Zach Daum, Matt Westfall, Chris Parkinson, Rece Wommack from Mississippi and Zach Clark.
The three feature races were the only ones remaining with the 20 lap USRA B mod feature the first one called to the post. We must admit that the B mods were probably the best B mod feature we have ever seen with only one caution and some very competitive racing throughout the field. Andy Bryant drove by Tim Powell to take the lead around lap 11 and looked like he was going to win until pulling off the backstretch with just four to go. Powell would go on to take the gift over tenth starting Gabriel Hodges and Terry Schultz in an 11 minute run.
The 30 lap USAC sprint car feature would take the green at 10:06 and that was the last time the green flag was needed as the entire 30 laps would go non-stop in nine minutes. Emerson Axsom would take the early lead at the green with the field in hot pursuit. CJ Leary would use the inside groove in turns one and two to take away the lead on lap two. The action heated up on lap three with Brady Bacon down low, Leary in the middle and Axsom on the top going three wide into the corner. Axsom held the lead by half a car length at the line to start lap four. Bacon committed to the bottom raced into turn two and cleared Axsom for the lead racing down the backstretch. Brady was on a rail at that point and proceeded to stretch his lead from that point forward. Axsom trailed in second with Robert Ballou surging forward into third from his sixth starting spot. Ballou chased Axsom lap after lap finally catching him for second in turn two on lap eighteen but by this time Bacon was long gone stretching his lead to over four seconds. Bacon ran into heavy, three wide lap traffic in the closing circuits but with such a huge lead he would not be challenged. After a poor start to the race Logan Seavey surged back to third at the finish passing Axsom for the last podium position with just four to go. At the finish at 10:15 (nine minute feature) it was Bacon across the line first for the 42nd time in his USAC career passing Bryan Clauson on the win list and tying Pancho Carter for sixth on the all time list. Bacon was also the last USAC winner at Lakeside in the last time they ran here. Ballou scored his second consecutive second place finish with Seavey third, Axsom fourth and Leary fifth. Matt Westfall came home sixth from 11th with Jason McDougal seventh, Chase Stockon eighth, Jadon Rogers ninth and Justin Grant rounding out the top ten. To show you how dominant Bacon's run was he almost put the tail end of the top ten one lap down.
We decided to stay for the USRA stock car feature as it was early and the hotel was only 20 minutes away and we are glad we did as it turned out to be the best feature of the evening. Ed Griggs in a spirited battle would hold off Chad Walker and Jaylen Wettengel for the win with the final checker waving at 10:50 in a very good night of racing in Kansas.
That's it for now but check back soon to see if we are able to sneak in US 36 Raceway as the weather is iffy with powerful thunderstorms a possibility. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and stay hydrated. Comments, news, stories or any other items of interest can reach us at email@example.com. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where our next typical weekend takes us. Be safe and take care.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Cummins Late Race Surge Garners POWRi Midget Win At Macon
Saturday, May 7 – During the morning we toured the catacombs next to the Indianapolis City Market underneath Whistler Plaza where the old Tomlinson Hall stood. It was an interesting tour weaving around the Roman style brick arches beneath the plaza and the stories that went along with the buildings. All that is left of Tomlinson Hall which burned in 1958 is a brick arch at one end of the plaza. From there we lunched at Jersey Mike's before heading back to Crawfordsville to pack up to leave for our Saturday destination of the Macon Speedway in Macon, Illinois. The POWRi National midgets along with the POWRi 600 micros were racing on the 1/5 mile bullring along with three of the regular classes that race at Macon. The car counts were 24 POWRi midgets, 31 POWRi 600's, 25 modifieds, 12 pro late models and 19 hornets.
Time trials for the modifieds & pro late models commenced at 6:54 and were spun off quickly. By 7:27 the first of three POWRi midgets heats took the green flag. POWRi uses passing points instead of time trials to determine the top 16 from the heats that automatically lock into the 30 lap main event. Michael Magic and Emilio Hoover tangled in turn two with Magic rolling over in the incident. Both drivers were OK after the tangle. Cannon McIntosh would go on to win the first heat but first time Macon runner, Kyle Cummins, would charge from 7th to 2nd and earn the most passing points in the three heats to earn the first starting position for the feature. Mariah Ede and Chance Crum were the next two across the line. Heat two saw Jade Avedisian in one of the Boat entries win from first over fourth starting Bryant Wiedeman, Mitchell Davis and Joey Wirth. The third heat fell to Chase McDermand over Taylor Reimer, Maria Cofer and Karter Sarff.
The POWRi 600 micros would contest four heats on the evening with Joe B. Miller coming from 5th to win heat one and earn himself the first starting position in the 20 lap feature event besting Collin Shain and Joe Taft. Heat two was captured by Aarik Andruskevitch over Sean Robbins and Billy Lieb. The third heat fell to Austin Schaeffer who seemed to hit everyone he passed on the evening beating Kylee Griffitts and eighth starting Tyler Kuykendall. The fourth heat would go to Indiana's Craig Ronk outrunning Cole Tinsley from 5th and John Barnard.
The modifieds ran three heats with the pro late models and hornets running two each. The only division that ran a B main was the 600 micros with Alex Midkiff prevailing. In a much appreciated gesture management pushed the modified feature to the third slot running the two POWRi features first.
The 30 lap POWRi National Midget feature would take the green flag at 9:16 with Cannon McIntosh taking the early lead over fellow front row starter Kyle Cummins. The pair would retain the top two positions through the first 11 laps before they encountered lap traffic. McIntosh worked the lap traffic in good order with Cummins a few car lengths back. The first caution would wave on lap 17 for a double spin with Jade Avedisian in turn two and Devin Camfield in turn four. On the restart McIntosh retained the lead with Chase McDermand edging by Cummins for second. Taylor Reimer started applying the pressure to Cummins for third as the two exchanged sliders over the next several laps. Reimer pulled ahead for third at lap 20 with Cummins slipping to fourth. The race had run with only two cautions over the first 20 laps but five would wave over the last ten laps mostly from the same back markers. Lap 23 saw Austin Barnhill and Emilio Hoover tangle in turn three and one lap later Brenham Crouch while running sixth slid sideways in turn three to bring out the caution. On the ensuing restart Chance Crum running steady in seventh stopped in turn three to slow the action once again. With six to go the green waved for the final time and Cummins decided to go up top and quickly surged by Reimer for fourth. One lap later he surprised McDermand for third as the #3G was honking on the high side. With three to go Cummins flew by McIntosh for the lead entering turn one before he even knew it and powered away over the final three laps to score his first ever POWRi National midget win on a track he had never raced before in his career. McIntosh held on for second with McDermand rounding out the podium. The gals, Taylor Reimer and Maria Cofer, would round out the top five in two fine runs. Positions six through ten went to Bryant Wiedeman, Mitchell Davis, Karter Sarff, Jace Park and Brenham Crouch from 16th. The checkered in this one waved at 9:36.
The twenty lap 600 micro feature would take the green flag ten minutes later with Joe B. Miller taking the early lead with Austin Schaeffer getting into him hard in turns three and four before Miller pulled away from Schaeffer. Craig Ronk was the first to break out of the pack catching and passing Schaeffer for second and taking up the chase of Miller. Ronk pulled close several times in lap traffic but Miller was up to the challenge and streaked across the line at 9:54 for his 45th career POWRi 600 micro win, the most of any driver. Ronk who started sixth finished second with Schaeffer third, Tyler Kuykendall fourth and Aarik Andruskevich fifth.
It was a well run program and being on the road around 10 for our two hour drive home was much appreciated with the one hour loss entering back into Eastern Time making it 1:07 AM when we pulled the Rogue into the garage in Crawfordsville. Macon is such a racy joint and we love to go there and almost the racing action is second to none.
That's it for this segment as we prepare for a road trip following the USAC National sprint cars to Kansas and Missouri for three nights of racing at three new tracks for us. Check back Friday for report #1 for the road trip. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road to check out something new. News, comments, stories or any other points of interest can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always be safe and thanks for reading our efforts and sharing your comments with us. We appreciate the feedback.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Sumar Classic Falls To Justin Grant At Terre Haute
Sunday, May 1 – Anticipation was high for the season opener at the Terre Haute Action Track as new management was in place and many improvements have been made at the historic ½ mile dirt oval located on the Vigo County Fairgrounds in the city of Terre Haute. Scott Ronk, the Vice President at H & R Industrial in Kokomo has teamed up with Bernie Stuebgen, owner of Indy Race Parts since 2002 and Reece O'Connor, one of the O'Connor family who have run Kokomo Speedway for many years and a great track preparer to form the new promotional team here. New Armco fencing has been added in the turns with the concrete blocks forming the walls on the homestretch and backstretch. The infield tower had been renovated and new bathrooms underneath have been installed. New and better lighting has been added and the concession stand underneath the covered grandstand has been gutted and now is a walk in arrangement. New track equipment and a concrete pad for the water trucks have been added along with the walking tunnel into the infield has been paved. In the near future a children's playground will be added in the infield and currently there are children's toys on a giant blanket to play with and return to the same spot. The historic ½ mile clay oval is looking much better and all the improvements are a big plus.
Now to the racing end of the deal. Thirty six USAC Silver Crown cars signed into the pit area with 33 of them taking time as mechanical issues sidelined the other three. After two sessions of hot laps for the Grand Dames of USAC single car qualifying took the initial green flag at 6:22. Kody Swanson, the defending Silver Crown champion with his car wearing the #1, was one of the earlier time trialers and his time of 20.410 seconds would hold up through the qualifying session which wrapped up at 6:58 giving him his 37th career fast time award in his Silver Crown career and third one at the Sumar Classic.
Also on the race card were the UMP modifieds who brought a good field of 25 entrants which necessitated three heats which were first on the race agenda starting off at 7:18. Randy Shuman, Brian Shaw and Richie Lex would capture the three heats and were spun off in good order. Next up was the 12 lap Last Chance Race with the top six joining the top twenty in the 100 lap Sumar Classic later in the day. Unlike the modifieds this race was filled with three red flags for flips and shortened to 10 laps. The first flip was executed by Ohio's Ronnie Wuerdeman who went for a ride in turn three on lap one bouncing off the new Armco barrier and landing hard on the track surface. Wuerdeman suffered a broken collarbone in the hard crash. Chris Fetter hopped the right rear of Casey Buckman's car in turn four and found himself crashing hard into the Armco barrier before landing back on the track. In days gone by that one could have been much more serious for anyone on the other side of the fence as we believe he would have cleared the old fencing and wound up in the pit area. Even though the rivets were popped in one of the seams and a half hour was needed for repairs it could have been much worse. The new improvement already had paid for itself in terms of human injury not occurring. Fetter suffered a deep cut on his knee that required stitches but as we said it could have been much worse. The third flip of the LCR was on the final lap exiting turn four when Dave Berkheimer tried to pass Patrick Lawson for the last qualifying position with Berkheimer going end over end twice and Lawson stopping and not making it to the finish line. Tommy Nichols of Tampa, FL was the recipient of the gift last pass into the main event. Berkheimer was OK after his big ride. Kyle Steffens won the LCR over Davey Ray, Terry Babb, Casey Buckman, Travis Welpott and Nichols. This race took almost an hour to complete.
The 15 lap UMP modified feature would take to the track next taking the green flag at 8:50. It was a competitive race with Brian Shaw holding off all attempts by Will Krup to score the win at 9:07 with Tyler Weiss third, Adam Strickler fourth and Derek Groomer advancing from 13th to finish 5th.
Now it was time for the 100 lap Sumar Classic which had not been run since 2018 with Justin Grant the defending champion. The front row of Kody Swanson and CJ Leary brought the 27 car field to starter Tom Hansing's green flag at 9:30 as Brian Tyler was the 27th car using a provisional to join the field and in the process became the all time USAC Silver Crown starter making his 202nd career start in the division surpassing Dave Darland and Russ Gamester. Tyler would end up 22nd in the final rundown. Surprisingly CJ Leary in the Klatt #6 assumed the lead from Swanson and would pace the field for the first 45 laps of the race. The first 17 laps would be green until Tommy Nichols stopped in turn four to bring out the first caution. Caution laps would count for the first 75 laps of the 100 lap event. Leary would bound out front again on the restart with Swanson and Justin Grant in pursuit. Lap 22 would see Emerson Axsom, making his SC debut in the Nolen #20, a car his father had driven at one time, move into 14th after starting last when the Nolen car had problems firing and then continuing to run which was worked out before the field went green. Jerry Coons Jr. in the Bateman #55 was another man on the move advancing from 12th into the top five by lap 28 with sixteenth starting Brady Bacon in the Five Three entry moving to 7th on the backstretch on lap 29. A scary moment occurred on lap 33 when Shane Cockrum pulled to the work area on the homestretch with a fire in the cockpit area with the Chief already climbing out of the roll cage before the car came to a stop. Cockrum was OK after the flareup was extinguished. One lap later Grant found his way around Swanson for second as Axsom continued his march forward cracking the top ten on lap 35. Coons passed Buddy Kofoid also making his rookie appearance in the Lein #97 and running in the top five for fourth on the backstretch on lap 43. Grant caught and passed Leary for the lead in turn one on lap 45 as Kofoid was flying moving into second moments later. Leary began to slow noticeably on lap 47 as his right rear tire was deflating and he pulled to the work area where he lost two laps under caution. Axsom was ninth on lap 48 and Bacon was up to 5th at the same time.
The field took the halfway mark under caution with Grant leading Kofoid, Swanson and Logan Seavey in the Rice #22 with Bacon 5th. Bacon worked his way past Seavey for fourth going down the backstretch on lap 55 as the defending USAC sprint car champion was turning up the wick. Kofoid meanwhile was all over Grant for the lead and dove low in turn one and slid by Grant on lap 58 to assume the lead. The action was fast and the pace was furious as Kofoid sailed away from the pack behind. Coons motored by Grant for second moments later with Axsom and Bill Rose having a fine run from 16th to 6th having a fine battle for that spot. Axsom took it on lap 59 but Rose was not done and reclaimed it moments later. Axsom slipped back by on lap 64 and Rose returned the favor on lap 72. Coons was gaining on Kofoid as the leaders encountered lap traffic but a bobble off of turn two by Coons lost him the ground he had gained. Kofoid opened over a three second lead as the race moved into the 80's. It looked like a big upset was in the making as Kofoid continued to pace the field. Suddenly a bar broke on the right front of the Lein #97 with the shock working loose sending Kofoid hard into the turn two wall on lap 86 with the youngsters rolling over in the process. How suddenly the fortunes of a race can change. This would hand the lead over to Jerry Coons Jr. who had not won a Silver Crown race in 8 years with 14 laps to go. Coons was a rabbit on the restart and retained the lead as the laps clicked off. With 10 to go Grant was starting to reel in Coons and the race was on again. Grant made a move on lap 96 diving low in turn three and pulling alongside Coons but was unable to sustain the move. One lap later Kyle Robbins running seventh slowed on the backstretch bringing out the yellow which Coons did not want to see as it seemed Coons car was starting to drift high in turns one and two because of possible tire wear. On the lap 97 restart Coons got a good restart but Grant closed racing down the backstretch diving between the rail and Coons in turn three and sliding high in turn four with the lead in his hands. Grant opened up several car lengths on Coons who looked to be in trouble of losing the second position but closed the door on a Bacon move in turns one and two to retain second. The remaining three laps were spun off with Tom Hansing waving the double checkers at 10:26 with Justin Grant scoring back to back Sumar Classic wins four year apart. Coons would finish a disappointing second with Bacon coming home third, Seavey fourth and Axsom in his maiden voyage copping a fine fifth at the finish. Bill Rose would lead the second five across the line in a fine run in sixth with Swanson seventh, Carmen Perigo eighth, Terry Babb ninth after starting 22nd and CJ Leary rounding out the top ten.
It was a very good race run on a track surface that held up well considering a stiff wind was blowing all day from west to east at 15 to 25 mph which can play havoc on a racing surface it produced minimal dust and was somewhat choppy but that was due to all the rain the last couple of days. Good job to the new promoters and thanks for all the improvements and look forward to returning several more times this year to the Action Track.
That's it for this typical weekend with some local racing and a venture into Illinois on Saturday for some POWRi midget action. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Hopefully since it is now May it will start to warm up some!!! Comments, news and other tidbits can reach us at email@example.com. And as always thanks for reading our efforts as we enjoy bringing them to you as much as you enjoy reading them. Take care and be safe out there.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Bloomington USAC Run Comes Up Short
Friday, April 29 – All week long we monitored the weather for Bloomington and the prognosis did not look good. When we awoke on Friday the predictions had vastly changed for the better with a high of 9 per cent possible rain for Friday evening. So at 4 PM it was southbound on Rt. 231 with a full tank of gas in the Rogue down to Spencer. A left onto Rt. 46 past McCormick's State Park and into the Bloomington area for USAC National sprint car racing on the red clay high banks of Bloomington Speedway. A three division program was on tap for the evening with 35 USAC sprints joined by 13 Racesaver 305 winged sprints and 21 hornets for the night of racing action.
It was the Larry Rice Classic for the USAC boys tonight with time trials kicking off at 6:49. When it was all said and done at 7:09 Jake Swanson spun off the quickest time with a lap of 10.931 seconds around the ¼ mile oval. The USAC sprints would run four heats with Brady Short scratching for the evening leaving us with 34 cars. Kyle Shipley of Arizona in the Michael Dutcher #17GP collared the first heat win holding off Justin Grant, Jason McDougal and Matt Westfall. Jake Swanson was forced over the first turn banking and restarted at the rear missing the transfer position by one at the finish. Shane Cottle in the Hodges #74 claimed heat two besting Chase Stockon, CJ Leary and Brady Bacon. Emerson Axsom in the Clauson/Marshall #47 looked strong in heat three winning over Robert Ballou, Carson Short in the Epperson #2E (Tony Epperson painting the new fencing at Terre Haute) and Max Adams in the Gass #17G. The fourth and final heat fell to Brandon Morin in an impressive run beating Ricky Lewis in the Stensland/Haley #41, Kyle Cummins and Logan Seavey.
The Racesaver 305 sprint cars were next up with two heats for their 13 car field with Ethan Barrow passing John Paynter Jr. for the win with Ryan Tusing third. The second heat fell to Jordan Welch over Rod Henning and Blayne Ridgley. The USAC sprint car B main was called to the track next as a storm front had formed to the west and was moving in and was run before the first hornet heat. Shane Cockrum in the Wade/Amati #66 prevailed in this one fending off Zach Daum, Jake Swanson, Carson Garrett, Brayden Fox and Braxton Cummings. Tanner Thorson and Jadon Rogers would have to use provisionals to increase the starting field to 24.
One hornet heat would be run to allow the B main cars to prep for the main event and the hornets were not cooperative as several times they flew off the various corners and finally were waved off the track as the sprinters gathered in the chute to be pushed off for the 30 lap main event. The weather people had predicted 9 PM as the start of the rain and wouldn't you know it probably for the first time this year they were right!!! As the sprinters circled the track under yellow the rain began falling lightly and picked up in a next few minutes. The cars were sent to the pit area as the crowd headed toward the exit and their cars. After sitting in the Rogue for 30 minutes with the rain still coming down lightly the decision was made to postpone the features to a future as of yet undetermined date. It was a disappointment but we don't believe that there is anything else they could have done to have moved the show along any quicker. It is just one of those things where you cannot control mother nature and sometimes she wins and on other times we prevail as the show gets in. You will have this when you go racing no matter where it might be.
That's it for this segment and check back Monday as we look forward to attending the opener at the Action Track in Terre Haute where the new promotional team of Scott Ronk, Bernie Stuebgen and Reece O'Connor host their first race at a track where they have made many improvements to one of the most historic tracks in Indiana and also in the United States. In the meantime get out there in your area and support some good short track racing and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our column and hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Good Night Of Racing At Lincoln Park
Well, it's been quite a while since we have reported on any racing that we attended since February. We have been to two races in Arizona, one in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey in the interim but none of the racing involved sprint cars or midgets so no reports.
Adding to the woes was the fact my brother, Bob, had quadruple heart bypass surgery in late March and I traveled to New Jersey to take care of him. I spent nearly four weeks there before returning this Saturday just in time to unpack the luggage and load the canvas folding chairs into the Rogue and head south on Rt. 231 to beautiful downtown Putnamville to attend the races at the Lincoln Park Speedway.
Saturday, April 23 – It was a joy to pass below the track on Route 40 and see the large concrete grandstands up on the hill in Putnamville as we pulled into the back road to proceed to our parking spot on the side of the hill with the cemetery in our rear view mirror. On tap tonight was a five division program consisting of wingless sprints (18), UMP modifieds (13), winged 305 sprints (15), super stocks (17) and bombers (17). The car count was lower than usual for LPS but that was due to the new competition of Paragon Speedway now running on the same night and paying $2000 to win the wingless sprints. Looks like the Spikers are going to have to up their game and put more money into the purses of all the divisions to draw some of the defectors back to Putnamville.
The high temperature (85) and the wind blowing all day long at 10 to 20 mph played havoc on the surface especially turn two where it was slimy and the track crew had a difficult time working it in causing a 45 minute delay in the start of the racing action. Brian Hayden's rough night began in hot laps as he was fast but caught the backstretch berm the wrong way and ending up going end over end two times before landing upside down on the track. He was OK after the wild ride and his crew went to work to repair the torn up sprinter.
The wingless sprints would kick off the action running two heats for their 18 on hand with Sebastopol, California's Geoff Ensign, the new pilot of the Burton #04 capturing heat one over Travis Berryhill, Tye Mihocko, the new shoe in the Paul #24P, and Alec Sipes. The second heat fell to Brent Beauchamp besting Brayden Fox, Brandon Spencer and Nic Harris. The UMP modifieds were next up for their two heats with Andy Sherley and Tyler Loughmiller winning the heats. Two heat races would be contested for the 305 sprinters with John Paynter Jr. scoring heat one over Keith Langley and Rod Henning. Hamersville, Ohio's Justin Clark took down heat two beating Jeff Wimmenauer and Roman Gephart. The 17 super stocks spun off three heats while the bombers had two competitive heats to round out the qualifying. No B mains were needed so it was right into the five feature events.
The 25 lap wingless sprint car feature was brought to Brian Hodde's green flag at 9:07 by the front row of Travis Berryhill and Brent Beauchamp. Berryhill would jump into the early lead and pace the field until the backstretch of lap two when Geoff Ensign charged by to take the lead. Tye Mihocko who started fifth caught and passed Berryhill on lap six to take second and took up the chase of Ensign. Ensign and Mihocko locked up in an intense battle for the lead swapping the lead back and forth until the red waved on lap 14 when Brian Hayden who got the car repaired from his hot lap flip rolled his #2H in turn two ending his frustrating evening with more work to do at the shop. On the restart Mihocko grabbed the lead between turns three and four with Ensign battling back to regain the lead the next lap around. Mihocko returned the favor on lap 16 and looked like he might have this one in the bag. But Ensign had other plans and tracked down Mihocko taking the lead back on lap 20. Ensign was not to be denied over the remaining five laps and flashed under the checkered flag at 9:25 for his first win in Indiana to the delight of the good crowd on hand. Mihocko would bobble off turn four allowing Brent Beauchamp to slip under Tye to grab second at the line with Mihocko third, Alec Sipes in a good run to claim fourth and Travis Berryhill rounding out the top five.
The 20 lap UMP modified feature was next on the agenda and produced a good race for the top spot with Tyler Loughmiller, the DePauw University student at nearby Greencastle, besting Rob Brickert and Will Bennett for the win.
The 20 lap 305 sprint car feature would take the green at exactly 10 with John Paynter Jr. taking full advantage of his first starting position blasting into the lead and opening up a good lead and even though there were four cautions each time Paynter pulled away on the restarts. Rod Henning charged from fifth to second at the finish but was later disqualified for a rules infraction and placed last with Justin Clark awarded second with Ethan Barrow who had mechanical problems in hot laps and started 15th and last in the feature was third with Ryan Tusing placing fourth and Jeff Wimmenauer rounding out the top five. It was 10:15 with two features to go so we decided to call it an evening and head back up the road satisfied with the three good feature events we had witnessed.
That's it for this report but check back next weekend where a three night racing weekend is on the docket. Hopefully the weather will cooperate as the month of April has been very unpredictable and everyone is ready for the warm weather to stick around. In the meantime plot your own calendars and get out there and see some good short track racing in your area or take the show on the road. Take care and thanks for reading our efforts and hope that you continue to enjoy our writings as much as we enjoy writing them for you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Axsom Is The Real Deal With 2nd USAC Sprint Win At BRP
Saturday, February 19 – The last night of our Florida vacation race tour would be spent in the Ocala area before heading about and hour and twenty minutes north to position ourselves for a long 12 hour drive home on Sunday. The Bubba Raceway Park was hosting the USAC National sprint cars in night three of Winter Games XIII along with the UMP modifieds this year. Thirty eight sprint cars returned for the final night of the three race series at Bubba while twenty UMP modifieds joined them for the last evening. The format would be different tonight with no time trials for the sprints but instead the top five drivers based on points awarded the first two nights were automatically locked into the 35 lap main event, which was only the second time USAC sprints have run for 35 laps and technically it was the first time as the last one in May of 2006 at Anderson Speedway was shortened by rain. The five drivers locked into the feature event were Emerson Axsom, Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant, Chase Stockon and Kyle Cummins. The remaining 33 drivers and cars for tonight would run in three eight lap qualifiers with the top four moving on to the big dance and the qualifier winners joining the locked five in a fast dash with the finish determining the first four rows of the main event. The others would run a C main or a B main with the top five from the B main joining the back of the A main.
With that all explained and I hope no one is confused at this moment we will move forward into the actual program at hand. Shane Cottle who has given the Tim Hogue #39 some fine runs during the week with both sanctioning bodies took down qualifier #1 over Brady Short, Landon Simon and Jason McDougal. Qualifier #2 was claimed by Carson Short besting Brady Bacon, Shane Cockrum and Braxton Cummings who has surprised many in Florida with some good qualifying runs. Qualifier #3 was won by Jake Swanson over Alex Bright, Tanner Thorson and CJ Leary. The modifieds ran their three heats non-stop and the sprinters came back with their C main won by Josh Turner over Robert Bell, Jack Hoyer, the 16 year old micro & mini sprint grad from Frankfort, IN in one of the DCT-Crow/Bodine entries and Jeremy Kerzman. The next order of business was the six lap fast dash with the five locked in drivers and the three qualifier winners. What didn't make sense to me and others around us was why did all eight drivers participate in drawing for starting positions in the dash instead of the top five drawing for positions 1-5 and the qualifier winners drawing positions 6-8?? Seems that a couple of the teams that were locked in questioned this also on Twitter as it seems to me and the teams that the top five locked in should start in the top five positions as a reward for being the best over the previous two nights. Anyhow Kyle Cummins went on to win the dash over Chase Stockon, Carson Short, Emerson Axsom, Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant, Shane Cottle and Jake Swanson.
The B main was captured by Robert Ballou who has struggled in the last two nights flipping his primary car on Friday beating Logan Seavey, Jadon Rogers, Alex Bright and Matt Westfall. Allentown PA's Briggs Danner miss the big race by one position as he tried everything to find a way around one of the toughest drivers to pass, Matt Westfall, including riding his right front wheel up on the homestretch wall but unlike Charles Davis Jr. earlier in the B keeping it on all fours and continuing. Maybe the decision to not run on Friday because the team was penalized for not joining their qualifying group (by only 20 seconds) on time and loading their sprinter for the evening could have cost them in the long run as they would have started up further up in their qualifying race and might have made it earlier in the night. Going back to Davis he rode his right front tire up on the homestretch wall which turned him sideways and into a series of rolls ending up past the starter's stand but he climbed out quickly after the jolting ride.
Track prep was performed before the field was lined up with Southern Indiana's finest in Kyle Cummins and Chase Stockon bringing the 22 car field to starter Michael Heath's green flag at 10:28. Stockon jumped into the early lead over Cummins. The front two went side by side for several laps battling for the top spot. Finally Stockon edged ahead with Cummins and fourth starter, Emerson Axsom in his tire tracks. And behind the top three the battles raged with many positions contested with three wide racing throughout the field. Axsom looked for ways around Cummins and finally on lap eleven found the opening on the inside of turn two to grab second away from him. Tanner Thorson was eating up large amounts of real estate working his way from 14th into the top five around the halfway mark. Around lap twenty Axsom began to find the middle to his liking and edged closer to the high side riding Stockon who noticed the front of Axsom's machine in his view of vision and adjusted to the low side to protect his lead as the caution then waved when 8th and 9th running Robert Ballou and Jake Swanson banged wheels on the homestretch with Swanson suffering front end damage and ending his evening early. Swanson was not happy with Ballou after the incident and faked throwing his steering wheel at Ballou when he passed by. Swanson's racing may have ended early but his action did not as the two resumed their “discussion” in the pit area after the checkered had waved. An unconfirmed KO was the result of the “discussion” between the two with Ballou the victor. Might have been a payback in Ballou's mind when the two touched going three wide down the backstretch the previous night with Ballou taking the wild ride barrel rolling five times in the accident. Seems to be a good time for USAC to step in and have a real discussion with the two.
On the restart Stockon went back to the point with Axsom in hot pursuit. Axsom went to the top on lap twenty two with Stockon coming off the bottom to counter. This allowed Justin Grant and Tanner Thorson an opportunity to close on the front two. With nine to go Axsom found the bite on the inside of turns three and four and moved by Stockon to grab the lead. Thorson disposed of Grant for third a lap earlier and with eight to go dove low off turn four to motor into second and take up the chase of Axsom. With five to go Shane Cottle slowed to a stop and the field was regrouped. Axsom hit the loud pedal on the ensuing restart and blasted to a commanding lead leaving the field in his wake. Thorson tried to wheel him in but Axsom was determined to prove that Friday was not a fluke taking the checker at 10:48 besting Thorson with Stockon third after being challenged in the last two laps by Grant with the two rubbing wheels as they raced to the line with Stockon prevailing and Grant steaming after brushing the homestretch wall. Grant drove fast after the checker flew to pull alongside Stockon and swerved toward Chase to show his displeasure. Another instance of a long memory as in the fall of 2021 racing for the lead at Terre Haute on a restart Grant jacked up Stockon's rear end causing him to slide high in turn one allowing Grant to motor past and onto the win. Two famous quotes come to mind on this one and they are “Paybacks are a bitch” and “If you live by the sword, you die by the sword”. And while we are at it how about “If you dish it out, you got to be able to take it also”. Enough said!!! Brady Bacon finally had a decent run at Bubba in 2022 finishing fifth after starting tenth. His high watermark was the fine second he recorded in the Xtreme Outlaw sprint race on the final night at Volusia finishing second to T-Mez. The second five was led to the finish by Buddy Kofoid with Logan Seavey advancing from 19th to 7th with Robert Ballou from 18th to 8th, Carson Short ninth and Shane Cockrum rounding out the top ten.
The racing tonight was good and the track was about right in quiet the critics from afar.
That's it for a few weeks as Arizona for a short “baseball” vacation (short because we may not see much) before we picked it up again in early April. Until next time get the warm clothes out if you are planning to visit Lincoln this weekend (don't think it is going to happen) or sharpen the pencils to write in your 2022 schedule on the calendar. Remember as Jake Swanson said after using a slider on Saturday night to win his qualifier over a perturbed Thomas Meseraull, “Slide or Die”. Comments can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and in the meantime stay safe and keep warm. And thanks for reading our column and for the support you show us.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Grant's February Dominance At Bubba Continues With Friday Night Win
Friday, February 18 – Night two of the Winter Games for the USAC National Sprints would take place tonight at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala. A stop at Ford's Garage in Celebration for lunch produced a fine meal of pulled port nachos, a large Ford's original burger and burnt end brisket melt for the two of us. The next order of business was to head north on the Florida Turnpike to Ocala area for Friday night under the lights at Bubba Raceway Park. Little did we know a long night was ahead of us. The surface was in better shape than the night before as the sprinters pushed off for time trials at 7:14. Just 16 cars into time trials it began to rain shutting down the activities as everyone in the stands headed for cover. It would be nearly a three hour rain delay that incurred before time trials commenced from the top at 10. This is another example for major racing groups to have a backup plan in place for a weather delay. It seems silly to me to have time trials at 10 PM. Maybe scratch time trials at this point and go to a heat only plan with a draw for starting positions and a passing point procedure to determine the top 16 to lock into the main event with another six taken from a B main. Just a thought. Anyhow time trials completed by 10:31 with Kunz driver, Buddy Kofoid, picking up his first career fast timer award to the tune of 14.100 seconds around the 3/8 mile dirt oval.
The track was fast as the first of four heat races taking the top four directly to the A main went green at 10:56. Kyle Cummins was able to fend off Buddy Kofoid to win heat one with Logan Seavey third and Braxton Cummings putting it in the field for the first time. Brady Short wheeled the Edwards #61M to victory in heat two besting Brady Bacon, Steve Irwin and Carson Short. Tanner Thorson motored to the front in heat three to secure the win over Justin Grant, Alex Bright and Jason McDougal. The fourth heat would fall to Thomas Meseraull who's victory lane interview was out of line criticizing the track surface (don't know what they were suppose to do after a 3 hour rain delay) and wonder if Robert Ballou made the same statement would there have been any flack from USAC officials. Just asking!! Matt Westfall, Emerson Axsom and Chase Stockon trailed T-Mez. Heat racing for the sprints was completed by 11:23 with three heats for the 17 UMP modifieds on hand over by 11:37.
The sprint car C main was next in line with Alex Banales making a last lap pass of Jeremy Kerzman to win this one with Josh Turner and Jadon Rogers joining the top two to move into the B main. The B main turned into a wild affair as first Robert Ballou took a wild ride down the backstretch into turn three after a three wide battle for the lead with cars touching and Ballou rolling five times before coming to a stop right side up with Ballou quickly exiting the wrecked sprinter. He started to run across the infield with helmet in hand and many thought he was going to “talk” with one of the drivers involved in the incident but instead he was rushing to get back to the pit area to prepare his backup sprint for the 30 lap feature event as he would use a provisional to make his 400th career USAC National sprint car start. A four wheeler met him at the pit gate and wheeled him back to his pit stall to prepare the backup for the feature. We were not done flipping yet in this one as shortly thereafter Charles Davis Jr. got into the side of fellow Arizona driver, Kyle Shipley, sending him rolling several times in turn two with Mario Clouser also involved and rolling over also. Shipley visited Davis' car to discuss the incident before heading back to the pit area. Finally when things settled down it was CJ Leary taking the B main win over Jake Swanson, Shane Cottle who would make his 300th career USAC National sprint car start, Kory Schudy, Landon Simon and Shane Cockrum. All prelims were in the books by 12:37 and the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature was next on the racing docket. It was a tick before 1 AM when the front row of Justin Grant and Carson Short brought the 23 car field to the green flag with Carson Short gaining the early edge. Short and Grant raced over the first two laps with Short holding the slight advantage. Lap three saw Grant motor low in turn two to take the lead away from Short. Short was not done yet as he regained the lead racing down the backstretch on lap four. Short bobbled in turn four allowing Grant the opportunity to go by Short into the top spot. These two drivers would pace the field over the first half of the contest until Short slowed on the homestretch on lap sixteen to bring out the caution. Short would go to the work area and return advancing back to eighth at the finish. Thursday's winner, Emerson Axsom, was now in second and in position to make it two in a row for the week as the green waved again. Fast timer, Buddy Kofoid, had other plans as he powered by Axsom for second in turn one on lap sixteen and took up the chase of Grant for the lead. Grant was up to the task and opened up a several car length as the race progressed. Lap twenty four saw Thomas Meseraull and Jason McDougal tangled in between turn ones and two while running seventh and eighth. T-Mez spun while McDougal slowed with a flat tire. As Meseraull sat against the outside wall Robert Ballou suffering though a tough night slid into Meseraull's sprinter with Ballou's car spinning around and contacting the wall also. The race restarted with Grant jumping back out front followed by Kofoid. With three to go CJ Leary lost power on the homestretch with Brady Bacon right behind and with no where to go Bacon smacked Leary in the rear end. The last restart saw Grant flawless going back to the lead and over the last three laps would easily hold off Kofoid for the win with Axsom third, Chase Stockon coming from 11th to 4th and Tanner Thorson from 9th to 5th. Rounding out the top ten were Kyle Cummins in sixth, Jake Swanson seventh, Carson Short rebounding to eighth, Logan Seavey ninth and Shane Cottle nailing down tenth with the checker waving at 1:23 with a UMP modified feature still to go.
Grant has now won three out of four races held at Bubba Raceway Park this year and has to be the favorite for Saturday nights big finale. This win for Grant was #29 of his USAC sprint career moving him into sole possession of 18th place on the all time list now ahead of some big names in USAC history, such as Don Branson, Levi Jones, JJ Yeley and AJ Foyt. The top five in points after the first two nights that are locked into the Saturday main event are as follows: Emerson Axsom, Buddy Kofoid, Justin Grant, Chase Stockon and Kyle Cummins.
Check back on Monday for the final night report as we make our way back starting tonight after the races and hope to be home by Monday. Until then enjoy your racing on the different streams or get out to an indoor race or ice race in your area. Comments, news or stories can reach us at email@example.com. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and the nice comments from many of our readers. Take care, be safe and stay warm.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Axsom Takes Career First USAC National Sprint Win At Bubba
Thursday, February 17 – Today was a glorious day of warm weather and plenty of sunshine with temperatures pushing 90 and by far the nicest day we have spent so far in the Sunshine State. The destination tonight was the Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida where the USAC National Sprint Car Series would be contesting their season opener but before we settled in at Bubba it was a stop at Sam's St. Johns Seafood House for a delicious meal with Dale O'Brien and Allan and Nancy Brown. From there we ventured over to the track and settled in for a night of racing joined by Pennsylvania residents Rich Watts and Bing Metz. It was the first time since we have been down here I did not have to wear a sweatshirt also.
On tap tonight were the USAC National sprints with a grand total of 43 sprint cars joining the UMP modifieds who brought 20 cars to the affair including David Reutimann and Kenny Wallace. Single car time trials for the sprint cars commenced at 6:52 and by 7:26 Justin Grant was being interviewed by Kristy Bemmes on the homestretch after setting the fast time ripping off a lap of 13.959 seconds around the 3/8 mile avocado shaped dirt oval. By 7:55 we were ready to go with the first of four sprint car heats with Justin Grant powering from sixth to capture the first heat win in impressive style over Shane Cottle, Tanner Thorson and Chase Stockon. Brady Bacon, the very consistent and defending USAC point champion scored the win in heat two over Buddy Kofoid, Emerson Axsom and Brady Short in the Edwards #61M. Robert Ballou looked strong in heat three winning this one over Charles Davis Jr., Jason McDougal and Matt Westfall. The fourth and final heat fell to Thomas Meseraull in the Chris Dyson #20M beating CJ Leary, Shane Cockrum in the Wade/Amati #66 and Brandon Mattox. Three UMP modified heats followed before the sprints returned for their C Main.
The top four from the C main would join the rear of the B main with Dustin Clark recording the win over Jadon Rogers, Steve Irwin and Alex Banales in the second Baldwin #5. The B main was next on the agenda with Kyle Cummins cashing in the win over Carson Short, Landon Simon, Mario Clouser, Jake Swanson and Wesley Smith with Logan Seavey coming one spot short of qualifying and used a provisional to join the field along with Jadon Rogers. At this point after good, close racing in the heats, C & B the track was rubbered up. Track maintenance was attempted at this point but it was to no avail as the track was too far gone so you knew the feature was not going to be that competitive.
At 10 PM the front row of Jason McDougal and Emerson Axsom brought the 24 car field to the green flag. Axsom raced side by side with McDougal into the first two turns and down the backstretch until taking the lead for good in turn three. Lap five saw Brady Bacon make a rare miscue sliding sideways in turn three while running fifth with sixth running Robert Ballou with no where to go plowing into his side straightening Bacon who never stopped but Ballou was not so fortunate. Three laps later Bacon again lost the handle and spun in turn four. The middle portion of the contest saw the caution and red wave another four times with the most serious incident being when Wesley Smith caught the backstretch wall on lap 13 and flipped several times ending up in turn three. After several minutes Smith climbed from the sprinter to the relief of the crowd. From this point forward it wasn't much of a race as it was a skill contest to conserve your tires and hit your marks as the field mostly went low to protect their position. Axsom continued to pace the field with McDougal and Meseraull riding right behind him. Buddy Kofoid was the exception to the rule as he began to steer the repaired Keith Kunz sprinter (from an earlier in the week practice session here) forward. The defending USAC National midget champ who is also making the full fledged run at the USAC National sprint car title in 2022 began to pick off cars left and right. Buddy was working on Kyle Cummins for fourth as the checkered flag waved at 10:47 with 17 year old Emerson Axsom scoring his first career USAC sprint car win in only his eighth career start. He almost won the fall race at Lawrenceburg last year leading with four to go when he blew a tire so it was redemption time tonight in Florida. Its been 19 years since a driver won his first USAC sprint car race in the season opener. The last was Aaron Pierce in 2003 and the 11th in USAC history. (Thanks for the stat Richie Murray).
McDougal rode home second in one of the KO Motorsports #5M with Meseraull third, Cummins fourth and Kofoid fifth. Fast timer, Justin Grant, started and finished sixth with Chase Stockon seventh, Carson Short eighth, Logan Seavey ninth from 23rd and Mario Clouser rounding out the top ten. Hopefully the right amount of moisture can be applied to the surface for tonight without causing a delay to the start of the races.
That's it for this segment and check back tomorrow for night two of the Winter Games at Bubba Raceway Park and see who takes down the hardware in round two. In the meantime get prepared for your 2022 racing season as it rapidly approaches in other areas of this beautiful country and be safe and stay warm. Comments can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and as always thanks for reading our efforts.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Eliason Rebounds To Win All Star Jean Lynch Classic At East Bay
Tuesday, February 15 – Today it was off to the west coast of Florida and the second night of the All Star Circuit Of Champions sprint car series at the East Bay Raceway Park for the Jean Lynch Classic. But before arriving at East Bay a stop at Fred's in Plant City for their fine buffet featuring meat loaf as the daily special along with many other delicious entrees. Their strawberry shortcake is probably even better than Parksdale Farm Market.
We arrived around 2:30, tied our blanket down in the wooden grandstand and ventured back to the speedway office to sign in. Inside was Miss Jean, the namesake of the Classic, and we chatted and wished her a belated birthday as her birthday was a few days earlier.
Thirty seven All Star sprints were joined in the pit area by 13 mini sprints, a fine number for a filler class, to allow the sprints time to sort their cars out between heats and the B main and to not have down time or in broadcasting empty air time and keep the momentum and action going. Time trials were the first thing on the agenda for the All Star sprints commencing at 6:53 and wrapping up at 7:20. Danny Dietrich, the Pennsylvania runner, set fast time of 12.747 seconds for the evening. After a short break the first of four heat races for the sprints was taking the green flag at 7:44. Conner Morrell surprised the field by copping the first heat besting Dylan Westbrook, George Hobaugh, Cody Bova and Danny Smith in his Captain Jack Nowling inspired #66 in honor of the veteran car owner who passed away this past October. Anthony Macri made a daring last lap, last corner pass of Kerry Madsen to capture the heat win in heat two with Brent Marks third, Gio Scelzi fourth and Kevin Thomas Jr. fifth. Heat three fell to winged newcomer, Chris Windom, outrunning Tyler Courtney, Aaron Reutzel, Dustin Gates and Danny Dietrich. The Law Firm, Parker Price-Miller, in a second McGhee #11 took down heat four beating Justin Peck, Wayne Johnson, Cory Eliason and Tim Shaffer. The heat races were fast and furious and spun off in good order. Two mini sprint heats followed won by Brian “Bubba” Hughes and Bruce Comer.
The sprint car dash was the next order of business with an eight car field with the finishing order determining the front four rows of the main event. A draw was made for starting spots and Cory Eliason took advantage of his front row starting position to capture the win over Parker Price-Miller, Brent Marks, Dylan Westbrook, Chris Windom, Danny Dietrich, Anthony Macri and Conner Morrell. The last qualifying event would be for the sprints with a 15 car field for the B main with the top four moving into the feature event. Brian Bell would nail down the win chased by Ryan Smith, Tanner Thorson and Max Stambaugh. All qualifying was in the books by 8:57 and we only had the two main events to run.
The 20 lap mini sprint feature was first up and took the green flag at 9 PM and would go non-stop in six minutes. Bubba Hughes took the lead from Bruce Comer right before the midpoint of the race and would lead the remainder of the distance outrunning Brandon Shaw and Doug Dyal to the finish. That set the stage for the 30 lap All Star sprint car Jean Lynch Classic with a $6000 payday on the line.
By 9:26 the front row of Cory Eliason and Parker Price-Miller brought the 24 car field to the green flag with Eliason bounding into the early lead. The first of only two cautions would wave on lap seven when Brian Bell slowed to a stop in turn two. On the restart Eliason went back to the point with fourth starting Dylan Westbrook, a young Canadian upstart who raced ASCS 360 sprints the past two years, in his shadow. Tyler Courtney, last night's winner, was making headway from his ninth starting position up to third by lap eight and closing on the leaders. Aaron Reutzel's evening came to an early ending when he slowed to a stop in turn three to bring out the last caution on lap fourteen. Eliason continued to lead on the restart as Anthony Macri slipped by Brent Marks to crack the top five. The race for fourth heated up with Price-Miller and Anthony Macri swapping sliders and positions over the next five laps or so. It was the best racing of the feature. Eliason was not to be denied on this evening flashing across the line at 9:41 coming back after flipping in turn three the evening before nailing down his eighth career All Star win over an impressive Dylan Westbrook who fended off Tyler Courtney the entire race with Courtney third, Price-Miller fourth and Macri rounding out the top five. Justin Peck came home sixth with Kerry Madsen seventh, Brent Marks fading to eighth with two impressive performances turned in by the non-wing boys with Tanner Thorson motoring from 23rd to 9th and Kevin Thomas Jr. coming from 18th to 10th.
It was a good feature go and the program was spun off in good order with everyone on the road home or to their hotels, motels or motor homes before 10 PM. Nice job, All Stars!!!
That's it for this installment and check back Friday for the story on night one of the USAC National Sprints from Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala. In the meantime get your race calendars together and plot your races for 2022. Comments can reach us at email@example.com. Be good, stay safe and healthy and try to stay warm. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and continue to come back and check out our reports.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Leary Triumphs In Inaugural Xtreme Outlaw Sprints At Volusia
Monday, February 14 - Happy Valentine's Day to our readers.
We write this column from a fan's perspective and always try to call it straight and not sugar coat things. The old saying that “You only get one chance to make a first impression” applies here and despite all the hoopla and buildup to the first race of the Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Series the World Racing Group fell short of many people's expectations in their debut. First off when running a race you have to take into consideration the weather. The high on Monday reached 64 degrees and steadily dropped when the sun went down. The temperature before the start of the 25 lap feature (was suppose to be 30) was a bone chilling 39 degrees. To make people sit out in the cold for at least 4 ½ hours in such cold weather to me is a total disrespect to the race fan. You have to remember that the race fan is the one you have to please the most and tonight they failed in this respect. Ending the first of two feature events at almost 11 PM is not acceptable. To not be able to adjust your schedule for cold weather and to insist on running three sessions of hot laps for the DirtCar modifieds consisting of four different groups in between the events is not good. Especially when these cars are not running as part of the show on this cold evening. A suggestion to run one session during the program and run another session after the last feature might be a better option in the future. Don't be so rigid in your race schedule to not change it when the situation rises. And to cut the sprint car main event by five laps because you are running late is not an acceptable option either. Ask Justin Grant what he might have done with that extra five laps and the hoopla that could have been created if he made a big challenge to CJ Leary at the end. Another suggestion is to give the Xtreme Outlaw Series the same respect you give the WOO sprints and if you know the track surface is going to get black and hard run the entire wingless portion first as you did the week before when the WOO sprints were in town. Enough said on this subject. Let's move on to the actual racing.
On tap this evening was the first race of the newly formed Xtreme Outlaw Sprint Car series and the UMP late models. A very good field of 37 sprint cars and 43 late models graced the pit areas. Time trials for the Xtreme sprint cars pushed off at 6:33 and were group qualifying with six sprint cars on the track at the same time racing around the ½ mile oval for three laps in the same groups they would race their heats against. The times from these groups were used to line up the heat races inverting the top four for each heat and qualifying points awarded in each heat (similar to what is used in ASCS & POWRi) with the top sixteen in points locked into the main event. The remaining six would come from the two Last Chance Showdowns and these drivers would start behind the top sixteen according to their finishes in the LCS's to make for a starting field of 22 cars. We like the format that was used. Robert Ballou set fast time with a time of 16.783 seconds around the half mile oval. When is the last time you saw Ballou set fast time?? It has been quite a spell. But Ballou is good on the big tracks. The last time the WOO sprints ran wingless at Volusia was back in 1981 with Steve Kinser setting the fast time at 16.555 seconds which held up after all those years.
The UMP late models would time trial three at a time and all time trials were completed by 7:15. The four Xtreme Outlaw sprint car heats would be first up with the green dropping on the first event at 7:34. Justin Grant would score the heat one win over Shane Cottle in the Tim Hogue #39 with Carson Short third and Mario Clouser fourth. Robert Ballou made a nifty early move to grab the lead and go onto win heat two over Brady Bacon in the Wedgewood #98, Charles Davis Jr. and Jake Swanson. The third heat was captured by a surprising Dustin Clark who has been inactive as of late but looked good in this one passing and beating Shane Cockrum in the Wade/Amati Racing #66, Mitchel Moles in a second Giles #13M and Logan Seavey. The fourth and final heat went to CJ Leary in the Michael #77M turning back Alex Bright, Dennis Gile and Chad Boespflug in the Benic #2B.
Four late model heats would follow with hot lap sessions for the DirtCar modifieds mixed in before we returned to the sprint car Last Chance Showdowns. Thomas Meseraull who has struggled so far down here in Florida powered the Dyson #20M to victory in LCS#1 by a country mile over Briggs Danner and Chad Boespflug. The second LCS went to Ohio's Matt Westfall in the Marshall #33M over Wesley Smith and Brandon Mattox. The 22 car sprint car field was now set but first more modified hot laps and a break to spray water on the blackened track and attempt to use the sheep's foot to chop up the surface without too much success.
The scheduled 30 lap Xtreme Outlaw Sprint feature was cut to 25 laps at this point probably because of the lateness of the evening with the initial green flag waving at 10:30. Third starting CJ Leary shot to the lead on lap two passing first starting Carson Short shortly before the red flag flew when Brady Bacon took a nasty ride into the turn one catch fence after climbing over the wheel of Dennis Gile who dropped a drive shaft and slowed dramatically in front of Bacon who had no where to go. Brady was OK after the wild ride but the Wedgewood #98 was done for the series with a bent frame. After starting fifth Justin Grant went backwards to seventh at the start and rode around fifth as he adjusted the shocks until he felt comfortable and began to move forward picking off cars in the latter stages of the race. He picked off Short for second on lap twenty one but ran out of time and laps as he closed on Leary. That extra five laps that was cut could have made for an exciting finish but we will never know!! Grant ended up second with Short third, Chase Stockon in a fine run advancing from 15th to 4th at the finish with Robert Ballou rounding out the top five with the checkered waving at 10:57. The second five was led across the line by Charles Davis Jr. with Alex Bright seventh, Jake Swanson eighth after starting 16th, Dustin Clark ninth and Shane Cottle tenth.
We opted to get out of the cold and skip the 30 lap late model feature which went non-stop with Ricky Thornton Jr. winning.
The first Xtreme Outlaw Sprint race was a disappointment to us and hopefully going forward they will realize that you need to prepare a totally different surface for non-wing racing than you do for the other WRG divisions as the followers of midwest non-wing sprints and midgets will not support their events on less than ideal track surfaces.
Until tomorrow when we venture back to East Bay Raceway Park to take in the second night of the All Star Circuit of Champion sprint cars be safe and try to keep warm wherever you are. Comments can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org and as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next in our travels on a typical weekend or weekday in some cases!!
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Grant Beats The Rain & The Field For Second Straight At Bubba
Saturday, February 12 – We started out the day with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70's but as we arrived at Bubba Raceway Park the weather forecast had taken a turn for the worst. Rain had crept into the forecast with a line of storms rolling across the northern part of the state with some forecasts of 70 to 80 percent during the early evening. We sat it out for a while until hot laps began and with the blankets already in place from last night did not have to worry about securing a seat.
At 6:43 time trials were pushed off and by 7:01 Cannon McIntosh was sitting on the homestretch being interviewed after setting the fast time of the evening at 14.424 seconds around the 3/8 mile avacado shaped dirt oval. Drops of rain began to hit our sweatshirts as the first heat took the green flag at 7:23. Entering turn one on the first lap Brenham Crouch jumped the left front of Kevin Thomas Jr.'s mount and went into a series of rolls totally at least eight to ten times before landing back on the track surface with Corey Joyner sliding in and rolling over also. Crouch was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion while Joyner was OK. Two laps into the event the rain picked up enough to bring the yellow out as the midgets circled the oval. A few minutes later the decision was made to send the midgets to the pit area while the push trucks and other vehicles were called to the track to run in the surface and try to keep it race able. Around thirty minutes later the midgets were called back to the track with each of the three heats getting track time to adjust to the “new” surface after natural watering from above. Another fifteen minutes later the first heat was restarted with Bryant Wiedeman scoring the heat win over Kevin Thomas Jr., Mitchel Moles, Kaylee Bryson and Hayden Reinbold. Chase McDermand came back from a last night flip to register the heat two win besting Logan Seavey, Emerson Axsom, Buddy Kofoid and Jade Avedisian. Rookie Jace Park won his first USAC midget heat race capturing heat three over Ethan Mitchell, Thomas Meseraull, Justin Grant and Dominic Gorden.
The rain situation continued to hang over our heads literally as USAC officials scurried to push along the program as the two heats for the 10 three quarter modifieds were spun off. By 9 PM the 30 lap USAC midget feature was ready to rumble with the front row of Jade Avedisian and Justin Grant bringing the 21 car field to the green flag. Avedisian jumped to the early lead with Grant in pursuit. Lap 3 saw eighth running Thomas Meseraull drift high in turn three and catch the wall causing him to flip over several times before coming to a stop. During the delay the rain returned causing the race to be delayed again. During the stoppage Meseraull's RMS crew was able to repair the damaged midget with T-Mez returning to the tail of the field on the restart. On the restart Avedisian bounded back out front with Grant chasing. The track was super fast making passing at a premium as the cars raced around the 3/8 mile oval. Jade held sway through the first half of the race until encountering lap traffic on lap 19. Avedisian held the middle lane while Grant raced high entering turn one and dove low at that point with Grant and Avedisian touching wheels with Grant surging into the lead. Buddy Kofoid began to pressure Avedisian and with ten to go went low in turns three and four to pull even with Jade as they raced side by side down the homestretch. Kofoid edged ahead entering turn one and secured the runner up spot and took up the chase of Grant. With six to go exiting turn four Meseraull's rear axle snapped with the right rear wheel going underneath spinning him with the axle digging in and causing T-Mez to flip for the second time in the race. The right rear rolled the entire length of the homestretch almost reaching the rear bumper of leader Grant in turn one.
On the restart Grant assumed the lead with Kofoid nipping at him sticking his nose alongside entering the corners on laps 25-27 with Grant edging ahead each time. At 9:47 the double checkers waved on Justin Grant for the second straight evening chased across the line by Kofoid, Avedisian, Emerson Axsom and Mitchel Moles. Grant after celebrating on top of his roll cage went down to Avedisian's mount to congratulate her on her fine run and gave praise to the young lady in his victory lane speech. A real nice gesture by a class act!! Tanner Thorson led the second five across the line followed by Bryant Wiedeman in seventh bettering his career high USAC finish by one with Taylor Reimer eighth, Kevin Thomas Jr. ninth and Jace Park rounding out the top ten. We were lucky to get this one in and thankful that we did.
Earlier in the day I was gutted when it was reported that Kevin Olson, two time USAC National Midget champion and five time Badger midget champion, was killed in a car crash on Friday night in Janesville, WI by an alleged drunk driver and his companion, Nancy, is in critical condition so I ask for prayers for her recovery. There are all types of irony in this story as Kevin died in a car crash the same as his buddy, Stan Fox, did and it happened in Stan's old town of Janesville. Also the alleged drunk driver was from Sun Prairie which is home to the Angell Park Speedway where both Kevin and Stan raced many a time. Olson was a truly colorful character who you couldn't help but laugh when seeing or hearing about his many escapades. Who else would claim to be a light bulb repairman or a shoe string re-tipper. A personal KO story was when Pat and I traveled to Venture for Turkey Night in 2016 and we encountered Kevin standing outside the front gate selling his book dressed in a trench coat. Upon stopping to say hello he asked and opened one side of his trench coat to see if we wanted to buy any of the Monica Lewinsky jewelry collection. When replying no he opened the other side and revealed about a dozen wrist watches and asked if we needed a Rolex!!! He was truly one of a kind and will sorely be missed in the racing world. If you want to lift up your spirits just Google Kevin Olson light bulb repair interview and watch the clip from 1987 where Larry Nuber interviews him on his new enterprise. But KO was not just a colorful character he was a great racer winning seven championships as mentioned above. He also won the prestigious Fireman's Nationals at Angell Park five times. KO also won Turkey Night at Ascot back in 1983 along with the 500 lap race at Indianapolis Speedrome in 1988. His last USAC midget win came at Terre Haute in 1996 winning the famous Hut 100. His last race triumph came at Angell Park in a Badger midget race in 2019 at the age of 68. RIP KO and thanks for the wonderful and funny memories.
That's it for now but check back Tuesday as Volusia and the Xtreme sprint cars are on the dance card Monday. And in the meantime start working on your hit list for must see races in 2022. Stay warm and be safe out there. Comments can reach us at email@example.com. And last but not least thanks for the kind comments and reading our efforts and letting us know you enjoy them. We try to give you a fan view of the different race tracks we visit and hope that it will inspire you to visit some of the great short tracks in the United States.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Grant Becomes First USAC Midget Winner Of 2022 At Bubba
Saturday, February 11 – The traveling crew of Allan and Nancy Brown along with Pat and I left the timeshare in Celebration at 9:30 AM to make the 2 ½ hour driver to Starke, Florida to catch the INEX legend cars and bandaleros running on the 1.8 mile, 14 turn road course at the Florida International Rally Motorsports (FIRM). He had a bit of trouble figuring how to enter the grounds as you had to push a button on a keypad at the entrance gate to enter the facility's grounds. This was a new track for us all and we congregated underneath a canopy trailer located off the final turn of the course and allowed us to see about half of the course. Feature racing was suppose to start at 12:30 but the first race did not begin until 2:30. The Young Lions legend cars ran six laps for their eight car field before two bandoleer classes ran their four lap features. The 11 semi-pro legend cars took the green flag at 3:20 and put on a good race with the top five running close together. By close to 4 PM the checkered waved and we bid farewell to trackchaser, Brian Dolphy, and headed south toward Ocala and first a stop at Sam's St. John's Seafood where we dined on a fine meal of various kinds of seafood delights.
Saturday, February 11 – After dinner we headed about 2 miles down the road to Bubba Raceway Park, the avocado shaped dirt oval, where the USAC National Midgets (24) were running night one of two in their season opener along with the ¾ scale modifieds (10). Our good friend, Dale O'Brien, now a resident of Florida after spending many years living in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area arrived earlier and placed down blankets to reserve seats for us all.
Time trials were the first order of duty commencing at 7:10 with Kevin Thomas Jr. driving one of Dave Mac's/Dalby #08's look like he would score his fourth straight midget fast time at Bubba Raceway Park but a late run by Tanner Thorson found him knocking Thomas from the top rung and recording his 24th career fast time tying him for 17th on the all-time list with Gene Hartley (thanks Richie Murray). The three USAC midget heats would follow with the first one taking the green flag at 7:55. The surface was in good shape and the midgets were flying around the odd shaped oval with 15 year old Jade Avedision in one of the Chad Boat entries outdistancing Buddy Kofoid, Thomas Meserall, Cannon McIntosh and Tanner Thorson to score the heat one win. Logan Seavey in the Malloy #25 guided his missile to victory in heat two besting Dominic Gorden making his USAC midget debut, Kevin Thomas Jr., Brenham Crouch and Kaylee Bryson. The final heat of the night fell to Bryant Wiedeman in one of the Keith Kunz rides beating Justin Grant, Emerson Axsom, Ethan Mitchell and Jace Park to the finish. Chase McDermand took a nasty flip in turn four on the last lap of heat three bouncing off the catch fence before returning to the track surface. McDermand was OK after the wild ride but his midget was not quite so. All qualifying was competed by 8:29 including the ¾ modifieds with the midget B main scrapped and all 23 capable starters were added to the field.
Cannon McIntosh and Justin Grant brought the 23 car field to the green flag at 8:47 with McIntosh assuming the early lead with fourth starting Emerson Axsom in the Clauson/Marshall #39BC in tow dropping Grant to third. Grant recovered quickly diving low in turn one and pulling alongside McIntosh racing side by side with him down the backstretch and taking the lead in turn three as the top five raced furiously in the opening laps. Grant led to lap 15 as he began to enter lap traffic with his lead shrinking. Axsom pulled to the rear bumper of Grant as the heavy lap traffic caused much congestion. Grant made a nifty move past another first time USAC starter, Frank Beck of Florida, with Axsom slowed momentarily. Tanner Thorson closed on Axsom but also encountered Beck and nudged him in the rear to move him over. With three to go Thorson challenged Axsom for second in turn two and his momentum carried him past Axsom for second in turn three. Racing to the checkered flag Grant crossed the line at 8:58 with Thorson coming across second but Axsom had a lap car tag his rear bumper in turn three sending him into the wall and a series of flips ending his fine run. Brenham Crouch raced from 11th to 3rd, a career high, with Thomas Meseraull 4th from 13th with Buddy Kofoid rounding out the top five. McIntosh led the second five to the finish with Logan Seavey home seventh, Bryant Wiedeman, the 2021 POWRi champion eighth, Ethan Mitchell ninth and Mitchel Moles tenth.
This win was Grant's tenth USAC National Midget triumph and his fourth combined USAC win (midgets and sprints) at Bubba tying him with Brady Bacon and Tyler Courtney for most wins at the 3/8 mile oval. Grant also became the 13th different driver to win an USAC midget opener on more than one occasion. Maybe more importantly in three of the last four years the opening night winner has gone on to win the point championship which could bode well for the Ione, California driver. Having the feature finish before 9 PM was welcomed by all who attended.
Check back tomorrow for night two of the USAC National Midgets from Bubba Raceway Park and in the meantime get out your calendars and write in your race dates and get out there and enjoy the great sport of auto racing in your area when the openers happen. Comments can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where a typical weekend leads us in 2022. Take care and stay warm.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Welcome To Not So Sunny & Warm Florida
Well, we arrived in not so sunny and warm Florida on Sunday, January 30th and would be staying in the Lake City, Florida area for the next week. The first two nights we spent at the Bubba Raceway Park watching Bubba perform his race track preparation magic (not) and taking in the Lucas Oil Late Models. Native New Yorker, Tim McCreadie claimed night one with the white hot Devin Moran, two wins and 4 seconds, in his first six starts claiming night two.
We already suffered one cold out on the way through Georgia before moving onto All-Tech Raceway in Lake City for another three nights of Lucas Oil Late Model racing. Brandon Sheppard won night one at All-Tech with night two falling to the rain before Saturday's finale seeing recent birthday boy, Jimmy Owens, celebrating his 50th birthday in victory lane at the end of the 50 lapper. The Lucas Oil Late Model organization is the most finely tuned race organization bar none in the country producing good racing in a fan friendly program usually spinning their programs off in a two to three hour format. This is especially important for the paying fans sitting out in the cold to watch the races. In fact on the final night at All-Tech the late model feature was scheduled to start at 9 PM for live MAVTV but they posted on their Twitter account that incoming bad weather was coming so they were pushing up the starting time of the feature to 8 PM. By 8:46 the 50 lap late model feature was in the books and as we headed about 5 miles north on I-75 we ran into rain. Good job gentlemen!!!
Monday, February 7 – We all always write about the Lucas Oil Late Models when they visit the Clay By The Bay at East Bay Raceway Park. Even if you are an open wheel fan you should come check out the late models before the tracks closes after 2024. Seventy late models towed into East Bay for night one of the Winternationals for the LOLM's. Time trials three at a time kicked off the night's activity at 6:10 and concluded at 6:58 with “Big Sexy” Brandon Overton clocking the fastest time with a time of 14.990 seconds. Next up would be six heats with the top three moving directly to the 30 lap main event. Two B mains would follow starting 24 & 23 cars respectfully with only two more to move onto the feature race. The last chance to get in on the evening was the Strawberry Dash with West Virginia's Matt Cosner grabbing the last qualifying position. Two provisionals would round out the 28 car starting field but tonight was a little longer than the normal program at East Bay as an hour of track prep was performed between the dash and the feature event but unfortunately it did little to help the surface which went black and slick.
By 10:05 the green flag would drop on the main event with Brandon Overton powering into the early lead. Hudson O'Neal and Devin Moran trailed dropping second starter Dennis Erb Jr. back to fourth. Moran went to second and began to chase Overton. Meanwhile Dennis Erb regained his mojo moving back from fifth to second on lap 11. Erb charged by Overton for the lead in turn two on lap 19 as the crowd roared. Overton started to backpedal and was back to fifth but found something late on the top side motored back to second on lap 25 and began to challenge Erb for the lead. One lap later he caught the turn two wall and Overton's night was over early. Erb would fend off the challengers over the last four laps taking the final checkered at 10:27 for his first win at East Bay in seven years and also his seventh career win here and ninth career Lucas Oil Late Model win. Dennis Erb Jr. led Hudson O'Neal to the finish with Tim McCreadie climbing from eleventh to third with Shane Clanton advancing from 19th to fourth and Stormy Scott rounding out the top five.
Tuesday, February 8 – It was a rainy day and night in Central Florida and both East Bay and Volusia Speedway Park threw in the towel early as the rain was not going to let up at all. Hopefully Wednesday will be dry and sunny to dry out the saturated grounds at both facilities.
Wednesday, February 9 – Today the weather was beautiful with temperatures rising to 68 degrees and sunny. Hello Florida!!! It was off to East Bay Raceway Park for night two of the Wrisco Industries Winternationals where another 70 cars greeted us with about six or more of them different ones than on Monday. One notable no show on day two was Jimmy Owens. Tom Schmeh, former director of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Allan & Nancy Brown joined us on this evening. The standard format for three at a time time trials would be followed by six heat races qualifying three each with three B mains tonight taking the top two to the main event. Two provisionals would tag the tail of the field for the feature event. Time trials commenced at 6:33 and were in the books by 7:07 with Brandon Sheppard setting fast time at 14.980 seconds around the 3/8 mile oval. Heat winners were Brandon Sheppard, Brandon Overton, Ashton Winger, Devin Moran, Earl Pearson Jr. and Tim McCreadie and the heats were finished by 8:00. The three B mains followed before we were ready for the big 40 lap main event.
The front row of Brandon Sheppard & Devin Moran brought the 26 car field to the green flag at 9:09. Sheppard would lead the first seven laps of the feature before Brandon Overton caught and passed him in lap traffic. Overton led until Sheppard regained the lead again on lap 13. Sheppard would retain the lead for the remainder of the race but the race behind him was furious with Ashton Winger, Tyler Erb and Tim McCreadie among others swapping positions. Hudson O'Neal and Kyle Bronson ventured to the high side and started to move forward passing many cars. Bronson had went to the pits early and returned so he charged from 26th to 4th at the finish. Ashton Winger continued to impress with another strong run to score his career high of second in Lucas Oil competition with Tyler Erb third, Bronson fourth and Ricky Thornton Jr. with another steady run for fifth. All activity was completed at 9:38 on a night that turned cool (two sweatshirt night) with the temperatures dropping to the low 50's and damp by the end of the racing.
Thursday, February 10 - Our final night with the Lucas Oil Late Models at East Bay started out sunny and temperatures rising into the low 70's dropping down to the mid 50's during the course of the evening. Festivities kicked off at 6:36 with time trials and by 7:06 Brandon Overton was sitting on the homestretch after setting the fast time of 14.394 seconds. It was right into the six heat races for the growing 75 car field with the first heat going to Max Blair after Garrett Smith was DQ'd for the evening for an illegal spoiler after winning. Earl Pearson Jr., Brian Shirley, Brandon Overton, Ashton Winger and Tim McCreadie nailed down the other heat wins. Three B mains followed and all qualifying was completed by 8:45. We needed to take a 15 minute break until MAVTV went live at 9 PM. At the drop of the green flag at 9:24 Brandon Overton went to the point from his second starting position over third starting Earl Pearson Jr. Overton would proceed to lead the first half of the race. On a lap 21 restart Brian Shirley came out of nowhere to pass both Overton and Pearson to grab the lead with Brandon Sheppard following through for second. One lap later Sheppard marched into the lead from eighth and would not be headed though Pearson was in his shadow the entire remaining distance even sticking his nose underneath a few times but was not able to grab the lead. Some late runs using the high side by Kyle Bronson from 16th, Devin Moran from 9th and Hudson O'Neal from 17th made things interesting but when the checkered waved at 9:52 it was Sheppard home first for the second night in a row besting Pearson, Bronson, Moran and O'Neal. Tyler Erb deserves kudos motoring from 25th to 7th at the finish.
Three good nights at East Bay come to an end as we move northward back to Bubba Raceway Park for night one for the USAC National Midgets at the Ocala oval shaped like an avocado.
Until tomorrow start plotting your road trips for the 2022 season and keep warm if you are up north having to battle with the snow and cold. Any correspondence can reach us at email@example.com and as always thanks for continuing to read our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Bell Gets Belated Birthday Gift With Win At Southern Illinois Center
Saturday, December 18 – The day started out early with an 8 AM Eastern time rise and a 9 AM departure for our four hour trip to southwest Illinois and the small town of DuQuoin. Why DuQuoin? Well, the USAC midgets were running a non-point race at the Southern Illinois Center and we wanted to be there to witness our last show of 2021. It would be #107 for me on the year and #106 for Pat. Before we made our way over to the Southern Illinois Center we visited downtown DuQuoin to eat at Alongi's, an Italian restaurant staple in DuQuoin since 1933. We had never eaten there and went on the recommendation of fellow Indiana Open Wheel member, Russell “Abe” Abrams aka mc/rider, who mentioned it in a pre-race post on IOW. Well, we are glad we dined there as Alongi's delivered the best Italian food we have tasted in years with reasonable prices to boot. And we ran into Abe and some of his traveling buddies while dining at Alongi's and Abe was kind enough to invite us to sit with his group as he already had blankets down and had extra room for us. Thanks Abe for the traditional Hoosier hospitality!!!
After stuffing our stomachs at Alongi's we ventured over to the grounds of the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds where the Southern Illinois Center is located and secured a good parking spot hanging out in the car for a while until venturing in before 3 PM. Warmups for the six division show kicked off promptly at 3 and the first USAC midget heat of five for the Jason Leffler Memorial event took the green flag at 5:05. All the midget heats were good and competitive with Chad Boespflug back behind the wheel of a non-wing machine piloted the Jody Rosenboom #14X to victory in heat one over Christopher Bell behind the wheel of an RMS Motorsports entry numbered #7XT and Chase Howard. Heat two fell to California's Mitchel Moles hitting the loud petal in one of Dave McIntosh's #08M who have now combined forces with Dalby Motorsports. NASCAR Cup Rookie of the Year, Chase Briscoe, finished second with Derek Doerr capturing third. Cannon McIntosh brought his dad's #08 home first in heat three on his 19th birthday defeating Chett Gehrke and Jake Neuman. Max Adams brought another of the black #37's home first in heat four besting Cory Eliason in one of two Rudeen mounts and Patrick Lawson. The fifth and final heat was claimed by Chance Crum in the second Rudeen steed beating Sam Johnson and Wyoming's Mark Chisholm. Thirty six cars with drivers from 14 different states competed in the heat races with qualifiers to follow.
The other five divisions would run features only except for the non-wing outlaw 600's which would also contest a B main which seemed to take forever to spin off. The other division's features would be weaved in between the midget action which led to the situation of trying to stuff 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag scenario. Three of the features only took an average of 7 minutes to run but the non-winged outlaws took an unbearable 23 minutes to complete their 25 lap feature with eight cautions slowing the action. The problem was with all the six divisions pounding the dirt surface numerous track prep sessions were needed with the one between the non-winged outlaws and the midget feature taking nearly an hour to perform the track prep. In all the five features on the under card except one (junior sprints – winner from second) the winner came from first starting position. The first feature for the restricted class was 15 laps in distance with Steven Doss holding off the challenges of Collin Shain and Kameron Sneed for the win. The junior sprints would be taken by young Eli Holden and Daniel Robinson doing triple duty notched the 20 lap A class win over Aaron Skinner and Hunter Pruitt advancing the most positions of any of the five micro divisions coming forward from ninth to third at the finish.
Then it was back to the four qualifiers for the midgets using the passing point format to determine the starting field for the 50 lap main event. Cannon McIntosh would capture the first qualifier from fifth beating Chase Briscoe who started sixth and Terry Babb. Qualifier #2 fell to Christopher Bell wheeling from fifth to defeat fourth starting Chance Crum and Jeff Schindler, a mini sprint graduate. Zach Daum nailed down qualifier #3 from second over Rylan Gray from fourth and Sam Johnson from fifth. The fourth qualifier went to sprint car driver, Jordan Kiner, at the keyboard of a second Briscoe entry, over sixth starting Mitchel Moles and Greg Mitchell, an Ohio sprint car driver.
It was back to the micro features with the outlaw winged micros going 20 laps with James Scott dominating this one besting Chevy Boyer and Jake Cheatham. The 25 lap non-winged outlaws would be next up and they did not perform any better than their B main with eight cautions and 23 minutes of pain even though the finish was the best of the all evening with Brad Thompson edging Matt Veatch from fifth by inches after Veatch worked Thompson hard to try to pass him for most of the contest. Daniel Robinson rounded out the podium.
Now it was finally time for the 50 lap USAC midget Jason Leffler Memorial with Chase Briscoe and Cannon McIntosh bringing the 20 car field to the green flag at 10:51. McIntosh powered into the early lead and would pace the field for the first ten laps. Bell slipped by Briscoe on the green to take second and take up the chase of another birthday boy. McIntosh's birthday was today and Bell's was a couple of days earlier. Lap traffic came into play at lap 10 and Bell was able to use it to his advantage to take the lead in turn three on lap 13. Chase Briscoe caught and passed McIntosh for second on lap 16 using the high side as Briscoe was running a strong race. Briscoe, McIntosh and the two Rudeen drivers, Cory Eliason and Chance Crum were duking it out behind Bell. Lap 18 saw Eliason loop his midget in turn three taking him out of the hunt. A seven car tangle in turn one on lap 19 brought out the caution again. Jake Neuman lost the handle in turn four on lap 22 to bring the action again. On the restart Bell gets a good jump and powers away over Briscoe. Neuman loops it in turn two on lap 26 for the second time to bring out another caution. One lap later Briscoe running second at the time spins in turn three by himself and takes any chance away of winning this one. Bell again assumes the lead on the restart with McIntosh in tow. The longest stretch of green flag racing was accomplished during laps 30 through 44 where Bell stretched his lead to over a second over McIntosh. Lap 44 saw the eighth and final caution appear when Rylan Gray running the race of his life in fourth lost the handle all by himself with Zach Daum caught up in the mishap while running fifth. McIntosh would get one more chance to challenge Bell for the lead but Bell was up to the task and pulled away by several car lengths over the final six laps. The double checkers would wave on Bell at 11:22 making him the eighth different winner in eight Leffler Memorials with McIntosh crossing the line second, Chance Crum turning in a fine performance to place third with ninth starting Sam Johnson completing a strong run taking fourth with Mitchel Moles rounding out the top five. Jordan Kinser would lead the second five placing sixth after starting thirteenth with Chad Boespflug seventh, Daum coming back for eighth, Chett Gehrke ninth and Chase Briscoe rounding out the top ten. It would be Christopher Bell's first USAC midget win in over three years and netted the Oklahoma native a cool $8000 in the process, not a bad birthday present to himself.
It was a very long day and night of racing and with the hour time difference now with us being in Central time it was actually 12:22 on our body clocks. The 40 minute drive up to Mount Vernon found us arriving at around 1 AM Eastern time. In the future if they want to run this type of show in December they should run the micro portion completely on Friday and just run the midgets on Saturday. You know you ran too long when a fourth of your crowd exits the arena before the main event and the prospects of them returning the next time are slim. I'm sorry to say but this late show could negatively affect the Lauren Stewart promoted USAC midget program scheduled for March of 2022 at Southern Illinois Center even though she only has a total of two divisions booked for that show.
That's the final effort for 2021 and the next race could either be from Florida or possibly a mid-January sprint car ice race from Michigan if they are able to get enough ice to safely compete on and the weather is good enough for us to make the long haul north.
We would like to wish everyone who reads this column a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year with plenty of races in your future. Until next time be safe and stay warm. News, comments and any other tidbits of information can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Leary & McDougal Triumph At Fall Festival Finale At Gas City
Friday, October 22 – Friday was a pretty miserable day in Crawfordsville with a misty rain prevailing over the area the entire day before we left for Gas City in the late afternoon. Trans versing the back roads of Indiana in our trip to Gas City the weather was about the same for the majority of our trip with misty rain prompting the intermediate wipers with a few minutes of full wiper action during the two hour venture. Even in Fairmount, the home of James Dean, only about 15 miles south of Gas City the mist was still in the air. Jumping on I-69 for the last 10 miles of the trip the mist let up and upon turning into the entrance of the Gas City I-69 Speedway the grounds were dry.
We love Gas City and the racing here and are appreciative of the fine job that promoter, Jerry Gappens Jr., has done revitalizing racing here but there are two things that he needs to watch out for or his crowds could dwindle in the future. The first of these two things are his posted starting times as we traveled to Gas City seven times in 2021 and we don't remember them ever having started at the posted starting time. This may seem trivial to some but Jerry and others need to remember that not everyone attending Gas City are within 20 or 30 minutes of the race track. We travel two hours one way to attend Gas City and like a good portion of the crowd that attends Gas City we are getting older. It is tougher every time if we leave the races at 11 PM to not arrive home until 1 AM on a Friday/Saturday trip. We don't know if racing at 7:30 means hot laps at 7:30 but hot laps are not racing so either state hot laps starting at 7:15 and racing to follow. Don't post racing at 7:30 and don't start your first heat race at 8 PM consistently!!! A good thing is that they always run the main class the wingless sprint cars first but there are some of us who like to see some of the other classes run before we depart for the evening. That leads to the second problem which is the event creep that has invaded Gas City. What we mean by event creep is the increase of the number of divisions running weekly there and we implore Mr. Gappens not to become another of the many back gate promoters in racing today and try to limit the number of divisions to three during a normal Friday night and no more than four for some other nights during the season.
Tonight was another instance of starting late (after 8 PM) on a shaky night weather wise and four divisions to run with car counts of 37 wingless sprints, 27 Wisconsin WingLESS crate sprints, 23 non-wing micros and 21 USAC regional midgets in the pit area waiting to take their turn qualifying. The mist pushed north and during the heat racing for the wingless sprints and crate sprints the mist could be seen in the illumination of the track lights on the homestretch. It let up for a while but returned during the second micro heat (the last division to run heats) at 9:30 and the cars were waved off and we were in a rain delay. The mist turned heavy and by 10 PM management decided to pull the plug and reschedule the two sprint car classes for 3:30 PM starting with the three B mains and then the two sprint car features. It was a shame for the midgets and micros as they would not return for Saturday's action as the UMP modifieds, street stocks and hornets were scheduled to join the two sprint car classes for Saturday night.
Heat winners on Friday before the postponement in the wingless 410 sprints were Brayden Fox, Isaac Chapple in the Slinkard #51, Mario Clouser and Shane Cockrum with Kyle Shipley flipping in turn four in heat one and Jake Swanson rolling lightly and restarting in the third heat. The Wisconsin WingLESS crate sprint heat wins went to Jake Kouba, Clayton Rossmann and Natalie Klemko.
Saturday Afternoon, October 23 – The forecast for the day was much better and we traveled over to Ivanhoe's in nearby Upland for lunch and the heralded eatery did not disappoint with huge salads and tasty burgers and fries. They are known mostly for their huge selection of ice cream sundaes and shakes and my banana strawberry one was great with chunks of strawberries and slices of banana throughout the mixture. It was the highlight of the day.
Again with the time factor, the 3:30 start came and went with the first 410 wingless B main taking the green at 3:55. With the posted starting time of the evening show scheduled for 6 you knew that was never going to happen. Maybe posting a more realistic 2 PM start for the completion of the afternoon show would have brought them closer to the 6 PM Saturday night start instead of the 7:34 program start that occurred.
Braydon Cromwell outran Steve Irwin in the first 410 wingless B main with Jake Swanson capturing the second B main over Emerson Axsom. Ryan Marshall, the point leader with the Wisconsin WingLESS sprints, took down their B main over Ralph Johnson, Bryce Andrews, Michael Summers, Chance Giskowski and Lance Thompson.
By 4:31 it was feature time for the 410 wingless sprints with Shane Cockrum and Brayden Fox the 20 car field to the green flag. Cockrum would go to the early lead but the caution would wave on lap one when Mario Clouser slid off of turn four. On the restart Cockrum assumed the lead but CJ Leary who started fifth in the Gray Auto #81 took the lead on the backstretch on lap two. Cockrum was not done yet as he battled Leary for the top spot taking it back at the line to start lap four. Robert Ballou was on the move from his sixteenth starting position up to eighth by lap eight while two laps later Anton Hernandez lost the handle in the second Gray Auto #81 and spun in turn two. Cockum went to the point on the restart in the Paul #24P with the field in tow. Ballou raced into sixth on lap thirteen as he continued his march forward. The caution waved again on lap sixteen when Ryan Thomas slid over the turn four banking to a halt. One lap later Thomas duplicated his move to bring out another caution. Cockrum was still out front with Leary applying pressure for the lead. Entering turn two on lap nineteen Leary attempted a slide job on Cockrum though not touching he forced Cockrum over the banking in turn two when Shane dropping back to fourth as Leary took the lead. Jadon Rogers and Scotty Weir slipped by Cockrum into second and third. Lap twenty saw Fox catch the homestretch fence and rolled over climbing out quickly. On the restart Cockrum passed Weir to take third but Weir came back on lap twenty two to regain the third position. Shortly thereafter Rogers running second at the time slid off the edge of turn four, caught the wall and rolled over ending his night prematurely. Leary led on the restart with Weir and Cockrum trailing. Coming for the white flag off turn four Cockrum passed Weir for second but ran out of time to challenge Leary for first. The checkered waved at 5:01 with Leary taking his second straight win in the #81 with Cockrum second, Weir third, Jason McDougal fourth and Steve Irwin across the line fifth after tangling with Ballou racing to the line with Ballou turning backwards and ending up 15th as his transponder never crossed the line but common sense should have prevailed as he slid across the line in sixth.
The 25 lap Wisconsin WingLESS sprint car feature was the last item of the afternoon session taking the green flag at 5:11. There really was not much to report here as Jake Kouba stormed from third to the lead and lead the entire distance as the cars went huggy pole with anyone venturing up higher losing ground. On the last lap Clayton Rossmann tried to rout Kouba off the bottom but Kouba held his turf and crossed the line first at 5:21 followed by Rossman, Allen Hafford from seventh, Natalie Klemko and Greg Alt from ninth.
Saturday Evening, October 23 – The car counts for the evening program were 38 for the 410 wingless sprinters, 28 for the Wisconsin WingLESS sprints, 20 for the UMP modifieds, 31 for the street stocks and 6 for the hornets. The first heat of the evening commenced at 7:34 featuring the 410 wingless sprints.
Heat one fell to Scotty Weir besting Shane Cockrum, Emerson Axsom and Tyler Hewitt behind the key board of the Paul Hazen #57. Nathan Crane hit a tire in turn two and rolled over in heat one. Heat two saw a nasty incident involving Anthony D'Alessio and Jadon Rogers. D'Alessio had led the majority of the event until Robert Ballou passed him late in the race. As D'Alessio raced to the checkered flag off turn four he slid over the turn four banking losing second to Cole Bodine and third to Jake Swanson. As he attempted to return to the racing surface he clipped Jadon Rogers near the flag stand with Rogers crossing the line fourth but turning sideways and rolling several times toward turn one. D'Alessio also turned sideways past the starter's stand and went into a series of rolls and flips taking out the turn one traffic light before ending up outside of turn one just past the fencing. D'Alessio was taken to the hospital awake and his Twitter the next day showed a swollen and blackened left eye and another tweet said he had a concussion, bruised lungs, a crack in his spine and had to keep his eye closed and iced. After a short delay the third heat went off without a hitch with Mario Clouser beating Matt Westfall, Zack Pretorius and Jack Hoyer. The fourth and final sprint car heat was captured by Jason McDougal over Wesley Smith invading from Missouri, CJ Leary and Dustin Ingle. Three heats were needed for the WingLESS sprints with Ryan Zielski, Derek Crane and Tim Cox winning.
The 410 wingless sprint B mains fell to Ryan Thomas over Ricky Lewis in B one and Isaac Chapple over Paul Dues in B two. Jimmy Sivia scored the WingLESS B main. A mist returned for a period of time tonight adding worry to an already long racing program.
The first of five feature events with the 410 wingless sprints taking center stage went green at 10:52 with Jason McDougal scooting to the early lead from third on the start. McDougal would lead the first two laps until Mario Clouser powered by on the outside of turn one to grab the lead and the two would run closely together in a good battle until lap seven when Ryan Thomas spun off his favorite turn of the day (turn four) to bring out the first caution. On the restart Clouser retained the lead and racing hard in turn one on lap nine McDougal slid up into Clouser banging wheels with Clouser spinning off turn one bringing out the caution as he went to the work area but did not return. McDougal was at the point on the restart with Robert Ballou sitting in second. CJ Leary was the man on the move advancing from 12th to 5th on lap twelve and passed Matt Westfall and Shane Cockrum going from fifth to third on lap 13. Two laps later Isaac Chapple stopped outside of turn four to bring out the caution. McDougal would lead on the restart with Ballou and Leary in tow. Lap seventeen saw Leary sneak by Ballou for second on lap seventeen but Ballou took the positions back one lap later. Cockrum re-passed Leary off turn four for third on lap twenty one and used the same move one lap later to dispose of Ballou for second. Weir slipped by Ballou one lap later for third as Cockrum closed the gap on McDougal. The laps and time ran out as Cockrum raced off turn four with the checkers waving falling about a car length short of pulling off the win. McDougal unlike Leary in feature #1 apologized for getting into Clouser in turn one as the crowd respected his explanation and gave him a cheer. The finish at 11:09 was McDougal, Cockrum, Weir (the 2021 Gas City point champ), Ballou and Leary rounding out the top five.
We wanted to see the UMP modified feature but with the time already after 11 we passed and missed seeing Little 500 winner, Tyler Roahrig, win his first race on dirt in only his third time on this type of surface. Pat monitored the results on Race Monitor with this one ending at 11:46 and the final race with the hornet winner posted on Twitter at 12:20. Much too late on a cool fall night.
That's it for a while as our next race may not be until mid-November so in the meantime get out there and support your local short track or go on the road and take in a bucket list track. Comments, news, stories or anything else of interest can reach us at email@example.com. And as always thanks for reading our efforts.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Messeraull & Grant Score At Tri-State During The Harvest Cup
Saturday, October 9 – It was a unseasonably warm fall day with temperatures in the middle 80's with no rain in the forecast so that was the best part. We left early to take our time driving down to Haubstadt for the final race of the 2021 season at Tom & Loris Helfrich's well manicured Tri-State Speedway where The Harvest Cup was the main attraction this evening. A triple-header of MSCS sprints (38), USAC midgets (29) and MMSA mini sprints (40) would take to the high banked ¼ mile dirt oval tonight with the sprints vying for $5000 to win. The MSCS organization does not run normal time trials but instead times the hot laps by groups with the top four inverting for their heat races. Also the four heat winners do a pill invert to determine the top four starting positions in the main event. Overall fast time out of the four group sessions was rookie Carson Garrett out of Colorado who also was selected as the top rookie of the year with the group. Next up were the USAC midgets for their single car time trials which began at 6:08 and were completed by 6:26 with Tanner Thorson continuing his fall blitz setting fast time with a new track record of 13.226 seconds around the quarter mile bullring.
The MSCS sprint cars would contest their heats first with Daison Pursley in one of five KO Motorsports entries looking impressive in only about his third sprint car run capturing heat one besting Kendall Ruble, Critter Malone and Emerson Axsom. Heat two fell to Kevin Thomas Jr. outrunning Jason McDougal, Aric Gentry and Carson Garrett. Home area favorite Chase Stockon nailed down the heat three win beating rival Kyle Cummins, Robert Ballou and Tayte Williamson. On the initial start of heat three Ballou and Williamson ran side by side into turn two where Williamson slide into the side of Ballou causing Ballou to roll twice. The car was turned over & Ballou went to the work area and returned with elbows up and placed his car in the field for the feature. The rolling continued in heat four when Donny Brackett got sideways on the backstretch with Stephen Schnapf having no where to go but up and over Brackett rolling two times in the process. Justin Grant went on to win heat four over Kent Schmidt, Stan Beadles and Jake Swanson. The USAC sprints would run three heats with the top five moving onward into the 30 lap main event. Buddy Kofoid took top honors in heat one beating Chris Windom, Daison Pursley, Tanner Thorson and Emerson Axsom. Heat two went to Thomas Meseraull who set a new track record for 10 laps at Tri-State in a time of 2:17.42 which broke the 10 year old record also set by Meseraull. T-Mez beat Kevin Thomas Jr., Justin Grant, Chance Crum and Bryant Wiedeman. The third and final heat fell to Ethan Mitchell turning back Kaylee Bryson, Cannon McIntosh, Tanner Thorson and Logan Seavey.
The MSCS C main would run next before the four heats for the MMSA mini sprints with Jadon Rogers scoring the win from seventh with Stephen Schnapf, Harley Burns and Jeff Pritchett trailing with the foursome moving to the rear of the B main. Sam Scott surprised the crowd by winning the sprint car B main after Brady Short tangled with a lap car and spun in turn three late in the race. Cole Bodine, Zach Daum and Jadon Rogers joined Scott at the back of the starting field for the 30 lap A main. The USAC midgets still had a B main to run to add the final eight cars to their 22 car starting field. Jace Park in his first run in an USAC midget behind the wheel of one of Chad Boat's potent machines won the B over Kyle Cummins, Brenham Crouch, Carson Garrett, Jake Neuman, Sam Johnson and Haubstadt resident, Tyler Rust, also making his first start and making his first USAC national event. Johnson and Rust can thank Stephen Schnapf and Shane Cottle who pounded on each other until turn three with just two to go when Cottle decided to drive into the left side of Schnapf causing Schnapf to flip and Cottle slid into the turn three wall and tipped over ending both their nights prematurely. Cottle is a hard runner but sometimes his temper gets the best of him and this was one of those occurrences.
The next race of the evening after two MMSA B mains would be the 30 lap MSCS feature with the front row of Justin Grant and Chase Stockon bringing the 21 car field (Brady Short added as provisional) to the green flag. Grant jumped into the early lead with fourth starting Daison Pursley powering by Stockon into second. The top two ran nose to tail until lap ten when Jake Swanson got into the homestretch wall and rolled over bringing out the red. On the restart Grant continued to lead with Pursley right there looking for a way around. Stockon, Jason McDougal and Kevin Thomas Jr. duked it out for positions three through five. The laps started to tick off as the front runners ran in the same order until lap twenty two when seventh and eighth runners, Kent Schmidt and Emerson Axsom, got together off turn four and slid along the homestretch wall. On the restart Grant led with Pursley sticking his nose underneath looking to steal the lead. One lap later Kyle Cummins who had worked his way back into the top ten after an early lap skirmish had someone run over him on the homestretch sending him into the wall and out of the race. Grant continued to pace the field on the restart with Pursley and McDougal in hot pursuit On the white flag lap Critter Malone got hard into the homestretch wall while running seventh and flipped ending his good run. Robert Ballou was moving forward from his 11th starting position and slipped by Stockon to crack the top five on the last lap as Grant raced under the checkered winning over Pursley with McDougal third, Thomas fourth and Ballou fifth. Chase Stockon finished sixth with Jadon Rogers advancing from 20th to 7th, Aric Gentry a good run in eighth, Kendall Ruble ninth and Emerson Axsom rounding out the top ten.
We still had two features to run and the 30 lap USAC National midget race was next with the front row of Daison Pursley and Kevin Thomas Jr. bringing the 22 car field to Tom Hansing's green flag. Thomas surged from the outside to take the early lead over Pursley and Buddy Kofoid. Thomas led through the first 13 laps while Kofoid, Cannon McIntosh and Thomas Meseraull hooked up in a duel for third through fifth. McIntosh and Kofoid exchanged sliders in turns three and four for two consecutive laps with McIntosh taking third in four and Kofoid back in third in turn two on laps 12 and 13. Lap 14 saw McIntosh dive low in turn four trying to pass Kofoid but Meseraull got a good run and dove to the inside of McIntosh. This caused McIntosh to react with a wheel turn to the right and into Kofoid who caught the homestretch wall and rolled over several times. Kofoid was set back on his wheels and proceeded to the work area which he returned from the pits and ultimately drove back to ninth but it cost him valuable ground in the season long points race. On the restart Thomas led with McIntosh second but Pursley and Meseraull quickly passed McIntosh to move to the podium positions. On lap 21 the race came to a grinding halt as Ethan Mitchell flipped his midget between turns three and four to bring out the red with Mitchell OK after the tumble. Meseraull got by Pursley on the restart and took up the chase of Thomas. On lap 23 T-Mez made his first move for the lead off turn four but banged wheels with Thomas and sliding back and forth before retaining control. Lap 25 saw Meseraull drive by Thomas in turn two using the inside to take the lead. Over the remaining five laps Meseraull ran lower and Thomas went to the high side trying to retake the lead. Justin Grant who started 17th made a late challenge on Thomas but fell short at the finish at 11:22 with Meseraull taking his fourth win of 2021 and sixth all-time win. Pursley settled for fourth with Chris Windom, the point leader by 13 now heading west, came home fifth after starting 14th. Kyle Cummins was sixth, Logan Seavey seventh, Bryant Wiedeman eighth after starting 20th, Kofoid ninth and Tanner Thorson tenth.
Since we had almost a three hour drive home and an one hour time change to our disadvantage we rolled up the blankets and headed for the exits arriving back in Crawfordsville by 3:10 AM. Just another typical weekend!!!
That's it for a few weeks as we have two trips planned and no open wheel racing on the horizon. So until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area before winter sets in and the outdoor season is just a memory. Comments, news, stories or anything else of interest can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always be safe and watch out for the other guy. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Thomas Jr. Takes Third Fall Nationals At Lawrenceburg
Saturday, October 2 – We ventured down to the Madison/Cross Plains area during the late afternoon to catch an IXCR UTV race at The John Vincent before driving the 40 minutes over to Lawrenceburg to attend the USAC National sprint car Midwest final race at the Lawrenceburg Speedway. We arrived at 7:15 and had already missed time trials and the first two sprint car heats. We entered behind the grandstands and found a seat toward turn four in time to witness the final USAC sprint car heat.
To fill you in briefly Tanner Thorson set the fast time for the 30 sprint cars on hand for the second straight evening with a time of 13.441 seconds around the high banked 3/8 mile dirt oval known as the Burg. The sprint cars would run three heats with five moving directly to the 30 lap feature event while the UMP modifieds also ran three heats for their field. Chase Stockon won heat one in the sprints besting Thomas Meseraull, Jadon Rogers, Tanner Thorson and Logan Seavey. Heat two saw CJ Leary and Brady Bacon tangling in turns one and two while battling for fifth with reports of Bacon taking a nasty looking flip. Bacon would return with a backup car and make the feature coming from the tail to qualify through the B main. Chris Windom secured the heat two win over Robert Ballou, Emerson Axsom, JJ Hughes and CJ Leary. The third sprint heat was captured by Max Adams tonight behind the wheel of the Epperson #2E fending off Justin Grant, Justin Owen, Saban Bibent and Kevin Thomas Jr. The 12 lap semi or B main had some heavy hitters in it with guys like Tye Mihocko, Shane Cottle, Jake Swanson, Brady Bacon, Jason McDougal, Scotty Weir and Dallas Hewitt among the 15 starters vying for 7 tickets to the big dance. Swanson ran away from the field in this one with Brandon Mattox nailing down second, Brady Bacon from 15th to 3rd in a super run, Jason McDougal fourth, Ryan Thomas fifth, Dallas Hewitt sixth and Shane Cottle seventh and showing his displeasure with Thomas by tapping his rear nerf bar after the checkered several times after almost turning turtle when the two got together with a few laps to go.
For the second night in a row the program was moved along at a swift clip with the 30 lap $10,000 to win Fall Nationals taking the initial green flag at 8:20, just an hour and twenty minutes after start time. Emerson Axsom bounded off the outside of the front row and took off into the lead where he paced the field for the first 12 laps by a comfortable margin. The first of only two cautions would then appear as Chris Windom running inside the top five entered turn one and jumped the right rear tire of JJ Hughes almost flipping but somehow returning to Earth and continuing. Hughes right rear went down quickly slowing him in an instant in turn one with eighth running Robert Ballou (up from 15th) missing the slowed Hughes but contacting the outside wall ending both driver's nights prematurely. Under the caution fifth running CJ Leary developed a flat right rear tire and retreated to the work area and was able to return and worked his way back to tenth at the finish. On the restart Axsom stormed back out front chased by Thomas. The battle raged behind these two with Logan Seavey, Chris Windom, Tanner Thorson and Brady Bacon jockeying for positions inside the top five. Axsom was seeking his first USAC National sprint car triumph and looked to be in control until disaster struck as he exited turn four on lap 26 when his right rear tire went flat flapping off the rim and ending his bid to add his name to the list of first time winners in USAC National sprint car history. This would hand the lead over to KTJ and he hit the loud pedal on the restart and scooted out front chased by Windom and Thorson. Thomas raced into turn one on the final lap and missed his mark and lost time and momentum as he moved into turn two. This allowed Windom to close the gap and racing down the backstretch he pulled to the tail tank of Thomas setting up for one last slider entering turn three. Windom executed the slider to perfection in turn three sliding past Thomas in the middle of the turn but Thomas was ready for the move and turned the wheel to the left for the crossover and exiting turn four he regained the lead as the pair raced to the double checkers. Thomas crossed the line first by a little over a car length margin with Windom settling for second with Thorson third, Bacon advancing from 11th to 4th and Jake Swanson motoring from 10th to 5th at the finish at 8:39. Justin Grant paced the second five across the line with Seavey seventh, Max Adams eighth, Chase Stockon ninth and CJ Leary tenth. Thomas would become the first three time winner of the Fall Nationals and take home the big check, both figuratively and literally, scoring his eighth USAC sprint win of 2021 and his 35th career win tying him for 11th on the all time list with Jon Stanbrough and Rich Vogler as he advances up the win list totals. We decided to use the early finish as a chance to make the 2 ½ hour trek back to Crawfordsville in an earlier time frame and even with a gas and pizza stop at Casey's we still arrived back home by 11:30.
That's it for this column but check back next Sunday to see where we ended up on a typical weekend. Comments, thoughts, news or any other items of interest can reach us at email@example.com. In the meantime make those fall race trip plans and get out there and see some good short track racing wherever you may end up and have fun and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our writings as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Windom Wins Eighth USAC Sprint Race At Terre Haute
Friday, October 1st – Tonight at the Terre Haute Action Track it was a night to celebrate the career and life of Jim Hurtubise as the 22nd Jim Hurtubise Classic was on the docket with the USAC sprint cars (24) and the IMCA 305 sprint cars (16) racing on the big half mile located on the Vigo County Fairgrounds. What the night really ended up celebrating was the dominance of Canton, IL's Chris Windom at Terre Haute as he captured his eighth career USAC National Sprint Car victory here tying Gary Bettenhausen and Jack Hewitt for the most all-time wins at this historic dirt oval. Here is how the night unfolded.
On a glorious fall day with temperatures in the mid 80's with low humidity we set off from Crawfordsville for our 1 ½ hour trek south to the Terre Haute Action Track for the fifth time in 2021 to watch USAC sprint cars and IMCA 305 winged sprint cars tackle the historic half mile of the track located in the city of Terre Haute. We arrived around 5:30 and it being Friday the crowd was a later arriving one as many had worked on this nice Friday and gathered their blankets and seat cushions after working and headed to Terre Haute for this evening's racing. By race time a good sized crowd was on hand to witness the final race of 2021 at Terre Haute honoring Jim Hurtubise on the evening. We had a good conversation with friends, Don and Burleigh Skidmore, before racing began and my back pleaded with me to sit down after mowing a good portion of the church's grass that afternoon. We settled in and prepared for the night of racing when another good friend, Max Niemann, came by to say hello and chat for a spell.
Now it was time to kick off the night of racing with time trials for the 24 USAC sprint cars on hand with the first one being pushed off from the turn four chute and taking the green flag at 6:47. When it was said and done at 7:09 Tanner Thorson was being interviewed on the homestretch by Kristy Bemmes after setting his third fast time of the year with a lap of 19.377 seconds around the ½ mile dirt oval. The 16 IMCA 305 sprint cars on hand would hot lap next before the USAC sprint cars returned to contest their three heats with the top five moving directly into the 30 lap Jim Hurtubise Classic later in the evening. Heat one went to a determined Max Adams in the family car holding off Robert Ballou to score the heat win with CJ Leary, Justin Grant and Jadon Rogers trailing. It was good to see Max back and running strong after being burned in a sprinter at Gas City earlier this season. Chris Windom would nail down heat two after charging from fifth to win over Tye Mihocko who tried to make it the second straight race a #5 would win. Mario Clouser, Chase Stockon and Harley Burns joined the feature field out of this one. The third and final heat was won by Kevin Thomas Jr. in a strong run besting Shane Cottle, Jake Swanson, Jason McDougal and Brady Bacon. The 16 IMCA 305 sprints would run two heats with everyone moving into their 15 lap main event with Rod Henning and Jeff Wimmenauer prevailing. At this point it was announced that the USAC B main would be scratched and a twenty four car field would start the 30 lap feature after the 305 sprints ran their 15 lap feature event.
The IMCA 305 sprint cars took the green flag at 8:40 with Rod Henning taking the early lead. Henning looked like he would pace the entire 15 laps until with just a few laps to go the power plant on the #22H went sour and he pulled to the pit lane on the homestretch while leading and turned the lead over to young Alex Nalon, the great grandson of legendary Duke Nalon, the midget, sprint and Indy car veteran, who went on to lead the remainder of the race taking the checkered flag at 8:45 besting Jeff Wimmenauer, Bradley Sterrett, John Paynter Jr. and Alfred Galedridge in a good run for the 305 boys.
The front row of Robert Ballou and Jake Swanson brought the 24 car field to the green flag at 9:03 with Ballou taking the lead entering turn one. Swanson drew even down the backstretch and through turns three and four edging Ballou at the line to lead lap one. Chris Windom who started third used the low side to work his way by Ballou for second off of turns three and four on lap three and went to work to try to track down Swanson for the lead. Brady Bacon was up to fourth by lap four with Kevin Thomas Jr. taking over fifth on lap six in turn one. One lap later Tanner Thorson moved by Thomas to take over fifth. Swanson continued to pace the field entering lap traffic on lap nine causing his lead to shrink with Windom able to close the gap as the pair picked their way through the lap traffic. Windom made his first run at Swanson entering turn one on lap twelve showing his nose to Swanson but Swanson pulled back in front. Swanson bobbled on the cushion on lap seventeen in turn two and Windom edged slightly ahead but Swanson zoomed off turn two and retained the lead. The next lap Windom used a slider cutting in front of the nose of Swanson to wrestle the lead away as the pair hit the backstretch on lap eighteen. Lap nineteen saw Swanson lose valuable ground as he jumped the cushion in turn two with Windom pulling out to a comfortable lead. Windom's lead increased to over three seconds over the remaining twelve laps as Windom crossed underneath the double checkers at 9:13 in a non-stop time of 10:31.97 seconds breaking a 23 year old track record set by Cary Faas by 25 seconds. Windom's second win of 2021 (both coming at Terre Haute) was also is fifth Hurtubise Classic triumph giving him the most wins in this race and his 30th lifetime USAC National win tying him with Tyler Courtney on the all-time list for sixteenth. Jake Swanson would finish second again and he stated in the podium interview he is tired of losing as he searches for his first USAC National sprint car win. Robert Ballou would finish third with Brady Bacon fourth and Kevin Thomas Jr. fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Tanner Thorson, Logan Seavey, CJ Leary, Shane Cottle and Chase Stockon in this well run night of racing with an early finish.
Tomorrow is the last Midwest appearance for the USAC National sprint cars traveling over to Lawrenceburg Speedway where the weather is looking like it could play a big factor for Saturday evening. That's it for this segment but check back tomorrow to see if we get the Lawrenceburg run in or not. Until next time get out there and take in some good short track racing in your area and have fun and be safe. And most of all thanks for reading our efforts.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Clouser Wins The Battle, Hopkins Wins The War At Lincoln Park
Saturday, September 25 – Tonight was the last night of racing in 2021 for the Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana and Steve Kimmel, the truck driver from Arizona, let us know he would be in town so we saved him a space in the top row to place his lounge chair to enjoy the racing at LPS. It was the rescheduled King of the Non-Wings event which was rained out previously. Every sprint in attendance would get a chance to run a feature event and they turned out in full force, 39 strong to participate in this race. Also on the line were the point championships in all divisions with only 9 points separating Brayden Fox and defending champion, AJ Hopkins, in the sprint car standings. Hopkins had demolished his Burton #04 sprint the week previous at Bloomington and that ride would not be available but Ohio's Jaime Paul offered up his top notch sprinter, the #24P, for Hopkins to drive as his regular and backup drivers, Shane Cockrum and Tye Mihocko, were at Eldora Speedway competing. Each division was lined up by hot lap qualifying sessions with the top four times inverted for each heat. Joining the 39 sprint cars on the evening were 15 UMP modifieds, 20 super stocks and 24 bombers plus the always awesome fireworks display by Circle City Pyrotechnics for added entertainment on the final night of racing.
The sprint cars would contest five heats with the top three moving directly into the 30 lap feature event with the rest going into two B mains. Indiana State University student, Harley Burns, captured heat one holding off AJ Hopkins and Alec Sipes for the win. Indiana Wesleyan student, Zack Pretorius, scored the heat two win besting Braydon Cromwell and Ben Knight. Illinois' Mario Clouser, the 2021 WAR sprint car champion, won heat three over Gabriel Gilbert and Carson Garrett from deep in the field. Heat four was taken by Jesse Vermillion who has improved vastly after taking his show on the road and running with BOSS sprints this year. He defeated Andy Bradley and Brayden Fox in this one. Kyle Shipley from Phoenix, Arizona continues to improve taking heat five over Travis Berryhill and Pat Giddens. Jake Leitzman and Jimmy Hayden would take the two UMP modified heats run. Only the sprints and the bombers would need B mains with the sprints running two of them with the top three to move into the main event. Brandon Spencer would snag B main one over Nate McMillin and the veteran, Kent Christian, who raced for the 40th year at Lincoln Park in 2021.
The second B main fell to Mitchell Davis of Illinois besting Blake Vermillion and Cody Williams. Eddie Vancil also from Illinois rolled his sprinter between turns three and four during the second B main without injury. After the bomber B main the wonderful fireworks display occurred with the crowd enjoying the colorful and loud fireworks.
After the fireworks it was feature time with the sprint cars first up which is the custom at LPS with the front row of Harley Burns and Zack Pretorius bringing the 21 car starting field to Brian Hodde's green flag to start the race at 9:55. Burns would power out front and pace the field for the first ten laps as the college student looked strong looking for his first career win. Mario Clouser was lurking behind him nipping at his tail tank finally passing the young gun on the homestretch as the pair raced to the line to start lap 11. Over the next two laps Clouser and Burns swapped the lead numerous times before Clouser wrestled the lead away from young Burns. Meanwhile Pretorius, Kyle Shipley and AJ Hopkins were locked up in a battle for third through fifth with Hopkins finally breaking up the battle by passing the other two and solidly taking third. Brayden Fox was on the march moving from his 14th starting position up to 6th and pulling within three spots of Hopkins. Fox's fine run went out the window on lap 15 when he clipped the inner tractor tire in turn three and spun his sprinter taking him out of the point championship run. Fox continued but did not gain many spots over the remainder of the race and ended up 14th. Hopkins was able to pass Burns for second on lap nineteen and took up the chase of Clouser. Hopkins edged close several times but Clouser was up to the challenge and raced across the finish line at 10:11 for the big win with Hopkins second securing his second straight point title with Ben Knight turning in a fine performance moving from 12th to 3rd at the end with Burns coming across fourth and a great run by Mitchell Davis charging from 17th to 5th at the finish.
The UMP modifieds would run 20 laps in their final race of 2021 at LPS with Jimmy Hayden and Jake Leitzman leading the field to Brian Hodde's green flag with Hayden soaring out front. Hayden was on a rail this evening and was not to be stopped as he led the entire 20 laps for his first win at LPS in seven years beating out 2021 modified point champion, Jake Leitzman, and Brian Hayden. Will Bennett and Cody Wright would round out the top five in this one which ended at 10:29. Brian Hayden announced on his Facebook page that he and his teammate, Ivan Glotzbach, would be moving into the non-wing sprint cars in 2022. Hayden had previously run sprints but Glotzbach who will only be in his second year of competition having never run any kind of race car prior to this year will move up with him. It should be interesting to watch Glotzbach especially in 2022 in his rookie campaign in the sprint cars to see how he progressed during the year. We decided to call it a night as the air was cool and damp and you could see your breath as you breathed. It was a good year at Lincoln Park, which we attended eight times in 2021, and is the closest track to our house in Crawfordsville. Only Kokomo with 10 visits did we witness more racing at in 2021.
That's it for this segment but check back next Saturday and Sunday as we have a doubleheader planned of non-wing sprint car racing and who knows what else. The season in the Midwest is definitely winding down quickly as the races are fewer and farther between. Some great out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area before it is all done for 2021 and the winter season closes in. Comments, news and anything else can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be safe out there and be good. Thanks for reading our efforts and we hope you still enjoy them as much as we enjoy sending them your way.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Thorson Takes Fifth USAC Sprint Win In Debut At Circle City
Friday, September 17 – It was a rather warm mid-September day with temperatures skying into the high 80's but the humidity was low as we made our way across I-70 through Indianapolis toward the Circle City Raceway for our fifth time in 2021. Tonight on the race card were the USAC National sprint cars making their first ever appearance at Circle City and the first time USAC sprints have raced in Indianapolis on a dirt surface since 1984. The USAC National midgets had raced here earlier this year during Indiana Midget Week but it would be the first of hopefully many more appearances for their big brothers, the USAC sprint cars. We found our usual Circle City seat and sat next to Seth, our friend from Bloomington who made the difficult Friday night trek from Bloomington north into the Indianapolis area which normally takes about 45 minutes but was doubled on this Friday night. The USAC sprints brought a quality field of 26 cars to the big dance while the USAC D2 midgets had 20 strong for their racing on this Friday evening.
Time trials would start off the program tonight beginning at 6:53 and when it looked like Jake Swanson would sit at the top of the heap the last car out, Brady Bacon, changed all that turning a lap of 12.163 seconds around the ¼ mile dirt oval (closer to 1/5 mile in our opinion) for fast time of the night and also a new track record of course. After D2 hot laps the USAC sprint cars returned for their three heats with five cars from each heat moving directly into the 30 lap main event. Thomas Meseraull in the Simon #23S, a previous winner here in winged sprint car action earlier in the year, scored heat win number one besting Kevin Thomas Jr., Tanner Thorson, Brent Beauchamp and Brady Bacon on the tight oval. Max Adams wheeling the Epperson #2E came home first in heat two turning back CJ Leary, JJ Hughes, Chris Windom and Robert Ballou in this one. Emerson Axsom in the Clauson/Marshall #39BC took down heat three over Shane Cottle, Chase Stockon, Matt Westfall and Koby Barksdale. The D2 midgets would run three heats with two Bryce's, Massingill and Dues, taking heats one and two with Taylor Nibert taking heat three in some good side by side racing.
Only the sprint cars would need a semi which would be 12 laps in distance with the top seven moving into the main event. This race got off to a nasty start when Andrew Prather slammed the homestretch wall near the starter's stand and flipped numerous times into turn one ending upside down on the racing surface. Prather climbed from the car to the relief of the good crowd on hand after his scary ride. Jake Swanson who encountered problems in his heat race in a jingle with another car resulting in a bent front axle came back to claim the semi win over Jason McDougal, Justin Grant who seemed to struggle the entire evening, Jadon Rogers who found the outside to his liking, Ricky Lewis, Travis Berryhill and Brandon Mattox, the last man in. Former Lincoln Park champion, Scott Hampton, missed by one spot of qualifying in his first USAC start in two years.
The 20 lap D2 midget feature would get the first honors of running their feature with the 20 car field taking the green flag at 9:13. What ensued was a doozy of a race among Bryce Massingill, Jacob Denney and Michael Magic up from Georgia. This group went side by side various times three wide for the lead exchanging the lead back and forth. Magic split the pair in a nifty move on lap seven to take the lead and opened a small lead over the other two. Magic looked to be in command but no one told Massingill of that fact. Massingill charged back to his rear nerf bar and over the final few laps the pair exchanged slide jobs which were well executed allowing each other to counter and as the final sliders were exchanged off turn four they raced to the checkered flag with Massingill edging Magic by mere inches in a photo finish at the line at 9:28. The crowd was buzzing after that one with Massingill noting in victory lane that that race was the closest that he was ever involved in and was a lot of fun to race in. Magic came home second with Jacob Denney third, Abby Hohlbein fourth and Alex Watson rounding out the top five.
The 30 lap USAC sprint car feature was still to come and the front row of heavy hitters, Chris Windom and Tanner Thorson, brought the 22 car field to the green flag at 9:44 with Thorson taking the early lead. Thorson would pace the field leading the first ten laps with Windom and Kevin Thomas Jr. in hot pursuit. Thomas slipped by Windom for second on lap five and takes up the chase of Thorson. Lap eleven saw a turning point in the race as Travis Berryhill and Jadon Rogers tangled in turn two right in front of leader, Thorson, with Thorson able to split the two and escape the incident but Brady Bacon was not so lucky as Berryhill set sideways on the bottom of turn two after spinning and the Macho Man had no where to go except into the side of Berryhill's machine. Moments later in a separate incident Ricky Lewis clipped the turn three inside tire and flipped several times before coming to rest. Lewis was OK after his tumble but his new car was worst for wear. Bacon meanwhile retreated to the work area and was able to return before the green reappeared but had to start at the tail of the field. On the restart Thorson went back to the point with Thomas dogging him down low over the next six laps pulling alongside several times but never able to quite grab the lead. Emerson Axsom was coming like gang busters from ninth on the restart up to third by lap twenty one when eighth running Thomas Messeraull spun to the infield off turn two to slow the action. On the restart Thorson resumed command with Thomas in tow. Entering turn three on lap twenty two Axsom pulled a slide job on Thomas racing for second with Axsom almost spinning in front of Thomas with the two touching straightening out Axsom but causing Thomas to lose momentum and ground being passed by several competitors. This gave Thorson all the advantage he needed as he motored away from the rest of the field to a comfortable lead. In the meantime Bacon was making another amazing comeback run from the rear and was challenging for the top five with five to go. The battle was behind Thorson as he crossed the start/finish line at 10:01 for his fifth USAC National sprint car win of the year and his 12th overall USAC win of 2021 and his fifth on a Friday night also a season high total. Windom would finish second with tenth starting Jake Swanson turning in an impressive third nipping Bacon at the line for the final podium finish. Bacon finished fourth after restarting 20th with CJ Leary claiming fifth. Shane Cottle placed sixth with Axsom seventh, Thomas Jr. ending up a disappointing eighth, Justin Grant ninth and Chase Stockon rounding out the top ten. It was an interesting race with some good runs and we look forward to a return of the USAC sprints in 2022 at Circle City.
That's it for this report but check back Sunday as we make the long haul down to southwest Indiana to the Helfrich's fine speed plant in Haubstadt for the Haubstadt Hustler. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Comments, news and other items of interest can reach us at email@example.com. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and the kind words from many of you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Leary and Windom Bank $20,000 Each For Final Night Wins At Huset's
Before we get started on talking about the final night racing action at Huset's Speedway we would like to touch on the different format used for the three day event and our ideas about tweaking it somewhat to make it even better going forward. Don't get us wrong as Matt Wood and his staff and USAC did a heck of a job with the inaugural USAC Nationals and the racing was very good but these ideas are thoughts that could make the event even bigger and better. The format of awarding points for all the heat races and features on Friday and Saturday nights is good but Sunday's final night needs to be tweaked. If you are going to invert the top 12 in points after the Sunday night heat races than you either have to do one of two things. You either have to have a point fund for the top 12 worthwhile enough to run for if the point leader is going to start 12th in the main event or make it tougher to reach the invert by either cutting it to 8 or the normal USAC standard of 6. This will benefit everyone but mostly the fans who are paying good money to see racing every night and not having crew chiefs or crew members using calculators in the pit area telling their driver to “sandbag” in his heat on the last night to earn less points and start further up in the starting lineup for the final. Hope the powers that be will read this and take to heart what the crux of the idea is that it is not criticism but just a way to make the racing even better next year. On another note we noticed quite a few people leaving before the 100 lap midget main was completed and that is never good to see as if you want the locals to support your program you need to get them on the road in a good time as most of them have to work the next day.. The remedy there might be to start earlier and possibly run twin 50's for the midgets with the first 50 running first followed by the sprint car main event and then the second 50 inverting all the cars that finished on the lead lap and placing the lapped cars behind them obviously regaining their lost laps and run a second 50 lap feature. What do you the fans think?? Would be interested to talk to you or receive emails on your thoughts or ideas and maybe if we receive enough emails we could do a column devoted to just this event. Get to work on those emails!!
Now back to the racing on Sunday night and what went down. No time trials were scheduled so after hot laps were run the USAC sprint cars were first to the speedway to run their three heat races on the evening. The first heat would take the green flag at 6:20 with Ryan Bernal in the Wood #17W scoring the win over Jason McDougal, Robert Ballou, Tanner Thorson and Jake Swanson. The second heat fell to Chase Stockon in the KO Motorsports #5S besting Terry Richards, Isaac Chapple, Mario Clouser and CJ Leary. The third and final sprint heat was captured by Arizona's Charles Davis Jr. in the Davis #47 after starting fifth over Kevin Thomas Jr., Matt Westfall, Justin Grant and Alex Banales in the second Baldwin #5. Glen Saville rolled his sprinter in turn two in this one for the second time in two days but was able to make repairs and crack the field for the final. Davis has run strong the last two nights and seems to have found a fountain of youth or maybe some American Indian magic to improve his performance at Huset's. The sprints would be the only ones to run a semi with Alex Banales scoring his first USAC win of any kind by notching the semi over Cam Schafer, Glen Saville, Jeremy Kerzman, Jeff Pellersels and Clinton Bruns setting the starting field at 24 sprinters.
The USAC midgets would contest three heats also with Emerson Axsom in the Petry #15 taking down heat one over teammate, Kevin Thomas Jr., Hayden Reinbold who led for the majority of the race, Ryan Timms and Logan Seavey. Daison Pursley placed one of Keith Kunz's stable in first in heat two besting Cannon McIntosh, Brenham Crouch, Buddy Kofoid and Chance Crum. The final heat of the evening fell to RMS Motorsports driver, Justin Grant, outrunning Jason McDougal, teammate, Thomas Meseraull, Chase Randall known as the fastest chicken and Chad Frewaldt who had a very good week. All heat racing was completed by 7:23,
This left us with driver introductions for both races and the two final main events paying $20,000 to win and $1000 to start.
The 40 lap USAC sprint car feature was the first one called to the post with the front row of Logan Seavey and Robert Ballou bringing 22 of their other buddies to the green flag to kick off their feature event. Jake Swanson was docked two rows for arriving on the starting grid late forfeiting his ninth starting spot and moving everyone up one from 9th through 13th. Seavey took the early lead and led lap one until entering turn one Ballou hopped the right rear of Chris Windom's car with his left front and glanced off the turn one wall stopping with a flat tire. That for all intended purposes took Ballou out of the running for the big bucks but he did return and finished 11th. Seavey paced the first three laps until Windom used the high side to storm out front for the lead. Seavey battled back to lead laps five and six with Windom out front on lap seven, Seavey for lap eight and Windom back on top for laps nine through eighteen. CJ Leary was on the march from his ninth starting position move forward at a quick clip. Leary picked off Brady Bacon for third using the bottom on lap eleven in turn two and plucked second from Seavey in the same spot on lap sixteen as they raced their way through lap traffic. Leary threw out the fishing line and began to reel in Windom who continued to lead and by lap eighteen he caught and passed Windom in turn three with the front two split Isaac Chapple on each side with Leary assuming the lead as they raced to start lap nineteen. Leary would move ahead until five to go as the duo raced past Mario Clouser in turn three and four with Windom motoring low and taking the lead but the caution then appeared when Seavey slowed low in turns one and two slowing the action. On the restart Leary was at the point but Bacon had some other ideas as he stormed by Windom for second and applied pressure on Leary over the remaining five laps but Leary was up to the challenge and raced under the double checkers at 8:38 scoring back to back wins for the second time in 2021 beating eighth starting Bacon, Windom, tenth starting Tanner Thorson and eleventh starting Kevin Thomas Jr. to the line for the big $20,000 check at the end of the rainbow. Justin Grant would come home sixth with Chase Stockon seventh, Jason McDougal eighth, Thomas Meseraull ninth and Ryan Bernal rounding out the top five in an entertaining race. That was also Leary's fifth USAC sprint win of the year.
It was now time for the 100 lap USAC midget main event with Chase Randall and Emerson Axsom pacing the field to the initial green flag at 9:18. Randall would charge into the early lead and pace the field for the first 13 laps until third starting Kevin Thomas Jr. was able to wrestle the lead away on lap 14. Thomas would lead until lap 20 when eighth starting Cannon McIntosh looking like he was fired out of one blasted by Thomas in turns three and four to lead that lap. McIntosh checked out at that point and drove like a man possessed setting a torrid pace until the first caution waved on lap 42 when McIntosh slowed on the backstretch with a flat right rear tire making you wonder why run so fast and abuse your tires when the caution was set to wave around lap 50. Might want to think about that strategy for next year as caution laps counted so McIntosh lost several laps under the caution until USAC decided to stop the race as previously planned and allow everyone to refuel and perform any other adjustments or tire changes that they were able to do during the eight minute stoppage.
After the break when racing resumed Jason McDougal in the Hayward #19 was the new leader but the red appeared quickly on the restart when Thomas Meseraull spun between turns one and two causing a chain reaction behind him which saw the impressive Mitchel Moles get upside down ending his night prematurely. Daison Pursley and Shane Golobic were also involved with both able to restart after the red and Golobic making infield repairs to return. On the second restart to start the second 50 laps Chase Randall quickly went up top and took the lead away from McDougal. Thomas and McDougal battled for second as Chris Windom moved to fourth after starting seventh and Logan Seavey filling out the top five. A multi-car tangle in turns one and two involving four cars slowed the action on lap 56. Randall resumed command on the restart with Thomas and McDougal chasing. Windom began to inch up taking third from Thomas on lap 68 and second from McDougal on lap 72. Windom reeled in Randall and made several moves to move by the young Texan but each time Randall was able to thwart off the challenges. Racing into turn one on lap 86 with victory all so close disaster struck as Randall shredded his right rear tire causing the youngster to hit the turn one wall and roll down the banking ending his evening in big disappointment as he was looking for his first career USAC midget win. Windom would inherit the lead on the restart and after losing Friday night's race in the closing laps Windom was ready for anything and everything in the last 15 laps. Windom was the rabbit on the restart jumping out front by a good margin as the war waged behind him among Buddy Kofoid, Thomas and Daison Pursley as the laps clicked off. A caution for a two car tangle on lap 91 reset the field and had to have Windom worrying if something would happen over the remaining nine laps. It was not to be as Windom would ride home first for back to back wins in the midget ranks over eleventh starting Kofoid with twelfth starting Daison Pursley taking third with Tanner Thorson the hard charger of the race slicing from 18th to fourth with Thomas taking down fifth. Logan Seavey would lead the second five across the line with Shane Golobic rebounding for seventh, McDougal eighth, Brenham Crouch from 15th to ninth and Emerson Axsom crossing the line tenth at 10:19. This feature was better than we originally expected and certainly held your interest throughout the 100 laps.
It was a good three days spent in South Dakota with good racing on a nicely prepared race track with the area also providing some good sights to visit during the day before the racing began that evening. If everything is a go for 2022 we plan on returning to South Dakota and Huset's Speedway for the second USAC Nationals event.
That's it until Friday when we plan to take in the first appearance of the USAC National sprints at Circle City Raceway in Indianapolis before making the long haul to southwest Indiana to take in the always exciting Haubstadt Hustler featuring the USAC/MSCS sprints at the finely prepared Tri-State Speedway. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road and visit a track outside your normal venues. Either way enjoy yourselves and be safe. Comments, USAC National's format ideas and anything else can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you all enjoy our writings as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Windom & Leary Top 9/11 Tribute Races At Huset's
Saturday, September 11 – Another nice day in the 80's with low humidity greeted us upon leaving the Hotel at Phillips as we were on our way to meet Sally Ebling and Gary Dean for lunch/dinner at El Tapatio's in Brandon. The Mexican food there was delicious and plenty of good conversation was shared by everyone during the meal. After satisfying our hunger it was time to head over to the Huset's Speedway for night two of the USAC Nationals featuring the USAC midgets with 26 on this evening, two less than yesterday, and the USAC sprint cars with 27, one less than the night before.
Again time trials would start off the evening with the midgets the first on the agenda starting at 6:02. Mitchel Moles, in a second car for USAC Nationals promoter, Matt Wood, would break the one day old track record set by his teammate, Shane Golobic, with a new record of 12.776 seconds around the 1/3 mile gumbo clay oval. The sprint cars would follow with their hot laps and time trials with Logan Seavey setting the fast time for the second straight night in the Baldwin #5 with a time of 12.589 seconds.
After time trials were completed there was a very touching and thoughtful tribute for the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with many flags and emergency personnel and their vehicles lining the entire homestretch area with several speakers including the mayor of Sioux Falls paying tribute to the heroes of that fateful day and all the firemen and police and so many others who helped to save lifes and help others on that tragic day. The tribute was very well done and very much appreciated after 20 years and again reminded us to never forget what happened on that day back in 2001. Well done to all involved for putting this tribute together!!
Back to racing where the USAC midgets would take the first green flag for their three heat races at 7:37 with Austin Barnhill surprising everyone by taking heat one beating the fast timer, Mitchel Moles, Brenham Crouch, Chris Windom and Emerson Axsom. Heat two fell to a strong Buddy Kofoid besting Ryan Timms, Cannon McIntosh, Justin Grant and Kevin Thomas Jr. Shane Golobic used the low side to capture heat three over Jason McDougal, Thomas Meseraull, Tanner Thorson and Daison Pursley.
Next up were the sprint cars for their three heats with Robert Ballou dusting the field in heat one beating Mario Clouser, Jake Swanson, Chris Windom and Brandon Mattox. Thomas Messeraull continued his good runs in the Yeley #2 capturing heat two over Kevin Thomas Jr., Logan Seavey, CJ Leary and Chad Frewaldt. Buckeye Arizona's Charles Davis Jr. paced heat three over Jason McDougal, Isaac Chapple, Brady Bacon and Ryan Bernal.
No B main would be needed for the midgets but one would be contested for the sprint cars. Brandon Mattox would top the field beating Isaac Chapple, Alex Banales who was feeling his oats in this one pounding the cushion and backing his sprinter into the turn one wall after the checkered, Terry Richards, Cam Schafer and Robert Bell.
It was now feature time and the USAC midgets 25 strong would take the green flag at 9:07 and the feature would go the entire distance non-stop in a new track record of 7:31.12 in a torrid affair. Daison Pursley would take the early lead and pace the field for the first two thirds of the race with Chris Windom who started sixth moving quickly to second by lap four and kept step with Pursley up front. Buddy Kofoid was another who was working his way into the top five moving from seventh and getting by Chance Crum and Logan Seavey on his way into third. Windom briefly took the top spot in turn one on lap sixteen but Pursley was having none of that and countered in turn two to take the lead back. Logan Seavey gained some ground on Windom and challenged for second but Windom was able to stave him off. Buddy Kofoid pulled a slider in turn two on lap seventeen which was questionable forcing Seavey to bang the cushion and lift his left side tires off the ground and upon return to earth Seavey's left front first find a landing spot on Kofoid's right rear before returning to the track. This gave Kofoid the third slot and a shot at tracking down Pursley and Windom. Lap twenty one saw Pursley get into some heavy lap traffic diving low to pass which gave Windom the momentum and opportunity to quickly close the distance between the two in the void on the high side. Exiting turn four with the big mo on his side Windom streaked to the inside of Pursley on the homestretch and slid by the leader in turn one before returning to the top with the lead starting lap twenty two. That was the move that would clinch Windom's fourth win of 2021 as he raced to over a second lead and ultimate victory crossing the finish line at 9:15 for the win over Pursley with Kofoid third, Seavey fourth and Shane Golobic rounding out the top five after starting 12th. Justin Grant would come home sixth after starting 13th with Kevin Thomas Jr. seventh, Thomas Meseraull eighth, Cannon McIntosh ninth and Chance Crum taking down tenth at the finish. Windom was $5000 richer with his 10th career USAC National midget triumph and this had to make up somewhat for his disappointment of losing the race the night before.
The 24 car USAC sprint car field was brought to the green flag by Charles Davis Jr. and Brady Bacon at 9:42 with Davis jumping out front. The green didn't last long as fourth starting Mario Clouser got sideways in turn two bunching the field behind and with no where to go Kevin Thomas Jr. hits Clouser and spins collecting Justin Grant, Matt Westfall who almost flips, Logan Seavey, Alex Banales and Glen Saville who does flip in the melee. Everyone was able to continue with the exception of Saville and Grant made several pit stops trying to rectify a brake problem. On the restart Davis take command and leads the first two laps until sixth starting CJ Leary is able to take command on lap three. One lap later Justin Grant slows in turn one bringing out the caution as Grant goes pit side but is able to return to action before the next green. On the restart Leary leads with Davis and Bacon in his tire tracks. The man on the move is ninth starting Jake Swanson who is making a bee line forward cracking the top five by lap seven and not stopping there. Swanson then picks off Ryan Bernal and Brady Bacon on his march forward tucking in behind Davis for a few laps until passing the Arizona driver moving into second and going after Leary. Swanson hounds Leary as the pair pound the cushion and run just a scant few car lengths off of each other as the laps click off. Tanner Thorson begins to weave his way forward moving into fifth ahead of Bernal. The second yellow appears on lap twenty seven when Jason McDougal noses into the inside homestretch wall after contact with two others. McDougal is none too happy with the results as he exits his sprinter. On the ensuing restart it is Leary at the point with Swanson, Bacon, Thorson and Bernal right behind. Leary continues to lead as Thorson and Bernal hook up in a crowd pleasing duel exchanging sliders over the next several laps. On the white flag lap entering turn one Thorson dives low on Bernal and catches Bernard's left rear tire turning Bernal backwards and spinning into the turn one wall collecting Robert Ballou and Meseraull in the incident. On the restart with one to go Leary leads Swanson, Bacon, Thorson and Davis to the line. All hell breaks loose in turn four coming for the checkers behind Leary with Swanson jumping the cushion while in second allowing Thorson and Davis to dive low to avoid the incident with Bacon up high behind Swanson getting the worst of the deal dropping from third to sixth at the end. At 10:12 it was CJ Leary across the line first for his fourth win of 2021 with Thorson taking second with Davis third for his highest career finish in national competition with Swanson fourth and Thomas rebounding from the lap one incident to salvage a good fifth place finish. Bacon would end up sixth with Chris Windom seventh, Logan Seavey eighth, Thomas Meseraull ninth and Brandon Mattox finishing tenth after starting 18th.
It was another good night of action on a racy track and we all look forward to tonight and the final events of the USAC Nationals at Huset's. Check back Tuesday for our report on the final night and in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and have fun and be safe. Comments, news, stories and anything else of interest can reach us at email@example.com. And continued thanks for reading your columns and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Meseraull and Thorson Open USAC Nationals With Wins At Huset's
Friday, September 10 – We drove to Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Thursday night and arose early on Friday morning to complete the long haul to Brandon, SD for the three night USAC Nationals featuring the USAC sprint cars and the USAC midgets in a highly paying weekend culminating on Sunday with a 40 lap sprint car feature and a 100 lap midget feature both paying $20,000 to win and a $1000 to start. Californian Matt Wood has leased the facility for the three days and though the crowd was OK hopefully the crowds the next two nights will pick up for all involved. We saved seats for Steve Kimmel and his wife, Maggie, and Gary Dean and Sally Ebling in Section KK above turn four for the weekend's action. In a different format for the three nights points would be awarded starting at 36 for the fastest qualifiers in each timed group decreasing by three per position thereafter. The heats would award 36 points to the winner decreasing by three points thereafter. No points were awarded for the top six finishers in the semi. One hundred points would go to the feature winners decreasing by two points per position thereafter. So even if you finished in the top five in a heat race you were not guaranteed a starting spot in the main events.
Things got underway at 5:58 with the 29 USAC midgets on hand pushing off for their time trials. By 6:16 Shane Golobic in Matt Wood's midget set fast time overall with a time of 12.923 seconds on the 3/8 mile black gumbo dirt oval which was a new track record for the midgets who were racing at Huset's for the first time in 25 years. USAC sprint cars followed with hot laps and their time trials with the first car of twenty eight taking the green flag at 6:35. It was 6:52 when Logan Seavey was interviewed on the homestretch by Kristy Beemes for setting the fast time of the three groups at 12.576 seconds around the 3/8 mile oval.
The midgets would be first up for their heat races with Tanner Thorson taking down the first heat win over Kevin Thomas Jr. who applied heavy pressure with Chance Crum third, Chase Randall fourth and Brenham Crouch fifth. Heat two was nailed down by an impressive Thomas Meseraull turning back Ryan Timms, Daison Pursley, Emerson Axsom and Cannon McIntosh as the kids chased the veteran to the finish. Buddy Kofoid captured heat three besting Logan Seavey, Brady Bacon, Jason McDougal and Mitchel Moles in this competitive heat race. Justin Grant took a header in heat three when he was squeezed into the backstretch wall and flipped over several times ripping the front wheels from the RMS Motorsports entry. He was OK after the wild ride and would go to a backup car and use a provisional to start the feature event.
The USAC sprints would contest three heats also with Robert Ballou taking heat one over Chris Windom, Kevin Thomas Jr., Logan Seavey and Brandon Mattox. Heat two fell to the Ford powered sprinter of CJ Leary followed by Thomas Meseraull, Jake Swanson, Chase Stockon and Robert Bell. The third heat went to Jason McDougal over Justin Grant, Isaac Chapple, Brady Bacon and Charles Davis Jr.
Then it was right into the B mains with the midgets first up. Chance Crum captured this one beating Ethan Mitchell, Hayden Reinbold, Austin Barnhill, Brant O'Banion and Chad Frewaldt. Colorado's Lance Bennett took a flip in turn four and was OK after the tumble. The sprint B main was taken by Charles Davis Jr. over Cam Schafer, Chad Frewaldt, Alex Banales, Robert Bell and Glen Saville from Australia. Both fields were now set for their respective feature events with the 30 lap USAC midget feature being the first one called to the post.
The front row of Daison Pursley and Kevin Thomas Jr. brought the 24 car field to the green flag at 9:04 with Thomas bounding into the early lead. The action only made one lap before Thomas' teammate, Emerson Axsom's engine, went up in a cloud of smoke to bring out the caution. On the restart Thomas regained control and led the first two thirds of the event with others battling for position behind him. One of them was Thomas Meseraull who was moving forward from his sixth starting position up to fourth by lap nine and third by lap eleven. Chris Windom who started fourth began to pressure Thomas for the lead at the halfway mark with the pair exchanging slide jobs over the next two laps with Thomas retaining the lead each time. Thomas opened some breathing room as the field passed lap twenty. On lap twenty one Thomas motored into turns three and four with his right rear tire suddenly going down sending him up against the turn four wall ending a great run for Thomas who ended up 19th. Windom inherited the lead on the restart with Meseraull on his tail tank. Shane Golobic passed Meseraull for second shortly thereafter and went after Windom. With five to go T-Mez tapped the rear nerf bar of Golobic going down the backstretch and on lap twenty seven passed Golobic to take back second. Entering turn one on the white flag lap Meseraull tried to pass Windom but came up short as they raced down the backstretch with the Wood cars of Golobic and Mitchel Moles closing quickly using the low side. As they raced into turn three Moles had passed both Golobic and Meseraull and dove low on Windom as the yellow waved for the stopped midget of Cannon McIntosh in turn two which wiped out the tremendous run by Moles. This would set up a two lap shootout for the win with Windom leading Meseraull, Golobic and Moles as the race went green. For some reason Windom went low leaving the outside to Meseraull who's eyes probably got as big as saucers sweeping high to take the lead in turn two and taking the lead for the final two laps. As the checkered waved at 9:22 it was Meseraull in for the win trailed by Windom, Golobic, Buddy Kofoid and Daison Pursley who both made banzai charges to claim fourth and fifth at the wire. Moles who was so close to the win finished sixth with Logan Seavey seventh, Jason McDougal eighth, Chase Randall ninth and Chance Crum rounding out the top ten. After coming close the past two races Meseraull finally came home first for his third win of 2021 shaking the monkey off his back in the progress.
We still had the 25 lap USAC sprint car feature still to run and the front row of Tanner Thorson and Thomas Meseraull brought the 24 car field to the green flag. Thorson went to the lead quickly with Meseraull in tow. The front two quickly moved away from the rest of the field as Robert Ballou, Jake Swanson and Jason McDougal battled it out behind them. Thorson began to gap T-Mez up front as the duo approached lap traffic. Both weaved their way around and through the tail end of the field with Meseraull gaining some ground in the process. Brady Bacon was another car on the move steadily moving from his tenth starting position up into the top five as the laps clicked off. With two to go Thorson tangled with Charles Davis Jr. in turn three with both getting sideways but continuing with Meseraull jumping on the miscue sliding by Thorson for the lead. The yellow did not appear until the leaders passed the flagger's stand which did not make sense to everyone around us including us as it didn't seem a caution was warranted. But it was what it was and the field realigned for the restart with Thorson back up front trialed by Meseraull and Ballou. Entering turn three on the white flag waving Bacon stole third from Ballou while Jake Swanson dove under Ballou also touching with Ballou jumping the cushion both losing fourth to Kevin Thomas Jr. Ballou rebounded in an instance passing Thomas back for fourth as the field raced around the oval for one last time. With the double checkers waving at 9:52 it was Thorson home first with Meseraull second in his best run in the Jack Yeley #2 with Bacon third, Ballou fourth and Thomas taking fifth. Jake Swanson came home sixth with Justin Grant seventh, Logan Seavey eighth, Jason McDougal ninth and Chris Windom tenth.
It was a good night of racing and we look forward to the next two nights of the USAC Nationals at Huset's Speedway.
Until the next report get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and kept checking back to see what happened the next time in our typical weekend.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Thorson, Meseraull & Marshall Take Firemen's National Events At Angell Park
Sunday, September 5 – After a good night of racing at Wilmot we looked forward to our first visit to Angell Park Speedway since July 3rd of 1994, a span of 27 years since we have visited the iconic track owned and operated by the Sun Prarie Volunteer Fire Company and is in its 61st year of operation. The 1/3 mile dirt oval is located on a large fairgrounds plot and also houses a midget hall of fame in a pavilion on the grounds. Since 1946 Angell Park has run weekly Sunday night programs of racing featuring only the mighty midgets with the exception of 1966 when they ran on Saturday night before adding other divisions in the last few years after the host club, the Badger midgets, fell on hard times but have rebounded and like the Phoenix from Greek mythology it rose from the ashes and reinvented itself. The club went to more affordable engine package using Honda, Mazda and Chevy power with restrictions. The Badger Midget Auto Racing Association or BMARA has been around for 85 years now and is the oldest midget club in the United States.
Tonight would be the 37th running of the Firemen's National race and it would be the first time in six years that the USAC midgets (22) would be the featured class. They would be joined by the Badger midgets (33) and the Wisconsin WingLESS sprint cars (28) for an all wingless open wheel program. You gotta love that!!!
After hot laps the USAC midgets would take to the track for their time trial session at 6 PM. Just 20 minutes later young Daison Pursley was being interviewed by Christy Bemmes after setting his second fast time of the year with a lap of 15.463 seconds around the 1/3 mile dirt oval.
The Wisconsin WingLESS sprint cars would be the first ones to run heat races with three of them on tap with the top six advancing to the 20 lap feature event. Jimmy Sivia nailed down heat one turning back Daniel Graumenz, Allen Hafford, Derek Crane, Natalie Klemko and Clayton Rossmann. Heat two was captured by Tim Cox besting Ryan Zielski, Chris Klemko, Zach Hansen, William Huck and Trinity Uttech. The third heat went to current point leader, Ryan Marshall, beating Nathan Crane, Dennis Spitz, Greg Alt, Tate Hensley and Craig Lager.
Next up were the Badger midgets and they do something unusual as they run a non-qualifier first with the cars lining up at the tail of the B main as these are the slowest ones from hot lap qualifying and do not run in a heat race. Three heat races followed with the top six moving forward to the 25 lap feature race. Thomas Meseraull in a Badger legal midget out of the RMS stable took down heat one after starting eighth over Cody Weisensel, Lamont Critchett, RJ Corson, Kevin Douglas and Kevin Battefeld. Heat two went to Andy Baugh from fifth over Justin Grant in a local car came from ninth with Zach Boden from sixth, Jeff Zelinski from eighth, Adam Taylor and James Collins Jr. The third and final heat went to Jeremy Douglas outrunning Todd Kluever from sixth, Scott Hatton from fifth, Kyle Koch, Tyler Baran and Kyle Stark.
The USAC midget heats were third up running three heat races for their 22 car field with five advancing to the big 30 lap main event. Chase Randall would win heat one over Zach Daum in a strong run using the inside, Daison Pursley, Chris Windom and Chase McDermand, a usual Badger regular. Heat two fell to Cannon McIntosh motoring to the front early and outdistancing Emerson Axsom, Thomas Meseraull, Ethan Mitchell and Logan Seavey. Kevin Thomas Jr. looked impressive in heat three storming to the front from fifth to win over Buddy Kofoid, Tanner Thorson, Justin Grant and Trey Gropp.
The WingLESS sprints and Badger midgets would need B mains with Ralph Johnson and Aaron Muhle winning their respective events.
The 30 lap USAC midget feature would be the first one to the post with the RMS team of Justin Grant and Thomas Meseraull bringing the 22 car field to the green flag at 8:42. Grant would take the lead early but teammate Meseraull took the lead racing down the backstretch on lap one and would set the pace for the next 22 laps. T-Mez opened up a one to two second lead over the first half of the race with Grant Tanner Thorson and Kevin Thomas Jr. the chasers. Meseraull picked his way through the traffic as the laps clicked off and looked like it was going to be his night. But with nine to go Cannon McIntosh brought out the only caution of the race as his Toyota gave up the ghost puffing a large plume of smoke and stopping on the homestretch. On the restart Thorson who have motor problems earlier which were not totally rectified had found something on the inside and began to make his move on the slick surface. Thorson dove under Grant in turn two and did not pass Grant until using a slider in turn three to grab second and went after Meseraull who was still out front. Racing into turn one on the next lap Thorson had it hooked up down low drawing alongside long time leader, Meseraull, and taking the lead away exiting turn two. It was a real turn of events as Meseraull looked like he was home free but the restart gave Thorson time to reload and make his charge to the lead. Thorson then proceeded to scorch the field moving to over a two and a half second bulge over the field in the remaining seven laps. At 8:54 Thorson raced under the double checkers first for his seventh USAC midget win of 2021 beating Meseraull, Grant, Chris Windom and 11th starting Logan Seavey to the line. It was also Thorson's 27th career USAC National Midget win tying him with Gary Bettenhausen and Tony Stewart for 14th on the all-time win list. It also had to feel good for Thorson who led the entire distance the last time (six years ago) USAC was in town only to lose the race when Rico Abreu passed him off the fourth turn coming to the checkered flag. Kevin Thomas Jr. slipped to sixth at the finish with Emerson Axsom seventh, Daison Pursley eighth, Buddy Kofoid ninth and Chase Randall rounding out the top ten.
We still have two features to run and the next on the agenda was the 25 lap Badger midget feature with Andy Baugh and Scott Hatton bringing the 24 car starting field to the green flag with Baugh hustling out front and motoring away from the field. Baugh built up a huge lead as he approached lap traffic and weaved his way through until a spin would slow the field and wipe out Baugh's big lead. On the restart Thomas Meseraull was right there on Baugh's tail tank and pressured him with Baugh bobbling in turn two allowing T-Mez to draw alongside racing down the backstretch. Messeraull took the lead away after starting eighth going down the backstretch and began to pull away. One lap later Baugh still running second got sideways on the backstretch after having brake problems and did a classic Tommy Tipover and his fine run ended prematurely. Meseraull raced out front on the restart and built up a big lead the rest of the distance outpacing Jeff Zelinski who moved from 9th with Cody Weisensel running a fine race coming from 11th to finish 3rd, Zach Boden fourth and Adam Taylor rounding out the top five. It was Meseraull's second Badger win of the year, the last coming on July 4th also at Angell Park which he says is his favorite track to run a midget on.
The 20 lap Wisconsin WingLESS sprint car feature was last up and the track was gone by the time they took the green flag at 9:36. Everyone drove to the inside groove and the ones who didn't found themselves floundering around on the top. Ryan Marshall was able to slip and slide his way from eighth starting position to the lead with Derek Crane never letting him get too far away over the 20 lap distance. When the checkers waved at 9:49 it was point leader, Marshall, adding to his lead with the win with Crane second, Allen Hafford third, Jimmy Sivia fourth and Tim Cox, last night's winner at Wilmot, claiming fifth.
It was great to be back at Angell Park after so many years absence and the crowd was huge but the track surface did not hold up well and the racing suffered as a consequence. Well, hopefully the next time we go the surface will be better.
That's it for this weekend but check back Saturday for our report from South Dakota where we will be taking in the big three night show at Huset's Speedway where USAC sprints and midgets will do battle over three straight nights of racing on the 3/8 mile dirt oval. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe as the season is winding down. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy the column as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Tim Cox Scores Wisconsin WingLess Win At Wilmot
Saturday, September 4 – After being rained out the previous night at Sycamore Speedway we hoped for better weather this day as we were visiting the Wilmot Raceway for the first time ever. Wilmot is a 3/8 mile dirt oval located on the grounds of the Kenosha County Fairgrounds in Southern Wisconsin. It is the closest Wisconsin track for us to get to but it seems in the past we have bypassed Wilmot to venture further into the state to catch a race. Tonight Wilmot fit perfectly into the plan as it was not that far from Sycamore and close to our third race of the weekend at Angell Park in Sun Prairie. The skies were overcast all day which helps a dirt surface but at the same time the weather only showed a high of 7% chance of rain and as we started over toward Wilmot a misty rain began to fall. It was one of those rains that you set the wipers on intermediate and adjusted it every so often. The light drizzle continued most of the trip over to Wilmot until the wipers began to scrape across the windshield indicating that the worst was over as the skies brightened. Pulling onto the fairgrounds property we worked our way across the huge parking area closer to the ticket booth and entrance way. We parked the Rogue at 5:30 and decided to wait a while as the large wooden and metal grandstand was nearly empty and the drizzle had returned. By 6 the cars were on the track for hot laps and the rain had dissipated again so we grabbed our blanket and sweatshirts and bought our tickets and ventured inside. We placed our blanket about three rows from the top of the grandstands in section C and settled in for the evening of racing. What a change of temperature from one week ago at Kokomo where we were baking in the sun with high humidity to one where after about an hour we were sliding on our sweatshirts as the temperatures dipped into the low sixties. The program would consist of five divisions of cars which was billed as Championship night as it was the final night for the points in each division. The five divisions participating on the evening were the lightning sprints (16), the Wisconsin WingLess sprint cars (36), modifieds (26), bandits (22) and street stocks (14) for a grand total of 114 race cars. We figured it might be a late night but Wilmot management did a fine job moving the program along quickly and efficiently.
The first of the five divisions, the lightning sprints, took the green flag on their first heat at 6:34 and from that point forward it was one race over and exiting the track off of turn one with the next race entering the track off of turn four. Tim Brannam won heat one over Max Brannam and CJ Malueg. The second heat was taken by Mike Neau besting John Kirk and Ron Brannam in a cake walk. The Wisconsin WingLess sprint cars were next to the post and they would be contesting four heats for their fine 36 car field with the top four moving into the main event. Heat one would fall to Tate Hensley beating Jimmy Sivia, Rusty Egan and Jordan Paulsen in a spirited battle up front. Heat two would go to the veteran mostly pavement sprint car driver, Tim Cox out of Illinois, outrunning Ryan Marshall, Greg Olsen and Allen Hafford. Heat three went to the maroon #70 of Chris Klemko outdistancing his wife, Natalie, with CJ Malueg doing double duty and Derek Crane. The fourth and final heat was won by Clayton Rossmann over Greg Alt, Brian Strane and Dan Wade. The modifieds would run three heats with Chris Carlson, Mike Simons and John Dost winning. The bandits would spin off three heats while the street stocks ran two heats. Only the sprints and the modifieds would need B mains with Ryan Zielski capturing the sprint B main over Dennis Spitz out of Kentucky, Mike Sullivan and Craig Lager the last man in. The modified B main would go to Scott Barnharst.
All feature events would be 20 laps in distance with the lightning sprints getting the honors to run their feature go first. The green dropped on the first feature at 8:33 and was a good run with winner, Nick Petska, taking the lead in turn two on lap 11 and holding off 10th starting Mike Neau for his third win of 2021 and also capturing the season long point championship. Mark Heinert would ride home third with Ron Brannam fourth and CJ Malueg rounding out the top five in his lucky #13.
The bandits would contest their 20 lap feature next on the dance card and after a rough start with several incidents they settled in and spun off their main event. Ryan Johnson was victorious in the bandit feature.
Now it was time for the 20 lap feature event for the Wisconsin WingLess sprint cars and they took their initial green flag at 9:17. Only two minor cautions for spins slowed the action with Tim Cox leading the majority of the event. It was late in the going when fifth starting Chris Klemko caught and passed Cox in turn three with just three laps to go for the lead. Klemko looked like he would steal this one from the veteran but that is why we call them veterans. Cox stayed right with Klemko and worked the outside and pulled alongside Klemko with two to go and wrestled the lead back from him and crossed the line first at 9:31 grabbing the win over Klemko with sixth starting Daniel Graumenz third, seventh starting Clayton Rossmann fourth and Tate Hensley slipping from first back to fifth at the finish. It was a very competitive feature event with plenty of passing and action with B main winner, Ryan Zielski, advancing from 21st to 6th at the end.
The 20 lap modified feature was next on the race card taking the green at 9:36. Chris Carlson would lead this one from start to finish but it was not easy as sixth starting Mike Simons pressured him for many laps but was never able to slip by the point champion for the win. Lee Tibbitts was the show in this one advancing from 21st to 3rd in a fine run with Don Scheffler moving from 9th to 4th and John Dost rounding out the top five at 9:54. The street stocks still had their 20 lap feature to run but we decided to hit the exits early and travel back to our hotel discussing the races as we drove back. Both of us enjoyed our evening at Wilmot and would not hesitate to return to watch another show there if we are back in the area. A good facility with a good surface and good reasonably priced food to boot. A good trifecta to have at any race track!!
That's it for this segment and check back Monday for our report from Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie where we will be making only our second ever appearance and the first since July 3rd of 1994 where the USAC midgets are returning to. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. News, stories of interest, comments and anything else can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and continue to check back to see where we end up next in a typical weekend.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Grant Survives Late Challenge To Win Second Smackdown Finale
Saturday, August 28 – Reece O'Connor and his track crew worked their magic in the 1.5 hour break between the afternoon matinee and the evening's finale. The track held up well through four heats for the USAC sprints, two heats for the USAC regional midgets, the King of the Hill match races and a C & B main. Even after doing some maintenance on the track between the B and the finale the track finally dusted up from the beginning of the A main with the wind blowing south to north the fans were covered by the brown stuff throughout the 40 lap main event.
But that was not the big story of the night as Smackdown X saw its third multi-time winner emerged from the dust to nail down his second Smackdown title in a dramatic ending. First though let's backtrack and give you a rundown of the events leading up to the 40 lap Smackdown X feature.
There were no time trials tonight so the first racing after hot laps was for the 32 USAC sprinters not locked into the main event. The other eight were locked in after points were awarded over the previous two races of Smackdown with Justin Grant the top point man but that didn't guarantee him the pole position. The top eight in points would square off in three lap match races with the winner advancing to the next round and finish determining the starting order of the first four rows of the finale.
The first of four sprint car qualifiers went green at 9:09 with just the top two to lock into the 40 lap finale. Shane Cottle would wheel the Hodges #74X out of New Mexico to the first heat win over Brent Beauchamp. The second qualifier saw a scary incident occur on the homestretch with the two #57's in the field driven by Max Adams and Cole Bodine battling for a qualifying position tangling just past the starter's stand as Bodine ran out of room on the outside and went flying. Bodine flipped and rolled several times shearing off the right front tire and part of the axle that cleared the fencing at the end of the homestretch and rolled down the walkway luckily not hitting anyone in the process. It was a racing accident with Bodine getting the worst of the deal injuring a finger and destroying his family owned machine in the nasty flip. It was a shame for Bodine who had showed good speed the entire week and still ended up winning the pass master award for Smackdown passing 23 sprints during the weekend. Max Adams would be able to restart the qualifier and finished second behind Jake Swanson to move to the main event. Jadon Rogers dominated the third qualifier turning back Emerson Axsom. The four qualifier fell to Thomas Meseraull in the Jack Yeley #2 besting Chase Stockon for the win. Two heat races for the 14 car USAC regional midgets would follow with Chance Crum and Chase McDermand winning.
Melinda Stanbrough and many others who help her raise money every year to kick cancer with the money raised through raffles, a kickball game and an auction going to the Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. This year an amazing $56,000 was raised by the efforts put forth by many driver's wives and so many more for such a great cause. Hats off to Melinda and the others for a job well done!!! Five thousand of the fifty six thousand was donated by an American Legion Post which I believe is local but didn't catch the name or location so they also get a big round of applause for their contribution.
Next up was the King of the Hill three lap match races with Justin Grant defeating Kyle Cummins in the first match up. Tanner Thorson turned back Brady Bacon to win the second one with Logan Seavey defeating Chris Windom in the third match up and Kevin Thomas Jr. beating CJ Leary in the last round one match up. Round two saw Tanner Thorson knock off the top point man, Justin Grant, in the first match up with Kevin Thomas Jr. downing Logan Seavey in the second one. This led up to the final matching Thorson vs. Thomas with Thorson easily winning the King of the Hill title and the first starting position for the feature event.
So with the first four rows decided we still had two additional races to run before the rest of the field was determined for the finale. First a C main was contested with the top four tagging the tail of the B main which would take six to the main event. Terre Haute's Brandon Mattox scored the victory in the C besting Brayden Clark, Steven Drevicki and Brandon Long representing Ballou Motorsports. The B main was captured by Scotty Weir in the Petersen #4P trailed to the line by Mario Clouser, Arizona's Stevie Sussex, Californian Chase Johnson, Jason McDougal and Matt Westfall the last man invited to the big dance.
The 20 lap USAC regional midget feature would be called to the grid first with the green flag waving at 10:34. It was a good run with only one caution and taking just seven minutes to run. Chance Crum in the Rudeen #26 took the lead on the backstretch with seven to go passing race long leader, Chase McDermand, and went on to receive the double checkers at 10:41 winning over McDermand with Hayden Reinbold third, Jack Routson fourth with Mitchell Davis rounding out the top five.
It was time for the introduction of the starting field of 22 for Smackdown X with $15,000 on the line to the winner with each driver (half on the backstretch and the other half on the homestretch) entering to a song picked by them. The most interesting of the group was Tanner Thorson who displayed a banner reading “Lions Not Sheep” which is a top selling men's gear who say you have two choices. To lead (lion) or be led (sheep). This could also be applied to the world today and the choices you have to be your own man or follow the crowd and listen to all the news outlets and government officials. Let's move on from here back to the race at hand.
The front row of Tanner Thorson and Kevin Thomas Jr. would lead 20 others to the green flag at 11:40 with Thorson getting the jump into the early lead. Thorson would pace the field for the first 15 laps with Thomas, Grant and Seavey in chase mode. Thorson caught the tail end of the field where Matt Westfall and Stevie Sussex were waging a side by side battle for position allowing Grant who had passed Thomas earlier to chose the gap in a hurry. Racing down the backstretch Grant dove low on Westfall and entered turn three on the low side and went to the top in turn four cutting across the front of Thorson's car to take the lead off turn four but Thorson crossed over and nipped Grant at the line to retain the lead. Grant used a slider entering turn one and pulled it off in turn two racing down the backstretch with the lead on lap sixteen. Grant was now the lion as he opened up a sizable lead as the laps ticked down and the rest of the field were the sheep chasing him. Scotty Weir gave Grant a few anxious moments in the latter stages of the contest nearly spinning in front of Grant in turn one. Thorson closed dramatically in an instant but Grant recovered and moved out front to a comfortable lead once again. With two to go Grant saw what he least wanted to see when the yellow flag waved for eighth running Shane Cottle who saw his fine run end in a ball of flames and smoke as the engine of the Hodges car gave up the ghost. This set up a two lap shootout to decide it all and everyone in the house knew there would be a big slider coming from Thorson in turn one on the restart. And Thorson did not disappoint as he executed the perfect slider taking the lead in turn two as he and Grant raced down the backstretch. Grant was not about to give this one up as he raced into turn three throwing a slider on Thorson and taking back the lead in turn four even kissing the wall with his right rear to boot. Grant again entered turn one low on the white flag lap as the leader and slide from the bottom to the top of turns one and two to counter any slider Thorson might have in mind. Thorson tried one last vain attempt in turns three and four sliding alongside Grant in four but not enough to pass him with. The front two raced to the double checkers at 11:56 with Grant prevailing to take his second Smackdown finale and seventh win of 2021 over Thorson with Thomas Jr. third, Brady Bacon fourth and Logan Seavey rounding out the top five. After the leaders crossed the line there was a tangle in between turns three and four involving CJ Leary and Jake Swanson battling for seventh at the time with both cars rolling over. Ninth running Kyle Cummins was also involved damaging his front end as he ended up in the turn four wall. All drivers were OK after the incident but ended up 11th through 13th in the final rundown. The win was Grant's 28th career USAC National sprint car win tying him for 18th on the all-time list with numerous drivers. Positions six through ten were filled by Chris Windom, Emerson Axsom from 15th to 7th winning the hard charger award, with Chase Stockon eighth after starting sixteenth, Jadon Rogers ninth and Mario Clouser finishing tenth after starting 18th.
It was a good race run under trying circumstances as the weather conditions did not do anyone any favors. It might not have been the best Smackdown ever but it still a good Smackdown finale.
That's it for now as next up will be a Labor Day road trip with three stops during the weekend with two of them being new ventures for us. So check back Monday to see where we ended up and how things went. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area as the season begins to wind down especially in the Midwest where both high school and college football take center stage and the races in Indiana and Illinois began to dwindle. News, comments, notes and anything else of interest can reach us at email@example.com. Stay safe and stay hydrated until the weather turns cooler. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Thomas Jr. Scores Saturday Afternoon Matinee Win At Kokomo Smackdown
Saturday, August 28 – Thursday's race was rained out as you all know by now so track management in conjunction with USAC decided to run a Saturday doubleheader with hot laps for the sprinters for the afternoon matinee program beginning at 3 PM with the complete program to follow. After the afternoon show was completed there would be a ninety minute break to clear the grandstands and for Reece O'Connor and his crew to go to work on transforming the track to good running condition for the night's finale.
Time trials for the forty one car field hit the track at 3:36 in two groups with Logan Seavey from group one setting the fast time around the quarter mile bullring with a time of 12.863 seconds. The first heat would take the green at 4:29 in the single division show with CJ Leary scoring the first heat win over Shane Cottle, Logan Seavey and Kevin Thomas Jr. Heat two saw Alex Bright get clipped from behind by Tanner Thorson turning him sideways in front of Californian, Eddie Tafoya Jr., who had no where to go except into Bright's car and up and over rolling his sprinter in the process. Tafoya was done for the day after the mishap. Cole Bodine who has looked strong in the three races during the week so far won heat two over Chase Stockon, Matt Westfall and Tanner Thorson. Chris Windom powered to the win in heat three Max Adams, Mario Clouser and Jadon Rogers followed Windom to the finish in this one. The fourth and final heat fall to Brady Bacon outdistancing Kyle Cummins, Emerson Axsom and Justin Grant.
Next up was the C main taking the top four forward to the tail of the B main. Ryan Thomas in the second Wingo Brothers #77 prevailed over Anthony D'Alessio, Tye Mihocko and Reading, PA's own Steven Drevicki. The B main would follow shortly thereafter with the top six moving into the 30 lap main event. Jake Swanson would run rough shod in the B taking the win over Thomas Meseraull, Scotty Weir, Alex Bright, Stevie Sussex and Chase Johnson nailing down the last spot into the main event. By this time with the combination of the beating sun, the heat index at triple digits and the pounding of the surface by 41 sprinters had taken its toll as the track was quite dusty. As much as the track crew tried to bring it back it was not to be on this afternoon. The feature would be run on a dry, slick, dusty track and that is what it was. Even with that the feature itself was still competitive and kept your interest.
The front row of Matt Westfall and Jadon Rogers brought the 23 car field to the green flag at 6:17 joined by provisional Brandon Long running a sprinter renumbered 12 so Ballou Motorsports could be awarded some owner points. Westfall and Rogers battled for the lead in the first lap until fourth starting Justin Grant split the pair exiting turn four and taking the lead away. Grant quickly motored away using the high side to increase his lead as the laps ticked off. Kevin Thomas Jr. worked his way up to second with Logan Seavey moving from sixth to third. Lap eleven saw Chase Johnson ride the turn four wall to bring out the caution and re-bunch the field. On the restart Grant holds off Thomas and Seavey gets a great run through turns three and four to take the lead away from Grant passing them both. Brady Bacon gets into the act catching and passing Thomas for second at the halfway mark and takes off after Seavey. Inside of ten laps to go lap traffic is a big issue as Seavey picks his way through with Bacon right behind. With seven to go fifth running Jadon Rogers loses the handle in turn two and spins bringing out the caution. With six to go Seavey bikes the Baldwin #5 in turn one causing Bacon to brake with Thomas diving underneath for second. Emerson Axsom brings out the third and final caution on lap twenty five when he spins in turn two. On the restart Seavey leads with Thomas second and Bacon third. Seavey catches the turn one wall allowing Thomas to move underneath and into the lead with four to go. Thomas pulled away by a few car lengths over the remaining four laps and crossed the finish line at 6:32 for his sixth USAC win of 2021 tying Justin Grant for the most wins. It was also Thomas' 33rd career USAC sprint car win moving him past Rollie Beale into 13th place on the win list. Seavey would record another second place finish with Bacon a close third, Justin Grant fourth and CJ Leary rounding out the top five. Tanner Thorson would finish sixth with Jake Swanson seventh, Shane Cottle eighth, Chris Windom ninth and the hard charger, Chase Stockon from 18th to 10th at the end.
For a day race it was still pretty competitive and though dusty it was still a decent race to watch.
Check back Tuesday for the report on the finale of Smackdown X as we plot the Labor Day weekend ahead of us. In the meantime put together you're own Labor Day weekend race track visits somewhere and enjoy yourselves but most of all stay safe and stay hydrated. And thanks as always for reading our efforts and for the nice comments that come our way.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Grant Scores Night One Win Of Smackdown X At Kokomo
Friday, August 27 - Today was another scorcher with temperatures in the 90's with the heat index over 100. It was also now the opener of Smackdown X as Thursday night's scheduled opener fell to heavy rain hitting around the time hot laps were suppose to start. Everything has now been rearranged with Friday now the opener with Thursday's show being run on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night's finale will follow the daytime show after an hour and a half break to perform track maintenance and clear the grandstands.
A fine field of 46 entries graced the turns three and four pit area and during hot laps we lost one car when Alex Banales in the backup Baldwin #5 rode the turn two wall and fencing before returning to the track without flipping over but doing serious damage to the rear side of the #5. This left us with 45 cars to go under the clock and the two groups started their time trial sessions at 7:20 and ended at 7:48 with Justin Grant of group one posted the quickest time of 12.579 second around the ¼ mile bullring in Howard County on the outskirts of the city of Kokomo.
Up next would be the four heats for the USAC sprint cars with the top four moving directly into the 30 lap main event this evening. Thomas Meseraull drew first blood copping heat one in the Jack Yeley #2 turning back Brent Beauchamp, Brady Bacon and Justin Grant in an action packed heat one. Chris Windom would score heat two in a very competitive affair with Kevin Thomas Jr., Jake Swanson and Kyle Cummins battling each other the entire distance. Danny Faria Jr., a two time USAC West Coast 360 sprint champion, has struggled in the first two nights of racing at Kokomo getting into the wall during hot laps and rolling the Michael Dutcher #17GP during heat two. It would end his evening prematurely. Heat three went to Robert Ballou on a tear since switching to gas shocks the night before taking down this one besting Tanner Thorson, Jason McDougal and Logan Seavey. The fourth heat saw Ohio's Matt Westfall coming off a strong run on the mile at Springfield in Silver Crown action last Saturday withstanding the relentless advances of CJ Leary to win heat four with Jadon Rogers and Emerson Axsom joining the party to move forward.
A C main was next on the dance card with the top four advancing to the tail of the B main. Cole Bodine would take the lead late in this one by utilizing the high side to beat Tye Mihocko back in the Epperson #2E, Max Guilford and Steven Drevicki, the three time USAC East Coast 360 winner, who had better luck tonight than his West Coast counterpart. The 12 lap B main was next up and during the race a nasty crash occurred when Brandon Mattox pounded the turn two wall and flipped wildly ricocheting into the path of Chase Johnson who had no where to go except into Mattox sending Johnson rolling through turn two. Both drivers emerged from their battered machines to the relief of the crowd on hand. When racing resumed Shane Cottle in the Hodges #74X went to the point and would capture the B main over Stevie Sussex, Chase Stockon, Mario Clouser, the current WAR sprint car point leader, Alex Bright and Cole Bodine in the drive of the night advancing from the C to qualify after starting 15th in the B main.
That left us with just the 30 lap main event to run and by 9:47 the front row of CJ Leary and Brent Beauchamp brought the 23 car field with the addition of Steven Drevicki to Tom Hansing's green flag. Leary assumed the lead off turn two and lead the field for the first two laps until Kyle Cummins pounded the cushion and squeezed between Leary and the turn four wall to nip Leary at the start/finish line to start lap three. A scant few seconds later Brady Bacon tangled with another car in turn four and stalled his sprinter forcing the point leader to restart at the tail of the field. Cummins led on the restart with Leary and Tanner Thorson trailing. Thorson disposed of Leary at the line to start lap five and went after Cummins. Lap nine saw Cummins bobble on the turn three cushion allowing Thorson to close the gap and on lap twelve exiting turn four Thorson surged ahead with a wheelie to boot. Lap traffic became an issue just past the halfway mark with Thorson and Cummins working it well. Lap twenty saw a close one for the leaders as they entered turn one where Stevie Sussex caught the turn one wall ricocheting off it and almost collecting the leaders in the process. On the restart Thorson went out front but Cummins found the high side to his liking and started to use it to pressure Thorson for the lead. Cummins blasted by Thorson for the lead on the homestretch on lap twenty two and was back in command. One lap later disaster struck for last night's Darland winner, Robert Ballou, running fifth at the time when he entered turn one and caught the cushion wrong sending his car into a flip into the turn one catch fence. Ballou's machine was extradited from the accident scene by a wrecker in a vertical manner and left dangling from the end of the wrecker in the infield while the race went green again. Justin Grant had now moved into contention using the high side running third behind Thorson and Cummins. With five to go Thorson went high in turn four allowing Grant to dive low off the corner dispatching Thorson for the second position. With three to go Thomas Meseraull pulled up lame off of turn three to bring out the caution and re-stack the deck for the remaining three laps. The slider contest began on the restart with Grant throwing the first bomb entering turn one with Cummins crossing over in turn two with Grant reloading in turn thee and Cummins crossing back over in turn four outracing Grant to the line with two to go. Grant threw another slider in turn one not giving Cummins any room sliding right in front of Cummins' front bumper which gave him the lead. Grant raced down the backstretch as the leader and as they entered turns three and four Cummins jumped the cushion allowing Chris Windom who started tenth to steal second as they raced to the white flag. Grant surged ahead on the last lap outrunning Windom to Tom Hansing's double checkers at 10:13 to take night one of Smackdown with Cummins third, Leary fourth and Thorson taking fifth. Brady Bacon made a fine comeback after starting at the tail and finished sixth with Logan Seavey seventh, Shane Cottle eighth, Jadon Rogers ninth and Matt Westfall rounding out the top ten. It was Grant's sixth win of 2021 and 27th of his career moving him into 21st place on the all-time list ahead of two good racers in Tony Elliott and Dave Steele who are no longer with us.
It was an exciting night of racing and we look forward to Saturday and the full day of racing beginning with hot laps at three and a second show to follow 1.5 hours after the checkers fly on the afternoon race.
Check back for the report on Saturday's Smackdown action from Kokomo and in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road for a road trip somewhere. News, comments and any other tidbits can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Ballou Takes Wild Win At Bob Darland Memorial At Kokomo
Wednesday, August 25 – Today was a hot one so we decided to place our blankets on the backstretch at Kokomo Speedway because you have the sun at your back and the grandstand becomes shaded fairly early. Joining us tonight would be first time visitor and Ohio trackchaser Rich Berry along with Sally Ebling and Gary Dean from Missouri as we placed blankets down in the aluminum grandstand enough for all.
Tonight was not officially considered part of Smackdown but we always considered the Wednesday event as part of the Smackdown week and it was special tonight as it was the previously rained out Bob Darland Memorial race added to the schedule. Thirty nine sprint cars would be joined by seventeen thunder cars for a good two division show to kick off Smackdown week. The sprint cars were first up for their four heats for their fine 39 car field with four advancing to the 36 lap feature event, 36 signifying the signature number used by Bob Darland over the years. Logan Seavey would claim heat one in the Baldwin #5 over Tanner Thorson, Brady Bacon and Brandon Mattox. Sprint car rookie, Emerson Axsom, took his second heat win in two starts in heat two turning back Jake Swanson, Jason McDougal and Matt Westfall. Heat three was captured by Robert Ballou beating Kevin Thomas Jr., Thomas Meseraull in the Simon #23S and CJ Leary. The fourth and final heat went to Justin Grant over Max Adams back in the Hazen #57 after having been burned in that car at Gas City about a month earlier, Mario Clouser and Max Guilford. The thunder cars would run three heats before the sprints returned for two B mains with just two to qualify out of each. We felt only two out of the B's was a little chintzy and why not three to make a normal USAC field of 22. Anthony D'Alessio would garner B main one over Cole Bodine while in B main two Stevie Sussex in the Wingo #77 took top honors over PA's Alex Bright making his sprint car debut at Kokomo in the Hummer #20.
That would lead us up to the 36 lap Bob Darland Memorial race which would go green at 9:08. The front row of Logan Seavey and Emerson Axsom raced side by side into turns one and two where Axsom used every inch of the outside to power by Seavey going down the backstretch. Brandon Mattox would slide off of turn two into the infield and return to the surface and stop on the backstretch to bring out the first caution and force a complete restart. The results were the same on the restart with Axsom going to the point with Seavey in tow. The second caution would appear on lap five when Anthony D'Alessio would spun in turn four. Two more laps would go into the books before Alex Bright followed D'Alessio's suit and looped his sprinter in turn four. The action resumed with Axsom the leader chased by Seavey and Ballou but soon Justin Grant was on the scene and began to get very racy. He moved by Ballou for third and caught Seavey for second and began the chase of Axsom. Suddenly on lap 13 Grant pulled to a stop on the high side of turn four and was pushed to the pit area done for the evening. On the restart Axsom went out front with Seavey and Ballou in his tire tracks. Ballou took second from Seavey on the homestretch on lap fourteen with Seavey using a slider in turn one and Ballou crossing over in turn two to retain second. Axsom stretched his lead over the middle stretch of the race and looked like he might pull off the upset for the Clauson/Marshall team. But lap traffic began to become an issue and as Axsom worked his way through the slower cars they also slowed his pace and allowed Ballou and Seavey to close the gap somewhat. Lap twenty eight saw Axsom still leading but as he passed about halfway down the backstretch Ballou was exiting turn two and suddenly like being shot out of a cannon Ballou was alongside Axsom as they entered turn three. Ballou blasted by in turn four and took the lead and threw Axsom off his game as he missed his mark in turn four drifting to the fence allowing Seavey to charge by for second. Then Seavey tracked down Ballou in a flash and the two exchanged sliders over the next several laps until Ballou prevailed and moved out front again. Disaster almost struck with three to go when Ballou entered turn one and went up against the wall and turned his sprinter sideways between turns one and two. We don't know how he saved it without stalling and actually did not lose much ground or the lead during this close call!! Seavey closed again in the closing laps but was not able to mount a serious charge again and at 9:26 Ballou streaked across the line first for the win with Seavey second, Axsom third, Tanner Thorson fourth and CJ Leary completing a fine drive from 15th to 5th at the finish. Brady Bacon finished sixth with Jake Swanson seventh, Thomas Meseraull eighth, Max Guilford in a good run from 16th to 9th and Stevie Sussex coming from 18th to 10th at the finish.
Since it was still early and we were staying in Kokomo we decided to watch the 17 lap thunder car feature event and it was a good one with the top three battling the entire distance with Nate Payton edging ahead on the backstretch with two to go past Gregg Tarr and holding on to take the win as the three raced side by side on the last lap through turns three and four before Payton pushed ahead to get the win over Tarr and Gary Walker.
It was a real good night of racing to start off the Smackdown week at Kokomo and we hope the intense racing continues the rest of the week as the last ten laps of the sprint car race were certainly money's worth and vintage Kokomo. And it was good seeing old friends, Rich Berry, Sally Ebling and Gary Dean, and swapping stories and trip plans for the remainder of the racing season.
That's it for this segment and check back tomorrow for the “official” night one of three of Smackdown X. Comments, news and other tidbits of information can reach us at email@example.com. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or join us at Smackdown for some great racing over the next three days. Until next time be safe and stay hydrated. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and commenting on them as your comments make it all worthwhile spending the time typing out these columns to you all.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Thomas Jr. Wins Fifth USAC Sprint Contest In USAC's Return To Paragon
Sunday, August 22 – Church was first on the agenda for Sunday before preparing to leave in the late afternoon for a Sunday night special race at the 3/8 mile dirt oval in Paragon. The USAC National sprint cars would be returning to the historic Paragon Speedway in its 67th year of operation for the first time in 23 years after an earlier program was rained out in April. Thirty USAC sprints were joined in the backstretch pit area by fifteen bombers to make for an almost perfect car count for a two division Sunday night program. Seats were secured for us by Jen Kelley and Dan Hetser in the top row of one of the aluminum bleacher sections on the homestretch. We all tried to stay out of the furnace that is created on the hillside where the seating is located as the sun is directly in your eyes and on this day it seemed relentless beating down on us all. It was good to see Brent Goodnight back at the races tonight as serious medical issues have kept him on the sidelines with addition surgery scheduled for September 1st and our thoughts and prayers go out to him for the doctors to finally resolve his problems. We finally ventured into the seating area around 6 and drank plenty of fluids and used the battery powered fan that Jen loaned us until the sun went down and it cooled off a little. Thanks Jen and Dan!!!
Time trials for the USAC sprint cars were the first order of business after warm ups were completed with the first car pushing off at 6:36. By 6:58 Kyle Cummins had toured the 3/8 mile oval the quickest with a time of 14.905 seconds for the top honor. Three USAC sprint heats would follow with five to qualify out of each. The first heat literally got off to a bumpy start when Braxton Cummings lost his battle with the four turn cushion and flipped in the early going of this heat. Emerson Axsom, the Indiana youngster and midget driver, was making his USAC National sprint car debut tonight in the Clauson/Marshall #39BC and what a debut it was as he scored the win in heat one over Jason McDougal, Shane Cockrum in a guest ride in the Gass #17G, Chase Stockon and Kyle Cummins racing into the last qualifying position late in the event. Logan Seavey wheeling the Baldwin Brothers orange crate #5 looked good winning heat two besting Chase Randall in one of the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ's after winning his first Indiana sprint car race at Lincoln Park the night before & also making his USAC sprint car debut, Jadon Rogers, Justin Grant and Robert Ballou passing Tanner TThorsonlate to send Thorson to the B main. Kevin Thomas Jr. went from third to first on the last lap of his heat to win over Jake Swanson, Ricky Lewis, CJ Leary and Brady Bacon in a stacked heat. Chris Windom finished sixth after taking a ride off of turn four after contact with Kyle Shipley and charging from the rear to fall one spot short of qualifying and joining Thorson in the B main. Two bomber heats were run with Jordan Almanza and David Bumgardner prevailing before the sprinters would return for their B main. The top seven would advance to the 30 lap main event with Koby Barksdale in his new ride in the Knight #16K taking the B outrunning a strong contingent led by Chris Windom who finished second, Jake Scott third, Brayden Fox fourth, Brandon Morin fifth, Brandon Mattox sixth and Tye Mihocko at the key board of the Epperson #2E the last man in. Tanner Thorson suffered a flat tire during the event, changed it and returned to finish one spot out of qualifying. Thorson and the Reinbold/Underwood crew would have to use a provisional to join the field and would start twenty third on the grid for the 30 lap feature event.
The 23 car field was led to Brian Hodde's green flag at 9:13 by the front row of CJ Leary and Logan Seavey. It would be the last time the green was needed as this race would go non-stop in 8:28.95 which was a new track record. Leary would lead three corners of the first lap until Seavey charged by on the cushion in turn four bringing Kevin Thomas Jr. along for the ride. Seavey would lead the first seven circuits of this one before Thomas passed Seavey off turn two to grab the lead on lap eight. The leaders began to encounter lap traffic as they raced in lap eleven with Thomas still leading the way with Seavey close behind in his tire tracks as the pair weaved its way through the traffic. Seavey several times during the middle portion of the race was poised to make his challenge but the cushion in turns three and four slowed his advances. Meanwhile two competitors were working their way forward with ninth starting Brady Bacon moving into fourth on lap nineteen while Chris Windom threaded his way from 18th to 6th. In the last five laps Seavey chased Thomas making it too close for comfort for the leader several times. With three to go Thomas closed on Koby Barksdale with three to go hesitating as he figured out which way to go allowing Seavey to close within two car lengths. Thomas dove low in turn two on Barksdale as slid right allowing Thomas to open a little breathing room as he raced by him. The front two raced to the white flag with Seavey again edging within a few car lengths as they charged into turn one. Thomas was able to gap Seavey down the backstretch and entering turns three and four went to the top to take away Seavey's line as they screamed off turn four with Brian Hodde's double checkers flowing. It was Thomas to the line first for the fifth time in 2021 and it was also his 32nd career USAC National sprint car win tying him with Hall of Famer, Rollie Beale, for 13th on the all-time win list. Seavey would come home second with Kyle Cummins third, Brady Bacon fourth and the hard charger, Chris Windom, fifth after starting 18th after two tangles with Kyle Shipley during the evening which he expounded upon in his podium interview. CJ Leary led the second five to the finish in sixth with Robert Ballou moving from 19th to seventh, Justin Grant eighth, Jason McDougal ninth and Emerson Axsom tenth. The other rookie, Chase Randall, ended up 13th in the final rundown. The season points race has tightened up as Thomas' recent strong runs has closed the gap on leader Brady Bacon to 39 with Justin Grant in third 77 back in the standings.
We decided to stay and watch the 15 lap bomber feature as it was still early (9:22) and we have watched these guys and gals run heat races at LPS but never have watched one of their features. They usually race close and competitive so it was the night to watch them run their main event. David Bumgardner would lead the entire distance but don't let that fool you as the race up front was a race long four car battle with Bumgardner crossing the line at 9:50 first with Jason Trader second and Josh Litton, a normal super stock driver, taking down third.
It was a good night of racing in both divisions and wrapping up the entire program before 10 PM is a good way to get people to return to your facility the next time you host a Sunday night event. Good job, Joe Spiker and company!!!
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Kody Swanson Prevails In Rain Shortened Bettenhausen 100 At Springfield
Saturday, August 21 – We awoke in Springfield to sunshine and the weather outlook had improved for the better but was still iffy from 4 PM onward. We made the short (1.8 mile) drive to the Illinois State Fairgrounds and followed the road signs that led us to Gate 8 and entrance to a large parking lot outside of turn four of the one mile dirt oval that we were going to attend today. The senior admission to the fair was just $3 each (regular admission was $10) with parking costing an additional $5. We felt that was a pretty good deal to attend such a large state fair. We decided to hang in the car for a while as the skies looked threatening and sure enough about 30 minutes later it began to lightly rain. It only rained for a short period of time and after watching a couple of racing video clips on my phone we decided to enter the race track grounds via the tunnel underneath turn four which leads to the infield. We walked the pit area for a while checking out the grand beasts of the USAC Silver Crown division with Pat taking pictures of many of the cars especially Ken Schrader's mount and Ken himself after he climbed from his machine after practice. It was a special collage of pictures for Ken's favorite fan in Pennsylvania, Beverly Bucks Grim, which Pat added out on her Facebook page. There are two other tunnels to exit the infield area and go over to the front of the grandstand but one could not be used unless you had your Covid-19 vaccine card to show before entering. Seems silly to me to require a vaccine card to just walk through an underground tunnel. Anyhow we emerged from the other tunnel and walked around checking out the various food vendors before deciding on two underneath a pavilion facing the back of the grandstands. I opted for a gyro while Pat chose the pork chop sandwich. After seeing Pat's sandwich I knew I made the wrong choice. Though the gyro was good it did not hold water to the two inch pork chop sandwich Pat feasted on. After finishing my gyro ($6.50) I threw down another six dollars and munched down a delicious pork chop sandwich myself. It was the most tender pork chop sandwiches I have ever eaten and was a real bargain when over vendors were charging seven to nine dollars for lesser sandwiches. Twenty ounce cold waters at $2 each were also a bargain at the pavilion stands. After filling our stomachs it was time to head into the giant grandstand as Silver Crown time trials were already under way starting at 11:28. Of all the dirt miles we have attended over the years we think the Illinois State Fair track and seating are by far the best we have ever witnessed. The seats are nicely pitched and from our Row 20 seats we could gaze over the entire facility with minor obstructions but still better sight lines than anywhere else in our long dirt mile history.
Time trials took just slightly under one hour (59 minutes to be exact) to complete as Cary Oliver took a hard ride into the turn three retaining wall tearing off the right side wheels in the incident. Oliver was OK but did not record a time for the day and joined six other drivers who due to different mechanical woes did not record a time either. Among the other six were several contenders such as Brady Bacon, CJ Leary, Chris Windom and David Byrne along with Kyle Cummins and Chris Urish. That cut the field from 38 to 31 after time trials and USAC would start all the 31 remaining cars in the 58th running of the Tony Bettenhausen 100 on this day. Kody Swanson in the Dyson #9 would set fast time for the 31 timers with a time of 30.075 seconds around the nicely prepared dirt mile or an average of 119.701 mph to give you another perspective. Two sportsman heats were run next with these cars prepared to run the next day with the Menards ARCA series stock cars on the mile. Pat and I discussed during the down time that with the weather conditions it would be a good idea to start the Bettenhausen 100 earlier than the scheduled starting time of 2 PM. We were hoping that a 1:30 starting time would be announced but track management and USAC officials stuck to the 2 PM starting time with the 31 car field taking the initial green flag from Tom Hansing at 2:13 PM. But before the green flag dropped five drivers choose to change right rear tires losing their starting positions and starting from twenty third to twenty seventh on the start. They were Kody Swanson dropping from 1st to 23rd, Jason McDougal from 7th to 24th, Shane Cockrum dropping from 11th to 25th, Shane Cottle from 17th to 26th and Patrick Lawson from 26th to 27th.
That gave the front row over to Matt Westfall and Logan Seavey who was scheduled to start second. Jerry Coons Jr. in the Bateman #55 went to the early lead and would lead the majority of the first lap before Seavey stormed back edging him at the line to lead lap one. Jake Swanson would take second away from Coons on the homestretch on lap two and take up the chase of leader Seavey. Chase Stockon in a second DMW Motorsports entry as a teammate to J. Swanson passed Westfall to move to fourth on lap three as the field raced each other hard in the early going. Justin Grant was on the move from 11th taking fourth from Stockon on lap seven as Kody Swanson cracked the top ten at this point. Lap ten saw the oldest man in the field, 67 year old Dave Peperak making his first Silver Crown appearance in 39 years since Nazareth in 1983, slow to a stop just short of the pit entrance to bring out the first caution. On the restart Seavey went to the point trailed by Jake Swanson. Seavey would lead until lap eighteen when Jake Swanson swept by on the homestretch to take the lead. Meanwhile Kody Swanson and Shane Cockrum were hooked up in a great battle for the ninth spot further back in the field after starting 23rd and 25th respectively. Kody clawed his way up to sixth by lap twenty one and cracked the top five with a turn two pass of Coons on lap twenty two. Justin Grant continued to turn in a strong run moving into third past Chase Stockon in turn three on lap twenty three as Kody Swanson took fourth from Stockon in turn one on lap twenty four. Cockrum stormed to sixth on the inside of turn one surpassing the fading Stockon on lap twenty eight with Kyle Steffens making a move into seventh on lap thirty. The caution waved on lap thirty two when both Chris Fetter and Shane Cottle slowed in turn three unable to limp over to the pit entrance on the homestretch to pull into the pit area. Carmen Perigo was on the move after stopping on the homestretch earlier and restarting at the tail moving up to 11th by lap thirty five. Lap forty two found Perigo into eighth and moving forward in a hurry. One lap later Cockrum slipped by Coons in turn three to move into the top five. Logan Seavey had looked high and low for numerous laps on Jake Swanson finally powering back into the lead on the backstretch on lap forty five. Kody Swanson moved into third past Grant on lap forty five with Perigo sliding by Steffans for sixth on lap forty six. Grant battled back and re-passed Kody for third and now Jake for second as the NOS car seemed to come to life once again on lap forty nine. Just two laps later disaster struck for Grant as his machine slowed on the homestretch with mechanical woes and pulled off on the backstretch exit ending his fine run much too early. Lap fifty four saw the amazing run by Perigo continue as he pulled off a two for one pass of Jake Swanson and Cockrum between turns one and two bolting from fifth into third. Going down the backstretch on lap fifty seven Perigo continued his march doing something not too many drivers do in a Silver Crown race and that is passing Kody Swanson for position shooting by for second to the roar of the crowd. Entering turn one on lap fifty nine Perigo challenged Seavey for the lead with the two banging wheels in the process. Perigo lost ground as Seavey raced out front again after the challenge with Kody Swanson sneaking by Perigo into second shortly thereafter. Kody was like a shark seeing blood as he stalked Seavey making a big run down the homestretch and diving low in turn one to take the lead away from Seavey on lap sixty one. Shane Cockrum rumbled by Perigo for third with an inside run in turn one on lap sixty six and Coons went to fourth with the same move on Perigo on lap seventy one. Kyle Steffans just moved by Perigo for fifth on the outside of turn one starting lap seventy seven before Patrick Lawson and Nathan Moore, two Texan natives, locked horns entering turn one battling for 13th and sliding hard into the turn one wall with Lawson rolling over twice with Moore spinning like a top in the air never flipping but landing hard on the track surface. Both drivers were OK after the scary ride as the wrecker crews cleaned up the accident scene while the field sat quietly on the homestretch waiting for them to finish. As the cars fired back up rain began to fall in turn three and by the time the cars rolled through that area the rain quickly increased making the track unraceable with the field stopped again on the homestretch. At 3:23, just eight minutes after the rain began the race was declared official and the checkered flag was waved bringing the race to a premature ending. The rain continued for 45 minutes and with a concert scheduled for the homestretch stage at 7 PM it would have been impossible to run in the track and restart the race once again.
So it was over at lap seventy six with Kody Swanson declared the winner taking his third Bettenhausen 100 joining ten other drivers with at least three wins in this race and it was also Swanson's first dirt Silver Crown win in three years. It now gives Swanson a 51 point bulge over Seavey in the points title with just three races remaining on the Silver Crown schedule. Logan Seavey would take second with Shane Cockrum third, Jerry Coons Jr. fourth and impressive Kyle Steffans claiming his highest Silver Crown finish ever in fifth. Jake Swanson would record sixth with Matt Westfall riding home seventh, Arizona's Casey Buckman a steady eighth, Carmen Perigo dropped back to ninth after a four spot penalty for jumping on a lap 34 restart which was a shame after his inspiring run and Chase Stockon rounding out the top ten. This one will have the rail birds chirping for years to come about what would have happened if the race was able to go the remaining 24 laps but we will never know for sure. Both Seavey and Cockrum said on Twitter they both had plenty left in their cars and right rear tires to challenge Kody Swanson but you got to wonder if they were prepared for the last stretch don't you think the Silver Crown master had something also??
The plan was to take the thirty minute drive over to Macon Speedway to take in the POWRi midgets but upon approaching the Decatur exit to turn off toward Macon the POWRi Twitter account informed us of a rain out there. With it being too late at that point to go back into Indiana and proceed down to the Lincoln Park Speedway (with an 8:15 arrival for a 7 PM start) we decided to stop in Champaign, Illinois and eat at Hickory River BBQ where the food is delicious especially the brisket which I feel is the best I ever had and believe me we have eaten at many BBQ joints around the country. If you are ever in the Champaign area check out Hickory River BBQ, you will not be disappointed!!!
Check back tomorrow for our report on USAC sprints for the first time in 23 years at Paragon Speedway. Until next time get out there and enjoy some short track racing in your area as the season is moving into the fall. And thanks for reading our column and hope you continue to enjoy our observations and comments.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Neuman Takes First MOWA Sprint Win At Lincoln
Friday, August 20 – Friday was the start of our weekend in Illinois all centered around the USAC Silver Crown cars running Saturday afternoon at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The race we were heading to on Friday was at the ¼ mile black gumbo clay located on the Logan County Fairgrounds in Lincoln at the Lincoln Speedway. It was billed as the Night Before The Fair Race building up to the big day on Saturday. It would be a six division program with the MOWA winged sprint cars the main attraction and they brought 24 to the dance to join 9 D2 midgets, 11 UMP modifieds, 13 pro late models, 11 hornets and 8 kid modz in the turns three and four pit area outside the ¼ mile and inside the confines of the ½ mile horse track that also separates the covered grandstand from the ¼ mile inside.
This track gets it on keeping the town folks happy by spinning off a snappy program topped by a racing surface that produces virtually no dust. Some other dirt tracks located in a town should send representatives to Lincoln, Illinois to see how to properly operate a race track in a town and keep the locals happy. The scheduled starting time was 7 PM and at 6:53 PM the first of two D2 midget heat took the green flag to kick off a fast paced night of racing. Korey Weyant, a sprint car and Silver Crown driver, won heat one with Mark McMahill capturing heat two. The next division is lined up ready to go on the horse track and roll onto the speedway as the previous race exits the track through the backstretch opening. Two UMP modified heats were next on the card with Ray Bollinger and Brandon Roberts taking top honors. The MOWA sprints would be the third division to run their heats with three to be contested for the 24 car field which included two normal USAC wingless drivers in Robert Ballou and Chris Windom. Brandon Hanks would score the heat one win over Brayton Lynch, Austin O'Dell and Jeremy Standridge. Heat two would go to sprint car rookie, Jake Neuman, over Robert Ballou, Chris Windom and Chris Urish. Heat three was won by Zach Daum beating Cory Bruns, Luke Verardi and Joey Moughan. Jose Parga and Dakota Ewing who are teammates won the pro late model heats. No consies or B mains were needed before launching right into the feature events.
The eight lap kid modz feature would go first and was spun off quickly with an eight or nine year old kid winning. The 20 lap UMP modified feature was next on the agenda with Ray Bollinger taking the lead on lap 11 and going onto his fifth win of the year at Lincoln over Brian Diveley and Brandon Roberts. Next up was the 25 lap MOWA sprint car feature and it was a competitive run with Jake Neuman scoring his first career MOWA win over sixth starting Robert Ballou, Joey Moughan, Chris Windom and Zach Daum. The 20 lap pro late model feature went green at 9:17 with Jose Parga moving from fourth to take the lead also on lap 11 passing his teammate, Dakota Ewing, who never let him get too far away and drew alongside coming to the checkered at 9:29 but fell a few car lengths short of pulling off the upset. Roben Huffman, Zac Kuhel and Blaise Baker were the next three across the line.
We decided to skip the hornet feature and head south to Springfield to check into our Springfield based hotel for the evening. It was a good night of racing with some good runs in each division ending in a very reasonable hour to keep everyone happy.
Check back tomorrow for our report from the Springfield mile and the rest of the weekend. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. News, comments and everything else of interest can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing our thoughts and views to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Stockon Sweeps MSCS Sprint Weekend With Win At Terre Haute
Sunday, August 15 - It was Sunday afternoon and time to head south on Rt. 47 and Rt. 41 to the city of Terre Haute. The beautiful August day was sunny and clear with temperatures in the 80's and low humidity as we arrived on the grounds of the Vigo County Fairgrounds at 5:30. Joining us in the covered homestretch grandstand would be Gordy Killian and three of his traveling companions passing through on their way to Pennsylvania after attending the 60th running of the Knoxville Nationals. What greeted them and us were disappointing car counts of 15 MSCS sprint cars, 14 Indiana Pro Late Models and 13 UMP modifieds for the Sunday tripleheader. What the MSCS field lacked in quantity it more than make up for in quality as 12 of the 15 entrants were capable of winning the feature event.
Heat racing action pushed off at 7:04 with the first of two MSCS sprint car heats. Jason McDougal, the newest driver in the KO Motorsports stable, captured heat one winning over Logan Seavey, Brandon Mattox and Cole Bodine. Chase Stockon, another KO Motorsports team driver, won heat two over Jadon Rogers, Carson Garrett and Max Guilford. The Indiana Pro Late Models would also run two heats with Shelby Miles taking heat one while nine time winner, Tyler Neal, triumphed in heat two. The UMP modifieds would wrap up heat qualifying with two races of their own with Will Krup and Kenny Wallace the victors. All heat qualifying was in the books by 7:45 and after a short track prep session the first of three features would take the green flag at 8:03.
The 15 lap Indiana Pro Late Model feature took the green at 8:03 with the front row of Shelby Miles and Tyler Neal running side by side the entire first lap. Neal edged out front after crossing the start/finish line on lap one and would lead the remainder of the distance but Miles never allowed him to feel comfortable as he dogged him the entire distance drawing alongside several times. When the checkers flew at 8:22 it was Tyler Neal across the line first for his 10th Indiana Pro Late Model win of 2021 followed by Shelby Miles, Tyler Cain, Brad Barrow and Jeremy Owens moving from ninth to fifth at the finish.
The 25 lap MSCS sprint car main event was next on the docket with Logan Seavey and Chase Stockon bringing the field to the green flag at 8:38. Seavey surged into the early lead with Stockon in hot pursuit. Lap two saw Jadon Rogers go end over end three times between turns three and four bringing out the only stoppage of the race. Rogers was OK but the sprinter was a lot worse for wear. On the restart Seavey retained the lead with Stockon and Jason McDougal in tow. McDougal made his move on the backstretch on lap five and took second away from Stockon at that point. Stockon was not done by any standards as he chased McDougal and took second back with a high side pass of McDougal in turn three on lap eight. Stockon began to reel in Seavey who was running the bottom while Stockon worked the top and on lap thirteen in turn three Stockon found the speed to breeze by Seavey and into the lead., Chase pulled away from Seavey and the rest of the pack past the halfway mark and into the second half of the race. With ten to go Seavey began to mount a comeback as he went topside and began to narrow the deficit. With six to go the leaders approached lap traffic with Brandon Morin and Cole Bodine running hard for positions in the top ten. Stockon was able to quickly work his way around the pair as Seavey was trapped and delayed for several laps before clearing the pair. By that time Stockon was gone again and flashed under the checkered at 8:56 for his second straight MSCS win of the weekend having won at Haubstadt the night before, Seavey would cross the line second with McDougal third, Mitch Wissmiller in a fine run from ninth to fourth and the hard charger of the race to boot with hometown boy, Brandon Mattox completing the top five. MSCS rookie and second in points, Carson Garrett, came home sixth with Max Guilford a good seventh, Brandon Morin eighth, Cole Bodine ninth and Collin Ambrose tenth. It was a decent race with some good passing and good runs but at the end Stockon was the victor and takes a commanding points lead into the next race.
We still have a 15 lap UMP modified feature to run with the green dropping at 9:05. This one would go non-stop with Will Krup making it an easy Sunday afternoon drive to victory lane at 9:12 winning by a straightaway. Kenny Wallace would come home second with Kenny Carmichael third, Jacob Rexing fourth and Jake Leitzman rounding out the top five.
They may not have had that many cars but management kept things moving along nicely ending a Sunday night show in just over two hours which is nice for people who have to work on Monday or go to school.
That's it for this typical weekend as next week is looming as a mostly Illinois road trip with a stop back in Indiana on Sunday. Check back next Saturday to see where we end up and in the meantime plot your own road trip or get out to your local short track and support them as once a race track is gone, very rarely do they ever return. News, funnies, stories or other items of interest can reach us at email@example.com. And thanks as usual for reading our efforts and letting us know that you enjoy reading them.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Salem to Lincoln Park Double Header Highlights Saturday Racing
Saturday, August 14 – The plan was to venture to southern Indiana to take in the racing at the Salem Speedway which was racing on the outer oval, the inner oval and the figure 8 configuration. The inner oval and figure 8 would be new tracks for Pat while the figure 8 would be new for me. The racing kicked off about 25 minutes late at 6:25 and the first feature would be the 30 lap compact front wheel drive feature with eight cars starting the contest. Bubby Gelding would win in this one at 6:39 and one new track was in the books. The next race up was the 50 lap Ford Crown Vic feature (about 25 laps too many) for the seven cars in attendance on the inner oval. This was a rather uneventful contest with only four cars finishing and only two on the lead lap with Greg Smith winning. New track #2 for Pat. The third feature of the day was the 25 lap race also on the inner oval with produced the most controversy of the day when Jared Soards pulled alongside leader Matt Stice entering turn one with it looking like Stice turned into Soards and Stice ended up spinning in turn two. Officials made the call that Soards would restart at the tail of the field and that Stice would start back up front. Also Rocky Stice Jr. bumped Soards several times under caution with no penalty. He later got into Soards under green causing him to lose valuable ground and Soards eventually give up the ghost and pulled to the infield after having almost taken the lead at one juncture in the race. We both thought it was a poor call on the official's part. Matt Stice went on to win over Logan Huckeba and Jordan Tanselle. At that point it was 7:20 and with only the 25 lap figure 8 race for the five remaining Crown Vics and the 50 lap feature for the Great American Stocks remaining we decided to pull out and drive up to Putnamville, which is on the way home and see if we could catch the features.
Saturday, August 14 – We arrived at Lincoln Park after 9 PM and with the help of two makeup features from a previous rain out and kid's bike races we were able to catch the last two bomber heats, the bike races and B mains for the sprint cars and super stocks before the regular features began.
The two features that we decided to stay for were the sprint cars (30) and the UMP modifieds (20). They turned out to be two exciting features and were worth the hurried trip back from Salem to witness them. The 25 lap sprint car feature took Brian Hodde's initial green flag at 10:27 with Brayden Fox taking the early lead. That was short lived as Shane Cockrum in the Jaime Paul #24P swooped around the outside and took the lead from Fox at that point. Cockrum looked like the man to beat as he swept around the high side on the slick outside groove. Jake Swanson quickly moved from fifth to second and took up the chase of Cockrum. The race spun off in good order with Cockrum pacing the field but after the halfway mark Swanson began to close the gap. By lap nineteen Swanson was up to the tail tank of Cockrum and looking for a route around when Harley Burns went off the track in turn two and brought out the only caution of the event. On the restart Cockrum got the jump and resumed command but Swanson was in his tire tracks trying to figure a way around. With three to go Swanson dove low in turn one and slid up in turn two briefly taking the lead until Cockrum crossed over and raced down the backstretch. Swanson tried again in turns three and four with two to go with the same results as the pair raced to the white flag. Entering turn two the pair were close with Cockrum bobbling on the curb for an instant but just enough to allow Swanson to dive low exiting the turn and race down the backstretch edging ahead as the pair reached turn three where Swanson went up high and was fully in front as the pair exited turn four. They raced to the checkered flag with Jake Swanson pulling off the win over Cockrum with Brayden Fox holding down third with AJ Hopkins fourth and Jake Scott rounding out the top five at 10:38. Positions six through ten were filled by Braydon Cromwell, Kyle Shipley, Brandon Spencer, Australian Glen Saville and Matt McDonald. It was a good finish and had the fans buzzing after that one.
The 20 lap UMP modified feature was next on the agenda with outside pole sitter, Derek Groomer, taking the early lead. A couple of quick cautions slowed the affair early and on a lap four restart leader Groomer exited the track via the backstretch as a right rear shock broke. The lead was handed over to third starting James Walters who used the low side to his advantage and paced the field over several more cautions before they settled in and ran some consecutive green flag laps. Eighth starting Tyler Loughmiller started to reel in Walters in the latter stages of the race and was on his back bumper with two to go. Loughmiller was never able to make a serious challenge over the last two laps with Walters crossing the line first at 11:05 over Loughmiller with Jeff Deckard passing Jim Mallery on the last lap to take down third with Mallery fourth and Matt Mitchell advancing from tenth to fifth at the finish. We were glad we decided to do the double as we really enjoyed the two features we watched at LPS.
That's it for Saturday's action and check back tomorrow as we head south on Rt. 41 later in the day to take in a three division program highlighted by the MSCS sprints at the Action Track at Terre Haute for a Sunday evening program on a beautiful day in August. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. Also thanks to all that read our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Seavey Grabs First SC Win At Selinsgrove While Bright Takes EC Sprints
Sunday, August 8 – Today would be our last race day in Pennsylvania and the ½ mile dirt oval at Selinsgrove Speedway would be our destination. On tap this evening would be the USAC Silver Crown Series, the grand ladies of all the USAC divisions with the longest wheel base and the biggest tail tanks filled with fuel to allow them to run the extra distance races that dot the Silver Crown schedule. Tonight's edition was the Bill Holland Classic, a 75 lap affair around the big half mile in Selinsgrove. But before we settled into our seats and watched the racing eight of us gathered up the road in north Selinsgrove to dine on BBQ at Skeeter's that serves some tasty smoked meats and also offers a nice view of the river as you sit high on the hill overlooking everything below.
The USAC Silver Crown division brought 21 entries into the Selinsgrove pit area while the USAC East Coast sprint car division brought in 22 entries. Time trials would start off the two division program at 7:05 and wrapped up at 7:36 with CJ Leary breaking his own track record from a year ago setting the new standard of 21.185 seconds around the half mile dirt oval. The USAC East Coast sprints would follow with three good heats with the first one won by Steven Drevicki being the best of the bunch as Drevicki held off Alex Bright, Damon Paul, Shane Cottle making a one off appearance in the Tim Hogue #39 and Nash Ely. Briggs Danner would dominate heat two in the Gallagher #5G turning back Ed Aiken, Jonathan Swanson, Joey Amantea and Mike Walter II taking off the wing to compete. Another impressive young man, Christian Bruno, claimed heat three besting Colin White, Eric Jennings, Tommy Kunsman and Bruce Buckwalter Jr. No B mains or semis would be needed and the sprint cars would get first honor to run their 25 lap main event.
The front row of Ed Aiken and Eric Jennings the 22 car field to the green flag with Aiken taking the early lead. It was short lived as another impressive young talent, Damon Paul, in one of Lou Cicconi's bright yellow cars took the lead in turn two on the second lap right before Mike Walter went into the spin cycle in and turn one. The normal big guns had started in the middle of the pack and began to sort their way forward. Alex Bright was the first of the bunch to challenge up front taking over second on lap three. Bright caught and passed Paul on lap five to assume the lead while Briggs Danner had moved from ninth into third at this point. Shane Cottle was next to make his presence known motoring into sixth after starting tenth. Bright continued to lead as Danner passed Paul for second on lap eight and took up the chase of the leader. Close to the halfway mark Bright and Danner had caught the tail end of the field and began to pick their way around them with Paul still in third and Cottle moving by Drevicki to take over fourth. The second yellow would fly on lap fifteen when Jonathan Swanson rolled to a stop at the end of the homestretch before entering turn one. This would set up a fun ten lap race to the finish. On the restart Danner got a good run on Bright entering turn one and pulled alongside but Bright was able to use the cushion and retain his lead exiting turn two. Paul and Cottle were having their own war for third exchanging slide jobs in various sections of the speedway over the next three laps before Paul prevailed. Nash Ely caught and passed Drevicki for fifth during this time as the son of former sprint car driver, Dave, was coming into the battle ground. Bright pulled out to a comfortable lead as the laps dwindled down but Danner was not done yet. Briggs closed the gap dramatically from lap twenty six to lap twenty nine when he was on the tail tank of Bright entering turn one. Danner dove low as Bright was high as the pair raced into turn two where it looked like Danner edged upward toward Bright leaving him little room to race with Danner taking over the lead heading down the backstretch. Entering turn three Danner threw it in hard and the cushion did not hold him as he slammed into the turn three wall and began a series of rollovers ending up in turn four. Danner climbed from the wrecked machine but his strong run was done. On the final restart which would be a green, white, checker finish Bright bounded back out front with Paul in tow. The race was for third with Cottle and Ely exchanging sliders with the veteran Cottle prevailing. Bright would race under the double checkers at 9:27 as his engine popped and snapped slowly as he approached the finish. Bright was able to get enough momentum to come across for his sixth win of 2021 besting Paul with Cottle third, Ely fourth and Drevicki coming home fifth. Tommy Kunsman led the second five across the line with Ed Aiken seventh, Eric Jennings eighth, Colin White ninth and Mike Thompson rounding out the top ten. It was a good, competitive run and a very exciting final several laps.
The 75 lap Bill Holland Classic was next on the card with the front row of CJ Leary and Jake Swanson bringing 19 others to starter, Warren Alston's green flag with Leary motoring into the lead with third starting Logan Seavey using the bottom to take second on Swanson entering turn two. The green would not stay out long as defending Selinsgrove Silver Crown winner, Shane Cottle, slowed to a stop on the backstretch on lap two bringing out the caution flag. Cottle would go pit side but did return numerous laps behind when returning and finally called it a night on lap thirty two pulling pit side for the evening credited with an 18th place finish. Leary retained the lead on the restart using the high side to pull away from Swanson who slipped by Seavey for second. Seavey would be patient and took back second in turn two on lap eight right before Mark Smith rolled his machine several times in between turns three and four just after taking tenth spot landing on his wheels and ending his evening much too early. On the lap nine restart Leary went back to the point but it was short lived as Seavey drew side by side with Leary racing down the homestretch and into turn one on lap ten where he would take the lead that he would never relinquish. Seavey pulled away from the pack as he increased his lead to several seconds as he ran high in the first two corners while running low through turns three and four with Leary and Swanson chasing in vain. Not much passing occurred over the next fifty laps as Seavey opened up a straightway lead on the field putting many cars a lap down with only ten cars remaining on the lead lap by lap sixty. Leary began to close the gap somewhat in the remaining laps but Seavey was still the car to beat. To Seavey's chagrin Matt Goodnight rolled to a stop on the backstretch with just two laps to go setting up a green, white, checker scenario. On the restart Leary dove low entering turn one and pulled alongside Seavey in turn two briefly nosing in front but Seavey stomped the pedal and pulled ahead as they raced down the backstretch. It would be the closest that Leary would be again as Seavey raced away turning some of the fastest laps he had run all night. The double checkers waved at 10:33 with Seavey crossing the line with about a 1.5 second lead with Leary second, Jake Swanson third, Shane Cockrum fourth after starting eighth and Justin Grant filling out the top five. This was Seavey's first Silver Crown victory after coming close earlier in the year at Williams Grove but tonight he was not to be denied as he parked the Robbie Rice #22 in victory lane for the first of what could be many more Silver Crown victories. Kody Swanson finished a quiet sixth in the Chris Dyson #9 with Matt Westfall claiming a good seventh, Brady Bacon eighth, Carmen Perigo ninth and Kyle Robbins tenth.
It was not one of the better Silver Crown races we have witnessed with little position changes and not a heck of a lot of passing but every race can't be a burnburnerwe guess.
That's it until Friday as another typical weekend unfolds with nothing written in stone for the weekend plans. So check back over the weekend to see where we end up and in the meantime get out there and enjoy some mid-week and weekend short track racing in your area and be safe and keep hydrated. News, comments or anything else of interest can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And last but not least thanks for reading our articles and letting us know that you enjoy reading them.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Grant Gets First Of Year In USAC Midgets At Clyde Martin
Saturday, August 7 - Yet another beautiful day dawned in Pennsylvania which would make for another good night of racing. The USAC midgets did not lose a single show to rain on their Pennsylvania tour this year and that is a blessing. So glad that for all that traveling and expenses involved they were greeted by sunshine and clear skies the entire five days to go racing in. The finale tonight would take place at the 1/8 mile high banked dirt oval named the Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway run by the Lanco Club and when we first heard a few years back that the USAC midgets were going to run here we thought it would be too small to do so. Well, we are glad to admit when we are wrong and this is one instance where we were proven wrong. The USAC midget racing here has been action packed and very competitive and has been very enjoyable to witness in the past several years. Pat would not be part of the traveling crew tonight as she did some solo traveling of her own taking the rented giant SUV over into New Jersey to surprise her boss on his 60th birthday and they were having a party for him at Foresgate Country Club. So it was Bill, PA Bruce and Indiana Bruce making the short trek over to Clyde Martin for tonight's racing action.
A good crowd turned out to watch 22 USAC midgets and 39 600cc micro sprints put on a show on the 1/8 mile speed bowl with midget time trials pushing off at 6:48. By 7:06 Daison Pursley set at the top of the speed charts with a time of 9.972 seconds which was his first career USAC midget fast time and also a new track record in the process. By 7:21 the first of four 600 heat races were ready to zoom around the finely groomed surface with Kyle Lick drawing first blood by taking down the first heat with Aaron Espenshade nailing down heat two, Alex Ruppert rode home first in heat three and Tyler Ulrich won heat four. The USAC midgets would contest three heats with Justin Grant beating Daison Pursley, Hayden Reinbold, Emerson Axsom and Kevin Thomas Jr. in heat one. Chase Randall who has shown great improvement since the beginning of the year notched heat two over Buddy Kofoid, Ethan Mitchell, Chris Windom and Logan Seavey. Thomas Meseraull claimed heat three besting Alex Bright, Tanner Thorson, Hayden Williams and Jimmy Glenn. No midget semi would be needed and the rest of the cars would be added to the field according to their times.
By 8:52 it was time to go USAC midget racing for 40 laps with the front row of Justin Grant and Tanner Thorson, winner of the two previous races, leading the 22 car field to Warren Alston's green flag with Thorson getting the early lead. Thorson would lead the first two laps until fourth starter, Emerson Axsom, dove low in turns one and two on lap three and took the lead away. Lap six saw Cannon McIntosh launched into the turn one catch fencing about half way up in a nasty ride and thankfully he was OK after the incident. Axsom was the leader on the restart with a battle taking place for second between Daison Pursley and Justin Grant with the pair racing side by side down the backstretch with Grant low and Pursley high. Pursley ran out of room racing hard down the backstretch and climbed the backstretch wall with his right side wheels before returning to the surface and then again hitting the wall in turn three and for the third time in turn one. Pursley then slowed on the backstretch where Brett Wanner drilled him in the tail tank with Chase Randall spinning into the crash. Wanner was finished for the night but Pursley and Randall would return once again. Axsom held firm on the restart as Grant started to throw sliders on the youngster but Axsom responded with crossovers to retain the lead. Finally entering turn one on lap twenty two Grant's slider stuck and he was able to wrestle the lead away from Axsom. Lap twenty four saw Axsom briefly regain the lead in turn one but by turn two Grant was back out front. Lap twenty five saw Thomas Meseraull back his midget into the turn three wall with Taylor Reimer, Hayden Reinbold and Kevin Woody also involved. Meseraull and Reimer were finished with the other two able to continue. Just three laps later Kevin Thomas Jr.'s fine run (was up to fifth) ended when white smoke came from the headers on the homestretch and it looked like the entire oil pan was laying in turn one with oil everywhere. The red appeared to clean up the mess before the field was able to restart once again. On the restart Grant went back to the point with Axsom and Buddy Kofoid in tow. With nine to go Kofoid make his run for second passing Axsom in turn one and making it stick but he had his work as Grant had a good lead. A lap thirty two incident between Kenney Johnson and Hayden Reinbold on the homestretch had the pair both flipping over with Johnson done for the evening with Reinbold again returning for more action. Grant was ready on the restart and got a good jump on Kofoid and opened about a five car length lead. Grant glazed the turn three wall on the white flag lap but it did not slow him down as he raced to the checkered flags at 9:46 winning his first USAC midget win of 2021 after finishing second four times previously in 2021. This was also Grant's sixth career USAC midget victory. Kofoid would cross the line second with Axsom settling for third, Chris Windom fourth and Daison Pursley rebounding from his earlier mishap to finish fifth. Tanner Thorson would finish sixth with Logan Seavey seventh, Chase Randall eighth, Hayden Williams ninth and Hayden Reinbold showing that persistence plays off came back to finish tenth. Kevin Woody Jr. claimed the Hard Charger Award for the second straight night as he started 20th and finished 11th. Good job by the war vet from New York state!!!
The 600 micro sprints would go 30 laps taking the green flag at 10:12 with Steven Snyder Jr. moving out front. Snyder would lead the entire distance but it was not as easy as it sounded as he had many challenges but fended them all off. Kevin Thomas Jr. was running one of the 600's and expertly moved from 9th to 2nd about halfway through the event but on a restart it was determined that he jumped the start and was placed back a row to the displeasure of many around where we sat and as one person mentioned it was home cooking and I agree the food at Clyde Martin is very good but I don't think that was what he was talking about!!! I thought it was very questionable myself but the call was made. Snyder would go onto victory crossing the line at 10:31 with Kyle Lick coming home second, Christian Bruno third after starting seventh, Bobby Butler making a fine charge from 13th to fourth with Austin Quick rounding out the top five. Thomas would end up sixth at the end.
It was a good night of close, highly competitive racing but the combined eight yellows and reds in the midget feature took a little away from the total enjoyment of the race.
That's it for this segment but check back Monday to read the report from the Selinsgrove Speedway where the USAC Silver Crown series will race for the second straight year with the USAC East Coast sprint cars joining them in what should be a good doubleheader of open cockpit racing. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. News, comments, worlds of wisdom and anything else of interest can reach us at email@example.com. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you are enjoying them as the summer rolls on.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Thorson Makes It Two Straight & Danner Tops EC Sprints At Bloomsburg
Friday, August 6 – This was one we were really looking forward to as the fair board at the Bloomsburg Fair decided to have a new 3/8 mile dirt oval built completely inside the ½ mile dirt oval used for horses only and host a variety of auto racing events once again at Bloomsburg. This was the fourth time race at Bloomsburg in 2021 and tonight they would host the USAC National Midget Series (27) and the USAC East Coast 360 sprint cars (23). The Trackchasers were out in good numbers with Allan Brown (1374) and wife, Nancy (756), Andy Sivi (1097), Paul Weisel (1076), Norm Wagner (889), Bruce Eckel (857) & wife, Pat (853), Bruce Carley (411) and James Reeder (202). Guy Smith (1896) and his wife, Pam (1121) had been there previously. We had last been at Bloomsburg for a figure 8 race in 2004 and saw racing on the ½ mile track during the fair on October 1st, 1983 when we were rained out after heat racing was completed.
Midget time trials as usual would start off the night taking the initial green flag at 7:12 with Tanner Thorson setting fast time with a lap of 15.600 seconds around the 3/8 mile dirt oval over 26 other entries for his 21st time in his career. They would be followed up by three heat races for the East Coast sprint cars with Carmen Perigo taking down heat one over Alex Bright doing double duty, Justin Grant also doing double duty in the Lou Cicconi #75 in this one, Richy Carnathan and Eric Jennings. Heat two fell to Briggs Danner beating Tommy Kunsman who started eighth, Steven Drevicki, Kenny Miller III and Ed Aiken. The third and final heat was won by Christian Bruno topping Damon Paul from seventh, Nash Ely, Bruce Buckwalter Jr. and Jonathan Swanson.
The midgets would be up next for three qualifying heat races with Chris Windom capturing heat win one over Emerson Axsom, Alex Bright, Tanner Thorson and Thomas Meseraull. Kevin Thomas Jr. copped heat two after half spinning on the backstretch and being straightened out by Buddy Kofoid which saved him. Taylor Reimer looking impressive came home second with Hayden Reinbold third, Eric Heydenreich fourth and Jimmy Glenn qualifying for his first USAC start in fifth. Cannon McIntosh won heat three besting Daison Pursley, Chase Randall, Justin Grant and Ethan Mitchell.
The sprint car B main would be next on the agenda with Colin White notching the win in this one over Joey Amantea, Billy Ney, Mike Thompson and Jacob Balliet. The midget semi would be won by Logan Seavey beating Buddy Kofoid, Kenney Johnson, Kevin Woody, Michael Markey, Glenn Waterman and Shannon Mausteller. The Mausteller is literally across the street from the pit area entrance and they fielded three cars on the evening with only Shannon advancing to the main event.
All we had left to run now were the two 30 lap main events with the East Coast sprints getting the nod to run their feature first. Justin Grant and Carmen Perigo would bring the rest of the 23 car field to the green flag at 9:46 with Grant assuming the early lead. Grant would pace the field until lap six when Grant pitched it a lot too much sideways in turn four with Perigo making contact sending the yellow #75 for a full wash circle spin. Perigo would inherit the lead and Grant decided to park the Cicconi entry for the remainder of the race. On the restart Perigo moved out front with now Danner, Damon Paul, Tommy Kunsman and Alex Bright in his tire tracks. The top five would all run the cushion as the laps spun off in the above order until lap fourteen when Nash Ely and Jason Cherry tangled in turn three bringing out the second and last caution of the event. On the restart Perigo held sway with Danner and Paul right there. Steven Drevicki cracked the top five a few laps later after starting eighth as the leaders worked their way into lap traffic a few laps after the halfway mark. Perigo remained our front but at lap twenty three Danner began to first show his nose to the inside of Perigo entering turn one and then inching closer for the next few laps. Lap twenty six saw Danner execute a slider entering turn one sliding up in front of Perigo as they exited turn two and Danner was now the new leader. Danner's patience had payed off and he would go on to lead the remaining four laps of the tussle scoring his seventh EC sprint win of 2021 and chopping the point lead of Alex Bright to just two points entering the next race at Selinsgrove on Sunday night. Perigo would cross the finish line second with Paul third, Bright fourth after starting ninth and Kunsman rounding out the top five. Drevicki would lead the second five to the finish in sixth with Christian Bruno seventh, Kenny Miller III in eighth, Eric Jennings ninth and Bruce Buckwalter Jr. finishing tenth at 10:01.
We still had the 30 lap USAC midget feature to contest and by 10:19 the front row of Alex Bright and Daison Pursley brought the 22 car field to the green flag. Bright bolted to the early lead with Thomas Meseraull who started fourth powering by both Daison Pursley and Kevin Thomas Jr. to take over second. Bright would pace the first eight laps of the feature until Meseraull made the pass for the lead low exiting turn four coming to start lap nine. T-Mez pulled away to over a two second lead in the middle stages of the race until Chase Randall slowed to a stop with terminal issues on lap thirteen. On the restart Bright found a second wind sliding by Meseraull as they entered turn three with Meseraull countering off turn four to retain the lead and the story repeated itself the next lap with the same results. In the meantime Tanner Thorson had steadily worked his way from his sixth starting spot into third by the halfway mark. Thorson caught and passed Bright for second on lap seventeen but T-Mez had checked out again by almost two seconds. Lap nineteen saw a drastic change in the race as leader Meseraull raced into turn one on the bottom quickly approaching lapped car Glenn Waterland who was running the middle of the turns. As Meseraull slid upward to pass Waterland on the cushion his left front clipped Waterland's right rear enough to send both of them spinning into turn two wiping out Meseraull's commanding lead and sending him to the tail of the field in a heart breaker. Thorson inherited the lead on the ensuing restart and he was not going to let this gift get away from him as he motored out front of the field for the remainder of the distance able to stave off any serious challenges from runner up Justin Grant who chased him across the line at 10:37 for a good second place run. Cannon McIntosh would rise from seventh to third at the finish with Bright hanging on for fourth and Emerson Axsom moving from tenth to five at the end. Daison Pursley would come home sixth with Logan Seavey seventh, Chris Windom eighth, Buddy Kofoid ninth and Taylor Reimer taking tenth. Meseraull would end his disappointing night in 11th. Kevin Woody Jr., the black driver from New York state, would receive the Irvin King Hard Charger Award as he gets more comfortable driving the midgets advancing from 21st to 15th during the course of the race.
It was a very good night of racing and we all feel it was the best of the USAC midget feature runs so far with Clyde Martin Speedway still to come tonight. To add some constructive criticism for management at Bloomsburg Fair Speedway we would pass along the following. First of all you must continue to work on keeping the dust down on the track surface since there are many homes nearby and you should strive to end your racing program by no later than 10 PM to be a good neighbor to the town folks. Also two added openings in the track wall for a separate entrance and exit for the track would speed things up considerably and a small gate on the homestretch for the flagger or photographers to more easily access the track surface from the infield and get to victory lane would be good. Kudos to management for the first time allowing people to park inside the fences of the fairgrounds instead of having to hike about a half mile from the grass parking lot outside of the fences.
That's it for now but check back tomorrow for a report on the final night of PA Midget Week as he travel over to the Clyde Martin Speedway in Brickerville area for action packed racing on one of the smallest (1/8 mile) but racy tracks the USAC midgets run on. Comments, news, stories and anything else can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime get out there and enjoy the good weather and catch some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. And last but not certainly not least thanks for continuing to read our column and personally speaking with us at the tracks to let us know you read them and enjoy them.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Thorson Checks Out On Midget Field At Bridgeport Motorsports Park
Thursday, August 5 – Another beautiful day of sunshine and clear skies greeted us upon awakening on Thursday and by 1:30 the road crew of Bill Burns, Bruce Clelland, Pat and I were on the way to South Jersey where round three of PA Midget Week was taking place at the reconfigured Bridgeport Motorsports Park and it would be the first time we would witness racing on the new high banked 4/10 mile dirt oval called the Kingdom of Speed. The traffic traveling south on I-476 also known as the Blue Route is horrendous and I don't know how people do this day in and day out. It was only in the 3 o'clock time frame and the traffic was bumper to bumper but finally we made our way over the Commodore Barry Bridge and onto Flood Gate Road to the race track. The facility has come a long way from years ago with paving everywhere to walk on, a covered picnic area where we ate our V & S sandwiches and bench raced before the events began. The new track was modeled after the Lawrenceburg Speedway and in our opinion is better than Lawrenceburg. The progressive banking gives the drivers may grooves to choose from and the racing is much better than its counterpart in Indiana.
The program tonight would consist of USAC Midgets (22) and big block Eastern modifieds (19) with both the car counts being a bit disappointing but the racing was not disappointing. USAC midget time trials were the first order of business who were racing in New Jersey for the first time in 32 years with Pennsylvania driver, Alex Bright, setting a new track record of 16.375 seconds around the fast 4/10 mile. Next up on the race card were two qualifying heat races for the modifieds with Dominick Buffalino and Sammy Martz taking down the heat wins. The USAC midgets would contest three qualifying heats with Emerson Axsom capturing heat one over Zach Daum, Alex Bright, Hayden Reinbold and Jonathan Shafer. Buddy Kofoid, broken bones and all, piloted the Keith Kunz #67 to victory in heat two over Logan Seavey, Thomas Meseraull, Chris Windom and Taylor Reimer. Heat three fell to last night's winner, Daison Pursley, besting Cannon McIntosh, Kevin Thomas Jr., Justin Grant back from his tumble the night before and Tanner Thorson. No B mains or consies would be needed tonight so the next order of business would be the 30 lap big block modified feature.
The front row of Alex Yankowski and Ryan Godown brought the 19 car field to the green flag at 8:40. Godown would take the early lead and steadily distance himself from the rest of the field with Yankowski and Sammy Martz chasing. Only one caution would slow this event but an alarming amount of cars began dropping to the infield on the ¼ mile oval including leader, Godown, who's engine looked like it went south. This handed the lead over to 17 year old Yankowski with Neal Williams having worked his way forward into second the new competition for Yankowski. A good battle ensued over the closing laps between Martz, Dominick Buffalino and Billy Pauch Jr. for third with Buffalino moving as high as third in the late going. Martz was able to rebound and pass Buffalino to retake third as Yankowski flashed under the checkered flag at 8:53 winning his first of the year over Williams, Martz, Buffalino and Pauch Jr.
The 30 lap USAC midget feature would be led to Warren Alston's green flag at 9:08 by Emerson Axsom and Cannon McIntosh. Axsom got the hole shot and took the early lead chased by McIntosh with Tanner Thorson all over McIntosh. Axsom would lead the first five laps of the contest until Thorson flexed his muscles and took over the lead and as far as the race for first it was basically all over. Thorson pulled away from the rest of the field like he was shot out of a cannon as the racing raged on behind him. The lone caution waved on lap five when Zach Daum's Honda power plant went up in spectacular fashion blowing a ball of fire from the headers before he was able to roll to the infield in front of the fire crew. On the restart Thorson took off and ran the bottom to perfection moving away once again to a commanding lead over Axsom. Meseraull worked his way by Axsom for second on lap eight but Thorson was well ahead. Thorson opened up a half track lead by the halfway mark with the normally cushion pushing Meseraull also using the bottom groove to open a healthy lead over the rest of the field in second. Buddy Kofoid raced past Axsom for third with nine to go. Thorson would cross the finish line at 9:20 a whopping eight plus seconds ahead of T-Mez with Kofoid coming from seventh to third, Chris Windom passing Axsom late for fourth and Axsom holding on for fifth at the finish. It was Thorson's fifth USAC midget win of 2021 as he rises in the yearly point standings. Kevin Thomas Jr. raced from 14th to 6th to win the Hard Charger award with Cannon McIntosh seventh, Logan Seavey eighth, Chase Randall ninth and Justin Grant rounding out the top ten.
It was good night of racing over at a good hour and we indeed like the new configuration of Bridgeport.
That's it for now as we prepare to head west to Bloomsburg Fair Speedway which is a new 3/8 mile dirt oval located inside of the old half mile horse track on the fairgrounds. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. It was nice meeting Dick Williams, a long time follower of eastern racing who reads our column and expressed how he enjoys it. Thanks Dick and continue to check in to see where we end up next. And as always thanks to Mr. Williams and all the others who reading our efforts and it is always nice to hear that people read and enjoy our efforts as it makes it worthwhile to write it.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Pursley & Buckwalter Win In Doubleheader At Action Track USA
Tuesday, August 3 – I'll start off this one going back to Tuesday night at Grandview where looking at the posted column I failed to mention an incident that happened prior to the start of the 30 lap USAC midget feature. While the midgets were being pushed off a push truck accidentally ran up over the right rear section of Thomas Meseraull's midget causing some damage to the car. Hats off to USAC officials for doing the right thing and allowing Messeraull to proceed to the work area to replace a bent shock and other things before they started the main event. T-Mez was also allowed to restart in his original starting position of15th and ended up the hard charger of the race. The proper way to handle an unfortunate situation.
Wednesday, August 4 – Today turned into a beautiful day in the low 80's with plenty of sunshine and was a perfect day to go racing. Tonight's racing would be at Action Track USA located on the grounds of the Kutztown Fairgrounds in the quaint town of Kutztown, also the home of Kutztown University. A fine crowd of race fans turned out for the doubleheader of USAC National midgets (25) and the 600 micro sprints (33) who are a stable of the normal program at Action Track USA. This would be the first time we would witness a race at the newly reconfigured dirt oval with the turns being widened and nicely banked making for even a more racier track than previously. The changes will allow management to run sprint cars both winged and non-winged (which they have already done) and any other divisions they desire giving each room for the cars to navigate. We were pleased by the new configuration.
Time trials would begin the program at 6:36 with the track record expected to fall with the increased banking allowing for higher speeds. Fall it did as 12 midgets shattered the existing track record of 11.146 seconds with Tanner Thorson, the previous track record holder, setting the new standard of 10.881 seconds around the 1/5 mile dirt oval. It was Thorson's 20th career fast time tying him for 22nd on the all-time list with some big names such as Bryan Clauson, Bobby East, Bobby Grim and Dan Drinan.
Next up on the dance card were the four heat races for the thirty three 600 micro sprints on hand and it was noticeable in the heat races that there was less contact due to the increased racing room. Heat winners included Christian Bruno, Michael Nolf, Jackson White and Joey Jarowicz scoring wins in good 600 racing. The USAC midgets would contest three heats with New Zealand National Champion, Hayden Williams, scoring heat win one over Daison Pursley, Zach Daum, Tanner Thorson and Jonathan Shafer. Ethan Mitchell in the Honda powered #19M prevailed in heat two besting Chris Windom, Justin Grant, Logan Seavey and Buddy Kofoid racing with a broken right wrist and broken left foot after a late model crash at Elko Speedway in Minnesota. Thomas Meseraull controled heat three winning over Cannon McIntosh, Alex Bright, Chase Randall and Emerson Axsom setting a new 10 lap track record of 1:54.72 around the racy oval.
Each division would run a B main with Fred Heinly winning the 600 race and Kevin Thomas Jr. winning the midget B main after encountering various scuffles in his heat race. Thomas would beat Taylor Reimer, Hayden Reinbold, Travis Buckley making his second career USAC midget feature, Eric Heydenreich, Michael Markey making his first USAC midget main and another New Zealand driver, Glenn Waterland.
The 30 lap USAC National midget feature would be the first one up on the evening taking Warren Alston's green flag at 9:01. Daison Pursley went to the lead at the start but halfway down the backstretch second running Thomas Meseraull tapped Pursley allowing Emerson Axsom to slip by both the front runners and take the lead in turn three with Meseraull hot on his heels. Exiting turn four Axsom popped a wheelie on the reworked surface causing him to lose control and upon landing the front end on the surface turning left into Meseraull on the homestretch which in turn caused T-Mez to turn toward the infield clipping his RMS teammate, Justin Grant, sending Grant into a series of barrel rolls on the homestretch. Grant immediately tossed his steering wheel out of the wrecked racer and climbed from the battered machine. Meseraull also quickly climbed from his wrecked machine but had a different idea of where he was going. He followed the contour of the infield around the inside of the oval on his way to make a social visit to young Axsom who he confronted on the backstretch while he still sat in his midget. Words and hand gestures were exchanged between the two before T-Mez stormed off to the pit area with the RMS team done for the evening. On the restart a six car pileup caused when Tanner Thorson turned sideways with Logan Seavey with no where to go finished him off with four others also involved eliminating Cannon McIntosh and Kevin Thomas Jr. for the remainder of the evening. When they finally decided to settle down and went to racing Pursley went back to the point with Axsom and Buddy Kofoid in hot pursuit. The top three opened up a distance on the remainder of the pack as they raced around the 1/5 mile oval. Chris Windom, the defending series champion, started to work his way forward from 13th starting position moving into the top five as the race progressed. The leaders worked the lap traffic in good order with Axsom closing at points when Pursley decided which way to manever the traffic. With ten to go the action heated up as Axsom closed enough to throw three sliders on Pursley entering turns one and two with Pursley crossing back over each time to retain the lead. With eight to go Pursley created a buffer when he passed his teammate, Jonathan Shafer, placing him in between himself and Axsom. With two to go Pursley encountered two lap cars of Zach Daum and Chase Randall entering turn one. Pursley bounced off the turn one cushion losing some ground as he recovered and stormed down the backstretch somehow threading the needle in a hole that seemed barely the size of half a midget and somehow race through giving him the breathing room he needed. Pursley raced to the double checkers at 9:28 less than a second ahead of Axsom for his second career USAC National midget win both coming in 2021 with Axsom second for the second straight night with Kofoid third broken bones and all, Hayden Williams fourth in a fine run for the Kiwi with Windom finishing fifth after starting 13th. Alex Bright would pace the second five at the finish moving from 16th to 6th receiving the Irvin King Hard Charger Award in the process with Ethan Mitchell seventh, Taylor Reimer a fine eighth, Thorson recovering for ninth with Chase Randall rounding out the top ten. The victory lane interviews were interesting and next time Axsom might want to choose his words a little more wisely and show some remorse for wrecking two other cars in the opening lap incident even though it was truly a racing accident and nothing more.
We still had the 25 lap 600 micro sprint feature to run and it was a good affair with plenty of action and passing with Tim Buckwalter making up for some of the heart break he suffered the evening before suffering a flat tire while leading the 358 modified feature at Grandview by winning tonight's 600 feature. Christian Bruno and Steven Snyder Jr. gave him a run for the money in this entertaining event with the final checker waving at 9:59 on a very good night of racing.
That's it for now until tomorrow when we check in with the next segment of PA midget week venturing across the river into New Jersey for round three at the Bridgeport Motorsports Park, another reconfigured track that we have yet to see in its new form but have heard nothing but rave reviews from everyone we spoken to including staunch open wheel fans who say the modifieds are the best and most entertaining class at the south Jersey oval. Time will tell. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and stay hydrated. And thanks as always for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our writings as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Windom Opens PA Midget Week With Win At Grandview
Tuesday, August 3 – On Monday we drove from Crawfordsville to Washington, PA before stopping for the night and resumed our trip in the morning to arrive at host Bill and Judy Burns' home slightly after 1 PM. After having a delicious lunch and settling in we loaded up the VW Atlas and headed out to pick up Bruce Clelland and make out way over to the track on the hill in Bechtelsville, the ¼ mile Grandivew Speedway. On tap tonight was the opening night of PA midget week and a better than expected 27 midgets along with 35 358 modifieds were pitside to provide the entertainment for tonight. The crowd was down from previous visits to Grandview but decent none the less. Thanks to Rich Rauser for providing our seating arrangements we settled in for the night of racing after renewing acquiences and doing some bench racing beforehand.
Midget time trials would start off the night commencing at 7:30 and by 7:46 the 27 USAC midgets had taken their turn qualifying with Kevin Thomas Jr. in one of two Petry entries posting a time of 13.970 seconds which was a new track record in the process. The three heat races for the USAC midgets would follow with USAC Eastern starter, Warren Alston, dropping the first green flag at 8:14. Alex Bright from Pennsylvania driving a second Tom Malloy entry as teammate to Logan Seavey captured heat one besting Thomas Meseraull, Tanner Thorson, Cannon McIntosh and Kevin Thomas Jr. as five qualified from the heats with only three being contested. Heat two went to Justin Grant in a late race pass for the lead on Logan Seavey who came home second with Ethan Mitchell third, Buddy Kofoid fourth and Chase Randall fifth. Heat three was won by Daison Pursley over Zach Daum in the second Bundy Built entry as teammate to Mitchell, Chris Windom, Tommy Kunsman and Emerson Axsom. Three 358 modified heats would follow with Duane Howard, Tim Buckwalter and Mike Gular prevailing.
The midget B main was next up with sixteen year old Ohio resident, Jonathan Shafer, in one of four Keith Kunz cars in the field winning. Florida's Oliver Akard ramped over another competitor's left rear entering turn one launching into a series of flips, some of them completing in the air before landing hard back on the track surface in turn one. Akard quickly scrambled from the wrecked racer but was reported to have had some facial injuries from the hard ride but was otherwise OK. Shafer was chased across the line by Kunz teammate, Taylor Reimer, the Oklahoma University cheerleader in second with Hayden Reinbold third, Steve Buckwalter fourth, Kiwis Hayden Williams and Travis Buckley in fifth and sixth and Kevin Woody Jr. being the last man in. A new track record for the ten lap distance was also set tonight in the B main.
Next up was the 30 lap USAC midget feature with the front row of Chris Windom and Chase Randall bringing the 22 car field to Warren Alston's first and only green flag as this one would go the distance non-stop in nine minutes. Chase Randall got the jump on the start and surprisely moved out front for the first seven laps until Windom went to his diamond style going high in turn three and cutting low in turn four allowing him to close ground on Randall. Entering turn one on lap eight Windom dove low and slid high in front of Randall in turn two with Randall crossing low with the pair racing side by side down the backstretch. Randall drifted high in turn three allowing Emerson Axsom to scoot by Randall for second in turn four and he took up the chase of Windom. After the halfway mark Windom started to encounter lap traffic which allowed Axsom to close the gap. Lap nineteen saw Axsom draw to the tail tank of Windom as Windom looked for a way around B main winner, Jonathan Shafer. Windom had increased his lead at this point but it was short lived as Axsom disbatched of Shafer and closed again. With five to go Windom got some breathing room as he passed Hayden Williams to put him a lap down in turn three and pulled away to a comfortable lead with Axsom lurking behind him. Coming to the white flag Windom encountered teammates Ethan Mitchell and Zach Daum racing for fourteenth as he tried to decide which way to go to move by the pair allowing Axsom to close once again. Windom went high while Axsom slid low and passed both Mitchell and Windom through turn one as Axsom slid up in turn two with the lead but Windom didn't come all this way to not win as he cut low in turn two and raced back into the lead halfway down the backstretch on the final lap. Windom dove under Daum in turn three giving him the cushion he needed to fend off Axsom as the pair raced to Alston's double checkers. Windom flashed across the line first at 10:13 for the big win holding off Axsom in a wild last lap. Chase Randall would come home third and record his highest USAC midget career finish with Kevin Thomas Jr. fourth and Tanner Thorson riding home fifth. The second five was led by Daison Pursley with Justin Grant seventh, Thomas Meseraull rebounding nicely from his push off incident to place eighth after starting 15th and receiving the Irvin King Hard Charger Award, with Cannon McIntosh ninth and point leader, Buddy Kofoid finishing a quiet tenth in the final rundown. It was a good race and an interesting one watching Windom and Axsom battle their way through the lap traffic the second half of the feature.
We still had the 30 lap 358 modified feature to contest with Craig VonDohren and Tim Buckwalter leading the field to the green flag. Buckwalter bolted to the early lead in a surprise outrunning VonDohren in the early going. VonDohren dropped back to fourth and spun on the backstretch a few laps later. When was the last time you saw the all-time win leader at Grandview start up front and not win the feature. Tonight would be that night. Buckwalter would build up a half track lead over the course of the race and looked like a sure winner until with two to go his right rear tire started to lose air. He tried to hang on but entering turn one after taking the white flag lap the field pounced on him and he lost the lead and I believe finished eighth at the finish. Mike Gular took advantage of the gift and blasted by Buckwalter to take the lead and the win turning back two Jersey invaders, Ryan Krachun and Matt Stangle, who finished second and third with Craig Whitmoyer fourth and Jeff Strunk rounding out the top five. The final checker of the evening fell at 10:49 to wrap up two good feature events.
That's it until tomorrow when we will have night two from Action Track USA in Kutztown with the USAC midgets and the 600 micro sprints. Until then get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or take the show on the road to catch some racing elsewhere but get out there and enjoy. Comments, news, tidbits and other items can reach us at email@example.com. In the meantime be safe and stay hydrated as the summer progresses. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Bacon Rebounds From No Start To Win Round Six At Bloomington
Friday, July 30 – The heat and humidity finally broke and Friday turned out to be a picture perfect day with no a cloud in the sky, temperatures peaking out at 81 degrees and low humidity and a nice breeze to boot. Tonight was round six of Indiana Sprint Week to be contested on the red banks of the Bloomington Speedway and when we arrived at 5:25 we couldn't believe the amount of vehicles stuffed in the main parking area outside of turns one and two. Management needs to do a better job next year of managing the parking of the campers and motor homes as they took up a vast majority of the parking and then some. We were lucky to find a spot near the gate with the help of good friend, Suzie Niemann, who asked some people if we could park behind their tent area and saved us space for our lawn chairs on top of the hill in turn one to sit.
It was the Sheldon Kinser Memorial at Bloomington tonight and announcer and historian, Pat Sullivan, gave a nice talk about the local resident who died of cancer and was a 37 time winner in USAC sprint car competition during his career. Sullivan ended his talk with the traditional request of cheering and clapping one more time for the great champion, Sheldon Kinser. Thirty six sprint cars and only six UMP modifieds graced the backstretch pit area for tonight's racing and the earliest start of sprint car time trials for ISW at 6:44 followed warmups promptly. By 7:05 Brent Beauchamp had surprised the field with a lap of 11.273 seconds around the high banked red clay oval to pick up the fast time award for the third time in his career.
The standard format of four qualifying heats for the USAC sprint cars was next on the agenda with the top four transferring directly to the 30 lap main event later in the evening. Chase Stockon drew first blood with a victory in heat one outrunning Shane Cottle back after his disappointing end to last night with Kyle Cummins third and Chase Johnson. Thomas Meseraull threw the monkey off his back from all week winning heat two in the Cactus Jack Yeley #2 beating CJ Leary, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Stevie Sussex to the line. Robert Ballou picked up his 12th heat win of 2021 beating Tanner Thorson, AJ Hopkins and Logan Seavey in the process. Jake Swanson captured heat four over Chris Windom, Brady Bacon and Justin Grant. Only one modified heat was needed with Jordan Wever winning other five others before we turned to the sprint car B main.
The B main had a wild moment when Anthony D'Alessio and Max Guilford collided in turn one with Guilford flipping over the turn and D'Alessio flying off the turn landing on all fours but on Twitter saying his car was junk. D'Alessio has had a rough ISW with two flips and this lastest hairy ride. Going onto capture the B main was ISW point leader, Logan Seavey, turning back Jadon Rogers, Brent Beauchamp, Braydon Cromwell, Brady Short and Cole Bodine the last man in.
Brian Hodde would wave the green flag on the 22 car field for the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature at 9:11 with CJ Leary and Chris Windom battling hard through turns one and two where Windom hopped the cushion in two lifting his car off the ground and causing him to do a 180 degree spin on top of the cushion bringing out the caution and forcing Windom to have to restart at the tail of the field where he would only make it back to 12th at the finish. On the restart Leary went out front with Kyle Cummins and Brady Bacon in tow. The top three remained that way through the first ten laps of the feature with Bacon finally working his way past Cummins for second on lap eleven in turn four. Lap thirteen saw Cummins hop the cushion in turn two making it now a two car battle for the lead. At the halfway mark Leary slid his right side wheels off the backstretch losing momentum and allowing Bacon to pounce on the mistake and take the lead at that point. Four laps later Cummins found his way around Leary to take second away from the Greenfield resident. Tanner Thorson made his presence known as he slipped by Leary for third on lap twenty three but Leary returned the favor one lap later. Thorson moved back by Leary for third low in turn two on lap twenty five but one lap later Thorson suffered a flat right rear tire bringing out the caution as he drove off the backstretch and behind turn three. Thorson would return to finish 15th but the flat might have ruined his bid to win the ISW point title for 2021. Bacon was ready to go on the restart and went back to the high side and pulled away from Cummins over the final five laps to win by over a second for his third win of 2021 and his first in over three months which ironically was his 38th career USAC National sprint car win snapping a tie for eighth with none other than the man (Sheldon Kinser) that the night was dedicated to. So after a tough night the night before Bacon and his crew rebounded back to the top and placed themselves thick in the battle for the ISW point crown only 12 markers behind Seavey who still leads the standings heading into the final race on Saturday at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt with Kevin Thomas Jr. only 15 points back. Cummins chased Bacon across the line at 9:27 for second, his best finish of the week, with Leary third, Thomas Jr. fourth and Robert Ballou rounding out the top five. Shane Cottle ran another good race this time getting better final results advancing from 15th to 6th with Seavey seventh, Jake Swanson eighth, Jadon Rogers ninth and hard charger AJ Hopkins from 22nd to 10th.
We decided to stay for the 20 lap UMP modified feature to let the crowd filter out of the parking lot and watched Jordan Wever lead the entire distance in the non-stop feature event besting Jacoby Hines, Jake Leitzman, Michael Hussmann and Lance Foreman in just six minutes of racing. Upon packing up the chairs, walking to the car and pulling out of the parking lot took less than five minutes and we were on the road again for our trip home to Crawfordsville.
That's it for night six and check back Sunday to see what happened at Haubstadt, who won and who took home the coveted ISM crown and the traditional hand carved rocking chair for winning the title. News, comments, words of wisdom and anything else can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible or take it on the road and check out some racing in another area. Most of all be safe and stay hydrated. Thanks for continuing to read our efforts as we hope you continue to enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Hot Weather, Hot Action & Hot Tempers At LPS ISW Run
Thursday, July 29 – The weather was not the only hot thing at Lincoln Park Speedway on Thursday night for round five of the 34th annual Indiana Sprint Week as several drivers temperatures boiled over during the hot action of the 30 lap feature event. We will cover all the moments but lets set up the stage that led into the fireworks of the feature.
A large crowd turned out on another hot day in Indiana but at least tonight we had moments of a breeze which made it bearable as we all baked in Joe Spiker's concrete grandstands on a Thursday night. Forty seven drivers signed into the pit area on night five of ISW which was a single division program and by the end of time trials the count was down to 45 with 43 drivers participating in the four heat race for the USAC sprint cars. Time trials were the first order of business pushing off at 7:07 with Tanner Thorson in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ taking down the fast time of the evening coming out of flight one to do so with a time of 12.553 seconds around the 5/16 mile high banked dirt oval in beautiful downtown Putnamville.
By 7:55 the first of four heats for the sprinters was trackside. Kyle Cummins would garner heat one in a good contest over Matt Westfall, Tanner Thorson and Justin Grant. Brady Bacon in the Dynamics #69 claimed heat two beating Shane Cottle, Jadon Rogers and Jason McDougal. Kevin Thomas Jr. triumphed in heat three over visiting Californian Chris Gansen who made his first feature of the week, Brent Beauchamp and CJ Leary. Brandon Mattox looked strong in heat four after a rough week cashing in the win over Logan Seavey, Robert Ballou and Cole Bodine. All four heats were very competitive and enjoyable to watch as the track was in good condition with the berms building after every heat race run. All heat qualifying was completed in just 24 minutes.
The C main was next on the card with the top four moving onto the B main. Braydon Cromwell from Missouri would win this one over AJ Hopkins, Max Guilford and Shane Cockrum. Thomas Meseraull in the Jack Yeley #2 would race no further tonight. The B main was a scramble from the start and when all was said and done Chris Windom came out on top besting Carson Short, Jake Swanson, Chase Stockon, Brandon Spencer and Stevie Sussex the last man in for the big show.
The 30 lap feature event took a dramatic turn even before the green flag would wave when Brady Bacon was pushing off from the pit lane to line up for the main event. A roll pin sheared off his car causing a mag issue and the #69 was not able to fire and was done for the night. This threw the ISW points wide open as Bacon led coming into Lincoln Park and also had a big effect on the national point chase.
The green flag would drop at 9:35 on the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature with Cole Bodine taking the early lead over Jason McDougal. Lap four saw Robert Ballou and Justin Grant make contact in turn two with Grant spinning bringing out the first caution. On the restart CJ Leary challenged Bodine in turns three and four sliding past Bodine but Bodine countered exiting turn four and regained the lead. Lap seven saw Leary take the lead from Bodine in turn one while Tanner Thorson was coming forward passing Kevin Thomas Jr. for third on lap eight and polishing off Bodine for the runner up position on lap ten and took up the chase of race leader Leary. The front two raced past the halfway mark weaving through lap traffic in the process. The laps were clicking off with Leary still leading with Thorson and Thomas the pursuers. With just six laps to go Bodine and Grant tangled in turn one with Grant climbing over the left side of Bodine's mount sending both spinning in turn two collecting innocent bystander Brandon Mattox in the incident with Leary bearing missing the scramble. On the restart Leary bolted back out front and looked to be the man to beat. With just one lap to go a front stretch tangle found Thomas and Shane Cottle make contact with Cottle and Stockon running fifth and sixth spinning backwards on the homestretch with the field scattering around them. This would end Cottle's fine run from 18th to 5th and he showed his frustration by first tossing his steering wheel at the passing Thomas on one lap and clapping as Thomas drove by the second lap around. That set up a green, white, checker scenario with Thorson making the most of his new found chance to take the lead. On the restart Thorson dove low in turn one and slid up in turn two as Leary ran the cushion. The pair never touched as Leary jumped the cushion getting his left side wheels off the ground and allowing both Thorson and Windom to charge by. Leary regained second for a brief moment but Windom took it back in turn two on the white flag lap. The trio raced to the checkered flag with Thorson crossing first for his third win of the year with Windom second and Leary third. Thomas would come across fourth with Logan Seavey rounding out the top five and ending his three race win streak.
It was far from over as Leary first cut off Thorson on the homestretch afterwards and then jumping from his car and greeting Thorson in victory lane placing his foot on the front nerf bar of Thorson's machine. Thorson quickly came up through the top of the roll cage and angry words were exchanged between the two with Thorson then jumping on top of the cage, waving to the crowd and giving the double finger to Leary in the process. It was a hot finish to a hot night and hopefully tempers will cool as the temperature is also suppose to drop. We will see what plays out tonight at Bloomington for round six of ISW. Getting back to the race the second five was paced by Jason McDougal in sixth, Jake Swanson in seventh, Justin Grant ending up a troublesome night in eighth, Stevie Sussex turning in another stellar night from 22nd to 9th with Jadon Rogers riding home tenth.
The heat racing was very good tonight and the feature was action packed filled with a lot of controversy. That is good for selling tickets for tonight at Bloomington!!! The ISW point standing have been shook up with Bacon's no start at LPS with Logan Seavey now on top with a total of 366 now leading Tanner Thorson who has 351. Kevin Thomas Jr. is third with 344 while Bacon now drops to fourth at 336 and Justin Grant is right there with 333 as just 33 points separate the top five. In the national point standings Bacon is still on top with 1693 with Grant second with 1636, Thomas Jr. third with 1628, Leary fourth at 1471 and his buddy, Thorson, fifth at 1470.
That's it for now but check back tomorrow as we will bring you a report from round six of ISW from the red clay high banks of Bloomington Speedway. Comments, opinions, news, stories and anything else of interest can reach us at email@example.com. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible or tune into a live stream on one of the streaming networks. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Seavey Dominates At Terre Haute To Win Third Straight in ISW
Wednesday, July 28 – Today had to be the most oppressive day of Indiana Sprint Week so far as the temperature pushed 90 and the humidity was off the charts. We opted for the covered grandstands as that least we didn't have the sun beating down on us but as Xia Xianna Bacon said on Twitter “A sauna...that's what it feels like sitting in the covered grandstands tonight at the Action Track.”
A good field of 36 sprint cars filled the turn three and four pit area joined by 16 UMP modifieds to make for a good two division program on the historic half mile located on the grounds of the Vigo County Fairgrounds run by the Wabash Valley Fair Association where $5 got you a parking spot on the grounds. At least proof of the parking fee was evident as the main road into the fairgrounds was newly laid with stone and no bumps for your driving pleasure.
The Don Smith Classic started off with time trials for the 36 sprinters on hand taking the initial green flag at 7:12. By 7:44 Kevin Thomas Jr. in his Ronald McDonald House charity car was quickest at 20.039 seconds around the half mile giving him his sixth fast time of the year and thirty fifth of his career tying him with the late Rich Vogler for eighth place on the all-time list.
Four heat races for the USAC sprints with the top four moving directly into the 30 laps feature event would go green at 8:14. Tanner Thorson in the Reinbold/Underwood #19AZ would hold off the fierce challenges of Kevin Thomas Jr. to win an entertaining heat one with Chase Stockon and Brady Bacon also moving into the big dance. Chris Windom won a competitive heat two besting CJ Leary, Eddie Tafoya Jr. making his first ISW A main and Nick Bilbee. Heat three saw an impressive Tye Mihocko in the Eades #47 holding off Justin Grant, Charles Davis Jr. and Shane Cottle to win this one. Heat four went to Logan Seavey in a cake walk beating Matt Westfall, Shane Cockrum and Robert Ballou in a confusing finish as the cars raced down the homestretch as a car spun in turn four having the caution wave but the race was considered official with the finish reverting back to the last completed lap costing Jake Swanson a qualifying spot as he nipped the fourth place finisher at the line. Two heats followed for the UMP modifieds with Brian Shaw and Richie Lex winning those.
The sprint car B main would be next up on the agenda and his race produced two flips in the event. First Cannon McIntosh found himself rolling over twice between turns three and four in the Phillips/Daugh #71P climbing quickly from his wrecked sprinter. The second incident saw Sterling Cling taking a wild ride into the turn one wall rolling over several times with Chase Jones and Ryan Bond also involved. In fact on Jones' Twitter this morning we found out that he was in the hospital after suffering a split elbow and also being hit in the head by Cling during his flips. The good news is Jones is doing well and will be released from the hospital today. Jake Swanson went on to win the sprint B main followed by Brandon Mattox, Max Guilford, Mario Clouser, Jason McDougal and Kyle Cummins with a late charge to sneak by Chase Johnson to be the last man in for the 30 lap feature.
The 15 lap UMP modified feature was next on the racing card and the first four laps produced five cautions and found track management cutting the distance of the race from 15 to 12 laps. Once the repeat offenders were sifted out the racing was very good with Brian Shaw leading the majority of the race but not the most important laps. Shaw, Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader and Tyler Nicely hooked up in a crowd pleasing duel with Nicely slipping by everyone to win from the 16th starting position chased across the finish line by Wallace, Schrader, Shaw and Tyler Weiss.
It was 10:24 when the front row of Logan Seavey and Nick Bilbee brought the 22 car field to Tom Hansing's green flag with Seavey bounding into the early lead. Justin Grant was quick to move from his fourth starting spot to second by lap two as he first charged by Chase Stockon on the cushion in turns three and four on the opening lap for third and caught and passed Bilbee in turn one on lap two for second. Seavey and Grant checked out on the field over the next several laps until lap nine when Robert Ballou and Eddie Tafoya Jr. tangled on the backstretch and both drivers went tumbling over several times before coming to rest on the track. Both drivers were able to climb from their battered machines to the relief of everyone in attendance. During the red Kevin Thomas Jr. running third at the time pulled to the infield work area to change a flat rear front tire and rejoined the field at the tail. On the ensuing restart Grant pulled a slider on Seavey entering turn one clearing him for the lead in turn two with Tanner Thorson using the low side to pull alongside Seavey for second but Seavey was not giving up as Grant drifted to the cushion in turn two and Seavey dove in the middle between the pair to take back the lead racing down the backstretch. Seavey powered away to over a two second lead over the middle part of the race as the Derek Claxton powered #5 was flying. As Seavey approached lap traffic he began to pick his way past them but with 10 to go Grant was noticeably cutting into the big lead that Seavey had built up. With four to go Seavey's lead had disappeared with Grant in his tire tracks and making a run for the lead. With two to go Grant pounded the cushion in turn two and lost valuable ground which he was not able to make up over the final two laps. The double checkers waved at 10:51 with Seavey leading every lap on his way to his third straight win in Indiana Sprint Week becoming the first driver since Kevin Thomas Jr. in 2013 to do so. Jay Drake (2000) and Cory Kruseman (2002) are others that have won three in a row during ISW. Jon Stanbrough holds the all-time record of four in a row from 2006-2007 so Seavey is getting into some lofty ground here. Grant came home second with Chris Windom some 10 seconds behind the front two in third from seventh so you can see how dominant the front two were in this feature. Brady Bacon moved from 12th to 4th at the finish with Jason McDougal becoming the Irvin King hard charger marching from 15th to 5th at the end.
Chase Stockon rode home sixth with Kevin Thomas Jr. racing from the tail of the field to salvage a seventh with Tanner Thorson starting and finishing eighth, Shane Cottle ninth and CJ Leary ending up tenth. The race up front was interesting and the runs by McDougal and Thomas were fun to watch in this decent race.
That's it until tomorrow when we report on round five of ISW from the Lincoln Park Speedway in beautiful downtown Putnamville as we see if Logan Seavey can continue his white hot streak during ISW. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area if possible and if not tune into Flo Racing or DirtVision to catch some on track activity. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you all continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. In the interim stay safe and stay hydrated.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Seavey Goes Back To Back With Monday Win At Gas City
Monday, July 26 – It was a rare Monday night race for Indiana Sprint Week, only the fourth in the 34 year history of the event (stat thanks to Richie Murray) and the day was almost picture perfect with plenty of sunshine and very warm temperatures. You know it is a warm day when you see plenty of blankets in the grandstands but as you walk through the parking lots you see many people inside their cars with the air conditioning running!! Such was the case today.
Forty six cars returned for the makeup date from Friday, down from 49 but still a good, solid field. Once again sprint car time trials would start off the program taking the initial green flag at 7:10. Two flights would qualify with Tanner Thorson coming out of flight two to score the fastest time of the evening with a time of 11.809 seconds on the gnarly surface (using a word out of the Justin Grant playbook) which everyone handled with care with no incidents occurring during the time trial session. With all the rain over the weekend the track was rough and unruly or cowboy up and even with various periods of manicuring of the surface it reared its gnarly head again and again.
The four heat races for the USAC National Sprint Car series would go green at 8 PM with Jason McDougal scoring the heat win over Cannon McIntosh, Justin Grant moving through the field nicely and Chase Jones putting the Gray #81G into his first feature of the week. Robert Ballou started up front once again and that is where he finished for the 11th time in 2021 outpacing CJ Leary, Logan Seavey and Tye Mihocko at the wheel of the Eades #47 for the week. Jake Swanson continues his strong runs by capturing heat three besting Stevie Sussex, Jadon Rogers and Thomas Meseraull putting the Cactus Jack Yeley #2 into the field. Rogers ran over the left front wheel of Kevin Thomas Jr. battling for a qualifying position with the front end of Thomas' car the worst for wear. I'm sure that Rogers will be taken off the Thomas Christmas card list this year. Chase Johnson rolled his Goodnight #22 during this heat and was OK and returned later. The fourth and final heat winner was national point leader, Brady Bacon, starting up front after a dismal time trial and outrunning Kyle Cummins, Chris Windom and Cole Bodine. Two heats would follow for the second division of the evening, the 600 micro sprints with 12 in attendance. Jakeb Boxell and Kole Kirkman were the winners in the two races.
The sprint car C main was the next race on the card with 15 starters looking for 4 spots to move into the B main. Brent Beauchamp nailed down the C main win chased across the line by Braydon Cromwell, Shane Cottle from deep in the field and Charles Davis Jr. Next up was the sprint car B main taking the top six finishers into the A main. It was a wild and wooley affair with two cars flipping during the course of the race. Early in the B main Paul Nienhiser running third at the time dug his right front into the cushion sending him high into the air with a complete flip landing hard on his wheels. Nienhiser was not injured in the mishap but the KO Motorsports #5N was done for the evening. On the last lap of the race Shane Cottle and Shane Cockrum driving the Gass #17G tonight tangled entering turn one racing for a qualifying position with Cottle climbing the rub rail of the Cockrum car and ended up sitting there as Anthony D'Alessio came upon the scene and caught the left rear of Cockrum's spun car launching himself high into the air for a series of flips landing right side up on the track. The dejected D'Allessio climbed from his wrecked sprinter tumbling for the second time in three days. The last lap was then spun off with fast timer, Tanner Thorson, winning over Kevin Thomas Jr., Zack Pretorius qualifying for his first USAC National Sprint Car race, Chase Johnson, Brandon Mattox and Chase Stockon. The field was now filled and no provisionals were used so the 22 car field was now set.
The 15 lap 600 micro sprint feature was next to run and it was a very entertaining race. Kole Kirkman and Mike Landis exchanged the lead back and forth over the first 13 laps until Landis biked in turn two spinning around and forcing him to restart at the rear of the field. This now put Darin Naida on Kirkman's tail tank for the restart with Naida diving low in turn three to take the lead away from Kirkman coming for the white flag. Naida held on for the last lap and flashed across the line first for his 15th time this year in 600 competition with Kirkman a disappointed second and Jakeb Boxell rounding out the podium. An excited Naida was pumped from the reception he received from the crowd and thanked the USAC sprint car fans for their applauses. The 14 year old fourth generation driver from Adrian, Michigan said he can't wait until he is able to run full sized sprint cars.
Now it was time to go sprint car racing with the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature taking the green flag at 10:10. Jake Swanson powered into the early lead from second with Jason McDougal and Tye Mihocko following. Logan Seavey who started fourth was quick to the front diving in between Swanson and McDougal exiting turn four with Swanson the leader at the line by a nose. Seavey held the inside entering turn one and slid in front of Swanson in turn two to take the lead on lap two. Seavey stormed forward and had a huge lead by lap ten with Swanson still holding off the rest of the field at this point. Brady Bacon was moving forward from eighth and was now third and took second from Swanson in turn two on lap eleven and shortly thereafter Chase Jones brought out the only caution of the race spinning between turns three and four. On the restart Seavey sped away quickly and built up another big lead as he approached lap traffic with ten to go. Seavey worked his way through the traffic flawlessly and by 10:19 raced under the checkered flag for his second straight win in Indiana Sprint Week and his fourth career USAC sprint car win. Brady Bacon came home second with the hard charger of the race, Kyle Cummins, advancing from 12th to 3rd with Jake Swanson fourth and Jason McDougal hanging on for fifth. Tanner Thorson led the second five across the finish line in sixth with Chris Windom seventh, Justin Grant moving from 14th to 8th, Kevin Thomas Jr. ninth and Tye Mihocko taking down tenth.
It was an exciting and interesting race on a true cowboy up race track with Seavey coming home the top cowboy on this evening.
That's it for now but check back Thursday as there is a night off before we complete the rest of Indiana Sprint Week 34 with four nights in a row starting up again at the Action Track at Terre Haute followed by Lincoln Park, Bloomington and Tri-State where the ISW champion will be decided. Until next time get out there and enjoy this hot weather and take in some good short track racing in your area or take it on the road to catch racing somewhere where you have wanted to go for a while. Comments, news, stories or anything else can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next. Remember be safe and stay hydrated.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Rain Pushes ISW Opener To Saturday At Kokomo
Friday, July 23 – It was a hot day in the 80's and tonight was the opener of Indiana Sprint Week #34 starting off the festivities at the Gas City I-69 Speedway. The track was in prime condition and had us salivating knowing that the racing should be great with such an awesome surface. The mud balls flew in warmups and during time trials that kicked off at 7:05. Brayden Fox would surprise the 49 car field setting fast time with a lap of 11.916 seconds around the ¼ mile bullring. Dark clouds had been moving across the northern horizon over the past few hours but the rain looked like it was going to spare us tonight. Well, before you knew it another dark cloud moved over us from behind and a very light rain began to fall. Luckily Pat had brought our umbrellas in so we decided to sit out the rain delay right in our seats. Over the next 20 minutes or so the light rain continued and then began to pick up some. We decided to leave the blanket and move to the Rogue and it was a good move as after jumping into the SUV the rain picked up and after about ten minutes it was rainy pretty hard. We decided along with many others to exit the parking lot at that point and go over to the hotel as it didn't look promising. About ten minutes later the call came that the race was postponed for the evening and would be rescheduled for Monday evening as a new complete program. That moves the opener to Kokomo on Saturday for now the round one.
Saturday, July 24 – The temperature read 82 degrees but with the humidity it feels like temperature was 97. The forecast was good until 11 PM when storms were predicted to roll in then. After leaving the hotel in Gas City we drove over to Kokomo to try Hawg Heaven rated as one of the top five places in Indiana for Bar-B-Que. We were not disappointed!!! After that we made a stop at Ollie's to pick up some home supplies before venturing over to the track and finding a good parking spot up front. The race car haulers were held out of the pit area until about 2:45 to allow the pit area to dry with some extra time and that caused a log jam on the road behind the grandstands. I stood in the long and slow moving line for the 3 PM gate opening and upon entering secured our blanket three rows from the top of the frontstretch wooden grandstand and retreated to the comfort of the air conditioned SUV. Ohio traveler, Benny Trask, arrived a short time later and luck have it a parking spot opened up next to us and we waved him into the spot.
Finally around 6 PM we decided to walk into the grandstand area after purchasing two bottles of cold water to try to keep us cool. Track prep was still going on and the cars were still entering the pit area causing the time trials to not start until 7:11. With a strong 54 sprint cars on hand it was 7:44 until the time trials were completed with Brady Bacon setting the high mark early in the process and ending up the quickest of the evening with a time of 12.594 seconds around the ¼ mile oval. We were starting to worry if they would be able to get the entire show in with four heats, a D main, a C main, a B main and a 30 lap main event for the sprints while the second division, the thundercars brought 24 cars to the party necessitating three heats which would be a lot of racing to fit into a three hour time frame.
The first of four sprint car heats took Tom Hansing's green flag at 8:13 and the race was on both on the track and against the weather. The action heated up early when Scotty Weir and Brady Bacon battling for the fourth and final qualifying position made heavy contact entering turn four with Weir taking a wild ride into the turn four wall almost flipping in the process. To say Scotty was not happy with Bacon would be an understatement as his double salute sitting on top of his roll cage was a good indication that he was none too pleased with his fellow driver. Kyle Cummins would go on to win the first heat besting Shane Cottle, Bacon and Justin Grant. Heat two was a good contest with Kevin Thomas Jr. winning this one over Jason McDougal picking up a ride in one of the KO Motorsports fives, Brady Short in the Edwards #61M and Brandon Mattox who was involved in several skirmishes in the heat. The third heat would see Garrett Aitken rolling his sprinter in between turns one and two to stop the action. When things resumed Robert Ballou would go on to win heat three beating Jake Swanson, Jadon Rogers and CJ Leary. The fourth and final heat fell to Tanner Thorson outrunning Braydon Cromwell in a fine performance for second with Chris Windom third and Cannon McIntosh rounding out the top four.
The thundercars ran two heats with the first one being a very good race with the front runners two and three wide throughout the entire race. Before running the third roadrunner heat the sprint D main would take to the track and a second lap double flip in turn one involving Ryan Bond and Cooper Welch brought this race to a quick halt and at this point a good decision was made to scratch the remainder of this race and add the survivors to the tail of the C main. After the thundercar heat the sprint C main was called to the track as the approaching storm flashed lightning in the skies behind the backstretch grandstand and off of turns one and two. Stevie Sussex raced his Scooby Doo inspired painted #77S from the tenth starting position to capture the C main and move on along with Evan Mosley, Chase Stockon and Cole Bodine in a race where another double flip occurred when Anthony D'Allessio jumped the right rear of Charles Davis Jr. and rolled in turn three with Mitchell Davis with no where to go making contact with D'Allessio and rolling over his sprinter also. Quickly the B main was ushered to the speedway and went green with the top six finishers moving to the A main. Logan Seavey would triumph in this one outpacing Chase Johnson, Thomas Meseraull making his ISW debut in the Jack Yeley #2, Brent Beauchamp in the LB #29, Stevie Sussex charging from 15 th to continue the alphabet soup run into fifth with New Zealander, Max Guilford, placing the second Goodnight entry into the feature event.
The A main cars were called to the track as the storm moved closer and within 10 minutes of the B main ending the 30 lap USAC sprint car feature would take the green flag at 10:02. Kevin Thomas Jr. went to the point on the start from his first starting position with Justin Grant slipping by CJ Leary for second in turns one and two on the opening circuit. Thomas would pace the first six laps of the event when the only stoppage of the event came on lap six when Brandon Mattox flipped on the homestretch first hitting on his nose and then landing on his tail where the fuel tank was ripped from his car with Mattox ending up wrong side up in the middle of the track. The emergency crews were quickly on the scene and personnel turned over the flipped sprinter with a brief oil fire breaking out but it was quickly extinguished as Mattox quickly exited his sprinter. The tail tank was carefully lifted into the back of one of the UTV's trying to not spill anymore of the fuel on the track surface. The wrecker crew whisked the worse for wear sprinter to the infield with the yellow returning. The cars were pushed off in good order and we were underway in a few minutes. It was a rough night for Mattox as he was involved in several tangles with this one being the worst.
On the ensuing restart Grant dove low in turn one pulling a slider on Thomas and taking the lead in turn two but Thomas countered entering turns three and four to retake the lead. Lap nine saw Grant repeat his move in turns one and two with Thomas countering down the backstretch. Thomas entered turn three a lot hot Grant would win his fourth ISW win and his 25 th career USAC National Sprint Car win in the process also taking the second straight USAC race contested adding to his Silver Crown win at Winchester on Thursday. That win placed Grant 24 th on the all-time win list passing Parnelli Jones, Jay Drake and Steve Butler as he climbs the win list. It was also the first ISW race rain shortened in the 34 year history of the series and the first rain shortened USAC event since Anderson Speedway in 2006. Kokomo also became the third shortest USAC sprint car race in their history tying it with the 1959 event at Terre Haute where they completed 18 of 30 laps also. Bacon would come across the line second with Thomas third, CJ Leary fourth and Tanner Thorson rounding out the top five after starting ninth. The second five was led to the line by Kyle Cummins with Chris Windom seventh, Jadon Rogers eighth, Robert Ballou ninth and Logan Seavey rounding out the top ten.
Of course we all would have liked to have seen the race go the full distance but we will take 18 laps instead of a rain out any day especially after last night. Kudos to all the USAC officials, Kokomo personnel, wrecker and safety crews and the drivers for helping to move the program along as quickly as humanly possible and allowing everyone to see a shortened though official main event.
That's it until Tuesday as we are taking the night off from tonight at Lawrenceburg and will pick up the tour again Monday for the rest of ISW34 culminating with the grand finale at Tri-State Speedway on Saturday in Haubstadt. So in the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or pack the car and make a road trip to another track. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you. Take care and be safe.
A Typical Weekend
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Grant Takes First Asphalt SC Win In Vogler Classic At Winchester
Thursday, July 22 – A beautiful day in the 80's greeted us as we awoke on Thursday and something special was on the agenda today as the 37 degree banked ½ mile asphalt oval at Winchester, IN was running the Rich Vogler Classic for the USAC Silver Crown Series tonight. It would be only the second time and first in nearly 32 years that we have visited Winchester and we were really looking forward to seeing racing there again. We arrived at 4:45 and found a good parking spot facing the entrance road which would make our exit much easier and sat in the car until 5:45 when we entered the historic facility to watch the time trials for the 19 car field on hand. Upon entering we ran into the grand marshal for tonight's race, Tom Bigelow, and had a nice chat with him before finding our seats for the evening.
Time trials pushed off at 6:03 and 30 minutes later Kody Swanson was the top gun (no surprise) for the 32 nd time in his career at 14.459 seconds beating out Bobby Santos III for the quick time and the first starting position for tonight's Vogler Classic. An autograph session followed on the midway before pre-race festivities kicked into gear around 8.
Tom Hansing's green flag would drop on the starting field at 8:15 with Kody Swanson taking the early lead and he would pace the field for the first five laps until Bobby Santos drove low in turn three and took the lead away on lap five. The top seven runners were nose to tail for the next several laps with Aaron Pierce moving into third on lap fourteen after dropping back earlier. The first caution would wave on lap seventeen when Patrick Lawson slowed on the inside of turn three. On the restart Santos led with David Byrne motoring into fifth low in turn three on lap twenty two. One lap later Pierce turned up the wick passing Swanson for second on the backstretch and roaring by Santos for the lead exiting turn four. Justin Grant moved by Santos for second in turn two on lap twenty seven with Byrne following suit into third with 15 th starting Kyle O'Gara taking fourth relegating Santos and Swanson back to fifth and sixth. Pierce opened up a good lead over the field over the next twenty laps as the others battled it out behind him. Swanson meanwhile had regrouped and worked his way by Santos and then O'Gara by lap thirty five to move back into fourth. One lap later Swanson took third in turn three and was now back in the hunt. By lap forty four Grant meanwhile had chopped into Pierce's big advantage as the caution then waved on lap forty eight. On the restart on lap fifty seven Grant applied the pressure to Pierce for the lead diving low in turn four and drawing alongside racing to the start/finish line. Pierce led that lap but Grant took the lead in turn two on lap fifty eight with Swanson and Santos following him through shuffling Pierce from first to fourth in one fair swoop!! Grant started to approach lap traffic and worked his way by with little difficulty keep Swanson at bay. By lap seventy the top four had opened a half track lead over fifth place running Byrne. They would run this way until lap eighty four when Shane Cottle broke a panhard bar and spun in turn four brushing the wall in the progress. With fifteen laps to go there were now only four cars on the lead lap. The green dropped with eight to go with Grant at the point with Swanson on his tail tank and Santos not far behind. Santos broke loose in turns one and two one lap later and lost valuable ground to the front two so it was down to a two car shootout for the win. With five to go Austin Nemire running tenth at the time lost the handle on his car in turn two and spun to bring out the fourth and final caution. The green would wave with two to go and all Grant had to do to win his first Silver Crown race on pavement and third overall and first in almost three years was hold off Swanson who has been virtually unbeatable on the pavement in the last couple of years. Grant got a good jump on the green and pulled several car lengths away but Swanson quickly ate up that advantage. Entering turn three on the final lap Grant went low while Swanson drove up top as the two drew closer exiting turn four for a run to the checkered. At the line Grant had done it by 0.50 seconds to claim his first pavement win over Swanson, Santos and Pierce who all completed 100 laps. O'Gara led the drivers one lap down in fifth across the line with Travis Welpott garnering a fine sixth with hometome boy, Matt Goodnight, seventh, Kyle Robbins eighth, Derek Bischak ninth and David Byrne tenth.
It was a very good race exceeding expectations with a good crowd on hand with everyone leaving satisfied that they had witnessed a good run by the Silver Crown guys in their debut at Winchester. A race completed before 9 PM on a Thursday night was an added bonus and had everyone on the road in a decent hour to prepare for the start of Indiana Sprint Week starting tomorrow at Gas City I-69 Speedway.
That's it for this segment and check back every day as we follow ISW as it travels back and forth across the state of Indiana for seven races over a nine day period. News, comments, stories, articles and anything else can reach us at email@example.com. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or if not able to do that tune into one of the live streaming services to get your racing fix. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and your kind words on our writings. Until tomorrow keep safe and keep cool.
Hopkins Rebounds To Win Wild Night At Lincoln Park
Saturday, July 17 - We are back from our vacation in Wisconsin seeing many of the sights around the Wisconsin Dells area and attending a slew of asphalt tracks within a two hour radius. But it was time to return to the dirt and our choice was the Lincoln Park Speedway only 40 minutes from our front door. The weather this week was very rainy with many places receiving 2 to 4 inches of rain and saturating the ground. Joe Spiker and his track crew were in a damn if we do and damn if we don't scenario to run tonight and they decided to go for it. The result was an hour and twenty minute late start and a rough, bumpy race track to start the night with. It was beyond cowboy up as the turns were very rough and treacherous with the warmups seeing many cars bouncing and sliding around in the corners.
The first competitive green would wave at 8:22 on the first of five sprint car heats for the fine 39 car field on hand with Jake Swanson surviving the unruly surface to score the heat one win over Harley Burns and Geoff Ensign, the California driver in for the summer. Heat two saw two drivers roll their sprinters in the unforgiving turn two with Carl Rhuebottom catching the cushion and rolling over. On the ensuing restart leader Jake Scott took a tumble in turn two with both drivers OK and able to return for the B mains. Shane Cockrum would go onto win this heat besting AJ Hopkins and Arizona's Kyle Shipley. Heat three saw point leader, Brayden Fox, roared out front and win this one over Blake Vermillion and Zack Pretorius. Jadon Rogers charged to the front in heat four beating Tye Mihocko in the Mike Gass #17G getting ready for Indiana Sprintweek and Braydon Cromwell. The fifth and final heat would go to Jesse Vermillion over Gabriel Gilbert and Alec Sipes with all three of these drivers showing noticeable improvement in their driving. The UMP modifieds would present three heats for their 25 car field with the super stocks having three heats for their 24 car field and the bombers (24) spinning off three good heats as the track finally began to come around. With 108 cars on the grounds it was already 10:20 when the heat racing ended. Every division would need a B main with the sprinters running two before we would be close to running any feature events. Brent Beauchamp returned from his heat after doing everything but flipping in turns one and two to win B main one over Cole Bodine and Tim Creech. B main two saw invader Dickie Gaines scoring the win over Ricky Lewis who charged from tenth with Jeff Wimmenauer the last man in. A final rework of the surface before the sprint car A main was performed which gave the sprinters a raceable surface to show their talents on.
The green would drop on the 25 lap sprint car feature at 11:46 and it would be the next day until this one was over. In between was some very good racing under trying circumstances. AJ Hopkins would jump to the early lead over Harley Burns and many in the crowd thought this one was already over but no one informed the rest of the drivers of this fact. The first caution flew after the completion of lap one when the cars of Kyle Shipley, Braydon Cromwell and Brent Beauchamp tangled low in turn two with Ricky Lewis clipping one of them going by collapsing his front end and ending his evening prematurely. On the restart Hopkins went to the point with Jadon Rogers passing Burns for second in turn two on lap two with Jake Swanson following him into third. Swanson polished off Rogers for second on the backstretch after Rogers bobbled in turn two and took up the chase of Hopkins. Jeff Wimmenauer slowed in turn two on lap eight to bring out another caution. Hopkins controlled the restart with Swanson and Rogers following. Fifth starting Brayden Fox with coming fast passing Rogers for third on lap ten on the backstretch. Harley Burns fine night ended while running fifth on lap thirteen when his car broke in turn one. Hopkins held sway on the restart with Swanson and Fox in tow. Shane Cockrum made a two for one pass on the backstretch to move into the top five on lap fifteen as Swanson snuck by Hopkins on the low side entering turn one on lap 16. Rogers made contact with third running Fox low in turn two causing Fox to spin and ending his fine run also as he had to restart at the tail of the field. Swanson led on the restart with Hopkins slipping to fourth as we seemed to be out of sync. Hopkins now dug deep and went to the cushion battling back to second by lap twenty one and caught and passed Swanson on the homestretch starting lap twenty two. In a shocker Swanson lost the handle entering turn one on the white flag lap and spun taking him out of a sure second place finish. The green and white waved on the restart and at 12:15 AJ Hopkins flashed under the double checkers winning his sixth of the year at LPS over Shane Cockrum who made a late rally to finish second with Rogers third, Cole Bodine advancing from 18th to 4th with Tye Mihocko rounding out the top five.
We decided to exit the track and head home as it was a long night but kudos go out to the LPS track crew and Joe Spiker for hanging in there and giving the fans a night of racing that they probably shouldn't have attempted to do. As this is being written Spiker and crew have thrown in the towel on Sunday's scheduled race at Paragon facing another long day and night attempting to whip the facility into running shape.
That's it for this weekend as we look ahead to a busy upcoming week starting with racing on Wednesday and continuing through Sunday as Indiana Sprintweek kicks off starting Friday at Gas City.
Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Check back often to see where we end up next and any comments, news, stories or anything else of interest can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And last but not least thanks for continuing to read our efforts and the nice comments from many of you which are much appreciated.
Mihocko In Sub Role Wins Sprints At Lincoln Park
Saturday, June 26 - USAC Silver Crown and SRX were running at Eldora and MSCS sprints were running at Tri-State but we opted to stay closer to home and take in the racing at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, only 40 minutes away from our home. We arrived early to grab one of the hillside parking by the cemetery spots and went inside to place our chairs. We retreated back to the SUV as the humidity was off the charts so the AC was the choice until 6:15 as we made our way into the grandstand area which had filled in nicely since our last visit. Fireworks were on the card tonight along with the regular four divisions so we expected a good crowd and it turned out to indeed be one.
After hot laps/group qualifying for each of the four classes the non-wing sprint cars would be the first to the post to run their four heats for their higher than expected 28 car field. Tim Creech ran a heady race to capture heat one over Colten Cottle, Pat Giddens in a good run and Daniel Clodfelter. The second heat was the best race of the night as the front four went at it tooth and nail many times running three to four abreast around the 5/16 mile banked dirt oval. Mitchell's Dickie Gaines in a rare LPS appearance prevailed in this barn burner over Brandon Spencer in a strong run, Jesse Vermillion and Brayden Fox. Missouri's Braydon Cromwell looking better each time out won heat three over AJ Hopkins, Mario Clouser and Harley Burns. Brent Beauchamp took the family car to victory in heat four beating Tye Mihocko making only his second appearance in the Jamie Paul #24P subbing for Silver Crown racing Shane Cockrum, Matt McDonald and Zack Pretorius. The UMP modifieds (17) would contest two heats with a pair of 2's driven by Matt Mitchell and Jake Leitzman taking them. The super stocks would spin off three heats for their 26 car field while the bombers also raced three heats for their 22 car field. Only the sprints and the super stocks would need B mains before the main events were run.
Blake Vermillion was never headed in the 12 lap B main besting Robert Carrington, Gabriel Gilbert and Crawfordsville's own Chad Davenport.
The 25 lap sprint car feature would be called to the post first and would run before the fireworks would be launched skyward. Brian Hodde's green flag waved on the front row of Tye Mihocko and A J Hopkins at 9:47 and that would be the last time the green was needed as this one went non-stop in seven minutes. Tye Mihocko bolted to the early lead over Hopkins with Colten Cottle moving into third. Cottle would pass Hopkins for second on lap three and take up the chase of Mihocko. The trio would never get too far away from each other as the laps clicked off and we entered the second half of the contest. Brandon Spencer knocked off Hopkins for third on the backstretch on lap sixteen as Cottle continued to stalk Mihocko. Spencer was looking very racy in the later stages of this race as he worked his way by Cottle for second in turn two on lap seventeen as Mihocko opened up a bit of a lead. Hopkins suddenly found some grip on the outside groove as he raced past Cottle for third on lap twenty two off turn four and closed on Spencer. One lap later Hopkins took back second from Spencer but ran out of time to possibly make a serious run for the win. As the double checkers waved at 9:54 it was Mihocko in for his first win in the Paul #24P after running second to Hopkins in his previous start in the car with Hopkins second, Spencer coming home a fine third, Brent Beauchamp slipping by Cottle late to garner fourth and Cottle rounding out the top five. Matt McDonald led the second five to the line in sixth after starting 12th, Braydon Cromwell was seventh, Pat Giddens eighth, Mario Clouser ninth and Jesse Vermillion closing out the top ten.
The fireworks were next on the agenda and the Circle City outfit who does the show are very good at what they do. These fireworks have to be among the best we have ever seen. A great 15 minutes of ooohs and awwws were uttered by most everyone.
We decided to stay for the 20 lap UMP modified feature which went green at 10:25. The front row of Jake Leitzman and Matt Mitchell went side by side for about five laps until Leitzman edged in front. Leitzman led until lap 13 when he half spun in turn one down low and lost the lead to Rob Brickert which he never recovered from. Leitzman and Mitchell both faltered down the stretch allowing Jeff Deckard from eighth to make a late race challenge to Brickert but on the last restart Brickert pulled away for the win at 10:45 with Deckard second, Cody Wright turning in a good ride from ninth to third with Tyler Loughmiller fourth and Brian Hayden securing fifth at the finish.
It was time to pack the chairs into the carrying bags and head for the exit after another good night of racing at Lincoln Park Speedway where the fine voice of Brad Dickison did a great job tonight announcing solo as normal partner, Pat Sullivan, was announcing at Eldora on this beautiful evening.
That's it for this week as the Bob Darland Memorial at Kokomo Speedway has fallen victim to the rain in the area relegating us to a one race weekend. Comments, news, stories and anything else can reach us at email@example.com. In the meantime if your area is opening up from the pandemic get out there and support your local track and promoter who struggled last year with some tracks not allowed to have fans the entire 2020 racing season. Be safe and stay hydrated and enjoy that short track racing in your area or take it on the road for hit list track that you have always wanted to see. And as usual thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we might end up next.
A TYPICAL WEEKEND
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Kofoid Makes It Two Straight With Finale Win At Fayette Co.
Sunday, June 20 - The temperature soared back up to 90 today but it wasn't as humid. We stayed in Effingham last night so we found a local establishment called the Gabby Goat American Pub and Grill where we dined on nachos and sandwiches before heading south on I-70 toward Brownstown, Illinois, the site of the Fayette County Speedway, a quarter mile dirt oval with decent banking. It was the final night of the five race series sanctioned by POWRi called the Illinois Midget Week with the point title still to be decided tonight. In addition to 24 POWRi National midgets and 12 POWRi 600 micro sprints there were four other local classes on the card making for a long evening of racing on a Sunday night with the next day a work day for many. To compound the length of the program the one town ambulance was called away to transport a citizen of Brownstown to the hospital causing an hour late start. It might be a good idea to hire a second ambulance for this race next year.
The covered aluminum grandstand was a blessing on this hot and sunny day as we waited out the necessary wait for the ambulance to return. Finally at 8:02 it was time to go racing with the POWRI midgets starting off the heat racing with three heats.
The racing Oklahoma University cheerleader, Taylor Reimer, scored the win in heat one over Thomas Meseraull, Ryan Timms and Cade Lewis. Timms spun during the heat on the backstretch and rolled over lightly restarting and finishing third. Buddy Kofoid won heat two beating Brenham Crouch, Max Mittry and Karter Sarff. The third and final heat went to Cannon McIntosh over Brent Crews, Bryant Wiedeman and Gavan Boschele. The POWRi 600's would spin off two heats with Cody Key and Asron Andruskevitch winning. The other four divisions ran their heats before the POWRi midgets would return for their 30 lap feature race taking the green at 9:39.
Brent Crews would grab the early lead but the red would fly quickly when Max Mittry and Mark Chisholm executed a double flip on the backstretch. On the restart Cade Lewis rolled his midget in turn one but was able to right the car and continue at the tail of the field. They went green again with Crews chased by Kofoid and Reimer. The caution appeared on lap three when Emilio Hoover looped it in turn four. Crews would retain the lead on the restart until lap eight when Kofoid executed a slider in turn four to gain the lead. Lap eleven saw the yellow lights flash again when Karter Sarff spun in turn one with two others also involved. On the restart Kofoid went out front with Crews and now Cannon McIntosh making a pass on Reimer on the backstretch to take over third. One lap later Daniel Adler rolled his midget in turn four to bring out the red. The restart saw Emerson Axsom and Brenham Crouch tangle on the backstretch with Axsom flipping and Crouch spinning. They went back to green for another four laps until Taylor Reimer made an ill advised slider attempt in turn four on Trey Gropp slamming into Gropp and sending the pair flipping in the turn. Both were fine after the hard hit but done for the evening. From that point forward after the field was thinned to ten cars running it went caution free with Kofoid leading the field around the 1/4 mile bullring. At 10:27 it was Buddy Kofoid across the line first for his second win in a row, seventh on the year and fourteenth career POWRi victory. Brent Crews would hold off Cannon McIntosh for second with McIntosh third and winning the Illinois Midget Week point title with Ryan Timms fourth and Karter Sarff coming back to finish fifth after his spin. Gavan Boschele came home sixth at the end with Bryant Wiedeman seventh, Kaylee Bryson eighth, Emilio Hoover ninth and Dalton Camfield tenth and the last man standing.
The 15 lap 600 micro sprint feature saw the green flag at 10:37 with newcomer, Ashton Torgerson, breezing into the early lead from his first starting position. Unlike the midget feature which had eight cautions/reds this one would only have one yellow due to a spin. Torgerson set a heady pace and pulled away from the field in an easy run to the checkered scoring his first career POWRi 600 win becoming the third driver to do so in five races held with second place finisher, Aaron Andruskevitch, winning the other two events held during midget week. Cody Key would drive home third followed by Shain Kaiser and Bradley Fezard with this checkered waving at 10:43. There were still four features to run at this point and they would be running them without us as we exited stage right to return back to our hotel in Effingham to get a good night's sleep before making the journey back the next morning to Crawfordsville.
That wraps up the ninth running of Illinois Midget Week with all five races being held which has happened for the first time in several years. This week looks like we will be staying local and taking in four races over four days. In the meantime get out there and enjoy the summer and get to some good short track racing in your area and have fun and be safe. Comments, news and anything of interest can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And last but not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoyed them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
Kofoid Captures Night Four Of Illinois Midget Week At Macon
Saturday, June 19 - Today we received a little break on the hot weather as thunderstorms during the evening cooled the temperatures down somewhat for this Saturday. The daytime temperatures only reached the mid-80's and a nice breeze to boot. After leaving the hotel in Springfield we rode around the city and viewed various older homes in the area near the capital. We were going to tour the Dana-Thomas House or the Vachel Lindsay House but neither fit into our time schedule. We talked with a gentleman from the Chicago area in the parking lot of the Dana-Thomas House who asked if the cling sticker in our car window was a Little Giant. Upon informing him that it was he told us that we worked with another fellow that was a graduate of Wabash College in Crawfordsville where the Little Giant is the mascot of the school. He asked if he could take a picture of the sticker and we are sure he will have a good story to tell his fellow worker. After leaving Springfield we ventured south to the small town of Macon where their 1/5 mile black clay oval was hosting the fourth night of POWRi Illinois Midget Week. We taped down our seat on the backstretch and proceeded over to Whit's End 51, our go to eating spot in Macon. After enjoying a delicious meal we drove back to the track where Pat enjoyed reading one of her Amish books while I toured the pit area talking with various drivers such as 14 year old Cade Lewis, Kaylee Bryson, Shain Kaiser, Mark Chisholm from Wyoming and head honcho of POWRi, Ken Brown, who I got to meet in person for the first time. Thirty two POWRi midgets, fourteen POWRi 600 micro sprints, twelve pro late models and thirteen street stocks had signed into the pit area for tonight's racing.
As we ventured into the backstretch grandstands hot laps were under way and everything suddenly went quiet as the midgets ground to a halt as newcomer, Tanner Allen, had just gone for a wild ride after exiting turn two, doing a wheelie, landing hard with his ride darting to the right causing him to go into a series of rolls ending up in turn three. The safety crews did a great job stablishing him in the car before removing him and transporting him to the hospital. The announcer said he was awake and alert but we do not have any report of his condition at this time. We will pass along anything updates that we receive. That incident caused about a twenty minute delay but the safety and care of the competitors is the number one priority. Later in hot laps Austin Barnhill rolled his midget between turns one and two with the youngster emerging unscathed.
After all hot lap sessions were completed the first of four POWRi midget heats hit the track at 7:57. Taylor Reimer continued her impressive speed week with a win in heat one over Gavan Boschele, Ryan Timms and Emerson Axsom moving into a second RMS ride after the Petry entry suffered terminal woes at Jacksonville. Buddy Kofoid claimed heat two over Karter Sarff, Terry Babb and Brandon Waelti. Kaylee Bryson took down heat three making it the second female to win a heat tonight besting Thomas Meseraull, Trey Gropp and Sam Johnson. Brenham Crouch dumped the Kunz #97 in turn four in this one. Cannon McIntosh went to a backup car tonight and won heat four beating Mitchell Davis, Daison Pursley and Brent Crews. The 600's would run two heats with Shain Kaiser and Kyle Barber winning those. The pro late models ran two heats with Colby Sheppard and Jake Little winning. The street stocks ended up heat qualifying with two heats.
It was right into the midget B main where the action heated up early when Mark Chisholm hopped a right rear tire of another competitor and hit the turn one wall and flipped. Chisholm was OK after his wild ride but done for the evening. Later in the B David Camfield rolled his midget in turn four slowing the action. Camfield was fine after his flip also. Brent Crews would go onto win the B main over Trey Gropp, Zach Daum, Tyler Nelson, Emilio Hoover and Brenham Crouch.
The 20 lap pro late model feature would be the first of the night with the field taking the green flag at 9:40. Battling for the lead Colby Sheppard body slammed Jake Little into the turn four wall ending Little's night prematurely. After that five more cautions slowed this affair and with body parts schedding all over the track surface during the course of the race Timmy Dick came home the winner at 10:02 trailed by Danny Koehler and Blake Damery. The race was not an artistic success.
It was 10:18 when the 30 lap POWRi midget feature took the green flag with the front row of Thomas Meseraull and Kaylee Bryson racing side by side around the oval before Daison Pursley running third at the time caught an infield tire sending him rolling off the inside of the track with his car soaring in the air with others passing underneath. Luckily when he landed no one was under him and he settled onto the track in turn three. Pursley was reported as OK after several anxious moments spent inside the cockpit of the midget. On the restart the front row again went side by side all the way around the 1/5 mile with Meseraull edging Bryson for the lead at the line to complete lap one. Cannon McIntosh made the pass for second on the homestretch on lap four and tracked down Meseraull taking the lead on the homestretch to complete lap six. Buddy Kofoid would pass Meseraull for second on the backstretch on lap nine and took up the chase of McIntosh. Brandon Waelti slowed to a stop on the inside of turn three to bring out the caution on lap fourteen. The man on the move at this point was Bryant Wiedeman slicing from 14th to 7th by lap fifteen. It was McIntosh still up front as the field approached lap traffic by lap twenty and started to work their way through. Kofoid got the break he needed as McIntosh stumbled on the cushion in turn two on lap twenty three and Kofoid pounched on the opportunity and grabbed the lead. A scary moment happened just after Kofoid's pass when Cade Lewis flipped in turn one in traffic with Meseraull clipping his car sitting on its side on the track at full speed but luckily both drivers were uninjured but finished for the evening. Kofoid's pass was negated and McIntosh was back in the lead. One lap after the restart Trey Gropp flipped in turn three to bring out a quick red. Gropp climbed from his wrecked midget after the incident. The race went green again with McIntosh and Kofoid swapping sliders for the lead with Kofoid taking the lead for good on the backstretch. Lap twenty five saw the final caution wave when Mitchell Davis spun on the inside of turn two. Kofoid jumped out front on the restart and opened a two car length lead over McIntosh which he would maintain the remainder of the distance flashing under the double checkers at 11:16 ending the long feature scoring his 13th career POWRi win in the 41st time that POWRi has raced at Macon. McIntosh finished second with Bryson taking third after a race long battle with Gavan Boschele who finished fourth with Bryant Wiedeman completing a fine ride ending up fifth. Karter Sarff finished sixth with Emerson Axsom seventh, Taylor Reimer eighth, Zach Daum ninth and Ryan Timms tenth.
The 20 lap POWRi 600 micro sprint feature went green at 11:25 with the race getting off to a rocky start when first starting Daryn Stark spun sideways in turn two collecting four others including two time winner, Aaron Andruskevitch. All were able to continue but had to restart at the tail of the 14 car field. Kyle Barker was the new leader and he took full advantage of the situation sprinting away from the field. Shain Kaiser went after Barker and made the pass for the lead and began to pull away from the pack. Just after the halfway mark the front struts on the top wing of Kaiser's car broke sending the wing backward on top of the roll cage. Kaiser tried to continue but after a few laps it was to no avail as he pulled to the infield out of the hunt. Barker again was the benificiary of the misfortune and regained the lead. Barker would lead the remaining six laps of the tussle coming home with his first career POWRi 600 win over a fast closing Tyler Kuykendall with Daryn Stark making a good comeback from the rear to nail down third with Bradley Fezard fourth and Trevin Littleton fifth. Aaron Andruskevitch had also made his way back to fourth but spun in turn four coming for the checkered and did not cross the line.
It was a long night of racing with too many flips but as always it was exciting racing at the bullring at Macon.
That's it for this installment and check back tomorrow afternoon to see what happened in the final night of Illinois Midget Week from Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, IL. and who is crowned the 2021 midget week champion. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and have fun and stay hydrated in this hot weather. Comments, news, insider scoops or anything else can reach us at email@example.com. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you are enjoying them.
Pursley Holds Off Kofoid In POWRI Midgets At Jacksonville
Friday, June 18 - Another scorcher awaited us as we exited our hotel in Springfield, IL. Lunch was on the agenda and we ended up at Dew Chilli Parlor which was a great choice. They had been in business since 1909 and their founder, Joe Bocklemann, died in 1975 at the age of 89 and the business went on until 1995 under other management. It closed in 1995 but returned in 2013 and is going strong with three locations as of 2021. And they spell chili in Springfield with two L's (chilli). We had sanchos which are a soft tortilla filled with chilli meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers and covered with white cheese. Pat opted for the Philly Cheese Steak sancho and she was pleased with her choice also. If in Springfield check out one of the three locations of Dew Chilli Parlors. From Dew's we pointed the Rogue west on 72 toward Jacksonville and our destination, the 1/4 mile dirt oval on the Morgan County Fairgrounds known as the Jacksonville Speedway. We placed our blanket behind Don and Burline Skidmore and retreated to the cool and comfort of the Rogue before the night of racing kicked off. Our Indiana friends, Jen Kelley and Dan Hetser, were sitting behind us when we reentered the grandstands to settle in for the night of racing. The dance card looked like this: 32 POWRi National midgets, 15 POWRi 600 micro sprints and 8 non-wing 410 sprint cars. The feud between Jake Neuman and Buddy Kofoid continued after last night's incident with the two banging wheels before they went green in their hot lap session with Neuman suffering a flat right rear tire in the process.
The POWRi midgets would start off the night at 7:08 with four heats for racing with the top 16 in passing points locking into the 30 lap feature later in the evening. Daison Pursley would streak by Buddy Kofoid who suffered a flat right rear tire off turn four to win heat one with Kofoid second, Taylor Reimer third and Trey Gropp fourth. Heat two would fall to Gavan Boschele beating Sam Johnson, Cade Lewis and Kaylee Bryson. Brent Crews captured heat three over Jake Neuman, Bryant Wiedeman and Mitchell Davis. The fourth and final heat went to invading Thomas Meseraull besting Emerson Axsom who drove from eighth to second with Tyler Nelson and Shelby Boise following. Caden Englehart would go for a hard ride in turn one in heat four after bashing the wall and rolling over four times. Englehart would return for the B main. The 600 micro sprints would post two heats with Aaron Andruskevitch and Tyler Kuykendall claiming top honors. The non-wing sprints would spin off two heats with Colten Cottle and Mario Clouser posting wins.
Only the midgets would need a B main and that was brought to the track as the thunder and lightning carried on nearby. Cannon McIntosh would take down the B over Karter Sarff, Daniel Adler, Zach Daum, Brenham Crouch and Cheyenne, Wyoming's Mark Chisholm making his first race of the series. Terry Babb rolled over in an incident in turn four after clipping a spun Crouch and on the last lap Elizabeth Phillips went flipping on the backstretch with starter, Ron Standridge, waving the red and checker as the other cars exited the fourth turn. The weather bypassed us though it knocked out some of the equipment of the MAVTV Plus but things continued on schedule.
The 30 lap POWRi midget feature was called to the track quickly to make certain the rain did not circle around and cause us to get rained out. The green flag of Ron Standridge would wave on the front row of Emerson Axsom and Daison Pursley with Pursley gaining the lead on the high side racing down the backstretch on the opening lap. Pursley opened is lead as Axsom and Thomas Meseraull battled for second. Lap eight saw a five car tangle in turn four halt the action with both Axsom and Meseraull involved in the mess while running second and third. Meseraull and Axsom would return from the work area and restart at the tail of the field.
On the restart Pursley moved out front pursued by Boschele and Kaylee Bryson. A frightening moment happened on lap fourteen when Meseraull broke a steering gear and swerved across the homestretch right toward the female camera person on the concrete slab against the homestretch wall but somehow he was able to miss her and the concrete. On the restart Pursley retained the lead with Brent Crews moving to second and Buddy Kofoid climbing into third. The laps started to click off with Pursley maintaining a comfortable lead over Crews and Kofoid. With four to go Kofoid disposed of Crews to garner second but had a ways to catch the high flying Pursley. Kofoid's break came on the white flag lap when Axsom pulled onto the half mile ramp with a small fire under the hood ending his evening prematurely. Axsom would finish 20th and tarnish his chances of winning the speedweek point title. On the ensuing restart Pursley got a nice restart and pulled several car lengths ahead but Mark Chisholm spun in turn one to bring out the caution. The race went green again with Kofoid right on the rear tail tank of Pursley diving low in turn one to make a move but Pursley held sway. Coming off the fourth turn to the white flag Kofoid edged ahead in the middle groove but Pursley never lifted and raced back around Kofoid. Pursley would hold on to the finish to claim his fourth career POWRi National win and third of 2021 over Kofoid with Cannon McIntosh storming from 17th to third with Crews fourth and Jake Neuman nailing down fifth. Ryan Timms would ride home sixth with Boschele seventh, Bryant Wiedeman eighth, Cade Lewis ninth and Kaylee Bryson tenth.
The 20 lap POWRi 600 feature would race next with the green flying at 9:20 with Aaron Andruskevitch grabbing the early lead. Hayden Harvey would chase Aaron the entire distance to no avail. Jacob Tipton would drop back early but rebounded nicely making a good run all the way up to third at one point but fading to seventh at the end. Bradley Fezard would come home third at 9:27 with Tyler Kuykendall fourth and Shain Kaiser, last night's winner, coming in fifth.
The 15 lap non-wing sprint car feature was last on the agenda taking the green at 9:38. Colten Cottle took the early lead with Mario Clouser in hot pursuit. Clouser would take the lead with an inside move in turn three on lap seven and Cottle would return the favor the next time around. Entering turn one to start lap nine Cottle lost the handle and spun in front of Clouser with no damage except maybe to his pride. Clouser would inherit the lead and cruise the remaining seven laps to score the $1000 to win feature over Logan Faucon, a normal MOWA winged sprint runner, in a good run with Korey Weyant finishing third with the final checker waving at 9:44.
Night three was a good night of racing and the POWRi midget feature might have been the best of the three. All three programs have ended right around 10 or before. Hope this continues as the weather for tonight at Macon is hit or miss especially after 10 PM.
Night three of five for the POWRi Illinois Midget Week is in the books with night four Saturday at the incredible 1/5 mile bullring at Macon, Illinois. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe and keep hydrated. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next in a typical weekend.
A TYPICAL WEEKEND
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Cannon McIntosh Takes Wild POWRi Midget Win At Lincoln
Thursday, June 17 - After spending the night at the Hampton Inn in Mattoon we searched for a place to eat lunch and found Hubbartt's Downtown Diner. It was a good choice as our waitress was friendly and very good and the food was delicious. A good place to eat with a salad bar to boot. From there we headed over toward Springfield where we would be spending the next two nights at Candlewood Suites. After checking in we spent some time in the room staying cool before venturing out into the sweltering heat where the temperature read 97 degrees as we left Springfield. It did drop down to 93 on our ride up to Lincoln but it was still very hot. Thank goodness there was a covered grandstand to sit under once we reached the 1/4 mile black clay oval on the grounds of the Logan County Fairgrounds. The grandstands sit back from the 1/4 mile oval as the half mile horse track separates the two. A decent crowd was on hand on this hot Thursday to take in the POWRi National Midgets (32), POWRi 600 Micro Sprints (12), pro late models (21) and UMP modifieds (12). A nice touch as you entered the grandstands was a program given to each person highlighting the event tonight and giving the schedule of events with the starting time listed at 7 for racing.
Qualifying for both the pro late models and UMP modifieds were time trials two at a time starting at 6:31. They went smoothly and by 7:04 it was time for the first of four POWRi midget heats. Sam Johnson said See Ya in heat one outrunning Emerson Axsom, Gavin Boschele and Buddy Kofoid. Kaylee Bryson beat the boys in heat two besting Jake Neuman, Brent Crews and Bryant Wiedeman. Mitchell Davis claimed heat three over Emilio Hoover, Cade Lewis and Zach Daum. Cannon McIntosh scored heat four over Ryan Timms, Daison Pursley and Shelby Bosie. The 600's would spin off two heats with Arkansas' Bradley Fezard winning the first and Trevin Littleton the second. The pro late models ran three heats with Jake Little, Braden Johnson and Jose Parga the winners. The UMP modifieds would run two heats with Kentucky's Hunt Gossum (never know where he is going to show up) and Tommy Sheppard Jr. winning.
Only the POWRi midgets would need a B main with Bryant Wiedeman taking this one over Karter Sarff, Taylor Reimer, Terry Babb, Austin Barnhill and Brandon Waelti, one of the Badger regulars taking the sixth and final qualifying position. In this one veteran Ronnie Gardner from California took a nasty ride into the large tractor tires that protect the edge of the turn one wall displacing one of the tires and climbing the wall and shearing off one of the wooden poles holding the fence up. A loud roar came from the crowd when Gardner climbed from his midget and another when he walked down the outer track toward the pit area. It was indeed a scary moment for everyone.
With all qualifying now completed it was right into the main events with the 20 lap pro late model feature the first called to the post. Jose Parga had a good duel with Jake Little before assuming the lead and going on to win his fifth time in six outings over Little and Brandon Eskew.
The 30 lap POWRi National Midget feature was next on the schedule with Jake Neuman and Emerson Axsom bringing the 22 car field to the green flag at 9:00. Neuman and Axsom would race side by side the entire lap with Neuman edging Axsom at the wire to complete lap one. Neuman would pull away to a comfortable lead leaving the rest to battle it out behind him. Buddy Kofoid was on the move from his eighth starting spot and was up to fifth by lap two. Two laps later Kofoid was in fourth and moving forward. Austin Barnhill rolled to a stop on the backstretch to bring the first caution out on lap four. On the restart Neuman was the leader with Brent Crews taking second from Axsom going down the backstretch with Kofoid taking third from Axsom on the inside of turn two on lap seven from Axsom. Lap nine saw Kofoid use the high side to slip by Crews for second and he now set his sights on Neuman. Daison Pursley cracked the top five in turn four moving by Axsom to take that spot. Racing into turn one on lap sixteen Neuman was on the outside and Kofoid slid low with Kofoid sliding up into Neuman sending him backwards toward the fence. Neuman was none too happy with this turn of events and climbed from his car causing an automatic disqualification and he was sent to the pit area. It would take a few times to move on from lap sixteen as on the first restart Brent Crews would slide into the turn two wall to bring out the caution. The second restart saw leader Kofoid into the turn four wall after contact with Pursley with both flipping over and eliminating Kofoid from further racing. With the front four cleared out in front of him Axsom would assume the lead with Cannon McIntosh and Kaylee Bryson in his tire tracks. On lap nineteen McIntosh made his move breezing by Axsom on the homestretch to take the number one position. Bryant Wiedeman was coming quickly from his 17th starting position taking second from Axsom with an inside move off turn four on lap twenty. Karter Sarff from 18th disposed of Axsom for third on the outside of the backstretch on lap twenty one with second and third closing the gap on the leader. The sixth and final caution would wave on lap twenty seven when Trep Gropp pulled to a stop in turn four. With a clear track in front of them the top three took off chasing each other over the remaining three laps. McIntosh was up to the task and would hold off Wiedeman and Sarff to the finish scoring his first POWRi National win in his dad's Dave Mac Motorsports entry. Axsom would ride home fourth and Taylor Reimer, the Oklahoma University cheerleader, would wrap up a fine drive from 19th to 5th at the finish in a backup car. Positions six through ten were filled by Emilio Hoover with Daison Pursley coming back for seventh, young 13 year old Cade Lewis eighth, Zach Daum ninth and Gavin Boschele tenth.
The 15 lap POWRi 600 micro sprint feature was up next taking the green flag at 9:43. Shain Kaiser of Missouri went to the point at the start and would not be headed the rest of the way. Aaron Andruskevitch stalled on the homestretch early and went to the tail of the 12 car field on the restart. Andruskevitch sliced his way through the field taking second on the last lap but it was the 6'7" tall Kaiser in for his first career POWRi 600 win over Andruskevitch with Tyler Kuykendall third, Bradley Fezard fourth and Xavier Doney riding home fifth at 9:52. The 600 field has been way down due to a big show at Southern Illinois Raceway on Friday and Saturday with Saturday night's final paying a cool $12,000 to win.
There was still the 20 lap UMP modified feature to run with the green waving at 9:57. The track was worn at this point but these guys still put on a good show. Hunt Gossum worked the bottom relentlessly finally finding an opening underneath Ray Bollinger late in the contest and snuck by to take the win. Brandon Roberts would claim third with Tommy Sheppard Jr. fourth and Brian Lynn rounding out the top five with the final checker flying at 10:07 on another finely run program.
That's it for this installment and check back tomorrow for round three of Illinois Midget Week coming at you from the Jacksonville Speedway. In the meantime get out there and catch some good short track racing in your area or take a road trip but be safe and stay hydrated. And thanks for reading our efforts and come back often to see where we end up next. Take care and be good.
A TYPICAL WEEKEND
Axsom Captures Illinois Midget Week Opener At Charleston
Wednesday, June 16 - Today would be the opening round of the five race series sanctioned by POWRi known as Illinois Midget Week in its eighth season of competition. It was a beautiful day in the mid 80's, sunny and a light breeze or in other words a picture perfect day. We made the 1 1/2 drive out of western Indiana into eastern Illinois stopping to see a covered bridge and the Ernie Pyle Memorial in the same park outside of Dana, Indiana. For you are too young to know or don't remember Pyle was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and war correspondent who is best known for his stories about ordinary American soldiers during World War II. He was killed in Okinawa, Japan in 1945 while reporting on the battle there. It was an interesting stop and was nice to see how the small town of Dana honored their most famous former resident.
After a fine Italian meal at Rocky's Italian Bistro in Paris, Illinois we made the last 20 mile drive over to the Charleston Speedway, a 1/4 mile banked dirt oval, where the POWRI National Midget League and the POWRi 600's were on the card in an open wheel doubleheader. Twenty four midgets and fourteen 600's were in the pit area located off turns three and four to do battle in the first of five races on the week. Burline and Don Skidmore were already there and had saved us seats in the top row of the old wooden covered grandstand and we found them and chatted before I ventured down to purchase two 2021 Illinois Midget Week t-shirts for the unfolding events.
After hot laps it was right into heat racing as POWRi does not run time trials but instead runs heat races awarding passing points with the top sixteen in points locking into the 30 lap feature. Normally a B main would be run qualifying the remainder of the field but tonight it would be waived and all 24 cars would start the main event. They really motor around the 1/4 mile and the action is fast and furious. Daison Pursley would capture heat one outrunning Kaylee Bryson, Brent Crews and Gavin Boschele. Heat two was the best of the night with a torrid battle up front finally falling to Cannon McIntosh over Ryan Timms, Zach Daum and Taylor Reimer. The final heat saw a double flip occur on lap three in turn four when Buddy Kofoid made a dumb slider that you knew wasn't going to work from the start and creamed teammate, Brenham Crouch, with the pair flipping over before landing on the track. Both drivers were OK and Kofoid would return for the feature but Crouch was done for the evening. Kofoid is very talented and fast but at this point his driving choices need to improve for him to move to the next level. Emerson Axsom would go on to win the third heat over Max Mittry, Bryant Weideman and Shelby Boise. The 600's would run two heats with Shain Kaiser and Aaron Andruskevitch winning those.
By 8:18 it was time to go feature racing with the 30 lap POWRi midgets led to the green by Cannon McIntosh and Emerson Axsom with Axsom taking the initial lead in turn two on the opening lap. The red appeared on lap four when Emilio Hoover executed a light roll in turn three. He was OK but done for the evening. On the restart Axsom went back to the point but a crowd pleasing duel was being played out between McIntosh and Daison Pursley exchanging sliders on each end of the oval until Pursley got the upper hand several laps later. Lap traffic was coming into play by lap eleven as Axsom and the others worked their way through it. The racing was intense from second back to sixth with close competition and much passing back and forth among Pursley, McIntosh, Brent Crews, Ryan Timms and Kaylee Bryson. Lap seventeen would see McIntosh shred a right rear tire in turn four while running second. McIntosh would go to the work area and return to the race starting at the tail and moving forward from the next green. Buddy Kofoid who had started 19th had made his way into the top ten at this point and wasn't done yet. On the ensuing restart Bryson hit a rut in turn two, bounced off all four wheels, landed again and dug into the track and flipped over several times ending her night earlier than anticipated after a fine top five run. Pursley had executed the perfect move on that restart hanging back and getting a good run entering turn one and sliding up in front of Axsom in turn two to take the lead but the red negated the move. Axsom would not let that happen again. On the restart Axsom retained the lead with Pursley second and Timms sliding into third. Lap twenty four saw Kofoid crack the top five as all eyes shifted to the #67 to see if he could pull off another from the back to win. Caden Englehart would turn turtle between turns three and four on lap twenty five to bring out the red again. After cleanup the race went green again with Axsom first, Pursley second and Crews third. Lap twenty six saw Kofoid made a low side move in turn one to claim fourth and two laps later used the same move to take third from Crews. Axsom was flying the top and would flash under the checkered flag at 8:58 claiming his second POWRi win of 2021 and second career win for the sixteen year old. Pursley would trail him to the line in second with Kofoid third, McIntosh making a charge from the rear to fourth and Brent Crews rounding out the top five. Bryant Weideman would lead the second five to the line in sixth with Taylor Reimer seventh, Cade Lewis eighth, Gavin Boschele ninth and Max Mittry tenth.
The 20 lap POWRi 600 micro sprint feature would close out the program taking the green at 9:03. Aaron Andruskevitch would bound off the outside of the front row and be gone like the rabbit but unlike the children's story the turtle nor anyone else would catch him the rest of the twenty laps. The racing was good behind him with Aubrey Smith squeezing by Shain Kaiser late to pick up second at the finish for the female driver with Kaiser third, Bradley Fezard fourth in his triple digit #938 fourth and Trevin Little fifth as the final checker waved at 9:13. It was Andruskevitch's 13th career POWRi 600 micro sprint win.
The car counts were down especially with the 600's but give credit to POWRi for not wasting any time and getting the working fan back on the road a quarter of the clock past nine. If the midget feature had not had the numerous cautions everything could have been in the record books before nine. A well run program for sure.
Check back tomorrow as he attend night two of Illinois Midget Week at the Lincoln Speedway to see how things play out. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. Comments, news, stories and tall tales can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and we hope you continue to enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
Windom Takes The Battle But Kofoid Wins The War At Kokomo
Saturday, June 12 - The weather was hot, hot, hot!!! Temperatures soared to 95 degrees and a heat advisory was posted for Indiana. But the races at Kokomo would go on as the USAC Midget Week caravan was making their final stop of the eight race tour in ten days at the 1/4 mile clay oval located on the northside of Kokomo known as the Kokomo Speedway. A good lunch beforehand at Choo Choo Magoo's was in order before making our way over to the track in the company of Iowa's Jim Reeder and Florida/Wisconsin's Dale O'Brien. Blankets were placed on the aluminum grandstands on the backstretch and we spent the next few hours in the comfort of the SUV with the air conditioner blowing.
It was the final night of racing for Indiana Midget Week and the points battle was still mathematically possible for seven drivers led by Buddy Kofoid. Teammate Daison Pursley trailed Kofoid by just three markers with Logan Seavey just twelve points behind. Emerson Axsom was fourth 43 points back with Chris Windom 48 points back in fifth. The other two with an outside shot were Kevin Thomas Jr. 49 back and Corey Day 63 behind.
Time trials would start off the program at 7:24 for the 32 USAC midgets on hand to do battle in round eight. As the last three or four midgets took their time rain began to fall as the time trials were completed by 7:44 with Chase Randall setting his first career fast time with a lap of 13.112 seconds. At first it was only a light rain and we thought we were going to be alright until the wind began to pick up and you just knew it was going to rain harder and it did. Many took refuge underneath the leaking grandstands until it let up enough to venture back out to the SUV to wait out the storm and wait to see what was going to happen. After about a half hour it was posted on social media that the show was still on and working the track back into shape would take at least an hour to 90 minutes before wheel packing could begin and everyone would need to hot lap again before the racing began. Just minutes short of three hours the green flag would drop on the first sprint car heat race at 10:40.
Brayden Clark after a rough night the night before at Gas City went to work and walked off with the first heat race besting Parker Fredrickson, Max Adams and Minnesota visitor, Rob Caho. Andrew Prather ran a fine race in heat two winning over Thomas Meseraull, Scotty Weir and Matt Westfall. The third and final sprint car heat fell to Charles Davis Jr. outrunning Texan transplant, Brandon Long, now residing in Kokomo, Matt Goodnight and Brayden Cromwell. Four USAC midget heats would quickly follow with Tanner Thorson claiming heat one over Jerry Coons Jr., Logan Seavey and Chase Randall. Bryant Wiedeman brought home one of five Keith Kunz Motorsports entries in this one in the almost all Kunz heat turning back Buddy Kofoid, Brenham Crouch and the first non-Kunz car across the line in Emerson Axsom. Jason McDougal stormed from sixth to first in the opening lap on his way to victory in heat three over Cannon McIntosh, Hayden Williams and Justin Grant. Corey Day would lead everyone to the finish in heat four with Chris Windom, Kevin Thomas Jr. in a backup car and Cole Bodine. The sprint would not need a B main but the midgets would with Thomas Meseraull who also was forced to go to a backup machine winning over Daison Pursley, Kyle Cummins, Kaylee Bryson, Brian Carber and Ohio's Jonathan Shafer making his first ever USAC National midget start in a Keith Kunz mount. Only Oklahoma's Trey Gropp would use a provisional tonight to make it a 23 car feature field for tonight's 30 lap finale.
The 25 lap non-wing sprint car feature would be the first to the grid with Brandon Long and Brayden Clark bringing the twenty car field to the initial green flag at 11:40. Four starting Thomas Meseraull made short work of the three cars in front of him and roared into the lead on the opening lap and never looked back. Long and Andrew Prather had a great race for second swapping the spot back and forth for many laps. Scotty Weir was steering the Petersen #4P to the front after starting outside of the top ten. Weir took third on lap eleven past Prather and in turn two on lap fifteen grabbed second from Long and took up the chase of Meseraull. T-Mez was seating a good pace though Weir cut the distance but was never able to get close enough to make things uncomfortable for Meseraull. At 11:49 it was Meseraull first across the line for the win with Weir in for second, Long in an impressive drive to place third, Tye Mihocko making a later run to claim fourth and Andrew Prather holding on to take down fifth.
We still had a midget week champion to crown along with a 30 lap feature to spin off before the eight race series came to a close. It was 12:20 AM on Sunday when the USAC midget feature went green with the front row of Justin Grant and Logan Seavey running side by side for the first three laps with Grant leading at the line for the first two before Seavey's high line finally gave him the advantage on lap three. Seavey would pace the field into lap nine when Grant who had closed on Seavey pounced on the opportunity when Seavey bobbled on the turn four cushion allowing Grant to move back by with Chris Windom almost passing the pair exiting turn four but Grant held the advantage at the line. Lap fourteen saw Windom who was in Grant's shadow over the last several laps made his move and charged by Grant as they crossed the line to complete the lap. Windom led using the bottom while Grant stayed up high and followed in second. Lap twenty one saw the only slowdown appear when Brenham Crouch catch the backstretch wall turning him sideways turning into a series of flips before landing in turn three after a wild ride. When the race went back to green Windom sped out front as he wanted this one badly after having a dismal three race streak leading into the final. Grant continued to pursue him but this one was Windoms' as he flashed under the double checkers at 12:36 for his third straight IMS triumph at Kokomo and his eighth USAC National midget win beating Grant, Jason McDougal, Axsom and Thomas Meseraull coming from 11th to round out the top five. Corey Day would lead the second five to the finish with Buddy Kofoid seventh after starting 13th and his finish was good enough to clinch the 2021 Indiana Midget Week title by twenty points over Logan Seavey. Chase Randall came home eighth with Kevin Thomas Jr. ninth and Logan Seavey finishing tenth.
It was time to head for the exits and the 1 1/2 hour ride back to Crawfordsville where we arrived after 2 AM, weary but happy we had seen a good, competitive race.
That's a wrap on the 17th running of Indiana Midget Week for 2021 as we make plans to attend the POWRi Illinois Midget Week starting Wednesday in Charleston, IL and running for four additional night wrapping up at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, IL. So plenty more racing coming your way in the next week and check back often to see the updates from each night of racing this week. Comments, news and any other information can reach us at email@example.com and until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area. Be safe and stay hydrated in this hot weather upon us. And last be surely not least thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy our observations on each race.
A TYPICAL WEEKEND
Kofoid Snaps The Streak With Second Win At Gas City
Friday, June 11 - The weather for Gas City looked good for today with little chance of rain with temperatures in the low 90's and it indeed was hot when we arrived a tad past five. A very good crowd turned out for round 7 of Indiana Midget Week at the 1/4 mile dirt oval in Grant County and the racing action would be as hot as the weather. We love Gas City but those grandstands have to be one of the most uncomfortable ones to sit in. Every time I attend the races at Gas City I feel like I need to go to a spa as both my legs and back hurt during the course of the evening. Hopefully with all the good things Jerry Gappens Jr. has done for this facility the town government will allow him to replace these grandstands soon with new ones.
Anyhow it was time to kick off the night after hot laps for both divisions, the USAC midgets at 34 strong and the non-wing sprints at 32 strong. USAC midgets time trials went under the clock at 6:51 and by 7:09 a surprise in Ethan Mitchell in his Honda powered Bundy built #19M would turn the fastest lap of 12.191 seconds around the black clay of Gas City. As has seemed the case for the fast timer in many of the IMS events this year it has turned out to be the highlight of Mitchell's night as he failed to qualify through his heat race and the B main and was forced to take a provisional to start 24th in the main event.
The USAC midget heats would be first on the dance card with the standard four of them with the top four moving directly to the 30 lap main event and the rest into the 12 lap B main or semi. Justin Grant's high mark of the night in an otherwise trouble filled evening was when he won the first heat over Kyle Cummins, Daison Pursley and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kaylee Bryson would score heat win two over Corey Day, Jason McDougal and Hayden Reinbold. Chris Windom was running second in this one until a caution appeared and Bryson slowed on the homestretch for the caution but Windom was slow on the brake petal running into the left rear of Bryson and messing up his front end and was forced to the B main. Trey Gropp would capture heat three besting Brenham Crouch, Thomas Meseraull and Emerson Axsom. Cannon McIntosh claimed heat four beating Kevin Thomas Jr. at the wire, Bryant Wiedeman and Buddy Kofoid.
The non-wing sprint cars would also contest four heats with four moving to their main event with the following results. Charles Davis Jr. of Arizona continues to impress nailing down heat one over Brayden Fox, Tyler Kendall and Jake Scott making a rare Gas City appearance after Paragon fell to the rain to the south. Kevin Thomas Jr. would score the heat two win over Thomas Meseraull, Cannon McIntosh and Chet Williams. Scotty Weir parked the Pedersen #4P in victory lane in heat three besting Max Adams, the new driver of the famed Paul Hazen #57, Adam Byrkett and Tyler Hewitt back to racing again. The fourth heat went to Paragon invader, Jadon Rogers, over Kyle Simon of Ohio, Brady Bacon and Brayden Clark in a crash filled one. Clark and Tye Mihocko got into a disagreement in this one with Clark throwing a poor slider in turn two with Mihocko retaliating with an equally poor one in turn four not only wrecking himself but causing AJ Hopkins to stand his Burton #04 on its nose before returning to earth basically ending Hopkins' evening as the Burton crew could not get the car to fire for the B main. Mihocko is a hard nosed driver and we enjoy his hard charging style but his temper got the better of him tonight causing work for him and others unnecessarily.
It was back to the midgets for their B main with Logan Seavey who has struggled since his Saturday night Lawrenceburg double win taking this one over Jerry Coons Jr. who would now start his 400th career USAC National midget feature in a long and distinguished career. Tanner Thorson finished third with Windom fourth, Hayden Williams, this year's New Zealand's finest and Cole Bodine following. A pair of 19's with Chase Randall and Ethan Mitchell would join the field in 23rd and 24th starting positions after taking the provisional route to the main event. The sprint car B main went to Braydon Cromwell turning back Matt Westfall, Tye Mihocko and Sterling Cling to join the 20 car starting field for the sprints.
The 30 lap USAC midget feature would get first honors to run their event with Jason McDougal and Buddy Kofoid bringing the field to the green flag. Kofoid was off the front row like a rocket and bolted into the early lead. Kunz running mate, Daison Pursley, took up the chase of Kofoid until lap three when he stumbled on the cushion in turn three and handed second back to McDougal. Kofoid was flying out front and opened a healthy lead until the first caution waved on lap nine with Justin Grant's night ended when he stopped in turn two with problems and would end up finishing 24th. On the restart Kofoid retained the top spot with Emerson Axsom sliding by McDougal for second in turn one. The top three ran this way until lap 13 when a four car tangle in turn four brought the race to a halt involving Windom, Coons, Williams and Wiedeman. Only Windom would rejoin the field but only for a short time retiring to the pit area and finishing 20th in his recent stretch of bad luck and poor finishes. With things went back to green Kofoid was still out front chased by Axsom and the battle was for third between McDougal and Pursley who exchanged several sliders until McDougal took back third with Logan Seavey moving into the hunt past Pursley for fourth after starting in the 11th slot. By lap nineteen Kofoid was way in front but McDougal tracked down and passed Axsom for second and tried to find the high flying Kofoid. Heavy lap traffic in the last ten laps had Kofoid practicing the patience I mentioned in an earlier column he needed to develop with McDougal able to gain some ground on the leader. Kofoid went to work and dispensed of the lappers in good order opening up another monster lead. On the last lap disaster struck for McDougal as racing down the backstretch a front end part broke with the front axle snapping causing McDougal to spin off the backstretch and come to a halt outside of turn three relegating him to an undeserved 15th place finish in the final rundown. When the checkers waved at 10:09 it was Kofoid in for his second win of IMW snapping the six race different winner scenario and his fourth overall win of 2021 over Axsom with Seavey third, Pursley fourth and McIntosh rounding out the top five. Positions six through ten were filled by Kevin Thomas Jr. in another fine run from 15th to sixth with Corey Day seventh, Tanner Thorson the hard charger from 20th to eighth, Kaylee Bryson getting herself a nice ninth and Thomas Meseraull taking down tenth after starting 14th.
Kofoid now takes the season long points lead and the IMW points lead into the final night at Kokomo with the IMW lead a mere three points over teammate, Daison Pursley. Seavey is third only 12 back with Axsom fourth 43 back and Windom dropping to fifth 48 markers behind. Stay tuned to see what transpires in the final at Kokomo.
In the meantime we still have a 25 lap sprint car feature to report on with Jadon Rogers and Scotty Weir leading the field to the green flag at 10:27. Weir would take the early lead in his quest to make it two in a row at Gas City after breaking a four year drought here. Kevin Thomas Jr. was quick to move from fourth into second on the opening lap and take up the pursuit of Weir. Weir lead as the front runners encountered lap traffic on lap ten. Thomas took advantage of an opening in turn two to pass Weir for the lead on lap twelve just before Max Adams took the Hazen #57 for a hard ride into the turn four wall bringing out the first caution of this race. Chet Williams would spin in turn one on the restart for the only other slowdown of the race. On the restart Thomas went back to the point with Weir in tow as several drivers began to make their advances forward such as T-Mez, Cannon McIntosh and Brady Bacon. As the action raged behind him Thomas remained out front with a late race half spin by Brayden Clark right in front of the leader causing some anxious moments and some other lap cars not heeding the move over flag causing some added congestion. But Thomas would thread the heavy seas and see the checker wave at 10:40 on the Dr. Pepper #9K winning over Weir with Meseraull third from eighth, McIntosh fourth from 10th in the Phillips/Daugh #71P and Bacon finishing fifth after starting 12th in a competitive feature. Tye Mihocko with his temper under control ran a fine race from 19th to finish 6th in the final rundown.
It was a good night of racing and sets the table for the final night of Indiana Midget Week at Kokomo Speedway, the O'Connor playground where the kids will go at it again tonight.
That's it for this installment and check back on Sunday to see how it all plays out at the baddest bullring in Indiana. Comments, news, bits of information and any other notes can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time get out there and attend a good Saturday night race at a short track near you and have some fun in the sun with your clothes on. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next time or next week.
Thorson Breaks Through For IMW Win At Lincoln Park
Thursday, June 10 - Round 6 of Indiana Midget Week found us traveling 40 minutes south of us to beautiful downtown Putnamville to the 5/16 semi banked dirt oval named the Lincoln Park Speedway, the origional of the now tri-fecta empire of Joe Spiker. A good crowd was on hand on a very nice but very humid Thursday afternoon and evening to watch 36 USAC midgets and 20 non-wing sprint cars do battle at the Putnam County speed plant.
After setting up the lounge chairs in the big concrete grandstand Pat and I hung out in the shade by the car while the cicadas serenaded us. As the cars came out to warm engines and practice we made our way into the grandstands after picking up a big bag of popcorn to munch on. The first order of business for the evening were the USAC midget time trials with Logan Seavey in the Malloy #25 setting quick time with a lap of 12.940 seconds. Seavey would struggle for the rest of the evening not qualifying through the heat races and being the last qualifier in the B main.
The sprint cars would be the first to contest their heats with only three of them with everyone advancing to the main event. Brayden Fox, one of the youngsters who is showing great promise, nailing down heat one over Jake Swanson, Braydon Cromwell from Missouri and Illinois' Zach Daum. Brady Bacon back in the Wedgewood Motorsports #98 cashed in the win in heat two over Shane Cockrum, Sterling Cling and Geoff Ensign making his initial appearance in Indiana in the #44 with a 360 under the hood. Peoria, Arizona's Tye Mihocko claimed heat three over fellow Arizonian, Kyle Shipley, Ricky Lewis and Harley Burns from nearby Brazil, Indiana not the country! Four USAC midget heats would be next on the card with the top four moving directly into the 30 lap main event. The fastest chicken, Chase Randall, wired heat one from wire to wire beating Cannon McIntosh, Kaylee Bryson and Kyle Cummins. Jason McDougal drove the Dalby #4 to heat win number two over Trey Gropp in a strong run, Buddy Kofoid and Tanner Thorson. Thomas Meseraull blew away the field in heat three besting Daison Pursley, Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas Jr. Young Oklahoman, Ryan Timms in one of the Boat cars, won heat four over fellow Okie, Brady Bacon, Bryant Wiedeman and Emerson Axsom. No B main would be needed for the sprints so the midget B was next on the schedule with 20 cars starting the event. Justin Grant would prevail in this one over last night's feature winner, Corey Day, Brenham Crouch, Jerry Coons Jr., Chance Crum and Logan Seavey. Brian Carber and Hayden Williams would go the provisional route to joining the tail of the midget main.
The USAC midget feature would have first honors tonight taking Brian Hodde's initial green flag at 9:17 with the all Reinbold/Underwood front row of Tanner Thorson and Chase Randall leading the pack of 22 others. Thorson quickly assumed the lead over his teammate. Justin Grant and Kaylee Bryson got together in turn three on lap four with Bryson rolling over in the incident. on the restart Thorson went back out top with Randall and Emerson Axsom in hot pursuit. Lap nine saw Kevin Thomas Jr. running fourth pulled to a stop when his brakes locked up sending him to the tail of the field. Under the caution Chris Windom came up with a flat right rear tire and retreated to the work area for a quick change and returned to the field. Thorson opened up a two second lead laps after the next restart with Randall in second. Randall bobbled on the turn two cushion the next lap and got freight trained by Daison Pursley, Kofoid and Axsom dropping back. Just after the halfway mark Brenham Crouch caught the fourth turn cushion and flipped over ending his night early. Thorson established his lead once again on the restart and pulled away with Axsom and Pursley battling it out for the runner up position. With five to go Pursley cleared Axsom for second and closed somewhat on Thorson. But Pursley jumped the turn two cushion a lap later and Thorson was gone. Thorson flashed under the double checkers at 9:47 for his second win of the year and his third win at LPS and also became the sixth different IMS winner in six races. Daison Pursley finished second with Emerson Axsom third, Buddy Kofoid fourth and Corey Day rounding out the top five as Cannon McIntosh spun out of fifth in turn four on the last lap. Kevin Thomas Jr. made a fine comeback working his way back to sixth with Jason McDougal seventh, Chase Randall eighth, Jerry Coons Jr. ninth and Logan Seavey taking tenth.
There was still the matter of running the 25 lap sprint car feature and after victory lane ceremonies and podium interviews it was time for their event. The green waved at 10:03 with Brady Bacon bounding off the outside of the front row to take the early lead with Brayden Fox and Tye Mihocko following. Braydon Cromwell brought out the caution when he spun in turn four on lap one while Shane Cockrum had already moved from fifth into third in one lap. Bacon controlled the restart and led until lap seven when Jake Swanson swept by in turn two with Bacon dropping to the infield with mechanical woes. One lap after the restart Harley Burns sat sideways in turn four to bring out the caution again. The race went green for a few laps with Swanson in the lead until lap eleven when Robert Carrington looped his sprinter in turn three. One more lap was recorded in the record book when Carrington spun in turn one and the two caution rule was enforced and Carrington was sent pitside for the rest of the race. The race went green again on lap eleven and would go the rest of the remaining fourteen laps without another caution appearing. Swanson controlled the pace but Fox, Cockrum and Mihocko swapped the positions behind the leader. In the late stages of the contest Mihocko closed the distance but Swanson was able to maintain his lead to the checkered at 10:22 scoring his second win of the year at LPS for car owner, Joe Daming, trailed to the finish by Mihocko with Fox third, Cockrum fourth and Zach Daum in a rare Lincoln Park appearance taking down fifth after starting tenth. It was a well run show but lacked the wow factor of some of the earlier IMW events from the week before.
Check back tomorrow to read about round seven of Indiana Midget Week where the point battle is heating up and is so close and will be decided with the last checker waves at Kokomo on Saturday night. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy our adventures.
A TYPICAL WEEKEND
Day Becomes Youngest USAC National Midget Winner At Circle City
Wednesday, June 9 - This was the questionable day of the week weather wise looking at the forecasts on Monday but as Wednesday dawned the forecast was much better. Traveling in for the second half of Indiana Midget Week were Dale O'Brien of Florida who summers in Wisconsin, his former residence, and Jim Reeder coming in from the Hawkeye state of Iowa to join us. We all made the less than one hour trip over to the Marion County Fairgrounds where the 1/4 mile Circle City Raceway is located. You could see by the puddles on the grounds that it had rained the night before and that a decent amount had fallen. Jim secured us seats on the top row in front of the scoring tower on the homestretch when the gates opened at 5 and we were set for the evening. A visit from trackchaser, Brian Dolphy, was a nice surprise and a good chat ensued. Opening ceremonies were conducted down front on the aluminum grandstands for the inaugural John Andretti Memorial Double with son, Jarett, in attendance driving a RMS Racing #18.
The time trials pushed off from the turn four entrance at 6:52 for the fine field of 36 USAC midgets on hand with Brady Bacon wheeling the TKH #21H to fast time at 12.869 seconds around the 1/4 mile bullring and establishing a new track record. Hayden Reinbold got upside down after hitting an infield tire in turn one during time trials doing a half spin in the air before rolling over. Reinbold was OK and would return to action later. Following the midget time trials were three MSCS sprint car heats for their 23 car field with Brent Beauchamp capturing heat one over Chase Stockon, Sterling Cling and Carson Garrett. Heat two would fall to Brady Bacon in the Wedgewood Motorsports #98B besting Thomas Meseraull, Logan Seavey and Ricky Lewis. The third and final heat would go to Arizona's Charles Davis Jr. over Paul Nienhiser, Jason McDougal and Tye Mihocko. The USAC midgets would follow with four heats taking the top four to the main event. Chris Windom would take heat one over Tanner Thorson, Jason McDougal and Brady Bacon. Heat two would see New Zealand's Hayden Williams flip on the backstretch after apparently something broke on the #1NZ with a quick turn right into the wall. Buddy Kofoid would garner heat two over Thomas Meseraull doing double duty, Kaylee Bryson and Kyle Cummins. Bryant Wiedeman caught the wall in turn three and rolled over in heat three and was OK. The college cheerleader from Oklahoma, Taylor Reimer, making her IMW debut surprised everyone by capturing heat three over Jerry Coons Jr., Cannon McIntosh and Corey Day with a bold move at the line to edge Max Guilford for the last qualifying position which turned out to be a very important pass for the youngster for later in the evening. The action continued in heat four when Trey Gropp and Justin Grant tangled off turn two with Chance Crum ramping over a wheel and flipping. On the restart Gropp took a hard ride into the turn one wall flipping over and was fine after his nasty ride. Emerson Axsom would prevail in heat four winning over Daison Pursley, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Logan Seavey who was celebrating a birthday today.
The sprints would not need a B main but the midgets would. A big pileup early in the B saw six or seven cars get together with another New Zealand driver, Travis Buckley, turning turtle. Brenham Crouch would score his second last lap pass of IMW to win the B over Justin Grant, Hayden Williams, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brian Carber and Sam Johnson. Bryant Wiedeman and Chase Randall would go the provisional route to swell the starting field for the midget feature to 24.
The 25 lap MSCS sprint car feature would go first in the feature order tonight with the green waving at 9:49. Charles Davis Jr. would take the lead but it would only last until turn four when he went high on the cushion and came down making contact with Brent Beauchamp and pulling to a stop in turn four. Beauchamp would be the new leader on the restart until the second lap when Ben Knight spun in turn two to bring out the second caution. Beauchamp was out front on the next restart with the pack in chase. Brady Bacon moved to second on lap five with Thomas Meseraull moving to third. Landon Simon would slow in turn three to bring out another caution on lap seven and we would only make it one more lap when Jake Scott spun in turn one. Two laps later Parker Frederickson stopping in turn four for yet another yellow. Lap eleven saw Ricky Lewis running fifth hit the wall in turn four and roll over and on the restart Brandon Morin rode the wall in turn four after contact with another sprinter to slow the action once again. Brady Bacon had just made the pass for the lead at this point and with the MSCS split scoring as long as the leader and two more crossed the line the lap would count so Bacon was the next leader. On the restart Bacon went to the point and began to stretch his lead with Beauchamp and Meseraull among others battling it out behind him. Meseraull would make the pass on Beauchamp for second with Seavey moving past to garner third. The race would go non-stop from this point forward with Bacon powering away to a healthy lead and crossing under the flagstand at 10:17 notching the win trailed by Meseraull, Seavey, Beauchamp and Chase Stockon.
Next up was the 30 lap USAC midget main event with the front row consisting of Kevin Thomas Jr. and Corey Day who were seventh and eighth fastest timers but with two of the top six timers not transferring through the heat races they moved up into the top six and made up the front row (remember the earlier pass by Day at the line for fourth in his heat). As the green waved at 10:31 the front pair raced side by side for the entire lap with Day edging Thomas at the line to complete lap one and take the lead. Lap four saw the first caution appear as Buddy Kofoid was racing hard for position in turn four (seventh) when he contacted the rear bumper of Chris Windom and spun. On the restart Day went to the high side while Thomas raced low in a good race for the top spot. By lap nine Day had pulled to a comfortable lead on Thomas as the laps ticked off. The caution flew again on lap 13 when the trio of Justin Grant, Brian Carber and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. all tangled together in turn two. This brought the field back to Day and on the restart Day led with Emerson Axsom moving by teammate Thomas for second and a few laps later the caution appeared again for a stopped T-Mez in turn two. On the restart Axsom threw a successful slider on Day in turn one to take the lead but day countered in turn three to go back out front. Lap sixteen saw Axsom pass Day again in turn three with Day cutting low in turn four to retake the lead. Axsom made the same move in turn three on lap eighteen but with the same results off turn four as the 15 year old Day was up to the challenge. Buddy Kofoid who started at the tail had made his way back into the top ten by lap nineteen but made an ill advised slider on Kaylee Bryson which found him dumping his KKR #67 over in turn four. Kofoid is still working on the aspect of patience and will learn the hard way like tonight. On the restart Day went out front once again with Axsom bouncing in the cushion in turns three and four losing second to Thomas and valuable time to the leader. Axsom's troubles continued on lap twenty with the turn two cushion costing him third and fourth to Bacon and Brenham Crouch. Day pulled away and coming to the white flag Cannon McIntosh slowed in turn four causing the last caution to wave. This set up a green, white, checker scenario with Day, Thomas and Bacon the top three. The last lap was a nail biter as when Day raced into turns three and four he bounced on the cushion at least three times almost stalling his midget with the pack closing in. Day was able to land on all fours and still point his midget the right way and race off turn four still as the leader. Day would cross the line at 10:56 scoring his first ever USAC National midget victory in what I believe was only his fifth start in USAC midget racing. Day also became the youngest driver to win a USAC National midget feature at the ripe old age of 15 years, 6 months and 12 days breaking the record set by Zeb Wise in 2018 at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in PA who was 15 years, 8 months and 21 days when he did it also driving a Clauson/Marshall entry. Day was the fifth different winner in five nights of racing in Indiana Midget Week and it will be interesting to see if the streak continues as we head to Lincoln Park Speedway on Thursday night. The order of finish was Corey Day the winner over Kevin Thomas Jr. with Brady Bacon third, Emerson Axsom recovering to finish fourth with Brenham Crouch rounding out the top five. Sunday night's winner at Haubstadt, Kyle Cummins, would place sixth with Logan Seavey charging from 22nd to seventh with Tanner Thorson eighth from 16th, Daison Pursley ninth from 17th with Jerry Coons Jr. ending up tenth.
It was a good night of racing, abet with a few too many caution flags, but good side by side racing throughout the field.
That's it for now but check back soon as the caravan moves onto Lincoln Park for round six of Indiana Midget Week. I would like to mention that I provided some misinformation in our last column when I said that Jack Yeley was wrenching the Styres #3G which was not right. Kyle Cummins and his dad are the main workers on the midget and I apologize for the misinformation. Comments, news, stories or facts can reach us at email@example.com. In the meantime get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area or head to Indiana to catch the last three nights of IMW. And until next time thanks for reading our efforts and check back often to see where we end up next on a typical weekend or weekday.
Cummins Doubles Up At Tri-State Winning USAC Midget First & MSCS Sprints
Sunday, June 6 - A text in the morning to Burline and Don Skidmore, our friends from Illinois, guaranteed us a good homestretch seat at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana for tonight's running of round four of Indiana Midget Week. Before arriving at the track we partook of the good buffet at Stoll's Amish Buffet not far south of the track. It was delicious and we both agreed that the pork chops were the best item on the menu. It's funny how something small turns into an opportunity to make a new friend as Don asked me if I could switch seats with Pat as he was having problems seeing over my head. Since he had saved our seats I figured it was the least I could do. Well, right away the person next to me, Jeremy from Bloomington, struck up a conversation and we chatted all night long off and on and a new friend was made on the evening.
Twenty seven USAC midgets would be joined on this Sunday evening by 25 MSCS sprint cars to make for a good doubleheader of racing on the well manicured 1/4 mile black clay race track owned by Tom and Loris Helfrich. The weather was threatening almost all day long but little rain fell at the track though we ran through a large thunderstorm on our way down I-69 below Washington. If that storm had hit Haubstadt it might have been curtains for the evening.
Time trials for the USAC midgets would start off the night's program commencing at 6:37 and by 6:54 it was Chris Windom being interviewed after touring the 1/4 mile bullring in a new record time of 13.377 seconds breaking the 11 year old mark of 13.629 set by the late Bryan Clauson. After time trials the track crew reworked the surface and when they were finished a light rain shower hit the track causing a half hour rain delay before they were able to resume.
The MSCS sprint cars would run their heats first with three of them for their 25 car field. Chase Stockon would score a hard fought win over Carson Garrett of Colorado, Kendall Ruble and Jadon Rogers, last night's winner at Lincoln Park Speedway. Heat two would fall to 51 year old Critter Malone still going strong as he turned back Donny Brackett, CJ Leary and Aric Gentry. Kyle Cummins nailed down heat three over Chet Williams in a good battle with Ricky Lewis, last night's sprint car winner at Macon Speedway, and Collin Ambrose. The USAC midgets would also contest three heats for their 27 car field with the top five moving to the main event. All of the midget heats were highly competitive with Thomas Meseraull out dueling Chris Windom, Daison Pursley, Kyle Cummins and Emerson Axsom to win heat one. Kevin Thomas Jr. took off in heat two winning easily but the racing behind was fun to watch with Logan Seavey, last night's midget and sprint car winner at Lawrenceburg, outrunning Trey Gropp, Ethan Mitchell and Buddy Kofoid. Tanner Thorson who has been struggling lately managed to score the win in heat three besting Jason McDougal after McDougal passed him in the last lap but Thorson countered off turn four to win it. Corey Day, the 15 year old driver who has been the fast timer the previous two nights finished third with Justin Grant fourth and Cannon McIntosh fifth.
A pair of B mains were needed to round out the starting field with Kent Schmidt taking the sprint car one over Tye Mihocko, Stan Beedles, the 2020 MSCS Rookie of the Year, returning after being seriously burned last year and James Lyerla. Hayden Williams, the reigning New Zealand midget driving champion, copped the midget B main beating Stephen Schnapf, Brenham Crouch, Bryant Wiedeman, Cole Bodine, Kaylee Bryson and PA's Brian Carber.
The 25 lap MSCS sprint car feature would be the first in the chute and by 9:27 the green flag waved to start their event. Carson Garrett jumped to the early lead but it was short lived as second starting Kyle Cummins passed Garrett entering turn one on the inside groove on lap one. Cummins would pretty much have this one in hand the remainder of the distance but Critter Malone and Chase Stockon were never far behind. Malone and Stokcon put on a good battle for the runnerup position for many laps before Stockon took it over. Malone was not finished and in the latter stages of the race he caught and repassed Stockon to take back second. That would be the way they would finish the race when the checkered waved at 9:42 with Cummins scoring yet another Haubstadt win over Malone, Stockon, Kendall Ruble who started seventh and Jadon Rogers who advanced from tenth to fifth at the end.
The 30 lap USAC midget feature took the green flag at 9:57 with third starting Kyle Cummins sliding down low in turn one and passing the Kunz teammates, Daison Pursley and Buddy Kofoid, to go to the point. Pursley took the lead on lap two but Cummins battled back and used a turn three slider to regain the lead on lap three. The racing was fast and furious with many drivers swapping positions in the top seven with Cannon McIntosh, Logan Seavey, Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas Jr. going at it. Ethan Mitchell brought out the red flag when he caught one of the infield tires and turned his midget upside down in turn four. Mitchell was OK after the hard tumble. Chris Windom made his run forward after the restart going from fifth into third in one big move and then securing second on lap nine passing Pursley for that position. Cummins continued to pace the field as the laps ticked off and the surprising leader held sway even as the many veterans pressured him from behind. Thomas Meseraull was coming to the front and cracked the top five after the halfway mark racing with McIntosh and Pursley as the two leaders opened some ground on the rest of the pack. Kaylee Bryson caught the berm in turn four right in front of the leaders getting sideways on lap twenty just as Windom was making his move to pass Cummins for the lead causing the caution to wave and relegating Windom back to second and giving Cummins second life. Kevin Thomas Jr. used the inside route to enter the mix moving as high as third until a couple of laps later he jumped the cushion in turn three and lost several positions taking him out of the hunt. on lap twenty one Hayden Williams clipped an infield tire and his midget turned sideways on the homestretch directly in front of Brenham Crouch who hit him broadside causing Williams to roll over. Williams was done for the evening but Crouch was able to restart. Cummins scooted out front on the restart leaving Windom to deal with an resurgent Pursley for the runnerup spot. Pursley took second for two laps until Windom regained second on lap twenty three. Cummins ran the middle in turns two and three to prevent any sliders from behind as the swarm of bees led by Windom with Pursley, Meseraull, Thomas and McDougal were tracking down the leader. Cummins was able to hold off all challenges over the remaining seven laps and crossed the line first at 10:19 to score his first career USAC National midget win and the first for his car owner, Glenn Styres of Canada, in the midget wrenched by 75 year old "Cactus" Jack Yeley. Windom would barely edge the ninth starting Meseraull for second with Pursley fourth and Thomas completing the top five. McDougal came from 15th to 6th, Cannon McIntosh was seventh, Justin Grant was the hard charger from 19th to eighth, Tanner Thorson was ninth and Buddy Kofoid was tenth. It was Cummin's 17th career midget start and he became the second first time winner of the year and the third new IMW winner in the process. Cummins also became the second driver in two nights to win both the midget and sprint car features in the same evening.
It was an excellent race with plenty of passing and slicing and dicing and replaces Paragon as the top midget race of IMW so far.
That's it for now and check back Thursday for our report on Circle City's IMW event if the weather cooperates. In the meanwhile get the calendar out and fill in the open dates to catch some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And last but not least thanks for continuing to read our efforts and hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
A TYPICAL WEEKEND
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Schultz Tops Must See Sprints At Speedrome
Saturday, June 5 - We decided to change it up today as the five hour round trip to Lawrenceburg Speedway followed the next day by a nearly six hour round trip to Tri-State Speedway did not sound appealing on Saturday so we opted for the two hour drive to the Indianapolis Speedrome. The winged sprint cars were returning to the 1/5 mile flat asphalt oval after a 21 year absence and we decided to take in the Must See Sprint sanctioned on this Saturday night. The only disappointment of the night was the low car count for the sprints (13 starters) and only 9 USSA Kenyon midgets as the second division and 10 champ karts. The price was right at $15 for seniors as a very good crowd turned out to witness the return of the winged sprint cars and by a reaction to the question posed about the school bus figure 8, many in attendance also came out for this special event. The Speedrome posts a schedule on their website and Facebook with start times and the order of business and stick to it very well. The 100 lap MSS feature was scheduled for 9 PM and took the green at 8:46 even when adding a World Record challenge which Aaron Pierce broke the track record driving a late model with huge plexi glass on one side with a time of 10.714 around the 1/5 mile oval.
The Indianpolis Speedrome is a neat joint with stands nearly all the way around the oval except for turns one and two. We choose to sit in turn four with a view directly down the homestretch. The National Anthem was precisely at 6:55 and right on time at 7 the first of two champ kart heats took the green flag. Cole Rhoton and Mike Mason won those two. The USSA Kenyon midgets spun off their two heats next with Jack Macenko and Ayrton Houk prevailing. After the world record challenge was completed it was right into the 25 lap champ kart feature with Cole Rhoton leading from start to finish beating Mike Mason and Karl Schildbach. Next up would be the 50 lap Kenyon midget feature with Ayrton Houk moving to the lead from third on the first lap and checking out from the rest of the field as Kameron Gladish held sway to the pack as Houk sped away. There was only one caution with three to go and that produced the most action when third running Jack Macenko loosened up second running Kameron Gladish passing him and allowing Colin Grissom to also slide by for third. As the checkered dropped at 8:12 it was Ayrton Houk in for the easy win over Jack Macenko, Colin Grissom, Logan Huggler and Kameron Gladish.
The 100 lap Must See sprint feature would go green at 8:46 with Adam Blitz hustling off the outside of row one to take the early lead. Charlie Schultz, the veteran supermodified driver from Ohio, would take second away from Dylan Watson driving one of the Must See Light Division cars with less power. Jimmy McCune, one of the favorites dropped to the infield on lap three out of the event after a early tangle. Blitz would pace the field for the first twenty laps until Todd McQuillan looped his sprinter in turn three to bring out the first caution. On the double file restart Blitz went back out front with Joe Liguori slipping by Watson for third on lap twenty one. Lap twenty three saw the red appear after Anthony McCune rode up over the left front tire of 71 year old and three time winner of the Little 500, Jeff Bloom, eliminating both of them from further competition as the cars were pushed over to turn two where they were allowed to top off their fuel tanks. On the ensuing double file restart on lap twenty three Schultz was able to out gun his teammate, Blitz, to take the lead and began to pull away from the the field. Liguori, the only one with Speedrome experience, put it to good use using a turn three outside move to wrestle second from Blitz on lap fifty four. The final caution would appear on lap fifty six when Virginia's Anthony Linkenhoker slowed to a stop in turn four on lap fifty six. Schultz would go to the point on the next restart with Liguori in hot pursuit. Schultz was able to open up the lead to a healthy margin over the next twenty laps until encountering lap traffic on lap seventy seven with Liguori able to close the gap and possibly make a lead challenge. Schultz was up to the task and maneuvered around the lap cars quickly to dispel any ideas Liguori had of trying to take the lead. Nolan Allison broke away from the pack into third and reeled in the front two to make it a three car race. Schultz was able to maintain his lead over the last twenty five laps and flashed under the double checkers at 9:42 taking the win over Liguori and Allison. Dylan Watson in his light machine was able to pass Blitz in the last few laps to snatch fourth with Blitz holding on for fifth.
It was a decent night of racing with us on the road before 10 PM and Pat brought up the Flo Racing app on her phone and we viewed the USAC midget feature from Lawrenceburg all the way home until we stopped to pick up the mail. We went inside and transferred the broadcast to our Smart TV and sat down and watched the non-wing sprint car feature also from Lawrenceburg. When the race ended after midnight we both looked at each other and said we were glad we were not just leaving Lawrenceburg with a 2 1/2 hour ride home before us. It was the right decision to stay closer to home and save the extra three hours of driving for tomorrow.
Check back this evening to read our observations from Tri-State Speedway or Haubstadt as everyone calls it as we attended the four round of USAC Indiana Midget Week at the southwestern Indiana speed plant. In the meantime check your calendars and get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and come back often to see where we end up next on a typical weekend.
Kofoid Takes USAC Midgets While McIntosh Takes First Sprint Car Win At Bloomington
Friday, June 4 - The temperature soared into the 80's today with bright sunshine and no chance of rain making it a perfect day for everyone especially for race fans. The caravan made its way to the Bloomington Speedway, that 1/4 mile bullring of red clay with the high banks which blend well with the nicely manicured green grass all around the track facility. It would be round two of Indiana Midget Week with 32 USAC midgets joined by 22 non-wing sprint cars for an all open wheel doubleheader. We were joined on the asphalt above turn one in our lawn chairs by Max and Suzie Niemann, Ron Miller, Jerry Shaw and Al and Loretta Pierce making it a real murderer's row and much bench racing went on before midget time trials commenced at 6:55. Corey Day, the 15 year old son of long time California sprint car racer, Ronnie Day, set fast time (11.489) in a surprise driving his Clauson/Marshall #47BC. It would turn out to be the highlight of his evening as he failed to qualify in his heat race and finished second in the B main before dropping out of the main event and finishing 23rd.
The first of four USAC midget heats would go green at 7:45 with the New Zealand National midget champion, Hayden Williams, nailing down the opener beating Daison Pursley, Chase Randall and Jason McDougal. Justin Grant would triumph in heat two besting Buddy Kofoid, Thomas Meseraull and Brenham Crouch. Defending USAC National midget champion, Chris Windom, captured heat three winning over Kyle Cummins in the last corner of the last lap with Logan Seavey third and Sam Johnson fourth. The fourth heat race went to Cole Bodine rebounding from a DNQ last night to solidly put himself into the field tonight winning over Emerson Axsom, Brady Bacon and Bryant Wiedeman. The sprint cars would contest three heats with Brady Bacon in the Longworth #410 taking heat one over Tye Mihocko in a late race pass, Cannon McIntosh and Sterling Cling. Brady Short claimed heat two over Jadon Rogers, Jake Bland and Ricky Lewis. Jordan Kinser took heat three over Andrew Prather, Jason McDougal and Scott Evans from Rhome, Texas making his second straight Indiana feature event in two starts.
Next up was the 12 lap B main for the midgets and Kevin Thomas Jr. in one of the Petry Motorsports entries won this one over Corey Day, Tanner Thorson, Cannon McIntosh, Brian Carber and Trey Gropp. Ethan Mitchell would take a provisional to make it a 23 car starting field for tonight's 30 lap feature tussle.
The 30 lap USAC midget feature would be first on the card taking the initial green flag at 9:16 with Chris Windom securing the lead in turn three over first starting Bryant Wiedeman. Windom would lead in the early going until the caution appeared on lap five when Corey Day stopped in turn three and was done for the evening. On the restart with Windom on the point third starting Buddy Kofoid was able to pass Wiedeman for second and went to work on Windom for the lead. Kofoid tried several sliders that did not produce results as Windom changed his line to protect his lead. Lap eight saw Cole Bodine loop his midget in turn four to bring out the second caution. On the next restart Kofoid went to work trying to figure a way around the crafty Windom and finally on lap fourteen using a slider in turn two to secure the lead but Windom was not finished as he countered and regained the lead for another lap until lap 15 when Kofoid went back out front. The caution appeared on lap twenty when Kyle Cummins slowed on the track. On the restart once again Windom went back out front passing Kofoid in turn one but it was short lived as Kofoid duplicated the same move one lap later to regain the lead. The red appeared on lap twenty four when Chase Randall stood his midget on it nose atop the cushion in turns three and four. Randall was OK after his jolting ride. Kevin Thomas Jr. at this point had moved into contention advancing from 11th to 3rd and waiting for any mistakes from the front two to pounce upon the opportunity. Kofoid was perfect on the restart and as Windom nosed to the inside in turn one Kofoid rode the cushion to retain the lead. Over the final six laps Kofoid was able to open up a few car lengths lead and flashed under the checkers at 9:39 scoring his third USAC win of the year and his sixth career USAC National midget win in his first appearance at Bloomington. Kofoid became the second driver in two nights to win their first IMW win. It was also car owner, Keith Kunz's 117th USAC midget win placing him just 16 behind the all time leading midget car owner, Steve Lewis. Kunz's cars have also won the most career midget wins at Bloomington with five, all during Indiana Midget Week action. Windom would ride home second with Thomas third, Brady Bacon fourth and Bryant Wiedeman holding on for a fine fifth. Tanner Thorson would finish sixth after starting 14th with Logan Seavey seventh, Daison Pursley eighth, Justin Grant ninth and Jason McDougal finishing tenth.
We still had a 25 lap sprint car feature to run and the majority of the crowd remained to watch this one. Jadon Rogers stormed into the lead at the drop of the green flag and opened up a large lead in the early going. Brady Bacon battled it out with Tye Mihocko and Brady Short before moving into the runnerup position and took up the chase of the high flying Rogers. The caution only waved two times and the second one on lap twenty set the stage for what everyone knew was coming with Bacon diving low in turn one and sliding in front of Rogers to grab the lead in turn two but Rogers panicked and slid into the rear of Bacon's car breaking something in the rear end of Bacon's car and finding Rogers sitting on top of the turn two cushion. Rogers needs to show some more patience and with five laps to go should have been able to repast Bacon as he had the fastest sprinter on the track. But now with the outcome altered it was young Cannon McIntosh who found himself the recipient of the gift and inherited the lead. McIntosh wasn't going to ride home free as the race over the last five laps was a four car battle to the finish with Mihocko, Brady Short and Jason McDougal all taking serious runs at the youngster. Unlike Rogers the Oklahoma native would turn back the furious challenges and hang on to bring the Phillips/Daigh #71P home first for his first non-wing sprint car victory fending off Short, Mihocko, McDougal and Ricky Lewis to the checkered at 10:18. It was a happy victory lane for McIntosh and the crew on their first victory together. It wrapped up a good night of racing on the red hills of Bloomington and sent everyone away happy with the exception of Rogers and Bacon.
Check back tomorrow as we are switching it up a little bagging the long ride to Lawrenceburg for round three of IMW and instead traveling over to Indianpolis to catch the Must See Winged Sprints contest a 100 lap feature go on the 1/5 mile flat oval at the Indianapolis Speedrome. Until next time get out there and enjoy some good short track racing in your area and be safe. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.
Sorry to learn of the passing of one of Pennsylvania's legendary sprint car drivers, HOF driver Steve Smith, passing away at the age of 74. The Black Bandit was a threat wherever he showed up to win and will be sorely miss. Condolences to the entire Smith family for their loss. And God Speed, Mr. Smith.
A TYPICAL WEEKEND
By Pat and Bruce Eckel
Two Last Lap Passes Highlight IMW Opener At Paragon
Thursday, June 3 - Today would mark the opening day of the eight race Indiana Midget Week spaced over a ten day period at the Paragon Speedway. As we drove toward the track we noticed many saturated fields as the rains over the past few days had left a lot of water behind. Taking one look at the track after we parked our SUV and we knew it was going to be an interesting night of racing. After working on the track and the sprints packing it in you could tell the surface was going to have a lot of "character" tonight. We were expecting a lot of tumbles on the evening but thank goodness that did not come to pass as only two cars, one midget and one sprint car, turned turtle all evening long. The track started out ripply and rough but give great credit to the track crew who kept after it and improved it the entire evening and by feature times it was pretty decent and racy with a massive cushion built up in turns three and four which truly rivaled Lincoln Park. It also brought the best Twitter quote of the night from Dakota Jackson which read "Anyone wondering where the rest of the border wall money went? Apparently (Joe) Spiker got some of it for turns 3/4." The cushion indeed looked like a small wall in those two turns. We knew it was going to be a long night but the group sitting around us which included fellow Hoseheads.com blogger, Kevin Oldham, Jen Kelley and Dan Hetser and Max and Suzie Niemann made the evening very enjoyable and entertaining.
USAC midget time trials pushed off at 7:54 and were tough to watch on the rough track but you could see it starting to come around as Chris Windom going under the clock third from last came up with the fast time of 15.809 seconds when the midgets were done time trialing at 8:23. The non-wing sprint cars would start off the night with their three heat races for their 26 car field with all cars moving to the A main later in the evening to save some time and move the program along as quick as possible. Buckeye, Arizona's Charles Davis Jr. would run away from the field in heat one winning over Andrew Prather, Zack Pertorius, Jadon Rogers and Colin Parker. Logan Seavey came home the winner in heat two turning back Jake Scott, Chase Jones, AJ Hopkins and Harley Burns. The third and final heat was won by Jason McDougal besting Nick Bilbee, Brandon Spencer, Kyle Shipley and Josh Cunningham.
Heat one of the USAC midgets would see Bryant Wiedeman set a new 8 lap track record breaking a 41 year mark set by Wes Stafford in 1977. Wiedeman made a late race pass for the lead on Bryan Stanfill with Chris Windom third and Justin Grant fourth. Chance Crum in the Rudeen #26 won his first career USAC heat win in heat two topping Kyle Cummins, Hayden Williams, one of three New Zealanders in the field, and Ryan Timms. The new 8 lap track record did not last long as Jason McDougal in the Robert Dalby #4 shattered the mark by four seconds with a new track record of 2:10.840 over the eight lap distance. Ethan Mitchell, Buddy Kofoid and Logan Seavey chased him across the line. Daison Pursley took down heat four in a race where his teammate, Brenham Crouch, dug his right rear into the cushion in turn one on the last lap and rolled over. Crouch would return and win the B main on the last lap. Pursley passed Trey Gropp in the latter stages of this one with the fastest chicken man, Chase Randall, third and Cannon McIntosh fourth.
Brenham Crouch would steal the midget B main from Thomas Meseraull on the last lap with Corey Day, Emerson Axsom, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Sam Johnson joining the big party later in the evening. Teammates Tanner Thorson and Hayden Reinbold would use provisionals to join the party starting at the tail of the field.
The 25 lap sprint car feature would be first on the agenda with Logan Seavey and Charles Davis Jr. bringing the field to the green flag at 10:25. Seavey would jump to the early lead and would pace the field for the first eleven laps with plenty of racing going on behind him. Jason McDougal would catch and pass Seavey going down the backstretch on lap 11 and the red would wave shortly thereafter when Carl Rhuebottom got turned in turn three by one of the lead cars and rolled over with fuel spilling from the tail tank causing a delay in the racing to clean up the accident scene. On the restart McDougal bounced on the cushion in turn one with all four tires off the track surface allowing Seavey and several others to sneak by. AJ Hopkins who started 11th was working the outside without much success in the early stages of the event and decided to move down low and began to pick his way forward. Seavey, Davis, McDougal and Nick Bilbee battled it out among themselves up front with Hopkins picking them off one at a time with Bilbee the first victim followed by McDougal and then Davis. Hopkins was up to second by lap 19 and took up the chase of Seavey. He closed the distance each and evey lap until coming to the white flag where Seavey bobbled off turn four with Hopkins drawing alongside in a race to the line. Hopkins took the lead entering turn one and pulled away by several car lengths and as he exited turn four at 10:57 the crowd came to their feet to welcome the local hero across the finish line first with Seavey second, Davis third, Jadon Rogers making a late race charge to edge McDougal for fourth with McDougal fifth. Brady Bacon came from 16th to 6th with Jake Scott seventh, Nick Bilbee fading to eighth, Colin Parker ninth and Tye Mihocko rounding out the top ten. After victory lane ceremonies one of the announcers proclaimed it would be nice to see another last lap pass for the win in the midget feature. He would get his wish.
It was time for the one that almost everyone came to see to take Brian Hodde's green flag at 11:14 with Justin Grant powering to the early lead from his first starting position and leading the first two laps. Grant stumbled on the cushion in turn two on lap three allowing second starter, Cannon McIntosh, to grab the lead. McIntosh in his dad's entry looked strong as he led the middle portion of the race with Grant in his shadow not letting him get too far away at any point. By the halfway mark McIntosh had encountered lap traffic and picked his way through until lap eighteen when Brenham Crouch brought out the caution with a spin in turn one. On the restart McIntosh get a good run and pulled away from Grant with Thomas Meseraull making his presence known with a march from 12th to third at this point. The RMS teammates closed the gap again on McIntosh as the laps wound down. With eight to go Grant squared off with the fourth turn cushion and lost, loosing ground and also loosing second to Meseraull as they entered turn one. McIntosh's lead evaporated quickly as he on the next lap when he jumped the cushion with Meseraull like a big cat pouncing on his prey drawing to McInstosh's tail tank. For the next several laps T-Mez drove low in turns one and two drawing alongside McIntosh but Cannon powered off turn two and back out front each time. It looked like McIntosh would weather the storm with the same scenario playing out through turns one and two on the white flag lap with McIntosh leading down the backstretch and entering turn three where he dove low while Meseraull went high. McIntosh slid from bottom to top entering turn four while Meseraull diamonded from top to bottom in turn four producing a drag race to the line with Meseraull edging McIntosh by inches to score his first ever IMW victory and fourth career USAC midget victory in his last 13 starts after going 0 for 88 previously. McIntosh would have to settle for second with Grant third, Buddy Kofoid, the current USAC midget point leader, fourth and Logan Seavey taking down fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Jason McDougal, Daison Pursley, Emerson Axsom, Chris Windom and Hayden Williams, the New Zealand driver who turned in a heady drive to finish tenth after starting 14th. The final checkers waved at 11:28 capping off the exciting night of racing.
About the only thing Meseraull didn't do right was his victory lane roll cage stand where he fell off backwards with his fall cushioned by USAC official, TG Sammy, or otherwise that one might have really hurt of cause some injury. Again hats off to the Paragon track crew who did a yeoman's work to tame the unruly track surface to allow everyone to see two great feature events!!!
That's it for night one of Indiana Midget Week and tune back tomorrow to see what happened at Bloomington Speedway in round two of IMW. Until then plot a trip out to Indiana to catch some of this action packed racing or get out to your area home track to witness some good short track racing, the backbone of racing. And as always thanks for reading our efforts and hope you continue to enjoy them. Be good and be safe.
A TYPICAL WEEKEND