Haubstadt, Indiana…….Kevin Thomas, Jr. from Cullman, Alabama has put together an incredible streak early in the 2013 AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship season, winning three straight races after Saturday night’s triumph in the “Spring Showdown” at Tri-State Speedway in a program co-sanctioned by the Midwest Sprint Car Series.
Thomas started from the pole and quickly gunned into the lead, but it was apparent early that he would be challenged by Robert Ballou, as the two stretched out a gap over the rest of the field. After a first half tormented by cautions and a red flag, the two squared off over the final 15 laps.
On lap 20, Thomas bobbled off turn-two, leading to a slidejob from Ballou into turn-three. The Rocklin, California driver narrowly held a lead at the stripe as Thomas peeled off to throw a move back at Ballou into one. The duo traded a few sliders before Ballou broke free on lap 23, but his lead would not last long.
On lap 25, Ballou banged the cushion in turn four, allowing Thomas to slip underneath and back into the lead. Although Ballou reeled Thomas back in over the final five laps as they approached traffic, Thomas prevailed by 1.123 seconds in the Mike Dutcher/RW/Tri-Star Motorsports – Black Jack Oil Company #17RW Maxim/Fisher.
“It took us a while to get things going, but Ballou and I had a really good battle there for a while. It was good racing with him for the lead, keeping it pretty clean. We just caught a break there and were able to capitalize. Winning here at Haubstadt means so much to me. I started racing a sprint car here, and I’ve worked my butt off just to be able to run up front, so to finally win a race here and have it come in a USAC show feels really good,” Thomas said.
Ballou was visibly dejected after leading a race for the third time this season only to come up short, marking his second-straight runner-up finish in the Baldwin Brothers Racing – Fox Paving #5 Maxim/Kercher Mopar.
“We’ve really come a long way at this place, and we were definitely better than them tonight. I really feel like I gave it away. I feel bad for (car owners) Ken & Margo (Baldwin) and (mechanic) Derrick Bye and everybody who helps us. I just was over-driving it a little, I guess, and I’m harder than anybody on myself. There was no room for error on that cushion tonight. Tonight was what Haubstadt is known for, and we had a great battle up there with some banzai sliders,” Ballou said.
Chase Stockon, who started 11th, came on in the race’s final laps to move into a podium spot, solidifying his hold on the championship point lead in the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher.
“We get around this place pretty good, and I was rolling the bottom really well the first part of the race, but eventually there just wasn’t enough bite left and I had to move up. Luckily, we got some ground early, and then it got pretty dicey towards the end. I saw the leaders racing close and maybe touch wheels, so I thought we might in the right spot, but I was just happy to bring it home and get another podium,” Stockon said.
Brady Short finished fourth in the Pottorff Logging – Indiana Stone Works #11P Maxim/SPEC, while Dave Darland held onto a top-five spot after racing in the third position for most of the race in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage #71P DRC/Foxco.
Wes McIntyre took the bonus from B&W Auto Mart for posting Fast Time before finishing seventh, while Landon Simon accepted the cash from B&W Auto Mart for the “Hard Charger Award” after climbing from 19th to finish eighth.
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: May 11, 2013 – Haubstadt, Indiana – Tri-State Speedway (co-sanctioned by Midwest Sprint Car Series)
QUALIFYING: 1. Wes McIntyre, 83, McIntyre-13.182; 2. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-13.283; 3. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-13.303; 4. Robert Ballou, 5, Baldwin-13.311; 5. Seth Parker, 38P, Parker-13.347; 6. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-13.349; 7. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-13.374; 8. Brady Short, 11P, Pottorff-13.417; 9. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-13.445; 10. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher/RW/Tri-Star-13.450; 11. Justin Grant, 21x, Pollock-13.458; 12. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-13.481; 13. Kyle Cummins, 3c, Cummins-13.490; 14. Levi Jones, 12, Rogers-13.558; 15. Casey Shuman, 21K, Krockenberger-13.582; 16. Jon Stanbrough, 56, Fox-13.623; 17. Dakota Jackson, 3, Jackson-13.630; 18. Shane Cottle, 2, Epperson-13.654; 19. Daron Clayton, 92, Clayton-13.654; 20. Bradley Sterrett, 90, Leer-13.691; 21. Danny Holtsclaw, 3H, Holtsclaw-13.710; 22. Landon Simon, 41, Stensland-13.781; 23. Josh Burton, 04, Burton-13.827; 24. Nick Drake, 55, Cline-13.854; 25. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-13.857; 26. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney/Anderson-13.991; 27. Chris Babcock, 35x, Babcock-14.221; 28. Parker Price-Miller, 9P, Ronk-14.282; 29. Chase Briscoe, 5B, Briscoe-14.398; 30. Kurt Gross, 1x, Gross-14.416; 31. Patrick Budde, 90x, Budde-14.573; 32. Kevin Chambers, 18, DC-14.637; 33. Jake Simmons, 3x, Simmons-14.963; 34. Chet Williams, 38, Williams-15.165.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jackson, 2. Cummins, 3. Bacon, 4. Holtsclaw, 5. Hines, 6. Parker, 7. McIntyre, 8. Briscoe, 9. Simmons. 2:15.78
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Darland, 3. Simon, 4. Jones, 5. Cottle, 6. Courtney, 7. Gross, 8. Leary, 9. Williams. NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clayton, 2. Clauson, 3. Burton, 4. Shuman, 5. Babcock, 6. Budde, 7. Schuerenberg, 8. Grant. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Stockon, 3. Drake, 4. Short, 5. Stanbrough, 6. Sterrett, 7. Price-Miller, 8. Chambers. 2:20.51
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Parker, 2. Leary, 3. McIntyre, 4. Schuerenberg, 5. Stanbrough, 6. Hines, 7. Grant, 8. Cottle, 9. Sterrett, 10. Courtney, 11. Briscoe, 12. Price-Miller, 13. Babcock, 14. Gross, 15. Chambers, 16. Budde, 17. Williams, 18. Simmons. 2:53.78
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. Robert Ballou, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Brady Short, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Levi Jones, 7. Wes McIntyre, 8. Landon Simon, 9. Hunter Schuerenberg, 10. Brady Bacon, 11. Casey Shuman, 12. Kyle Cummins, 13. Tracy Hines, 14. Nick Drake, 15. Chase Briscoe, 16. Danny Holtsclaw, 17. Shane Cottle, 18. Dakota Jackson, 19. Josh Burton, 20. Daron Clayton, 21. Seth Parker, 22. C.J. Leary, 23. Tyler Courtney, 24. Bryan Clauson, 25. Jon Stanbrough. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-19 Thomas, Laps 20-24 Ballou, Laps 25-30 Thomas.
**Leary flipped on lap 15 of the Feature.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stockon-404; 2-Darland-382; 3-Schuerenberg-380; 4-Bacon-378; 5-Thomas-375; 6-Clauson-364; 7-Ballou-353; 8-Hines-351; 9-Cottle-245; 10-Leary-239.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: May 17 – Bloomington, Indiana – Bloomington Speedway – “Larry Rice Classic”