THOMAS TURNS “SPRINTWEEK” HAT TRICK AT TERRE HAUTE
Terre Haute, Indiana…….Kevin Thomas, Jr. is on his second three-race win streak of the season, this time in the middle of the ultra-competitive “Indiana Sprintweek” after leading all 30 laps in Wednesday’s “Don Smith Classic” AMSOIL National Sprint Car event at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Thomas started fifth but it took him no time to get to the front, as he nailed a great start and pulled even for the lead off turn-two on the opening lap, clearing the top spot as the field completed lap one.
The race went 26 consecutive green laps, as Thomas led comfortably early over Brady Bacon, Dave Darland, Jerry Coons, Jr., and Brady Short. Bacon moved in on Thomas just as Coons retired from the event. From the halfway point on, Bacon inched in on the leader as both ran the high line all the way around.
As they encountered traffic, Bacon ran all over Thomas while Darland moved in on both of them. Behind them, Robert Ballou was on the move into the top-five, and ProSource “Fast Qualifier” Jon Stanbrough was recovering from an early backslide from sixth to as low as 12th.
Bacon and Darland both readied for attack just as the caution waved with four laps to go. Darland slid past Bacon on the restart and set his sights on Thomas. He slid past Thomas on lap 28, but Thomas countered off turn-two and drove back by him. Darland squared up one final move for the win into turn-one after the white flag, but his move fell short and he spun backwards into the outside wall.
With one final restart, Ballou took his turn as the challenger to Thomas, but he jumped the cushion in turn-two after the restart, setting up a wild three-wide battle behind Thomas. It was the sixth win of the season for the Cullman, Alabama driver in the Mike Dutcher/RW/Tri-Star Motorsports – Black Jack Oil Company #17RW Maxim/Fisher.
“I never would have guessed that I’d get a feature win here, but I had to drive my ass off for that one. I just knew a big one was coming from Darland on that last lap, and I guess he got in the wall. This thing was hooked right from the start. We got a great start on the bottom and moved up top with the lead. I really thought I was gonna throw it away, messing up in three and four and almost tagged the wall. It was tough getting through traffic, and that slowed me up a lot. We got lucky to get that caution with four to go, and I just had to be smart those last couple laps,” Thomas said.
Stanbrough battled all the way back in the Marion Underground Construction – Shane Wade Enterprises #66 DRC/Dynotech to come home second.
“We were just too tight early, shooting for the end of the race, and the track was just a little too good early. Our goal was to be a little too tight at the beginning but not lose sight of the leaders, and they were gone in a hurry. We were fortunate for the late caution to help us. I coulda used a caution a little earlier in the race; it was good at the end, obviously. I’m a little disappointed with second, just as I or anyone who wants to win is, but I guess we should be pretty happy to get back to second,” Stanbrough said.
Bacon snuck back by Ballou in a three-wide finish at the line for third in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green #69 Triple X/Stanton Mopar, making it his second-straight podium finish.
“I was probably just a little too cautious with him in the beginning. Just a couple little mistakes by me probably kept us from winning. These last two races are a big improvement for us, so hopefully we can just put it all together and me not mess up so we can win one,” Bacon said.
Ballou finished fourth in the Dale & Cindy Dewar – Farney Motorsports #12x Maxim/Ott, and Chase Stockon finished fifth after starting tenth in the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher. Chris Bell took the ProSource “Hard Charger Award” for climbing from 20th to 11th.
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 17, 2013 – Terre Haute, Indiana – Terre Haute Action Track – “Indiana Sprintweek”
QUALIFYING: 1. Jon Stanbrough, 66, Wade-19.947; 2. Jerry Coons Jr., 10E, Edison-20.053; 3. Kevin Thomas, 17RW, Dutcher-RW/Tri-Star-20.067; 4. Dave Darland, 71p, Phillips-20.226; 5. Brady Short, 11p, Pottorff-20.302; 6. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-20.341; 7. Justin Grant, 21x, Pollock-20.412; 8. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-20.415; 9. Robert Ballou, 12x, Ballou-20.419; 10. Wes McIntyre, 83, McIntyre-20.450; 11. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-20.514; 12. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-20.533; 13. Chris Windom, 11, Walker-20.662; 14. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-20.795; 15. Casey Shuman, 21k, Krockenberger-20.800; 16. Kurt Gross, 1x, Gross-20.862; 17. Gary Taylor, 40, Hery-20.914; 18. Shane Cottle, 2, Epperson-20.926; 19. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-20.952; 20. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-21.025; 21. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-21.122; 22. Brian Hayden, 77, Wingo-21.160; 23. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart-21.206; 24. Jake Simmons, 3x, Simmons-21.226; 25. Christopher Bell, 67, Kunz-21.257; 26. Mark Smith, 1m, Smith-21.378; 27. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney-21.573; 28. Nick Drake, 55, Cline-21.725; 29. Caleb Armstrong, 11J, Yeley-21.746; 30. Nathan Moore, 48, Moore-22.211; 31. Dalten Gabbard, 77x, Walker-22.305; 32. Daylan Chambers, 4c, Chambers-23.052; 33. Bill Rose, 6, Rose-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Taylor, 2. Ballou, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Short, 5. Windom, 6. Bell, 7. Armstrong, 8. Bernal. NT
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Cottle, 2. Schuerenberg, 3. McIntyre, 4. Leary, 5. Coons, 6. Hayden, 7. Smith, 8. Moore. 2:49.16
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Clauson, 3. Stockon, 4. Courtney, 5. Shuman, 6. Mattox, 7. Gabbard, 8. Grant, NT
FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Hines, 3. Bacon, 4. Simmons, 5. Gross, 6. Jarrett, 7. Drake, 8. Chambers. 2:48.82
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Coons, 2. Bell, 3. Windom, 4. Shuman, 5. Bernal, 6. Rose, 7. Hayden, 8. Armstrong, 9. Jarrett, 10. Drake, 11. Gabbard, 12. Chambers, 13. Smith, 14. Gross, 15. Mattox. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. Jon Stanbrough, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Chase Stockon, 6. Hunter Schuerenberg, 7. Brady Short, 8. Wes McIntyre, 9. Chris Windom, 10. Shane Cottle, 11. Christopher Bell, 12. Bryan Clauson, 13. Ryan Bernal, 14. C.J. Leary, 15. Bill Rose, 16. Tyler Courtney, 17. Dave Darland, 18. Gary Taylor, 19. Jerry Coons Jr., 20. Casey Shuman, 21. Jake Simmons, 22. Tracy Hines, 23. Justin Grant. NT
**Grant flipped during the third heat.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Thomas.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Darland-1,028, 2-Thomas-992, 3-Clauson-970, 4-Bacon-935, 5-Schuerenberg-912, 6-Stockon-899, 7-Hines-820, 8-Ballou-817, 9-Cottle-663, 10-Windom-604.
NEW INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Thomas-238, 2-Darland-224, 3-Stanbrough-211, 4-Clauson-201, 5-Cottle-198, 6-Bacon-197, 7-McIntyre-186, 8-Schuerenberg-184, 9-Bell-183, 10-Stockon-155.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: July 18 – Putnamville, Indiana – Lincoln Park Speedway – “Indiana Sprintweek”