AMSOIL Sprints
Saturday, 9 July 2016


Gas City winner Tyler Courtney (middle) is flanked by 2nd place Bryan Clauson (left) and 3rd place finisher Chris Windom (right). Gas City winner Tyler Courtney (middle) is flanked by 2nd place Bryan Clauson (left) and 3rd place finisher Chris Windom (right). Travis Branch Photo


After an opening lap spin sent him to the 24th and last position on the grid for the restart, the odds certainly did not appear to be in Tyler Courtney’s favor.

Passing 23 cars in 30 laps around a ¼-mile track is a tall task for anyone, let alone a driver seeking his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car win with the backdrop of an intense Indiana Sprint Week environment present.

However, Courtney was up to the task, methodically picking his way through the field as he tiptoed his way around the infield tires.  With eight laps to go, Courtney caught the red-hot Bryan Clauson for the top spot and hung on to score one of the most stunning victories in recent series memory Friday at Gas City I-69 Speedway on opening night of the 29th annual “Indiana Sprint Week.”

Already mired deep in the field from his original 16th starting position, Courtney seemed to be a longshot as all eyes from the packed Gas City grandstand were affixed at the head of the pack throughout the first portion of the race.

Two-time Gas City USAC Sprint Car winner Hunter Schuerenberg started from the pole, but by the end of the first lap, three-time 2016 series winner Chad Boespflug had bolted from his fourth starting spot to pull even with Schuerenberg at the flag stand.

But, Tyler Courtney’s first lap spin between turns three and four brought about the yellow flag, resulting in a complete restart.

On the ensuing restart, Schuerenberg shot to the front as Boespflug slid into second.  At the front of the pack, drivers found the fastest way to be around the top side where Boespflug zeroed in on Schuerenberg in a bid for the lead on the ninth lap before the action slowed with ninth-running Justin Grant stopped in turn two, bringing out the second yellow of the night.

On the lap nine restart, Schuerenberg sprinted to the bottom as Boespflug hit the cushion.   Suddenly, Boespflug’s car dramatically slowed due to a dzus button falling out of the ignition plate and, in turn, ceasing the engine.  Despite the issue, Boespflug would restart from the tail, but would not a play a factor in the race at the front, winding up a disappointing 21st at the finish line.

The next attempt at resuming action saw Clauson slip by Max McGhee for the second position and, one circuit later on lap 10, scooting past Schuerenberg for the lead with authority on the bottom, quickly distancing himself from the rest of the field.  On the 11th lap, Brady Bacon was able to dart by Schuerenberg for second at the entrance to turn one.

As soon as it appeared to become a two-man race between the season’s winningest driver in the series (Clauson) and the series point leader (Bacon), Bacon slipped off the edge of the racetrack between turns three and four, dropping the 2014 series champion all the way back to seventh.

Meanwhile, the 23c of Courtney began to come into focus as he slowly, but surely, and steadfastly hit his marks on the bottom of the track’s surface, knocking off one position after another.

By the midway point, Courtney was running fifth as he got a major run coming off the bottom of turn four. He hit the stripe three-wide with McGhee sandwiched between Windom on the outside and Courtney on the inside, beating them both into turn one. 

However, when Courtney got there, Schuerenberg was headed for the same piece of real estate.  The two made contact, sending Courtney sideways while popping his car up into the air as it bounced through turn one. 

Though the contact knocked Courtney off his saddle for a moment, he hopped back on his horse and was incredibly able to lasso both Schuerenberg and Windom in as the trio stormed down the back straightaway just moments later with Courtney able to blast out in front of both to claim second off of turn four.

From that point forward, Courtney had just one man to beat: Bryan Clauson.  Clauson, a six-time series winner this season, has been practically unbeatable when he gets out front this season, but Courtney was able to dig in his heels on the bottom, cutting the interval between him and Clauson by nearly a half a second each lap.

Clauson continued to cement his trust in the high line while Courtney stuck like Loctite to the low line as the two entered lapped traffic.  Clauson pushed his machine to the edge, dipping off the turn two edge on multiple occasions as he clung onto the number one position while Courtney continued to sneak up on him.  But a yellow for Thomas Meseraull flew after he found himself facing the outside turn four guardrail.

Seven laps to go, Clauson and Courtney had a clear track in front of them.  As expected, Clauson took to the low side on the restart in turns one two, defending the line that Courtney had worked to perfection all race long.  Yet, as Clauson headed into turn three, he aimed his car to the high side, thus leaving the door open for Courtney to take advantage and claim the lead at the line with eight laps to go.

Clauson refused to relent his high line and fall into line, instead, fighting back to pull side-by-side with Courtney in turn two on lap 24.  Clauson was on the ragged edge, literally, as he slipped his right side tires over the turn two berm, biking the car, but still managing to stay on the gas, only losing one position in the process to Windom.

A three-car freight train on the bottom consisting of Courtney, Windom and Shane Cottle ensued while Clauson ripped the high side.  Clauson hovered between second and fourth-place each lap, but was unable to reach Courtney, who held off all remaining challenges to pick up his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory in one of the most amazing drives seen in the series in years over Clauson, Windom, Cottle and Bacon.

Reminiscent of Terry Pletch’s storied charge from 21st to 1st in the 1999 Indiana Sprint Week opener at the Terre Haute Action Track, Courtney’s longshot win under trying circumstances is a performance that is sure to go down in ‘Sprint Week” lore.

“My grandpa (former Lincoln Park Speedway owner Mike Farrar) was a huge part of starting Indiana Sprint Week when it originated, so to win this is even more special,” Courtney said after driving the TOPP Motorsports’ Maxim/Chevy to his first career series win. 

“I’ve been close before, but to beat the best guy in Bryan Clauson the way we did, it’s just amazing.  I’m truly speechless.  I couldn’t believe he left me the bottom on the restart, but I knew I still had to hit my marks because I’ve given one away before running the bottom like that.  When I got by him, I just started counting down the laps in my head and they couldn’t fall quick enough.”

Noblesville, Indiana’s Clauson saw a rare one slip away from him near the end of the night’s 30-lapper.  The winner of six series victories in 2016 was able to squeak by Windom for second on the final corner of the final lap in his Dooling-Hayward/B & H Contractors – Cancer Treatment Centers of America/Spike/Stanton Mopar.

“I felt like I was as good as him once I got back up to ripping the top, but it was treacherous, so I just tried to stay close,” Clauson explained.  “If he could’ve been a little closer, I think we could’ve maybe got him.  But we got out front and maybe just led a little too soon.”

2011 Indiana Sprint Week champ Windom, of Canton, Illinois was able to overcome mechanical issues early in the night, but was able to come out of night one of “Sprint Week” with a solid third place effort in his Baldwin Brothers Racing/Fox Paving – AMSOIL/Maxim/Claxton Mopar.

“I couldn’t believe when Tyler (Courtney) went by me how slow he was going, but how fast he was at the same time,” said a surprised Windom.  “With how big the curb up top was getting, I never thought you could slow down that much and still go that well.  But once he got by, there was no getting him back.  We’ll take a podium though.  We had to fix a struck throttle and change a rear end too, so we salvaged what we could and ended up alright.”

Contingency award winners at Gas City I-69 Speedway included Brady Bacon (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Chase Stockon (Simpson Race Products First Heat Race Winner & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Feature Finisher), Kyle Robbins (Competition Suspension, Inc. (CSI) Second Heat Race Winner), Tyler Courtney (Benic Enterprises Third Heat Race Winner & KSE Racing Products/B&W Auto Mart Hard Charger) and Shane Cottle (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Race Winner).


USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 8, 2016 - Gas City, Indiana - Gas City I-69 Speedway - "Indiana Sprint Week"

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-12.175; 2. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-12.340; 3. Cole Smith, 29s, Smith-12.460; 4. Chad Boespflug, 98E, NineEight/EZR-12.464; 5. Justin Grant, 71p, Phillips-12.487; 6. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-12.488; 7. Bryan Clauson, 63, Dooling/Hayward-12.532; 8. Max McGhee, 17, McGhee-12.535; 9. Hunter Schuerenberg, 2E, Epperson-12.598; 10. Jerry Coons Jr., 10E, Edison-12.602; 11. Kevin Thomas Jr., 4J, 4J Motorsports-12.621; 12. Colten Cottle, 1RL, Lambertson-12.642; 13. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR-12.645; 14. Kyle Robbins, 17R, Robbins-12.675; 15. Robert Ballou, 1, Ballou-12.692; 16. Thomas Meseraull, 66, Amati-12.692; 17. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Rock Steady-12.728; 18. Tony DiMattia, 50, DiMattia-12.736; 19. Tyler Courtney, 23c, TOPP-12.753; 20. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-12.767; 21. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-12.793; 22. Jamie Williams, 31, Williams-12.808; 23. C.J. Leary, 17GP, Dutcher-12.810; 24. Shane Cottle, 57, Hazen-12.832; 25. Casey Shuman, 50x, Barnhill-12.844; 26. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-12.847; 27. Jon Stanbrough, 81, Stanbrough-12.869; 28. Landon Simon, 24, Simon-12.873; 29. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-12.884; 30. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-12.893; 31. Brent Beauchamp, 34, Olson-12.898; 32. Cole Ketcham, 41k, Ketcham-12.901; 33. Ted Hines, 12, Hines-12.915; 34. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-12.917; 35. Dave Darland, 11, Walker/Curb-Agajanian-12.932; 36. Dickie Gaines, 44, Soudrette-12.939; 37. Tim Creech, 2c, Creech-12.955; 38. Jimmy Light, 23, Two-Three-12.955; 39. Tyler Thomas, 04, Burton-12.994; 40. A.J. Hopkins, 42G, Jackson-13.085; 41. Mario Clouser, 6, Clouser-13.147; 42. Kent Schmidt, 5k, Schmidt-13.180; 43. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-13.183; 44. Josh Spencer, 66J, Spencer-13.238; 45. Travis Hery, 21H, Hery-13.260; 46. Bret Mellenberndt, 97, Mellenberndt-13.268; 47. Joe Bares, 19, TEST-13.390.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Schuerenberg, 3. Chapple, 4. Bacon, 5. Shuman, 6. Cummins, 7. Grant, 8. Hines, 9. Clouser, 10. Creech, 11. Andretti, 12. Hery. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Robbins, 2. Coons, 3. Daum, 4. Farney, 5. Windom, 6. Mattox, 7. DiMattia, 8. Williams, 9. Hodges, 10. Light, 11. Schmidt, 12. Mellenberndt. 2:04.27

BENIC ENTERPRISES THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. Clauson, 3. Ballou, 4. Beauchamp, 5. Leary, 6. K.Thomas, 7. Stanbrough, 8. T.Thomas, 9. Darland, 10. Goodnight, 11. Smith, 12. Bares. 2:05.32

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. S.Cottle, 2. McGhee, 3. Meseraull, 4. Boespflug, 5. Jarrett, 6. C.Cottle, 7. Spencer, 8. Gaines, 9. Hopkins, 10. Ketcham, 11. Simon. 2:08.25

C-MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Andretti, 2. Darland, 3. Hodges, 4. Hopkins, 5. T.Thomas, 6. Gaines, 7. Hines, 8. Ketcham, 9. Goodnight, 10. Clouser, 11. Spencer, 12. Creech, 13. Mellenberndt, 14. Schmidt, 15. Hery, 16. Bares, 17. Light. 2:11.66

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. K.Thomas, 2. Windom, 3. Andretti, 4. Grant, 5. Hopkins, 6. Cummins, 7. C.Cottle, 8. Hodges, 9. Jarrett, 10. Smith, 11. Darland, 12. DiMattia, 13. Mattox, 14. Stanbrough, 15. Leary, 16. Shuman, 17. Williams, 18. Simon. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Tyler Courtney, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Shane Cottle, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Jerry Coons Jr., 7. Max McGhee, 8. Robert Ballou, 9. A.J. Hopkins, 10. Zach Daum, 11. Kyle Robbins, 12. Hunter Schuerenberg, 13. Chase Stockon, 14. Kyle Cummins, 15. Jarett Andretti, 16. Dave Darland, 17. Aaron Farney, 18. C.J. Leary, 19. Brent Beauchamp, 20. Justin Grant, 21. Chad Boespflug, 22. Thomas Meseraull, 23. Kevin Thomas Jr., 24. Isaac Chapple. NT


FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 Schuerenberg, Laps 10-22 Clauson, Laps 23-30 Courtney.


NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,560, 2-Meseraull-1,416, 3-Stockon-1,388, 4-Ballou-1,385, 5-Darland-1,314, 6-Leary-1,246, 7-Boespflug-1,222, 8-McGhee-=1,119, 9-Windom-1,095, 10-Farney-903.

NEW USAC INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Courtney-78, 2-Clauson-74, 3-S.Cottle & Bacon-69, 5-Windom-68, 6-Coons-62, 7-McGhee-59, 8-Ballou-55, 9-Daum-54, 10-Robbins-49.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 9 - Kokomo (IN) Speedway - "Indiana Sprint Week" - "Tony Elliott Classic"

**Richie Murray – USAC Media