AMSOIL Sprints
Friday, 20 August 2021


Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.), a winner locally at Paragon Speedway one week ago. Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.), a winner locally at Paragon Speedway one week ago. Jack Reitz Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Paragon, Indiana (August 20, 2021)………Four months ago – where were you?  Unfortunately, many of us were standing in the rain at Paragon Speedway during the first try for USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car racing at the track since 1998.

Mother Nature prolonged the wait just a bit longer, pushing back the long-awaited arrival of the series four months into the future to Sunday night, August 22.  And, my friends, the future has now finally arrived.

That brings to question the date, July 25, 1998, where were you?  Saving Private Ryan was the number one movie at the box office and Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” was still dominating the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Not to mention, at that time, many of today’s racing stars were still in quarter midgets, diapers, or still years down the road.

That date also marked the most recent occasion the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars competed at Indiana’s Paragon Speedway, the 3/8-mile dirt oval just southwest of Indianapolis, an absence which ends this Sunday night.

Paragon has hosted 19 previous appearances by the series dating back to 1981.  Steve Butler has the most USAC Sprint wins at the track with three while Derek Davidson won the most recent, in 1998, which was his first career series victory.

Funny enough, the first two USAC Sprint races held at Paragon resulted in two first-time series winners in Rick Hood (1981) and Chuck Amati (1982) while the last three did so as well, with Kevin Briscoe (1997), Bill Rose (1997) and Davidson (1998) all notching their firsts.  Seven of the 19 races have produced first-time USAC winners with those five, plus Brad Doty (1988) and Joe Gaerte (1988) also doing the same.

This Sunday’s race will undoubtedly produce a first-time Paragon winner under USAC sanction.  However, numerous of the expected entrants for the event have experienced their fair share of success over the years at the track which first hosted racing in 1954.

Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) has finished as the runner-up on three occasions with the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars this year and remains in search of his first series win.  The 2017 USAC West Coast Sprint Car champion is Paragon Speedway’s most recent feature winner on Aug. 13 during Fan Appreciation Night.

Like Swanson, A.J. Hopkins (Brownsburg, Ind.) is a prime candidate to join the list of drivers to win their first USAC Sprint features at Paragon.  Hopkins captured the 2020 track championship there with five victories and he won twice more back in 2019 and twice already this year.

Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) has posted 12 victories at Paragon between 2003 and 2019.  Winning sprint car races at Paragon is a family tradition with his father, Mark Cummins, winning in a winged sprint car there in 1990 and 1991.

Early in his career, Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) earned the sprint car track championship at Paragon in 2008.  Stockon grabbed a handful of victories at Paragon between 2005-11 before heading onto the USAC National Sprint Car trail full-time starting in 2012.

Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) captured the 68-lap Chuck Amati Classic races in 2010 and 2013, and one of his very first sprint car victories came as a 14-year-old at Paragon back in 2005.  More recently, Windom scored 4th place finish with the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets in 2020 and was the fastest qualifier during Indiana Midget Week in June of this year.

Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) has earned a pair of victories at Paragon himself in both the 2015 King of Indiana Sprint Car Series (KISS) race as well as the 2018 Chuck Amati Classic.

Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) has been a frequent winner at Paragon over the last couple of years, winning twice in 2020 and four times in 2019.

Brady Short (Bedford, Ind.) has found his way to victory lane too at Paragon, with a pair of Chuck Amati Classic scores in 2011 and 2016 in addition to another victory at Paragon in 2011.

Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) has won twice at Paragon, including the 2017 Chuck Amati Classic and the 2011 KISS event.  Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.) captured a Paragon win in 2013.  Brandon Morin (Jasonville, Ind.) has two victories at Paragon in 2012 and 2017.

Several more of this weekend’s expected Sprint Car entries competed at Paragon during Indiana Midget Week over the past couple of seasons.  Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) finished 2nd and led a race high 16 laps in 2020.  Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) finished 5th in 2020 and did two better in 2021 with a 3rd.  Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) raced from the C to the B to the A where he started 22nd and finished 8th in 2020, then followed up with a 5th in 2021.  Jason McDougal was 6th in 2021.  Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) won his heat and finished 10th in 2020.  Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) finished 18th in 2020.

Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) is set to make his USAC National Sprint Car debut on Sunday at Paragon.  He scored an 8th during Indiana Midget Week there in June of this year.

Harley Burns’ (Brazil, Ind.) father, Eric Burns, won at Paragon on four occasions between 1996-2001.  Brayden Fox’s (Avon, Ind.) father, Brad Fox, competed numerous times at Paragon and the car, the famed white No. 53, was a perennial winner throughout the mid to late 2000s everywhere, including Paragon.

They join a slew of talented individuals who’ve made their mark in the sport, including USAC National Sprint champion C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.), a three-time USAC National Sprint Car winner in 2021.

Jake Scott (Morgantown, Ind.) is a four-time Paragon track champion in 2012-13-15-18 and a winner on the local level there back in May.  Josh Cunningham (Spencer, Ind.) is a Paragon heavy hitter, capturing seven track championships in 2004-10-11-14-16-17-19.

On Sunday at Paragon, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars and Bombers are on the event card.  General admission tickets are $30 while ages 10 and under are free.  The pits open at 3pm ET, stands at 4:30pm and hot laps at 6pm with qualifying and racing immediately following.

If you have not done so yet, tickets purchased through the track from the April 18 USAC rain out can be used at Paragon this Sunday as well as at Bloomington Speedway and Lincoln Park Speedway at a race later during the 2021 season.

Every lap of Sunday’s Paragon USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car event will be aired live on FloRacing at




USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-1826, 2-Kevin Thomas Jr.-1770, 3-Justin Grant-1755, 4-C.J. Leary-1606, 5-Tanner Thorson-1580, 6-Robert Ballou-1531, 7-Chris Windom-1508, 8-Jake Swanson-1494, 9-Chase Stockon-1168, 10-Kyle Cummins-934.



3-Steve Butler

2-Jack Hewitt & Jon Stanbrough

1-Chuck Amati, Kevin Briscoe, Derek Davidson, Brad Doty, Joe Gaerte, Rick Hood, Kelly Kinser, Sheldon Kinser, Bill Rose, Ken Schrader, Kevin Thomas & Rich Vogler



1981: Rick Hood (9/9)

1982: Chuck Amati (5/15) & Rich Vogler (7/28)

1983: Ken Schrader (4/17), Jack Hewitt (7/27) & Kelly Kinser (9/15)

1984: Steve Butler (7/19) & Steve Butler (8/15)

1985: Sheldon Kinser (7/3)

1987: Steve Butler (8/29)

1988: Brad Doty (5/7) & Joe Gaerte (9/9)

1994: Kevin Thomas (6/4)

1995: Jack Hewitt (7/8)

1996: Jon Stanbrough (7/6) & Jon Stanbrough (7/27)

1997: Kevin Briscoe (7/5) & Bill Rose (7/26)

1998: Derek Davidson (7/25)



1 Lap - 7/27/1996 - Mark Cassella - 14.886 - 90.689 mph

6 Laps - 8/15/1984 - Leon Thickstun - 1:36.130 - 84.261 mph

8 Laps - 7/19/1984 - Sheldon Kinser - 2:06.560 - 85.335 mph

10 Laps - 7/27/1983 - Bill Tyler - 2:44.670 - 81.982 mph

12 Laps - 7/6/1996 - Kevin Thomas - 3:30.760 - 76.865 mph

30 Laps - 7/28/1982 - Rich Vogler - 12:01.780 - 56.111 mph