Kokomo, Indiana…Robert Ballou continued his dream season and started off “Sprint Car Smackdown IV” in fine shape as he captured Thursday night’s 30-lap feature at Kokomo Speedway. The Rocklin, California driver made it nine wins for the year, a mark only reached eleven previous times in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car history.
Chase Stockon out-gunned polesitter Tyler Courtney to take the early lead, with Brady Bacon joining them before a red flag appeared on lap two. It came out just two laps later as seventh-running C.J. Leary caught the gnarly turn-one cushion and barrel-rolled into turn-two. He was unhurt.
Stockon held the lead as Courtney took second and left Bacon, who was having issues negotiating the curb himself. He dropped spots to ProSource “Fast Qualifier” Kyle Cummins and Ballou. On lap eight, Courtney jumped to the high side in turns one and two, but it bit him. He snapped sideways and nearly saved it before catching the wall and flopping over, collecting sixth-running Kevin Thomas, Jr. in the process. Courtney walked away, and Thomas restarted at the tail.
While things were fairly calm up front, the show was being put on by Thursday’s winner Chris Windom and provisional starter Brady Short. They stormed through the field, with Short using the lower half of the track while Windom ventured above the cushion to run all the way up to sixth. Bacon and Jerry Coons, Jr. raced for fourth as Stockon continued to hold command at the front of the field. Ballou took second with ten to go and caught a caution with nine laps to go.
Ballou stalked Stockon and ran his fastest lap of the race on lap 24, as they came to the line side-by-side for the lead with Stockon .010 seconds ahead. Ballou swept underneath him through turns one and two with the lead and began to put distance between himself and Stockon. Windom had taken fifth but then bicycled violently on the cushion and dropped two spots. Short took advantage, sticking his nose in the battle for a top-five.
National point leader Ballou was flawless in the closing laps, taking a .957-second win in the Blakesley Auto – TwisterX #12 Maxim/Ott.
“I know there’s a lot of people up here who don’t want me to win, but we gotta keep racking these wins up if I’m gonna catch Dave Darland on the all-time win list. It was a challenge for us early, but I knew if I could get through some laps, we would be in good shape. If I wasn’t so fat, maybe we wouldn’t have that issue. You gotta bide your time in some races, and tonight we just had to get closer to the end. I got off the bottom once and it was a mistake, but I went back down and we were good there. The track definitely threw us a curveball tonight, but they got it racy and we made the most of it,” Ballou said.
Stockon capped a fine night that moved him back up to second in points with the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher.
“To win up here is really difficult, and we were close tonight. It’s really frustrating to lead all that way and have him go by us late, but he’s going good right now. We could run up and kiss the top in one and two, but that dried up some on us, and it blew off pretty good through three and four. We just got too free towards the end. He kept his car stuck down low, and we couldn’t quite do that. We’re getting there, but need to fine-tune it to get a win here,” Stockon said.
Bacon came home third in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green #69 Triple X/Williams Mopar. “This place keeps you on your toes, and obviously tonight was a little different than you usually see here. I thought I had it going pretty good up top early, but then as it slicked up getting to it and the curb got bigger, I just got too tight on it and almost crashed a few times. The track moved around quite a bit, and you had to keep up with it. The top wasn’t the fastest place to be tonight and we didn’t get it tight enough, but we got a good solid finish out of it,” Bacon said. Cummins came home fourth in the Rock Steady Racing – Vincennes University #3R Mach-1/Cummins, and Short’s run from 24th ended up fifth in the Pottorff Logging – Sipe’s Body & Glass #11P Maxim/Spec. Windom’s drive from 17th to 7th earned him the TeamVWAudi.com “Hard Charger Award” presented by Maxim Chassis. In the night’s Competition Suspension (CSI) Heat Races, Dave Darland won Hinchman Indy Heat 1, Scotty Weir won STIDA.com Heat 2, Windom won Loudpedal Productions Heat 3, and Jarett Andretti won Racers Storage Heat 4. In the night’s Semi-Feature, Hunter Schuerenberg won the American Racing Ministries “Perseverance Award” as the last transfer. Max McGhee took the night’s Pace Performance Coatings “Hard Work Award” as the slowest qualifier to make the night’s feature. Shane Cottle took the Arizona Sport Shirts prize as the first non-transfer.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: August 27, 2015 – Kokomo, Indiana – Kokomo Speedway – “Sprint Car Smackdown IV”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Byram-13.269; 2. Chad Boespflug 66, Amati-13.272; 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher-13.331; 4. Tracy Hines, 4, THR-13.342; 5. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-13.369; 6. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-13.417; 7. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-13.424; 8. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-13.427; 9. Jerry Coons Jr., 10E, Edison-13.510; 10. Jon Stanbrough, 81, Stanbrough-13.521; 11. Tyler Courtney, 23E, Eberhardt-13.530; 12. Hunter Schuerenberg, 2E, Epperson-13.541; 13. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-13.546; 14. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-13.556; 15. Cole Ketcham, 41K, SST-13.578; 16. Thomas Meseraull, 29, Dawkins-13.579; 17. Casey Shuman, 2X, Barnhill-13.584; 18. Scotty Weir, 5, Baldwin-13.591; 19. Chris Windom, 21X, Pollock-13.660; 20. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-13.675; 21. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips/Curb-Agajanian-13.704; 22. Brian Karraker, 23, Karraker-13.740; 23. Kody Swanson, 32m, Marshall-13.761; 24. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-13.766; 25. Max McGhee, 17, McGhee-13.774; 26. Shane Cottle, 57, Hazen-13.777; 27. Travis Hery, 21H, Hery-13.845; 28. Ryan Bernal, 11, Walker-13.868; 29. Parker Price-Miller, 9p, Ronk-13.919; 30. Kyle Robbins, 17R, Robbins-13.942; 31. Dallas Hewitt, 16, Pearson-13.969; 32. Brady Short, 11p, Pottorff-13.982; 33. Chris Gurley, 12G, Team Automotive-13.994; 34. Ted Hines, 12H, Hines-14.026; 35. Dustin Smith, 77, Smith-14.065; 36. Tom Harris, 5E, East-14.134; 37. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-14.189; 38. Colten Cottle, 42, Jackson-14.250; 39. Frank Flud, 41, SST-14.381; 40. Joe Bares 19, Test Motorsports-14.539; 41. Josh Spencer, 66J, Spencer-14.594; 42. Tony DiMattia, 50, DiMattia-14.676; 43. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-14.797; 44. Chris Phillips, 1G, Gormly-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Ballou, 3. McGhee, 4. Shuman, 5. Coons, 6. Gurley, 7. Farney, 8. Cummins, 9. Spencer, 10. Price-Miller, 11. Simon. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Weir, 2. Grant, 3. Bacon, 4. Karraker, 5. Boespflug, 6. S.Cottle, 7. Stanbrough, 8. Robbins, 9. Ted Hines, 10. DiMattia, 11. C.Cottle. NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Thomas, 3. Courtney, 4. Leary, 5. Ketcham, 6. Swanson, 7. Hery, 8. Hewitt, 9. Smith, 10. Flud, 11. Bell. 2:16.98
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Andretti, 2. Mattox, 3. Stockon, 4. Meseraull, 5. Short, 6. Bernal, 7. Tracy Hines, 8. Schuerenberg, 9. Harris, 10. Bares. 2:18.63
C MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Smith, 2. Ted Hines, 3. Spencer, 4, Bares, 5. Flud, 6. Bell, 7. DiMattia, 8. Farney. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Boespflug, 2. Cummins, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Coons, 5. Stanbrough, 6. Schuerenberg, 7. S.Cottle, 8. Short, 9. Ketcham, 10. Bernal, 11. Robbins, 12. Swanson, 13. Price-Miller, 14. Spencer, 15. Hery, 16. Gurley, 17. Smith, 18. Hewitt, 19. Bares, 20. Ted Hines. 2:45.70
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Robert Ballou., 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Kyle Cummins, 5. Brady Short, 6. Jerry Coons Jr., 7. Chris Windom, 8. Thomas Meseraull, 9. Kevin Thomas Jr., 10. Scotty Weir, 11. Jon Stanbrough, 12. Chad Boespflug, 13. Justin Grant, 14. Dave Darland, 15. Max McGhee, 16. Aaron Farney, 17. Hunter Schuerenberg, 18. Jarett Andretti, 19. Brandon Mattox, 20. Casey Shuman, 21. Tyler Courtney, 22. C.J. Leary, 23. Brian Karraker, 24. Tracy Hines. NT
**Phillips flipped during qualifying. Karraker flipped on lap 2 of the feature. Leary flipped on lap 5 of the feature. Courtney flipped on lap 8 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: 1-24 Stockon, Laps 25-30 Ballou.
NEW AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Ballou-1,646, 2-Stockon-1,553; 3-Darland-1,527; 4-Bacon-1,483, 5-Stanbrough-1,368; 6-Thomas-1,279; 7-Windom-1,094, 8-Leary-1,081, 9-Tracy Hines-1,013, 10-Grant-976.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: August 28 – Kokomo (IN) Speedway – “Sprint Car Smackdown IV”
– USAC press release