Port Royal, PA – Although he won the season opener for the AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and led the points coming into Saturday’s race at Port Royal Speedway, Brady Bacon had felt some frustration at narrowly missing out on more wins while accumulating nine top-fives and six fast times in the first twelve races. He returned to victory lane with a strong performance to win the 30-lapper and strengthen his hold on this RW & Partners “Eastern Storm” point lead.
The initial start was called back and Tracy Hines rode a wheel and flipped in turn-two. He was uninjured. Robert Ballou was also involved and visited the work area before returning to the tail of the field.
On the second start, Jon Stanbrough got the jump over Kevin Thomas, Jr. and led the opening lap before the only caution of the event. After that, Thomas chose the high line and eventually edged past Stanbrough for the lead entering turn-one on lap five. He brought Bacon with him, and the two pulled away from the rest of the field.
Bacon edged underneath Thomas multiple times as the two raced around the high-speed half-mile, disposing of lapped cars as they closed on halfway. Bacon finally had a big run as they completed lap 17 and slid in front of Thomas through turns one and two, immediately opening up his advantage.
Traffic slowed Bacon down in the waning stages as Thomas nibbled at his lead, while Ballou was wowing the crowd with a hair-raising drive back through the field. In the closing laps, Bacon was held up by cars racing two-wide, but his margin was too much and he picked up the win by 1.373 seconds in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green #69 Triple X/Williams Mopar.
“We’re on a pretty good streak right now – when you know what to expect and get into a routine, and your confidence is up, it lets you attack and have faith in your car. The bottom was pretty good through one and two early, and I thought I could use that to get by him before it went away, but I couldn’t get there. He slipped up a little as I had a big run and I was able to get by him. Our car got better as the race went on, though, and we’ve been good on tracks like this all the time.
Thomas matched his season-best finish, this time aboard the Black Jack Oil Company – Bakken Concrete #9K Spike/Fisher.
“The top was feeling really good to me, somewhat similar to Terre Haute last month, but unfortunately the outcome was the same,” Thomas joked, adding, “It feels good to get back on the podium. I can’t say enough about all the people who have helped me put this deal together. I’ve learned a lot in the past year in a few different cars and it’s good to see the results of that.”
Ballou made a bid for third on the final lap, but Stanbrough hung on to record his second podium finish of the week in the MP Environmental Services – Indiana Underground Construction #37RW Maxim/Fisher.
“We’re getting closer. I felt like I was better in places, but not so much in other spots. We’ll just keep building on this momentum and hopefully turn these seconds and thirds into wins. I thought the bottom might be the place to be after I got the lead on the start, but we just got too free,” Stanbrough said.
Ballou’s drive from 22nd ended with a fourth-place finish for the Tom Buch – Rossie Feed & Grain #12 Maxim/Ott, and Dave Darland rounded out the top-five in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage Store #71P DRC/Foxco.
Bacon leads “Eastern Storm” points by 15 over Darland entering Sunday’s finale at Susquehanna Speedway Park.
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 7, 2014 – Port Royal, Pennsylvania – Port Royal Speedway – “Eastern Storm”
QUALIFYING: 1. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-19.247; 2. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-19.454; 3. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-19.532; 4. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-19.588; 5. Jon Stanbrough, 37RW, Dutcher-19.610; 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-19.714; 7. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-19.727; 8. Hunter Schuerenberg, 20N, Schuerenberg/Nolen-19.865; 9. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-19.871; 10. Daron Clayton, 3R, Byram-19.900; 11. Shane Cockrum, 66, Wade-19.905; 12. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-20.029; 13. Chris Windom, 11, Walker-20.032; 14. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-20.092; 15. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-20.151; 16. Mark Bitner, 15, Bitner-20.265; 17. Dalten Gabbard, 5, Baldwin-20.461; 18. Billy Pauch, Jr., 36, Thomas/Engler-20.516; 19. Chad Boespflug, 98, Boespflug-20.577; 20. Joey Biasi, B1, Biasi-20.698; 21. Trevor Kobylarz, 14, RT-20.912; 22. Brian Ehrenzeller, 33E, Ehrenzeller-21.260; 23. Curt Stroup, 33, Ehrenzeller-21.291.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Bacon, 3. Windom, 4. Clayton, 5. Grant, 6. Bitner, 7. Boespflug, 8. Ehrenzeller. 2:39.70
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Cockrum, 2. Leary, 3. Schuerenberg, 4. Darland, 5. Stanbrough, 6. Biasi, 7. Gabbard, 8. Stroup. 2:43.61
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Clauson, 3. Stockon, 4. Pauch, 5. Thomas, 6. Andretti, 7. Kobylarz. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Brady Bacon, 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 3. Jon Stanbrough, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Justin Grant, 8. Bryan Clauson, 9. Shane Cockrum, 10. Hunter Schuerenberg, 11. Chris Windom, 12. C.J. Leary, 13. Chad Boespflug, 14. Jarett Andretti, 15. Dalten Gabbard, 16. Mark Bitner, 17. Trevor Kobylarz, 18. Joey Biasi, 19. Daron Clayton, 20. Curt Stroup, 21. Billy Pauch, Jr., 22. Brian Ehrenzeller, 23. Tracy Hines. NT
**Hines flipped on the start of the Feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-4 Stanbrough, Laps 5-17 Thomas, Laps 18-30 Bacon.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Bacon-776; 2-Darland-732; 3-Stockon-701; 4-Clauson-692; 5-Hines-656; 6-Stanbrough-653; 7-Grant-647; 8-Schuerenberg-578; 9-Windom-520; 10-Leary-493.
NEW RW & PARTNERS EASTERN STORM POINTS: 1-Bacon-250; 2-Darland-235; 3-Stockon-233; 4-Grant-217; 5-Clauson-200; 6-Stanbrough-198; 7-Thomas-187; 8-Leary/Ballou-184; 10-Hines-180.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: June 8 – Newberrytown, Pennsylvania – Susquehanna Speedway Park – “Eastern Storm”
Photo Credit: Rich Forman