Peoria, Arizona — As the 2014 AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship ended at Canyon Speedway Park’s Hose Advantage Store “Hall of Fame Classic” on Saturday night, Bryan Clauson stood in victory lane with his sixth win of the season as Brady Bacon finished off his first USAC Sprint Car title while also delivering the 10th for famed car entrants Dynamics, Inc. – Hoffman Auto Racing. Bacon finished 56 points ahead of Clauson, who came home second in the standings after back-to-back titles.
Clauson led from outside the front row as the cushion was the fast way around. Bacon moved into second on lap three after an early yellow, and the duo raced away from the field. New track record holder Dave Darland moved to third a short time later, and the second caution near halfway bunched the leaders again.
This time, the leaders found themselves encountering heavy traffic, with Bacon looking low as Clauson tried to slice his way through. Both leaders went to the bottom on lap 25, and Darland hit the top to grab second from Bacon. He had a run on Clauson, too, but the leader was able to clear another lapped car just as the caution flag reappared with five laps to go.
In clear track, Clauson was too much as he added to his Canyon dominance in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #20 Beast/Kistler, making it 31 career National Sprint Car wins.
“I just love Canyon Speedway. We may not have won the war, but we won another battle. Tonight wasn’t nearly as easy as the box score will read. I was moving all over trying to find a way through traffic, knowing I had two guys behind me who are just waiting to pounce. I never knew how close they were, but I knew I was probably a sitting duck. I tried to mix it up when I could, but I felt really good in open track,” Clauson said.
Darland finished off another fine year with his runner-up finish in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage Store #71P DRC/Foxco.
“I don’t know what would have happened, but I know my opportunities were better if we had stayed in traffic those last five laps. But we had a shot at it, and the track was racy and getting better as it went. Traffic put us in position to take second and have a shot at the win, too. I’m so proud of my team, and what we’ve been able to accomplish racing against the caliber of racers and teams out here. It’s fun racing with those guys up there,” Darland said.
Bacon officially clinched his championship after transferring from his heat race, and then raced for the win with Clauson and Darland. He rounded out the podium on this night in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green #69 Triple X/Williams Mopar, making it his 20th top-five finish and 29th top-ten in 32 features on the season to go with four wins.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling, especially doing it with a team like this. They know what they’re doing and take so much pressure off me. It’s nice to just show up and drive it, and know that it’s gonna be good. We didn’t have a DNF all year, and that’s a major contributor to the championship. They’re never satisfied, and netiher am I. It was relieving to get it out of the way tonight before the feature, especially after the tumultuous night last night. It was fun to just be able to race for the win in the feature, and the top three in points finishing in the top three of the feature was cool. We had a couple shots tonight, but it just didn’t work out,” Bacon said.
For the Hoffman team, it was the record tenth title and the first since 2008.
“It has long been a goal to get ourselves to double digits, so that accomplishment means a lot to us. We’ve had a lot of fun racing against the drivers and teams we’ve had to beat to do it, and that increases the satisfaction, as well. I really feel like the depth of talent and equipment is as great as ever in this series. I think as long as Brady doesn’t fire us, we’ll be back and ready to defend the title in 2015,” team president Richard Hoffman said.
Mike Spencer came home fourth in the Chaffin Motorsports – Grubstake Mini Storage #50 Maxim/Shaver, and Jon Stanbrough rounded out the top-five in the Griffin’s Propane – MP Environmental Services #37RW Maxim/Fisher.
Damion Gardner closed out his second-straight USAC/CRA Championship with a seventh-place finish aboard the Alexander Trucking – Scott Sales Company #4 Spike/J&D.
-USAC Press Release. Photo Credit: Lonnie Wheatley/TWC Photos
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: November 15, 2014 – Peoria, Arizona – Canyon Speedway Park – The Hose Advantage Store “Hall of Fame Classic”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-13.072 (New Track Record); 2. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-13.157; 3. Damion Gardner, 4x, Alexander-13.170; 4. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-13.185; 5. Mike Spencer, 50, Chaffin-13.269; 6. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-13.294; 7. Jon Stanbrough, 37RW, Dutcher-13.302; 8. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-13.341; 9. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-13.353; 10. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-13.361; 11. Matt Rossi, 02, Rossi-13.368; 12. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 73, Ford-13.431; 13. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-13.443; 14. Jake Swanson, 92, Sertich-13.511; 15. Robert Ballou, 12x, Ballou-13.552; 16. Payton Pierce, 18P, Pierce-13.598; 17. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-13.623; 18. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-13.628; 19. Michael Curtis, 45c, Turner/Wheeler-13.656; 20. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-13.671; 21. Chad Boespflug, 5B, Baldwin-13.697; 22. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-13.700; 23. Jerry Coons, Jr., 04G, Cook-13.734; 24. Chris Windom, 22B, Weber-13.780; 25. Charles Davis, Jr., 50AZ, Massey-13.833; 26. Tye Mihocko, 5M, Mihocko-13.942; 27. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-13.997; 28. Dalten Gabbard, 77, Gabbard-14.047; 29. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-14.388; 30. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-NT; 31. Logan Williams, 5, Jory-NT.
FIRST HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Boespflug, 2. C. Williams, 3. Andretti, 4. Spencer, 5. Davis, 6. Leary, 7. Darland, 8. Gansen.
SECOND HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Martin, 2. Clauson, 3. Johnson, 4. Grant, 5. Stockon, 6. Swanson, 7. Hines, 8. Mihocko.
THIRD HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Curtis, 2. Coons, 3. Rossi, 4. Gardner, 5. Ballou, 6. Stanbrough, 7. Hodges.
FOURTH HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Mitchell, 2. Windom, 3. Bacon, 4. Thomas, 5. A. Williams, 6. Pierce, 7. Gabbard.
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Darland, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Ballou, 5. A. Williams, 6. Leary, 7. Swanson, 8. Gabbard, 9. Pierce, 10. Mihocko, 11. Davis, 12. Hodges, 13. Gansen, 14. Hines.
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Dave Darland, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Mike Spencer, 5. Jon Stanbrough, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Damion Gardner, 8. Matt Rossi, 9. Chase Stockon, 10. Robert Ballou, 11. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 12. Jerry Coons, Jr., 13. C.J. Leary, 14. Matt Mitchell, 15. R.J. Johnson, 16. Austin Williams, 17. Tracy Hines, 18. Cody Williams, 19. Chris Windom, 20. Chad Boespflug, 21. Mike Martin, 22. Chris Gansen, 23. Michael Curtis, 24. Jarett Andretti.
**L. Williams flipped in Hot Laps.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Clauson.
FINAL AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,974; 2-Clauson-1,918; 3-Darland-1,885; 4-Stanbrough-1,765; 5-Stockon-1,637; 6-Hines-1,537; 7-Grant-1,508; 8-Ballou-1,507; 9-Windom-1,374; 10-Leary-1,337.