Putnamville, IN – Jerry Coons, Jr. celebrated his independence in style Friday night at Lincoln Park Speedway, as the Tucson, Arizona veteran captured his first AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory of the season. It was the 15th career National Sprint win for Coons, tying him for 27th all-time.
Coons found himself on the pole after qualifying eighth, but it was Dave Darland driving around the outside to take the initial lead on the 30-lapper. Coons darted under him on lap-two as they exited turn-four, getting the official lead before point-leader Brady Bacon got caught up in a chain reaction and spun in turn-four on lap three.
Coons kept his lead as Darland tried to work the high side just behind him. They moved into lapped traffic within just a few laps as Darland made a major mistake, getting sideways in turns one and two on lap ten and nearly stopping before another car hit him and re-fired the Phillips Motorsports #71P. The caution came out, but since no cars had stopped, it was deemed an inadvertent yellow and Darland was placed in fifth, which is where he blended in as the caution appeared.
From there, the race went green as Coons tried to slice through traffic with only Bryan Clauson keeping pace with him. Clauson tried to apply pressure to his inside, but Coons was too strong as Clauson started to blow some smoke from underneath the hood. With just five laps to go, Coons encountered two cars racing side-by-side and was held up enough for Clauson to try the bottom through turns three and four, grabbing the lead as they crossed the stripe on lap 26.
Clauson was slowing considerably, however, and Coons raced back by on lap 27 to take the lead for good, finishing unchallenged in the Edison Motorsports – Crume Evans Insurance #10E Spike/Chevy.
“Tonight, it makes or breaks your night to qualify pretty well and get through the heat, which helpd us with the front row. The track was pretty narrow tonight with traffic, and the second time I was a little too timid as I got to them. Clauson got up next to me, and I just had to jump up there and drive it in to get him back. Those guys were just side-by-side battling for position, so there wasn’t much of anywhere to go. We’ve been really good lately and found some things to be better later in the night, and that’s put us up front consistently,” Coons said.
As Clauson faded, fast qualifier C.J. Leary was on the move, taking second to match his best-career finishing in the Leary Construction Company – Green Tech Lubricants #30 DRC/Claxton Mopar.
“(Crew chief) Derek Claxton and I have been on a pretty good streak lately, qualifying well and giving us a chance to start near the front. We’ve had some good runs and our confidence is high, so we’re excited to get Sprintweek started next week. We’re right there, and it would be great to get our first win during Sprintweek,” Leary said.
Shane Cottle rounded out the podium as he passed Clauson on the last lap in the Epperson Painting – PPG #2E Spike/Foxco.
“We were actually pretty good by the end. We were way too tight early. I thought the traffic would blow off a little quicker, but it just took too long. I was actually talking to my car owner Tony Epperson about getting him a USAC Sprint Car win, so hopefully we can knock the door down on that next week,” Cottle said.
Clauson wound up fourth in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #20 Beast/Kistler, and Darland rounded out the top-five in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage Store #71P DRC/Foxco.
Bacon saved some of his point lead by racing back to 13th.
Robert Ballou picked up the night’s B&W Auto Mart “Hard Charger Award” after driving from 19th to finish 12th.
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 4, 2014 – Putnamville, Indiana – Lincoln Park Speedway
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-12.403; 2. Chad Boespflug, 57, Hazen-12.594; 3. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-12.607; 4. Max McGhee, 17m, McGhee-12.675; 5. Shane Cottle, 2E, Epperson-12.679; 6. Jon Stanbrough, 37RW, Dutcher-12.707; 7. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-12.715; 8. Jerry Coons Jr., 10E, Edison-12.716; 9. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-12.722; 10. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-12.728; 11. Casey Shuman, 21k, Krockenberger-12.787; 12. Chris Windom, 11, Walker-12.868; 13. Daron Clayton, 3R, Byram-12.890; 14. Hunter Schuerenberg, 20N, Schuerenberg/Nolen-12.893; 15. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-12.905; 16. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-13.013; 17. Lee Dakus, 21x, Dakus-13.050; 18. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KT-13.087; 19. Chris Phillips, 6, Phillips-13.154; 20. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-13.259; 21. Mike Terry Jr., 85, Terry-13.320; 22. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-13.345; 23. Brian Hayden, 2H, Hayden-13.556; 24. Matt McDonald, 5m, McDonald-14.130.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clayton, 2. Bacon, 3. Leary, 4. Darland, 5. Andretti, 6. McGhee, 7. Farney. 8. Phillips. 2:11.72
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Schuerenberg, 2. Coons, 3. Cottle, 4. Ballou, 5. Boespflug, 6. Dakus, 7. Hayden, 8. Shuman. 2:12.54
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Stockon, 3. Clauson, 4. Windom, 5. Hines, 6. Stanbrough, 7. Terry, 8. McDonald. 2:12.91
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Stanbrough, 2. Shuman, 3. Dakus, 4. McGhee, 5. Farney, 6. Hayden, 7. Phillips, 8. Terry, 9. McDonald. 2:40.15
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Jerry Coons Jr., 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Shane Cottle, 4. Bryan Clauson, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Jon Stanbrough, 7. Chad Boespflug, 8. Tracy Hines, 9. Chris Windom, 10. Casey Shuman, 11. Chase Stockon, 12. Robert Ballou, 13. Brady Bacon, 14. Daron Clayton, 15. Hunter Schuerenberg, 16. Max McGhee, 17. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 18. Aaron Farney, 19. Jarett Andretti, 20. Lee Dakus, 21. Brian Hayden, 22. Chris Phillips. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Darland, Laps 2-25 Coons, Lap 26 Clauson, Laps 27-30 Coons.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Bacon-998, 2-Darland-969, 3-Stanbrough-907, 4-Clauson-902, 5-Stockon-889, 6-Hines-850, 7-Justin Grant-786, 8-Schuerenberg-767, 9-Windom-741, 10-Leary-695.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: July 11 – Gas City (IN) I-69 Speedway – 27th “Indiana Sprint Week”
USAC PR – Rich Forman photo