Tom Gossar bested a field of more than 80 Compacts on the Bristol Motor Speedway (TN) property to take the biggest win of his career at the 3rd Annual Short Track U.S. Nationals. After finishing second in last year’s race, the Markleville, Indiana driver set fast time earlier in the day in Vores Compact Touring Series qualifying and quickly worked his way to the front and held off challenges over multiple restarts to win himself the gladiator trophy and the sword.
“We had a really good car," Gossar told Speed51.com. "I just tried not to overdrive it and wear it out so it would make the fifty laps around here. We just kind of took care of the car, make sure you don’t wear it out and try to stay out front and watch the mirror, keep a good gap, and stay out front.”
Gossar’s race nearly went awry in the middle stages just after a restart when his Honda hatchback popped out of gear while going through the corner. He was able to correct the problem, but had lost two positions in the process. He was able to regain those two lost spots after another restart.
“It actually popped out of gear in the middle of three and four, so I had to put it back in gear,” he said. “I’m not really sure why it did that, I’ve never had any issues with the transmission before, but that’s what happened. I was hoping it wasn’t an axle that was broke because I know that’s a big issue a lot of us have, too.”
Gossar was followed across the start/finish line by Boggstown, Indiana’s Justin Brown and Charlotte, Michigan’s Todd Metz Jr, who were equally excited about finishing in the top three at “The Last Great Colosseum.” Brown had to drive through the field after a bad start, while Metz was ecstatic about having just competed for the win at one of the most famous short tracks in America.
“We’ve ran really good all weekend,” Brown said. “After starting ninth, I feel back to 20th right after the start. We got stuck behind some cars, I don’t know if someone missed a shift or what. Then to climb back with the car not running quite right and at the end of the race, it overheated. Then to climb back to second, I’m pretty thrilled with that.”
“This is my third time down here and I’ve been fast all three times and to finish finally, it’s just amazing,” Metz said. “I can’t describe it. I was literally bumping second place within sight of the leader. Just to be here is amazing. I drive a Dodge Neon, if you would’ve told me five years ago I was going to race a Dodge Neon around Bristol Motor Speedway under the lights, I would’ve thought you lost your mind.”
Saturday night’s win was special to Gossar. He considers it an honor just to race at Bristol, and being able to call himself a winner at the famed half-mile is something he’ll cherish for as long as he lives.
“It means everything,” Gossar said. “Anybody that watches short track racing, this is where you want to win at so this is the biggest win anybody can get in short track racing period.”
Terry Eaton and Anderson winner Trent Gossar rounded out the top five.
The next race for the Vore’s Compact Touring Series will be at Toledo Speedway on June 14thfor the rescheduled Vore’s Cup that was originally scheduled to be held at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Fans who missed Saturday’s Short Track U.S. Nationals can relive the action by watching the on-demand replay of Speed51’s broadcast of the race from “The Last Great Colosseum.” Click here to watch the replay.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo