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Narrow USAC National Sprint Title to Be Decided at Perris

November 7, 2018 • App, Archives, Dirt Cars, Region - National

Perris, California — As the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars head into the season’s final weekend of 2018, we’re staring down the barrel of history in the making.

 

Only two points separate Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Tyler Courtney in the National standings with just three races remaining – the 23rd annual Budweiser “Oval Nationals” presented by All Coast Construction at California’s Perris Auto Speedway on November 8-9-10.

 

The old saying, “if the season ended today…,” would make the current interval the closest finish in the history of the series.  Close championship races have been more of the norm of late with six of the top-ten closest championships all occurring since the year 2000.

 

Last year’s battle came down to the final race with Chris Windom prevailing by a mere six points over Justin Grant to lock up the title in the third-closest title race ever.  None have yet surpassed the 2.5-point margin Johnny Rutherford had to close out his 1965 USAC National Sprint Car championship over Greg Weld, however.

 

A close title race such as this is sure to get the drivers up on their toes and the fans on their feet with each qualifying session, heat race and feature having substantial meaning.  Two points is literally just one spot in the feature.  Each spot in the top-ten pays three points more than the driver behind him from 70 to 43.  From 11th to 20th, the dropdown is two points per position from 41 points to 23.  Twenty-three points are granted for all finishers 20th on back.

 

If trouble befalls one or both, it could prove to be the nail in Thomas or Courtney’s bid for the title.  Plus, your reigning series champ and 2010 “Oval Nationals” winner Windom is just 50 points back, ready to pounce.

 

Without further ado, here is the list of the all-time closest points races in the history of the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars.  We very well could have a new number one when all is said and done this Saturday night, so get your calculators and T-Squares ready.  You’re going to need them!

 

CLOSEST USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACES

1. 1965: (2.5) Johnny Rutherford over Greg Weld
2. 2012: (5) Bryan Clauson over Dave Darland
3. 2017: (6) Chris Windom over Justin Grant
4. 1967: (11) Greg Weld over Sam Sessions
5. 2002: (13) Tracy Hines over J.J. Yeley
6. 2005: (13) Levi Jones over Dave Darland
7. 2001: (19) J.J. Yeley over Jay Drake
8. 1973: (24) Rollie Beale over Lee Kunzman
9. 2000: (24) Tony Elliott over Jay Drake
10. 1979: (32) Greg Leffler over Bubby Jones
11. 1987: (32) Steve Butler over Rich Vogler
12. 1991: (35) Robbie Stanley over Eric Gordon
13. 1986: (36) Steve Butler over Rick Hood
14. 1994: (43) Doug Kalitta over Tray House
15. 1992: (45) Robbie Stanley over Steve Butler
16. 1972: (47) Sam Sessions over Rollie Beale
17. 1962: (50) Parnelli Jones over Roger McCluskey
18. 1971: (55) Gary Bettenhausen over Larry Dickson
19. 2014: (56) Brady Bacon over Bryan Clauson
20. 1980: (61) Rich Vogler over Steve Chassey
21. 1998: (62) Tony Elliott over Kevin Thomas
22. 2013: (63) Bryan Clauson over Dave Darland
23. 1961: (67.8) Parnelli Jones over Jim Hurtubise
24. 2004: (74) Jay Drake over Bud Kaeding
25. 1977: (75) Sheldon Kinser over Tom Bigelow
26. 2008: (84) Jerry Coons, Jr. over Levi Jones
27. 2007: (85) Levi Jones over Darren Hagen
28. 2015: (87) Robert Ballou over Dave Darland
29. 1975: (88) Larry Dickson over Rollie Beale
30. 2006: (88) Josh Wise over Levi Jones
31. 2011: (99) Levi Jones over Chris Windom
32. 1984: (102) Rick Hood over Sheldon Kinser
33. 1995: (119) Tony Stewart over Doug Kalitta
34. 1970: (131) Larry Dickson over Gary Bettenhausen
35. 2010: (132) Levi Jones over Damion Gardner
36. 1983: (148) Ken Schrader over Larry Rice
37. 1981: (160) Sheldon Kinser over Rich Vogler
38. 1989: (171) Rich Vogler over Eric Gordon
39. 1993: (175) Robbie Stanley over Tray House
40. 1996: (176) Brian Tyler over Doug Kalitta
41. 1974: (184) Duane “Pancho” Carter over Tom Bigelow
42. 1969: (189.2) Gary Bettenhausen over Larry Dickson
43. 1966: (194) Roger McCluskey over Mario Andretti
44. 1982: (217) Sheldon Kinser over Rich Vogler
45. 1988: (222) Steve Butler over Greg Staab
46. 1978: (223) Tom Bigelow over Chuck Gurney
47. 1999: (224) Dave Darland over Tracy Hines
48. 2009: (224) Levi Jones over Cole Whitt
49. 1964: (236) Don Branson over Jud Larson
50. 1990: (257) Steve Butler over Eric Gordon
51. 1997: (289) Brian Tyler over Kevin Thomas
52. 1985: (301) Rick Hood over Steve Butler
53. 1963: (309) Roger McCluskey over A. J. Foyt
54. 2016: (314) Brady Bacon over Chase Stockon
55. 2003: (352) J.J. Yeley over Jay Drake
56. 1968: (358) Larry Dickson over Gary Bettenhausen
57. 1976: (369) Duane “Pancho” Carter over Tom Bigelow

 

On Thursday and Friday, the pits open at noon, front gates open at 4pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 5:30pm.  On Saturday, the pits open at noon, front gates open at 3pm, autograph session from 3-4pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 5:15pm.

 

All three nights will be live on http://www.SpeedShiftTV.com/ with live audio also available on the USAC app.

 

-USAC Racing Press Release

-Photo credit: Rich Forman

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