Kokomo, Indiana…….Jon Stanbrough shot by race-long leader Bryan Clauson on the 29th lap to come out on top of Friday’s 30-lap preliminary Stoops Freightliner – Quality Trailer “Sprint Car Smackdown III” feature. The Avon, Indiana driver made it four wins on the year in the Michael Dutcher Motorsports entry and tied Rich Vogler for 9th on the all-time AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car win list.
Three early stoppages slowed the proceedings, and two of them swallowed legitimate race contenders. On lap-five, third-running Dave Darland and fourth-running Shane Cottle made contact in turn-four, leaving Darland with a broken front-end. He went to the work area, but could not make it back out on time to stay on the lead lap.
Three laps later, while under red for a Brian Karraker flip (he was unhurt), Cottle visited the work area for damage of his own. He returned to the track and came home 12th.
Shortly after that, the top running car using the cushion, Justin Grant, shot dead sideways coming out of turn-two and exited into the infield on the backstretch.
Despite all that, Clauson and Stanbrough were glued to each other up front, setting a wicked pace on an extremely fast surface. Robert Ballou came from row-four to get to third, and those three checked out on a good battle behind them.
With eleven to go, two cars slowed suddenly to bring out the final yellow. Stanbrough stuck with Clauson after the restart and looked to poke a nose under him just after taking the two-to-go. At the same time, Clauson jumped completely sideways, opening the door for Stanbrough to take the lead.
He held off Clauson for the final circuit to take the win in the MP Environmental Services – Griffin’s Propane #37RW Maxim/Fisher.
“I honestly didn’t know whether he messed up or what happened. I was running harder and harder as we got close to the end and thought I must have found something better than him and got by. It’s tough to win these races, so I’m happy to get another one. We’ve had good cars both days so far, and I’m looking forward to the day program tomorrow and that 40-lapper tomorrow night,” Stanbroug said.
Clauson came home second, moving to second in the National Championship standings in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #20 Beast/Kistler.
“I just made a mistake up there. I never saw him or felt any pressure, but that was a pretty big bobble in one and two. We’re gonna need to be better to win tomorrow, but you hate to let one slip away like that. We’re chasing a third-straight championship, too, and tonight was big for that,” Clauson said.
Ballou rounded out the podium to continue his hot streak in the Deaton’s Waterfront Services – Clifton Services #12x Maxim/Ott.
“When you start that far back, it’s tough to get by those guys up front, especially as fast as the track was tonight. Hats off to the O’Connors – a lot of promoters would have quit, but they gave us a race. I kept it a little too free for the feature, so I was good early but not good enough towards the end,” Ballou said.
Kyle Cummins finished off a strong night back in the Rick Pollock – Bates Commodities #21x Maxim/Advanced to come home fourth, just ahead of new National point leader Brady Bacon in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green #69 Triple X/Williams Mopar.
Darland set ProSource “Fast Time” for the night, with Bacon and Thomas Meseraull collecting bonuses from Phoenix Racer’s Advantage Store for timing in second and third. Kevin Thomas, Jr., Chris Windom, Tracy Hines & Brandon Mattox won Arizona Open Wheel Museum Heat Races presented by CSI Shocks.
Darland also won the GoPro Semi-Feature, with Scotty Weir taking the American Racing Ministries “Perseverance Award” as the last transfer. Chris Gurley won the Indy Performance Composites “Close Call Award” as the first car not to transfer to the feature. Chad Boespflug won the Pace Performance Coatings “Hard Work Award” as the slowest qualifier to transfer to the Feature.
Clauson and Grant made up the “Factory Kahne Front Row,” and Max McGhee took home the PPM Titanium Products “Hard Charger Award” after climbing from 21st to finish 13th. Brady Short won the tire from Customized Service Trucks for qualifying 13th.
The Stoops Freightliner – Quality Trailer “Sprint Car Smackdown III” continues on Saturday with the culmination of Thursday’s program, which still includes two Heat Races, the Semi-Feature and 30-lap Feature. Pit gates open at 11:00am with Hot Laps at 2pm.
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 22, 2014 – Kokomo, Indiana – Kokomo Speedway – “Sprint Car Smackdown III”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Dave Darland, 71p, Phillips-12.712; 2. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-12.843; 3. Thomas Meseraull, 77, Wingo-12.843; 4. Kyle Cummins, 21x, Pollock-12.912; 5. Robert Ballou, 12x, Ballou-12.964; 6. Jon Stanbrough, 37RW, Dutcher-12.971; 7. Shane Cottle, 2E, Epperson-12.976; 8. Scotty Weir, 18x, Keen-12.998; 9. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-13.079; 10. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-13.162; 11. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-13.189; 12. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-13.235; 13. Brady Short, 11p, Pottorff-13.290; 14. Jerry Coons Jr., 10E, Edison-13.290; 15. Landon Simon, 24, Simon-13.304; 16. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-13.305; 17. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9k, KT-13.345; 18. Chris Windom, 11, Walker-13.348; 19. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-13.354; 20. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-13.372; 21. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney-13.378; 22. Parker Price-Miller, 9p, Ronk-13.381; 23. Casey Shuman, 21k, Krockenberger-13.457; 24. Max McGhee, 17m, McGhee-13.468; 25. Chad Boespflug, 57, Hazen-13.519; 26. Chris Gurley, 12G, Team Automotive-13.584; 27. Josh Spencer, 66J, Spencer-13.601; 28. Brian Karraker, 3R, Byram-13.780; 29. Trevor Kobylarz, 14, Becker-13.790; 30. Ryan Bernal, 27a, Elson-13.811; 31. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-13.853; 32. Daron Clayton, 92, Clayton-13.858; 33. Nathan Moore, 48, Moore-13.861; 34. Lee Dakus, 75, Dakus-14.011.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Grant, 3. Courtney, 4. Short, 5. Darland, 6. Ballou, 7. Boespflug, 8. Moore, 9. Kobylarz. 2:17.40
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Bacon, 3. Stanbrough, 4. Coons, 5. Jarrett, 6. Price-Miller, 7. Bernal, 8. Gurley, 9. Dakus. 2:15.24
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Cottle, 3. Shuman, 4, Clauson, 5. Simon, 6. Spencer, 7. Andretti, 8. Meseraull. 2:14.58
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Mattox, 2. Stockon, 3. McGhee, 4. Cummins, 5. Weir, 6. Leary, 7. Karraker, 8. Clayton. 2:16.13
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Darland. 2. Ballou, 3. Boespflug, 4. Jarrett, 5. Leary, 6. Weir, 7. Gurley, 8. Price-Miller, 9. Simon, 10. Karraker, 11. Kobylarz, 12. Andretti,13. Bernal, 14. Spencer, 15. Moore, 16. Dakus. 2:41.06
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Jon Stanbrough, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Kyle Cummins, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Brady Short, 8. C.J. Leary, 9. Chris Windom, 10. Logan Jarrett, 11. Jerry Coons Jr., 12. Shane Cottle, 13. Max McGhee, 14. Tracy Hines, 15. Casey Shuman, 16. Kevin Thomas Jr., 17. Brandon Mattox, 18. Dave Darland, 19. Tyler Courtney, 20. Scotty Weir, 21. Chad Boespflug, 22. Justin Grant, 23. Brian Karraker. NT
**Karraker flipped on Lap 8 of the Feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Clauson, Laps 29-30 Stanbrough.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1- Bacon-1,415, 2-Clauson-1,388, 3-Darland-1,387, 4-Stanbrough-1,328, 5-Stockon-1,220, 6-Hines-1,144; 7-Windom-1,136, 8-Grant-1,121, 9-Hunter Schuerenberg-1,066, 10-Leary-999.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: August 23 – Kokomo (IN) Speedway – “Sprint Car Smackdown III”
– USAC press release. Photo credit: Tony Stewart Racing Twitter