Kokomo, Indiana — Fresh off his win at the Springfield Mile, Chris Windom turned up the wick Wednesday, leading all 27 laps to win #GYATK Night at Kokomo Speedway, the kickoff to “Sprint Car Smackdown VII.”
It was the Canton, Illinois native’s third career win during “Smackdown” week, following victories in 2012 and 2015. He came into the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car “Special Event” leading both the USAC and Kokomo point standings. Though USAC points were not up for grabs on this night, Windom made it a point to grab a victory as he hits his stride coming into the late-summer stretch.
Windom snagged the lead right from the start from the pole position aboard his Baldwin Brothers Racing/Fox Paving – AMSOIL/DRC/Claxton Mopar. Brady Bacon swiftly followed suit, splitting between Tyler Courtney and Justin Grant in turn three to move from fourth to second before being shuffled back to sixth.
Nearing halfway, Windom was glued to the bottom of the racing surface as he led a two-car breakaway in front of Courtney as third-place Grant and fourth-running Dave Darland challenged each other on the topside a half-straightaway back.
By the 13th lap, Windom had reached lapped traffic. However, with the lappers occupying the low line, Windom took the bull by the horns and took his orange No. 5 to the top to drive around the gridlock.
Courtney remained on the bottom and was able to pull within a wheel of Windom at the line at the conclusion of lap 14. Courtney seemed poised to rip the spot away, but snagged a hole on the bottom of turn two that disrupted his momentum and allowed Windom to break away.
Anywhere Windom saw a gap between lapped machinery, he was eager to get back to the bottom ASAP. Yet, Windom appeared comfortable running the fence as he’s done so many times before at the Kokomo bullring. During the final laps, the 2017 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ was forced to the top again as he swung around the trio of Scotty Weir, Stevie Sussex and Carson Short with relative ease.
The intense pace saw Windom lap half the field in a caution-free feature, leading all 27 circuits on his way to victory over Courtney, Grant, Darland and Bacon.
“That was a lot of fun,” Windom exclaimed. “This track was so good, you could run top and bottom. I wasn’t sure the top would work when I got to lapped traffic, but I was able to get it working. I saw Tyler’s nose down there a few times, so I knew I had to stay up on the wheel. It’s awesome to be able to win this race in honor of Bryan Clauson. I’ve had so many good battles with him here and I ran second to him a lot.”
FEATURE: (27 laps – starting positions in parentheses) 1. Chris Windom (1), 2. Tyler Courtney (2), 3. Justin Grant (3), 4. Dave Darland (9), 5. Brady Bacon (4), 6. Robert Ballou (8), 7. C.J. Leary (11), 8. Shane Cottle (5), 9. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 10. Jarett Andretti (10), 11. Clinton Boyles (15), 12. Carson Short (19), 13. Stevie Sussex (18), 14. Scotty Weir (7), 15. Chase Stockon (14), 16. Isaac Chapple (12), 17. Timmy Buckwalter (13), 18. Dakota Jackson (20), 19. Chad Boespflug (16), 20. Tony DiMattia (22), 21. Chet Williams (21), 22. Thomas Meseraull (17). 6:10.53
-USAC Racing Press Release
-Photo credit: Travis Branch