By Dick Jordan
Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif. has returned to the top of the 2010 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car standings after third and fourth-place finishes in a pair of pavement races last week. He leads Levi Jones by 12 points going into a June 26 race at 34 Raceway in Burlington, Iowa, the first USAC open-wheel race at Burlington in 37 years.
Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind. passed JoJo Helberg on lap 22 and led the rest of the way to win Saturday night’s 30-lap USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car race at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich. Bobby East finished second ahead of Gardner, Tanner Swanson and Helberg. Clauson was the night’s fastest qualifier in his Rotondo Weirich/Benic Enterprises Maxim/Gaerte Chevy. Jacob Wilson led the first five laps, East led the next seven and Helberg led nine before yielding to Clauson.
Shane Hmiel of Pleasant Garden, N.C. led the final 19 laps to win USAC’s “Thursday Night Thunder” AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at O’Reilly Raceway Park in his Rotondo Weirich/Benic Enterprises Maxim/ITI Performance machine. Jerry Coons Jr. passed Henry Clarke for second on the final lap after Clarke had led the first 11 laps of the race. Gardner finished fourth ahead of Chris Windom.
Jason Leffler’s bid for the USAC ORP “Triple Crown” ended on lap two as he pulled into the pits with mechanical problems after posting the night’s fastest qualifying time. Tanner Swanson, winner of the recent “Night Before the 500” Midget race at ORP, was involved in a lap-27 tangle with Clauson and did not finish in the top-10.
USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT SERIES POINT STANDINGS
1-Damion Gardner-948, 2-Levi Jones-936, 3-Bryan Clauson-897, 4-Jerry Coons Jr.-841, 5-Chris Windom-826, 6-Tracy Hines-823, 7-Henry Clarke-736, 8-Dave Darland-559, 9-Shane Hmiel-513, 10-Ricky Williams-493.