By Mike O’Leary
June 17, 2010 – Four-time King of Indiana Sprint Series Champion Jon Stanbrough is positioned right where he wants to be going into the concluding event of the 10th Annual KISS series, at Paragon Speedway on June 26. Stanbrough holds a 55-point advantage over his closest pursuer, Hunter Schuerenberg. He doesn’t have a record fifth crown locked up yet, but a bunch of stars have to line up just right for someone else to claim the title.
Asked about the satisfaction of competing in the KISS events a week before the first race, Stanbrough noted one of the biggest challenges the drivers face. “There’s usually a lot of cars there and you don’t qualify, so you have to go by your draw. A lot of times, if you draw bad, you have to race really hard to get through into the feature. And even when you get into the feature, there’s no guarantee you’re going to start up front,” he said. “Probably 90% of the cars that are at a KISS show every night are capable of winning the race.”
His words were almost prophetic when the KISS tour opened at Gas City/I-69 Speedway. Starting deep in his heat, he got tangled with another car and didn’t make the transfer. Then, starting ninth in the semi, he hustled to a second place finish. Taking the green 18th in the feature, Stanbrough stood up in his seat and collected a seventh place finish.
At Kokomo Speedway two nights later, Stanbrough notched his 16th KISS feature win, raising the bar for KISS wins, once again. He moved into the series point lead with a runner-up finish at Lawrenceburg, and backed it up with another second place run, behind Jeff Bland at Tri-State Speedway. Schuerenberg has been right there the whole way, with four solid top-10 finishes, his best KISS performance. But 55 points illustrates the difference between first and seconds, and fourths and fifths.
In reality, four drivers still have mathematical chances of claiming the KISS title if Stanbrough should stumble. Trailing Schuerenberg, defending series champion Brady Short is 88 points astern, and Billy Puterbaugh and Ted Hines are 113 and 122 points behind the leader. But given Stanbrough’s record of winning the KISS finale at Paragon the last two years, it’s clear that they are long shots.
The KISS tour will conclude and the King crowned on Saturday, June 26, at Paragon Speedway. The pit gate will open at 4:00, the grandstands at 5:00, with racing at 7:30. Grandstand admission is $15, and pit passes are $30. The program includes Paragon’s street stock, bomber and pure stock divisions. More information is available at http://www.paragonspeedway.com.
KISS Points: 1. Jon Stanbrough 682, 2. Hunter Schuerenberg 627, 3. Brady Short 594, 4. Billy Puterbaugh Jr. 569, 5. Ted Hines 560, 6. Blake Fitzpatrick 447, 7. Casey Riggs 398, 8. Andrew Elson 387, 9. Robert Ballou 379, 10. Dave Darland 340
2010 King Of Indiana Sprint Series
Gas City I-69 Speedway Friday, May 14 Dave Darland
Kokomo Speedway Sunday, May 16 Jon Stanbrough
Bloomington Speedway Friday, May 21 Rain
Lawrenceburg Speedway Saturday, May 22 Brady Short
Tri-State Speedway Saturday, June 5 Jeff Bland Jr.
Paragon Speedway Saturday, June 26
The King of Indiana Sprint Series is organized and conducted by the individual Indiana sprint car race track promoters to provide the best sprint car racing. Many thanks to the series sponsors, including Indiana StoneWorks for the B-Main, Simpson Performance Products, Sprint Car & Midget Magazine and Van Horn Tint & Accessories for the champion’s helmet, Elliottbrand Web Designs, in Westport, IN, and Kiva Networking in Bloomington for the KISS website (www.kissracing.com).