By Mike O’Leary
Stanford, IN – The King of Indiana Sprint Series completed its 10th year of competition in June and Jon Stanbrough has been the champion for half of those years. He earned this season’s title by winning two of the five features, finishing second twice, and having just one off night, by his standards, a seventh place finish.
While Stanbrough got his off night out of the way early, at the Gas City/I-69 Speedway opening event, Dave Darland celebrated his new ride in the Goodnight Maxim with his second KISS victory. The 30-lap main event will be long remembered for the intense battle for second between Levi Jones and Bryan Clauson. Jones had the spot and Clauson wanted past. It certainly wasn’t a classic duel, and ended with Jones sitting in no-man’s land behind turn three, while Clauson followed Darland to the checkers.
Stanbrough and the Fox Brothers turned things around two nights later as he raced the Fox’s DRC to victory lane at Kokomo Speedway. The leaders, Clauson and Chris Windom got together late in the race with Clauson’s rear tire exploding, and while Windom was gathering up his machine, Stanbrough drove past.
Only three tracks have hosted KISS events each of the ten years the series has competed: Gas City, Paragon and Bloomington Speedways. Bloomington holds the unwanted record for the most rainouts (4) during that period. This year, Bloomington was the only track whose KISS event was impacted by weather.
The KISS racers towed south to Lawrenceburg for the Saturday round that weekend. Defending KISS champion Brady Short captured the win, dueling with Justin Grant and then outrunning Stanbrough. Afterward, Short paid tribute to Stanbrough when he told the crowd, “If you want to be the man, you have to beat the man and he’s the man right now. So it feels pretty good to beat him.”
With the top-5 in the KISS standings all within 100 points, the final two races became the focus of the title contenders. Jeff Bland Jr. became this year’s only first time KISS winner with his victory at Tri-State Speedway. He topped Stanbrough and Short, with point contenders Hunter Schuerenberg and Billy Puterbaugh in fourth and fifth, for the victory.
The finale, at Paragon Speedway, was almost like a coronation for Stanbrough. The track looked fastest in the bottom and middle grooves, which is where nearly everyone else was running. Starting sixth, Stanbrough took the Fox Brothers’ machine to the outer limits, and finding the cushion to be slim but fast, drove to the front. He took the lead from Bland after a tough scrap, and out-pedaled Josh Cunningham for the 17th KISS victory of his career.
The win gave Stanbrough a 70-point lead over Schuerenberg in the final KISS standings. His bounty from the title includes the KISS Championship Trophy and Champions Helmet, as well as $1,000 from the point fund. Ted Hines finished just nine points behind Short, the defending KISS champion, for fourth. Stanbrough, Schuerenberg, Short and Hines were the only ones to participate in all five events. This year’s KISS competition featured 96 different drivers in competition.
Final 2010 KISS Points: 1. Jon Stanbrough 862, 2. Hunter Schuerenberg 792, 3. Brady Short 713, 4. Ted Hines 704, 5. Billy Puterbaugh Jr. 569, 6. Blake Fitzpatrick 447, 7. Casey Riggs 398, 8. Andrew Elson 387, 9. Jeff Bland Jr. 350, 10. Dave Darland 340
2010 King Of Indiana Sprint Series Summary
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 Jon Stanbrough
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).