By T.J. Buffenbarger
VENTURA, Ca. (November 23, 2017) — Tyler Courtney searched the racing surface and found something that carried him to victory Thursday night during the USAC West Coast Sprint Car championship / VRA Sprint Car portion of the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway. Courtney used a late race restart to try running the top of the race track and used the momentum to pass Chase Briscoe and Brady Bacon for the lead in the closing moments of the feature.
For Courtney being able to search the race track during a late race restart proved the old racing adage that its sometimes better to be not leading the race to search for another line.
“It was kind of nice to not be in front there,” said Courtney. “They (Bacon and Briscoe) had to stick to the bottom because that’s what was working for them. I didn’t have anything to lose, so I went to the top and I found something and was able to get by them before they found it.”
Bacon concurred with Courtney’s analysis of being an advantage running second in that situation.
“I think we made a mistake with the car there and it cost us at the end of the race,” said Bacon. “The top got quicker than we thought, but Tyler (Courtney) drove a good race. He was kind of a in a better position. I was kind of worried about that happening being in the front like that not knowing what the track was doing. It cleaned up pretty fast on the top once a couple of guys moved up there.”
Bacon drew the pole position before hot laps for the eight drivers locked in from Wednesday’s feature event alongside of Klint Simpson. Simpson led the first four circuits before Bacon was able to get a run under him off turn two and complete the pass for the lead off the fourth corner.
Simpson kept pace with Bacon but quickly found himself under pressure from Chase Briscoe for second position by lap 10. This allowed Bacon to open his lead.
By lap 12 Bacon started to catch the tail of the field as Briscoe disposed of Simpson for the second spot. Just as Bacon started to work through a large group of slower cars the caution flag appeared on lap 16 when Chase Johnson stopped sideways between turns one and two.
Briscoe started to put pressure on Bacon for the lead, but the drivers on the move was Tyler Courtney. Courtney found the top of the race track before Briscoe and Bacon and passed both drivers to take the lead with 10 laps to go. Courtney, Bacon, and Briscoe continued to dice for the lead until the red flag appeared on lap 23 when Troy Rutherford, who had been running without a left front shock for several laps, ended upside down between turns one and two.
Courtney used the bottom on the restart to pull away from Bacon and Briscoe, but soon the trio moved up to the cushion. During the closing laps Briscoe, Simpson, and Brody Roa started to dice back and forth for the third spot. Briscoe picked up the pace and reeled in Bacon for second as Courtney pulled away. In the end Courtney continued to pull away to the victory. Bacon held off Briscoe for second while Simpson and Roa rounded out the top five.
USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series / VRA Sprint Cars
77th Turkey Night Grand Prix
Thursday November 23, 2017
Semi Feature #1 (12 Laps): 1. 73 – Carson Macedo, 2. 92 – Jake Swanson, 3. 56J – Shawn Arriga, 4. 12 – Matt Mitchell, 5. 33B – Brandon Wiley, 6. 21K – Dave Darland, 7. 88 – Koen Shawn, 8. 35 – Albert Pombo, 9. 24 – Guy Woodward, 10. 5K – Tyler Williams, 11. 51 – Austin Ervine, 12. 81D – Dalton Hill. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)
Semi Feature #2 (12 Laps): 1. 24X – Chase Johnson, 2. 81 – Michael Pickens, 3. 31C – Justyn Cox, 4. 14 – Slater Helt, 5. 3K – Kaleb Montgomery, 6. 98 – Jeremy Ellertson, 7. 81X – Stewart Friesen, 8. 71 – Brent Owens, 9. 14X – Tom Hendricks, 10. 93 – Reed Broschart, 11.29T – Ryan Timmons, 12. 2K – Sterling Cling, 13. 96 – Charlie Butcher. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)
Semi Feature #3 (12 Laps): 1. 91R – Brody Roa, 2. 5M – Max Adams, 3. 11E – Cory Elliott, 4. 83T – Tanner Carrick, 5. 15 – Rick Hendrix, 6. 13 – Bruce Douglass, 7. 57 – Steve Hix, 9. 4K – Damian Lopez, 10. 29 – Cody Majors, 10. 09S – Geoffry Storole, 11. 3F – Geoff Ensign, 12. 5 5- Kyle Smith, 13. 02 – Matt Rossi. (First four finishers transferred to the A-Main)
Locked into the feature: 63 – Brady Bacon, 101 – Klint Simpson, 81M – Tyler Courtney, 11 – Troy Rutherford, 34 – Stevie Sussex, 5 – Chase Briscoe, 24C – Colby Copeland, 15T – Tristan Guardino.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 81M – Tyler Courtney, 2. 62 – Brady Bacon, 3. 5 – Chase Briscoe, 4. 101 – Klint Simpson, 5. 91R – Brody Roa, 6. 73 – Carson Macedo, 7. 24C – Colby Copeland, 8. 92 – Jake Swanson, 9. 81 – Michael Pickens, 10. 34 – Stevie Sussex, 11. 15T – Tristan Guardino, 12. 5M – Max Adams, 13. 56J – Shawn Arriga, 14. 11E – Cory Elliott, 15. 12 – Matt Mitchell, 16. 24X – Chase Johnson, 17. 83T – Tanner Carrick, 18. 14 – Slater Holt, 19. 11 – Troy Rutherford, 20. 31C – Justyn Cox.