By Richie Murray
Lawrenceburg, Indiana (April 15, 2019)………Springtime at Lawrenceburg Speedway has been an annual tradition for the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars over the years. This Saturday, April 20, marks “take two” following Mother Nature’s interruption of racing a few weeks back at the 3/8-mile high bank dirt oval.
Eighteen such Springtime events have been held over the past three-and-a-half decades, since 1984. Four expected entrants for Saturday’s upcoming race have enjoyed an early-season USAC Sprint Car win in recent times at “The Burg:” Chris Windom (2017), Dave Darland (2016), Justin Grant (2014) and Kevin Thomas, Jr. (2013).
On the most recent of those occasions, USAC Sprint Car and Silver Crown titlist Windom raced to victory. The Canton, Ill. driver captured this year’s season opener in Ocala, Fla., and holds down sixth in the standings in his first campaign for Goacher Racing, who finished 2nd during a USAC Sprint stop at Lawrenceburg in 1992 with Darland as the pilot.
No driver has tasted victory at Lawrenceburg in USAC Sprint Car competition more often than Lincoln, Indiana’s Darland with seven victories, twice in 1998, and once each in 2001, 2007, 2009, 2010 and, most recently, in the Spring of 2016. Perhaps even more impressive is that the 1999 series champion has accomplished each of those seven victories with six different teams and has an opportunity to tack on another this weekend.
Like Windom, Grant has won this season and is also a spring Lawrenceburg winner to boot. The Ione, Calif. native won in Ocala back in February and is fourth in the standings following three finishes inside the top-six during the first four events of the season. Not only did Grant’s first career USAC win come at Lawrenceburg, he also was victorious in the most recent visit by the series last fall in addition to his April 2014 win.
Following last Friday’s Bloomington round, Thomas took over the series point lead, and is now up by three markers over C.J. Leary coming into this weekend. Thomas is certainly knocking on the door for his first victory of the season you could say, but this door is seemingly almost off the hinges, with Thomas recording three runner-up finishes in his first four outings this season and is the only driver to have placed in the top-five in each of those four starts. The Cullman, Ala. driver owns three wins at Lawrenceburg, twice in 2013 and the closer in 2017.
Robert Ballou will arrive at this Saturday’s race as the most recent winner at Lawrenceburg. The Rocklin, Calif. native was in winning form last Saturday at Lawrenceburg, leading 15 laps, including the last 14, to capture the 25-lap unsanctioned main event. The 2015 series champ from Rocklin, Calif. won with USAC at The Burg back in 2011.
Brady Bacon is fresh off his first USAC National Sprint Car win of the year, last Friday at Bloomington. He’s returned in the Dynamics, Inc. colors for 2019, for whom he won with at Lawrenceburg in 2015. The Broken Arrow, Okla. driver was the hard charger in the unsanctioned season opener there two weeks ago, advancing from 17th to 4th by race’s end.
C.J. Leary is a past track champion at Lawrenceburg and that experience showed with a USAC victory during the 2017 season. The Greenfield, Ind. driver dropped back to second in the standings following last weekend’s affair at Bloomington, where he established a new one-lap track record earlier in the evening. Leary’s new foray in the Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports car for 2019 has already netted a victory in the “Winter Dirt Games X” finale at Ocala back in February.
Reigning series champ Tyler Courtney is beginning to heat up with finishes of 3rd, 3rd and 4th in his last three races. The Indianapolis, Ind. wheelman has been in victory lane at Lawrenceburg with USAC, dominating all 30 laps of last year’s “Indiana Sprint Week” stop.
Chase Stockon and Josh Hodges, similar to Grant, have a fondness for Lawrenceburg as that is where each driver captured his first career USAC National Sprint Car feature victory. Fort Branch, Indiana’s Stockon wired the field, leading all 30 laps, to win in the Fall of 2012. Meanwhile, Hodges of Tijeras, New Mexico, took the lead just past the halfway mark to score his first, and to date, only career USAC win. He did so in track record-fashion that night as well, ripping around the joint in 7:21.09, a 30-lap record which still stands today.
Additional springtime USAC National Sprint Car winners at Lawrenceburg over the years include Rick Hood (1984-85-86), Jack Hewitt (1988), Jon Stanbrough (1994-2006), Kevin Doty (1998), Kevin Briscoe (1999), J.J. Yeley (2003), Jay Drake (2003), Levi Jones (2007), Josh Wise (2009), Jerry Coons, Jr. (2010) and Logan Jarrett (2015).
Pit gates for the Saturday, April 20 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car event at Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway open at 3pm, front gates at 5pm, with cars set to hit the track at 6pm (Eastern).
Adult general admission tickets are $25, kids age 7-12 are $7, children age 6 and under are FREE! Pit passes for all ages are $30 apiece.
Lawrenceburg Speedway is located at 351 E. Eads Parkway, Lawrenceburg, Indiana 47025. You can reach the track via phone at (812) 539-4700 and on their website at http://lawrenceburgspeedway.com/.
LIVE flag-to-flag coverage of the event will be on http://www.FloRacing.com/. Listen to LIVE audio of all the happenings on the USAC app. Following along with live updates on https://www.facebook.com/usacracing/ and https://twitter.com/USACNation with live timing and scoring available on the Race Monitor app.