By Richie Murray
Putnamville, Indiana (June 17, 2019)………The official start of summer begins this weekend with the return of USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car racing to Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind.
The world’s fastest 5/16-mile dirt track will host its 35th visit by the series this Saturday, June 22. Twelve of those 35 wins will be represented among five drivers in this weekend’s lineup that includes Dave Darland, Robert Ballou, Chad Boespflug, Brady Bacon and Tyler Courtney.
Darland leads all drivers with six LPS victories, in 1997, 98, 99, 2005, 2012 and the series’ most recent trip, in July of 2018. The Lincoln, Ind. driver will have a new ride for the event in Dwight Cheney’s No. 42, with who he last competed for in USAC National competition during the 2011 “Oval Nationals” at California’s Perris Auto Speedway.
Rocklin, California’s Ballou, 10th in the standings, has been victorious with USAC at LPS on three occasions. The 2014 triumph was the first career USAC win for his own familiar white No. 12. The 2015 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion won again in the summer of 2016 and followed it up with a repeat winning performance in 2017.
Speaking of firsts, Lincoln Park was home to Boespflug’s first career USAC win in 2013, wiring all 30 laps to win that night for car owner Paul Hazen. The Hanford, Calif. native is back in the seat of the Eberhardt/Zirzow Racing No. 98e and stands 11th in the series standings with a win on the local level at Kokomo earlier this season.
Running second behind Boespflug that day six seasons ago at LPS was a young Tyler Courtney, his best USAC finish up to that point and would remain so until 2016. Since then, Courtney has won a title and 19 races with the series, including last year’s final pre-Indiana Sprint Week tune-up at LPS as well as the series’ most recent race, last Saturday at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway. The Indianapolis, Indiana driver, who stands second in points, has deep roots with LPS. His grandparents, Mike and Verla Farrar owned and operated the track from 1981-96.
Chris Windom, third in points, was the most consistent driver in the two LPS races a year ago, finishing with 4th and 2nd place results. However, the Canton, Ill. driver is yet to win a USAC race at LPS in his career. Just less than two weeks ago, the 2016 USAC Silver Crown and 2017 AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ finished 5th in a USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget race there.
The last time Hoosier rubber touched Indiana soil in USAC Sprint Car competition, Chase Stockon was the man, winning the 49th running of the “Tony Hulman Classic” at the Terre Haute Action Track. Like Windom, Stockon hasn’t yet tasted a USAC victory at LPS where he finished 9th a year ago. The Fort Branch, Indiana driver’s consistency of 10 top-tens in 10 starts this year has elevated him to fourth in the standings.
The only other driver to have collected top-ten finishes in all 10 starts thus far is Greenfield, Indiana’s C.J. Leary, the series point leader and recently-crowned Eastern Storm champ. Leary took a 7th place finish at LPS last year. Leary, who has earned five Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifying times this season, scored his first career USAC quick time at LPS in 2014.
Fifth in points, Kevin Thomas, Jr. has two fast qualifying times at LPS, in 2014 and 2017. Although the Cullman, Ala. native remains on the hunt for LPS USAC win number one this Saturday, he came oh-so-close last summer while leading just eight laps from the checkered when he bucked the turn two cushion and flipped, denying him the victory. He followed that up with 4th place finish at LPS last July.
Brady Bacon is fresh off a pair of USAC victories in four starts among two different divisions. The Broken Arrow, Okla. pilot was victorious in the Eastern Storm Sprint Car opener at Grandview, then captured his first career Silver Crown win last Friday at Williams Grove. Bacon, who’s sixth in the standings, won at LPS during the 2015 campaign.
Ione, California’s Justin Grant, 7th in the standings, had a solid 5th place run at LPS one year ago, which is his best career finish there. Carson Short (Marion, Ill.) has always been contender in qualifying, especially at LPS, where he earned his first career quick time in 2015 and once again in 2018 for the driver who resides 8th in series points. Willow Branch, Indiana’s Isaac Chapple, 12th in the standings, was 17th and 13th in two LPS appearances last year and has been named the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger on three occasions this year, tied with Courtney for most among all drivers.
LPS is the place where Jason McDougal first turned heads in a sprint car, charging from 22nd to 3rd in his first career start last summer. Since then, he’s produced two more victories, including a sterling performance last Wednesday night on the Eastern Storm tour at New Jersey’s Bridgeport Speedway, moving the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma driver up to 9th in the standings.
Saturday at Lincoln Park, pits open at 3pm (Eastern), front gates open at 4:30pm, drivers meeting at 5:15pm and cars on track at 6pm with qualifying and racing immediately following. Modifieds, Super Stocks and Bombers are also in action. Adult general admission tickets are $25 and kids 10 and under are free. Pit passes are $30 apiece.
Watch the Lincoln Park race live and on-demand at http://www.FloRacing.com/. Listen live on the USAC app. Follow along with live updates on https://www.facebook.com/usacracing/ and https://twitter.com/USACNation, plus live timing and scoring on the Race Monitor app.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-762, 2-Tyler Courtney-703, 3-Chris Windom-700, 4-Chase Stockon-695, 5-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-688, 6-Brady Bacon-660, 7-Justin Grant-631, 8-Carson Short-585, 9-Jason McDougal-571, 10-Robert Ballou-568.
LINCOLN PARK SPEEDWAY USAC SPRINT CAR FEATURE WINNERS
1981: Sheldon Kinser (9/16)
1983: Kelly Kinser (5/25) & Sheldon Kinser (8/24)
1984: Chuck Amati (5/23) & Sheldon Kinser (7/18)
1985: Sheldon Kinser (5/4) & Steve Butler (9/7)
1986: Steve Butler (5/17) & Sheldon Kinser (8/23)
1997: Jack Hewitt (7/27) & Dave Darland (8/23)
1998: Dave Darland (7/26) & Brad Fox (8/15)
1999: Dave Darland (7/24)
2000: Jay Drake (7/29)
2001: Jon Stanbrough (7/21)
2002: Cory Kruseman (7/20)
2003: Jay Drake (7/19)
2004: Cory Kruseman (7/17)
2005: Dave Darland (7/19)
2010: Dickie Gaines (7/24) & Jon Stanbrough (9/10)
2012: Dave Darland (7/22)
2013: Chad Boespflug (7/4) & Bryan Clauson (7/18)
2014: Jerry Coons, Jr. (7/4) & Robert Ballou (7/17)
2015: Jerry Coons, Jr. (7/4) & Brady Bacon (7/16)
2016: Robert Ballou (7/1) & Brady Short (7/14)
2017: Robert Ballou (7/16)
2018: Tyler Courtney (7/6) & Dave Darland (7/26)