By Richie Murray
Granite City, Illinois (August 26, 2019)………Just a little over three months since the series’ last visit, the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship makes its return to Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois this Friday night, August 30, for the Brandt River Town Showdown.
Chris Windom won the first round of the Showdown at Tri-City back in May, leading the final ten laps to score the victory after starting fifth. The Canton, Ill. native was a force all night, qualifying second overall and winning his heat from the sixth spot. The 2016 USAC Silver Crown and 2017 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car titlist finished sixth in his first appearance there in 2018.
Tyler Courtney, who was fast qualifier twice in a USAC Sprint Car at Tri-City this year, including the rain-abbreviated second night in May, biked and pirouetted against the outside turn four wall while running fourth with seven laps to go in the feature, putting him out for the remainder of the race, resulting in a 14th place finish. Last Saturday’s Sprint Car Smackdown champ at Kokomo Speedway also won last year’s Labor Day Weekend USAC Sprint show at Tri-City and was victorious in this past May’s USAC Midget round at the 3/8-mile dirt oval.
Carson Short (Marion, Ill.) has one career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory back in 2016 at another “Tri” track at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. He came oh-so-close to picking up his second at Tri-City in May, leading nine laps and finishing second behind Windom after charging from eighth.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. finished third behind Short in May after leading six laps early in the going. The Cullman, Ala. driver was the fastest qualifier at Tri-City a year ago and was charging hard at the end before coming up just short to Courtney, finishing second. He’s won once this season on the red clay of Bloomington and is eager to get back to victory lane this Friday.
Chase Stockon started on the outside of the front row and finished eighth in May after leading the first five laps of the feature. Friday could very well be a milestone night for Fort Branch, Indiana’s Stockon if he starts Friday’s main event. He made his 284th consecutive USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature start last Saturday at Kokomo, tying the mark set by five-time series champ Levi Jones. One more would set the new standard, making Stockon the ultimate ironman for the series.
Series point leader C.J. Leary won his heat and took fourth in May’s Sprint feature at Tri-City after charging from ninth. In 2018 at Tri-City, Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) led the first nine laps before encountering trouble and dropping back to a 20th place finish. There hasn’t been much trouble from Leary this season with 23 top-ten finishes in 24 series starts, which has helped push him to a 121-point lead in the standings entering Friday’s race.
Isaac Chapple has one top-five coming into Friday, and it came at Tri-City in May where he bolted from the 15th starting spot to finish fifth right at the line on the final lap. The year prior, in 2018, the Willow Branch, Ind. native captured a heat race triumph and ran 11th in the feature.
Only Courtney has won more often in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car competition this year than Brady Bacon, a four-time victor on the trail in 2019. Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) was ninth in May in the Sprint Car at Tri-City and he also led five laps in that night’s Midget feature. The two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion was third in the USAC Sprint stop at Tri-City in 2018.
Bacon’s Broken Arrow brethren Jason McDougal dropped a driveshaft while hovering around the top-ten in May, ultimately finishing 17th. The one-time winner in both the USAC National Sprint and Midget divisions this year, McDougal won his heat and finished 18th in his Sprint debut at Tri-City in 2018.
Justin Grant was involved in a second lap accident in May’s go at Tri-City that knocked him out of contention after starting third, finishing 19th in the end. He took home an eighth-place result in 2018. In the Midget this past Spring at Tri-City was a better story in which he finished third after starting on the front row. The Ione, Calif. driver was victorious in last Wednesday’s #GYATK Night USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car special event.
Those individuals and a whole host of others are ready to give Tri-City another try for the 22nd time in series history. Jay Drake, Jack Hewitt, Danny Smith, Greg Weld and Doug Wolfgang each have scored two victories at Tri-City while Steve Butler, Tyler Courtney, Rick Hood, Kelly Kinser, Ralph Liguori, Troy Rutherford (a Special Event win), Randy Standridge, Tony Stewart, Sammy Swindell, Chris Windom and Josh Wise have one each.
The “River Town Showdown” features complete shows for the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship and B-Mods on Friday night, August 30, at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill.
Registration and pit gates open at 3pm (Central). Grandstands and ticket office open at 5pm. Cars on track at 6pm.
Adult general admission tickets are $25 while children 12 and under are FREE. Reserved Top 2 Rows: $30 for adults, $5 for children 12 & under. Pit passes are $30 apiece for members and $35 for non-members.
Tri-City Speedway is located at 5100 Nameoki Rd, Granite City, IL 62040. You can reach the promotion team of Track Enterprises at (217) 764-3200 and Tri-City Speedway at (618) 931-7836. For more information, visit the Track Enterprises website at http://www.trackenterprises.com/, the series website at http://www.usacracing.com/ and the track website at http://www.tricityspeedway.net/.
Both nights of action will have live, flag-to-flag coverage on FloRacing. You can listen to live audio of the broadcast for free on the USAC app or follow along with live updates
on https://www.facebook.com/usacracing/ and https://twitter.com/USACNation/ with live timing and scoring available on both the USAC and Race-Monitor apps.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-1,702, 2-Tyler Courtney-1,581, 3-Brady Bacon-1,564, 4-Justin Grant-1,525, 5-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-1,524, 6-Chris Windom-1,495, 7-Chase Stockon-1,472, 8-Jason McDougal-1,294, 9-Carson Short-1,273, 10-Isaac Chapple-991.
PAST USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINNERS AT TRI-CITY SPEEDWAY:
1967: Greg Weld (6/24) & Ralph Liguori (9/1)
1968: Greg Weld (8/19)
1984: Rick Hood (9/1)
1985: Randy Standridge (8/31)
1988: Kelly Kinser (9/3)
1989: Steve Butler (9/2)
1990: Sammy Swindell (5/5) & Jack Hewitt (9/1)
1991: Danny Smith (4/1 & 5/26), Doug Wolfgang (6/12 & 6/12) and Jack Hewitt (8/31)
1995: Tony Stewart (9/3)
2000: Jay Drake (5/6)
2003: Troy Rutherford (Special Event on 8/16)
2005: Jay Drake (8/24)
2006: Josh Wise (8/6)
2018: Tyler Courtney (8/31)
2019: Chris Windom (5/17)
USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS AT TRI-CITY SPEEDWAY:
1. (2) Jay Drake, Jack Hewitt, Danny Smith, Greg Weld & Doug Wolfgang
6. (1) Steve Butler, Tyler Courtney, Rick Hood, Kelly Kinser, Ralph Liguori, Randy Standridge, Tony Stewart, Sammy Swindell, Chris Windom & Josh Wise