Bloomington, Indiana (September 8, 2020)………It will have been well over a full calendar year since the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship last laid eyes on the red clay of Bloomington Speedway when the series arrives this Friday, September 11, on the quarter-mile oval.
That most recent race at Bloomington became one of the all-time classics in the near century-long history of the southern Indiana oval that began its racing heritage in 1923.
In that one during the summer of 2019, Kevin Thomas Jr. led three different times for a total of 13 laps, but it was one final lap that decided his fate.
After swapping the lead multiple times down the stretch, on the final lap, the Cullman, Ala. native refused to lose and rocketed around the outside of Jason McDougal in turns one and two, locked up the bottom in three and four and raced to his third Bloomington ISW victory following previous triumphs in 2012 and 2017.
The 2012 triumph was the first of Thomas’ 27-career USAC National Sprint Car feature wins. His three at Bloomington are tied for the most among active drivers alongside Dave Darland. Bryan Clauson leads all-time with five.
Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.) resides 8th in the series standings, one spot behind Thomas. The 1999 series champion’s Bloomington victories came in 2007, 2013 and 2018. The 2018 win of which was the moment he became the first driver to reach both the 60-win mark with the series as well 700 starts! Most recently with USAC at Bloomington, Darland finished 8th after starting 13th in July of 2019.
The wild USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship battle has tightened up to unprecedented portions with Brady Bacon leading a top-four that is separated by just 18 points, with 5th standing just 46 behind. All members in that party of five have had their share of Bloomington success.
Point leader Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) won his first career Bloomington USAC Sprint Car race in April of 2019. Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.), who trails Bacon by four points, is a past series winner at Bloomington all the way back in 2011.
Third in the standings in Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.), seven points out of the lead, who had led the standings for much of the year. Grant finished 3rd at Bloomington in the summer of 2019. C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.), 5th in the points pecking order, is himself a Bloomington USAC Sprint winner during July of 2018. Chase Stockon (Ft. Branch, Ind.), 18 points out of the USAC Sprint championship lead in 4th, just won the non-sanctioned Josh Burton Memorial at Bloomington last Friday. Stockon also holds the track’s 12-lap track record for USAC Sprints.
Carson Short (Marion, Ill.) set quick time at Bloomington with USAC in 2017. He’s 6th in the standings. Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) has been superb in limited showings at Bloomington. Seavey, 9th in points, was 3rd in his first Bloomington USAC Sprint appearance in 2018 and 2nd in his first USAC Midget run there in 2019.
Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.), a winner of three of the past four USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car events, nearly won the most recent Bloomington round last summer, leading a lap at the midway point, then spun to a stop while trying to avoid contact.
Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) has been a USAC National feature winner at Bloomington, but it came in a midget during the 2010 season. Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.) had his best career USAC National Sprint Car performance last summer at Bloomington, finishing 5th. It’s been since last April that Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.), the 2015 series champion, last competed at Bloomington in USAC competition, finishing inside the top-ten in the spring of 2019.
Not only is the points race at the top of the standings heated, but so is the Rookie of the Year battle. Anton Hernandez (Arlington, Texas) leads Jadon Rogers by a mere four points entering Bloomington. Hernandez will be making his debut behind the wheel of the Michael Dutcher Motorsports No. 17GP.
No driver owns more USAC National Sprint Car fast qualifying times at Bloomington than Brady Bacon with five. Bacon earned the 30-lap USAC Sprint track record at Bloomington in April of 2019 at 6:47.18. C.J. Leary, who owns three career quick times with the USAC Sprints at Bloomington, possesses the series’ one-lap track record there at 10.685 sec.
Friday at Bloomington, pits open at 4pm ET, grandstands at 5pm, drivers meeting at 5:45pm and hot laps at 6:30pm. General admission tickets are $25 while children age 10 and under are free. Pit passes are $30 apiece, with kids age 10 and under $15. You may use your Bloomington Speedway Indiana Sprint Week tickets if they have not been used for the Lincoln Park Speedway Indiana Sprint Week Show. Modifieds are also on the event card.
The Bloomington event kicks of three-race slate this weekend for the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars Friday, Sept. 11 at Bloomington Speedway and Saturday, Sept. 12 with double features at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind.
Saturday at Lincoln Park, pits open at 3pm ET, grandstands at 4pm, drivers meeting at 5:30pm and hot laps at 6pm. General admission tickets are $25 while children age 10 and under are free. Pit passes are $35 with kids 10 and under free.
At Lincoln Park, the racing program will have the last four laps of the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car semi-feature and the 30-lap feature from the rained out July event, plus another full USAC Sprint event featuring qualifying, heat races, last chance races and a second 30-lap feature. Modifieds and Super Stocks will also be in action.
Tickets will be available at the gate for all of this weekend’s events, but you can purchase your tickets in advance at http://usactickets.com.
All three events will streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2Zs7zFP.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-1,182, 2-Chris Windom-1,178, 3-Justin Grant-1,175, 4-Chase Stockon-1,164, 5-C.J. Leary-1,136, 6-Carson Short-964, 7-Kevin Thomas Jr.-935, 8-Dave Darland-832, 9-Logan Seavey-806, 10-Kyle Cummins-800.
USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS AT BLOOMINGTON SPEEDWAY:
3-Dave Darland & Kevin Thomas Jr.
2-Kevin Briscoe & Tony Elliott
1-A.J. Anderson, Bob Kinser, Bobby East, Brad Fox, Brady Bacon, Brady Short, Brent Beauchamp, C.J. Leary, Chad Boespflug, Chris Windom, Cory Kruseman, Hunter Schuerenberg, J.J. Yeley, Jack Hewitt, Jay Drake, Jerry Coons, Jr., Jon Stanbrough, Kevin Thomas, Larry Martin, Rich Vogler, Rick Hood, Sheldon Kinser & Tracy Hines