From Lonnie Wheatley, SAPULPA, Okla. (June 18, 2010) – Robert Ballou bagged his eighth career Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless feature victory in convincing fashion by racing to victory lane in Friday night’s 30-lap main event at Creek County Speedway.
The Rocklin, CA, native battled past early pacesetter Gary Taylor by the eighth round and checked out over the final 20 circuits to secure his second TNT win of the year aboard Dallas Mulvaney’s MPHG Promotions No. 81 in the feature event that was interrupted just once.
“We’ve been chasing it lately it seems like, kinda struggling, so we really needed this one,” Ballou commented in victory lane.
While Ballou gridded the feature field outside the front row starter, it was pole starter Gary Taylor taking command at the outset in his first time out aboard Jack Yeley’s No. 2 entry.
Taylor paced the initial rounds in front of Ballou, Casey Shuman and TNT points leader Travis Rilat.
A slight Taylor miscue entering turn one on the sixth round was all Ballou needed to pounce on the top spot. Taylor battled back though, with the pair swapping the point while racing through traffic until the red flag flew with eight laps in the books for Matt Sherrell’s turn four tumble. Sherrell was uninjured but done for the night.
Ballou was out front on the restart and simply checked out on the field, leaving Taylor to deal with the likes of Shuman, Rilat and eventually Brady Bacon.
Ballou sliced and diced through lapped traffic over the last half of the race, holding nearly a half lap advantage most of the way en route to the checkered flag.
In Ballou’s wake, Shuman worked past Taylor for second at the midway point and held the runner-up position to the line in the No. 10x entry.
Rilat moved into the show position in the final rounds, with Bacon making a late move to snare fourth.
Hampered by a flat left front tire over the final half of the race, Taylor rounded out the top five with Dustin Morgan and J.C. Bland in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Anthony Nicholson was the eighth and final car on the lead lap, picking up the $500 bonus as the top finishing 360-ci powered competitor for the night.
Oklahoma’s Danny Smith was ninth, with Cody Gardner completing the top ten.
Taylor, Shuman and Bacon topped heat race action for the 24-car field, with Sherrell, Rilat and Bland winning the qualifying races.
Michael Tyre flipped in turn three in the night’s opening heat race, while Brent Swift returned for more action after turning over in turn one in the third heat race.
Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless Results
Creek County Speedway:
Heat One (8 Laps): 1. 2-Gary Taylor, 2. 16-Anthony Nicholson, 3. 19-Patrick Stasa, 4. 81-Robert Ballou, 5. 98-J.C. Bland, 6. 15s-Nick Smith, 7. 10r-David Wheeler, 8. 98x-Michael Tyre.
Heat Two (8 Laps): 1. 10x-Casey Shuman, 2. 1g-Cody Gardner, 3. 93-Dustin Morgan, 4. 35-Matt Sherrell, 5. 50off-Travis Rilat, 6. 8z-Zach Pringle, 7. 15-Evan Sewell, 8. 4j-Jamie Passmore.
Heat Three (8 Laps): 1. 99-Brady Bacon, 2. 5$-Danny Smith, 3. 38-Rick Pringle, 4. 61-Jamie McDonald, 5. 19x-Matt Caudle, 6. 91-Jeff Stasa, 7. 5-Brent Swift. DNS: 17-Brent Bates.
Qualifier One (8 Laps): 1. 35-Matt Sherrell, 2. 2-Gary Taylor, 3. 1g-Cody Gardner, 4. 99-Brady Bacon, 5. 19-Patrick Stasa, 6. 4j-Jamie Passmore, 7. 19x-Matt Caudle, 8. 10r-David Wheeler.
Qualifier Two (8 Laps): 1. 50off-Travis Rilat, 2. 81-Robert Ballou, 3. 93-Dustin Morgan, 4. 5$-Danny Smith, 5. 5-Brent Swift, 6. 8z-Zach Pringle, 7. 15s-Nick Smith, 8. 98x-Michael Tyre.
Qualifier Three (8 Laps): 1. 98-J.C. Bland, 2. 91-Jeff Stasa, 3. 10x-Casey Shuman, 4. 61-Jamie McDonald, 5. 38-Rick Pringle, 6. 16-Anthony Nicholson, 7. 15-Evan Sewell, 8. 17-Brent Bates.
Creek County Speedway Sprint Bandits TNT Main Event:
“A” Feature (30 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 10x-Casey Shuman, 3. 50off-Travis Rilat, 4. 99-Brady Bacon, 5. 2-Gary Taylor, 6. 93-Dustin Morgan, 7. 98-J.C. Bland, 8. 16-Anthony Nicholson, 9. 5$-Danny Smith, 10. 1g-Cody Gardner, 11. 8z-Zach Pringle, 12. 4j-Jamie Passmore, 13. 91-Jeff Stasa, 14. 10r-David Wheeler, 15. 61-Jamie McDonald, 16. 38-Rick Pringle, 17. 19x-Matt Caudle, 18. 5-Brent Swift, 19. 19-Patrick Stasa, 20. 15-Evan Sewell, 21. 35-Matt Sherrell. DNS: 15s-Nick Smith, 98x-Michael Tyre, 17-Brent Bates.
Lap Leaders: Gary Taylor 1-5, Robert Ballou 6, Taylor 7, Ballou 8-30.
Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits TNT Points (Top 10): 1. Travis Rilat 545, 2. Robert Ballou 515, 3. Brady Bacon 505, 4. Casey Shuman 497, 5. J.C. Bland 458, 6. Matt Sherrell 442, 7. Anthony Nicholson 437, 8. Jesse Hockett 412, 9. Ray Allen Kulhanek 377, 10. Wayne Johnson 341.