Inside Line Promotions
– ELDON, Mo. (Sept. 5) – Tony Bruce Jr. sat in his sprint car, watching his competition roll by under caution. The crew feverishly worked on his damaged front end, but it was to no avail.
“It’s a terrible feeling,” he said. “It’s really kind of helpless.”
Bruce Jr. had been having his best performance racing for Clifford and Don Young. He drove from eighth to fifth in the first four laps and was challenging fourth place when he clipped an infield tractor tire entering turn three on the fifth lap Sunday at the 9th annual LOS 360 Nationals at Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Mo.
The crew was unable to repair the damage and he finished last – 22nd – in the ASCS Warrior Region event.
The Liberal, Kan., native began the night by charging from eighth to third in his heat race. That lined him up eighth for the 30-lap event. He picked up a position in the first lap and then began capitalizing on the thin line of moisture on the bottom to pass two more cars on the third and fourth laps before the incident.
“It was barely a car width wide,” Bruce Jr. said. “I knew those first laps I’d be able to take advantage of the bottom. I had a good start and everything, but I barely clipped that tire and that was it.
“It was such a big let down, especially driving for somebody else.”
The weekend started on Saturday, when a narrow track hampered Bruce Jr. during his heat race on the semi-banked, 1/3-mile dirt oval. He started and finished fourth, which didn’t advance him straight to the feature. Instead, he lined up on the outside of the front row in the first of two, 12-lap B Mains.
After falling to third on the start, Bruce Jr. rallied to take the lead by the midpoint and eventually won by half a straightaway to advance to the 25-lap feature, which he started 17th.
“In the heat race I think I got the car too tight, so the only thing we did was made one shock change on the left rear and tied the car down on the left side, and that helped it free up,” he said. “That was really the only difference we made. The car was really operating good in the B Main.”
On a wide, slick track, Bruce Jr. maintained his position for much of the first dozen laps in the main event. He then began to climb toward the top 10 and nearly reached it before getting caught in the middle of the slick, which allowed a handful of cars to pass him.
“We freed it up and almost went too far and were just kind of chasing our tail all night,” he said. “I was right around that top 10 area and something happened with another driver. He came across the race track and I was already committed to the bottom. It kind of hung me down behind him. I could either run him over or slow down and go to the middle, and when I did that everybody I worked to pass before that got by me.”
Bruce Jr. settled for 14th, which was his 24th top-15 finish of the season.
He will race a trio of events this weekend, beginning on Friday with the ASCS Warrior Region at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Mo.
Bruce Jr. will then compete on Saturday at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., and Sunday in the $5,000-to-win Nebraska Cup at Eagle Raceway in Eagle, Neb. Both are ASCS Midwest Region races.
For live updates of Bruce Jr. and the rest of the races, check out www.insidelinepromotions.com throughout the weekend.
QUICK RESULTS –
Sept. 3 – Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Mo. – Heat race: 4 (4); B Main: 1 (2); Feature: 14 (17).
Sept. 4 – Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Mo. – Heat race: 3 (8); Feature: 22 (8).
SEASON STATS –
41 races, 35 features, 1 win, 5 top fives, 15 top 10s, 24 top 15s, 32 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Friday at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Mo., with the ASCS Warrior Region, Saturday at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., and Sunday at Eagle Raceway in Eagle, Neb. – both with the ASCS Midwest Region
FAVORITE NUMBER –
5: Cars passed during the eight-lap heat race on Sunday at Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Mo.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
ON THE AIR –
Bruce Jr. was a featured guest on the ASCS Show by Racinboys on May 24. Check out the link below for his interview, which starts approximately 44:20 into the show.
He was also on the April 26 edition. Click on the link below to listen to Bruce Jr.’s interview, which begins around the 52:25 mark.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Smiley’s Racing Products
Established in 1968, Smiley’s Racing Products offers all parts necessary to operate a race team and is a Hoosier tire dealer. With locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, Smiley’s Racing Products is associated with various motor sports teams. For more information, visit www.smileysracing.com.
“We’ve been with Smiley’s Racing Products from Day 1,” Bruce Jr. said. “It has been a long-lasting relationship and there has always been mutual respect on everything. They are the longest partner that we’ve ever had. The first day we bought stuff for my race car we bought it at Smiley’s Racing Products and have been with them ever since.”
Bruce Jr. would like to thank his sponsors, including The Oil Medics, TBJ Promotions, Travelwizer.com, Ticketmob.com, LRB Manufacturing and Hoosier for their continued support.