By Dick Jordan
A trio of “top-10” finishes has Justin Grant of Ione, Calif. atop the 2012 AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car standings entering this week’s races at Gas City, Ind. (Friday) and Putnamville, Ind. (Saturday). He has a three-point lead over Jon Stanbrough.
Rain forced postponement of last Friday’s race at Gas City I-69 Speedway, setting up this Friday’s “Border Wars” finale at the quarter-mile dirt oval. Lincoln Park Speedway hosts Saturday’s race at Putnamville.
Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. took the first step toward becoming the second four-time “Border Wars” champion (1999, 2002 and 2003) by winning Saturday night’s “Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic” at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Bryan Tyler also already owns four “Border Wars” titles. Hines’ victory was spectacular as he passed Dave Darland in turn one on the final lap to put his MP Environmental Services DRC/Shaver in victory lane. Darland led the first 29 laps and finished second ahead of Matt Westfall, Robert Ballou coming from 18th to finish fourth and new series point leader Grant.
The victory was Hines’ 42nd in USAC National Sprint racing and his 78th in USAC National competition, putting him one behind sixth-ranking Bob Wente on the all-time list.
Hines and Darland emerged in a virtual tie for the “Border Wars” lead, six points ahead of Ballou. Darland and Ballou are seeking their initial “Border Wars” titles.
2011 AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR POINT STANDINGS
1-Justin Grant-224, 2-Jon Stanbrough-221, 3-Damion Gardner-217, 4-Dave Darland-215, 5-Bryan Clauson-214, 6-Levi Jones-210, 7-Tracy Hines-202, 8-Bud Kaeding-195, 9-Darren Hagen-189, 10-Robert Ballou-165.
“BORDER WARS” POINTS: 1-Tracy Hines-65, 2-Dave Darland-65, 3-Robert Ballou-59, 4-Justin Grant-57, 5-Levi Jones-51.