By Richie Murray
Terre Haute, Indiana (October 7, 2019)………The final stretch of the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car season is about to commence, but first things first, it’s time for one more round at western Indiana’s legendary Terre Haute Action Track this Friday, October 11, for the Wabash Clash as the series bids adieu to the Midwest before heading west. in for the season closers in November.
The last time out at Terre Haute, Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) led all 30 laps to win September’s Jim Hurtubise Classic for his first career sprint car score on the half-mile. In fact, he’s won twice at Terre Haute under the USAC banner, capturing his first main event victory there in 2018’s Sumar Classic Silver Crown 100-lapper. He’s been a force at Terre Haute this year in USAC Sprint Car competition, finishing 5th in May, then leading a race-high 21 laps en route to a 2nd place finish in July.
Like Grant, series point leader C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) has won once at Terre Haute before in a Silver Crown car, doing so in the 2016 Sumar Classic. He’s still seeking his first USAC Sprint win at Terre Haute, however, after setting quick time in May where he finished 9th after encountering late-race trouble. He won his heat and took 6th in July followed by a 5th place run in September.
Three-time Terre Haute USAC Sprint winner Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) stands a mere 47 points behind Leary in the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship race with six events remaining. Courtney swept the night in July at Terre Haute by recording fast time, winning his heat race, then scoring the feature win where he led the final eight laps en route to the checkered. He also collected 3rd place results at Terre Haute in both May and September of this year, the latter of which he won his heat and was the night’s hard charger after starting 9th.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) is the series’ most recent winner, connecting on his second USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory of the season last Saturday at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway. He’s a two-time USAC Sprint winner at Terre Haute, first finding victory lane in 2013 and again in 2017 during the most recent October race at the track. He won his heats in both May and July and took home a 3rd place finish during July’s feature and a 2nd in September.
Of Friday’s expected entrants for the Wabash Clash, no driver owns more USAC Sprint victories at Terre Haute than Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) with four. He won twice in 2011, once again in October of 2016 and for the fourth time in the Fall of 2017. He also was victorious in a Silver Crown car at Terre Haute in 2017. He was 2nd in May at Terre Haute and 5th in July where he led the opening lap of the main. In September, the 2016 USAC Silver Crown and 2017 Sprint champ was the Fatheadz Eyewear fast qualifier and finished 4th.
Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) had his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car triumph occur right at Terre Haute in October of 2012. He’s won twice since then at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds racetrack with the second coming in the summer of 2016 and, most recently, this past May where he led all 30 laps on his way to victory. In fact, he’s led all 30 laps in all three of his Terre Haute USAC victories. He’s already won the other three Terre Haute USAC Sprint Car races on the schedule – the Tony Hulman Classic, Jim Hurtubise Classic and Don Smith Classic, and a first Wabash Clash win on Friday would make him the first driver to accomplish the feat of winning all four.
Twice a winner at the Action Track with the USAC Sprint Cars is Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.), who won the final USAC Sprint races held at Terre Haute in both 2014 and 2018. The two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ in 2014 and 2016 was 6th in May and 4th in July, where he collected hard charger honors after starting from the 14th position.
Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) was 7th in May and 6th in September at Terre Haute. Isaac Chapple (Willow Branch, Ind.) was the hard charger in May’s Hulman Classic, finishing 10th after starting 16th. Max Adams (Loomis, Calif.) collected an 8th in July in an impressive series debut at the track. Likewise, Nick Bilbee (Indianapolis, Ind.) was 8th in September at Terre Haute, beginning a stretch of three-straight top-ten finishes with the series that remains active coming into Friday’s race. Josh Hodges (Tijeras, N.M.) notched a 9th in September with the series. Leading series Rookie Dustin Clark (Washington, Ind.) was 19th in July and 15th in September during his first two career appearances at Terre Haute.
Of note, it’s been 20 years since at least four different drivers have claimed USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victories at Terre Haute in a single season. Stockon, Courtney and Grant have already won this year entering Friday’s race. In 1999, there were five different winners: Tracy Hines, Tony Jones, Jerry Coons, Jr., Frankie Kerr and Terry Pletch.
The Wabash Clash featuring the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and DIRTcar Modifieds is this Friday, October 11, at the Terre Haute Action Track in Terre Haute, Ind. Pits open at 3pm Eastern, grandstands at 4pm, drivers meeting at 6pm and cars on track at 6:30pm. Adult general admission tickets are $25, adult reserved grandstands are $30. Children 11 and under general admission tickets are free, and $10 for reserved grandstand. Adult infield tickets are $15. Kids 11 and under are free. Pit passes are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-2,003, 2-Tyler Courtney-1,956, 3-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-1,861, 4-Justin Grant-1,850, 5-Chris Windom-1,843, 6-Brady Bacon-1,837, 7-Chase Stockon-1,757, 8-Jason McDougal-1,483, 9-Carson Short-1,361, 10-Isaac Chapple-1,193
TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK USAC SPRINT CAR WINS:
(162 Points Races & 1 Special Event)
1. (8) Gary Bettenhausen & Jack Hewitt
3. (6) Bubby Jones, Sheldon Kinser & J.J. Yeley
6. (5) Jim Hurtubise, Levi Jones, Jon Stanbrough & Rich Vogler
10. (4) Bud Kaeding, Roger McCluskey & Chris Windom
13. (3) Don Branson, Steve Butler, Pancho Carter, Daron Clayton, Jerry Coons, Jr, Tyler Courtney, Jay Drake, Cary Faas, Tracy Hines, Rick Hood, Joe Saldana & Chase Stockon
25. (2) Brady Bacon, Robert Ballou, Rollie Beale, Tom Bigelow, Dave Darland, Cory Kruseman, Johnny Rutherford, Dick Tobias, Kevin Thomas, Jr., Bruce Walkup & Greg Weld
36. (1) Billy Cassella, Steve Chassey, Bryan Clauson, Mel Cornett, Larry Dickson, Ed Elisian, Tony Elliott, Aaron Farney, A.J. Foyt, Justin Grant, Richard Griffin, Chuck Gurney, Tommy Hinnershitz, Tray House, Chet Johnson, Tony Jones, Doug Kalitta, Frankie Kerr, Steve Kinser, Eddie Leavitt, Andy Linden, Bobby Marshman, Charlie Masters, Rusty McClure, James McElreath, Jim McElreath, Jim McWithey, Jan Opperman, Terry Pletch, Larry Rice, Eddie Sachs, Sam Sessions, Ron Shuman, George Snider, Robbie Stanley, Brad Sweet, Kevin Thomas & Bobby Unser
TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK USAC SPRINT CAR WINNERS:
1957: Ed Elisian (6/16) & Andy Linden (8/18)
1958: Eddie Sachs (6/22) & Tommy Hinnershitz (8/17)
1959: Don Branson (6/21) & Jim McWithey (8/16)
1960: Don Branson (6/12) & Jim Hurtubise (8/21)
1961: Jim Hurtubise (6/11) & Jim Hurtubise (8/13)
1962: Jim Hurtubise (6/17) & Jim Hurtubise (8/12)
1963: Roger McCluskey (6/16) & Bobby Marshman (8/11)
1964: A.J. Foyt (6/14) & Don Branson (8/9)
1965: Johnny Rutherford (6/13) & Johnny Rutherford (8/15)
1966: Roger McCluskey (6/19), Roger McCluskey (6/19) & Roger McCluskey (9/14)
1967: Bobby Unser (6/11), Greg Weld (6/11), Rollie Beale (8/13) & Greg Weld (9/10)
1968: Gary Bettenhausen (6/16), Larry Dickson (8/11) & Gary Bettenhausen (9/8)
1969: Gary Bettenhausen (8/10) & Gary Bettenhausen (10/19)
1970: Jim McElreath (6/21), Dick Tobias (8/9) & Bruce Walkup (9/13)
1971: George Snider (5/1) & Gary Bettenhausen (8/8)
1972: Bruce Walkup (4/30), Charlie Masters (6/11) & Rollie Beale (8/19)
1973: Joe Saldana (5/5), Mel Cornett (6/9) 7 Sammy Sessions (8/5)
1974: Gary Bettenhausen (4/14) & Sheldon Kinser (8/4)
1975: Pancho Carter (5/4), Joe Saldana (6/1), Gary Bettenhausen (8/3) & Tom Bigelow (9/21)
1976: Jan Opperman (5/1), Tom Bigelow (6/6), Gary Bettenhausen (8/1) & Chuck Gurney (10/31)
1977: James McElreath (5/7), Sheldon Kinser (6/5), Bubby Jones (7/31) & Pancho Carter (9/25)
1978: Dick Tobias (5/6), Billy Cassella (6/4) & Bubby Jones (9/24)
1979: Pancho Carter (5/5), Bubby Jones (5/6), Bubby Jones (6/3), Bubby Jones (8/5) & Bubby Jones (9/23)
1980: Eddie Leavitt (5/3), Steve Chassey (5/4), Joe Saldana (6/29), Rich Vogler (8/3) & Rich Vogler (9/21)
1981: Sheldon Kinser (5/3), Rich Vogler (8/9) & Sheldon Kinser (9/7)
1982: Chet Johnson (5/9), Sheldon Kinser (6/20), Steve Kinser (8/8) & Larry Rice (9/5)
1983: Jack Hewitt (5/8), Rich Vogler (6/19) & Jack Hewitt (8/28)
1984: Rick Hood (6/10) & Steve Butler (8/26)
1985: Ron Shuman (5/5), Rick Hood (6/9) & Rick Hood (8/25)
1986: Rich Vogler (5/4) & Sheldon Kinser (8/3)
1987: Steve Butler (5/3) & Steve Butler (5/23)
1990: Jack Hewitt (7/8)
1991: Jack Hewitt (7/7)
1992: Rusty McClure (7/12) & Cary Faas (10/11)
1993: Dave Darland (5/2) & Robbie Stanley (7/11)
1994: Cary Faas (5/1) & Tray House (7/17)
1995: Jack Hewitt (4/30) & Jack Hewitt (7/16)
1996: Doug Kalitta (5/12), Kevin Thomas (7/12) & Jack Hewitt (10/5)
1997: J.J. Yeley (6/27), J.J. Yeley (7/23) & Jack Hewitt (10/4)
1998: Cary Faas (5/29) & Tony Elliott (8/14)
1999: Tracy Hines (5/8), Tony Jones (6/17), Jerry Coons, Jr. (6/18), Frankie Kerr (6/19) & Terry Pletch (7/21)
2000: Jay Drake (6/15), Richard Griffin (6/16), Jay Drake (6/18) & Jay Drake (7/28)
2001: Tracy Hines (5/19), Bud Kaeding (10/20) & Bud Kaeding (10/20)
2002: Jon Stanbrough (5/11), Cory Kruseman (7/27) & J.J. Yeley (10/5)
2003: J.J. Yeley (5/17), Tracy Hines (7/26), J.J. Yeley (8/14 Special Event) & J.J. Yeley (10/4)
2004: Cory Kruseman (5/22), J.J. Yeley (7/24) & Bud Kaeding (9/4)
2005: Levi Jones (7/22), Levi Jones (9/30) & Levi Jones (10/1)
2006: Daron Clayton (10/6) & Daron Clayton (10/7)
2007: Jon Stanbrough (5/19)
2008: Levi Jones (5/22)
2009: Levi Jones (5/21), Brad Sweet (7/15) & Jon Stanbrough (9/12)
2010: Jerry Coons, Jr. (5/27), Jon Stanbrough (7/14) & Jon Stanbrough (9/11)
2011: Chris Windom (7/13) & Chris Windom (9/10)
2012: Bud Kaeding (5/24), Daron Clayton (7/18) & Chase Stockon (10/12)
2013: Kevin Thomas, Jr. (7/17) & Jerry Coons, Jr. (8/31)
2014: Dave Darland (5/21), Bryan Clauson (7/16) & Brady Bacon (9/18)
2015: Aaron Farney (7/15) & Robert Ballou (9/18)
2016: Robert Ballou (5/25), Chase Stockon (7/17) & Chris Windom (10/15)
2017: Chris Windom (9/15) & Kevin Thomas, Jr. (10/14)
2018: Tyler Courtney (5/23), Tyler Courtney (7/25) & Brady Bacon (9/14)
2019: Chase Stockon (5/22), Tyler Courtney (7/24) & Justin Grant (9/13)