By Richie Murray
West Burlington, Iowa (June 1, 2020)………One-hundred-twelve days. That’s the wait we’ve all had to endure since the last time the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars turned a wheel in competition when the series unloads this Saturday night, June 6, for Sonny’s Market Night at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa, the grand opening of a doubleheader weekend with a trip to Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 the following night, Sunday, June 7.
Only twice before has the series visited the 3/8-mile dirt oval at 34 Raceway, both of which came within the last decade. Numerous drivers in this Saturday’s 44-car field have previous experience at the West Burlington track, in those two events as well as a USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget event there in 2010, with some finding a fair amount of success.
USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Point leader Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) is undefeated thus far with the series, winning both of the first two events in Ocala, Fla. during the month of February and leads the standings. Bacon led the first 13 laps of the 2013 30-lap main event at West Burlington, but a broken rear axle suffered while leading relegated the 2014 and 2016 champ to a 19th place finish.
Chris Windom has been close, but no cigar, in both of his USAC Sprint starts at West Burlington. The Canton, Ill. native who resides second in the points, won his heat in 2010, but finished 2nd in the feature behind Levi Jones in 2010 and was the runner-up to Darland in 2013.
Justin Grant, a recent USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget victor at Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Port City Raceway on May 23, owns a pair of West Burlington top-ten results. The Ione, Calif. driver finished 6th in 2010 and a best of 4th in 2013.
Fort Branch, Indiana’s Chase Stockon made his lone appearance at West Burlington in 2013, winning his heat and placing 6th in the A-Main.
Perhaps no driver has had as much success across the board with USAC at West Burlington over the past decade than has USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car division’s winningest driver (62), Dave Darland. The National Sprint Car Hall of Famer out of Lincoln, Ind. led the first 20 laps in 2010 before a tire issue forced him back to 10th at the checkered. In 2013, he returned as fast qualifier, then won the feature, leading the final 17 laps of the 30-lapper.
To boot, Darland also recorded fast time in a USAC Midget there in 2010 before finishing 8th in the feature. To put a stamp on it, Darland possesses both the USAC Sprint (14.554) and USAC Midget track records at West Burlington (15.726).
Also in that 2010 USAC Midget race at West Burlington who are also entered for this Saturday’s showdown, this time in a Sprint Car, are Zach Daum (Pocahontas, Ill.) who finished an impressive 2nd that night, as well as Mario Clouser (Auburn, Ill.), a 6th place finisher that evening.
Among the others who’ve made just one previous USAC Sprint appearance at West Burlington were Cullman, Alabama’s Kevin Thomas Jr. (9th in 2013), Rocklin, California’s Robert Ballou (5th in 2013) and Ludlow, Illinois’ Steve Thomas (13th in 2013). Terry Babb (Decatur, Ill.) had a career-best USAC night at West Burlington in 2010, recording fast qualifying time and finishing 5th in the feature. Patrick Budde (Bartelso, Ill.) was 16th the same night.
Ballou makes his return to USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car racing for the West Burlington event after being sidelined for nearly a year following a broken arm suffered during a sprint car crash at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway. The 2015 USAC Sprint champ and 29-time feature winner last competed with USAC at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway in mid-June of 2019.
Among those making their West Burlington USAC debuts are C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.), who is back behind the wheel of the family-owned No. 30 after competing in the first two events for Gene Gile Racing. Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.), the 2018 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champion is preparing for his first West Burlington USAC ride, as is Carson Short (Marion, Ill.) for Daigh-Phillips Motorsports, the team which won there in 2013 with driver Dave Darland and top series Rookie Anton Hernandez (Arlington, Texas), among several others.
Grandstand ticket sales are now live for the June 6 race at 34 Raceway at https://market.myracepass.com/store/tickets/?i=1208706&store=12037. Grandstand seating is limited to 50 percent capacity, so make sure to act fast so you don’t miss out!
Spectator tickets are also now on sale for the June 7 race at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, exclusively at http://usactickets.com. Seating capacity is limited to 1,200 for this event.
All USAC National events will be streamed live, and available on-demand, on FloRacing.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-155, 2-Chris Windom-146, 3-Justin Grant-140, 4-C.J. Leary-138, 5-Logan Seavey-135, 6-Kyle Cummins-130, 7-Chase Stockon-129, 8-Carson Short-118, 9-Dave Darland-96, 10-Kevin Thomas Jr.-95.
PAST 34 RACEWAY USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RESULTS:
2010 FEATURE: 1. Levi Jones, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Shane Hmiel, 4. Damion Gardner, 5. Terry Babb, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Henry Clarke, 8. Jerry Coons Jr., 9. Bryan Clauson, 10. Dave Darland, 11. Kyle Robbins, 12. Ricky Williams, 13. J.C. Bland, 14. Casey Riggs, 15. Ryan Jamison, 16. Patrick Budde, 17. Chad Branson, 18. Matt Harms, 19. Tracy Hines. NT
2013 FEATURE: 1. Dave Darland, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Bryan Clauson, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Robert Ballou, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Tracy Hines, 8. Kyle Cummins, 9. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 10. Tyler Courtney, 11. Keaton Dobbs, 12. Nick Drake, 13. Steve Thomas, 14. Tyler Shoemaker, 15. Shane Cottle, 16. Matt Sutton, 17. Hunter Schuerenberg, 18. Andy Huston, 19. Brady Bacon, 20. Mike Houseman, Jr. NT