By Richie Murray
Pevely, Missouri (June 5, 2020)………The capper of a doubleheader USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car weekend takes us to Federated Auto Parts Raceway on Sunday, June 7. An array of storylines are at the forefront and here are a few key items you need, must and should keep at least one of your eyes on this weekend as the series hustles on the 1/3-mile high-banked dirt oval.
RETURN OF COURTNEY
The mystery captured the imagination earlier this week as 43 of the 44 spots became filled for Sunday’s round at I-55. Who would it be to file that final entry? As it turned out, it was none other than 2018 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Tyler Courtney and Clauson-Marshall Racing who became the 44th entry. The defending USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champ raced to a recent victory with the Midgets on May 22 at Port City Raceway in Tulsa, Okla., and also captured a winged sprint car triumph at St. Francois County Raceway in Missouri just prior. This marks the 26-time USAC Sprint winner’s season debut with the division.
THOMAS OUT FOR REDEMPTION
The lone past visit by the series to I-55 came in 2018, a barnburner between former roommates Jason McDougal and Kevin Thomas Jr. that saw six lead changes in a 30-lap span, including the final one, with just four laps remaining, as McDougal got by Thomas for the win. Thomas, of Cullman, Ala., is up for a little bit of redemption this time around after winning his heat race, leading 12 laps before finishing 2nd in the 2018 race.
I-55 MIDGET EXPERIENCE
While there’s only been one previous appearance by the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars at I-55 in 2018, midgets have made the pilgrimage to the racy venue over the past six seasons under the POWRi banner, and a couple handfuls of the very same individuals you’ll see on Sunday in a USAC Sprint Car were on hand in a midget.
Pocahontas, Illinois driver Zach Daum won at I-55 in a midget in August 2016. Just last August, defending USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) ventured to I-55 for a pair of midget races, finishing 3rd in the feature on both nights. Two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ and current point leader Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) drove from 10th to 2nd in a midget at I-55 in April 2018. Fellow USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.) finished a solid 3rd in August of 2016 while Courtney’s lone I-55 midget experience was a 16th place result in April 2018.
The 2018 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget driving champion, Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.), started on the pole and finished a best of 3rd at I-55 in April 2018. Arlington, Texas native and top Rookie thus far in the USAC Sprints, Anton Hernandez, was 12th in 2015. Kory Schudy of Springfield, Mo. earned a best I-55 midget finish of 9th in August 2018. Willow Branch, Indiana’s Isaac Chapple, the 2016 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year, was 16th in 2015.
71p GETTIN’ IT DONE
The same Daigh/Phillips Motorsports No. 71p ride that Jason McDougal used to score his first career victory at I-55 in 2018 is now in the hands of Carson Short (Marion, Ill.). While Short has already reached USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory lane once before, in 2016 at Tri-State Speedway, in his family owned No. 21, he’s seeking that first one aboard the 71p. Interestingly enough, the team has won the most recent USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car races at both of this weekend’s venues, including Saturday’s track, 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa., with driver Dave Darland.
SAMPLING OF I-55 SPRINT SUCCESS
Including Thomas, 14 of the 22 starters from 2018’s USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car debut at I-55 are pre-entered for this Sunday’s event. Robert Ballou, the Rocklin, Calif. native and 2015 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion, is returning to USAC competition after missing the past year due to a serious arm injury suffered in a Sprint Car accident at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway. Ballou set the standard at I-55 in his 2018 heat race, establishing a USAC track record for 8 laps at 1:44.38 before finishing 3rd in the feature.
Fort Branch, Indiana’s Chase Stockon led early in the 2018 affair at I-55, controlling 11 laps early, then two more during mid-race to lead a race-high 13 laps total before, ultimately, finishing 9th.
Korey Weyant, great nephew of National Midget Hall of Famer and four-time Indianapolis 500 starter Chuck Weyant, was the hard charger at I-55 in 2018, rising up to drive from 18th to 10th in the final tally.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.), a recent USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget winner at Port City Raceway in Tulsa, Okla. on May 23, took 5th in 2018. Defending USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) placed 6th, USAC Triple Crown champion Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.) 7th, 2017 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car titlist Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) was 8th, 2016 series Rookie of the Year Isaac Chapple (Willow Branch, Ind.) was 11th and 2014 & 2016 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) notched 20th.
Mario Clouser (Auburn, Ill.) was 12th in that 2018 race while Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) was 13th, Patrick Budde (Bartelso, Ill.) was 16th and Mitch Wissmiller (Saybrook, Ill.) 22nd.
“SHOW ME” THE MONEY
Robert Ballou (2012 at Grain Valley, Mo.) and Tyler Courtney (2017 at Moberly, Mo.) have each found victory lane in the “Show Me State” of Missouri in their USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car careers. They’ll both be in action Sunday at I-55. As far as teams, Daigh/Phillips Motorsports won with Jason McDougal at I-55 in 2018. TOPP Motorsports did likewise with Courtney in 2017 at Moberly, a car now driven by Justin Grant. The Fox Brothers No. 53, now driven by Brayden Fox, was the victor at Grain Valley in 2011 with driver Jon Stanbrough.
No team, however, owns more USAC Sprint wins in Missouri than Dynamics, Inc/Hoffman Auto Racing with four, the team with which Brady Bacon will race for this coming Sunday. The first Hoffman/Dynamics win in Missouri arrived in 1989 (with a wing) with driver Rich Vogler in at Moberly. Steve Butler returned the team to victory lane a year later in 1990 on the pavement at I-70 Speedway in Odessa. Butler did it again in 1991 at I-44 Speedway in Lebanon. Jerry Coons Jr. picked up the most recent for the winningest USAC Sprint team, back on the dirt of Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon in 2006.
With one more start this weekend, Brady Bacon would move into sole possession of 10th all-time on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car starts list at 334, surpassing 1977-81-82 champion Sheldon Kinser.
Two more starts this weekend would elevate Chase Stockon into a tie with 1973 USAC Sprint champ Rollie Beale for 12th all-time in starts at 319. It would also extend his record streak of consecutive starts with the series to 298, just two shy of becoming the first to reach the 300 mark.
One more start would be Chris Windom’s 148th consecutive in the USAC Sprint division, the fourth-best streak of all-time behind Chase Stockon (296), Levi Jones (284) and Dave Darland (204). Windom became the fifth driver ever to break the 400 USAC Sprint start mark in the season finale last year at Arizona Speedway.
C.J. Leary would move past both Bryan Clauson and into a tie with Damion Gardner for 21st all-time (262 starts) with two more feature starts this weekend.
Also, two more starts this weekend would move Justin Grant past 1972 USAC Sprint champ Sammy Sessions as well as 1969 & 71 USAC Sprint champion driver Gary Bettenhausen into 24th all-time in that department.
Another start on Sunday for Tyler Courtney would mark his 178th career USAC Sprint start, moving him past 1986-87-88-90 series champ Steve Butler on the all-time list for 47th all-time.
Two starts for Scotty Weir in this weekend’s events would be his 146th and past Dave Peperak for 62nd all-time in USAC Sprint starts. Two starts for Isaac Chapple, which would put him at 120, would move him past Lee Kunzman for 75th all-time in USAC Sprint starts.
For Carson Short, another two starts this weekend would put him at 92 career with the USAC National Sprint Cars. That would put him right inside the top-100 and alongside 1984-85 series champion Rick Hood.
Spectator tickets are on sale for the Sunday, June 7, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car race at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, exclusively at http://usactickets.com. Seating capacity is limited to 1,200 for this event.
Adult general admission tickets are $30 and $10 for children age 12 and under. Pit passes are $30 for USAC/UMP members and $35 for non-members. UMP A-Mods will run as the support class. At I-55, pits open at 1pm Central and grandstands at 3pm with hot laps scheduled to begin at 5pm.
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.
2018 FEATURE RESULTS:
FEATURE: (30 laps – starting positions in parentheses) 1. Jason McDougal (2), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (4), 3. Robert Ballou (3), 4. Tyler Courtney (6), 5. Justin Grant (11), 6. C.J. Leary (8), 7. Dave Darland (7), 8. Chris Windom (10), 9. Chase Stockon (1), 10. Korey Weyant (18), 11. Isaac Chapple (9), 12. Mario Clouser (14), 13. Jadon Rogers (13), 14. Chet Williams (17), 15. Scottie Gretzmacher (16), 16. Patrick Budde (21), 17. Adam Parmeley (22), 18. Wade Seiler (19), 19. Chuck Walker (20), 20. Brady Bacon (5), 21. Joe B. Miller (12), 22. Mitch Wissmiller (15). NT
ENTRY LIST: USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CARS
AT FEDERATED AUTO PARTS RACEWAY AT I-55
01 ANTHONY D’ALESSIO/Apollo Beach, FL (D’Alessio-Parallax Motorsports)
1x KURT GROSS/Washington, IN (Kurt Gross)
4 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (TOPP Motorsports)
4x BRAYDON CROMWELL/Lone Jack, MO (Braydon Cromwell)
5 ANTON HERNANDEZ/Arlington, TX (Baldwin Brothers Racing)
5v JESSE VERMILLION/Greencastle, IN (Vermillion Racing)
6 MARIO CLOUSER/Auburn, IL (Clouser Motorsports)
6p CHRIS PHILLIPS/Plainfield, IN (Chris Phillips Racing)
7BC TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN (Clauson-Marshall Racing)
9K KEVIN THOMAS JR./Cullman, AL (KT Motorsports)
11w WYATT BURKS/Topeka, KS (Burks Racing)
12 ROBERT BALLOU/Rocklin, CA (Ballou Motorsports)
14 JADON ROGERS/Worthington, IN (Kyle Rogers)
16 ANTHONY NICHOLSON/Millington, TN (Nicholson Racing)
19 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL (Hayward Motorsports)
19AZ LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA (Reinbold Underwood Motorsports)
20 TYLER KENDALL/Connersville, IN (Kendall Racing)
22 SCOTTY WEIR/Marion, IN (Goodnight Racing)
22s SLATER HELT/Harrisonville, MO (Shawn Helt)
24 LANDON SIMON/Tipp City, OH (Landon Simon Racing)
27 STEVE THOMAS/Ludlow, IL (Steve Thomas)
28 BRANDON MATTOX/Terre Haute, IN (Brandon Mattox Racing)
28K KORY SCHUDY/Springfield, MO (Jon Sawyer)
29 MITCH WISSMILLER/Saybrook, IL (RMB Motorsports)
30 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN (Leary Racing)
32 CHASE STOCKON/Fort Branch, IN (32 TBI Racing)
33m MATT WESTFALL/Pleasant Hill, OH (Ray Marshall Motorsports)
34 STERLING CLING/Tempe, AZ (Sterling Cling Racing)
36D DAVE DARLAND/Lincoln, IN (Eberhardt-Zirzow Racing)
39 MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN (Goodnight Racing)
52 ISAAC CHAPPLE/Willow Branch, IN (LNR-Isaac Chapple Racing)
53 BRAYDEN FOX/Avon, IN (Fox Brothers Racing)
56 MITCHELL DAVIS/Auburn, IL (Mitchell Davis)
57 ZACH DAUM/Pocahontas, IL (Artz & Sons)
69 BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK (Dynamics, Inc.)
71 ROBERT BELL/Colfax, IA (Bell Racing)
71p CARSON SHORT/Marion, IL (Daigh-Phillips Motorsports)
73 BLAKE VERMILLION/Greencastle, IN (Vermillion Racing)
75 DUSTIN CLARK/Washington, IN (Dustin Clark Racing)
77 DUSTIN SMITH/Russiaville, IN (Smith Racing)
88 TERRY BABB/Decatur, IL (Terry Babb)
90 PATRICK BUDDE/Bartelso, IL (Budde Racing)
99 KOREY WEYANT/Springfield, IL (Scott Weyant)
118 SCOTT EVANS/Rhome, TX (Scott Evans)