By Richie Murray
Terre Haute, Indiana (July 27, 2020)………One of the most tenured and treasured stops on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car calendar greets the tour for the 164th points race in series history at the famed Wabash Valley Fairgrounds half-mile known as the Terre Haute Action Track on Wednesday night, July 29, for the resumption of the “second-half” of the 33rd annual NOS Energy Drink Indiana Sprint Week schedule – the Dorsett Automotive Don Smith Classic.
Terre Haute has held 17 previous Indiana Sprint Week races since its debut on the slate in 1997. Three drivers who’ve won the event in recent years are entered for Wednesday’s edition, including Chris Windom (2011), Kevin Thomas Jr. (2013) and Chase Stockon (2016).
Windom (Canton, Ill.) comes in 8th overall in the current ISW standings, but his prowess at the Action Track shows no bounds with a Silver Crown victory and five overall USAC National Sprint Car feature wins there, including the most recent on July 1 of this year in the 50th annual Tony Hulman Classic. In ISW competition there, following his win in 2011, he garnered additional 5th place runs in 2014 and 2019, plus a 6th in both 2016 and 2018, a 9th in 2013 and a 10th in 2012.
Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.), along with Windom, has won each of the “big three” USAC National Sprint Car events at Terre Haute, including the Tony Hulman Classic, Jim Hurtubise Classic and the Don Smith Classic during ISW in 2016. Among Stockon’s ISW runs at THAT are, in addition to his triumph, a 5th in both 2013 and 2015, plus a 9th in 2019 and a 10th all the way back in 2010. The series’ “ironman,” now with 308 consecutive series starts and is third in this year’s ISW points, was the fastest qualifier during ISW at THAT in 2018.
Thomas (Cullman, Ala.) has twice been a USAC Sprint winner at Terre Haute. The now 27-time USAC Sprint winner’s first such score came amidst a three-race winning streak during the 2013 Indiana Sprint Week event in which he emerged as the victor in a furious last lap battle with Dave Darland. Thomas also scored a 3rd in 2019 and a 5th in 2018 to go along with the 2013 victory at the place in which he also won a USAC Sprint race in late 2017.
One driver has a chance to become the first individual since Thomas to win three-in-a-row during ISW. That’s C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) who’s won the past two ISW events over the weekend at Kokomo and Lawrenceburg. Leary, thus far, has a pair of top-10 Terre Haute ISW performances – a 10th in 2016 and a 6th in 2019. It was during the 2016 season, however, that Leary won his first career USAC Silver Crown race during the Sumar Classic at Terre Haute. He rides in fourth in the ISW standings, 17 behind point leader Brady Bacon.
Terre Haute’s USAC Sprint Car one-lap track record holder at 19.225, Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.), the 2016 ISW champion, hasn’t won yet this week, but his consistency has been the key with finishes of 8th, 2nd and 3rd through the first three. The same type of consistency has rung true throughout the 2014 & 2016 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion’s ISW career at THAT with 3rd place results in 2013 and 2014, 4th place finishes in 2016-18-19 and a 7th in 2015. He’s won twice at Terre Haute in his career during late season runs in both 2014 & 2018.
Darland (Lincoln, Ind.) leads practically every single statistical category of ISW. He’s made an appearance in every single Indiana Sprint Week event at Terre Haute since 1997, a night where he finished 3rd. The 1999 USAC National Sprint Car champ possesses two series wins at THAT, in 1993 and 2014, but has come oh-so-close a number of times throughout his career at the track during ISW. He finished 2nd in 2010, was 3rd in 1997, 2005, 2009 & 2015 as well as 5th in 2004 among his six top-fives and 11 top-tens in the event.
The same has been the case with Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.), a two-time USAC Sprint winner at THAT in late 2015 and early 2016, but none as of yet during ISW. He’s surrounded victory of Terre Haute’s ISW race annually over the past decade and is looking to make the next step to the pinnacle. The 2015 ISW champ has been the ISW THAT runner-up finisher during the last four times he’s entered the event in 2014-15-16-18. The event was rained out in 2017 and he was absent in 2019 while recuperating from a serious arm injury. You’d have to go back over a decade to find the last time he’s finished outside the top-ten with ISW at Terre Haute, also scoring 4th place finishes in 2011 & 2013 and 6th in 2012. He was also the fastest qualifier in 2014.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) leads the overall USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car standings coming in, but at the moment, he sits just five points behind Bacon in pursuit of the ISW championship with four races remaining. Grant captured his first Terre Haute USAC Sprint win last Fall in 2019 and has also won in Silver Crown competition there during the 2018 Sumar Classic. His THAT ISW record includes “podium” finishes in each of the last two events, a 3rd in 2018 and a 2nd in 2019, which goes along with a 6th in 2014 and an 8th in 2015.
Current ISW ProSource Passing Master point leader, Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) topped off with a runner-up finish during the 2005 Terre Haute ISW round, adding another top-five with a 5th in 2011. The veteran driver who’s already won in USAC Sprint competition earlier this July in Putnamville, Ind., was 9th at THAT ISW in 2014, plus 10th in both 2013 and 2015.
Bill Rose, whose lone Indiana Sprint Week victory came during the summer of 1997, has entered for Terre Haute’s ISW round on Wednesday night. The Plainfield, Ind. native was the fastest qualifier in the event in 2000. Likewise, Mitch Wissmiller (Saybrook, Ill.) was the top dawg in time trials there during the event in 2015.
Buckeye, Arizona’s Charles Davis Jr., making his first Indiana Sprint Week run in several years, was a 10th place ISW THAT finisher in 2003. Other combatants who’ve raced their way top-tens at Terre Haute in the busiest week of USAC Sprint Car racing all year long in the Hoosier state include Pleasant Hill, Ohio’s Matt Westfall (7th in 2004), Marion, Illinois’ Carson Short (7th in 2019), Loomis, California’s Max Adams (8th in 2019) as well as Princeton, Indiana’s Kyle Cummins (9th in 2019) who’s 5th in the ISW standings coming in.
Indiana Sprint Week continues with round four of the series on Wednesday, July 29 at the Terre Haute Action Track. Pits open at 3pm ET as does advance ticket entry for spectators. Walk-up entry beginning at 4pm. Hot Laps are scheduled for a 6:30pm start with racing to immediately follow.
Tickets for all Indiana Sprint Week events are available, while supplies last, at www.usactickets.com. Adult general admission tickets for Terre Haute are $25. Infield tickets are $15. Kids age 11 and under are free. Remaining tickets, if available, will also be available at the gate on raceday. Pit passes are $25 apiece for USAC members and $30 for non-members.
You can watch each and every Indiana Sprint Week event live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2Zs7zFP.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-954, 2-Brady Bacon-883, 3-Chris Windom-853, 4-Chase Stockon-853, 5-C.J. Leary-851, 6-Carson Short-778, 7-Kevin Thomas Jr.-731, 8-Dave Darland-628, 9-Brandon Mattox-570, 10-Logan Seavey-541.
INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-215, 2-Justin Grant-210, 3-Chase Stockon-208, 4-C.J. Leary-198, 5-Kyle Cummins-192, 6-Logan Seavey-188, 7-Carson Short-183, 8-Chris Windom-179, 9-Thomas Meseraull-149, 10-Robert Ballou-148.
TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK INDIANA SPRINT WEEK HISTORY:
17 RACES, 4 RAINOUTS (1997-2006 & 2009-2019)
FEATURE WINNERS: 1997 – J.J. Yeley (Yeley 4j), 1998 – Rained Out, 1999 – Terry Pletch (Pletch 29), 2000 – Jay Drake (Kunz 67), 2001 – Rained Out, 2002 – Cory Kruseman (Kunz 67), 2003 – Tracy Hines (Dynamics 69), 2004 – J.J. Yeley (Stanton 75), 2005 – Levi Jones (2B Racing 2b), 2006 – Rained Out, 2009 – Brad Sweet (Kahne/Curb 9), 2010 – Jon Stanbrough (Fox 53), 2011 – Chris Windom (Baldwin 5x), 2012 – Daron Clayton (Clayton 92), 2013 – Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Dutcher/RW/Tri-Star 17rw), 2014 – Bryan Clauson (Stewart/Curb-Agajanian 20), 2015 – Aaron Farney (Farney #15F), 2016 – Chase Stockon (32 TBI 32), 2017 – Rained Out, 2018 – Tyler Courtney (Clauson/Marshall/Newman 7BC), 2019 – Tyler Courtney (Clauson/Marshall/Newman 7BC)
MOST FEATURE WINS AT TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK: 2 – Tyler Courtney & J.J. Yeley
RACE WINNERS WHO HAVE GONE ON TO WIN THE INDIANA SPRINT WEEK TITLE THAT YEAR: 6 – J.J. Yeley (1997), Jay Drake (2000), Cory Kruseman (2002), Jon Stanbrough (2010), Chris Windom (2011) & Bryan Clauson (2014)
DON SMITH CLASSIC WINNERS:
2011: Chris Windom (7/13)
2012: Daron Clayton (7/18)
2013: Kevin Thomas, Jr. (7/17)
2014: Bryan Clauson (7/16)
2015: Aaron Farney (7/15)
2016: Chase Stockon (7/17)
2017: Kevin Thomas, Jr. (10/14)
2018: Tyler Courtney (7/25)
2019: Tyler Courtney (7/24)
TERRE HAUTE ACTION TRACK USAC SPRINT CAR WINS: (163 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 & Chris Windom
11. (4) Bud Kaeding & Roger McCluskey
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 INDIANA SPRINT WEEK ENTRY LIST: (46 cars as of July 27)
01 ANTHONY D’ALESSIO/Apollo Beach, FL (D’Alessio Motorsports)
1x KURT GROSS/Washington, IN (Kurt Gross)
2E THOMAS MESERAULL/San Jose, CA (Epperson Racing)
3R KYLE CUMMINS/Princeton, IN (Rock Steady Racing)
4 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (TOPP Motorsports)
5 ANTON HERNANDEZ/Arlington, TX (Baldwin Brothers Racing)
5m MAX ADAMS/Loomis, CA (Scott Adams)
5s CHASE STOCKON/Fort Branch, IN (KO Motorsports)
5T TYE MIHOCKO/Phoenix, AZ (Tye Mihocko)
6 BILL ROSE/Plainfield, IN (Bill Rose Racing)
6p CHRIS PHILLIPS/Plainfield, IN (Chris Phillips)
9K KEVIN THOMAS JR./Cullman, AL (KT Motorsports)
12 ROBERT BALLOU/Rocklin, CA (Ballou Motorsports)
13 DENNIS GILE/Phoenix, AZ (Gene Gile Racing)
17 DAKOTA JACKSON/Elizabethtown, IN (On The Gass Racing)
17K KENDALL RUBLE/Vincennes, IN (Ruble-Martin Motorsports)
17GP TYLER THOMAS/Collinsville, OK (Michael Dutcher Motorsports)
19 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL (Hayward Motorsports)
19AZ LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
20 CHAYSE HAYHURST/Evansville, IN (Chayse Hayhurst)
22 SCOTTY WEIR/Marion, IN (Goodnight Racing)
24 NATE McMILLIN/Rosedale, IN (Kenny McMillin)
27 STEVE THOMAS/Ludlow, IL (Steve Thomas)
27x EVAN MOSLEY/Lapel, IN (Aaron Mosley)
28 BRANDON MATTOX/Terre Haute, IN (Brandon Mattox Racing)
29 MITCH WISSMILLER/Saybrook, IL (RMB Motorsports)
30 C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN (Leary Racing)
33m MATT WESTFALL/Pleasant Hill, OH (Ray Marshall Motorsports)
34 STERLING CLING/Tempe, AZ (Sterling Cling Racing)
34AZ JAKE SWANSON/Anaheim, CA (Team AZ Racing)
36d DAVE DARLAND/Lincoln, IN (EZR/Curb-Agajanian Racing)
39 MATT GOODNIGHT/Winchester, IN (Goodnight Racing)
47 CHARLES DAVIS JR./Buckeye, AZ (Davis Race Team)
51T EDDIE TAFOYA JR./Chino Hills, CA (Eddie Tafoya)
57 CLINTON BOYLES/Greenwood, MO (Paul Hazen)
61m JADON ROGERS/Worthington, IN (Randy Edwards)
68 CHASE JOHNSON/Penngrove, CA (Shawn Thomas)
69 BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK (Dynamics, Inc.)
69JM LOGAN HUPP/Columbus, IN (Evan Gindling)
71 ROBERT BELL/Colfax, IA (Robert Bell)
71p CARSON SHORT/Marion, IL (Daigh-Phillips Motorsports)
74x SHANE COTTLE/Kansas, IL (Hodges Motorsports)
75 DUSTIN CLARK/Washington, IN (Dustin Clark Racing)
77 DUSTIN SMITH/Russiaville, IN (LG Motorsports)
79BT MAX GUILFORD/Auckland, NZ (Goodnight Racing)
98 BRANDON MORIN/Jasonville, IN (Steve Morin)