By Richie Murray
Rossburg, Ohio (September 25, 2021)………Tyler Courtney had one goal and one goal only in mind coming into Saturday night’s 39th running of the 4-Crown Nationals presented by NKT.TV at Eldora Speedway – to win all four divisions.
After running a distant fifth in the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget feature to begin the night, the Indianapolis, Ind. driver admitted to having to dig deep to shake off the disappointment heading into the 30-lap USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature.
Once the green flag was dropped, however, the burning desire immediately rekindled within, which he utilized to blitz from his sixth starting position and into the lead just nine laps from the finish past Logan Seavey.
Courtney prevailed with the victory after the two waged battle down the stretch, sending himself into 4-Crown Nationals history by becoming the first driver ever to win three consecutive USAC National Sprint Car features in the event after previously standing triumphant in both 2018 and 2019.
The 2018 USAC National Sprint Car champion was adamant down the stretch that the USAC Sprint Car race was one opportunity he and his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing/NOS Turbo – ZMax/Spike/Chevy weren’t going to let slip from their grasp.
“It was hard to find motivation after losing the first one,” Courtney admitted. “We came here with one goal in mind and that was to win all four of them. It’s unfortunate; I really wanted to win four. I’m more disappointed in myself more than anything. My guys bust their tails to make all three of these cars go fast and make my job easy. I feel like I probably didn’t quite do my whole job in the midget feature, but I made sure to get every ounce out of it in the sprint car race.”
Courtney’s sixth career USAC National Sprint Car win at Eldora was the 11th overall of his career at the half-mile dirt oval in USAC competition. The 31st score of Courtney’s USAC National Sprint Car career equaled Robert Ballou for 15th on the list.
Furthermore, Courtney’s sixth overall victory at the 4-Crown Nationals made him the third winningest driver in the event’s history, behind only Jack Hewitt’s 19 and Dave Darland’s seven.
He set the tone earlier in the night by recording his 14th career Fatheadz Eyewear fast qualifying time with the series, tying Billy Cassella for 34th all-time. That positioned Courtney sixth on the grid for the 30-lap main event.
However, it was Chris Windom who picked right up where he left off after wiring all 25 laps to capture the victory in the preceding midget feature. He’d soon find a familiar foe in Logan Seavey who slotted into second behind him on lap four fresh off a runner-up finish to Windom in said midget main event.
Seavey grabbed the upper hand on lap nine as he cruised through the middle on entry into turn three to glide past the rim-riding Windom. Two laps later, Courtney took the slider line into turn one to drift past Windom, smooching the wall with the right rear tire ever so slightly as he overtook the second position on lap 11.
Next up on Courtney’s hit parade was the race lead. Taking the same slider line into the first turn on lap 13, Courtney carried a tad too much speed, which pulled him straight into the clutches of the wall. The contact was more than a kiss, but just a touch below a slobber knocker, which momentarily lifted his left side wheels off the track surface.
As Courtney wrestled back control, he witnessed his brief tenure up front dissipate to a nine car length deficit. But, anywhere, especially at Eldora, you can’t count Courtney out. He returned to the fray at the front of the field on lap 17, sliding past Seavey in turn one but was unable to make it stick as Seavey crossed back under.
Ultimately, Courtney stuck to his guns, putting his right rear tire mere inches from the outside wall, and firing around the wide-open top-lane at wide-open speed, surpassing Seavey for the top spot by a single car length at the stripe at the conclusion of lap 22.
With that said, Seavey refused to go quietly into the night as he attempted to refute his trend of runner-up finishes in the midget on Friday and Saturday night. Seavey edged ahead of Courtney between turns one and two with seven laps to go and was right in the same spot in turns three and four during each of the next two laps.
However, with Seavey working the middle, Courtney’s line right on the edge of the high side proved to be just right as he utilized the supersonic momentum to pull away in the final five laps and earn his second USAC National Sprint Car win of the year over Seavey, Windom, Justin Grant and Isaac Chapple.
Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) finished as the runner-up in his Baldwin-Fox Racing/Fox Paving – Claxton Engines/DRC/Claxton Chevy after leading a race-high 13 laps, which served as his best career USAC National Sprint Car result at Eldora.
Windom (Canton, Ill.) followed up his winning 4-Crown midget performance with a solid third-place finish in his Hayward Motorsports/NOS Energy Drink – Byrd – B & H Contractors – AMSOIL/DRC/Claxton Mopar, making it his third “podium” finish in his last four feature starts with the series.
Grant (Sutter, Calif.) endured a vicious turn three flip during practice, which necessitated the TOPP Motorsports team pulling down the backup car for the remainder of the evening. Grant used the car to win his heat race, then finish fourth in the feature aboard his TOPP Motorsports/NOS Energy Drink – MPV Express – TOPP Industries/Maxim/Kistler Chevy.
Chapple (Willow Branch, Ind.) scored his best finish of the 2021 USAC National Sprint Car season with a fifth in his Isaac Chapple Racing/Mike Martin Racing – KL – No Drama Zone – The Tin Plate/DRC/Ott Chevy. It was his third consecutive top-10 finish in the 4-Crown USAC Sprint feature after scoring a career best third in 2018 and a ninth in 2019.
FLIGHT ONE FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-16.123; 2. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-16.178; 3. Chris Windom, 19, Hayward-16.212; 4. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9K, KT-16.301; 5. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-16.306; 6. Tanner Thorson, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-16.323; 7. Jason McDougal, 5m, KO-16.349; 8. Shane Cottle, 74x, Hodges-16.458; 9. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-16.476; 10. Thomas Meseraull, 23s, Simon-16.489; 11. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-16.579; 12. Jadon Rogers, 14, Rogers-16.641; 13. Carmen Perigo, 21, Stehman-17.099; 14. Steven Drevicki, 19s, DeGre-17.105; 15. Braxton Cummings, 71B, Cummings-17.243; 16. Tye Mihocko, 5T, Parker-17.375; 17. Paul Dues, 87, Dues-17.432; 18. Dickie Gaines, 44, Soudrette-17.483; 19. Alex Banales, 5A, Baldwin/Fox-17.519; 20. Dustin Ingle, 2DI, Ingle-17.566; 21. Kyle May, 39x, May-17.680; 22. Davey Ray, 14AJ, FattFro-NT (Time of 16.510 disallowed due to not meeting minimum weight requirements).
FLIGHT TWO FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Logan Seavey, 5, Baldwin/Fox-16.171; 2. C.J. Leary, 77m, Michael-16.326; 3. Jake Swanson, 21AZ, Team AZ-16.352; 4. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-16.493; 5. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-16.507; 6. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-16.703; 7. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Rock Steady-16.727; 8. Max Adams, 5x, Adams-16.753; 9. Dallas Hewitt, 18, Keen-16.929; 10. Sterling Cling, 34, Cling-17.171; 11. Chad Boespflug, 24, Simon-17.302; 12. Nick Bilbee, 17, Bilbee-17.355; 13. Brandon Whited, 15, Whited-17.436; 14. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-17.456; 15. Cole Bodine, 57, DCT-17.572; 16. Max Guilford, 79BT, Goodnight-17.583; 17. Chris Phillips, 6, Phillips-17.620; 18. Chet Williams, 38, Williams-17.732; 19. Ryan Barr, 21B, Barr-17.765; 20. Damon Cooley, 19c, Cooley-17.941; 21. Jake Scott, 66, McMurray-18.348.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Tyler Courtney, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Jason McDougal, 5. Brandon Mattox, 6. Isaac Chapple, 7. Carmen Perigo, 8. Alex Banales, 9. Paul Dues, 10. Braxton Cummings, 11. Kyle May. 2:20.31
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3. Shane Cottle, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Jadon Rogers, 6. Davey Ray, 7. Tanner Thorson, 8. Dickie Gaines, 9. Dustin Ingle, 10. Steven Drevicki, 11. Tye Mihocko. 2:21.35
INDY METAL FINISHING THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Logan Seavey, 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Kyle Cummins, 4. Dallas Hewitt, 5. Jake Swanson, 6. Brandon Whited, 7. Chad Boespflug, 8. Chris Phillips, 9. Cole Bodine, 10. Jake Scott, 11. Ryan Barr. 2:23.28
INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Nick Bilbee, 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Matt Westfall, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Max Adams, 6. Damon Cooley, 7. Chet Williams, 8. Sterling Cling, 9. Matt Goodnight, 10. Max Guilford. 2:24.91
C-MAIN: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the semi) 1. Tye Mihocko, 2. Chris Phillips, 3. Max Guilford, 4. Ryan Barr, 5. Dickie Gaines, 6. Paul Dues, 7. Dustin Ingle, 8. Alex Banales, 9. Chet Williams, 10. Davey Ray, 11. Jake Scott, 12. Kyle May, 13. Damon Cooley. NT
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Isaac Chapple, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Jadon Rogers, 5. Brandon Mattox, 6. Max Adams, 7. Chris Phillips, 8. Brandon Whited, 9. Matt Goodnight, 10. Carmen Perigo, 11. Ryan Barr, 12. Sterling Cling, 13. Braxton Cummings, 14. Max Guilford, 15. Chad Boespflug, 16. Cole Bodine, 17. Tye Mihocko. 3:51.59
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (6), 2. Logan Seavey (5), 3. Chris Windom (2), 4. Justin Grant (7), 5. Isaac Chapple (12), 6. Brady Bacon (4), 7. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1), 8. Shane Cottle (18), 9. Matt Westfall (15), 10. Jadon Rogers (22), 11. C.J. Leary (3), 12. Robert Ballou (11), 13. Nick Bilbee (9), 14. Chase Stockon (13), 15. Thomas Meseraull (8), 16. Max Adams (19), 17. Jason McDougal (16), 18. Brandon Mattox (21), 19. Kyle Cummins (17), 20. Jake Swanson (10), 21. Tanner Thorson (14), 22. Dallas Hewitt (20). 9:41.62
**Justin Grant flipped during practice. Matt Cooley flipped during the C-Main.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Chris Windom, Laps 9-21 Logan Seavey, Laps 22-30 Tyler Courtney.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-2456, 2-Kevin Thomas Jr.-2385, 3-Justin Grant-2344, 4-C.J. Leary-2188, 5-Tanner Thorson-2172, 6-Chris Windom-2107, 7-Jake Swanson-1989, 8-Robert Ballou-1886, 9-Chase Stockon-1601, 10-Logan Seavey-1263.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-157, 2-Tanner Thorson-154, 3-Brady Bacon-150, 4-Justin Grant-143, 5-Robert Ballou-131, 6-Kevin Thomas Jr.-130, 7-Logan Seavey-124, 8-Thomas Meseraull-122, 9-Buddy Kofoid-91, 10-Kyle Cummins-84.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: October 1, 2021 – Terre Haute Action Track – Terre Haute, Indiana – 1/2-Mile Dirt Oval – 22nd Jim Hurtubise Classic Presented by Terre Haute Chevrolet
CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:
GSP Driving Performance of the Night: Max Adams
Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: Tyler Courtney
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Justin Grant
Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner: Thomas Meseraull
Indy Metal Finishing / Indy Race Parts Third Heat Winner: Logan Seavey
Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi Winner: Nick Bilbee
KSE Racing Products Hard Charger: Jadon Rogers (22nd to 10th)
Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher: Nick Bilbee
Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer: Chris Phillips
ProSource Hard Work Award: Jadon Rogers
Rosewood Machine Precision Move of the Race: Justin Grant