Grant Passes Coons For Second Career Sumar Classic Victory

Justin Grant. (Chris Pedersen Photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

(May 1, 2022) — Justin Grant became the first two-time winner of the Sumar Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track Saturday night with the USAC Silver Crown Series. Grant, from Ione, California, backed up his victory in 2018 by passing Jerry Coons Jr. following a restart with four laps to go for the victory driving the Ron Hemelgarn owned entry.

The win was Grant’s seventh of the season and gives him one victory in all three USAC National Divisions this season.

Grant felt that the fast pace of the race might have been his undoing in the early stages.

“I thought I gave the race away the pace we were setting like through that dirtiness, like it usually just shreds tires off of these or at least does on the sprint cars,” said Grant. “I was riding, and riding and I let some guys go and then we got that red there at the end and I climbed out looked at my tire, got on the radio and apologized to the guys for putting us in a hole, but when you’re gonna get the best race car, you got to win the race.”

C.J. Leary led the opening stages of the 100-lap event with Kody Swanson and Grant on his back bumper. Buddy Kofoid quickly moved up from his eighth starting position info fourth position by lap 12 and quickly caught the lead trio

Grant moved up into second position around Swanson on lap 33 while Jerry Coons Jr. closed in while running fifth to create a five-car race for the lead. That was short lived though as Kofoid continued to move his way up through the field, taking third position.

On lap 46 Leary’s race went south when he slowed with a flat right rear tire, handing the lead to Grant. Leary was able to get the tire changed and rejoin the tail of the field.

Grant’s first stint in the lead only lasted five circuits when Kofoid passed him for the lead on lap 59. Kofoid quickly built up a sizeable advantage while Grant found himself under pressure from Coons. Coons was able to wrestle away the runner up spot on lap 67 and start chasing Kofoid.

Kofoid appeared to have things well in hand until a mechanical issue on the right front of his car eventually led to him getting upside down while leading. Kofoid emerged from the car under his own power.

Coons inherited the lead and appeared to on his way to victory until a caution flag with four laps to go became his undoing. Grant would not be denied, passing Coons in turns three and four and driving away to victory. Coons held on for second with Brady Bacon rounding out the podium.

Afterwards Grant was reflective on the pace of the 100 lap event.

“This wasn’t your normal Silver Crown race. Normally I kind of ride around and then at the end, I don’t know if I’ve ever run a sprint car around this place that hard! It was it was a ton of fun The track was technical and choppy, and I really didn’t I wasn’t doing a very good job through the middle of the race. I kept getting in the holes and just not really doing my job,” said Grant. “Fortunately, these races are long enough for a guy like me to figure it out and we got it got our way pick through the holes and once I found my way through the holes and I can rip the fence off or two I knew we were really good.”

Coons was disappointed with the result, but optimistic about the speed the Bateman family team had during the first event of the season.

“I was catching him because of traffic and then they kind of held me up so just even things out,” said Coons following the event. “Obviously been being that close, four to go, leading it you know, to be bummed about a second place is a good thing for sure.”

A wild last chance race Kyle Steffens saw three red flags for flips by Ronnie Weurdeman, Chris Fetter, and Dave Berkheimer. All three drivers emerged from their cars under their own power. Weurdeman reported on his facebook page that he suffered a broken collar bone in his incident.

USAC Silver Crown Series
Sumar Classic
Terre Haute Action Track
Terre Haute, Indiana
Sunday, May 1, 2022

Feature (100 Laps):
1. 91-Justin Grant
2. 55-Jerry Coons
3. 53-Brady Bacon
4. 22-Logan Seavey
5. 20-Emerson Axsom
6. 66-Bill Rose
7. 1-Kody Swanson
8. 52-Carmen Perigo
9. 88-Terry Babb
10. 6 C.J. Leary
11. 57-Dallas Hewitt
12. 49-Brian Ruhlman
13. 16-Austin Nemire
14. 18-Travis Welpott
15. 7-Kyle Robbins
16. 74-Shane Cottle
17. 110-Casey Buckman
18. 97-Buddy Kofoid
19. O8-Kyle Steffens
20. 27-Jason McDougal
21. 71-Shane Cockrum
22. 81-Brian Tyler
23. 54-Matt Westfall
24. 10-Jake Swanson
25. 26-Tommy Nichols
26. 8-Davey Ray
27. 99-Eric Gordon