By Richie Murray
Osborn, Missouri (May 10, 2022)………Over the decades, a total of twelve Friday the 13th movies have been produced. In USAC racing’s history, 19 such events have taken place on the 13th day of the month on a Friday.
Number 20 arrives this Friday night, May 13, when the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship returns to Osborn, Missouri’s U.S. 36 Raceway after a decade away from the speedy 3/8-mile dirt oval for the $6,000-to-win and $600-to-start 30-lap main event.
The race is co-sanctioned by the Wholesale Batteries Midwest Wingless Racing Association that’ll compete in conjunction with the national series. The USAC national portion will pay full points toward the championship while the MWRA event is considered a non-points special event toward its season championship.
Robert Ballou and Justin Grant are among the array of drivers who’ve won on Friday the 13th in their USAC National Sprint Car careers. Ballou did so in 2015 at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway while Grant got it done in 2019 at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track.
Those two also just so happen to be among the proud and the few in this Friday’s driver lineup who competed with the USAC National Sprint Cars at U.S. 36 in the one and only appearance back in 2012. Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) won his heat and finished 11th in the feature that night while Grant (Ione, Calif.) finished 10th and Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) corralled a 4th place result.
Dynamics, Inc. and the Baldwin-Fox teams were in the field a decade ago as well, with Darren Hagen driving the Dynamics car to a 13th place finish and Thomas Meseraull piloting the Baldwin machine to 14th. Those two stalwart teams continue strong to this day with Dynamics and Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) leading the charge after scoring a victory in the series’ last outing at Ohio’s Atomic Speedway in April, while Baldwin-Fox brings Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) and Alex Banales (Lafayette, Ind.) to the show for their U.S. 36 USAC debuts.
A slew of first-time U.S. 36 visitors, who have been prevalent in USAC National Sprint Car victory lane in recent years, are traveling to the Show-Me State this weekend. That group includes series point leader, and the lone multi-time series winner or 2022, Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) as is 2019 series champion C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) and series winners Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.), 2017 USAC West Coast Sprint Car champion and 2021 USAC National Most Improved Driver Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.), plus Carson Short (Marion, Ill.) and Matt Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio).
In the lineup for their U.S. 36 debuts are recent award winners seeking their first USAC triumph this weekend – 2020 USAC National Most Improved Driver Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.) and 2020 Rookie of the Year, Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) along with current USAC West Coast Sprint Car point leader Ricky Lewis (Oxnard, Calif.).
The high, high majority of U.S. 36 sprint car experience in Friday’s field comes from the USAC MWRA contingent. Wyatt Burks (Topeka, Kan.), the 2020 MWRA champ, has captured victory in all three of MWRA’s visits to the track between 2020 and 2021.
In those same three events, Wesley Smith (Billings, Mo.) notched three successive top-five results with 3rd place finishes in both 2020 features along with a 5th in 2021.
Chris Parkinson (Gladstone, Mo.), the 2014 WAR Sprint Car champion, scored a third with WAR in 2017 at U.S. 36. The third generation of the legendary Parkinson family, grandson of Ralph and son of Junior, also finished as the runner-up behind Burks in the 2020 MWRA contest at U.S. 36.
Zach Clark (Olathe, Kan.) finished in the 9th position twice at U.S. 36 with WAR in 2017 and again with MWRA in 2021. Chad Tye (Independence, Mo.) was a top-ten runner with MWRA there in 2020. Fellow independent wheelman Dakota Earls (Independence, Mo.) garnered a 15th in 2020. One-time MWRA feature winner Xavier Doney (Odessa, Mo.) slotted into 19th in 2021.
Veteran sprint car and midget racer Chad Frewaldt Kansas City, Kan. will race a car owned by fellow MWRA competitor Kyle Lewis for this weekend’s USAC swing. He’s joined by competitors on the brink of their first career USAC National Sprint Car appearance and their first career series start, a list that includes Justin Johnson (Platte City, Mo.), Chase Howard (Olive Branch, Miss.) and A.J. Gilbert (Tonganoxie, Kan.).
Levi Jones captured the only previous USAC National Sprint Car feature at U.S. 36 Raceway in 2012, leading just the final three laps following a late-race pass of Kevin Thomas Jr. Bryan Clauson owns the one-lap track record of 12.075 mph.
On Friday, the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars will be accompanied by E-Modifieds and Pure Stocks.
Pits open at 5pm Central with the grandstands opening at 6pm, the drivers meeting at 6:30 and cars on track at 7pm with qualifying and racing immediately following.
Tickets are $25 with military/senior age 65 or older tickets priced at $22. Kids age 7 to 12 are $8 while children age 6 years and younger are free. Pit passes are $35 for members and $40 for non-members.
Friday’s action from U.S. 36 Raceway can be watched live and on-demand on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3dgONXz.
It’s all part of a mega three-race weekend for the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship in Kansas and Missouri. Thursday starts the weekend on May 12 at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. for the first time in five years; followed by the return of the series to Osborn, Missouri’s U.S. 36 Raceway after a decade absence on Friday night, May 13; and the first run at Odessa, Missouri’s I-70 Motorsports Park’s dirt track in 40 years on Saturday night, May 14.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Emerson Axsom-281, 2-Justin Grant-278, 3-Chase Stockon-261, 4-Kyle Cummins-238, 5-Brady Bacon-230, 6-Logan Seavey-224, 7-Jason McDougal-216, 8-Robert Ballou-204, 9-Buddy Kofoid-200, 10-C.J. Leary-188.