By Andrew Kunas
BELGRADE, Mont. – After racing around the west coast all spring, Colby Thornhill decided to make an appearance in Montana. The decision paid off as he scored the Brodix ASCS Frontier Region sprint car victory in Friday’s Spring Clash at Belgrade, coming in front of a packed grandstand at Gallatin Speedway.
The Enumclaw, Washington driver started third and ran second for much of the race while Spirit Lake, Idaho’s James Setter jetted off to the lead on the initial start of the 25-lap feature. Setters, who earned his first career win just two weeks ago, had a straightaway lead at one point but Thornhill closed in as Setters struggled with traffic that was almost as quick as he was on a fast, hooked up clay oval that had about 12 inches of new dirt put on top of it after last season. With less than ten laps to go, Thornhill caught up with Setters and pounced when an opportunity presented itself.
The first caution of the race came with 20 laps completed, just a couple of circuits after Thornhill had taken the lead. Another quick caution came with four laps to go when Tyler Driever’s throttle linkage came apart on him and forced him out of the race. With the track in front of him clear, it was smooth sailing for Thornhill aboard the Thornhill Racing No. 19 Shark-powered Triple X.
It was Thornhill’s second ASCS Frontier Region triumph, his first coming last August at Sweetwater Speedway in Wyoming. Thornhill also won a 360 sprint car event in March at Thunderbowl Raceway in California.
Setters settled for a runner-up finish aboard his family’s No. 2 Borello-powered Helix. Coaldale, Alberta’s Kelly Miller bounced back from a crash two weeks ago and got on the podium with a third place finish aboard the KDM Motorsports No. 2jr AMS-powered EMI.
Helena, Montana’s Trever Kirkland entered the night with the series points lead and looking to build it further, but suffered a blown motor in his heat race. Kirkland’s crew, with help from other teams, scrambled to change engines in time for him to start the main event at the back of the field. Kirkland, who had a 12-point lead over Setters, charged through the field to eventually finish fourth. This resulted in Kirkland and Setters unofficially being tied atop the point standings after the event. In three races, both drivers each have a win, a runner-up and a fourth place finish.
Billings driver Joe Perry finished fifth, and like Kirkland and Setters has finished in the Top 5 in all three ASCS Frontier Region sprint car main events so far this season. Phil Dietz, Ross Mathewson, Jordan Milne, Shane Moore and Ian Myers rounded out the Top 10.
Heat races earlier in the evening were won by Milne and Thornhill.
The series is in action again Saturday night with the Montana Spring Shootout at Big Sky Speedway. The event is the first of seven this season at the facility located just north of Billings. Racing begins at 7:00. The series returns to Gallatin Speedway on Friday, July 1st.
More information on the Brodix Frontier Region of the American Sprint Car Series can be found online at www.ascsracing.com. Stagg Motor Sports, the promoting company of the ASCS Frontier Region, can be found at www.staggmotorsports.com.
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Brodix ASCS Frontier Region
Spring Clash at Belgrade
June 10, 2022
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 3 Jordan Milne, 2. 2 James Setters, 3. 72 Phil Dietz, 4. 2jr Kelly Miller, 5. 9k Kory Wermling, 6. 56 Ross Mathewson, 7. 37 Trever Kirkland.
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 19 Colby Thornhill, 2. 2 James Setters, 3. 2jr Kelly Miller, 4. 37 Trever Kirkland, 5. 28 Joe Perry, 6. 72 Phil Dietz, 7. 56 Ross Mathewson, 8. 3 Jordan Milne, 9. 31 Shane Moore, 10. 24m Ian Myers, 11. 33t Tyler Driever, 12. 38b Bryan Brown, 13. 7f Decklyn Fleming, 14. 9k Kory Wermling.
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Upcoming ASCS Frontier Region events
Montana Spring Shootout
Big Sky Speedway – Billings, MT
Gallatin Speedway – Belgrade, MT
July 3rd & 4th
4th of July Showdown
Electric City Speedway – Great Falls, MT
By Andrew Kunas