By Richie Murray – USAC Media
PUTNAMVILLE, IN-Just minutes before the clock struck midnight, Mitchel Moles put the finishing touches on a magical evening during Thursday night’s round five of USAC NOS Energy Drink Indiana Sprint Week at Putnamville’s Lincoln Park Speedway.
However, this was no Cinderella story as the Raisin City, Calif. native moved to the front of the pack on lap two and led the final 29 laps to score his first career Indiana Sprint Week victory, and his second win thus far during an impressive USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship Rookie season.
Following a lengthy rain delay that plagued the early portion of the night, Moles slipped by Jadon Rogers on the bottom, then switched his method of operation from the low line to the high groove and back to the bottom in search of a path to victory.
Despite briefly losing the lead to a surging Brady Bacon two laps from the finish, a yellow flag reprieve positioned Moles back up front where he went unheeded for the final two trips around the 5/16-mile dirt oval following a green-white-checkered scenario.
Known for a wide-open, pound the cushion style, Moles utilized nuance and balance on this night, doing so in somewhat unfamiliar territory throughout the 30-lap distance. In the end, though, he wound up in what has become a familiar destination in the month of July – victory lane – as he’s collected his first three USAC national series triumphs in the past 20 nights (2 sprint and 1 midget).
“That’s probably the first race I’ve ever won on the bottom to be honest with you,” Moles admitted. “I’ve never been a bottom feeder guy. Jadon was bumping me on the rear bumper telling me to get going. I’m glad I could at least pick up the pace a little. He didn’t hit me on the last restart, so maybe I was doing it wrong the whole time.”
For the second-straight season, it was the same team celebrating victory following the Indiana Sprint Week round at Lincoln Park. Last year, it was Tanner Thorson scoring his first Indiana Sprint Week win and, this year, it came to be Moles driving the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports/AME Electrical – Mesilla Valley Transportation/Spike/Stanton Chevy to glory.
Moles possessed a prime view from outside the front row for the start, and it didn’t take long for him to move to the top of the leaderboard. Pole sitter Rogers patrolled the bottom for the opening lap, but at the start of lap two, Rogers left an opening of daylight underneath. Moles stuck his nose in and remained side-by-side with Rogers for the entire length of the back straightaway. Entering turn three, Moles was able to scoot along the bottom and into the lead as Rogers swung out wide and dropped to second.
Just after midway, Moles altered his course and began to venture to the high line. Three-straight laps of Rogers pulling even-steven with Moles, but not quite make the pass stick, was enough to convince Moles to get himself back to the bottom.
“About halfway through, I was like, ‘you know what, I’m going to try the top,’” Moles recalled. “So, I tried the top, but he was a little better on the bottom, so I went back down. I think what won me the race was getting back down to the bottom. I didn’t want to leave the door open for somebody to try and stick it in there.”
Moles continued to be hounded by Rogers throughout the majority of the distance, clutching a single car length lead all the way into the late stages when a blanket could be thrown over the entire top-six of Moles, Rogers, Shane Cottle, Brady Bacon, C.J. Leary and Justin Grant.
While Moles and Rogers maintained an unrelenting presence on the low line, Bacon took the show to the topside. Running fourth with three to go, Bacon disposed of Cottle for third in turn two on lap 28, then hustled forward and was on the verge of pouncing on the two front runners. Coming to two to go, Moles was tapped on the rear bumper by Rogers at the exit of turn four while Bacon carried a head of steam to make it nearly three-wide at the start/finish line, all three within a single car length.
Moments later, Bacon charged around the outside of both Rogers and Moles to go third to first successfully in succession between turns one and two to take ownership of the lead. Bacon clamped down and swept to the bottom of turn three in front of Moles to seemingly lock up the top spot.
However, just as soon as Bacon put himself atop the leaderboard, the yellow flag was displayed for Kevin Thomas Jr. (8th) and Robert Ballou (10th) who tangled and stopped in turn two. The caution negated Bacon’s maneuvers and relegated him back to third. The running order reverted to the last completed lap while Moles landed a pardon and was positioned back into the lead for the green-white-checkered resumption on lap 29.
Obtaining a second breath of fresh air, Moles put the lock on this one as he spurted away from Rogers on the restart, controlling the final two circuits with a five car length advantage. Moles crossed under the checkered with no imminent pressure being applied, reigning triumphant with a 0.706 second margin of victory over Rogers, Bacon, Cottle and Grant, who advanced from the 14th starting position and maintained his healthy Indiana Sprint Week championship point lead.
Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) turned in his most impressive performance of the USAC National Sprint Car season. After leading a single lap, his second place finish tied the best result of his career with the series in his Engler Family/Engler Machine & Tool – AMSOIL – Sherrill’s Pest Control/DRC/SPEC Chevy. He also previously finished as the runner-up at Haubstadt, Indiana’s Tri-State Speedway in both 2020 and 2021.
Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) nearly had it. In fact, he did have it momentarily. He raced from third to first coming to the white flag, but the pass was negated due to a yellow. Nonetheless, Bacon equaled his best finish of 2022 Indiana Sprint Week with a third-place result in his Dynamics, Inc./Fatheadz Eyewear – Cressman Sanitation – DriveWFX – Tel-Star/Triple X/Rider Chevy.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: July 28, 2022 – Lincoln Park Speedway – Putnamville, Indiana – 5/16-Mile Dirt Track – 35th USAC NOS Energy Drink Indiana Sprint Week
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-12.848; 2. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-12.903; 3. Max Adams, 37, Felker-12.903; 4. Briggs Danner, 5G, Heffner South-12.911; 5. Ryan Timms, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.934; 6. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-12.990; 7. Dalton Stevens, 99x, Stevens-12.996; 8. C.J. Leary, 77m, Michael-13.006; 9. Kevin Thomas Jr., 15K, BGE Dougherty-13.009; 10. Shane Cottle, 74x, Hodges-13.040; 11. Mitchel Moles, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-13.062; 12. Jadon Rogers, 14, Engler-13.074; 13. Brent Beauchamp, 34B, Olson-13.086; 14. Emerson Axsom, 47BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-13.108; 15. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-13.113; 16. Logan Seavey, 5, Baldwin/Fox-13.137; 17. Dave Darland, 36D, Darland/Curb-Agajanian-13.140; 18. Jason McDougal, 5m, KO-13.148; 19. Brayden Fox, 53, Fox-13.181; 20. A.J. Hopkins, 04, Burton-13.184; 21. Geoff Ensign, 9, Sylvia-13.202; 22. Tye Mihocko, 2E, Epperson-13.270; 23. Mario Clouser, 6, EZR-13.285; 24. Tom Harris, 84, Harris-13.291; 25. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-13.322; 26. Brady Short, 61m, Edwards-13.337; 27. Alex Banales, 5x, Baldwin/Fox-13.387; 28. Kyle Shipley, 17GP, Dutcher-13.391; 29. Harley Burns, 16, Burns-13.395; 30. Gabriel Gilbert, 10G, Gilbert-13.399; 31. Scotty Weir, 2B, 2B Racing-13.401; 32. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-13.415; 33. Matt McDonald, 5mc, McDonald-13.434; 34. Carson Garrett, 15, BGE Dougherty-13.484; 35. Braydon Cromwell, 4x, Cromwell-13.494; 36. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-13.496; 37. Sterling Cling, 34, Cling-13.520; 38. Zack Pretorius, 9z, Pretorius-13.594; 39. Xavier Doney, 74, Doney/Lawson-13.655; 40. Brian Hayden, 2H, Hayden-13.687; 41. John Sluss, 4R, FattFro-13.716; 42. Shane Cockrum, 66, Amati-13.825; 43. Travis Thompson, 7, Thompson-13.894; 44. Hunter Maddox, 24m, Maddox-13.908; 45. Troy Carey, 45N, Carey-13.937; 46. Kyle Cummins, 2, Yeley/Petty-13.950; 47. Evan Mosley, 27, Mosley-14.055; 48. Michael Clark, 8, Clark-14.099; 49. Ivan Glotzbach, i1, Hayden-14.345; 50. Allen Howard Jr., 4u, AJR-14.423; 51. Rylan Gray, 81G, Gray-NT; 52. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Rock Steady-NT. (Anton Hernandez also in the Yeley-Petty #2).
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3. Brent Beauchamp, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Chase Stockon, 6. Ryan Timms, 7. Geoff Ensign, 8. Sterling Cling, 9. Matt McDonald, 10. Harley Burns, 11. John Sluss, 12. Troy Carey, 13. i1 Ivan Glotzbach. 2:15.85
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Tye Mihocko, 2. Jason McDougal, 3. Emerson Axsom, 4. Shane Cottle, 5. Matt Westfall, 6. Justin Grant, 7. Shane Cockrum, 8. Brady Short, 9. Gabriel Gilbert, 10. Zack Pretorius, 11. Kyle Cummins, 12. Allen Howard Jr. 2:13.54
PIT STOP USA THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Brayden Fox, 2. Mitchel Moles, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Mario Clouser, 5. Max Adams, 6. Dalton Stevens, 7. Scotty Weir, 8. Alex Banales, 9. Xavier Doney, 10. Braydon Cromwell, 11. Travis Thompson. 2:10.54
ROD END SUPPLY FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. A.J. Hopkins, 2. Jadon Rogers, 3. Logan Seavey, 4. C.J. Leary, 5. Kyle Shipley, 6. Briggs Danner, 7. Brody Roa, 8. Brandon Mattox, 9. Tom Harris, 10. Brian Hayden, 11. Hunter Maddox, 12. Michael Clark. NT
C-MAIN: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the semi-feature) 1. Brody Roa, 2. Scotty Weir, 3. Brandon Mattox, 4. Xavier Doney, 5. Sterling Cling, 6. Zack Pretorius, 7. Braydon Cromwell, 8. Kyle Cummins, 9. Shane Cockrum, 10. John Sluss, 11. Hunter Maddox, 12. Travis Thompson, 13. Troy Carey, 14. Ivan Glotzbach, 15. Allen Howard Jr., 16. Michael Clark, 17. Matt McDonald. 2:13.51
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Matt Westfall, 2. Ryan Timms, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Briggs Danner, 6. Kyle Shipley, 7. Max Adams, 8. Brody Roa, 9. Tom Harris, 10. Brady Short, 11. Xavier Doney, 12. Dalton Stevens, 13. Alex Banales, 14. Scotty Weir, 15. Brandon Mattox, 16. Harley Burns, 17. Gabriel Gilbert, 18. Geoff Ensign. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Mitchel Moles (2), 2. Jadon Rogers (1), 3. Brady Bacon (6), 4. Shane Cottle (3), 5. Justin Grant (14), 6. C.J. Leary (5), 7. Briggs Danner (12), 8. Brent Beauchamp (15), 9. Ryan Timms (13), 10. Dave Darland (7), 11. Chase Stockon (21), 12. Emerson Axsom (16), 13. Tye Mihocko (10), 14. Matt Westfall (11), 15. Mario Clouser (20), 16. Brayden Fox (8), 17. Kyle Shipley (22), 18. Logan Seavey (18), 19. Robert Ballou (17), 20. Kevin Thomas Jr. (4), 21. Jason McDougal (19), 22. A.J. Hopkins (9). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Jadon Rogers, Laps 2-30 Mitchel Moles.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-1569, 2-Brady Bacon-1471, 3-Robert Ballou-1431, 4-C.J. Leary-1411, 5-Emerson Axsom-1379, 6-Logan Seavey-1350, 7-Chase Stockon-1158, 8-Matt Westfall-1125, 9-Jadon Rogers-1035, 10-Jake Swanson-1020.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-324, 2-C.J. Leary-272, 3-Brady Bacon-272, 4-Chase Stockon-263, 5-Mitchel Moles-253, 6-Robert Ballou-252, 7-Shane Cottle-249, 8-Emerson Axsom-234, 9-Briggs Danner-222, 10-Kyle Cummins-209.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-101, 2-Thomas Meseraull-92, 3-Brady Bacon-90, 4-Buddy Kofoid-80, 5-Robert Ballou-74, 6-Logan Seavey-74, 7-Shane Cottle-61, 8-Kaylee Bryson-61, 9-C.J. Leary-55, 10-Emerson Axsom-54.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK INDIANA SPRINT WEEK PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Shane Cottle-27, 2-Justin Grant-22, 3-Matt Westfall-18, 4-Chase Stockon-13, 5-Kyle Cummins-12, 6-Brady Bacon-12, 7-Tye Mihocko-12, 8-Briggs Danner-11, 9-Jake Swanson-11, 10-Brent Beauchamp-10.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: July 29, 2022 – Bloomington Speedway – Bloomington, Indiana – 1/4-Mile Dirt Track – 35th USAC NOS Energy Drink Indiana Sprint Week / Sheldon Kinser Memorial – Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster Race #6
CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:
Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Chase Stockon (12.708) & Mitchel Moles (12.797)
Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: Brady Bacon (12.848)
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Dave Darland
Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner: Tye Mihocko
Pit Stop USA Third Heat Winner: Brayden Fox
Rod End Supply Fourth Heat: A.J. Hopkins
GSP Quality Driving Performance: Chase Stockon
Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi Winner: Matt Westfall
Bryan Clauson’s Racers For Autism Bonus Bucks: Mitchel Moles
Hard Work Award: Kyle Shipley
Feature Hard Charger: Chase Stockon (21st to 11th)