By RICHIE MURRAY
After a tumultuous month of inactivity brought upon by Mother Nature, the teams of the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship are champing at the bit to get their season back on track this weekend with a doubleheader of action in southern Indiana, Friday, April 27, at Bloomington Speedway and Saturday, April 28, at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. not only leads the series standings heading into the weekend, he was also the lone driver to win at both Bloomington and Haubstadt a year ago. In fact, the Cullman, Ala. driver is the only expected entrant for this weekend’s events who has multiple wins at both venues. Additionally, Thomas was victorious at Bloomington in 2012 for his very first career series win. In 2013, Thomas won a pair of features at Tri-State.
His Dynamics, Inc. team has found a fortune of success over the years at both places, with three wins at Bloomington in 2005 with Tracy Hines, 2008 with Jerry Coons, Jr. and just last year with Chad Boespflug, who outdueled Chris Windom in an incredible, see-saw battle during the final laps. At Tri-State, Dynamics, Inc. has made it to victory lane with Tracy Hines in 2002 and Brady Bacon in 2015.
Reigning series champion Windom is the only other expected driver for this weekend’s races besides Thomas to capture victories at both tracks. The Canton, Ill. native nailed down a “W” at Tri-State last Spring and was tops at Bloomington back in 2011.
Tyler Courtney and Clauson Marshall Newman Racing have been a staple of the post-race victory lane photos in the early part of the 2018 USAC season, with two National Sprint Car victories at Ocala in February and a National Midget win in the “Kokomo Grand Prix” at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway a little over a week ago. The Indianapolis, Ind. driver notched his first Bloomington win during “Indiana Midget Week” last June. With Tim Clauson on the wrenches, a No. 7 has made it to Bloomington victory lane twice with Bryan Clauson in 2009 and 2015.
Past Bloomington USAC Sprint winners hoping to redo the deed this Friday night on the quarter-mile of red clay include 2016 Indiana Sprint Week feature winner Brent Beauchamp of Avon, Ind., 2007 and 2013 winner Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. as well as Tucson, Arizona’s Jerry Coons, Jr. in 2008.
Local hero Kyle Cummins of Princeton, Ind. has won at Tri-State in each of the past two seasons and is always a top-threat at the quarter-mile paperclip in Haubstadt. Chase Stockon of nearby Fort Branch, Ind. picked up the season-opener in Ocala and is a past Haubstadt “Spring Showdown” winner in 2016. Carson Short of Marion, Ill. has been consistently fast everywhere he’s been and Tri-State is the home of his lone USAC victory back in 2016. Robert Ballou, the 2015 USAC champ from Rocklin, Calif. snared the honors at Tri-State during the summer of 2014.
At Bloomington, cars hit the track at 6:30pm (Eastern). Adult general admission tickets are $20, children 12 and under are FREE and pit passes are $30. If you can’t make it to the track in person, watch LIVE flag-to-flag coverage on http://www.SpeedShiftTV.com/.
At Tri-State, pits open at 3:30pm (Central) while the grandstands open at 4:30pm. Cars hit the track at 6pm. Adult tickets are $25, students age 13-18 are $20 and children 12 and under are FREE!