By RICHIE MURRAY
HAUBSTADT, IN – Kevin Thomas, Jr. has an opportunity to reach a mark unknown to any driver when the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and Midwest Sprint Car Series arrives this Sunday, June 30, at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
Thomas, of Cullman, Ala., is tied with Daron Clayton in terms of all-time USAC Sprint Car victories at the ¼-mile dirt oval in southwestern Indiana. It would be a welcoming victory for the driver who resides 5th in the series standings coming into the weekend as he’s still seeking his first USAC Sprint Car victory of 2019. He’s previously won twice there in 2013, once in 2017 and twice most recently in 2018.
Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.) split between the two Thomas victories a year ago, winning in July of last year for the first win of his illustrious USAC career at Tri-State. Like Darland, Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.), got his long-awaited first USAC victory at Tri-State in the Spring of 2017, leading the final 27 laps en route to a score during his championship season. He’s 3rd in points coming into this weekend’s race with two victories to his credit.
Chase Stockon, who resides just down the road from the track in Fort Branch, made it home sweet home in the Spring of 2016 with his first and only series victory there. The consistent wheelman, who’s made 270 consecutive feature starts with the series since 2012, is 4th in the standings with a signature win in the “Tony Hulman Classic” at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track in May.
Sixth in points, Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) earlier this month finished off a quality weekend in the East where he became the second two-time USAC Sprint Car winner in the series with his third-straight win at Pennsylvania’s Grandview Speedway. He followed up that up with a first career Silver Crown win at Williams Grove. The two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ has won twice in USAC action at Tri-State, in a sprint car in 2015 and in a midget back in 2012.
Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) is one of the masters at Tri-State, winning twice aboard a USAC Sprint Car at Tri-State in 2016 and 2017, and is two-for-two already in Midwest Sprint Car Series features this year at the track.
Carson Short (Marion, Ill.) stands in the 8th spot in the standings. His first and still only USAC National Sprint Car feature win came at Tri-State during “Indiana Sprint Week” in 2016. He’s primed for another victory following a runner-up performance at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill. in May, one of his six top-ten finishes in 10 starts this season.
Recently crowned Eastern Storm champion C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) leads the USAC Sprint Car standings on the strength of 10 top-tens in 10 starts. He’s yet to win at Tri-State with USAC but did have a fast time in the Spring of 2018 plus a strong showing in the Fall last year, leading until four laps to go and finishing 2nd.
Defending USAC Sprint champ Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) got incrementally better in his three Tri-State starts in 2018, finishing 12th in the Spring, 9th in the Summer and 6th in the Fall. Going back to 2017, however, Courtney had finishes of 3rd and 5th. Courtney is the lone driver to have won in all three USAC National divisions in 2019 and is second in the Sprint standings coming in.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) arrives in the 7th spot of the standings. He earned a 5th at Tri-State as recently as the Spring of 2018. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Jason McDougal’s Tri-State debut last fall was impressive, finishing 3rd on the tricky paperclip. Chad Boespflug (Hanford, Calif.) finished a Tri-State USAC best 2nd in the Spring of 2017. Isaac Chapple (Willow Branch, Ind.) has eyes on his 8th career USAC Sprint start at Tri-State.
For the 42nd time, the USAC Sprint Cars are in the house at Tri-State. Sunday’s event also features UMP Modifieds. Pits open at 3:30pm (Central), grandstands at 4:30pm, drivers meeting at 5pm and cars on track at 5:30pm. Adult general admission tickets are $25, students (ages 13-18) $20, children 12 and under free.
Watch the race from Tri-State live and on-demand at http://www.FloRacing.com/. Listen live on the USAC app. Follow along with live updates on https://www.facebook.com/usacracing/ and https://twitter.com/USACNation, plus live timing and scoring on the Race Monitor app.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-762, 2-Tyler Courtney-703, 3-Chris Windom-700, 4-Chase Stockon-695, 5-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-688, 6-Brady Bacon-660, 7-Justin Grant-631, 8-Carson Short-585, 9-Jason McDougal-571, 10-Robert Ballou-568.
TRI-STATE SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINNERS
1983: Rick Hood (9/4)
1984: Steve Butler (5/28) & Rick Hood (9/2)
1988: Kenny Jacobs (8/7)
1989: Rick Hood (6/3)
2000: Cory Kruseman (7/30)
2001: Tony Elliott (5/13) & Jay Drake (7/22)
2002: Tracy Hines (5/19) & Cory Kruseman (7/21)
2003: J.J. Yeley (7/20)
2004: Cory Kruseman (7/18)
2005: Cory Kruseman (7/17)
2006: Jon Stanbrough (7/15) & Daron Clayton (9/2)
2007: Daron Clayton (7/21)
2008: Hunter Schuerenberg (7/19)
2009: Levi Jones (7/18)
2010: Blake Fitzpatrick (7/17)
2011: Damion Gardner (7/16) & Casey Riggs (9/17)
2012: Hunter Schuerenberg (5/12), Jon Stanbrough (7/21) & Daron Clayton (9/15)
2013: Kevin Thomas, Jr. (5/11) & Kevin Thomas, Jr. (9/14)
2014: Daron Clayton (4/26), Robert Ballou (7/19) & Daron Clayton (9/13)
2015: Brady Bacon (4/18), Brady Short (7/18) & Brady Short (9/19)
2016: Chase Stockon (4/16), Carson Short (7/16) & Kyle Cummins (9/17)
2017: Chris Windom (4/15), Kyle Cummins (7/15) & Kevin Thomas, Jr., (9/16)
2018: Kevin Thomas, Jr. (4/28), Dave Darland (7/28) & Kevin Thomas, Jr. (9/15)
TRI-STATE SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS
1. (5) Daron Clayton & Kevin Thomas, Jr.
3. (4) Cory Kruseman
4. (3) Rick Hood
5. (2) Kyle Cummins, Hunter Schuerenberg, Brady Short & Jon Stanbrough
9. (1) Brady Bacon, Robert Ballou, Steve Butler, Dave Darland, Jay Drake, Tony Elliott, Blake Fitzpatrick, Damion Gardner, Tracy Hines, Kenny Jacobs, Levi Jones, Casey Riggs, Carson Short, Chase Stockon, Chris Windom & J.J. Yeley