It's been nine long days for some drivers and teams. Others, like California-based driver Cory Kruseman wish Indiana Sprint Week didn't have to come to an end. Kruseman's consistent high performance proved to be the key to winning the ...
It's been nine long days for some drivers and teams. Others, like California-based driver Cory Kruseman wish Indiana Sprint Week didn't have to come to an end. Kruseman's consistent high performance proved to be the key to winning the championship. With two races to go, he had a 35 point lead in the week long points chase over defending 2004 champion Levi Jones.
Thursday night at Lawrenceburg Speedway 45 cars arrived to attempt to make their mark on the non-wing sprint car scene. USAC regular Mat Neely powered his #6 K&N Motorsports sprinter to the fastest qualifier award with a lap of 12.260 seconds on the quarter mile track.
Bud Kaeding once again found himself below the 32 car cut-off for heat race placement, but successfully hammered his #29 Team ASE Leffler Racing car to the front of the qualifying race and transferred directly to the A-Main with a third place finish in his heat.
Tony Stewart Racing's Josh Wise elected to use his second provisional of the week to be placed at the back of the feature after he finished his #20 Mopar sprinter seventh in the semi-final race, one position out of the transfer.
Local racers took the opportunity to prove their talent during the A-Main feature race. Former Lawrenceburg Speedway "King" Dickie Gaines' #21x Service Drywall took charge of the field after passing Brad Sweet on lap eight. Gaines was able to hold off another local driver, Shane Cottle in the #10E Edison Motorsports machine to take the checkered flag.
To cheers from the packed speedway stands, Gaines exclaimed "There's no place like home" for his first Spring Week win. Cottle crossed the finish line second, followed by Jerry Coons, Jr., Shane Hollingsworth and Mat Neely.
Cory Kruseman finished eighth and Levi Jones eighteenth, giving Kruseman an overwhelming 59 point advantage in the championship points chase with one race remaining.
The Indiana Sprint Week 2005 finale was held at Terre Haute Action Track on Friday. Heavy storms the night before created a challenge for track preparation. Fortunately, no rain was in the forecast so racing went ahead as scheduled.
Nine USAC racers were flown in and given a police escort to the track after practicing and qualifying for the USAC Silver Crown and Midget races in Milwaukee Friday morning.
Levi Jones did all he could to defend his Sprint Week Championship, powering his #2B Lucas Oil machine to the fastest qualifying lap of 21.081 seconds. Brad Sweet, who gained national attention after a terrifying flip during his qualifying attempt at Haubstadt the Sunday prior, once again turned his car upside-down during his first qualifying lap and although unhurt, was finished for the night.
With a field of only 35 cars qualifying at the one half mile track, all cars were placed in a heat race. Cory Kruseman, Jonathon Vennard, Shane Cottle and Jon Stanbrough were each victors of their respective heats.
Jones' hopes to defend his title were defeated before the line-up for the feature event was even announced. Kruseman's points lead was insurmountable with only the feature race remaining and he was proclaimed Indiana Sprint Week 2005 Champion.
However Jones made the best of the situation taking the lead on lap six of the A-Main feature and staying there until the checkered flag waved. Jones was joined on the podium by second place finisher Shane Cottle and Dave Darland, who was able to overtake Bud Kaeding in the final laps for third.
The recurring theme of Sprint Week success is consistency. Champion Kruseman had three feature event wins and finished in the top ten in all seven Sprint Week feature races. The chemistry between Kruseman and his chief mechanic and car owner Keith Kunz was the formula for victory once again, having won the championship together previously in 2002. The victory celebration would move rapidly to California though as Kruseman had a 6:00 am flight back home for a race scheduled in Perris, CA Saturday night.
Going into Sprint Week, Jay Drake held the lead in the USAC National Sprint Car Series championship by 22 points of Dave Darland. Although Darland led the points for seven days, Levi Jones' strong week and victory at Terre Haute moved him to the top of the leader board. Jones will attempt to extend his lead at the USAC sprinters next meeting August 6th at Eldora Speedway for the Mopar Thunder.