Spec motor takes Hunt to first USAC victory of 2009 Lincoln, Calif. -- Tony Hunt found victory lane in the USAC Western States Sprint Cars at All American Speedway, in Roseville, Calif. on Saturday night, aboard his mount powered by a $14,000...
Spec motor takes Hunt to first USAC victory of 2009
Lincoln, Calif. -- Tony Hunt found victory lane in the USAC Western States Sprint Cars at All American Speedway, in Roseville, Calif. on Saturday night, aboard his mount powered by a $14,000 spec engine.
The win in the 100 lap feature at the one-third mile asphalt oval marked the driver's first in nearly 12 months.
"To do it here at my hometown track is great," Hunt said. "But what's most important is that we won with that motor."
Hunt qualified his #56 Metal Works entry with a 12.88 to place him second fastest. He rolled off the grid for the main event fifth after the invert.
Despite 100+ degree temperatures at the start of the early evening race, Hunt quickly moved forward. The popular driver grabbed the lead on lap 18 and set forth on a long green flag run that went all the way to lap 81.
Young Tanner Swanson had reeled in Hunt and the caution brought them together for a 19 lap sprint to the finish.
"Under the yellow the cockpit heat was overwhelming," Hunt said. "This is where I'm going to have to dig deep and earn my pay."
Hunt and his engine kept cool despite the conditions and the pressure, and he was able to fend off Swanson in the satisfying close finish.
"The motor ran great all night and I'm really enthused about its potential," said Hunt.
The win is not only Hunt's first win of the 2009 season, but also the first win for the new spec engine. Hunt had qualified quick time with the engine in its first two outings but was unable to capitalize as mechanical failures halted his main event finishes.
USAC and many racing observers are hopeful that the win will spark new interest in the engine and ultimately the series. The engine was introduced this season as an optional powerplant which could cut costs for teams by more than half.
The Metal Works team will now be under an extended break before points racing returns July 25 at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Utah. Hunt is currently ranked seventh in the USAC Western States Sprint Cars with many races remaining on the calendar.