Briscoe Wins KISS Finale As Burthay Is Crowned King June 26, 2004 -- Kevin Briscoe brought the curtain down on the 2004 King of Indiana Sprint Car Series with a thrilling come-from-behind victory at Paragon Speedway Saturday night. Although ...
Briscoe Wins KISS Finale As Burthay Is Crowned King
June 26, 2004 -- Kevin Briscoe brought the curtain down on the 2004 King of Indiana Sprint Car Series with a thrilling come-from-behind victory at Paragon Speedway Saturday night. Although Justin Marvel appeared uncatchable for most of the race, Briscoe tracked him down and grabbed the lead for the final two-and-a-half laps. Michael Burthay earned the King of Indiana crown in spite finishing 18th after battling tire problems in the main event.
"Paragon's been good to me," Mitchell, Indiana's Briscoe said after the 30-lap victory. "I won my first All Star show here, my first USAC feature and the Mike Johnson Memorial 100-lapper. And now this KISS race."
Starting on the pole, Marvel built a comfortable 3-second lead while Briscoe spent lap-after-lap trying to pass A. J. Anderson for second. Just before the halfway point, Jeff Miller caught an infield marker tire while running fifth and skidded into the infield when his front suspension collapsed. It was the only caution period of the race.
When Anderson missed seeing the caution light turned off, signaling the restart, Marvel jumped to another quick lead. Piloting the Briscoe Homes Stealth, Briscoe continued to press Anderson, finally taking second on lap 22. For the next couple laps, Briscoe appeared unable to dent Marvel's lead. Then he suddenly cut the advantage by half in one lap, and was on the tail of Marvel's MPHG Promotions/KC Chassis the next.
Briscoe had found that the track had finally taken rubber through the first and second turns. "I kept going up there and I could feel it getting tighter and tighter in the rubber. I knew that if the rubber came in, in one and two, that I could catch him," he said.
On lap 28, Briscoe hustled around Marvel in turn two and opened a dozen car lengths. Marvel made a desperate dive for the lead on the final lap, but finished five lengths behind. Rookie Bryan Clauson stormed from 14th to finish third. Hud Cone was fourth and Anderson fifth. Kevin Huntley started 17th, Jon Stanbrough started 16th, and Matt Westfall started 15th, but they finished sixth, seventh and eighth. Kent Christian and Kyle Cummins completed the top ten.
When the 2004 edition of the King of Indiana Sprint Car Series kicked off in early May, Kokomo, Indiana's Burthay wasn't sure if he would run more than the race at his home track in Gas City. Last year he didn't have a good result in the opening event and the Donelson Racing team decided not to run any more KISS races, but instead concentrated on winning the I-69 Speedway sprint car title, which they accomplished. But Burthay won the May 7th KISS race at Gas City and they decided to go on to Lincoln Park Speedway with the series. They won the second round, too, and with a strong fifth place run at Bloomington took a commanding lead in the series points. At Terre Haute's Action Track, Burthay took another step toward the crown when he finished eleventh.
As he stood next to his Donelson Racing/Bud's Auto Sales Maxim in the pit area after the last race, Burthay noted that they had run the same right rear tire in making the transfer from the B Main that they used in the feature. The tire "sealed over and never came in" early in the race and Burthay suffered his worst finish of the series, 18th. "Even though we did bad tonight, I'm still excited about winning this KISS championship," he said. Paragon Speedway's owner, Keith Ford, had presented the crown, an engraved clock plaque and the $1,000 champion's bonus in the victory lane ceremony.
Several trailers away from Burthay's, Justin Marvel quietly tried to explain to his son why he hadn't won. He was too young to understand that when you are leading and no one is challenging you, the best strategy is to stay in the fast groove to keep anyone from taking it away. He simply said, "I just didn't move up into the rubber quick enough."
KISS Series Results the Paragon Speedway, June 26, 2004 (50 cars):
Heat 1: Matt Neely, Kevin Briscoe, Eric Shively
Heat 2: A. J. Anderson, Rick Waltman, Derek Scheffel
Heat 3: Jeff Miller, Kyle Cummins, Kris Deckard
Heat 4: Justin Marvel, John Wolfe, Bryan Clauson
Heat 5: Hud Cone, Kent Christian, Matt Westfall
C Main: Josh Cunningham, Scott Miller, Doug Heck, Randy Johnson, Jon Sciscoe
B Main: Jon Stanbrough, Kevin Huntley, Michael Burthay, Mitch Wissmiller, Joe Roush
Feature (30 laps): Briscoe, Marvel, Clauson, Cone, Anderson, Huntley, Stanbrough, Westfall, Christian, Cummins, Scheffel, Roush, Neely, Waltman, Shively, Wolfe, Deckard, Burthay, Wissmiller, Miller
Final point standings (unofficial): 1. Michael Burthay 548, 2. (tie) A. J. Anderson and Kent Christian 476, 4. Eric Shively 467, 5. Matt Westfall 463