Jerry Coons Jr. won tonight's 60 lap, two-segment "Showdown at Sundown" National Sprint Car race at Richmond International Raceway. He took the lead away from Shane Hmiel two laps from the end of the first 30 lap segment, then went on to dominate...
Jerry Coons Jr. won tonight's 60 lap, two-segment "Showdown at Sundown" National Sprint Car race at Richmond International Raceway. He took the lead away from Shane Hmiel two laps from the end of the first 30 lap segment, then went on to dominate the second half.
"It looked like he had some problems putting power down on the straightaways in that first segment," Coons said of his pass for the lead. But foremost on his mind was an incident on the opening lap when he came together with pole sitter Brady Bacon, spinning Bacon out.
"I really want to make a big apology to Brady Bacon on the start of the first segment," Coons said immediately after the race. "I'll take the blame for that. It looked like he kind of bobbled coming off the corner and I had a head of steam." Bacon eventually came back to finish sixth.
Of his victory, Coons credited the car. "My car was really good. I made an air pressure adjustment at the break and I had a real consistent car throughout the race."
It was the ninth career Sprint victory for reigning Midget champion Coons, and the 70th for car owner Dick Hoffman. Hoffman's first Sprint victory came in 1961, eleven years before tonight's winner was born.
Tracy Hines finished second, after starting sixth and working his way up through the evening. He took a shot at Coons on a Lap 47 restart, but could not gain an advantage. "We didn't have the best car," Hines said. "I don't know if we had anything for Jerry. We made a little adjustment during the break. The car went from tight to loose. I was just hanging on at the end. We thought some guys were running way too hard too early. Sixty laps is rough on tires here.
Damion Gardner, Levi Jones and Mike Murgiotio rounded out the top five. They ran nose to tail during the remaining laps after the final Lap 47 restart, with a number of almost passes, but held each other off and finished in that order.
There was a frightening moment on the 33rd lap when Brad Sweet pulled into the pits after a restart, his car in flames. Sweet bailed out of the car as it rolled to a stop. Safety crews quickly extinguished the flames on his driving suit, then put out the fire on the car before significant damage was done.
Levi Jones heads the National Sprint Car standings, with 555 points. Coons is in second place, with 528 points. Coons currently leads the Silver Crown and Midget standings, and has hopes of winning the Triple this year.
The next National Sprint Car Race will be July 9, at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, during Chevy "Indiana Sprint Week."