Heavy rains caused last Saturday's event at Lincoln Park Speedway to be rescheduled to Tuesday, originally one of the teams' regrouping days. Seventeen year old Lee Boss and his ...
Heavy rains caused last Saturday's event at Lincoln Park Speedway to be rescheduled to Tuesday, originally one of the teams' regrouping days. Seventeen year old Lee Boss and his #8B MPW Construction Services team originally planned on going home to New London, Ohio to work on the car, but stayed in Indiana to continue the schedule, utilizing car wash stalls as make-shift shops.
The rain was long gone by Tuesday at the 5/16 mile high-banked dirt track located on the Historic National Road US 40 with more typical Indiana summer weather this time - hot, sunny and humid. A field of 49 cars checked in, including all of the previous days' top performers and a few local favorites.
Ventura, California based driver Cory Kruseman continued his sprint week success speeding his #67 Vital Express sprinter to the fast qualifier award with his lap of 12.817 seconds. Top USAC drivers Bud Kaeding and Darren Hagen found themselves below the 32 car cut-off following qualifying, but both drivers successfully powered their way to heat races by finishing in the top two of their last chance race.
Heats once again proved to be a challenge for even the fastest drivers with low qualifier Kruseman heading to the semi-final along with Josh Wise in his #20 Mopar sprinter, 16 year old prodigy Bryan Clauson in the #7c Armstrong Farms car and the #6 K&N Motorsports driver Mat Neely.
Daron Clayton's #92 Clayton Fabrication machine went over the cushion and into the trees during his heat race, but his team was able to revive the car in time to start the semi-final on the front row. Clayton proceeded to avoid another trip through the forest and won the semi-final, earning a spot in the feature event.
Neely, not finishing in the top six was forced to use one of his USAC provisionals to be placed at the back of the A-Main feature. He's the third USAC regular to use a provisional so far. Kaeding and Wise have also spent one this week.
The 30 lap feature event kept fans on the edge of their seats. Kaeding's #29 Team ASE car fell to the back of the 24 car pack after getting turned around on lap 13, yet he was able to power his sprinter up to an 11th place finish during the final 17 laps.
Most eyes were on the front of the race though as four cars including Wise, Kruseman, Dave Darland and Shane Cottle were caught up in a fierce battle to the finish. Darland, Wise and Cottle all led laps during the race.
Cottle's turn came with only 5 laps to go, but he could only keep his #10E Crume-Evans Insurance machine there for one as Darland overtook him again to lead the final four laps and get the victory. Darland, driving the #11 Jam It In Storage sprinter for Walker-Guiducci Racing ended a four year drought by winning his first USAC National Sprint Car Series race since 2001. Darland was followed to the checkered flag by Cottle, Kruseman, Wise and Levi Jones.
Going into Gas City's I-69 Speedway Wednesday night, eleven drivers have started in each of Sprint Week's first four feature events. A big field of 58 cars on the quarter mile semi-banked track would again create a challenge for the drivers committed to racing in all seven events.
Kevin Besecker of Greenville, OH returned to racing after two uncharacteristic flips in the first three races of sprint week. With no available time in the hectic sprint week schedule to get his regular paint job, he dubbed his pieced together #15 Besecker Racing sprinter "Frankenstein" which he was able to qualify seventeenth fastest. Sikeston, MO resident Daron Clayton sped to the low qualifier award in his #92 Clayton Fabricators sprinter with a fast lap of 12.562 seconds.
Yet again highly competitive heat races forced some USAC regulars into the semi-final race. Fast qualifier Clayton was joined in the B-Main by Jones in the #2B Lucas Oil sprinter, Jay Drake in his #21 Mopar machine, Jon Stanbrough in the #10 Truckers 24-Hour car and #29 Kaeding. Stanbrough and Kaeding did not finish in the top six, but used USAC provisionals and were placed in the back of the feature race.
Local favorite and Gas City regular Brandon Petty's #3R MPD Construction Reynolds Racing sprinter was on the pole for the feature event. Petty ran away from the field, leading all but one of the first 23 laps, but his terrific race came to a sudden end when the rear end of the car broke coming out of turn 4 on lap 24.
Cory Kruseman was able to take over the lead with 6 laps remaining and took the checkered flag for the third time this week followed to the finish line by Jones, #47 MPHG Promotions driver Justin Marvel, #21x Service Drywall sprinter Dickie Gaines and Drake. Kruseman now has a somewhat comfortable lead in the sprint week points chase, leading 2004 champion Levi Jones by 35 points.
However the next stop on this Midwestern "tour" is Lawrenceburg Speedway, a track where Kruseman has not had much success. "I'm not a big Lawrenceburg fan," Kruseman admitted. "It hasn't been very good to me in the past, but we look forward to going there tomorrow."
Two races remain in the chase for the USAC Valvoline Indiana Sprint Week Championship, Lawrenceburg Speedway Thursday and the finale at Terre Haute Action Track on Friday.
<pre> Sprint Week point standings after five races:
Points Driver Hometown Team 323 Cory Kruseman Ventura, CA #67 Keith Kunz Motorsports 288 Levi Jones Olney, IL #2B 2B Racing 265 Dave Darland Lincoln, IN #11 Guiducci Racing 255 Tracy Hines New Castle, IN #69 Dynamics, Inc. 218 Jay Drake Val Verde, CA #21 Tony Stewart Racing