Lawrenceburg, Indiana…….Kevin Thomas, Jr. of Cullman, Alabama waited until the last lap to steal Saturday night’s AMSOIL National Sprint Car Feature victory at Lawrenceburg Speedway. The 21-year-old who won his first National event last season started tenth and came on late to make a spirited charge on the high side to pull past Chase Stockon off turn-two on the final circuit and narrowly held him off to pick up the win.
Thomas, who started this season with a new team, notched the very first victory for newly-assembled Mike Dutcher – Rotondo Weirich – Tri-Star Motorsports. Dutcher, who served as crew chief on last season’s championship-winning team, made it his third team in three years to visit a USAC Sprint Car winner’s circle.
Coleman Gulick rocketed from outside the front row and ran the high-side around the fast three-eighths mile, pulling out to a sizeable advantage in the opening laps. Stockon was the first to reel him in, though, sliding in front of Gulick on lap 12 to take the point. Gulick countered, however, and took the spot back.
Stockon came calling again on lap 21, grabbing the top spot and pulling away as a free-for-all went on for positions two through six. With the white flag waving, a spin in turn-four set up a showdown for the win.
Thomas took the lead on the restart and seemed destined for victory, but another caution slowed the action. Stockon got a better restart and held Thomas off until after seeing the white flag, but the Rotondo Weirich – BlackJack Oil #17RW Maxim/Fisher prevailed off the final corner in near three-wide finish with Stockon and Brady Bacon.
“That’s the best race I’ve ever been a part of, right there. I’m glad everybody came out tonight, and we put on a great race for them. To get a win here, where I’ve always had bad luck, it really feels good. I was pissed to see that last yellow. I finally got to the lead, and the caution comes out. We got lucky for it to fall that way at the end and give us a chance at the win. It’s great to get a win for this new deal and everybody who helps with this team,” Thomas said.
Stockon nearly backed up his win at Lawrenceburg from last fall, which marked his first in the series. The Elizabethtown, Indiana driver took the series point lead on the strength of his runner-up finish, however, in the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher.
“We’ll definitely take a podium finish. I knew after that last caution he was gonna be tough to hold off. KT and his guys were just too fast for us at the end. We won last fall on a completely different track, but we were really good tonight, too. We just have to keep finishing races and knocking down good finishes. I never thought I’d be able to say I was the point for the USAC National Sprint Car Series, so it’s pretty cool to be up there,” Stockon said.
Bacon came from the 11th starting spot and nearly had an opening to take the lead before the race’s final yellow flag flew. Instead, Bacon again tried to sneak underneath the top-two only to be denied when the duo racing for the lead dove across the bottom, relegating Bacon to the third spot in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green #69 Triple X/Stanton Mopar.
“Without that last caution, we might have had second, and I really think we had a shot at the win. They blocked the bottom going into three on the last lap, so we didn’t have an opening to get the win. It took a while for our car to come in, but we were really rolling up through there once the bottom came in. This is definitely a good result for not getting a great qualifying lap in,” Bacon said.
Polesitter Hunter Schuerenberg faded outside the top-five before rebounding to finish fourth in the MyLocalFordStore.com – Fatheadz Eyewear #35 Mach-1/Rider, while defending series champion Bryan Clauson came from row-six to finish fifth in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #20 Beast/Kistler.
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: April 6, 2013 – Lawrenceburg, Indiana – Lawrenceburg Speedway
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-13.966; 2. Thomas Meseraull, 17, McGhee-13.978; 3. Chase Stockon, 32, Stockon-14.015; 4. Jerry Coons Jr., 10E, Edison-14.099; 5. Shane Cottle, 2, Epperson-14.130; 6. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-14.209;7. Coleman Gulick, 14, Gulick-14.215; 8. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-14.248; 9. Chris Windom, 21x, Pollock-14.257; 10. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-14.280; 11. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher/RW/TriStar-14.285; 12. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.337; 13. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-14.347; 14. Ted Hines, 12, Hines-14.381; 15. Landon Simon, 41, SST-14.415; 16. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney-14.498; 17. Kyle Robbins, 17R, Robbins-14.549; 18. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.602; 19. Justin Grant, 11, Walker-14.608; 20. Christopher Bell, 67, Kunz-14.637; 21. Nick Drake, 55, Cline-14.741; 22. Dallas Hewitt, 2M, Marshall-14.746; 23. Matt Westfall, 54, Best Performance-14.756; 24. Robert Ballou, 5, Baldwin-14.761; 25. Scotty Weir, 18, Keen-14.777; 26. Dakota Jackson, 3, Jackson-14.865; 27. David Applegate, 11x, Applegate-14.925; 28. Joss Moffatt, 5J, Moffatt-14.967; 29. Drew Abel, 04, Abel-15.033; 30. Pat Giddens, 2G, Giddens-15.156; 31. Gary Taylor, 40, Hery-15.255; 32. Derek Hastings, 32M, Marshall-15.375; 33. Mike Weber, 22w, Weber-15.527; 34. Cody Gardner, 46, Gardner-15.748; 35. Travis Hery, 21, Hery-15.942; 36. Anthony Nicholson, 16, Nicholson-15.957; 37. Adam Cruea, 83, Cruea-16.214; 38. John Race, 42, Race-16.415; 39. Justin Owen, 26, Owen-NT (time of 14.965 disallowed); 40. Logan Hupp, 9H, Hupp-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Drake, 2. Clauson, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Robbins, 5. Windom, 6. Cottle, 7. Weir, 8. Abel, 9. Cruea, 10. Weber. 2:01.32
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Meseraull, 3. Leary, 4. Ted Hines, 5. Jarrett, 6. Hewitt, 7. Jackson, 8. Giddens, 9. Gardner, 10. Race. NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Thomas, 3. Gulick, 4. Simon, 5. Grant, 6. Taylor, 7. Westfall, 8. Hery, 9. Applegate. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Bacon, 3. Schuerenberg, 4. Bell, 5. Hupp, 6. Coons, 7. Moffatt, 8. Courtney, 9. Hastings, 10. Nicholson. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Cottle, 2. Grant, 3. Coons, 4. Windom, 5. Westfall, 6. Hupp, 7. Hewitt, 8. Courtney, 9. Hastings, 10. Nicholson, 11. Jackson, 12. Giddens, 13. Abel, 14. Hery, 15. Weir, 16. Gardner, 17. Applegate, 18. Taylor, 19. Moffatt, 20. Cruea, 21. Race, 22. Jarrett, 23. Weber. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Hunter Schuerenberg, 5. Bryan Clauson, 6. Coleman Gulick, 7. Thomas Meseraull, 8. Shane Cottle, 9. Landon Simon, 10. Jerry Coons, Jr., 11. Dave Darland, 12. Tracy Hines, 13. Justin Grant, 14. Tyler Courtney, 15. Logan Hupp, 16. Ted Hines, 17. Nick Drake, 18. Kyle Robbins, 19. Christopher Bell, 20. Robert Ballou, 21. C.J. Leary, 22. Matt Westfall, 23. Chris Windom. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-11 Gulick, Lap 12 Stockon, Laps 13-20 Gulick, Laps 21-29 Stockon, Lap 30 Thomas.
**Windom flipped on lap 8 of the Feature.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stockon-247; 2-Schuerenberg-239; 3-Clauson-230; 4-Bacon-228; 5-Hines-216; 6-Darland-200; 7-Thomas-185; 8-Ballou-163; 9-Courtney-133; 10-Leary-131.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: April 20 – Rossburg, Ohio – Eldora Speedway