THOMAS STAYS HOT, WINS GAS CITY
Gas City, Indiana…….Kevin Thomas, Jr. continued his recent hot streak, again coming from 10th to capture Friday night’s AMSOIL National Sprint Car Feature at Gas City I-69 Speedway. For Thomas, it was the second win in a row with the series and the third of his career.
Robert Ballou flew around the outside of polesitter Scotty Weir to lead lap one and settled in at the top spot, as the leaders set a torrid pace on a very fast surface. Weir, Dave Darland, and new track record holder Thomas Meseraull all worked in a tight pack among the top-four while Thomas was slowly working his way through the pack.
Just past halfway, the track started to widen out and Meseraull moved to second as the sole challenger to Ballou, but Weir caught the front-stretch wall on lap 22 and flipped down the front-stretch, bringing out a red and resetting the top-five for a final dash to the checkers.
Thomas, who had moved by Darland on the outside, shot to the cushion on the restart and fought past Meseraull before targeting the lead. He wasted no time grabbing the point, driving by on lap 23 and pulling away to a comfortable 2.182-second win in the Mike Dutcher/RW/Tri-Star Motorsports – Black Jack Oil Company #17RW Maxim/Fisher.
“I knew I had to move around and try the top to make something happen. The top was good all along, but the bottom stayed so good for at least the first half of the race, it was hard to get going much. I had to be patient and let the bottom wear out before we could get rolling. Once we could get our momentum going, we started to clear some cars and could run it as hard as we wanted up there. This start has just done so much for my confidence, and even after turning over tonight in the heat race, we know we can still win, coming from tenth or whatever. We’re all on the same page and it really feels great,” Thomas said.
Meseraull followed Thomas to the front, circling Ballou to finish second and complete a fantastic night aboard the Mike McGhee & Associates – Brown & Miller #17T Spike/Fisher.
“The bottom was really good, especially off the corner, it was just hard to get going up top. KT just jumped up there and was driving really hard and got by us after the restart. He was a little better than us, obviously, so I’m pretty stoked to have such a good night and run second. Thanks to Mike McGhee, and Davey Jones for helping us tonight,” Meseraull said.
Ballou held on for third, continuing his early-season run of strong finishes aboard the Baldwin Brothers Racing – Fox Paving #5 Maxim/Kercher.
“Tonight was kind of a curveball for a lot of people. The track was something different than you’ll usually see here. The bottom slowed down a little bit on us there at the end, and he kinda was able to try the top to go by us. Mike Dutcher (Thomas’ crew chief) is showing that he’s the best crew chief in the country, and they’re really on their game right now. I’m trying to do the best that I can, and I’ve gotta run up front to make money, so we’re trying to figure it out,” Ballou said.
Jerry Coons, Jr. ran inside the top-six all night before finishing fourth in the Edison Motorsports – Crume Evans Insurance #10E Spike/Chevy, and Darland rounded out the top-five in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage #71P DRC/Foxco.
AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: April 26, 2013 – Gas City, Indiana – Gas City I-69 Speedway
QUALIFYING: 1. Thomas Meseraull, 17T, McGhee-11.441; 2. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-11.601; 3. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-11.615; 4. Jerry Coons, Jr., 10E, Edison-11.620; 5. Shane Cottle, 2, Epperson-11.684; 6. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-11.703; 7. Coleman Gulick, 14, Gulick-11.706; 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher/RW/Curb-Agajanian-11.719; 9. Robert Ballou, 5, Baldwin-11.738; 10. Scotty Weir, 18, Keen-11.788; 11. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-11.811; 12. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-11.827; 13. Justin Grant, 11, Walker-11.836; 14. Chad Boespflug, 57, Hazen-11.841; 15. Chris Windom, 39, Walker-11.861; 16. Nick Drake, 55, Cline-11.899; 17. Gary Taylor, 40, Hery-11.925; 18. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-11.937; 19. Landon Simon, 41, Stensland-11.972; 20. A.J. Hopkins, 42G, Jackson-12.151; 21. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney/Anderson-12.160; 22. Ted Hines, 12, Hines-12.169; 23. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-12.170; 24. Max McGhee, 17, McGhee-12.235; 25. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-12.262; 26. Travis Welpott, 18x, Welpott-12.286; 27. Chris Gurley, 12G, Team Automotive-12.444; 28. Tyler Hewitt, 97x, Hewitt-12.467; 29. Anthony Nicholson, 16, Nicholson-12.796.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Grant, 2. Courtney, 3. Meseraull, 4. Ballou, 5. Cottle, 6. Taylor, 7. Jarrett, 8. Nicholson. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Schuerenberg, 2. Weir, 3. Clauson, 4. Boespflug, 5. Ted Hines, 6. Bacon, 7. Welpott. 2:03.48
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Leary, 2. Windom, 3. Stockon, 4. Darland, 5. Simon, 6. Gurley, 7. Gulick. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Tracy Hines, 2. McGhee, 3. Hopkins, 4. Coons, 5. Drake, 6. Hewitt, 7. Thomas. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Cottle, 2. Bacon, 3. Thomas, 4. Taylor, 5. Gulick, 6. Jarrett, 7. Ted Hines, 8. Gurley, 9. Nicholson, 10. Simon, 11. Welpott, 12. Drake, 13. Hewitt. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. Thomas Meseraull, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Jerry Coons, Jr., 5. Dave Darland, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Gary Taylor, 8. Tracy Hines, 9. Hunter Schuerenberg, 10. Bryan Clauson, 11. Shane Cottle, 12. Chase Stockon, 13. Chris Windom, 14. Chad Boespflug, 15. C.J. Leary, 16. Tyler Courtney, 17. Max McGhee, 18. Logan Jarrett, 19. Scotty Weir, 20. Justin Grant, 21. Landon Simon, 22. Coleman Gulick, 23. A.J. Hopkins. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-22 Ballou, Laps 23-30 Thomas.
*Bacon flipped in Qualifying. Thomas flipped in Heat 4. Drake flipped in the Semi. Simon flipped in the Semi. Hopkins flipped on the start of the Feature. Gulick flipped on Lap 2 of the Feature. Weir flipped on lap 22 of the Feature.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Schuerenberg-283; 2-Stockon-282; 3-Bacon-277; 4-Clauson-274; 5-Hines-263; 6-Darland-257; 7-Thomas-247; 8-Ballou-222; 9-Cottle/Leary-162.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: April 27 – Putnamville, Indiana – Lincoln Park Speedway