AMSOIL Sprints
Thursday, 23 May 2024


Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) broke through for his first USAC win of 2024 during Wednesday night's Circle City Salute at Indianapolis, Indiana's Circle City Raceway. Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) broke through for his first USAC win of 2024 during Wednesday night's Circle City Salute at Indianapolis, Indiana's Circle City Raceway. Josh James Artwork Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Indianapolis, Indiana (May 22, 2024)………Of the 54 career USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship victories Brady Bacon has posted in his career, perhaps none have been more satisfying or created such a sense of relief than the one he earned during Wednesday night’s Circle City Salute opener at Indianapolis, Indiana’s Circle City Raceway.

Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) had never gone this far into the USAC Sprint season without a victory, at least not since he’s been a full-time series competitor in the 11-year span between 2013-2023.  His previous longest waits in that era have endured into the 11th race of the season in both 2013 and 2017, but as it turns out, 13 was his lucky number in 2024.

He’d watched Justin Grant, Logan Seavey, C.J. Leary, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Robert Ballou all enjoy the spoils of victory while enduring his share of bouts of personal hardship, such as getting caught up in other’s incidents, sudden flat tires, random mechanical issues and just plain bad luck.  If it happened, it seemed to go against Bacon.

Finally, at Circle City, good fortune finally put its welcoming arms around Bacon as he overcame a three-wide tussle for second before chasing down the lead moments later in turn two with six laps remaining all while setting a new series record in the process.  For Bacon, it was his 14th consecutive season with at least one USAC National Sprint Car feature win, breaking the mark of 13-straight years set by Sheldon Kinser between 1974-1986.

Bacon’s run of misfortune didn’t discriminate.  It even carried over to other series.  With 16 laps remaining in last Saturday’s USAC Silver Crown show at the Belleville (Kan.) High Banks, he was decimating the field by nearly 16 seconds when an engine expired on him.  But there’s no understating the magnitude of this particular victory, as it is one that has certainly made his back a little lighter without that proverbial monkey off of it now.

“We’ve had a fast car every time we’ve been to the racetrack,” Bacon explained.  “It just seemed like something always happens, and not just in the 69.  At Belleville, we were leading by almost a lap and blew an engine.”

With that said, Bacon had seen an uptick in his USAC Sprint results throughout his past few outings with finishes of 3rd, 7th, 8th and 3rd in his Dynamics, Inc./Next Level Metal – Davis Brothers Trucking – Hutson John Deere/Triple X/Rider Chevy dating back to early May.  However, it certainly wasn’t up to snuff for the driver who ranks second in career series victories, just eight behind Dave Darland’s 62 for the all-time lead.

“It’s good to just get back into the rhythm of things,” Bacon sighed with relief.  “Racing at the beginning of the year has kind of been hit-and-miss.  So, we’re kind of getting back into the groove with the 69.  Thanks to my guys for working hard.  Hopefully this turns things around.  Bad streaks don’t last forever but this one sure seemed like it was lasting a long time.  Hopefully the high is as high as the low was low.”

Bacon started his race from the fifth spot in the 24-car field.  Up front, Shane Cottle paced the opening two laps on the bottom of the 1/4-mile dirt oval before Kevin Thomas Jr. went topside to shoot around Cottle in turn four for the top spot on lap three, and over the next handful of laps, extended his advantage to a full-straightaway.

Meanwhile, Bacon was steadily moving forward, swiping second from Cottle as he dipped to the low line in turn one on lap nine.  Kyle Cummins, the only multi-time USAC Sprint winner at Circle City, followed in concert to third as he swung around the outside of Cottle for the position in turn four on the 11th lap.

By the halfway point, Thomas was operating with a full two second lead.  However, by the time he was fully engulfed in lapped traffic, the interval between he and Bacon had been sliced in half before the caution fell for a double spin involving Brent Beauchamp (19th) and Joey Amantea (21st) between turns one and two.

Without traffic lingering ahead, the intensity among the frontrunners ramped up.  Cummins harassed Bacon for second following the lap 17 restart, and twice was able to emerge ahead.  Nonetheless, Bacon was able to fend him off each time.  At the same time, Cottle reappeared on the bottom to battle the top-three, slipping in front of Cummins for third when he suddenly clipped the turn three infield tire before sliding to a stop to bring out the yellow.

Upon the resumption, the top-six were stacked in Noah’s Ark formation, two-by-two, high and low.  In a change of pace, with eight to go, Thomas changed lanes to the bottom while Bacon swapped to the top, exchanging roles in the pursuit of victory.  With six laps to go in turns one and two, Honest Abe Roofing fast qualifier Robert Ballou rolled the bottom behind Thomas while Cummins occupied the middle and Bacon was up top near the outside wall.  Bacon exploded out of the triumvirate down the back straight, then was able zip around the outside of Thomas to secure the lead a half lap later.

“The bottom is typically where I go best here,” Bacon acknowledged.  “But the top wasn’t really curbed up, so you could lean on it a little more than normal even though it was all around and not a whole lot of grip.  It didn’t tear the front end out from underneath you if you hit it wrong.  We were really able to get rolling, and once we got our momentum up, it was good.  I saw some guys on the bottom, and I went down there.  (Kevin Thomas Jr.) saw me and we flip-flopped.  Then someone was even on the inside of me right there.  It was a really good race, and we were able to stay out of that mess, get out front and stay out front.”

With Bacon gripping a 1.1 second grip over the field after taking the white flag, nothing was going to stop him.  Unless you count two late-race cautions that forced him to hold off the field for two more restarts, making Bacon incur more unneeded stress after how things have played out in earlier instances this season.

First, C.J. Leary (13th) slowed dramatically on the back straight with a flat right rear tire.  Secondly, second running Cummins Tony Hawk’d the turn two wall as he broadsided it, then rode it down the back straight before landing on all four wheels.  Staying on the gas, Cummins made it to turn three before spinning to a stop with a knocked out front end.

The third time proved to be the charm, however.  Bacon escaped and avoided all challenges and challengers on the final edition of a green-white-checker finish, racing away to a 0.737 triumph over Kevin Thomas Jr., Daison Pursley and Robert Ballou with Chase Stockon rounding out the top-five.

Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) has been heating up of late.  He led 22 laps at Circle City and finished second, albeit with a broken bolt on his left rear shock, in his Rock Steady Racing/Inferno Armor – Eddie Gilstrap Motors – Creative Finishing/Mach-1/Stanton Chevy.  It’s his best USAC National Sprint Car result at the track since winning in September 2022.  Over his past three USAC starts during the month of May, he's finished 1st-4th-2nd and has led a total of 49 laps.  But on this one, he admittedly felt like they let one slip away.

Daison Pursley is a passing machine.  The Locust Grove, Okla. native went 14th to third for his best career USAC National Sprint Car finish yet at Circle City.  Over his past four series starts, he's advanced an incredible total of 40 positions in his Team AZ Racing/Apache Transport – Oak Craft Elegant Cabinetry/DRC/1-Way Chevy.

Carson Garrett (Littleton, Colo.) was the race’s official hard charger, advancing from his 24th starting position to finish 12th aboard the BGE Dougherty Motorsports/Altoz – Hornbeck Concrete – Lugs Lawn Care/DRC/1-Way Chevy




USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: May 22, 2024 – Circle City Raceway – Indianapolis, Indiana – Circle City Salute – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-12.679; 2. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-12.679; 3. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-12.699; 4. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3R, Rock Steady-12.800; 5. Harley Burns, 16, Britt Aero-12.919; 6. Shane Cottle, 2E, Epperson-12.946; 7. Jadon Rogers, 17GP, Dutcher-12.953; 8. Jake Swanson, 2B, 2B Racing-12.970; 9. Kyle Cummins, 3p, Petty-12.973; 10. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-12.976; 11. Daison Pursley, 21AZ, Team AZ-12.982; 12. Anton Hernandez, 5, Baldwin/Fox-13.005; 13. C.J. Leary, 15x, BGE Dougherty-13.021; 14. Mitchel Moles, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-13.040; 15. Charles Davis Jr., 47, Davis-13.060; 16. Joey Amantea, 88J, JPA-13.062; 17. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-13.086; 18. Colin Grissom, 00, Grissom-13.181; 19. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-13.206; 20. Chance Crum, 26, Crum-13.216; 21. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-13.239; 22. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-13.315; 23. Hunter Maddox, 24m, Maddox-13.344; 24. Ricky Lewis, 41, Stensland-13.366; 25. Gabriel Gilbert, 10G, GGR-13.393; 26. Brent Beauchamp, 11, Beauchamp-13.408; 27. Carson Garrett, 15, BGE Dougherty-13.456; 28. Zack Pretorius, 9z, Pretorius-13.466; 29. Rylan Gray, 06, Gray-13.593; 30. Lee Dakus, 21x, Dakus-13.613; 31. Saban Bibent, 98, Wedgewood-13.696; 32. Kayla Roell, 5K, KO-13.805; 33. Logan Calderwood, 73, Ford-14.119; 34. Jake Simmons, 7s, Simmons-14.312; 35. Frankie Guerrini, 63, F & F-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Kyle Cummins, 2. Logan Seavey, 3. C.J. Leary, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Harley Burns, 6. Matt Goodnight, 7. Gabriel Gilbert, 8. Logan Calderwood. 2:15.43

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Mitchel Moles, 2. Shane Cottle, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Brent Beauchamp, 5. Matt Westfall, 6. Brandon Mattox, 7. Colin Grissom, 8. Lee Dakus, 9. Jake Simmons. 2:17.51

T.J. FORGED THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Chase Stockon, 2. Hunter Maddox, 3. Daison Pursley, 4. Charles Davis Jr., 5. Justin Grant, 6. Jadon Rogers, 7. Carson Garrett, 8. Saban Bibent. 2:25.28

CAR IQ FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Ricky Lewis, 2. Jake Swanson, 3. Joey Amantea, 4. Anton Hernandez, 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 6. Kayla Roell, 7. Chance Crum, 8. Zack Pretorius. 2:26.60

ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Carson Garrett, 2. Chance Crum, 3. Jadon Rogers, 4. Matt Goodnight, 5. Brandon Mattox, 6. Lee Dakus, 7. Kayla Roell, 8. Zack Pretorius, 9. Gabriel Gilbert, 10. Saban Bibent, 11. Logan Calderwood, 12. Colin Grissom, 13. Jake Simmons. 2:56.30

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (5), 2. Kevin Thomas Jr. (3), 3. Daison Pursley (14), 4. Robert Ballou (6), 5. Chase Stockon (9), 6. Mitchel Moles (8), 7. Jadon Rogers (11), 8. Ricky Lewis (10), 9. Chance Crum (20), 10. Matt Westfall (13), 11. Logan Seavey (21), 12. Carson Garrett (24), 13. Hunter Maddox (22), 14. Joey Amantea (18), 15. Justin Grant (4), 16. Jake Swanson (12), 17. Anton Hernandez (15), 18. Shane Cottle (1), 19. C.J. Leary (16), 20. Matt Goodnight (19), 21. Charles Davis Jr. (17), 22. Kyle Cummins (7), 23. Brent Beauchamp (23), 24. Harley Burns (2). NT

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Shane Cottle, Laps 3-24 Kevin Thomas Jr., Laps 25-30 Brady Bacon.

**Rylan Gray flipped during qualifying. Frankie Guerrini flipped during qualifying.

USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Logan Seavey-918, 2-Kevin Thomas Jr.-863, 3-C.J. Leary-838, 4-Daison Pursley-764, 5-Brady Bacon-736, 6-Justin Grant-699, 7-Kyle Cummins-693, 8-Robert Ballou-690, 9-Mitchel Moles-687, 10-Chase Stockon-670.

OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Logan Seavey-67, 2-Robert Ballou-66, 3-C.J. Leary-62, 4-Daison Pursley-61, 5-Joey Amantea-53, 6-Matt Westfall-41, 7-Brady Bacon-41, 8-Kevin Thomas Jr.-38, 9-Carson Garrett-38, 10-Chase Stockon-36.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: May 23, 2024 – Circle City Raceway – Indianapolis, Indiana – Circle City Salute – 1/4-Mile Dirt Oval



Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Shane Cottle (12.551)

Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifier: Robert Ballou (12.679)

Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Kyle Cummins

Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Mitchel Moles

T.J. Forged Third Heat Winner: Chase Stockon

Car IQ Fourth Heat Winner: Ricky Lewis

Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi Winner: Carson Garrett

Baldwin Brothers Racing Hard Charger: Carson Garrett (24th to 12th)