AMSOIL Sprints
Thursday, 9 July 2020


#12 Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) #12 Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) Scott Swenson Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Knoxville, Iowa (July 9, 2020)………Every night at the track, you see them arrive, 50-plus drivers and 900 horsepower come alive.  A patch of dirt broad in length and thrilling to the max, everyone knows you must be on your game on half-mile tracks.

The USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship returns to the half-mile this weekend, Friday-Saturday, July 10-11, for the second annual Brandt Corn Belt Nationals at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway, paying $20,000-to-win the Saturday night finale.

No two tracks are exactly the same in shape, banking, surface and other attributes, and that applies to the half-miles as well.  But there is one part of a half-mile that is the same anywhere you go, being unafraid to stand on the gas, possessing a big heart and a whole lot of horsepower.

The USAC National Sprint Car schedule formerly contested events solely on tracks a half-mile length or longer throughout its first 25 years of existence before the doors were opened for the series to begin competing on “bullrings” more often, thus changing the look of the championship trail drastically from 1981-present.

However, the half-miles remain an integral part of the tour today with Knoxville, the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway and California’s Perris Auto Speedway annually hosting events for the series.

Nobody in the clubhouse has come close to touching Jack Hewitt’s staggering 29 half-mile wins in the USAC Sprint Car division, 13 of which came at his personal ATM of Eldora Speedway.

However, of the 10 half-mile winning drivers entered in this weekend’s 53-car field Corn Belt Nationals lineup, none of them own more victories with the series on half-mile dirt tracks than Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.) with 16 in his National Sprint Car Hall of Fame career.

Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.), who is undefeated at the Corn Belt Nationals following his 2019 weekend sweep, has earned three of his 13 career USAC Sprint half-mile wins at Knoxville.  Robert Ballou, who earned a 2015 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship between Bacon’s two in 2014 and 2016, has likewise won 13 of the halves.

Chris Windom, the 2017 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ, won his most recent half-mile dirt outing on July 1 at Terre Haute’s Tony Hulman Classic. 

Tyler Courtney was equaled with Brady Bacon in 2019 with four half-mile dirt track wins with the series.  Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) reached double-digits in half-mile wins last year, becoming the 14th driver to reach double figures in that category.  The 2018 series champion was a Knoxville USAC Sprint winner that very same year.

Likewise, current series point leader Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.), owner of seven half-mile victories in a USAC Sprint Car, was the head of the class in winning at Knoxville in 2017.

Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) has won five on half-mile dirt ovals in his career with the series while Chase Stockon has won three of his four half-mile triumphs at Terre Haute.  C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) has won twice on half-miles, including last year’s Oval Nationals at Perris while Matt Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio) won his lone series race on the Eldora half during the 2006 season.

Interestingly, three of the top-four active drivers in terms of half-mile dirt wins with the series have yet to capture a Knoxville victory – Darland, Ballou and Windom.

Although a new first-time USAC Sprint winner on a half-mile hasn’t emerged since Brody Roa’s score at Perris in 2017, there’s plenty capable drivers ready to make that next leap to winning on a fast joint at Knoxville.  A talented driver who hits his marks and a crew that has the car can certainly do the deed.

That’s the difference between the halves and the half nots.

Both nights of the Corn Belt Nationals will be streamed live in their entirety on DIRTVision, the official streaming platform for Knoxville Raceway.  FloRacing subscribers can catch Saturday’s USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car $20,000-to-win A-Main feature LIVE on FloRacing.

Prior to the green flag for Saturday’s A-Main on FloRacing, the lead-up to the main event will provide extensive pre-race coverage that will feature in-depth interviews, analysis, snippets, highlights and even a behind-the-scenes look at the Corn Belt Nationals from a unique vantage point spotlighting the various personalities involved in the event.  It’s all scheduled to start at approximately 8:30pm Central on Saturday night.

The Brandt Corn Belt Nationals begins Friday, July 10 with the pit gate opening at Noon Central time for trailer parking.  Sign-in commences at 3pm with draw closing at 5:45pm.  The drivers meeting takes place at 6pm followed by engine warm up at 6:15pm with hot laps starting at 6:45pm with the rest of the program following thereafter.  The same exact schedule and times are in place for the Saturday, July 11 portion of the event as well.

The event, co-sanctioned by the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and the POWRi Lucas Oil War Sprint Car League, features two complete nights of sprint car racing action with each night culminating with a feature race, the Friday main event paying $5,000-to-win and the Saturday finale paying $20,000-to-win.

Spectator tickets for the Brandt Corn Belt Nationals are available at or by calling the Knoxville Raceway ticket office at 641-842-5431. Tickets start at $25 for adults on Thursday and $30 for Saturday.

Brady Bacon dominated both ends of the inaugural Brandt Corn Belt Nationals in 2019, walking away with a two-night total of $25,000 between his two victories.

While separate event-specific points will be earned throughout the Corn Belt Nationals, all drivers and teams competing in the event that possess a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car license will be awarded 50 appearance points each night, which will go toward the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship standings.  No prelim or feature points will be awarded.



(Active USAC Sprint Car Drivers in Bold)

29-Jack Hewitt

16-Dave Darland

14-Tracy Hines

13-Brady Bacon & Robert Ballou

12-Bud Kaeding, Jay Drake, Rich Vogler & Chris Windom

11-J.J. Yeley, Levi Jones & Sheldon Kinser

10-Rick Hood & Tyler Courtney

9-Damion Gardner, Jerry Coons, Jr. & Steve Butler

8-Tony Elliott

7-Bryan Clauson, Jon Stanbrough & Justin Grant

5-Jac Haudenschild, Kevin Huntley & Kevin Thomas, Jr.

4-Chase Stockon, Cory Kruseman, Daron Clayton, Frankie Kerr, Kevin Doty & Steve Kinser

3-Cary Faas, Danny Smith, Jesse Hockett, Josh Wise, Kyle Larson, Rob Chaney, Tony Jones & Tony Stewart

2-Brad Sweet, C.J. Leary, Chad Boespflug, Darren Hagen, Derek Davidson, Doug Wolfgang, Kevin Swindell, Larry Rice, Mike Spencer, Nic Faas, Robbie Stanley, Sammy Swindell & Terry Shepherd

1-Aaron Farney, Billy Pauch, Bob East, Boston Reid, Brad Doty, Brett Mann, Brian Tyler, Brody Roa, Bubby Jones, Byron Reed, Chad Boat, Chet Johnson, Chuck Gurney, Cole Whitt, Danny Lasoski, Dave Peperak, David Cardey, Dickie Gaines, Doug Kalitta, Eddie Wirth, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Swindell, Jimmy Sills, Justin Marvel, Kelly Kinser, Ken Schrader, Kenny Jacobs, Kevin Thomas, Lealand McSpadden, Mark Cassella, Matt Westfall, Mike Kirby, Randy Standridge, Richard Griffin, Rick Ungar, Rickie Gaunt, Rip Williams, Ron Shuman, Rusty McClure, Smokey Snellbaker, Terry Pletch, Thomas Meseraull & Tony Armstrong