PEORIA, Ariz. — official release — Tracy Hines broke a nearly season-long tie with Jack Hewitt on the AMSOIL National Sprint Car all-time win list as he went wire-to-wire in winning Friday night’s Hose Advantage Store Hall of Fame Classic 30-lap feature at Canyon Speedway Park.
The New Castle, Indiana veteran notched his second win of the year in The Carolina Nut Company – Hansen’s Welding #4 DRC/Stanton Chevy, marking his 47th career USAC National Sprint Car Series triumph and first since April 25 at Gas City I-69 Speedway.
Hines out-gunned polesitter R.J. Johnson on the start to grab the lead and brought second-row starter Chase Stockon with him. However, the red flag flew for a lap-two scramble in turn-four which left Mike Martin upside-down and Dave Darland and Jon Stanbrough needing trips to the work area to repair their cars.
A 17-lap green-flag stretch let the leaders catch traffic, as Johnson bicycled out of the third spot, with Damion Gardner joining the two leaders. Ryan Bernal also pressured Johnson, eventually moving by for fourth. The second caution came just past the halfway mark, alleviating the pressure from Hines as he was mired behind slower cars.
Bernal was pressing the issue after the restart, looking to the extreme high side as Gardner also worked on Stockon for second. The lead group again hit traffic, and this time three cars were ready to go after Hines for the win. Ballou cleared Johnson to take fifth and was running down the lead group, as well. Bernal hit turn-one with a head of steam on lap 23 and bicycled against the cushion, biting the concrete and flipping over. He was unhurt.
With just eight laps to go, the leaders would not see traffic again, and Hines was too strong in clear track, winning by .848 seconds to become the third-winningest driver in USAC Sprint Car history.
“I was lucky enough to catch a yellow and a red exactly when I needed it. I was just too tight to maneuver in traffic a whole lot. Chase (Stockon) is a good friend and I knew he’s not doing anything stupid to take us both out. Today was a good day for us and our partner The Carolina Nut Company, as their NASCAR Truck Series team won the championship today. It’s good to break that tie with Jack (Hewitt) this year after tying him so early in the season,” Hines said.
Stockon held on to take the runner-up spot in the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher.
“I kinda wanted to see us stay in traffic a little bit longer, as I could catch Tracy there and try some stuff on him. I think we were better when we had to slow down some. I could rotate better and drive off the corner. But I also knew I had a couple guys coming with me who were trying everything to get going,” Stockon said.
Gardner rounded out the podium as he finished up his second-straight CRA Series championship in the Alexander Trucking – Scott Sales Company #4 Spike/J&D.
“The track was really heavy tonight, but we were trying to get it worked in up higher. Every time we hit traffic and I could start moving around more, we caught a yellow. Those are just the breaks sometimes. We had a good night from start to finish, though, and are looking forward to tomorrow,” Gardner said.
Ballou finished fourth in the Deaton’s Waterfront Services – Blakesley Auto #12x Maxim/Ott, while Johnson rounded out the top-five in the Weiler Farms – Pecon Builders #51 Maxim/ProFlyer.
Brady Bacon advanced from 12th to finish seventh, increasing his point lead to 60 over Bryan Clauson, who finished 12th, going into Saturday’s season finale. A 19th-place finish or better, without any preliminary event points, would clinch Bacon’s first AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship.
Gardner opened the night by setting a quick time of 13.759 seconds over the 34-car field.