TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — official release — Rich Forman photo — AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series point leader Brady Bacon finally sealed the deal at Terre Haute Action Track on Thursday, making a white-flag-lap pass for the lead to win the Jim Hurtubise Classic.
The Broken Arrow, Okla., native made it his third win of the year in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green No. 69 Triple X/Williams Mopar as the flag-to-flag victory took 11:34.17.
“We’ve never finished off the podium here together (with Hoffmans), but it was frustrating to not get a win,” Bacon said. “It feels great to win one and do it in a great race where we had to take it away at the end. It got high in three and four, and I got beat staying up top the last race here, so I started trying something different down there. He had pulled away from me a bit, so I went to the middle and just kept trying to slow down and run lower and lower. I got by him just in time.”
Ballou hooked the pole for the feature after timing in seventh and gunned to the lead at the outset, as Bacon was able to use the bottom off turn two to rocket to the runner-up spot. He kept pace with Ballou as those two opened up a sizable margin on the rest of the field.
Chase Stockon held down third for much of the race, and behind him was a race between defending race winner Jerry Coons Jr., this year’s Hulman Classic winner Dave Darland, and ProSource Fast Qualifier Jon Stanbrough.
As the race hit its later stages, third through 11th raced among each other as Ballou and Bacon had checked out on the field. Brady Short was on the move, as he and fellow sixth-row starter Shane Cottle were making gains on the lower half of the track. Short finally pulled even with Stockon for third with just three to go.
Ballou had fought back Bacon repeatedly and opened up his gap, but Bacon countered by moving around to find a faster way. He was coming in a hurry the final five laps, using the top of turns one and two and dropping to the bottom in turns three and four. He nearly pulled to his back bumper as they completed lap 28 and when he came off turn four for the white flag, Bacon had a run. He cleared Ballou down the frontstretch and jumped to the top, while Ballou tried to turn back underneath to no avail.
Bacon rolled through the west end of the speedway one final time to win by .461 seconds over Ballou, who guided his Blakesley Auto – Hinchman Racing Uniforms No. 12x Maxim/Ott to his sixth-straight podium finish.
“Sometimes, you need a set of eyes in the back of your head,” Ballou said. “Tonight was one of those times. I saw him down there a couple times, and he just beat us right at the end when I was losing a little bit down in three and four. I don’t know if I needed a yellow or not. We probably used our stuff up a bit too much trying to work traffic. This stretch has shown our dedication. We’ve finally got things where we knew we needed them. I can’t say enough about Derrick Bye and the work he’s put into not just preparing the car, but learning how to make us faster.”
An amazing 12 seconds behind them, Short held on for third in the Pottorff Logging – Indiana Stone Works No. 11p Maxim/SPEC, winning the B&W Auto Mart Hard Charger Award for his work.
“I just kept seeing it get higher and higher, and we had tightened the heck out of the car,” Short said. “It kept coming to me, the slicker it got. We’ve gotten better here trying to do just that. It worked out, but we could have used a caution a time or two along the way. It’s amazing because these have never been my style of track, but we’re getting more comfortable out there.”
Cottle and Stockon rounded out the top five.