BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — official release — David E. Heithaus photo — Bryan Clauson will take the point lead into the final night of Indiana Sprintweek after his second victory of the week Friday night at Bloomington Speedway.
Clauson used a late-race restart to pass Hunter Schuerenberg en route to his fourth win of the year in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance No. 20 Beast/Kistler.
Clauson started on the pole but Dave Darland grabbed the early lead from outside the front row, running the top around the quarter-mile. Clauson fell into second as ProSource “Fast Qualifier” and track record holder Hunter Schuerenberg was on the move from the third row. Clauson poked under Darland for the lead on lap four, but a caution negated the move.
Schuerenberg was working the top as Darland slid back to the bottom, and Schuerenberg got by Clauson for second just before a red flag on lap ten for Tracy Hines in turn-two. He was unhurt.
After the restart, Schuerenberg got wound up on the top and flew by Darland for the lead on the turn-four cushion, narrowly beating him to the line on lap 11 and then shutting the door into turn-one on lap 12.
After another yellow, Schuerenberg found himself up front as Clauson applied pressure to Darland for second. Clauson finally worked the middle through turns three and four to grab the runner-up spot back and begin to chew into Schuerenberg’s lead. With just six laps left, Tyler Courtney flipped in turn-two. He climbed out uninjured.
On the restart, Clauson cut under Schuerenberg through turns three and four, collecting the lead as they crossed the stripe with five to go. He was flawless up front in the final few circuits, winning by 1.853 seconds for the 29th victory of his career. He takes a ten-point Sprintweek point lead over Darland into the series finale at Tri-State Speedway on Saturday.
“Our car has been really strong, and we felt like we made gains the last time at Haubstadt, but you know you’ll have to run your butt off to beat Dave Darland when something is on the line,” Clauson said. “That felt like an old-man victory. I was trying to be patient, especially with other guys having trouble and the big picture still on my mind. I got to move around after I got to second and found a lane where I could gain on Hunter. The track moved around a lot tonight, so you had to be on your game. We made the right moves at the right time and were able to capitalize on that late restart.”
Schuerenberg dropped down low to protect second, coming home with his best finish of the week in the Customized Service Trucks – Eddie Gilstrap Motors No. 20n Mach-1/Rider.
“I was gonna be ticked off if we didn’t run good here, as good as we’ve been at Bloomington lately,” Schuerenberg said. “This is the start to salvaging some good runs this week. I hated to see that last red come out. We lost a bit, I think, after that, and I had a wrong lane choice too. Once he beat me off turn-four, I knew it would be tough to get back by him. I never even saw him before that and wanted to keep doing what I was doing. It was another case of leading the race and the guy behind being able to search and figure something out.”
Darland wound up third, taking the National point lead from Bacon in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage Store No. 71p DRC/Foxco.
“We’ve got things figured out for tomorrow, so I’m ready. We got this. I led a few at the beginning and went from the top to the bottom after I saw a nose. I got a little too slow holding the bottom and Schuerenberg got rolling up the outside. Bryan got us after that, and we finally got going a bit better when it got tough to hit the marks at the end. We had a decent chance, but didn’t quite get it done tonight,” Darland said.
C.J. Leary and Chris Windom rounded out the top five.