KOKOMO, Ind. — official release — Gordon Gill photo — Jon Stanbrough shot by race-long leader Bryan Clauson coming to the white flag Friday night at Kokomo Speedway and ultimately came out on top of Friday’s 30-lap preliminary Stoops Freightliner – Quality Trailer “Sprint Car Smackdown III” feature.
The Avon, Indiana driver made it four wins on the year in the Michael Dutcher Motorsports entry and tied Rich Vogler for 9th on the all-time AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car win list.
Three early stoppages slowed the proceedings, and two of them swallowed legitimate race contenders. On lap-five, third-running Dave Darland and fourth-running Shane Cottle made contact in turn-four, leaving Darland with a broken front-end. He went to the work area, but could not make it back out on time to stay on the lead lap.
Three laps later, while under red for a Brian Karraker flip (he was unhurt), Cottle visited the work area for damage of his own. He returned to the track and came home 12th.
Shortly after that, the top running car using the cushion, Justin Grant, shot dead sideways coming out of turn-two and exited into the infield on the backstretch.
Despite all that, Clauson and Stanbrough were glued to each other up front, setting a wicked pace on an extremely fast surface. Robert Ballou came from row-four to get to third, and those three checked out on a good battle behind them.
With eleven to go, two cars slowed suddenly to bring out the final yellow. Stanbrough stuck with Clauson after the restart and looked to poke a nose under him just after taking the two-to-go. At the same time, Clauson jumped completely sideways, opening the door for Stanbrough to take the lead.
He held off Clauson for the final circuit to take the win in the MP Environmental Services – Griffin’s Propane #37RW Maxim/Fisher.
“I honestly didn’t know whether he messed up or what happened. I was running harder and harder as we got close to the end and thought I must have found something better than him and got by. It’s tough to win these races, so I’m happy to get another one. We’ve had good cars both days so far, and I’m looking forward to the day program tomorrow and that 40-lapper tomorrow night,” Stanbroug said.
Clauson came home second, moving to second in the National Championship standings in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #20 Beast/Kistler.
“I just made a mistake up there. I never saw him or felt any pressure, but that was a pretty big bobble in one and two. We’re gonna need to be better to win tomorrow, but you hate to let one slip away like that. We’re chasing a third-straight championship, too, and tonight was big for that,” Clauson said.
Ballou rounded out the podium to continue his hot streak in the Deaton’s Waterfront Services – Clifton Services #12x Maxim/Ott.
“When you start that far back, it’s tough to get by those guys up front, especially as fast as the track was tonight. Hats off to the O’Connors – a lot of promoters would have quit, but they gave us a race. I kept it a little too free for the feature, so I was good early but not good enough towards the end,” Ballou said.
Kyle Cummins finished off a strong night back in the Rick Pollock – Bates Commodities #21x Maxim/Advanced to come home fourth, just ahead of new National point leader Brady Bacon in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green #69 Triple X/Williams Mopar.
Darland set ProSource “Fast Time” for the night.
The Stoops Freightliner – Quality Trailer “Sprint Car Smackdown III” continues on Saturday with the culmination of Thursday’s program, which still includes two Heat Races, the Semi-Feature and 30-lap Feature. Pit gates open at 11:00am with Hot Laps at 2pm.
RESULTS: AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Championship; August 22, 2014; Kokomo, Indiana; Kokomo Speedway; “Sprint Car Smackdown III”
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Jon Stanbrough, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Kyle Cummins, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Brady Short, 8. C.J. Leary, 9. Chris Windom, 10. Logan Jarrett, 11. Jerry Coons Jr., 12. Shane Cottle, 13. Max McGhee, 14. Tracy Hines, 15. Casey Shuman, 16. Kevin Thomas Jr., 17. Brandon Mattox, 18. Dave Darland, 19. Tyler Courtney, 20. Scotty Weir, 21. Chad Boespflug, 22. Justin Grant, 23. Brian Karraker. NT
**Karraker flipped on Lap 8 of the Feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Clauson, Laps 29-30 Stanbrough.