Lawrenceburg, Indiana (April 6, 2023) - Ten Spring dates. Ten Spring winners.
That’s the lay of the land for the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship as the series arrives at Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway this Saturday night, April 8, for the series’ Midwest season opener.
In the time Lawrenceburg has greeted USAC with an April date since 2006, the result has seen 10 races and 10 different winning drivers emerge: Jon Stanbrough (2006), Levi Jones (2007), Josh Wise (2009), Jerry Coons Jr. (2010), Kevin Thomas Jr. (2013), Justin Grant (2014), Logan Jarrett (2015), Dave Darland (2016), Chris Windom (2017) and Brady Bacon (2021).
At least three of those drivers will attempt to become the breakthrough artist this Saturday night as they try to chip through the stranglehold that has seen nary a repeat victor throughout all these years: Kevin Thomas Jr., Justin Grant and Brady Bacon.
A TRIO OF PAST SPRINGTIME BURG WINNERS
Series point leader Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) enters Saturday’s race as the defending April winner and would prefer to become not only the first driver to duplicate his 2021 victory, but also go back-to-back in the spring. After all, he’s the most recent driver to capture consecutive USAC Sprint Car wins at the track, taking the 2020 closer and the 2021 lid-lifter. He owns a total of three USAC Sprint wins at the track dating back to 2015, and with one more victory, would surpass Tracy Hines for third all-time on the USAC Sprint career win list. He currently stands tied with Hines, the 2002 series champ, with 47 wins.
Reigning series champion Grant (Ione, Calif.) is tied for third place in all-time USAC Sprint Car wins at Lawrenceburg with four. Grant’s first two series wins came at Lawrenceburg with his first in 2012 and the second in April of 2014 when he took advantage of a late-race restart, then used the extreme upper reaches of the surface to shoot to the lead. In fact, Grant has won at Lawrenceburg in the spring, summer and fall during his career, adding a couple more to his list in 2018-19.
Thomas (Cullman, Ala.) used late-race heroics in a renewal of April activities at Lawrenceburg in 2013 when he pounced on the last lap to steal the victory after starting 10th, coming on late to make a spirited charge on the high side to pull past Chase Stockon off turn two on the final circuit and narrowly held him off to pick up the win. The odd years have been significant for KTJ at Lawrenceburg USAC Sprint races with two scores in 2013, and once each in 2017-19-21. His five total USAC Sprint wins at The Burg rank second all-time behind only Dave Darland’s seven.
AIMING TO SPRING BACK INTO VICTORY LANE
No less than nine total Lawrenceburg USAC Sprint winners are expected in this Saturday’s field. Among them are two-time Lawrenceburg series winner C.J. Leary as well as one-time triumphant wheelmen Kyle Cummins, Robert Ballou, Thomas Meseraull, Logan Seavey and Chase Stockon, all of whom are among the past Lawrenceburg USAC Sprint Car winners actively vying for a first career April win at the track with the series.
Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) has finished as the Spring runner-up at Lawrenceburg on three occasions in 2015, 2016 and 2021 and earned a track championship at The Burg in 2013. The 2019 USAC National Sprint Car champ has twice conquered summer’s round of Indiana Sprint Week at Lawrenceburg in 2017 and 2020.
Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) proved he can win anywhere he goes when he broke through last fall at Lawrenceburg, stating, “For me personally, this is the biggest win of my career. Those (other) places don’t intimidate me but going into turn three here does.” He also comes into Lawrenceburg having won the most recent USAC event at Ocala, Florida’s Bubba Raceway Park on February 18. Yet he’d sure like to improve upon his best April Lawrenceburg finish of 11th in 2015.
Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) mastered the course at Lawrenceburg’s Indiana Sprint Week round in 2011. In Spring Burg go’s, he tallied a 4th on the former 1/4-mile configuration in 2007, gained a 5th on the current 3/8-mile arrangement in 2010, then made his best run with a 3rd during his historic 13-win USAC National Sprint Car championship season in 2015.
Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) pocketed a Fall Nationals score at Lawrenceburg back in 2015 and has routinely been a frontrunner anytime the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget Nationals pay a visit. His most recent springtime Lawrenceburg activity with the USAC Sprints was his best, finishing 5th in 2021 after grabbing 7th on two occasions in 2013 and 2016.
Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) has never before made an April feature start with the USAC National Sprint Cars at Lawrenceburg. However, he is one of the rare individuals who’ve won in both a sprint car and midget in USAC National competition over the years, capturing both the Indiana Midget Week and Indiana Sprint Week rounds in 2021.
For Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.), Lawrenceburg is always a homecoming of sorts as it was the place in which he picked up his first career USAC National Sprint Car victory, doing so back in 2012. In April appearances at Lawrenceburg, he was the runner-up in narrow fashion in 2013 and 4th in 2016 while adding a pair of 6th place results in both 2014-15.
ON THE HUNT
The group of past Lawrenceburg winners will face off against first-time Burg winning hopefuls like 2022 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year and three-time series winner Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.), who nearly captured a Fall Nationals win at Lawrenceburg in 2021. Matt Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio) knows this place well in either version, running 10th during the first spring USAC race at Lawrenceburg back in 2006.
Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) will be making his first spring USAC Sprint Car appearance at Lawrenceburg but took to the track like a duck to water in 2022, earning fast qualifying honors in July and finished 4th in October. Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) and Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) have likewise been fast qualifiers with USAC at Lawrenceburg. Rogers ran 6th in the spring of 2021 and Swanson took 14th while Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.) slotted 22nd that same night.
Making their spring Lawrenceburg debuts include two-time USAC National Sprint Car feature winner Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.), Carson Garrett (Littleton, Colo.) and Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.), the leading series Rookie of the Year contender who has already visited victory lane once this year back in February during a USAC non-points special event at Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park.
Saturday’s race will be the 100th USAC event held at Lawrenceburg since the club debuted at the track in 1961, a National Midget event won by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt. Lawrenceburg will become the eighth track to have hosted 100 or more combined USAC National events.
Ohio’s Eldora Speedway (301) has hosted the most in this category followed by Indianapolis Raceway Park (267), Indiana’s Terre Haute Action Track (250), Indiana’s Winchester Speedway (196), Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway (162), California’s Ascot Park (140) and Indiana’s Salem Speedway (135).
Fifty-one different drivers have reached victory lane in a USAC National event at Lawrenceburg Speedway with USAC Triple Crown champion Dave Darland leading all drivers with seven, all of which have come in a sprint car.
On the sprint car side of the equation, Saturday’s show will be the 69th points race and the 70th overall in series history at the southeastern Indiana venue.
USAC’s tradition at Lawrenceburg has few comparisons and has annually hosted National Sprint Car events at the track for 31 consecutive seasons, since 1992, the second longest active streak behind the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track, which has held a series event each year since 1990.
No less than nine past USAC National Sprint Car winners at Lawrenceburg are expected to be on hand for Saturday’s event which culminates with a $5,000-to-win 30-lap feature. Past Lawrenceburg USAC National Sprint Car winners in the field include Kevin Thomas Jr. (5), Justin Grant (4), Brady Bacon (3), C.J. Leary (2), Robert Ballou (1), Kyle Cummins (1), Thomas Meseraull (1), Logan Seavey (1) and Chase Stockon (1).
This Saturday, April 8, marks the first Midwest appearance of the season for the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship at Dave & Kim Rudisell’s Lawrenceburg Speedway. The event presents the KOI Auto Parts Modifieds and Bessler's U Pull & Save Hornets.
Pits open at 3pm Eastern with the grandstands opening at 5pm and cars on track at 6pm with qualifying and racing to immediately follow. Adult general admission tickets are $30, kids 7-12 are $7, children 6 and under are free. Pit passes are $35 (all ages).
If you’re unable to make it to the track, you may also watch this Saturday’s Lawrenceburg event LIVE on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3ZjeooQ.
Story - USAC Racing
Photo - Steve Koletar