By Danny Burton
Danny Burton’s Hoosier Race Report appears courtesy of OpenWheelRacers.com
On a weekend when open wheel racing here held its annual salute to a couple of its long gone fraternity, we saw a young racer hold off two of the best in two different races at the Salem Speedway. The youngster is surely enjoying the present, and is riding the wave. But his potential future is nearly mind-boggling in the racing world. Whether it is to be in Indy cars or in NASCAR, Bryan Clauson is quite possibly going to be the next area racer to make his mark on racing at its national level. And by the way, we saw yet another first time winner on Friday night at Bloomington, namely Hunter Schuerenberg.
The weather could not have been nicer for yet another Friday night of racing at the Bloomington Speedway after lots of rain both Thursday and Friday morning. The quarter mile high banked red clay oval was lightning fast. Had there been qualifying, the times would have been quite impressive, I’d have guessed.
Heat race action began with a blowout as Jared Fox ran off with the first race over Eric Smith, Jason Holt, and Kenny Carmichael. Jon Sciscoe easily (well, he made it look easy) won the second heat, followed by Hunter Schuerenberg, who edged out Kenny Biro. Mitch Cunningham was fourth. Ty Deckard took the third heat with Dickie Gaines, Chris Windom, and Arin McIntosh trailing. Kevin Briscoe was a car length or two ahead of Bobby Stines in the fourth heat. Josh Cunningham was third and Cole Whitt was fourth.
Kenny Carmichael Jr. won the B Main over Danny Holtsclaw and Dakoda Armstrong. Chris Babcock hung on for fourth, despite tangling with Jimmy Light at the end. After the race Lee Stark took a mean tumble in turn one. Lee was okay, but the gang had some work ahead of them, fixing a car.
Schuerenberg and Stines made for a young front row, with Briscoe, Sciscoe, Deckard, Fox, Smith, Gaines, Holt, and Biro behind them. Schuerenberg, yet another Missouri visitor who has made the long haul east this year, took off at the start, leaving Stines to deal with Fox and Briscoe. Fox was on a roll; he came from sixth to pass Stines for second about halfway through the race on a still fast track that made passing very difficult. The race would go green for all 25 laps and lapped traffic became a factor. Fox was challenging Schuerenberg for the lead, but the Show Me Kid weaved through the lapped cars with a veteran’s deftness. Fox only dropped back a bit, leading Stines across the line for second. Briscoe was fourth and Gaines took fifth. Sciscoe, Deckard, Windom, Smith, and Holt finished in positions six through ten. Danny Holtsclaw deserved mention for starting 18th and finishing 11th. Incredibly, the sprint feature was over at 9:15 p.m.
Josh Eads won the modified feature after Ray Humphrey’s misfortune five laps from the end. Danny Harris won the super stock finale.
Next week at Bloomington the modifieds will take front stage with the Wolfpack Challenge, $1000 to win. Sprints and super stocks will also have their regular program.
Clauson Joins A Very Exclusive Club
In these parts, the Joe James-Pat O’Conner Memorial Race is pretty special among all of our special events. And, for that matter, so is the location of the James-O’Conner event, namely the venerable Salem Speedway. So, on Saturday night, Bryan Clauson, who was born just about the time that Jeff Gordon was starting to make his mark in these same parts, did something fairly rare. First, he held off David Steele to win the midget portion of the night’s program. If that wasn’t enough, he proceeded to do the same thing in the sprint feature, edging Tracy Hines. With those two wins, Clauson joined Gordon, Pancho Carter, and Steele in sweeping both features of the James-O’Conner classic.
As I walked into the speedway grounds last evening I thought to myself how much I love this place. I’ve been fortunate enough to know many attractive middle-aged ladies over the years; in fact, I’m married to one. The Salem Speedway reminds me of a graceful and lovely middle-aged lady. Here and there the girl may show her age a bit; the track needs a good repaving job (notice that I said good, anything less than good would ruin the racing). But she remains lovely both in looks, history, and personality. One would proud to be seen with her. One looks forward to each visit. And each visit is always a joy, though often too brief.
All kinds of improvements have been made over the years by track owner Owen Thompson. His best move may have been turning Richard Deaton loose to run the place. Richard’s efforts paid off Saturday night as a large crowd packed the old track for some good old fashioned USAC type action.
Tom Hessert, who is only 20, but seems to have been around for longer than he actually has, won the first midget heat. Other heat winners were Levi Jones and Dave Darland. Bryan Clauson won the semi-main. Darland hustled after his midget heat win to hop into his Jeff Walker-owned sprint car to win the first sprint heat. Eric Gordon and Darren Hagen won the other two heats. Josh Wise won the B Main.
One racer that had the ugliest luck for the night was Darren Hagen. First, he dropped out of the midget feature while leading. Later the same thing would happen during the sprint feature. Even lovely middle aged ladies can turn on you, the California kid found out.
Bobby Santos III and Hagen were the front row and after a couple of false starts, Hagen took the early lead. On lap 10 Hagen headed for the pits with ignition miseries, just as a caution flag came out. The Keith Kunz crew feverishly worked on the car; Hagen returned, only to drop out for good a few laps later. Meanwhile, Clauson, who had been running second to Hagen, took over the lead and held on to take the win over Dave Steele. The Florida ace dogged Clauson’s every move, getting underneath more than once to try a pass. But the kid hung on, taking the 30 lap feature at a track where he’d never raced. Santos was third, followed by Jerry Coons Jr. and Josh Wise.
For the sprint feature, once again Hagen took the lead, this time over Ron Gregory, Tracy Hines, Clauson, and Jones. But Gregory brought out a caution when he scraped along the turn three wall, moving Hines to second. Hagen was unfazed, holding onto the lead until just past the lap 25 halfway mark. By lap 28 Hagen had come back to the pack and Hines tried a pass on the low side. But Tracy could not make the pass and was stuck in the low groove. Clauson took second from the veteran from New Castle, Indiana. And a lap later Hagen again had his bad luck, heading for the pits as his teammate took a lead he’d not give up. Clauson never could shake the Hoffman Racing #69; Hines kept it close all the way. But the transplanted Californian, re-located to the Indianapolis suburb of Noblesville, held off Hines with Brian Gerster an impressive third. Jones was fourth with Mark Jessup fifth. On most any other night perhaps both Gerster and Jessup would have had more attention. Those two were able to get more out of their cars than many higher funded teams could.
With all that, perhaps the most impressive part of Clauson’s night was after he’d graciously received all the accolades and the teams were loading up for the night. There he stood at the start/finish line, signing autographs, posing for pictures, and generally seeming to enjoy himself with kids even younger than him. Fighting post race traffic was not in my plans, so strolling through the pits was a great second option. Sure enough there was Levi Jones doing the same thing, signing autographs, etc. No doubt there were others; Bryan and Levi were the only two that I saw. It was short track racing at its best.
USAC’s sprinters head for Winchester on August 27 for a makeup date for the Kenny Irwin Memorial. The midgets head west on September 2 for racing at Altamont Motorsports Park. And our fendered brethren invade the high banks of Salem this coming Saturday.
Elsewhere around Indiana it was Tony Beaber winning at Lawrenceburg for the second week in a row. Kenny Carmichael won at Lincoln Park. Jeff Leka won the Wolfpack Challenge at Paragon. Sprint features at Paragon were taken by Eric Zellner and Adam Beliles. Chad Poorman and Jack Landis were among the winners at Angola. Brownstown was rained out. Well, the rains from Thursday forced the promoter to pull the plug. And the 27th Annual Jackson 100 is coming up at Brownstown this coming Saturday. Shane Hollingsworth was the Gas City victor. Jon Stanbrough won at Kokomo Sunday night. Again at Kamp’s Speedway, it was Dan Hamstra and Richie Hedrick winning in modifieds and late models. Roger Cavness, Lenny Brinkly, and Snake Howard were the winners way up north at Shadyhill. The MSCS was at Haubstadt with Kyle Wissmiller winning.
Join me this Saturday as I join my fellow Buckeye Auto Racefan Club members for the world’s only Polish Luau at the Lawrenceburg Speedway.
Preparing to hear from, or maybe hide from, middle-aged ladies everywhere, I’m…
Visit OpenWheelRacers.com for all of the latest open wheel racing news, results, and information.
- Related Posts:
- The Hoosier Race Report: The Kid Makes a Statement
- The Hoosier Race Report: Jon Stanbrough’s Way
- The Hoosier Race Report: Stanbrough Dusts Them Off at Gas City
- The Hoosier Race Report: Short Stands Tall at Bloomington
- The Hoosier Race Report: Victory and Heartbreak
There are no comments for “The Hoosier Race Report: Past, Present, and Future”. You may add a comment or trackback from your own site.