By Danny Burton
Danny Burton’s Hoosier Race Report appears courtesy of OpenWheelRacers.com
We went to a different church this morning (Lutheran) and the minister spoke of hope and how crucial it is to have it in our lives. So I didn’t exactly doze off; instead I thought of Josh Cunningham, who posted his first sprint car victory at the Bloomington Speedway on Friday night, after many years of trying. And I thought of Jon Stanbrough, who has re-assumed his well-earned description as maybe the best of Hoosier short-track open wheelers. All Jon did was win going away at Terre Haute on Saturday night in King of Indiana Sprint Series action, and also take the 2006 KISS points championship, too.
On another hot and humid Hoosier Friday night, there were 42 cars jamming the sprint car section of the pits at Bloomington. Many of the usual suspects were on hand, with Bryan Stanfill in a new, to him, car along with Brad Sweet in Jack Yeley’s good looking yellow 3J. Five heats and two B Mains would be run, with 21 starters in the feature. And whenever the sky was dark enough, the fireworks would light up the clear Indiana skies.
Jon Stanbrough ran off with the first heat win, and he was trailed by Brent Beauchamp and Ty Decker. Recent Lawrenceburg winner Tim Spindler started on the tail spot of the second heat, but his charge to the front ended right away as he tangled with another car. Danny Holtsclaw won the second heat as Jon Sciscoe and Arin McIntosh also transferred to the feature. Dickie Gaines took the third heat over Kevin Briscoe. Chris Windom came from seventh to place third. J.T. Imperial was leading the fourth heat when he had to drop out. Hunter Schuerenberg was the winner over Josh Cunningham and Jason Holt. And Brad Sweet won the fifth heat over Kent Christian (in the family car after his Paragon crash disabled his 2006 ride) and Kenny Carmichael Sr., still in the Terry Eup 47T.
Brady Short took the first of the two B Mains over Jared Fox and Kenny Carmichael Jr. Chris Babcock was first among those who would go home early. Steve Rone barely held off Bobby Stine (who started 10th) in the second last chance race with Kerry Kinser third.
Before the sprint feature the fireworks entertained the huge crowd. Not that many people left, to my surprise and no doubt to the track’s delight as the sprinters lined up. The re-draw had Cunningham and Briscoe in the front row, followed by Scheurenberg, Stanbrough, Christian, Holtsclaw, Sweet, Sciscoe, Beauchamp, and Gaines.
The waving of the green flag set off a classic Bloomington battle with Cunningham, Briscoe, and Stanbrough all fighting for the lead. Gaines slid off what was quickly becoming a very slick turn two on lap three and would begin a charge to the front himself. Halfway through and it was Cunningham, Stanbrough, Briscoe, Scheurenberg, Sweet, Christian, Beauchamp, Holtsclaw, Short, and Decker. A few laps later Stanbrough slipped high in turn two, and dropped back to fifth. The yellow flag flew on lap 21 for Kent Christian and Cunningham still was holding off Briscoe, Scheurenberg, Stanbrough, Sweet, Holtsclaw, Decker, Beauchamp, Short, and Sciscoe. The last four laps were about as good as it can get, not only at Bloomington, but most anywhere. No restrictor plates, no aerodynamics, no green/white/checkered finishes, as Briscoe and Cunningham both gave it their all. Josh held true to the bottom as Kevin tried his best to make the outside groove work. But, again, turn two would be the track champ’s undoing. He didn’t spin, but did see Cunningham get a good sized advantage in turn two’s low groove. Despite all of that, Briscoe did make a last lap run that saw him come up a foot short of victory as Cunningham held on for the win. This was the reverse order of a 2005 finish in which Briscoe passed Cunningham on the last lap. Sweet was third, followed by Stanbrough and Scheurenberg. The second five was made up of Holtsclaw, Short, Deckard, Sciscoe and Gaines, who recovered nicely from his early misfortune. After years of trying, Cunningham’s hopes and dreams had come to pass.
Ray Humphrey and Jeremy Hines won the modified and super stock features. This coming Friday, July 7, they will do it again at Bloomington.
Saturday night’s KISS show at Terre Haute would be hard pressed to top, but the 30 cars assembled still gave the fans a good show. Jon Stanbrough could have done the “points racing” deal and no one would have griped too much, but no. The veteran from Jamestown, IN in the Fox Brothers 53 would have none of it.
I was a passenger with the totally retired Dave Foist for this two hour trip and all the old and new racing stories we told made the trip faster. Before we knew it we were pulling into the parking lot. As it turned out, we had plenty of time. Things were running late, though the program ran very smoothly thereafter. Track preparation was quite difficult thanks to the sun, the heat, and the fairly strong southwest breeze, but the half mile dirt ended up in decent shape with passing being done a good bit.
Hud Cone won the first heat, with Bryan Stanfill, Brad Sweet, Jeff Davis, and Chase Stockon all transferring to the 30 lap feature. Shane Cottle, who figured to be Stanbrough’s most potent competition, won the second heat over Stanbrough, Critter Malone, Chris Windom, and Chris Gentry. Kyle Cummins ran off with the third heat win, trailed by Jon Sciscoe, Shane Hollingworth, Chris Urish, and Danny Brackett.
Mitch Wissmiller would get the first of the five remaining spots in the feature. Justin Marvel was second, followed by Alex Shanks, Hunter Scheurenberg, and A.J. Anderson. Derek O’Dell and Matt Westfall were among the bad boys loading up early.
Stanfill and Sciscoe led ‘em to the green, followed by Cone, Cottle, Stanbrough, Cummins, Sweet, Malone, Hollingsworth, and Davis. But Stanbrough shot to the lead coming out of turn two under the others and never looked back. Cottle settled in behind him and stayed there. Stanfill ran well, early but dropped out late with a sour engine. Wissmiller was worth watching as he moved up from 14th. Stanbrough and Cottle were followed by Brad Sweet with his second strong run in two nights. Sciscoe was fourth and Wissmiller was fifth. Positions six through ten were Windom, Hollingsworth (nursing a smoking engine at the end), Marvel, Jonathan Vennard (an eventful night for the kid from Vincennes, who had engine troubles in his heat, took over teammate Chris Gentry’s car, started on the tail, and moved up enough to hang onto second in KISS points), and Malone.
Stanbrough could have taken it easy and cruised to the KISS points crown, but chose instead to go for the win. Those assembled appreciated that and were glad that he did. It was his night and deservedly so.
Terre Haute’s fireworks display followed the feature, which was over at 10:30. Curtis Rhodes won the modified feature.
Don’t run off too far; the Terre Haute Action Track’s next race is July 21, when many of the guys who were at THAT on Saturday night will be back with USAC for the final chapter of Indiana Sprint Week.
Elsewhere in Indiana, Brandon Petty, still without a regular ride, won at both Gas City and at Lawrenceburg in the Pearce family’s car. At Brownstown, the Modern Day Cowboy, John Gill, won both the makeup and the regular dirt late model feature. Shane Cottle was the winner at Kokomo late last Sunday. Bobby Stine was the winner at Lincoln Park. Jake Scott and Kerry Kinser were the feature winners at Paragon. Through all the hurt feelings and harsh words at O’Reilly’s Raceway Park on Saturday night, it was Dave Steele and Bobby Santos winning in USAC midget and sprint car action. And Michael Schumacher was a no show at THAT. Presumably he was preparing for the U.S. Grand Prix. Good thing he did, because he easily won it as a bunch of cars left the race for the second year in a row.
Still hoping to see Bernie Ecclestone lining up in the front row for a feature at Paragon, I’m…
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- Related Posts:
- The Hoosier Race Report: First Time Winner
- The Hoosier Race Report: Victory and Heartbreak
- The Hoosier Race Report: Jon Stanbrough’s Way
- The Hoosier Race Report: Short Stands Tall at Bloomington
- The Hoosier Race Report: Comebacks and Obstacles
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