By Danny Burton
Danny Burton’s Hoosier Race Report appears courtesy of OpenWheelRacers.com
Did you ever see something, or someone, and somehow seem to know what was going to happen? An easterly wind most always means rain is on the way at some point in the near future. If you’re having a good time, and drinking a few more adult beverages more than you should, you have a great chance of waking up the next morning not feeling so good. Sprint car camp followers, especially here in Indiana, can count on seeing each other fairly often when sprint car racing happens, which is quite often. And if you by chance catch the eye of a pretty lady, then… well, never mind. That rule, obviously, doesn’t always apply. But these days, in these parts, if you go to a race where Jon Stanbrough is entered, you almost know who the winner will be. And this weekend just past, at both Gas City/I-69 Speedway and at Twin Cities Raceway Park, Mr. Stanbrough’s victories were inevitable.
The King of Indiana Sprint Series is an abbreviated series of races put together by a few Hoosier promoters. The feature winner does not take home as much as a USAC winner, but does win more than the average weekly show. They do not qualify, nor do they stage non-qualifiers’ races. And KISS doesn’t schedule against USAC sprints on dirt, as a rule.
This would be the opening salvo for KISS and a quite few heavy hitters were on hand at Jiggs’ speed palace. The northern Indiana weather could not be any better, with a mild breeze coming from the north. No problem, goggles would take care of that minor issue. After all, people, it is a dirt track and one gets dirty. My new Jamie Fredrickson t-shirt, courtesy of Deb, would be broken in just right.
Tonight would also see long time Hoosier sprint car owner Paul Hazen honored. Paul has been at this game for 50 years now and his accomplishments are extraordinary, as is the man himself. Had everyone who ever drove for Paul been in the group shot at the start/finish line, I’m not sure if there is a camera that could contain all who sat in the Hazen 57.
Mat Neely won the first of four heat races. Billy Puterbaugh Jr., Shane Hollingsworth, and A.J. Anderson, currently driving for Mr. Hazen, trailed. Damion Gardner, getting used to Indiana dirt tracks, took the second heat over Jon Stnabrough, Critter Malone, and Tony Elliott, still driving the Anderson family car. The third heat was Brandon Petty and a bunch of kids. This one saw a get together of Kyle Robbins and Matt Goodnight. No one got upside down, but a fire broke out in Goodnight’s car. Matt undid the belts and did the rolling around routine until the safety crew arrived. He was a tad singed, but would be okay. Jeff Bland Jr. won the heat over John Paynter, Jake Martens, and Petty, who went from fourth to sixth and back to fourth on the last lap. Chris Windom won a strong fourth heat, leading Brady Short, Jerry Coons Jr., and Robert Ballou to the checkered.
The top two would move from the C Main to the B and Steve Ott would transfer. Second was Josh Spencer, taking advantage of others’ bobbles. Hunter Scheurenberg took the nights’ only flip in turn four. He walked away, done for the night.
The top four would advance from the B Main to the main event. As is often the case, it looked like any night’s A Main, with Levi Jones and Shane Cottle in the front row. Cottle ended up winning with Dave Darland coming from sixth to finish second. The back row of the feature would be Jones and Dustin Morgan, both driving Jeff Walker cars.
The joking amongst us before the main was on what lap Jon Stanbrough would take the lead. The Fox Brothers’ 53 was starting seventh, but had a few bad boys to pass. It took him awhile. Pole sitter Mat Neely took the early lead. By the fifth lap, Stanbrough had moved to third and was ready to join Neely and Damion Gardner for a fine battle for the lead. On lap 19 (of 30) Gardner took the lead and soon after Stanbrough also passed Neely. The race’s second caution waved on lap 22 and the field bunched up. A lap after the re-start Stanbrough took a lead he would not relinquish, moving out to a good sized margin. But the three car battle was mighty fine while it lasted.
Gardner hung on for second with Shane Hollingsworth coming on strong for third. Brady Short passed a fading Neely for fourth. The second five was Critter Malone, Darland (all the way from 18th), Cottle (from 17th), Chris Windom, and Levi Jones.
Also Steven Hogue was the modified winner while Randy Lines was the street stock feature winner.
Gas City does it again this coming Friday night with a regular program scheduled.
He Did It Again
Round two of the KISS weekend at Twin Cities. Different night, different track, with the same results. Jon Stanbrough swept the program, winning both his heat and the feature.
The car count may have been light, perhaps due to sprint car and/or midgets running at four other Indiana tracks on a Saturday night, but the quality was there for sure. Stanbrough and Brady Short were the heat winners.
The draw for the feature had Short and Cole Whitt on the front row with Kyle Cummins and Stanbrough behind. West Coaster Robert Ballou and Shane Hollingsworth made up the third row.
Short took the early lead with Stanbrough right behind. Quickly this became a repeat of the Gas City action with Stanbrough dogging the Bedford, IN kid’s every move. But lap 13 was unlucky for Short as Stanbrough got into the back of the Scott Benic owned 2B in turn three. It was one of those “racing deals”, but Short ended up facing the wrong way. This put Stanbrough in the driver’s seat for the win, a done deal, one would think. But, to do that, one would have to discount Robert Ballou, recent Eldora winner.
Fourth on the re-start after the Short yellow, Ballou worked his way forward, passing Kyle Cummins and Shane Hollingsworth to take second with eight laps to go. After the last re-start (for a rare Shane Hollingsworth spin), Ballou was on Stanbrough’s hindquarters and ready to charge. The California kid did the dive bomb routine going into turn one, taking the lead for maybe 50 feet. But the savvy Hoosier veteran did the crossover routine, cutting under Ballou at the apex and taking back the lead as they exited two. And that was that, with Stanbrough winning as Ballou held off Short, who had charged back through the field, for second. Cummins was fourth and Ted Hines was fifth.
Brad Barrow won the crate late models’ feature.
KISS resumes on May 26 at the Lawrenceburg Speedway while Twin Cities hosts dirt late models, modifieds and mini-stocks this coming Saturday.
Elsewhere around the state, Ricky Stenhouse did it again, beating a huge field of heavy hitters in USAC/POWERi midget action at Haubstadt. Billy Puterbaugh Jr. was the big winner at Lincoln Park. Bob Lemen was among the winners at Anderson. Adam Beliles and Scott Townsend were the Paragon open wheel winners. Wes Steidinger was the winner at Bloomington in dirt late model action. Matt Westfall was undecided on Friday night where he would go on Saturday night. I’d imagine that he’s glad he went to Lawrenceburg as he won the feature there. Shawn Negangard was the winner at Union County. Mike Jewell was the dirt late model winner at Brownstown.
This week the plan is for Bloomington on Friday and Terre Haute Action Track on Saturday. THAT’s race director Tim Wolfe tells me that he’s hoping to have some things cooking for the track this year. He’d love to find some old racing footage of the track to use on a TV commercial, among other things. All I can say is….give the guy a chance. He’s in a tough spot, he has a good track record, he deserves a chance to make this work, and he loves open wheel racing like many of us.
Laughing at my friend John Hoover, who looked like the mascot for Red Lobster restaurants last night, I’m…
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