By Danny Burton
Danny Burton’s Hoosier Race Report appears courtesy of OpenWheelRacers.com
Note: This article was written 5/24/07.
You can forgive Brady Short if he has the feeling that the lightning fast Twin Cities Raceway Park owes him one. Ten days earlier he had been leading the feature in the KISS event at Twin Cities when Jon Stanbrough inadvertently turned him around, ending his chances for a win while leading. So on Tuesday, May 22, if revenge was what the kid from Bedford, IN wanted, revenge was what he achieved.
31 cars were signed in with some new driver/car combinations. The Fox Brothers’ 53 had taken quite a beating at Kokomo on Sunday night, so they and the car were both in Bloomington, straightening it (the car) out. So Jon Stanbrough would be in the Roberts 21x for the night. Shane Cottle appeared in the second Keith Kunz car. Bud Kaeding was on hand with his trusty 29. And the biggest surprise was J.J. Yeley, up from NASCAR land and driving his dad’s 2J.
Yeley’s presence made me think. It’s almost routine that NASCAR’s stars hustle off to short tracks to run against the locals, and occasionally even beat them. Not all of them do it, but plenty of them do so. Do you think that this helps NASCAR’s popularity? Do you recall when Indy car drivers did the same? Can you name very many Indy car stars that turn up at short tracks to race with the locals and maybe even sign a few autographs? Hmmmm…
What should not have been a surprise were the two new track records set during time trials. First was Levi Jones, who held the record for maybe ten minutes before Brady Bacon, using a completely different low line, lowered the standard to a blistering 13.719 seconds.
Jon Stanbrough ran off with the win in the first of four heats with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jesse Hockett, and Brady Bacon all heading for the main event.
The second heat saw Levi Jones go flying over the turn one wall, bringing out the red flag and quite a few nervous people. The fence was repaired in a little over a half hour and, remarkably, so was the Tony Stewart #20. Levi rejoined the field on the re-start and brought it home fourth, making his way into the feature. And that, folks, is how championships are won. Daron Clayton won the second heat with Damion Gardner and Robert Ballou leading Mr. Jones.
Hunter Schuerenberg took the third heat over Shane Cottle, Jerry Coons Jr., and Brady Short. Darren Hagen won the last heat with Kevin Swindell, Dustin Morgan, and Bud Kaeding all transferring to the feature.
Dave Darland, who had suffered a flat tire in his heat, won the consolation, taking Mat Neely, Brad Sweet, Shane Hollingsowrth, Chris Windom, and J.J. Yeley along for the ride.
The feature was vintage USAC/Indiana/short track racing in its depth and quality. When Daron Clayton and Shane Cottle are in the back row, the mind can boggle at all of the talent spread throughout the field. Robert Ballou and Jesse Hockett led ‘em to the green with Ballou taking a brief early lead. The race would turn out to be a series of brief, but furious sprints in between nine (by my unofficial count) cautions for minor incidents. Hockett took over on lap four and soon had Short to deal with as the Benic 2B got around Ballou for second around lap five. Brady worked on the Missouri youngster and finally made the pass on lap 14. But he wasn’t quite home free, not at all. Dave Darland came a-calling and pressured Short for awhile before fading in the final few laps. Up next to try and catch Mr. Short was Kevin Swindell, who passed Darland during the last green flag segment for second. Short held on to win as the race was checkered at 29 laps due to an unhappy meeting among a few cars in turn one, at least one of them Levi Jones, minus brakes, at least that was the story I heard. No matter, Short earned it and Swindell ran a fine race himself for second. Darland, Sweet, and Hockett rounded out the top five. The 6-10 spots were Yeley (from 13th), Bacon, Jones, Stenhouse, and Bud Kaeding, who started way back in 19th position.
USAC’s next race is going on as this is written, at the Anderson Speedway. Otherwise, you could do a lot worse than head for Twin Cities this coming Saturday night. AMSA mini-sprints, STORMPAY.com crate late models, super stocks, pure stocks, mini-stocks and cruisers will be on the program at the racy 3/8 mile oval.
I’d better add that the Fleetwood family did a fine job on Tuesday, getting the sprint feature done at 11:10, not bad considering the down time for fence repair. And the track’s condition was nothing short of outstanding with multi-grooves all night.
This weekend I’m leaning towards Bloomington and Lawrenceburg where the KISSeries will light and set.
Dooming Tony Kanaan as I pick him to win at Indy, I’m…
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