(David Nearpass Photo)
BACON BACK TO THE TOPOF THE USAC SPRINT POINTS WITH LPS TRIUMPH
By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Putnamville, Indiana (September 12, 2020)………Brady Bacon and Lincoln Park Speedway have been a perfect match for each other ever since a mag issue sidelined he and the Dynamics, Inc. team prior to the start of the feature back on July 3.
Since that point, Bacon reeled off a victory there the following night, then recorded a runner-up finish in the first feature on Saturday, followed up by another victory in the second feature of the doubleheader to close out Saturday night at LPS with just about the best result any driver/team could ask for.
And, to add the cherry on top, Bacon and Dynamics, Inc. reclaimed the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car driver and owner point leads in the process after entering the weekend atop the standings, but falling back to third in the pecking order following a 10th place result Friday at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway.
“Lincoln Park – two features in one day, a first and a second,” Bacon exclaimed. “You can ask for a little better than that but not much better. We’ll definitely take it after we struggled last night at Bloomington.”
The victory was Bacon’s 34th in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car competition, putting him just one behind Jon Stanbrough and Rich Vogler for 10th all-time. Though Bacon leads the points, he aims not to just merely “point race.” He intends to win races and let the points sort out however they may, and he’s accomplished that better than anyone else in the series this year with the victory marking the Broken Arrow, Okla. driver’s series-leading fifth triumph of the year.
“We’re pretty fortunate to be in the battle at all,” Bacon said. “We had some mistakes early in the year. To even be in the hunt, we’re pretty fortunate for than and that other people had some misfortune. So, we’re just taking it a day at a time, just going out here and winning races. Obviously, you have that in the back of your mind when you see other guys struggling a little bit.
You kind of have to put it in a little bit of a conservative mode and not do anything stupid, but at the same time, you want to go out and win races.”
Bacon started the second 30-lap feature from fifth on the grid, but it was frequent Lincoln Park weekly winner A.J. Hopkins taking off to the early advantage from the pole position for the first two corners on the opening lap. However, it was a resurgent Kevin Thomas Jr. who secured the lead on the opening lap, powering to the front with a big run off the top of turn four to lead by a car length at the line.
Bacon dropped back to 7th during the opening laps, cruising the top early on as he sought to figure out the best path forward to get to the front until discovering a trail a little bit lower than seemingly everyone in front of him was chasing.
“I got a little worried there at the beginning,” Bacon admitted. “The top kind of got rolled in, then I thought, ‘you know what, it’s going to get dirty up there. They aren’t going to be able to run up there.’ So, I just started rolling the bottom, rolling the bottom and it came in and we got to hitting that bottom off turn two.”
Trouble ensued for Hopkins, however on lap eight as he, C.J. Leary and Mario Clouser were involved in a fight for 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Leary slid past Hopkins for 2nd off turn four. Behind him, however, Clouser’s right front wheel climbed Hopkins’ left rear, which resulted in damage to the left side nerf bar of Hopkins’ ride and a flat left rear tire, ending Hopkins’ night prematurely with a 22nd place result.
When racing resumed, Leary took the fight right to Thomas for the race lead. Leary drove by Thomas with a slider in turn three on the lap eight restart, providing him the lead at the line by a half car length. However, Thomas replied with a slider of his own in turn one, reclaiming the position, albeit briefly, before Leary ducked back under exiting turn two to retake the spot, which he’d hold throughout the mid-portion of the race.
As Thomas and Clouser chased Leary on the topside, Bacon utilized the catfish line to 3rd by Clouser on the tenth lap, then to 2nd by Thomas on the 13th lap. Another three-lap increment later, Bacon wheeled the Dynamics, Inc./Fatheadz Eyewear – DriveWFX.com/Triple X/Rider Chevy No. 69 underneath Leary in turn two on lap 16 to snare the lead once and for all, and the timing couldn’t have been any better from Bacon’s point of view.
“We’re able to get to the lead, then it started laying rubber,” Bacon recalled. “So, I thought we were pretty safe. I was worried about it laying rubber on the top, but you can’t really give up what you’re doing when you’re in the lead.”
Bacon stayed the course for the entirety of the second half of the event, hitting the bottom lap after lap. The top-four began to drift to the bottom of the surface as they tried to keep pace with Bacon as he continued to pull away from the rest of the field.
Shane Cottle, who started 17th and won at LPS with USAC back in early July, found the bottom early, and proceeded to drive all the way up to 3rd place with 10 laps remaining as Thomas opened the door by pushing up at the exit of turn two.
For Bacon, it was three sails to the wind as he posted a full-straightway advantage with five laps to go while beginning the process of entering the tail end of the field in traffic.
Despite that fact, Bacon’s lead never dwindled as he executed a victorious performance with precision to score his third career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory at LPS after earlier winning in 2015 and now twice with the series in 2020. He also captured a non-sanctioned Sprint Car victory at LPS in June of this year.
At the checkered, Bacon was 3.964 seconds ahead of Leary, Cottle, Thomas and Friday night’s Bloomington winner Chris Windom. Cottle’s 3rd place performance netted him B & W Auto Mart / KSE Racing Products Hard Charger honors for the night after starting 17th in the feature.
Leary’s series-leading fifth fast time of the year during Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying was the 28th of his USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car career, surpassing Dave Steele and Chase Stockon for sole possession of 12th all-time.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS:
September 12, 2020 – Lincoln Park Speedway – Putnamville, Indiana – 5/16-Mile Dirt Oval
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING FLIGHT ONE: 1. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-12.624; 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9K, KT-12.700; 3. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Rock Steady-12.951; 4. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-12.961; 5. A.J. Hopkins, 04, Burton-13.021; 6. Dave Darland, 36d, EZR/Curb-Agajanian-13.084; 7. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-13.130; 8. Shane Cottle, 74x, Hodges-13.177; 9. Shane Cockrum, 24p, Paul-13.237; 10. Tye Mihocko, 5, Mihocko-13.245; 11. Jadon Rogers, 61m, Edwards-13.246; 12. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-13.308; 13. Ricky Lewis, 11, Lewis-13.312; 14. Sterling Cling, 34, Cling-13.323; 15. Brayden Fox, 53, Fox-13.342; 16. Matt McDonald, 5m, McDonald-13.564; 17. Josh Cunningham, 17c, Cunningham-13.627; 18. Slater Helt, 22s, Helt-13.667; 19. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-13.815; 20. Aric Gentry, 10, GBR-13.832; 21. Chris Phillips, 6p, Phillips-13.871; 22. Jesse Vermillion, 5v, Vermillion-13.971; 23. Robert Carrington, 34c, Carrington-14.202; 24. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-14.752.
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING FLIGHT TWO: 1. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-12.885; 2. Jake Swanson, 34AZ, Team AZ-13.083; 3. Chris Windom, 19, Hayward-13.122; 4. Max Adams, 37, Felker-13.151; 5. Anthony D’Alessio, 01, D’Alessio-13.178; 6. Anton Hernandez, 17GP, Dutcher-13.189; 7. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-13.240; 8. Thomas Meseraull, 2E, Epperson-13.268; 9. Carson Short, 71p, Daigh/Phillips-13.333; 10. Blake Vermillion, 73, Vermillion-13.378; 11. Mario Clouser, 6, Clouser-13.388; 12. Brent Beauchamp, 34B, Olson-13.454; 13. Logan Seavey, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-13.454; 14. Travis Berryhill, 77s, Sturgeon-13.462; 15. Ben Knight, 16K, Knight-13.602; 16. Nate McMillin, 24, McMillin-13.691; 17. Stevie Sussex, 77w, Wingo-13.745; 18. Harley Burns, 16, Burns-13.787; 19. Shey Owens, 17s, SNO-13.814; 20. Colten Cottle, 5c, Cottle-13.831; 21. Alec Sipes, 20, Bland-13.868; 22. Brandon Morin, 98, Morin-13.953; 23. Michael Clark, 8, Clark-14.807; 24. Jonathan Vennard, 54, KO-NT.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. A.J. Hopkins, 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Kyle Cummins, 4. Jadon Rogers, 5. Shane Cockrum, 6. Robert Ballou, 7. Ricky Lewis, 8. Matt Westfall, 9. Brayden Fox, 10. Josh Cunningham, 11. Chris Phillips, 12. Robert Carrington. 2:21.084
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Tye Mihocko, 2. Dave Darland, 3. Shane Cottle, 4. Kevin Thomas Jr., 5. Justin Grant, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Matt McDonald, 8. Aric Gentry, 9. Sterling Cling, 10. Slater Helt, 11. Robert Bell, 12. Jesse Vermillion. 2:22.755
AUTOMETER THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Mario Clouser, 2. Brandon Mattox, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Stevie Sussex, 6. Carson Short, 7. Logan Seavey, 8. Alec Sipes, 9. Michael Clark, 10. Ben Knight, 11. Anthony D’Alessio, 12. Shey Owens. NT
INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Brent Beauchamp, 2. Thomas Meseraull, 3. Anton Hernandez, 4. Brandon Morin, 5. Nate McMillin, 6. Blake Vermillion, 7. Colten Cottle, 8. Max Adams, 9. Jake Swanson, 10. Harley Burns, 11. Travis Berryhill. NT
C-MAIN: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the semi) 1. Josh Cunningham, 2. Slater Helt, 3. Matt Westfall, 4. Chris Phillips, 5. Matt McDonald, 6. Stevie Sussex, 7. Nate McMillin, 8. Ben Knight, 9. Alec Sipes, 10. Michael Clark, 11. Harley Burns, 12. Robert Carrington, 13. Robert Bell, 14. Shey Owens. 2:39.068
INDY METAL FINISHING SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Jake Swanson, 3. Max Adams, 4. Chris Phillips, 5. Robert Ballou, 6. Chase Stockon, 7. Brayden Fox, 8. Sterling Cling, 9. Matt Westfall, 10. Josh Cunningham, 11. Carson Short, 12. Travis Berryhill, 13. Ricky Lewis, 14. Anthony D’Alessio, 15. Slater Helt, 16. Blake Vermillion, 17. Shane Cockrum, 18. Logan Seavey. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (5), 2. C.J. Leary (6), 3. Shane Cottle (17), 4. Kevin Thomas Jr. (4), 5. Chris Windom (2), 6. Mario Clouser (8), 7. Jake Swanson (10), 8. Tye Mihocko (7), 9. Jadon Rogers (18), 10. Brandon Mattox (15), 11. Chase Stockon (19), 12. Justin Grant (11), 13. Brent Beauchamp (9), 14. Max Adams (16), 15. Kyle Cummins (3), 16. Chris Phillips (22), 17. Matt Westfall (23), 18. Thomas Meseraull (21), 19. Brandon Morin (20), 20. Anton Hernandez (13), 21. Dave Darland (12), 22. A.J. Hopkins (1), 23. Robert Ballou (14). NT
**Logan Seavey flipped during the semi.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Kevin Thomas Jr., Laps 8-15 C.J. Leary, Laps 16-30 Brady Bacon.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-1,384, 2-Chris Windom-1,375, 3-Chase Stockon-1,351, 4-C.J. Leary-1,344, 5-Justin Grant-1,305, 6-Kevin Thomas Jr.-1,139, 7-Carson Short-1,061, 8-Dave Darland-979, 9-Kyle Cummins-969, 10-Logan Seavey-909.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-135, 2-Tanner Thorson-83, 3-Shane Cottle-83, 4-Kyle Cummins-78, 5-Justin Grant-76, 6-Cannon McIntosh-69, 7-Andrew Layser-65, 8-Chase Stockon-63, 9-Logan Seavey-63, 10-Kyle Larson-62.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 18, 2020 – Terre Haute Action Track – Terre Haute, Indiana – 1/2-Mile Dirt Oval – Jim Hurtubise Classic
CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:
Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: C.J. Leary
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: A.J. Hopkins
Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner: Tye Mihocko
AutoMeter Third Heat Winner: Mario Clouser
Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner: Brent Beauchamp
Indy Metal Finishing Semi Winner: Justin Grant
KSE Racing Products / B & W Auto Mart Hard Charger: Shane Cottle (17th to 3rd)
Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher: Brent Beauchamp
Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer: Brayden Fox
Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier: Anthony D’Alessio