T-MEZ TURNS IT UP AT SMACKDOWN VIII OPENER
Story By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Photos By: Ryan Sellers/USAC
Kokomo, Indiana (August 22, 2019)………Time after time, Thomas Meseraull has proven every time he straps into a racecar, he’s a threat to win.
One night after leading 12 laps in Simon Racing’s No. 23s at #GYATK Night, the San Jose, Calif. native stepped into Tom Eades’ No. 47 Thursday night for the Sprint Car Smackdown VIII opener and never skipped a beat, racing to his first USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory of the year, and first for Eades, a Kokomo, Ind. native in his first year of owning a sprint car.
The win was a sense of redemption for Meseraull who had a particularly rough showing in the car during the series’ most recent visit to Kokomo during Indiana Sprint Week in July where he started 13th and finished 21st. Meseraull knew he had to put together a complete night to provide himself his best shot to collect a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car win for the fifth-straight year, something accomplished only by five other drivers: Brady Bacon, Justin Grant, Chase Stockon, Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Chris Windom over the same time span since 2015.
“After (Indiana) Sprint Week, we got our ass handed to us, flat out,” Meseraull admitted. “We just got beat. It was a little unexpected. I had to qualify a little better tonight, and I did, which put us up front. Track position in these deals is everything. It’s everything.”
Meseraull began his journey from the outside of the front row, but it was Bacon who took control early on, sliding from his pole starting position to the top in turn one to lead the opening seven circuits with Meseraull in tow, trailing the two-time series champ a couple car lengths behind.
The first stoppage of the night came on lap seven when the night’s ProSource Hard Work Award winner and 19th running Josh Hodges flipped upside down in turn four. He’d walk away uninjured but was finished for the evening.
Once racing resumed, Meseraull stuck right with Bacon, and on the ninth lap, made his bid for the lead, dipping to the bottom of turn one and sliding up in front of Bacon for the top spot. With tension high and the competition at a peak level, Meseraull knew there was no time to putt around in second.
“It was so slick to the curb, and the curb was on the wall. It was as tall as me, I swear,” Meseraull recalled. “It was so big out there, I knew I couldn’t waste any time. After the red flag, we ended up parking there right off of three and realized that it wasn’t slick to the curb. It had a big hole before the curb, like the track had gotten ate up and it had this big dip and my car was evil up there. I’d hit it and it’d get up on two wheels. I just started going in above it in three and cheating across it and driving to the slick. That hole got Brady one lap, and I knew I had to just bomb it in there and hope to God that it would stick, and it stuck.”
Meanwhile, as the battle for the lead switched hands, fourth-running C.J. Leary biked entering on the bottom of turn one. The series point leader miraculously saved his mount without flipping or making contact, but the landing is what got him, flattening his left rear tire before slowing to bring out the yellow. Leary restarted from the tail after getting fresh rubber in the work area, and, ultimately, finished 14th, ending his streak of 21 consecutive top-tens to begin the season.
On the tenth lap restart, Bacon went to work on the bottom underneath Meseraull for the lead in turn one, however Meseraull retained the momentum on the high side as did Courtney back in third. While Bacon trekked the low line, Courtney stuck to the top and raced around the outside to nip Bacon at the line for second and nail down the position exiting turn two.
Courtney put the chase on Meseraull, diamonding off the third turn as well as following him on the top shelf to find a way to close the gap. On the 12th lap, though, Courtney got in above the cushion a bit off turn four, allowing Meseraull to jump away and build his lead to nearly a full straightaway (2.729 seconds) just after the midway point.
On the 17th lap, 7th running Logan Seavey slowed to a stop on the bottom of turn one, erasing Meseraull’s substantial advantage just prior to hitting lapped traffic.
It hardly seemed to make a difference to Meseraull once the green flag dropped on the restart with 13 to go where he once again utilized the high line to break away from Courtney, holding a half-straightaway advantage down the stretch with only lapped traffic to contend with in the final five-lap push.
Meseraull skimmed the outside concrete in turn two with two to go, with no tiptoeing around the outside of the lappers occurring whatsoever, as he closed out a sterling performance in his Tom Eades Racing/Physical Medicine Consultants – 1-Way Technologies/DRC/Stensland Chevy with a 1.339 second victory over Courtney, Justin Grant, Brady Bacon and Chase Stockon.
The victory was the 10th of Meseraull’s USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car career, moving him past Mario Andretti, Hunter Schuerenberg and Robbie Stanley on the list and into a tie with Tony Stewart for 49th all-time.
Contingency award winners Thursday night at Kokomo Speedway were Tyler Courtney (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier & Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Isaac Chapple (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Carson Short (AutoMeter Third Heat Winner), Kyle Cummins (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Chris Windom (Crume Evans Insurance/KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Josh Hodges (ProSource Hard Work Award), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier), Brandon Mattox (Saldana Racing Products/Hoosier Racing Tire First Non-Transfer), Dave Darland (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Thomas Meseraull (Elliott’s Custom Trailers and Carts/Tony Elliott Foundation Winning Bonus) and Cole Ketcham (American Racing Ministries Final Semi Transfer).
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 22, 2019 – Kokomo Speedway – Kokomo, Indiana – Sprint Car Smackdown VIII
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-12.635; 2. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-12.706; 3. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-12.815; 4. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Rock Steady-12.820; 5. C.J. Leary, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-12.825; 6. Thomas Meseraull, 47, Eades-12.834; 7. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-12.837; 8. Logan Seavey, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-12.882; 9. Scotty Weir, 4p, Pedersen-12.918; 10. Hunter Schuerenberg, 19BS, Reinbold/Underwood-12.928; 11. Dave Darland, 36D, Darland-13.038; 12. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-13.073; 13. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 19, Hayward/Thomas-13.175; 14. Dustin Smith, 77, Smith-13.187; 15. Jason McDougal, 71p, Daigh/Phillips-13.193; 16. Shane Cottle, 2E, Epperson-13.204; 17. Chris Windom, 5G, Goacher-13.284; 18. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-13.304; 19. Carson Short, 21, RCM-13.329; 20. Carmen Perigo, 21p, Perigo-13.416; 21. Corey Smith, 66s, CS-13.447; 22. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-13.468; 23. Max Adams, 5m, Adams-13.535; 24. Timmy Buckwalter, 7, LNB-13.549; 25. Tye Mihocko, 5, Mihocko-13.780; 26. Sterling Cling, 34, Cling-13.950; 27. Cole Ketcham, 41, Ketcham-13.955; 28. Brian VanMeveren, 24, VanMeveren-13.959; 29. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-13.996; 30. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-14.061; 31. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-14.080; 32. Ty Tilton, 42, Tilton-14.251; 33. Dustin Christie, 75, Christie-14.258; 34. Travis Hery, 21H, Hery-14.448; 35. Brad Greenup, 4G, Greenup-14.455; 36. Anthony D’Alessio, 01, D’Alessio-NT.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Tyler Courtney, 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 4. Scotty Weir, 5. Tye Mihocko, 6. Chris Windom, 7. Dustin Christie, 8. Matt Goodnight, 9. Corey Smith. NT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Isaac Chapple, 2. Justin Grant, 3. Thomas Meseraull, 4. Hunter Schuerenberg, 5. Brandon Mattox, 6. Josh Hodges, 7. Dustin Smith, 8. Sterling Cling, 9. Travis Hery. 2:12.79
AUTOMETER THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Carson Short, 2. Dave Darland, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Jason McDougal, 5. Chase Stockon, 6. Max Adams, 7. Jarett Andretti, 8. Cole Ketcham, 9. Brad Greenup. NT
INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Kyle Cummins, 2. Logan Seavey, 3. Carmen Perigo, 4. Shane Cottle, 5. Matt Westfall, 6. Ty Tilton, 7. Brian VanMeveren, 8. Timmy Buckwalter. NT
SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Chase Stockon, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Dustin Smith, 4. Max Adams, 5. Josh Hodges, 6. Cole Ketcham, 7. Brandon Mattox, 8. Corey Smith, 9. Jarett Andretti, 10. Tye Mihocko, 11. Timmy Buckwalter, 12. Sterling Cling, 13. Ty Tilton, 14. Brian VanMeveren, 15. Matt Westfall, 16. Matt Goodnight, 17. Dustin Christie, 18. Travis Hery, 19. Anthony D’Alessio. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Thomas Meseraull (2), 2. Tyler Courtney (6), 3. Justin Grant (5), 4. Brady Bacon (1), 5. Chase Stockon (7), 6. Hunter Schuerenberg (10), 7. Chris Windom (16), 8. Scotty Weir (9), 9. Kyle Cummins (4), 10. Carson Short (18), 11. Jason McDougal (14), 12. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (12), 13. Dave Darland (11), 14. C.J. Leary (3), 15. Logan Seavey (8), 16. Dustin Smith (13), 17. Isaac Chapple (17), 18. Max Adams (20), 19. Shane Cottle (15), 20. Carmen Perigo (19), 21. Dustin Christie (24), 22. Brian VanMeveren (23), 23. Josh Hodges (22), 24. Cole Ketcham (21). NT
**Corey Smith flipped during the first heat. Brad Greenup flipped during the third heat. Josh Hodges flipped on lap 7 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Brady Bacon, Laps 9-30 Thomas Meseraull.
CRUME EVANS INSURANCE/KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Chris Windom (16th to 7th)
WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Dave Darland
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS FIRST NON-TRANSFER: Brandon Mattox
ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Kevin Thomas, Jr.
PROSOURCE HARD WORK AWARD: Josh Hodges
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-1,563, 2-Brady Bacon-1,464, 3-Tyler Courtney-1,445, 4-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-1,398, 5-Justin Grant-1,394, 6-Chris Windom-1,390, 7-Chase Stockon-1,380, 8-Carson Short-1,202, 9-Jason McDougal-1,185, 10-Isaac Chapple-920.
NEW PROSOURCE SMACKDOWN VIII PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-9, 2-Carson Short-8, 3-Tyler Courtney-4, 4-Hunter Schuerenberg-4, 5-Jason McDougal-3, 6-Justin Grant-2, 7-Chase Stockon-2, 8-Max Adams-2, 9-Thomas Meseraull-1, 10-Scotty Weir-1.
NEW SMACKDOWN VIII POINTS: 1-Tyler Courtney-168, 2-Justin Grant-164, 3-Thomas Meseraull-163, 4-Brady Bacon-156, 5-Chase Stockon-156, 6-Kyle Cummins-151, 7-Hunter Schuerenberg-148, 8-Scotty Weir-145, 9-C.J Leary-139, 10-Chris Windom-137.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: August 23-24, 2019 – Kokomo Speedway – Kokomo, Indiana – Sprint Car Smackdown VIII