KEVIN THOMAS JR TURNS BACK CHRIS WINDOM TO WIN USAC SPRINT CAR RETURN TO WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY
Story By: SHAWN BROUSE / WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY MEDIA
Photos By: PAUL ARCH & HARRY MEEKS / RACERSGUIDE.COM
MECHANICSBURG, PA –June 16, 2017- Kevin Thomas Jr. took the lead back from Chris Windom and then took his inside line away over the second half of the USAC Sprint Car Feature Thursday night at Williams Grove Speedway.From there, Thomas cruised to victory in the first USAC Sprint car race completed at the Grove since 1996.
It was the opening night of the Grove’s USAC Triple Crown Showdown and the third night of the annual Eastern Storm for the USAC Sprint cars.
For Thomas, who celebrated his birthday Wednesday night, his 13th career USAC Sprint car win was worth $6,000.
“This place has so much history,” said Thomas Jr. “Windom showed me the bottom in three and four. It was getting pretty hairy up there. It was getting thin and right next to the wall and you couldn’t carry a lot of speed. There was a little bit of moisture and rubber along the bottom of three and four. I had to get back in front of him. It was a fun race. I’m pumped to win at Williams Grove.”
Windom eventually settled for third.
“We were really good the first half of the race, but I think I burned off my tires too much,” said Windom. “We were a little too good, too early. He was better late. I wish I could have cleared him when I got to him and took his line away.”
Thomas Jr. started second and grabbed the early race lead over USAC National point leader Justin Grant and polesitter Jarett Andretti.
Windom and Chase Stockon moved by Andretti and into third and fourth.
A red flag stopped the race with three laps completed when Robert Ballou crashed in turn three. He was able to return to the race.
Grant got high off turn four allowing Windom and Stockon to drive by as Thomas continued to lead with five laps completed. Grant got back on the gas and raced back by Stockon and into third.
Thomas led Windom by 1.664 seconds with nine laps completed as Stockon passed Grant again.
Windom began to close on the leader as he worked the inside groove and Thomas was up on the cushion. At the half-way point, his lead was down to 0.564.
Windom was inside of the leader as they raced off turn four. They were side-by-side as they raced down the frontstretch. They swapped the lead in between turns one and two. Thomas led off the second turn and switched to the bottom groove entering turn three.
With 10 laps to go, Thomas was able to pull away from Windom. Thomas continued to work the cushion in turns one and two, but stayed low in three and four over the final five laps.
He would win by 2.362 seconds as Stockon took second from Windom. Grant and Brady Bacon completed the top five. Shane Golobic, Thomas Meseraull, Andretti, Jerry Coons Jr. and former Williams Grove super sportsman winner Carmen Perigo Jr. rounded out the top 10 after starting 20th.
Stockon set fast time over the 32-car field with a lap of 20.035 seconds. It was a track record.
Williams Grove regulars Danny Dietrich and Mark Smith both won a heat race as did fellow Pennsylvania driver Joey Biasi. Brady Bacon was the only USAC driver to win a heat race.
In the 20-lap USAC/ARDC midget feature, Ryan Greth grabbed the early race lead before a first lap caution flag slowed the pace.
Greth controlled the restart as Steve Buckwalter tried to take second from Ryan Robinson.
Another yellow slowed the field on lap two.
Spencer Bayston drove by two cars and into second on the restart. Bayston got inside Greth off turn four to take the lead with three laps completed.
Robinson moved inside Greth taking second as Brady Bacon raced into fourth.
The race was slowed again on lap seven.
Bacon moved up another spot following the restart as he took third from Greth.
A lap 13 caution erased Bayston’s 1.420 second lead.
Thorson drove by Bacon on the restart, but Bacon took the spot back a few laps later.
The caution flew with two laps to go.
Bayston controlled the restart and the final two laps winning by 0.519 seconds. Bacon passed Robinson to finish second. Robinson, Thorson and Tanner Carrick completed the top five. Greth, Holly Shelton, Thomas Meseraull, Tommy Kunsman and Alex Bright rounded out the top 10.
Greth and Kunsman won the heat races.
The USAC Silver Crown cars will be featured Friday night at Williams Grove in the 100-lap Horn-Schindler Memorial. The USAC midgets will return as well.
Sprint Car Feature (30 laps): 1. Kevin Thomas Jr. 2. Chase Stockon. 3. Chris Windom. 4. Justin Grant. 5. Brady Bacon. 6. Shane Golobic. 7. Thomas Meseraull. 8. Jarett Andretti. 9. Jerry Coons Jr. 10. Carmen Perigo Jr. 11. Aaron Farney. 12. Kyle Moody. 13. Danny Dietrich. 14. Isaac Chapple. 15. Chad Boespflug. 16. Joey Biasi. 17. Tyler Courtney. 18. Mark Smith. 19. Dave Darland. 20. CJ Leary. 21. Stevie Suzzex. 22. Trevor Kobylarz. 23. Robert Ballou. 24. Kyle Robbins.
Midget Feature (20 laps): 1. Spencer Bayston; 2. Brady Bacon; 3. Ryan Robinson; 4. Tanner Thorson; 5. Tanner Carrick; 6. Ryan Greth; 7. Holly Shelton; 8. Thomas Meseraull; 9. Tommy Kunsman; 10. Alex Bright; 11. Adam Pierson; 12. Steve Buckwalter; 13. Shawn Jackson; 14. Kenny Miller; 15. Josh Heckman; 16. Steve Craig; 17. Trevor Kobylarz; 18. Jason Rice; 19. Rob Marhefka; 20. PJ Garguilo; 21. Andrew Layser; 22. Rohan Beasley.