THOMAS PURSUES 3RD CONSECUTIVE OVAL NATS WIN
Story By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Photos By: Pete MacDonald/RacersGuide.com
Perris, California (October 28, 2019)………In the 23-year history of the Oval Nationals, four drivers have been able to score two consecutive victories in the event at California’s Perris Auto Speedway.
No driver, however, has found victory lane in three-straight years on the final night. Kevin Thomas, Jr. faces that opportunity on November 7-8-9 as the Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction arrives at the southern California half-mile dirt oval for the 24th time.
Thomas, of Cullman, Ala., joined the likes of Bud Kaeding (2001-02), Cory Kruseman (2003-04) and Dave Darland (2005-06) as the winner of two consecutive Oval Nationals final nights a year ago at Perris, leading the final eight laps en route to victory. In 2017, Thomas captured the first of his two Oval Nationals triumphs, leading the final six circuits to get the big win.
Three-straight wins in the event would be an enormous accomplishment for Thomas, something of which Kaeding, Kruseman and Darland each took their shot at during the early to mid-2000s.
Kaeding, who guns for his fourth overall final night win in this year’s Oval Nationals, won his first two in 2001 and 2002. He came the closest to accomplishing the feat in 2003, finishing 3rd behind winner Cory Kruseman on the final night. However, he did win the second preliminary night feature in 2003 to capture Oval Nationals victories, prelim or otherwise, three years running.
The 2003 score for Kruseman was the first of two-straight Oval Nationals wins for himself after another win the following year in 2004. He wound up 10th in 2002 prior to his pair of wins and 27th in 2005 as he pursued his third.
The all-time winningest driver in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint car history, Dave Darland, went back-to-back in 2005 and 2006. He was 10th in 2004 and 27th in 2007 at the bookends of his two wins.
Thomas has made a late-season surge in recent times with a win in his latest series outing at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway in early October and has finished in the top-six in six of his last eight starts. The team he’s equipped with is an Oval Nationals winning combination that’s gotten the job done before with team owner Brodie Hayward the entrant for Bryan Clauson’s winning performance on the final night in 2015, a race in which Thomas led the opening 22 laps of the 40-lap event.
OVAL NATIONALS ENTRIES
0 Bud Kaeding/Campbell, CA (Morrison Williams)
4 Justin Grant/Ione, CA (TOPP Motorsports)
4x Damion Gardner/Concord, CA (Mark Alexander)
4G Chris Gansen/Verdemont Heights, CA (Dennis and Christol Gansen)
5 Tye Mihocko/Peoria, AZ (Tye Mihocko)
5G Chris Windom/Canton, IL (Parallax Group/Goacher Racing)
5x Tommy Malcolm/Corona, CA (Dino Napier)
7BC Tyler Courtney/Indianapolis, IN (Clauson/Marshall/Newman Racing)
7G Donnie Gansen/San Bernardino, CA (Dennis and Christol Gansen)
10 Richard Vander Weerd/Visalia, CA (Ron Vander Weerd)
12 Stevie Sussex/Tempe, AZ (ABC Body Shop)
12B Joel Rayborne/West Covina, CA (Rodney Rayborne)
13G Dennis Gile/Phoenix, AZ (Gene Gile)
13m Thomas Meseraull/San Jose, CA (Gene Gile)
15 Chris Bonneau/Peoria, AZ (Chris Bonneau)
19 Kevin Thomas, Jr./Cullman, AL (Hayward/Thomas Motorsports)
19AZ C.J. Leary/Greenfield, IN (Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports)
19BS Hunter Schuerenberg/Sikeston, MO (Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports)
19s Logan Seavey/Sutter, CA (Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports)
28m Matt McCarthy/Riverside, CA (John McCarthy)
32 Chase Stockon/Fort Branch, IN (32 TBI Racing)
34 Jake Swanson/Anaheim, CA (John Grau/Mike Burkhart)
42 Brody Roa/Garden Grove, CA (Dwight Cheney)
42x Jason McDougal/Broken Arrow, OK (Dwight Cheney)
44 Cody Williams/Norco, CA (Cody Williams)
44H Jake Helsel/Monroe, WA (Tony Helsel)
47 Charles Davis, Jr. Buckeye, AZ (Charles Davis, Jr.)
51 R.J. Johnson/Laveen, AZ (Ricky Johnson)
51T Eddie Tafoya, Jr./Chino Hills, CA (Eddie Tafoya, Sr.)
57 Steve Hix/Ventura, CA (Steve Hix)
68 Chase Johnson/Penngrove, CA (Shawn Thomas)
69 Brady Bacon/Broken Arrow, OK (Dynamics, Inc.)
69Y Randy Waitman/Ramona, CA (Randy Waitman)
73T Max Adams/Loomis, CA (Josh Ford Motorsports)
74x Josh Hodges/Albuquerque, NM (Hodges Motorsports)
83 Austin Liggett/Tracy, CA (Tim Liggett)
88 Jace Vander Weerd/Visalia, CA (Ron Vander Weerd)
92 Austin Williams/Corona, CA (Tom and Laurie Sertich)
98 Verne Sweeney/Lomita, CA (Ken Tracy)
98x Jeremy Ellertson/Lawndale, CA (Jeremy Ellertson)
In addition to the three nights of racing, there will be a practice session at the track on November 6th beginning at 5:00 P.M. Fans will be admitted free in the grandstands for the practice and the track will be serving $2.00 pizza, soda and beer.
Tickets for the 24th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals are available 24-hours a day by calling 1-800-595-4849 or online at https://pas.tix.com/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=7.