Lonnie Wheatley Photo
WORTH THE WAIT:IT’S A BACK-TO-BACK BACON BEAT DOWN AT LAKESIDE
By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Kansas City, Kansas (May 12, 2022)………With the havoc that Mother Nature had been playing on the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship of late, it nearly seemed as if it had been five years since the series last completed a feature event.
While, in reality, just a tick less than a month ago had passed by since the last feature was completed, and it just so happened to be five years since the series had last competed at Kansas City, Kansas’ Lakeside Speedway.
Either way – one month or five years – the song remained the same with Brady Bacon backing up his victory with yet another. The Broken Arrow, Okla. driver entered Thursday night’s event as the most recent victor at the 4/10-mile dirt oval in 2017 and had also captured the most recent round contested at Ohio’s Atomic Speedway in mid-April.
The four-time series champion spent little time doddling on this evening’s co-sanctioned race with the USAC Wholesale Batteries Midwest Wingless Racing Association as he sprinted to the front from his fifth starting position by lap four and produced a K.C. Masterpiece of a drive with a drubbing of the 22-car field throughout the 30-lap main event, piloting his Dynamics, Inc./Fatheadz Eyewear – Gressman Sanitation – DriveWFX.com – Tel-Star/Triple X/Rider Chevy to a 4.595 second margin of victory.
His 42nd career series score was yet another in his succession of successes, as he rose to a tie for sixth on the all-time USAC National Sprint Car win list alongside Pancho Carter while surpassing Bryan Clauson in that department.
Bacon knows victory all too well at Lakeside, winning a TNT Sprint Bandits feature as far back as 2009 in KCK before winning once more in 2017 and again on Thursday night, which reminded him of the old times when he was a budding teenager just beginning to make his mark on the sport. As a now established veteran and champ, the good times are the same as it ever was.
“The track was more like it was 13 years ago when we used to run here and had a lot of success,” Bacon compared. “The banking has changed a little bit and it was spotty in the past like it was tonight. I knew if I could get my car to roll around the bottom, it’d be pretty hard for the top to be as fast. It kind of shelves off on exit.
(Turns) three and four had me scared,” Bacon continued. “I didn’t know how slow I was getting in lapped traffic. They had all my lanes taken up and I didn’t feel good enough on the bottom. I was hoping I could keep enough speed up to keep everybody at bay. I felt really, really good in one and two on the bottom and, luckily, I found it on the first lap and just stuck to it from then on.”
Pole sitter and series point leader Emerson Axsom took the top to surge to the lead on the opening circuit, but inside second row starter C.J. Leary skimmed the bottom to ride to the lead between turns one and two on lap two. Bacon briefly swung to the outside of Leary on the opposite end in three and four, trailing at the stripe by a single car length at the conclusion of lap two before ducking back to the bottom entering the first turn.
Bacon was committed to the bottom now and clung to it down the back straightaway and into the third turn on lap three. The trio entered the corner three abreast with Bacon down low, Leary to the middle and Axsom up on the high line and carrying the momentum to beat Bacon to the line by a half car length.
Axsom’s resurgence to the lead was brief as Bacon launched off turn two on the fourth go-around to rip past Axsom and, for all intents and purposes, put a lock on the remainder of the feature as he continuously grew his lead throughout the balance of the A, sticking to his guns all the way home.
“The bottom was my bread and butter, and I didn’t think it was going to last the whole race, so I wanted to make hay while the sun was shining, I guess, and make sure that I passed any cars on the bottom that I needed to while it was still there, but fortunately, in one and two, it stayed there the whole race.”
The race behind Bacon was not as much of a foregone conclusion down the stretch. Sixth-starting Robert Ballou, who picked up his first fast qualifying time since 2018 earlier in the night, and previously the lone multi-time USAC National Sprint Car winner at Lakeside entering the evening, climbed his way to second utilizing a turn three slide job on Axsom to gain the position with 12 laps remaining.
Bacon dealt with three lanes of traffic during the final laps, but it was of no hindrance to him in any form or fashion as he punctuated his dominance with a victorious performance over Ballou and Logan Seavey who overtook Axsom with four laps remaining to secure the last spot on the podium. Axsom and Leary, meanwhile, rounded out the top-five.
Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) earned his second consecutive runner-up finish on the USAC National Sprint Car trail Thursday night in his Ballou Motorsports/Suburban Subaru – Dragonfly Aviation – Berks Western Telecom/Triple X/Ott Chevy. It was the 2015 series champion’s third career top-two finish with USAC at the track after winning in both 2015 and 2016.
“We were the second place car tonight,” Ballou acknowledged. “Brady (Bacon) and (crew chief) Matt Hummel and those guys were the class of the field. It took me a little while to get to second, and then we got the racecar a little too tight, and we were just kind of riding. I knew we were good enough to be second after hot laps no matter what, and it turned out to be the Brady/Ballou show as always. We weren’t very good tonight, and that’s why he was a half-track ahead of us.”
Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) has finished all five of his USAC National Sprint Car starts this season inside the top-ten. Starting with a 9th, 9th, 7th and 6th, the 2018 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Champion picked up a 3rd place result on Thursday night in his first career series visit to Lakeside aboard his Baldwin-Fox Racing/Fox Paving – AMSOIL/DRC/Claxton Chevy. All that success came despite an inauspicious start to his run.
“I just got a really bad start,” Seavey explained. “I was pinned on the top and I knew early that the race would be on the bottom. Then, we kind of moved up, but I was just pinned up there and fell to fifth. I biked on my warmup lap and was super timid after that. I gave up a few spots and, once I got confident there at the end, I ran down C.J. and was able to get him in traffic. It was kind of the same with Emerson. My car was really good, but I just spooked myself on the warmup and it took me too long to get feeling comfortable again in my car. We were so fast all night; I’ve just got to do my job a little bit better earlier in the race and not let too many guys get by me. Overall, I’m really happy. We had good speed and I thought we were pacing with Robert right at the end. I’m excited to head into the next couple of nights.”
Thursday’s Lakeside event was the inaugural race of the Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster mini-series for the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, which will pay $5,000 to the overall points champion for the 10-race series within a series.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: May 12, 2022 – Lakeside Speedway – Kansas City, Kansas – 4/10-Mile Dirt Track – Co-Sanctioned by the USAC Wholesale Batteries Midwest Wingless Racing Association – Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster Race #1
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-16.783; 2. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-16.895; 3. Jake Swanson, 21AZ, Team AZ-17.030; 4. C.J. Leary, 77m, Michael-17.052; 5. Logan Seavey, 5, Baldwin/Fox-17.123; 6. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-17.190; 7. Emerson Axsom, 47BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-17.204; 8. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-17.246; 9. Jadon Rogers, 14, Engler-17.268; 10. Mario Clouser, 6, EZR-17.334; 11. Wesley Smith, 44, Smith-17.407; 12. Jason McDougal, 5m, KO-17.451; 13. Cody Baker, 9, Tribble/Hall-17.469; 14. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-17.500; 15. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-17.566; 16. Zach Daum, 5d, Daum-17.715; 17. Wyatt Burks, 11w, Burks-17.765; 18. Alex Banales, 5x, Baldwin/Fox-17.811; 19. Chris Parkinson, 65, Parkinson-18.012; 20. Xavier Doney, 74, Doney/Lawson-18.150; 21. Braydon Cromwell, 90, Smith-18.254; 22. Chad Frewaldt, 2x, Lewis-18.262; 23. Dakota Earls, 15E, Earls-18.365; 24. Rece Wommack, 33, Wommack-18.554; 25. Zach Clark, 26, C & C-18.670; 26. Chase Howard, 13, Howard-18.676; 27. Jason Billups, 2J, Billups-18.940; 28. Justin Johnson, 27, Johnson-19.386; 29. Tyler Burton, 03, Burton-19.616; 30. Buddy Parker, 93, Weld/Parkinson-20.152; 31. Chad Tye, 88, Tye-20.185.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Wyatt Burks, 2. Robert Ballou, 3. Jadon Rogers, 4. Logan Seavey, 5. Cody Baker, 6. Braydon Cromwell, 7. Zach Clark, 8. Tyler Burton. NT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Mario Clouser, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Alex Banales, 4. Brandon Mattox, 5. Matt Westfall, 6. Chad Frewaldt, 7. Chase Howard, 8. Buddy Parker. 2:24.40
PIT STOP USA THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Chase Stockon, 2. Emerson Axsom, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Wesley Smith, 5. Chris Parkinson, 6. Dakota Earls, 7. Jason Billups, 8. Chad Tye. 2:25.79
ROD END SUPPLY FOURT HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Jason McDougal, 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Xavier Doney, 5. Rece Wommack, 6. Justin Johnson, 7. Zach Daum. 2:24.90
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI-FEATURE: (10 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Cody Baker, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Matt Westfall, 4. Chris Parkinson, 5. Rece Wommack, 6. Zach Clark, 7. Chase Howard, 8. Justin Johnson, 9. Braydon Cromwell, 10. Jason Billups, 11. Chad Tye, 12. Tyler Burton, 13. Dakota Earls, 14. Chad Frewaldt, 15. Buddy Parker. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (5), 2. Robert Ballou (6), 3. Logan Seavey (2), 4. Emerson Axsom (1), 5. C.J. Leary (3), 6. Matt Westfall (11), 7. Jason McDougal (8), 8. Chase Stockon (9), 9. Jadon Rogers (13), 10. Justin Grant (12), 11. Xavier Doney (18), 12. Jake Swanson (4), 13. Mario Clouser (7), 14. Wesley Smith (14), 15. Wyatt Burks (10), 16. Zach Daum (16), 17. Brandon Mattox (15), 18. Chris Parkinson (22), 19. Zach Clark (20), 20. Rece Wommack (19), 21. Alex Banales (21), 22. Cody Baker (17). 9:56.04 (New Track Record)
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Emerson Axsom, Lap 2 C.J. Leary, Lap 3 Emerson Axsom, Laps 4-30 Brady Bacon.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Emerson Axsom-349, 2-Justin Grant-327, 3-Chase Stockon-318, 4-Brady Bacon-312, 5-Logan Seavey-295, 6-Robert Ballou-284, 7-Jason McDougal-276, 8-C.J. Leary-256, 9-Kyle Cummins-238, 10-Matt Westfall-226.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-26, 2-Tanner Thorson-23, 3-Brady Bacon-22, 4-Thomas Meseraull-20, 5-Jadon Rogers-18, 6-Robert Ballou-16, 7-Justin Grant-15, 8-Logan Seavey-15, 9-Matt Westfall-15, 10-Ethan Mitchell-14.
BUBBY JONES MASTER OF GOING FASTER POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-82, 2-Robert Ballou-80, 3-Logan Seavey-71, 4-Emerson Axsom-68, 5-C.J. Leary-68, 6-Jason McDougal-60, 7-Matt Westfall-58, 8-Chase Stockon-57, 9-Jadon Rogers-52, 10-Justin Grant-49.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: May 13, 2022 – U.S. 36 Raceway – Osborn, Missouri – 3/8-Mile Dirt Track – Co-Sanctioned by the USAC Wholesale Batteries Midwest Wingless Racing Association
CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:
GSP Quality Driving Performance: Zach Clark
Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: Robert Ballou
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Wyatt Burks
Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner: Mario Clouser
Pit Stop USA Third Heat Winner: Chase Stockon
Rod End Supply Fourth Heat Winner: Jason McDougal
Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi-Feature Winner:
Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Robert Ballou
Feature Hard Charger: Xavier Doney (18th to 11th)