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BACK-TO-BACK:WINDOM WINS 4-CROWN MIDGETS FOR 2ND STRAIGHT YEAR
By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Rossburg, Ohio (September 24, 2022)………”It was good last year, but I almost think it was better this year.”
That line spoken by Chris Windom could describe his satisfaction in a myriad of manners after he captured victory of his second consecutive USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship feature on the Saturday night of the 4-Crown Nationals Presented By NKTELCO at Rossburg, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.
Those words were specifically referring to how good his car was on the topside of the racetrack throughout the 25-lap feature, but it was also an apt description of the sense of relief of a much-needed first feature victory of any kind this season, which came after a tumultuous weekend and culminated by taking his CB Industries/NOS Energy Drink – PristineAuction.com – K & C Drywall/ Spike/Speedway Toyota to a $10,000 score at the half-mile dirt oval.
During Friday’s USAC Silver Crown practice, Windom hit the turn one wall and flipped several times, ending his weekend prematurely in the champ cars. Furthermore, he missed the final transfer spot by one position in the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship portion of the program earlier Saturday evening.
This triumph was much needed for the Canton, Ill. native as he became the fourth driver to win the midget feature at the 4-Crown in consecutive years, joining Rich Vogler (1985-86), Kyle Larson (2011-12) and Tyler Courtney (2018-19).
Meanwhile, Windom became the sixth driver to reach five overall victories at the 4-Crown after previously winning the USAC Silver Crown race in 2013 and 2016, the USAC Sprint Car main event in 2013 and now the USAC Midget feature in both 2021 and 2022. He joins the fairly exclusive category along with Jack Hewitt (19), Courtney (7), Dave Darland (7), Vogler (5) and Tracy Hines (5).
Windom’s 14th career USAC National Midget win moved him into 51st all-time alongside Chuck Arnold, Jack Turner and Leroy Warriner, and he accomplished it by completing a CB Industries weekend sweep after teammate Mitchel Moles was victorious in Friday night’s midget feature.
“I love this place, and it feels great to get this done because it definitely hasn’t been the 4-Crown I wanted in the other classes,” Windom acknowledged. “Laps around here are key, and it’s taken me a lot of years to get good at running the fence here. It’s definitely tough to do and to hit your marks, especially when you’re out front by yourself for that long, it’s kind of easy to get distracted from stuff. You’ve got to stay laser-focused when you’re running that close to the fence, but this car was so good tonight.”
Windom started fourth on the grid while outside front row starter Chance Crum took the early advantage by leading the first two laps. Windom steadily edged forward and tore around the outside right up against the outside wall and into the lead on lap three.
Trouble came early for Moles whose Saturday night performed a complete 180-degree turn from his success 24 hours earlier. Running fifth, Moles got into the turn four wall and tumbled nose-to-tail down the banking. Moles ultimately was able to walk away from his heavily damaged racecar.
On the lap nine resumption, Crum made a charge on the bottom to pull even with Windom for the race lead, but Windom was able to stave off the pressure as he kept his foot on the throttle wide-open up top. Point leader Buddy Kofoid followed suit with Windom and rode the highwire around Crum and into the runner-up spot on lap 14.
Disaster struck on lap 17 as second running Kofoid’s right rear tire came apart upon entry on the turn one cushion. Suddenly, Kofoid’s car veered right and went nose first into the outside wall, whipped around like a propeller in mid-air directly into the path of third-running Crum who plowed in with no place to go. The resulting high speed collision sent both drivers flipping several times before coming to a rest upright in their mangled machines. Thankfully, both drivers emerged from the wreckage and walked away under their own power.
From that point forward, the story was written with the contest well in Windom’s hands as he closed out the victory by a 3.462 second margin over Bryant Wiedeman who grabbed second after dicing it up with Alex Bright late in the going. Bright came home third with RMS Racing teammates Justin Grant fourth and Thomas Meseraull fifth.
On Friday night, Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.) earned his best career USAC National Midget feature result with a second-place finish. On Saturday night, he tied that mark with another runner-up placing in his Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian/Nutrien Ag Solutions – PurpleWave.com/Bullet By Spike/Speedway Toyota.
Meanwhile, Bright (Collegeville, Pa.) brought the Tom Malloy/Trench Shoring – Rodela Specialty Fabrication/King/Ed Pink Toyota to its best finish of the season on Saturday night. Bright also collected his first USAC National Midget podium finish since a second place run at Pennsylvania’s Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in 2018. He also became the first Pennsylvanian to finish on the podium of the 4-Crown USAC National Midget feature since John Heydenreich in 1991.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 24, 2022 – Eldora Speedway – Rossburg, Ohio – 1/2-Mile Dirt Track – 40th 4-Crown Nationals Presented By NKTELCO
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS / COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. C.J. Leary (#25L Petry), 2. Logan Seavey (#19 Reinbold-Underwood), 3. Buddy Kofoid (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Mitchel Moles (#89 CBI), 5. Taylor Reimer (#25K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Alex Bright (#25 Malloy), 7. Jacob Denney (#25m Malloy), 8. Hayden Reinbold (#19AZ Reinbold-Underwood). 2:17.92
PIT STOP USA/ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, all transfer to the feature) 1. Chris Windom (#89x CBI), 2. Thomas Meseraull (#7x RMS), 3. Justin Grant (#2J RMS), 4. Chance Crum (#26 Rudeen), 5. Tanner Carrick (#97K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Cannon McIntosh (#08 Dave Mac-Dalby), 7. Bryant Wiedeman (#01 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 8. Kaylee Bryson (#71 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian). 2:17.49
FEATURE: (25 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Chris Windom (4), 2. Bryant Wiedeman (8), 3. Alex Bright (3), 4. Justin Grant (10), 5. Thomas Meseraull (12), 6. Taylor Reimer (11), 7. Cannon McIntosh (16), 8. C.J. Leary (7), 9. Logan Seavey (1), 10. Hayden Reinbold (13), 11. Kaylee Bryson (14), 12. Jacob Denney (15), 13. Tanner Carrick (9), 14. Buddy Kofoid (5), 15. Chance Crum (2), 16. Mitchel Moles (6). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Chance Crum, Laps 3-25 Chris Windom.
**Mitchel Moles flipped on lap 8 of the feature. Buddy Kofoid & Chance Crum flipped on lap 17 of the feature.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-1581, 2-Justin Grant-1424, 3-Bryant Wiedeman-1232, 4-Cannon McIntosh-1227, 5-Thomas Meseraull-1219, 6-Mitchel Moles-1215, 7-Kaylee Bryson-1173, 8-Jacob Denney-970, 9-Taylor Reimer-967, 10-Brenham Crouch-928.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-152, 2-Thomas Meseraull-129, 3-Brady Bacon-111, 4-Robert Ballou-98, 5-Buddy Kofoid-97, 6-Kaylee Bryson-97, 7-Logan Seavey-83, 8-Kyle Cummins-76, 9-Emerson Axsom-75, 10-Cannon McIntosh-73.
NEXT USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: October 7, 2022 – Wayne County Speedway – Wayne City, Illinois – 1/8-Mile Dirt Track – Jason Leffler Memorial
CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:
Dirt Draft Hot Laps Fastest Driver: Chris Windom (16.816)
Simpson Race Products / Competition Suspension (CSI) First Heat Winner: C.J. Leary
Pit Stop USA / Rod End Supply Second Heat Winner: Chris Windom
Feature Hard Charger: Cannon McIntosh (16th to 7th)
Rosewood Machine & Tool Precision Move of the Race: Cannon McIntosh