By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Terre Haute, Indiana (October 9, 2019)………The last dance. The last chance. One more time for USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car racing in the Midwest before heading westward bound comes to Indiana’s Terre Haute Action Track this Friday night, October 11. It’s the first of two nights of racing at the track as the World of Outlaw NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars will run Saturday as well as the Modifieds both nights.
Finishing the season out west has been a tradition for the series since the CRA Sprint Car division came under the USAC banner in 2004. This year’s swing brings the club to California’s Perris Auto Speedway for the Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction on Nov. 7-8-9 and to Arizona Speedway for the Western World Championships on Nov. 15-16.
Since that point 15 years ago, several drivers have been able to ride the wave of momentum from east of the Mississippi to the west at the end of the year. This Friday’s contest at Terre Haute could be the boon a team and driver are seeking to give them the extra boost on their haul to west.
In 2005, Dave Darland won the final Midwest race of the season on the paved high banks of Indiana’s Winchester Speedway. The USAC Triple Crown champ carried the “mo” to the west immediately after where he won the final night of both the Oval Nationals and Western World, which was then held at the now-defunct Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz.
Levi Jones was the most consistent driver of his era, owning the Midwest finales in both 2010 and 2011 at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway and Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway, respectively. Following his Eldora triumph in 2010, Jones captured the first night of Perris en route to the series title. In 2011, Jones followed up with a victory in the season finale, at Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., which resulted in a second consecutive championship for the Olney, Ill. native.
Bryan Clauson controlled the Fall Nationals at Lawrenceburg in 2013, then set forth with another win in the Western World opener at Arizona’s Canyon Speedway Park to start off the western trail. The end result was a second consecutive USAC National Sprint Car driving title. The ensuing year, in 2014, saw BC rack up a second-straight Fall Nationals score followed by a win in the finale at Canyon. Although, he’d settle for a second-place finish in the final series standings.
In recent years, Terre Haute has served as the Midwest season finale where, in 2016, Chris Windom snared a wild victory on the half-mile, then immediately swept the first two nights of Western World at the event’s new home, Arizona Speedway.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. won at Terre Haute in October of 2017, then went on to capture the finale at Perris Auto Speedway’s Oval Nationals. After a rain out at Terre Haute in 2018, in retrospect, Lawrenceburg served as the final showcase in the Midwest, where Justin Grant was in the midst of one of the hottest streaks of success in recent years. After The Burg, Grant won three of the next four out west, notching the opener at Arizona and doubling-up at Perris.
While success in the Midwest season finale isn’t necessarily a make-or-break deal among the competitors, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have good vibes as you stare through the windshield of the hauler on the trek to the west. And, of course, the alternative feeling isn’t as ideal.
The warmer weather isn’t merely an exclusive attribute of the west during this time of the year. The warm fuzzy feelings of success carried by a driver and team with them on the road almost makes one feel like they’re already there, a notion that can very well begin this Friday at Terre Haute.
The Wabash Clash featuring the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and DIRTcar Modifieds is this Friday, October 11, at the Terre Haute Action Track in Terre Haute, Ind. Pits open at 3pm Eastern, grandstands at 4pm, drivers meeting at 6pm and cars on track at 6:30pm.
Adult general admission tickets are $25, adult reserved grandstands are $30. Children 11 and under general admission tickets are free, and $10 for reserved grandstand. Adult infield tickets are $15. Kids 11 and under are free. Pit passes are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.
Tickets are available online at worldofoutlaws.com, by calling 844-DIRT-TIX, or at the gate on raceday. More info on the event may also be found at terrehauteactiontrack.net or by calling 217-764-3200.
FINAL USAC SPRINT WINNERS BEFORE HEADING WEST:
2004: Jon Stanbrough (Dixie Speedway / Woodstock, Ga.)
2005: Dave Darland (Winchester Speedway / Winchester, Ind.)
2006: Daron Clayton (Terre Haute Action Track / Terre Haute, Ind.)
2007: Robert Ballou (Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, Ohio)
2008: Brady Bacon (Winchester Speedway / Winchester, Ind.)
2009: Dave Darland (Winchester Speedway / Winchester, Ind.)
2010: Levi Jones (Eldora Speedway / Rossburg, Ohio)
2011: Levi Jones (Lawrenceburg Speedway / Lawrenceburg, Ind.)
2012: Chase Stockon (Terre Haute Action Track / Terre Haute, Ind.)
2013: Bryan Clauson (Lawrenceburg Speedway / Lawrenceburg, Ind.)
2014: Bryan Clauson (Lawrenceburg Speedway / Lawrenceburg, Ind.)
2015: Thomas Meseraull (Lawrenceburg Speedway / Lawrenceburg, Ind.)
2016: Chris Windom (Terre Haute Action Track / Terre Haute, Ind.)
2017: Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Terre Haute Action Track / Terre Haute, Ind.)
2018: Justin Grant (Lawrenceburg Speedway / Lawrenceburg, Ind.)