Atomic Energy: USAC Sprints Rumble Saturday in Ohio

This Saturday night, April 16, the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship returns to Chillicothe, Ohio’s Atomic Speedway for the first time in more than a decade. (Dave Olson Photo)

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Chillicothe, Ohio (April 13, 2022)………For many, Atomic Speedway will be a new experience come this Saturday night, April 16, when the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship returns to the Chillicothe, Ohio racetrack for the first time since 2010’s abbreviated event.

For several others, their level of Atomic experience comes in droves, with several Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series events taking place at the 3/8-mile dirt oval over the past decade.

USAC’s lone trip of the millennium to Atomic came 12 years ago when the track was still known as K-C Raceway. After two heats, however, Mother Nature doused the surface, and the remainder of the evening was called off. Five previous visits for USAC to Atomic (aka K-C) came both with and without wings.

Kenny Jacobs captured the first USAC contest at Atomic, with a wing, in 1987. Kelly Kinser delivered another winged score in 1991. Jack Hewitt went back-to-back without a wing in 1992 and 1993, while Dave Darland followed Hewitt in picking up his third career USAC National Sprint Car victory in 1994.

GOING NUCLEAR:

Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) was in attendance at the 2010 round, and only experienced a few brief laps before the rain. He qualified 12th, but his heat race was never held due to the weather interruption. The 2021 Mike Curb USAC Super License champ has already won once this season with the series back in February at Ocala, Florida’s Bubba Raceway Park, finishing in the top-six in all three of his starts.

Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) has already won two of the first three features, both in Ocala, finishing inside the top-three in each of the three as well. He would welcome becoming the fifth driver – and the sixth occasion – to start the season by winning three of the first four features. Only Don Branson (1959-60), A.J. Foyt (1961), Larry Dickson (1970) and Damion Gardner (2010) are on that select list at the moment.

BUCKEYE WINNERS:

Five past winners of USAC National Sprint Car features in the state of Ohio are on board for Saturday’s event, all of which have previously come at Rossburg, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway. However, all five are seeking a first USAC win at Atomic, a list that includes Grant, Brady Bacon, Robert Ballou, C.J. Leary and Matt Westfall. Grant is among the handful, as is four-time series champion Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.), 2015 champ Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) and 2019 titlist Leary (Greenfield, Ind.). Bacon, Ballou and Leary are all aiming to break out at Atomic after uncharacteristically rough starts in Ocala, with Bacon 10th, Ballou 16th and Leary 18th in the current standings entering the weekend.

RADIATING WITH ATOMIC EXPERIENCE:

Matt Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio) celebrated his lone USAC National Sprint Car victory in his home state back in 2006 at Eldora. Westfall has winning experience at Atomic too, capturing the BOSS Sprint Car feature at the track in 2019, and was 3rd there in 2020 and 6th in 2017.

Atomic Speedway can claim multiple generations of Hewitt participants in its history books. Jack Hewitt is the lone two-time USAC National Sprint Car feature victor at the track, having won in back-to-back seasons during 1992-93. His nephew, Dallas Hewitt, will try to join Jack as an Atomic USAC winner on Saturday. Dallas has come close to victory in recent years with BOSS, finishing as the runner-up in 2020, and 3rd in both 2016 and 2017.

Fellow Ohioan Landon Simon (Tipp City, Ohio) took 2nd with BOSS at Atomic in 2015 as well as 5th in 2019 and 8th in 2017. Ricky Lewis (Oxnard, Calif.), fresh off a USAC West Coast Sprint Car victory at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway in March, finished as the runner-up in July of 2021 with BOSS at Atomic.

Korbyn Hayslett (Troy, Ohio), Cody Gardner (Milford, Ohio) and Paul Dues (Minster, Ohio) will each make their first USAC appearances of the season on Saturday at Atomic, where the trio has earned their share of recent success with BOSS. Gardner raced to a 5th place result in 2019 and a 7th in 2021 while Hayslett notched a 10th in 2020 and Dues tallied a 10th in 2017.

ATOM SMASHERS:

Several individuals in the driver lineup will make their Atomic debut this weekend, a list that includes Jason McDougal, Chase Stockon, Kyle Cummins, Jake Swanson and Logan Seavey, all of whom possess top-ten finishes thus far this year. McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) finished as the runner-up in Ocala’s February opener. Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) ran two nights inside the top-four with a 3rd and a 4th. Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) collected two in the top-six with a 4th and a 6th place effort. Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) notched a 7th on night two. Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) is one of five to finish inside the top-ten in each of the first three races this year along with Grant and Stockon as well as Buddy Kofoid and Carson Short.

Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.), the 2020 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year, will look to turn it around as he seeks his first career USAC win following a career-best second place finish 364 days prior to this Saturday’s race. The USAC National Most Improved Driver of 2020, Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.), will seek to do the same in getting back into the top-five of the finishing order for the first time with the series since April of 2021. Second year driver and USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year candidate, Alex Banales (Lafayette, Ind.), will attempt to crack the starting field for the first time in 2022.

Meanwhile, micro sprint, PA Sprint Series 305 and USAC East Coast 360 Sprint Car veteran Austin Graby (Lebanon, Pa.) will make his USAC National Sprint Car debut at Atomic, driving for the same Lotier-Nemeth Motorsports team that Timmy Buckwalter made 38 series starts with between 2018 and 2021. Graby has served as the car chief for the team in recent years.

THE DETAILS:

On Saturday, the pits open at 2pm ET with the grandstands opening at 3pm and cars on track at 5pm. Adult general admission is $30. Senior general admission is $25. Military general admission is $25. Adult pit passes are $35 for members and $40 for non-members. Kids age 6-10 pit passes are $20.

Full coverage of Saturday’s event at Atomic Speedway can be watched LIVE on www.FloRacing.com at https://bit.ly/3dgONXz.

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2022 USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVER POINT STANDINGS (TOP-10)

POS. PTS. DRIVER, HOMETOWN

1 220 Emerson Axsom (R), Franklin, Ind.

2 207 Justin Grant, Ione, Calif.

3 200 Buddy Kofoid (R), Penngrove, Calif.

4 189 Chase Stockon, Fort Branch, Ind.

5 169 Kyle Cummins, Princeton, Ind.

6 164 Tanner Thorson, Minden, Nev.

7 162 Jason McDougal, Broken Arrow, Okla.

8 153 Carson Short, Marion, Ill.

9 152 Logan Seavey, Sutter, Calif.

10 142 Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, Okla.

(R) represents a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Rookie

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2022 USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OWNER POINT STANDINGS (TOP-10)

POS. PTS. ENTRANT, TEAM LOCATION

1 220 Clauson Marshall Newman Racing, Fishers, Ind. (#47BC)

2 207 TOPP Motorsports, Rochester, Ind. (#4)

3 200 Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, Columbus, Ind. (#67)

4 189 KO Motorsports, Owensville, Ind. (#5s)

5 169 Rock Steady Racing, Dupont, Ind. (#3R)

6 164 Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports, Gilbert, Ariz. (#19AZ)

7 162 KO Motorsports, Owensville, Ind. (#5m)

8 153 RCM Motorsports, Marion, Ill. (#21x)

9 152 Baldwin-Fox Racing, West Lafayette, Ind. (#5)

10 142 Dynamics, Inc., Milford, Ohio (#69)

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ATOMIC SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS:

2-Jack Hewitt

1-Dave Darland, Kenny Jacobs & Kelly Kinser

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ATOMIC SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINNERS:

1987: Kenny Jacobs (6/20)

1991: Kelly Kinser (8/24)

1992: Jack Hewitt (8/29)

1993: Jack Hewitt (8/28)

1994: Dave Darland (8/27)

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TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CARS AT ATOMIC SPEEDWAY:

1 Lap – 7/31/2010 – Dave Darland – 13.712 – 98.454 mph

10 Laps – 8/28/1993 – David Harrison – 2:27.28 – 91.662 mph

12 Laps – 8/29/1992 – Gary Fisher – 3:07.91 – 86.212 mph

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ATOMIC SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR FEATURE RESULTS:

1987 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kenny Jacobs, 2. Rick Ungar, 3. Al Liskai, 4. Rodney Duncan, 5. Steve Butler, 6. Rich Vogler, 7. C.J. Holley, 8. Harry Garrett, 9. Dave Fisher, 10. Tray House, 11. Gary Fisher, 12. Steve Bixler, 13. Mike Imler, 14. Bud Jacobs, 15. Randy Fink, 16. Ross Rogers, 17. Jack Hewitt, 18. Sheldon Kinser, 19. Rusty McClure, 20. Mike Bowling, 21. Pepi Marchese, 22. Tony Reed, 23. Steve McCann, 24. Kevin Huntley. NT

1991 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kelly Kinser, 2. Charlie Fisher, 3. Rocky Hodges, 4. Steve Butler, 5. Bobby Allen, 6. Terry Shepherd, 7. Craig Keel, 8. Kevin Huntley, 9. Todd Kane, 10. Dave Fisher, 11. Danny Smith, 12. Rodney Duncan, 13. Byron Reed, 14. Robbie Stanley, 15. Kerry Madsen, 16. Tony Elliott, 17. Eric Gordon, 18. Rick Ungar, 19. Jack Hewitt, 20. David Snell. NT

1992 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Jack Hewitt, 2. Tray House, 3. Cary Faas, 4. Steve Butler, 5. Jon Stanbrough, 6. Bill Rose, 7. Robbie Stanley, 8. Gary Fisher, 9. Byron Reed, 10. Jerry Nemire, 11. Gary Cameron II, 12. C.J. Holley, 13. Eric Gordon (#8), 14. Brad Marvel, 15. Tim Jodrey, 16. Ken Kimbler, 17. Rick Holley, 18. Tony Jarrett, 19. Tommy Nichols, 20. Todd Kane. NT

1993 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Jack Hewitt, 2. Tray House, 3. Rusty McClure, 4. Kevin Thomas, 5. Doug Kalitta, 6. Johnny Parsons, 7. David Harrison, 8. Eric Gordon, 9. Robbie Stanley, 10. Steve Butler, 11. Gary Fisher, 12. Mark Goodfleisch, 13. Brad Marvel, 14. Jerry Nemire, 15. Tony Stewart, 16. Duffy Smith, 17. Brian Hayden, 18. Tony Elliott, 19. Dave Darland, 20. Bill Rose. NT

1994 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Jimmy Stinson, 3. Tony Elliott, 4. Charlie Fisher, 5. Kevin Thomas, 6. Tray House, 7. Doug Kalitta, 8. Todd Kane, 9. Gary Fisher, 10. Jerry Nemire, 11. Chip Thomas, 12. Bill Rose, 13. Kent Christian, 14. Eric Gordon, 15. Ken Rice, 16. Troy Link, 17. Cary Faas, 18. Tracy Hoover, 19. Greg Staab, 20. Jack Hewitt. NT

2010 FEATURE: Rained Out