Springtime in Bloomington: USAC Sprints Hit the Red Clay Friday

(Dave Dellinger Photo)

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Bloomington, Indiana (April 27, 2022)………As much a fixture of spring as the blooming of the flowers and trees, it seems apropos that the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship makes an annual early season trip to southern Indiana’s Bloomington Speedway.

The 11th such springtime series event at the 1/4-mile red clay oval since the first edition in 1986 brings the series to round number five of the 2022 season and its 42nd event ever held at Bloomington over the past 40 years.

Brady Bacon enters Friday’s event at Bloomington coming off a victory in the series’ most recent race on April 16 at Ohio’s Atomic Speedway. He’s the lone springtime Bloomington USAC National Sprint Car feature winner expected in the field, capturing the 30-lap feature in 2019, which stands as the 30-lap track record for the series at a clip of 6:47.18. Additionally, the four-time series champ was 2nd in 2021 and has finished his last seven spring Bloomington starts inside the top-eight along with being a three-time fast qualifier there this time of the year in 2012-13-15.

Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) eyes one spot better than he got a decade ago in May of 2012 when he finished second behind Bobby East at Bloomington. Brady Short (Bedford, Ind.) is looking for two better after the seven-time track champion tallied a 3rd place result in the spring of 2013.

Like Short, the quad of Chase Stockon, Jason McDougal, Logan Seavey and Kyle Cummins are all looking to return to the podium, where they’ve all stood before with third-place finishes in the spring at Bloomington in recent years. Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) took third in both 2015 and 2017 while Stockon holds Bloomington’s 12-lap track record of 2:20.84, set in April of 2017.

Stockon’s KO Motorsports’ teammate, McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) notched a third in his only previous spring Bloomington start in 2019. Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) made his only spring Bloomington start a good one in 2018 where he finished third. Cummins scored a third in the most recent edition in 2021.

February Ocala winner Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) seeks a return to victory lane this Friday after finishing 4th in the spring of 2017 at Bloomington and was the Fatheadz Fast Qualifier a year ago in 2021. Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.), the 2015 USAC National Sprint Car driving champion, collected a top-five run with a fifth in 2016. C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.), the 2019 series titlist, took 5th in both 2018 and 2019, while also being a three-time fast qualifier during the event in 2016-17-19, the latter of which stands as the one-lap track record for the series at 10.685 seconds.

Likewise, Tanner Thorson, Carson Short, Brent Beauchamp and Matt Westfall are all previous spring Bloomington top-ten finishers who are planning to edge their way into the top-five and more this Friday night. Short (Marion, Ill.) collected a 6th in 2015 while Thorson (Minden, Nev.), the 2016 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Champion, was 6th in his first and only early-season series start at Bloomington in 2021. Brent Beauchamp (Fairland, Ind.), a one-time USAC National Sprint Car victor at Bloomington in July of 2016, finished 9th there in the spring of 2017. Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio) bagged a 10th back in 2013.

Jadon Rogers, Jake Swanson and Max Adams, meanwhile, are coming off seasons in which they all won on the local level at Bloomington in 2021. Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) captured three victories with Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) picking up two and Adams once during the early part of the campaign. Rogers vies for his first spring Bloomington start while Swanson finished 11th and Adams 18th in 2021.

A handful of drivers from last year’s spring lineup aim to better their results from their 2021 showings. Mario Clouser (Auburn, Ill.) finished 14th while Cole Bodine (Rossville, Ind.) was 19th, Brayden Fox (Avon, Ind.), the son of 1997 track champ Brad Fox, was 20th. Sterling Cling (Tempe, Ariz.), a 2019 USAC Regional Midget winner at Bloomington, was 23rd there a year ago and Ricky Lewis (Oxnard, Calif.) was 24th.

Veteran Brandons, Brandon Morin and Brandon Mattox, will be on the gas to put it in Bloomington’s spring show for the first time in a number of years this Friday. Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.) snared a 22nd in 2016 while Morin (Jasonville, Ind.) was 25th back in 2015.

Series point leader, and a two-time feature winner down in Ocala, Fla. in the month of February, Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.), will make his USAC Sprint Car debut on the red clay this Friday. He finished 11th with the USAC National Midgets in 2021 at Bloomington. Additional debuts will arrive from Geoff Ensign (Sebastopol, Calif.), last week’s winner on the local level at Indiana’s Lincoln Park Speedway, plus Alex Banales (Lafayette, Ind.), Gabriel Gilbert (Greenwood, Ind.), Harley Burns (Brazil, Ind.) and five-time Paragon (Ind.) Speedway track champ Jake Scott (Morgantown, Ind.).

Alec Sipes (Bloomington, Ind.) is the lone Bloomington native in Friday’s lineup. Braxton Cummings (Bedford, Ind.) will attempt to become the first son a past spring Bloomington USAC National Sprint Car feature starter, following in the footsteps of his dad, Bub Cummings, who finished 14th in the 2011 race.

Friday’s Larry Rice Classic honors the life and career of the three-time USAC National driving champion, 1978 Indianapolis 500 co-Rookie of the Year and ESPN Thunder color analyst. Rice captured the USAC National Midget title in 1973, plus USAC Silver Crown championships in both 1977 and 1981.

The event features the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, plus IMCA RaceSaver Sprints Cars and Hornets.

Pits open at 4pm Eastern with the grandstands opening at 5pm, drivers meeting at 5:30pm and cars on track at 6:30pm with qualifying and racing to immediately follow.

General admission tickets are $30 for ages 11 & up. General admission tickets are free for ages 10 & under with proof of age. Pit passes are $35 for ages 11 & up. Pit passes are $15 for ages 10 & under.

The Larry Rice Classic can be watched live and on-demand on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3dgONXz.

=================

EXPECTED BLOOMINGTON ENTRIES:

04 GEOFF ENSIGN/Sebastopol, CA

2E CARSON SHORT/Marion, IL

3R KYLE CUMMINS/Princeton, IN

4 JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA

5 LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA

5m JASON McDOUGAL/Broken Arrow, OK

5s CHASE STOCKON/Fort Branch, IN

5x ALEX BANALES/Lafayette, IN

6 MARIO CLOUSER/Auburn, IL

10G GABRIEL GILBERT/Greenwood, IN

12 ROBERT BALLOU/Rocklin, CA

14 JADON ROGERS/Worthington, IN

16 HARLEY BURNS/Brazil, IN

17 MAX ADAMS/Loomis, CA

19AZ TANNER THORSON/Minden, NV

21AZ JAKE SWANSON/Anaheim, CA

28 BRANDON MATTOX/Terre Haute, IN

29 BRENT BEAUCHAMP/Fairland, IN

33 JAKE SCOTT/Morgantown, IN

33m MATT WESTFALL/Pleasant Hill, OH

34 STERLING CLING/Tempe, AZ

41 RICKY LEWIS/Oxnard, CA

47BC EMERSON AXSOM/Franklin, IN

53 BRAYDEN FOX/Avon, IN

57 COLE BODINE/Rossville, IN

61m BRADY SHORT/Bedford, IN

69 BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK

71B BRAXTON CUMMINGS/Bedford, IN

74x SHANE COTTLE/Kansas, IL

77m C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN

98 BRANDON MORIN/Jasonville, IN

99 ALEC SIPES/Bloomington, IN

=================

SPRING USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS AT BLOOMINGTON SPEEDWAY:

2-Bryan Clauson & Dave Darland

1-Brady Bacon, Chad Boespflug, Bobby East, Jack Hewitt, Kevin Thomas Jr. & Chris Windom

=================

SPRING USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINNERS AT BLOOMINGTON SPEEDWAY:

1986: Jack Hewitt (5/2)

2011: Chris Windom (5/20)

2012: Bobby East (5/18)

2013: Dave Darland (5/17)

2015: Bryan Clauson (4/17)

2016: Bryan Clauson (4/15)

2017: Chad Boespflug (4/14)

2018: Dave Darland (4/27)

2019: Brady Bacon (4/12)

2021: Kevin Thomas Jr. (4/16)

=================

USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINS AT BLOOMINGTON SPEEDWAY:

5-Bryan Clauson

4-Kevin Thomas Jr.

3-Dave Darland

2-Brady Bacon, Chris Windom, Kevin Briscoe & Tony Elliott

1-A.J. Anderson, Bob Kinser, Bobby East, Brad Fox, Brady Short, Brent Beauchamp, C.J. Leary, Chad Boespflug, Cory Kruseman, Hunter Schuerenberg, J.J. Yeley, Jack Hewitt, Jay Drake, Jerry Coons, Jr., Jon Stanbrough, Kevin Thomas, Larry Martin, Rich Vogler, Rick Hood, Sheldon Kinser & Tracy Hines

=================

USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR WINNERS AT BLOOMINGTON SPEEDWAY:

1982: Rich Vogler (9/11)

1983: Larry Martin (9/10)

1984: Sheldon Kinser (7/27)

1985: Rick Hood (6/28) & Bob Kinser (8/23)

1986: Jack Hewitt (5/2)

1996: Kevin Thomas (7/26)

1997: Brad Fox (7/25)

1998: Tony Elliott (7/24)

1999: Cory Kruseman (7/23) & Tony Elliott (8/27)

2000: Jay Drake (7/21)

2001: A.J. Anderson (7/27)

2002: Kevin Briscoe (7/26)

2003: J.J. Yeley (7/25)

2004: Kevin Briscoe (7/23)

2005: Tracy Hines (7/15)

2006: Brady Short (7/14)

2007: Dave Darland (7/20)

2008: Jerry Coons Jr. (7/18)

2009: Bryan Clauson (7/17)

2010: Jon Stanbrough (7/16)

2011: Chris Windom (5/20) & Hunter Schuerenberg (7/15)

2012: Bobby East (5/18) & Kevin Thomas Jr. (7/20)

2013: Dave Darland (5/17) & Bryan Clauson (7/19)

2014: Bryan Clauson (7/18)

2015: Bryan Clauson (4/17)

2016: Bryan Clauson (4/15) & Brent Beauchamp (7/15)

2017: Chad Boespflug (4/14) & Kevin Thomas Jr. (7/14)

2018: Dave Darland (4/27) & C.J. Leary (7/27)

2019: Brady Bacon (4/12) & Kevin Thomas Jr. (7/26)

2020: Chris Windom (9/11)

2021: Kevin Thomas Jr. (4/16) & Brady Bacon (7/30)

=================

TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CARS AT BLOOMINGTON:

1 Lap – 4/12/2019 – C.J. Leary – 10.685 – 84.230 mph

6 Laps – 7/25/2003 – Kent Christian – 1:13.96 – 73.012 mph

8 Laps – 7/18/2008 – Jesse Cramer – 1:36.63 – 74.511 mph

10 Laps – 4/14/2017 – Kevin Thomas Jr. – 1:51.72 – 80.559 mph

12 Laps – 4/14/2017 – Chase Stockon – 2:20.84 – 76.683 mph

30 Laps – 4/12/2019 – Brady Bacon – 6:47.18 – 66.310 mph

=================

PAST SPRINGTIME BLOOMINGTON SPEEDWAY USAC SPRINT CAR RESULTS:

1986 FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Jack Hewitt, 2. Randy Kinser, 3. Ron Shuman, 4. Warren Mockler,
5. Rick Hood, 6. Bob Kinser, 7. Andy Stapp, 8. Jac Haudenschild, 9. Craig Keel, 10. Tony Elliott, 11. Alan Brown, 12. Stevie Reeves, 13. Dick Colburn, 14. Mark Owsley, 15. Sheldon Kinser, 16. Bobby Adkins, 17. Kelly Kinser, 18. Kevin Huntley, 19. Charlie Swartz, 20. Rich Vogler. NT

2011 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Jon Stanbrough, 3. Kyle Larson, 4. Dave Darland, 5. Levi Jones, 6. Danny Holtsclaw, 7. Bobby East, 8. Damion Gardner, 9. Keith Bloom Jr., 10. Jon Sciscoe, 11. Blake Fitzpatrick, 12. Brady Short, 13. Casey Riggs, 14. Bub Cummings, 15. Robert Ballou, 16. Jerry Coons Jr., 17. Tracy Hines, 18. Bryan Clauson, 19. Casey Shuman, 20. Daron Clayton, 21. Chris Babcock, 22. Brady Bacon. NT

2012 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bobby East, 2. Shane Cottle, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Chase Stockon, 5. Tracy Hines, 6. Jon Stanbrough, 7. Levi Jones, 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9. Josh Burton, 10. Jerry Coons, Jr., 11. Casey Shuman, 12. Chris Windom, 13. Damion Gardner, 14. Dave Darland, 15. Robert Ballou, 16. Jonathan Hendrick, 17. Chase Briscoe, 18. Coleman Gulick, 19. Hunter Schuerenberg, 20. Brent Beauchamp, 21. Brady Short, 22. Darren Hagen, 23. Bud Kaeding, 24. Jeff Bland, Jr. NT

2013 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Kevin Thomas, 3. Brady Short, 4. Chase Stockon, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Robert Ballou, 7. Bryan Clauson, 8. Levi Jones, 9. Hunter Schuerenberg, 10. Matt Westfall, 11. C.J. Leary, 12. Tracy Hines, 13. Chris Windom, 14. Jon Stanbrough, 15. Jordan Kinser, 16. Casey Shuman, 17. Tyler Courtney, 18. Nick Drake, 19. Chase Briscoe, 20. Bobby East, 21. Dakota Jackson, 22. Landon Simon, 23. Danny Holtsclaw. NT

2015 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Jon Stanbrough, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Carson Short, 7. Brady Short, 8. Robert Ballou, 9. Shane Cottle, 10. Dave Darland, 11. Kevin Thomas Jr., 12. C.J. Leary, 13. Chad Boespflug, 14. Logan Jarrett, 15. Justin Grant, 16. Chase Briscoe, 17. Kyle Cummins, 18. Landon Simon, 19. Jarett Andretti, 20. Jerry Coons Jr., 21. Max McGhee, 22. Aaron Farney, 23. Ted Hines, 24. Shane Cockrum, 25. Brandon Morin. NT

2016 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Thomas Meseraull, 4. Chase Stockon, 5. Robert Ballou, 6. Dave Darland, 7. Hunter Schuerenberg, 8. Jarett Andretti, 9. Brady Short, 10. Max McGhee, 11. Carson Short, 12. Kody Swanson, 13. Shane Cottle, 14. Chad Boespflug, 15. Justin Grant, 16. Jon Stanbrough, 17. Kevin Thomas Jr., 18. Kyle Cummins, 19. Aaron Farney, 20. C.J. Leary, 21. Landon Simon, 22. Brandon Mattox, 23. Jeff Bland Jr., 24. Brent Beauchamp. NT

2017 FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chad Boespflug, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 6. Brady Short, 7. Jeff Bland Jr., 8. Kyle Cummins, 9. Brent Beauchamp, 10. Nick Bilbee, 11. Tyler Thomas, 12. Josh Hodges, 13. C.J. Leary, 14. Shane Cottle, 15. Jarett Andretti, 16. Tyler Courtney, 17. Jon Stanbrough, 18. Dave Darland, 19. Isaac Chapple, 20. Max McGhee, 21. Clinton Boyles, 22. Landon Simon, 23. Jerry Coons Jr., 24. Hunter Schuerenberg. NT

2018 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Dave Darland (2), 2. Chris Windom (4), 3. Logan Seavey (15), 4. Chad Boespflug (3), 5. C.J. Leary (5), 6. Jeff Bland Jr. (8), 7. Chase Stockon (1), 8. Brady Bacon (13), 9. Joe Stornetta (10), 10. Tyler Courtney (12), 11. Justin Grant (14), 12. Tyler Thomas (7), 13. Jordan Kinser (11), 14. Kyle Cummins (17), 15. Nick Bilbee (18), 16. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 17. Robert Ballou (16), 18. Isaac Chapple (19), 19. Jerry Coons Jr. (21), 20. Lee Underwood (22), 21. Stevie Sussex (9), 22. Kody Swanson (23), 23. Dakota Jackson (20). NT

2019 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (1), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (2), 3. Jason McDougal (4), 4. Tyler Courtney (9), 5. C.J. Leary (6), 6. Justin Grant (3), 7. Chad Boespflug (5), 8. Chase Stockon (7), 9. Chris Windom (12), 10. Robert Ballou (13), 11. Jordan Kinser (11), 12. Josh Hodges (8), 13. Dakota Jackson (15), 14. Carson Short (16), 15. Dave Darland (20), 16. Isaac Chapple (17), 17. Stephen Schnapf (10), 18. Joe Stornetta (19), 19. Lee Underwood (14), 20. T.J. Artz (21), 21. Dustin Christie (18), 22. Zach Daum (22). 6:47.18 (New Track Record)

2021 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kevin Thomas Jr. (2), 2. Brady Bacon (5), 3. Kyle Cummins (7), 4. Shane Cottle (1), 5. Chris Windom (4), 6. Tanner Thorson (11), 7. C.J. Leary (9), 8. Justin Grant (6), 9. Scotty Weir (16), 10. Robert Ballou (20), 11. Jake Swanson (13), 12. Dave Darland (15), 13. Carson Garrett (8), 14. Mario Clouser (10), 15. Tye Mihocko (22), 16. Paul Nienhiser (3), 17. Carson Short (17), 18. Max Adams (12), 19. Cole Bodine (19), 20. Brayden Fox (14), 21. Matt Westfall (23) (P), 22. A.J. Hopkins (21), 23. Sterling Cling (24) (P), 24. Ricky Lewis (18). NT