By CAREY FOXTimes Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE — Shane Cottle lived up to his nickname, “The Throttle”, on Thursday night, setting fast time in qualifying and then pulling away during the second half of the feature to pick up the victory in the inaugural running of Thursday Night Sprints (TNS) at Lincoln Park Speedway.
Cottle was able to master a slick racing surface over the final half of the sprint car main event to score his second win of the season in Indiana and hold off hard luck sprinter Scotty Weir, who finished second for the fifth time this season. California’s Nic Faas came forward in a wild final lap to place third with Chase Briscoe and Thomas Meseraull rounding out the top-five.
Logan Jarrett and Danny Holtsclaw started on the front row of the A-main, but it was row two that took over at the drop of the green with Seth Parker and Cottle jumping to the lead in an early dogfight for position with Jarrett close behind.
Parker would separate a bit over the first few laps after a lap three caution for a spin by Dakota Jackson. Behind Parker however, was a three-wide thriller with Larson, Cottle and Holtsclaw locked in a duel for second. The trio masterfully traded jabs without any of the drivers making contact as the crowd got their money’s worth. Cottle managed to escape the pack for second and quickly moved to the top, shadowing Parker briefly before squeezing every last ounce of momentum out of the cushion to take the lead.
With traction being that much more elusive on Thursday night, Cottle noted that he saw Parker’s success on the cushion and tried the line for the lead.
“I’d seen Seth (Parker) up there and he seemed to be doing pretty good. I thought that if I could just get a little groove higher that I could get my momentum up and it worked out there for us,” Cottle said. “I just had to be patient and really, just let it play out. We had to pick and choose where we wanted to go. It was a little slick and kind of tricky so you had to be really smooth with the throttle. Luckily my guys had it set up just perfect.”
Once he broke free into clean air, Cottle began to build on his lead quickly as Parker held down second ahead of a new three-wide tussle between Larson, Weir and Holtsclaw. Jarrett was on their tail as Ryan Pace joined the frontrunners. Behind them, Briscoe was making his move to the front from a 12th-place starting position. Thomas Meseraull was elbows up from 20th at the start and was on a mission as he reached the top-10.
Cottle reached several lapped cars, but wasn’t slowed in his charge up front, which left Weir and Holtsclaw fighting for second as Parker slipped back to fourth with Briscoe fighting him for the same spot. Faas was in the mix along with Pace, Meseraull and Larson as a caution flew with just four laps remaining.
With a mad dash set for the cash, the crowd was correct in expecting a frenetic finish as the field went green for the last set of circuits.
Cottle remained up front ahead of Weir, but the dicing and sliding was for the third spot as Larson challenged for third with Holtsclaw on the final lap and the two made contact. Holtsclaw slipped all the way back to 11th as Larson had even worse luck with an 18th-place result. Faas was the winner by coming out of the mix in third position ahead of Faas, but Meseraull’s dash from 20th to fifth had the crowd buzzing as Parker, Pace, Josh Burton, who came forward from 17th to eighth, Swanson and Kevin Studley wrapped the top-10.
A standout field of 28 sprint cars was on hand with some heavy hitters from the Midwest and West Coast in the pits and gunning for that first Thursday night sprint car victory.
After Cottle set quick time on the evening, it was Parker that edged Cottle for the victory in the first heat race of the night as Josh Burton, Weir and Jared Fox locked themselves into the A-main with a top-five finish.
The second heat race was an all-star list of California hot shoes fronting the nine-car heat as Kyle Larson claimed the win ahead of Faas, Justin Grant and Kody Swanson. Indiana native, Jackson, broke the West Coast stranglehold in fifth-place to make the feature.
The final heat race went to Blake Fitzpatrick and of Thomas Meseraull, Ryan Pace, Holtsclaw and Jarrett.
Cottle credited Tony Epperson and Epperson Painting along with Spike Chassis and Claxton Engines for his run to the front.
“You know without all of them we couldn’t do it,” Cottle said of his sponsors. “I hope the crowd enjoyed this as much as I did. It’s a lot of fun to come here and race and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Thursday Night Sprints will continue next week with $10 general admission with kids under 10 years old admitted free. This evening, sprints, modifieds, super stocks and bombers are on tap at the scenic Putnamville oval.
Thursday Night Sprints
Lincoln Park Speedway
Sprint car feature
1. Shane Cottle, 2. Scotty Weir, 3. Nic Faas, 4. Chase Briscoe, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Seth Parker, 7. Ryan Pace, 8. Josh Burton, 9. Kody Swanson, 10. Kevin Studley, 11. Danny Holtsclaw, 12. Brandon Morin, 13. Logan Jarrett, 14. Shawn Krockenberger, 15. Lance Hayden, 16. Jared Fox, 17. Garrett Abrams, 18. Kyle Larson, 19. Blake Fitzpatrick, 20. Dakota Jackson
1. Chase Briscoe, 2. Shawn Krockenberger, 3. Garrett Abrams, 4. Kevin Studley, 5. Brandon Morin, 6. Lance Hayden, 7. Levi Shields, 8. Ben Andres, 9. Jarrett Andretti, 10. Bryan Severs, 11. Brandon Mattix, 12. Michael Severs, 13. Steve Thomas
1. Seth Parker, 2. Shane Cottle, 3. Josh Burton, 4. Scotty Weir, 5. Jared Fox, 6. Chase Briscoe, 7. Michael Severs, 8. Ben Andres, 9. Brandon Mattox, 10. Steve Thomas
1. Kyle Larson, 2. Nic Faas, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Kody Swanson, 5. Dakota Jackson, 6. Shawn Krockenberger, 7. Levi Shields, 8. Jarett Andretti, 9. Lance Hayden
1. Blake Fitzpatrick, 2. Thomas Meseraull, 3. Ryan Pace, 4. Danny Holtsclaw, 5. Logan Jarrett, 6. Garrett Abrams, 7. Brandon Morin, 8. Bryan Severs, 9. Kevin Studley