By CAREY FOX Times Sports Editor PUTNAMVILLE — An overflow crowd was on hand Thursday night at Lincoln Park Speedway to witness the fifth stop on the “Indiana Sprint Week” docket as Noblesville’s Bryan Clauson put a halt to the three-race win streak by Kevin Thomas Jr.
The victory was Clauson’s second of the season in AMSOIL National Sprint Car action and was the 20th of his career in the series.
Chris Bell started well, throttling past Hunter Schuerenberg, to lead as Clauson advanced from row two into the second position over the early circuits. Thomas’ chances of a fourth straight win took a major hit when he spun on an early re-start. Schuerenberg would also head to the pits with mechanical problems during the early going along with Tracy Hines.
Chase Briscoe brought out a red flag after a turn one flip on the 11th lap, emerging uninjured, but done for the evening. On the re-start, Clauson reeled in Bell and challenged lap-after-lap running the low line as Bell hammered the topside cushion. However, Clauson found his opening on the 12th lap and made a pass stick coming off turn four. The pair continued their battle up front, opening up some breathing room ahead of the next three cars.
Brady Short rocketed through the field from a 19th-place starting position and took over the third position after a late re-start, but wasn’t able to make up enough ground the challenge the leaders. Bell hopped the cushion late in the feature as Clauson was able to pull away and claim a 1.527-second victory in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance No. 20 Beast/Kistler entry.
“Man, we needed that one! We had a shot at him early when he was railing the top, but he saw me and got down a little. We carved in that lane a little better off turn-two, and it was just a matter of time, Clauson said of his battle with Bell. “He was doing a great job on restarts, and finally he kinda slid himself into three and we could beat him to the cushion off four. It was a little treacherous down there in three and four, so I was trying to be mistake-free as tricky as it was. You can’t run thirty perfect ones up there,” Clauson said.
Bell would maintain second across the finish line in the Keith Kunz-owned Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Advanced Racing Suspension #67 Bullet/Speedway. Short would score the well-earned ProSource “Hard Charger” Award for his charge to third-place.
“We probably weren’t even set up for it, as quickly as it got slick. I over-drove it a bit when I got up to Bell and needed to slow down to hit two a little better, but that’s part of it, I guess. All in all, it’s not a bad week, and I still got my two favorite race tracks coming up to finish it off,” Short said.
Jon Stanbrough parlayed a fourth-place finish into some valuable “Indiana Sprint Week” points to move into second behind Thomas, who placed 11th in the LPS feature. Dave Darland had a strong run derailed by mechanical issues during the latter stages of the feature and placed 21st to slip back to sixth behind Bell in the standings. However, he still remains out front of the national sprint points, 11 markers ahead of Clauson. Chris Windom battled to fifth in the A-main.
The series moved on to Bloomington Speedway on Friday before wrapping up on Saturday at Haubstadt for the finale.
In the UMP Modified division, Greencastle’s Brian Hayden held off Paul Bumgardner in a spirited battle to claim the feature victory.
The duo put on a side-by-side fight for the lead over the first half of the main event before Hayden got by with nine laps remaining and was able to pull away to victory. Bumgardner was challenged by Craig Conyer over the second half of the race, but maintained his runner-up spot.
Don Kiger, Randy Shuman and Chad Combs put on a show for the fourth spot in the A-main before Shuman broke free for the spot ahead of Combs. Carlos Bumgardner Sr. moved forward from 13th to take sixth.
The Midwest TQ Racing League made its second appearance at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night and Minden, Nev. native Tanner Thorson claimed the victory ahead of Brett Hankins and series points leader Nick Speidel.
Thorson fought through a three-way skirmish for the point with pole sitter Dustin Wheeldon and Hankins before breaking free for the lead. Once out front, the 17-year-old pulled away from the field for the victory. Thorson withstood a caution flag with just three laps remaining, getting a strong re-start to record the victory.
CJ Leary placed fourth ahead of Wheeldon as Tate Martz was sixth. Logan Arnold, Kevin Blue, Tristen Maggert and Aaron Percell rounded out the top-10.
This evening, UMP Modifieds, UMP Super Stocks and bombers are on the slate as well as the second Little Feet Challenge bicycle race for the youngsters.
AMSOIL USAC Sprint Car National Championship “Indiana Sprint Week” Lincoln Park Speedway
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Chris Bell, 3. Brady Short, 4. Jon Stanbrough, 5. Chris Windom, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Robert Ballou, 8. Chad Boespflug, 9. Brent Beauchamp, 10. Chase Stockon, 11. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 12. Kyle Cummins, 13. Wes McIntyre, 14. Jace Vander Weerd, 15. Tracy Hines, 16. Seth Parker, 17. Shane Cottle, 18. C.J. Leary, 19. Nick Drake, 20. Richard Vander Weerd, 21. Dave Darland, 22. Chase Briscoe, 23. Hunter Schuerenberg, 24. Scotty Weir.
UMP Modified feature 1. Brian Hayden, 2. Paul Bumgardner, 3. Craig Conyer, 4. Randy Shuman, 5. Chad Combs, 6. Carlos Bumgardner Sr., 7. Donald Kiger, 8. Dan Lewellen, 9. Scott Ricketts, 10. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 11. Wayne Newlin, 12. Nick O’Dell, 13. Blake Davis, 14. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 15. Kyle Herbert, 16. Wes McClara, 17. Devin Gilpin, 18. Brent Hudson
MTQRL Midgets 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Brett Hankins, 3. Nick Speidel, 4. CJ Leary, 5. Dustin Wheeldon, 6. Tate Martz, 7. Logan Arnold, 8. Kevin Blue, 9. Tristen Maggert, 10. Aaron Purcell, 11. Bobby Walton, 12. Jon Steed, 13. Chad Hankins, 14. Dalton Miller, 15. Cody Kiewett, 16. Rex Griffin, 17. Dakota Megal