Terre Haute, Indiana…….The complexion of Thursday night’s 42nd “Tony Hulman Classic” at the Terre Haute Action Track changed many times in just a few short laps. In the end, it was Bud Kaeding cutting celebratory donuts and collecting the famed Winchester rifle for the 30-lap Main Event win.
Race-long leader Jon Stanbrough saw Darren Hagen use a turn-one slide-job on lap 22 for the top spot before a caution slowed the pace. Instead of Hagen giving up the lead for the restart, he found himself collected in the turn-four incident with Thomas Meseraull, relegated to the tail for the restart after changing a right-rear tire.
The restart was just the break Kaeding needed. The Campbell, California driver, who has experienced victories and a near career-ending flip at the half-mile, wasted no time in assaulting Stanbrough for the lead aboard his Kaeding Performance – Alviso Rock #29K Maxim/Speedway Chevy. He finally sealed the deal on lap 23 with a turn-one slide-job of his own, distancing himself from the pack over the final seven rounds.
“Darren kinda woke me up there. On that restart, I knew it was my last chance. Our car was running pretty good there at the end, as well as it has in a long time. This race has meant a lot to me for a long time. Getting hurt here is one reason, and then living with the Hulman family, being a roommate to Ed (Carpenter). Knowing the family all this time, getting back here and winning this race is awesome,” Kaeding said.
Behind him, it was mayhem for top-five spots, with slide-jobs being thrown everywhere. Stanbrough steadied himself to hold onto the runner-up spot in the Roberts/Tate Racing – Leer Racing #21x DRC/Speedway Chevy.
“Our car was really good at the beginning, and I knew it was really good. It was just right, and I was actually thinkin’ about it during the race that if it was this good, I hoped it stayed that good. I could tell before we got passed that we were getting a little loose off the corner, and I just couldn’t save it with adjustments. I’m disappointed that we didn’t win, but we shoulda gained points on a lot of guys tonight,” Stanbrough said.
The dust settled on a great battle behind the top two with Damion Gardner claiming the final podium spot after starting 11th in the DG Racing – Pace Lighting #71 Eagle/Shaver.
“The car was good late for us. The track’s been good here lately, with big sliders and stuff like that, it’s always fun. Bob (East) had the car good for us there towards the end, and I just wanna thank Pace and Pat (Kehoe) for being a little bit patient, and hopefully we can kinda get on a roll here,” Gardner said.
Shane Cottle jumped off the bench to be a super sub aboard the Corey Tucker Racing/BCI/Curb-Agajanian entry, as regular driver Bryan Clauson focuses on Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. Cottle started 13th and finished fourth in the Curb Records – R&B Trucker’s #7 Maxim/Fisher. Binghamton, New York’s Coleman Gulick rounded out the top-five in the Hazardous Sports – Rob’s Market #14 DRC/Claxton.
Robert Ballou put on a great show in advancing from 18th to sixth to earn the Schroeder Torsion Bars “Hard Charger” award, while Levi Jones picked up the DMI Lucky-7 award for finishing seventh. Chris Windom took home the Wilwood Brakes Lucky-13 award for his 13th-place finish.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: May 24, 2012 – Terre Haute, Indiana – Terre Haute Action Track – 42nd “Tony Hulman Classic”
QUALIFYING: 1. Blake Fitzpatrick, 10, Fitzpatrick-20.162; 2. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-20.299; 3. Dave Darland, 11, Walker-20.317; 4. Bud Kaeding, 29K, BK-20.344; 5. Darren Hagen, 69, Dynamics-20.352; 6. Bobby East, 2B, Benic-20.373; 7. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-20.470; 8. Daron Clayton, 92, Clayton-20.595; 9. Coleman Gulick, 14, Gulick-20.659; 10. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-20.825; 11. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, Black Jack-20.828; 12. Jon Stanbrough, 21x, Roberts/Tate-20.835; 13. Damion Gardner, 71, DG-20.897; 14. Jerry Coons, Jr., 71P, Phillips-20.952; 15. Shane Cottle, 7, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-21.066; 16. Jonathan Hendrick, 68, Hendrick-21.092; 17. Thomas Meseraull, 41, Stensland-21.100; 18. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-21.103; 19. Chase Stockon, 32, Stockon-21.109; 20. Robert Ballou, 81, MPHG-21.124; 21. Levi Jones, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-21.185; 22. Kyle Larson, 1K, Abreu-21.408; 23. Casey Shuman, 21, Pollock-21.553; 24. Seth Parker, 38P, Parker-21.646; 25. Wes McIntyre, 83, McIntyre-21.652; 26. Mark Smith, 1M, J&B-21.697; 27. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-21.705; 28. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-21.909; 29. Mitch Wissmiller, 1, Wissmiller-22.220; 30. Kevin Studley, 57, Studley-22.552.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Meseraull, 2. Jones, 3. Gardner, 4. Hagen, 5. Gulick, 6. Fitzpatrick, 7. McIntyre, 8. Wissmiller. 2:47.41
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Larson, 2. Coons, 3. Windom, 4. Grant, 5. Hines, 6. Smith, 7. Studley, 8. East. 2:50.91
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Darland, 3. Shuman, 4. Thomas, 5. Cottle, 6. Schuerenberg, 7. Jarrett. 2:52.52
FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Stanbrough, 3. Kaeding, 4. Hendrick, 5. Parker, 6. Mattox, 7. Clayton. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Schuerenberg, 2. Hines, 3. Fitzpatrick, 4. Gulick, 5. Cottle, 6. McIntyre, 7. East, 8. Smith, 9. Jarrett, 10. Parker, 11. Wissmiller, 12. Studley, 13. Mattox. 4:12.45
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bud Kaeding, 2. Jon Stanbrough, 3. Damion Gardner, 4. Shane Cottle, 5. Coleman Gulick, 6. Robert Ballou, 7. Levi Jones, 8. Jerry Coons, Jr., 9. Justin Grant, 10. Hunter Schuerenberg, 11. Dave Darland, 12. Tracy Hines, 13. Chris Windom, 14. Kyle Larson, 15. Darren Hagen, 16. Bobby East, 17. Casey Shuman, 18. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 19. Chase Stockon, 20. Thomas Meseraull, 21. Blake Fitzpatrick, 22. Wes McIntyre, 23. Jonathan Hendrick. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-22 Stanbrough, Laps 23-30 Kaeding.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stanbrough-454; 2-Darland-398; 3-Jones-397; 4-Hines-391; 5-Gardner-390; 6-Ballou-327; 7-Thomas-320; 8-Hagen-319; 9-Shuman-316; 10-Schuerenberg-311.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: June 5 – Bechtelsville, PA – Grandview Speedway