Wilmot, WI…….Jon Stanbrough of Avon, Indiana extended his AMSOIL National Sprint Car point lead and picked up his first victory of the season after outlasting the rest of the field on Saturday night at Wilmot Raceway. The 44-year-old used a restart with just three laps to go to dart under leader Kevin Thomas, Jr. in turn-three for the deciding move.
“I had to keep myself patient and stay out of trouble in that one. Those guys were racing hard early. We were lucky and didn’t get caught up in those reds, although I did get into the second one a little bit. (Crew chief) Daryl (Tate) got a chance to wrench on the car under that one a little bit, and we just felt really good after that. Kevin (Thomas) was getting into three pretty high, and that was my opportunity to get by him,” Stanbrough said.
Thomas started the night by breaking the track record, set in 1995, and appeared headed for his first-career National Sprint Car win. The Cullman, Alabama driver, who is under the tutelage of sprint car great Bubby Jones, extended a large lead after driving by early leader Robert Ballou on lap eight.
Behind Thomas, a great race emerged between Ballou, polesitter Chris Windom, and Hunter Schuerenberg for the second spot. Just after completing lap 13, Ballou and Schuerenberg made contact in turn-one with Schuerenberg flipping into turn-two. He walked away but was done for the night.
From there, Dave Darland looked to be the major threat to Thomas, as he knifed his way to the second spot and was reeling in the leader as they entered lap traffic. With just six laps to go, Matt Vandervere flipped right in front of the leaders in turn-three, leaving Darland with nowhere to go. The Lincoln, Indiana driver plowed into Vandervere, with Stanbrough also making contact before driving away.
Stanbrough and hard-charging Shane Cottle then took up the chase on Thomas, who was continuing to run an extreme high line around the third-mile oval. The final caution flag flew with three laps to go for Tracy Hines, who stopped in turn-two. On the restart, Stanbrough cut off turn-two and dove under Thomas into turn-three for a lead he would not relinquish in the Roberts/Tate Racing – Leer Racing #21x DRC/Speedway.
Thomas crossed just behind him with his best-career USAC finish in the Black Jack Oil Company – Indy Metal Finishing #9K Spike/Kistler.
“We were good all night. We could run up through the rough on the top. The car was stable to get through there better than everyone else. I guess it just went away some or got too far around there, and Jon got by us. We had two engines let go in the past couple weeks, so to bounce back like this and almost get that win, it’s a good turn-around for us,” Thomas said.
Cottle started 11th in the Curb Records – R&B Trucker’s #7 Maxim/Fisher while again substituting for Bryan Clauson, who was still at Iowa Speedway to race with the Fireston Indy Lights. Cottle found the bottom late in the race to briefly challenge for the lead before finishing third.
“We really didn’t need that last caution, because we were rollin’ pretty good and finally got the bottom working. You give Jon (Stanbrough) a caution that late and he gets a chance to adjust some things, you’re in trouble,” Cottle said.
Levi Jones came home fourth in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevrolet Performance #20 Maxim/Kistler and Damion Gardner rounded out the top-five in the DG Racing – Pace Lighting #71 Eagle/Shaver.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: June 23, 2012 – Wilmot, WI – Wilmot Raceway
QUALIFYING: 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, BlackJack-14.665; 2. Levi Jones, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-14.680; 3. Jon Stanbrough, 21x, Roberts/Tate-14.797; 4. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-14.832; 5. Robert Ballou, 81, MPHG-14.902; 6. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-14.991; 7. Damion Gardner, 71, DG-15.037; 8. Dave Darland, 11, Walker-15.065; 9. Chase Stockon, 32, Stockon-15.115; 10. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-15.187; 11. Shane Cottle, 7, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-15.196; 12. Chris Gurley, 12, Team Automotive-15.219; 13. Darren Hagen, 69, Dynamics-15.250; 14. Jerry Coons, Jr., 71P, Phillips-15.412; 15. Mike Hess, 51, Hess-15.512; 16. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-15.520; 17. Wayne Modjeski, 14, Mojo-15.572; 18. Steve Irwin, 1, Flying Zero-15.602; 19. Ryan Irwin, 56, Irwin-15.764; 20. Bret Mellenberndt, 97, Mellenberndt-15.766; 21. Tommy Sexton, 83, Forplay-15.940; 22. Matt Vandervere, 10v, Vandervere-16.723; 23. Craig Lager, 52B, Lager-16.957.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Schuerenberg, 2. Gardner, 3. Thomas, 4. Hines, 5. Leary, 6. R. Irwin, 7. Vandervere, 8. Hagen. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Coons, 2. Darland, 3. Ballou, 4. Jones, 5. Cottle, 6. Mellenberndt, 7. Modjeski, 8. Lager. 2:36.96
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Stanbrough, 2. Hess, 3. S. Irwin, 4. Windom, 5. Stockon, 6. Gurley, 7. Sexton. 2:40.13
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Jon Stanbrough, 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 3. Shane Cottle, 4. Levi Jones, 5. Damion Gardner, 6. Chris Windom, 7. Darren Hagen, 8. Chase Stockon, 9. C.J. Leary, 10. Chris Gurley, 11. Jerry Coons, Jr., 12. Steve Irwin, 13. Robert Ballou, 14. Ryan Irwin, 15. Bret Mellenberndt, 16. Craig Lager, 17. Tracy Hines, 18. Dave Darland, 19. Matt Vandervere, 20. Mike Hess, 21. Hunter Schuerenberg, 22. Wayne Modjeski. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-7 Ballou, Laps 8-27 Thomas, Laps 28-30 Stanbrough.
**Gardner flipped in Heat 1. Hines flipped in Heat 1. Sexton flipped in Heat 3 and was transported to a local hospital for observation. Schuerenberg flipped on lap 14 of the Feature. Vandervere flipped on lap 25 of the Feature.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stanbrough-706; 2-Jones-685; 3-Gardner-655; 4-Darland-631; 5-Hines-623; 6-Windom-546; 7-Clauson-528; 8-Ballou-527; 9-Hagen-520; 10-Schuerenberg-509.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: June 24 – Sun Prairie, WI – Angell Park Speedway