Minersville, PA…….Canton, Illinois driver Chris Windom finally broke through with his first AMSOIL National Sprint Car win of the season on Friday night at Big Diamond Speedway. Windom, who tallied his first-career USAC Sprint Car win at the 3/8-mile, was largely unchallenged en route to a flag-to-flag win in the “Rotondo Weirich Eastern Storm” Race #3 with a time of 8:36.25 over thirty laps.
After qualifying in the fifth spot, Windom took off from outside the front row and negotiated traffic throughout the second half of the race, building comfortable leads repeatedly after Tracy Hines would carve into his lead. Not only was it Windom’s first win of the year, it was his first podium finish of the year aboard the Baldwin Brothers Racing – Fox Paving #5 Maxim/Claxton Mopar.
“I knew I wanted to get the jump and get out in the lead at the start. I just tried to run as hard as I could, but I had to get a little conservative with the lapped cars toward the end. I was afraid they might push me up or off the backstretch. I gotta thank (car owner) Kenny (Baldwin) and Derek (Claxton). They gave me a good race car tonight, and we won, and we needed it. We needed this one bad,” Windom said.
While Hines appeared to be closing on Windom multiple times in the race, he was simply holding on at the end of the race. The right-front torsion bar came out of his MP Environmental Services – Support Esophagus Cancer Research #4 DRC/Shaver, and that was only part of his problem.
“I think about ten to go, I slipped up out of four, so I entered kinda high into one, so I got in on the cushion and almost flipped. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with the thing. It started dipping down, and then I got pounded by a rock as I pulled a tear-off, so I had to keep it off the cushion at the end and hold on. I can’t say enough about this car tonight, way better than we’ve been. I’m excited and hopefully got something for them tomorrow,” Hines said.
Chase Stockon filled the podium for his best-career finish with the series. The Sullivan, Indiana driver hung with the top-two throughout and tried to diamond off the corners to make a run on Hines. In the end, he finished with three seconds clearance of fourth in the Terre Haute First Financial Bank – Super Tank & Trailer #32 DRC/Fisher.
“The track was good the first few laps, and then the bottom just went away, so we had to stick to the top. We really just decided to leave the car alone tonight and that seemed to be the way to go. It’s great to get a top-three here, for sure,” Stockon said.
Damion Gardner finished fourth aboard the DG Racing – Pace Lighting #71 Eagle/Shaver, while New Track Record holder Levi Jones rounded out the top-five and took over the lead in the Driver’s Standings in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevrolet Performance #20 Maxim/Kistler Chevy. Bryan Clauson continues to lead the “Eastern Storm” standings after finishing sixth. Jerry Coons, Jr. picked up the Schroeder Torsion Bars “Hard Charger Award” by driving from 16th to ninth.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: June 8, 2012 – Minersville, PA – Big Diamond Speedway
QUALIFYING: 1. Levi Jones, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-15.237; 2. Bryan Clauson, 7, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-15.280; 3. Damion Gardner, 71, DG-15.349; 4. Chase Stockon, 32, Stockon-15.414; 5. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-15.423; 6. Darren Hagen, 69, Dynamics-15.427; 7. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-15.474; 8. Jon Stanbrough, 21x, Roberts/Tate-15.566; 9. Bobby East, 2B, Benic-15.648; 10. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-15.677; 11. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-15.687; 12. Robert Ballou, 81, MPHG-15.691; 13. Jonathan Hendrick, 68, Hendrick-15.832; 14. Coleman Gulick, 14, Gulick-15.843; 15. Dave Darland, 11, Walker-15.878; 16. Jerry Coons, Jr., 71P, Phillips-15.942; 17. Mark Smith, 1M, J&B-16.103; 18. Joey Biasi, B1, Biasi-16.152; 19. Mark Bitner, 15, Bitner-16.301; 20. Billy Pauch, Jr., 175, Pietrofitta-16.357; 21. Mike Gular, 8, Petry-17.050; 22. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, Black Jack-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Hendrick, 3. Jones, 4. Stockon, 5. Coons, 6. Leary, 7. Bitner. 2:07.64
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Gulick, 2. Clauson, 3. Smith, 4. Schuerenberg, 5. Windom, 6. Stanbrough, 7. Pauch. 2:08.20
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Ballou, 3. Biasi, 4. Gardner, 5. East, 6. Gular. 2:11.02
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Damion Gardner, 5. Levi Jones, 6. Bryan Clauson, 7. Jon Stanbrough, 8. Darren Hagen, 9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 10. Dave Darland, 11. Bobby East, 12. Coleman Gulick, 13. C.J. Leary, 14. Hunter Schuerenberg, 15. Jonathan Hendrick, 16. Mark Smith, 17. Billy Pauch, Jr., 18. Mark Bitner, 19. Joey Biasi, 20. Mike Gular, 21. Robert Ballou, 22. Kevin Thomas, Jr. 8:36.25
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Windom.
**Darland & Gulick flipped after the checkered in the Main Event.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Jones-577; 2-Stanbrough-571; 3-Darland-553; 4-Gardner/Hines-532; 6-Clauson-471; 7-Windom-456; 8-Hagen-453; 9-Stockon-441; 10-Ballou-436.
ROTONDO WEIRICH EASTERN STORM POINTS: 1-Clauson-198; 2-Jones-180; 3-Coons/Windom-157; 5-Darland-155; 6-Gardner-142; 7-Hines-141; 8-Hagen-134; 9-Stockon-132; 10-Schuerenberg-123.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: June 9 – Port Royal, PA – Port Royal Speedway