Daron Clayton enjoys Grandview Speedway victory lane after winning Wednesday night's "Jesse Hockett Classic"

Daron Clayton enjoys Grandview Speedway victory lane after winning Wednesday night’s “Jesse Hockett Classic”USAC Photo


Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania…….Daron Clayton from Sikeston, Missouri has a reputation for crowd-pleasing high-wire acts on race tracks across the country. On Wednesday night at Grandview Speedway, the “Eastern Storm” opened up with an unbelievable display from Clayton en route to winning the 40-lap “Jesse Hockett Classic” Feature.

Polesitter Levi Jones jumped to the early lead, but it didn’t take long for Clayton to find his rhythm on the high line, as he roared by Jones off turn-four on lap 3 to take the early lead. The leaders set a torrid pace as Clayton walked away from the field. Bryan Clauson was a big mover early in the race, as he started 13th and wasted no time moving into the top-five. As he was gaining on the front two, Robert Ballou had moved into the top-five before three cars, including him, came together entering turn-one on lap 23 and left the Baldwin Brothers Racing #5 spun. He went off on the hook.

Clayton pulled out to a lead on the restart as Jones, Clauson, and fourth-running Chase Stockon negotiated lapped cars. The caution flew again on lap 26 when Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Brady Bacon made contact while racing for fifth, leaving Thomas’ car with a broken front-end.

The final restart came with 15 to go as the top-three all ran nose-to-tail. Jones came calling on the bottom, pushing Clayton to make a mistake on his tricky groove up against the wall. Clayton slipped high in turn-four on lap 27 and Jones nailed the bottom to re-take the lead coming to the line.

Clayton regrouped and found a little extra on the top shelf, flying back to the lead on lap 29, this time for good. Clauson finally moved by Jones on the outside with five to go and chased down the leader, briefly poking to the inside of Clayton for the top spot, but Clayton ran mistake-free over the final few laps as they re-encountered traffic and took the win in the Merry Go Round Restaurant – Advantage Machine #92 Spike/J&D.

“I was as high as I wanted to be, and then I saw Levi peeking in there. I figured I needed to push it a little more and see how it goes. Then I saw Clauson coming at me at the end, and I already thought I was driving my ass off, but luckily I had enough tire left that I could run a little harder. Steve Petry has basically adopted me for the week and helped us race, and without him we wouldn’t be here, so I have to thank him a lot. This is gonna be a good check to cash,” Clayton said from an animated victory lane.

Clauson came up just short in winning, but made an impressive turn-around from qualifying 13th earlier in the night to come home second in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance #20 Beast/Kistler.

“Grandview Speedway gave us a great race track, and we were just able to knife our way through. Bob Miller is one of the best promoters we have, and I’m glad he lets us race here. We were pretty disappointed with our qualifying effort. We knew we were gonna be able to maneuver in the feature and my guys went to work on it. I hate not grabbing a win when we’re that close, but Daron did a great job at the end,” Clauson said.

Jones made a bid at another Grandview win, but his run on the bottom ended, and he had to settle for third in the Jeff’s Jam-It-In Storage – Hoosier Tire #39 Maxim/Claxton.

“Forty laps here – I’ve won two by staying on the bottom and I’ve lost one by not getting to the bottom. I thought time would be on our side, but I guess it needed to be a 50-lapper for the bottom to be the place to be tonight. As usual, Grandview gave us a great race track, and I guess we’ll just try to be a little bit better tomorrow,” Jones said.

Hunter Schuerenberg made a mad dash in the closing laps to finish off his run from 15th to fourth in the MyLocalFordStore.com – Fatheadz Eyewear #35 Mach-1/Rider, while AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader Chase Stockon peaked at second very early in the race before coming home fifth in the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher.

AMSOIL USAC SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS:  June 5, 2013 – Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania – Grandview Speedway – “Eastern Storm”

QUALIFYING: 1. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips-13.924; 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher/RW/TriStar-14.301; 3. Chase Stockon, 32, Stockon-14.317; 4. Nick Drake, 55, Cline-14.333; 5. Daron Clayton, 92, Clayton-14.440; 6. Shane Cottle, 65, Franckowiak-14.443; 7. Levi Jones, 39, Walker-14.452; 8. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.467; 9. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-14.515; 10. Robert Ballou, 5, Baldwin-14.536; 11. Chris Windom, 11, Walker-14.541; 12. Mark Smith, 1M, Smith-14.636; 13. Bryan Clauson, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-14.651; 14. Mark Bitner, 15, Bitner-14.687; 15. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-14.729; 16. Tyler Courtney, 23c, Courtney/Anderson-14.786; 17. Matt Westfall, 54, Best Performance-14.804; 18. Brent Marks, 19M, Marks-14.901; 19. Landon Simon, 41, Stensland-14.919; 20. Trevor Utt, U2, Utt-14.940; 21. Travis Welpott, 30T, Leary-15.045; 22. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-15.089; 23. Kyle Moody, 99M, Moody-15.107; 24. Dan Mazy, X, Mazy-15.433; 25. Billy Pauch, Jr., 175, Pietrofitta-15.482; 26. Joey Biasi, B1, Biasi-15.484; 27. J.R. Berry, 74, Berry-15.632; 28. Denny Gross, 2, Gross-15.716; 29. Dalten Gabbard, 77, Gabbard-16.245.

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Clauson, 3. Hines, 4. Clayton, 5. Westfall, 6. Welpott, 7. Pauch, 8. Gabbard. 2:00.54

SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Leary, 2. Ballou, 3. Thomas, 4. Cottle, 5. Marks, 6. Bitner, 7. Biasi. 2:03.56

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Jones, 2. Schuerenberg, 3. Windom, 4. Stockon, 5. Moody, 6. Simon, 7. Berry. 2:02.17

FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Courtney, 3. Smith, 4. Utt, 5. Drake, 6. Gross, 7. Mazy. NT

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Marks, 2. Pauch, 3. Bitner, 4. Drake, 5. Westfall, 6. Biasi, 7. Mazy, 8. Berry, 9. Gross, 10. Welpott, 11. Moody, 12. Gabbard, 13. Simon. NT

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Daron Clayton, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Levi Jones, 4. Hunter Schuerenberg, 5. Chase Stockon, 6. Shane Cottle, 7. Chris Windom, 8. Dave Darland, 9. Brady Bacon, 10. Matt Westfall, 11. Tracy Hines, 12. Mark Smith, 13. Tyler Courtney, 14. Nick Drake, 15. Mark Bitner, 16. Joey Biasi, 17. C.J. Leary, 18. Trevor Utt, 19. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 20. Brent Marks, 21. Landon Simon, 22. Robert Ballou, 23. Billy Pauch, Jr. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Jones, Laps 3-26 Clayton, Laps 27-28 Jones, Laps 29-40 Clayton.

NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stockon-523; 2-Darland-505; 3-Bacon-483; 4-Clauson-481; 5-Schuerenberg-480; 6-Thomas-464; 7-Ballou-426; 8-Hines-418; 9-Leary-302; 10-Cottle-297.

NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: June 6 – Spring Run, Pennsylvania – Path Valley Speedway Park – “Eastern Storm”