The battle for USAC’s AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship continues this weekend at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Ill. Friday before moving to the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track for Saturday night’s “Jim Hurtubise Classic.”

The point race has intensified as a result of last weekend’s “Sprint Car Smackdown” three-race extravaganza at the Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway. Defending five-time series champ Levi Jones has returned to the top of the standings, 26 points ahead of Jon Stanbrough, with Dave Darland now just 38 points behind in third. Jones scored a sixth, 10th and 12th in the three Kokomo races, while Stanbrough suffered through a 12th, 14th and 18th and Darland had a second, fourth and fifth.

Stanbrough’s “Smackdown” ended in a grinding crash where he, Robert Ballou and Chad Boespflug all flipped. Ballou was treated and released at a local hospital, while Stanbrough and Boespflug escaped injury.

As a result of the above-referenced accident, Levi Jones and his team were assessed a 25-point penalty and placed on probation for the balance of the 2012 season due to on-track contact deemed to be avoidable and producing a dangerous situation for fellow competitors. The penalties, which are under official appeal by the team, were assessed according to guidelines of USAC competition rule 10.28 regarding unsportsmanlike conduct. No points adjustment will be effected until the appeals process has been completed. The appeals hearing is expected to be conducted later in the month of September.

USAC National Driving Championship point leader and two-champ Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind. starred in the ”Smackdown,” winning Thursday’s 30-lap prelim and Saturday’s $10,000-to-win finale in his CTR-BCI-Mike Curb-Agajanian/Curb Records/R & B Truckers Maxim Fisher. He finished third in Friday’s 30-lap prelim behind winner Chris Windom.

Clauson led the final 25 laps of Saturday’s main event after passing Tracy Hines on lap 16. Hines finished second after winning the specially-formulated “King of the Hill” battle for the pole position. Kevin Thomas Jr. was third, followed by Darland and Kyle Larson.

Darland led the first 16 laps Thursday before Clauson took over. Darland finished second ahead of Chase Stockon, Damion Gardner and Hines. On Thursday Hine sled the first 28 laps before yielding to Windom, who piloted the Bates Commodities Maxim/Advanced Engines entry. Clauson took third ahead of Thomas Meseraull and Darland.

The Kokomo event featured numerous additional posted prizes, including a total of $10,000 in lap prizes, bringing the three-night prize total of over $100,000!

Friday’s race at Tri-City Speedway marks the first appearance of the AMSOIL USAC Sprint Cars there since Josh Wise’s victory in 2006. Bud Kaeding and Daron Clayton have won the two USAC Sprint features held at Terre Haute so far this year, while Chris Windom is the defending winner of the “Jim Hurtubise Classic,” honoring the driver who posted five consecutive Terre Haute sprint wins in 1960, 1961 and 1962.