Lonnie Wheatley, ODESSA, Mo. (May 14, 2022) – It was a reversal of roles as the USAC National Sprint Car Series returned to the dirt at I-70 Motorsports Park for the first time in 40 years on Saturday night.
After Brady Bacon dominated Thursday night’s main event at Lakeside Speedway with Robert Ballou taking runner-up honors, Ballou turned the tables to score Saturday night’s win atop the recently revamped dirt oval aboard the Don Ott-powered Suburban Subaru No. 12 Triple-X Sprint Car.
It was the first series win for the Rocklin, CA, native since an “Eastern Storm” triumph at New Jersey’s Bridgeport Speedway last June.
“I’ve said all year long this is gonna be the ‘Bacon-Ballou Show’”, Ballou explained afterward. “He’s got the best racecar, I just wanted it a little worse tonight.”
It didn’t come without a serious challenge from the reining USAC Sprint Car champion, as Bacon slid into the lead momentarily in turns three and four on the 21st lap. But, Ballou adeptly countered the move to recapture the lead and slipped away in the closing circuits to secure the victory.
“I changed my lane a little bit in traffic and I knew I was backing up,” Ballou commented afterward. “I kind of got into him a little bit when slid up and was backing up the racetrack. I could have spun him but that’s not the way we race.”
While Ballou gridded the field outside the front row, it was pole starter Mario Clouser breaking out into the initial lead. Ballou wasted little time powering by on the high side on the second lap and slipped away as Bacon worked forward from fifth and began tracking down the leader as the laps clicked off.
Bacon made his move for the point and led the 21st lap before Ballou struck back to lead the rest of the way.
“He was slowing down in lapped traffic and the line I was running was clear so I was able to catch him,” Bacon explained. “Then I kind of used up what I had and couldn’t get back to him, he was running a really fast pace when he got out front. We gave it a shot and got ahead of him once but didn’t have quite enough.”
After starting eighth, Justin Grant salvaged a trying weekend by racing into the podium position in the non-stop affair. “We worked on everything, we worked on the car, we worked on the motor, we worked on the driver and we worked on the semi,” Grant said of the weekend. “We’re back on the podium tonight and still out here racing Sprint Cars, it’s a lot better than digging ditching and grinding dumpsters which is what I would be doing if I wasn’t out here.”
C.J. Leary crosse the stipe fourth with Emerson Axsom in fifth as Clouser, Logan Seavey, Jason McDougal, Jake Swanson and Matt Westfall completed the top ten.
After rookie contender Axsom established a new track record of 15.856 seconds in qualifying, McDougal, Bacon and Seavey topped heat race action before Wyatt Burks stormed to a half-lap victory in the 10-lap “B” Main.
USAC Sprint Cars
I-70 Motorsports Park – Odessa, MO
Saturday, May 14, 2022
USAC Sprint Cars:
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Emerson Axsom, 47BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-15.856 (New Track Record); 2. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-15.892; 3. Logan Seavey, 5, Baldwin/Fox-15.994; 4. C.J. Leary, 77m, Michael-15.998; 5. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-16.004; 6. Mario Clouser, 6, EZR-16.050; 7. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-16.099; 8. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-16.107; 9. Jadon Rogers, 14, Engler-16.173; 10. Jake Swanson, 21AZ, Team AZ-16.176; 11. Alex Banales, 5x, Baldwin/Fox-16.221; 12. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-16.237; 13. Jason McDougal, 5m, KO-16.295; 14. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-16.391; 15. Wesley Smith, 44, Smith-16.436; 16. Wyatt Burks, 11w, Burks-16.513; 17. Xavier Doney, 74, Doney/Lawson-16.730; 18. Chad Frewaldt, 4F, Frewaldt-16.881; 19. Cody Baker, 38, Tribble/Hall-17.076; 20. Dakota Earls, 15E, Earls-17.512; 21. Chase Howard, 13, Howard-17.513; 22. J.D. Black, 7JR, Black-17.646; 23. Tyler Burton, 03, Burton-17.726; 24. Chad Tye, 88, Tye-17.822; 25. Brian Beebe, 37, Nussbaum-17.856; 26. Mark Lane, 33L, Lane-18.261; 27. Casey Lewallen, 55L, Lewallen-18.487; 28. Rece Wommack, 33, Wommack-19.075.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Jason McDougal, 2. Jake Swanson, 3. C.J. Leary, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Emerson Axsom, 6. Wyatt Burks, 7. Cody Baker, 8. J.D. Black, 9. Rece Wommack, 10. Brian Beebe. 2:13.29 (New Track Record)
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Brady Bacon, 2. Brandon Mattox, 3. Matt Westfall, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. Alex Banales, 6. Xavier Doney, 7. Dakota Earls, 8. Mark Lane, 9. Tyler Burton. 2:16.05
PIT STOP USA / ROD END SUPPLY THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Logan Seavey, 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Mario Clouser, 4. Jadon Rogers, 5. Wesley Smith, 6. Chad Frewaldt, 7. Chase Howard, 8. Chad Tye, 9. Casey Lewallen. 2:17.36
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI-FEATURE: (10 laps, top-7 transfer to the feature) 1. Wyatt Burks, 2. Xavier Doney, 3. Chase Howard, 4. Chad Frewaldt, 5. Chad Tye, 6. Brian Beebe, 7. J.D. Black, 8. Rece Wommack, 9. Mark Lane, 10. Dakota Earls, 11. Casey Lewallen, 12. Cody Baker, 13. Tyler Burton. 3:03.19 (New Track Record)
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Robert Ballou (2), 2. Brady Bacon (5), 3. Justin Grant (8), 4. C.J. Leary (3), 5. Emerson Axsom (6), 6. Mario Clouser (1), 7. Logan Seavey (4), 8. Jason McDougal (7), 9. Jake Swanson (11), 10. Matt Westfall (9), 11. Jadon Rogers (10), 12. Chase Stockon (13), 13. Alex Banales (12), 14. Wesley Smith (15), 15. Xavier Doney (17), 16. Brandon Mattox (14), 17. Chad Tye (21), 18. Chase Howard (19), 19. Brian Beebe (22), 20. Chad Frewaldt (18), 21. Wyatt Burks (16), 22. J.D. Black (20). 9:52.36 (New Track Record)
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Mario Clouser, Laps 2-20 Robert Ballou, Lap 21 Brady Bacon, Laps 22-30 Robert Ballou.