Lonnie Wheatley, KOKOMO, Ind. (August 27, 2022) – It was without question the biggest beat down of all Smackdowns.
And the tone was set on Thursday night, as it was apparent that the Kyle Cummins Show was going to be in full effect when the USAC National Sprint Car Series kicked off “Kokomo Sprint Car Smackdown XI”.
So it was only fitting the Princeton, IN, racer absolutely decimated the field in Saturday night’s $15,000-to-win 40-lap finale, racing to a gaudy 4.088-second margin at the checkered flag.
“We opened out of the box just unreal, and then I about dumped it there in that little qualifier thing,” Cummins said in victory lane. “We just put some fresh bars in it thinking that maybe one was dead and it was a complete different racecar again.”
Add on to that the fact that Cummins led all 40 rounds, collecting lap money each time around the Kokomo Speedway ¼-mile clay to rack up overall winnings of $35,000 on the night aboard the Stanton Chevy-powered Rock Steady Racing Mid-America Safety Solutions/Ultimate Predator Boats No. 3r Mach 1 Chassis.
Cummins established the quick time on both nights of preliminary action and then after suffering a flat tire while gridding for the Thursday prelim, he sliced through the field from the tail to score a runner-up finish before posting a fourth-place effort in Friday’s prelim.
It all set the stage for Saturday’s dominant performance even after surrendering the pole position to C.J. Leary in the “King of the Hill” finale that set the starting grid.
Cummins wasted little time jumping out ahead of Leary at the drop of the green flag in the Smackdown finale and after a red flag just one lap in when Brandon Mattox turned it over in turn one, Cummins checked out on the field and led the final non-stop 39 laps in uncontested and unprecedented fashion.
“We had a great thing Thursday and then we just had a third or fourth-place car on Friday and I couldn’t get anything done,” Cummins explained. “I was kinda bummed out going into tonight, then I just put the faith in my guys to make some changes to get this thing comfortable again because for the first night-and-a-half this thing was on kill.”
In the distance, Leary fought off Jake Swanson in the mid-stages to hold on to the runner-up position aboard the Michael Motorsports Kodiak Products No. 77m.
“The 3r was really good, I was hoping for a late caution because I felt like our car was getting better,” Leary commented. “They were the best car all weekend and that’s why they’re in victory lane.”
After starting eighth, reigning series champion Brady Bacon worked his way forward throughout and battled past Swanson in the final handful of laps to snare the show position in the Hoffman Racing No. 69.
“Kyle has a really good car here and probably got out to a huge lead and without a caution we weren’t really going to be able to do much there,” Bacon explained. “I wish we could have had a caution to maybe see what we had, but he was gonna be tough to beat regardless.”
Swanson finished off a strong weekend in fourth with Robert Ballou rounding out the top five. Friday night winner Kevin Thomas, Jr., advanced from 12th to sixth with Justin Grant, Emerson Axsom, Jason McDougal and Thomas Meseraull completing the top ten as Max Adams earned Hard Charger honors by racing from 20th to 13th.
USAC Sprint Cars
Kokomo Speedway – Kokomo, IN
Saturday, August 27, 2022 – “Kokomo Sprint Car Smackdown XI” Finale
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST QUALIFIER: (10 laps, top-3 transfer to the feature) 1. Chase Stockon (#5s KO), 2. Kevin Thomas Jr. (#15K BGE Dougherty), 3. Anton Hernandez (#2B 2B Racing), 4. Mario Clouser (#6 EZR), 5. Scotty Weir (#4p Pedersen), 6. Jack Hoyer (#11 Hoyer), 7. Sterling Cling (#34 Cling), 8. Dustin Clark (#75 DCR), 9. Jack James (#99 James), 10. Corey Smith (#66s CS). 2:11.16
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND QUALIFIER: (10 laps, top-3 transfer to the feature) 1. Matt Westfall (#33m Marshall), 2. Jadon Rogers (#14 Engler), 3. Logan Seavey (#5 Baldwin-Fox), 4. Cole Bodine (#57B DCT-Crow-Bodine), 5. Max Adams (#17GP Dutcher), 6. Tom Harris (#84 Harris), 7. Alex Bright (#20 Hummer), 8. Larry Kingseed Jr. (#59 Powell), 9. Cooper Welch (#2w Welch). 2:12.48
PIT STOP USA / ROD END SUPPLY THIRD QUALIFIER: (10 laps, top-3 transfer to the feature) 1. Mitchel Moles (#19AZ Reinbold-Underwood), 2. Thomas Meseraull (#2E Epperson), 3. Dave Darland (#36D Darland/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Korbyn Hayslett (#1H Hayslett), 5. Brandon Mattox (#28 Mattox), 6. Tim Creech (#2c Creech), 7. Tyler Hewitt (#57 Hazen), 8. Carson Garrett (#15 BGE Dougherty), 9. Paul White (#1 White), 10. Parker Frederickson (#34F Frederickson). 2:14.23
BILL & SANDY WEVER KING OF THE HILL FIRST QUARTERFINAL: (3 laps) #1 Kyle Cummins (#3R Rock Steady) defeats #8 Brady Bacon (#69 Dynamics). 40.137
BILL & SANDY WEVER KING OF THE HILL SECOND QUARTERFINAL: (3 laps) #4 Emerson Axsom (#47BC Clauson Marshall Newman) defeats #5 Justin Grant (#4 TOPP). 41.283
BILL & SANDY WEVER KING OF THE HILL THIRD QUARTERFINAL: (3 laps) #3 Jason McDougal (#5s KO) defeats #6 Jake Swanson (#21AZ Team AZ). 39.848
BILL & SANDY WEVER KING OF THE HILL FOURTH QUARTERFINAL: (3 laps) #2 C.J. Leary (#77m Michael) defeats #7 Robert Ballou (#12 Ballou). 40.134
BILL & SANDY WEVER KING OF THE HILL FIRST SEMIFINAL: (3 laps) #1 Kyle Cummins defeats #4 Emerson Axsom. 39.835
BILL & SANDY WEVER KING OF THE HILL SECOND SEMIFINAL: (3 laps) #2 C.J. Leary defeats #3 Jason McDougal. 39.543 (New Track Record)
BILL & SANDY WEVER KING OF THE HILL FINAL: (3 laps) #2 C.J. Leary defeats #1 Kyle Cummins. 39.586
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Mario Clouser, 2. Cole Bodine, 3. Max Adams, 4. Tom Harris, 5. Scotty Weir, 6. Alex Bright, 7. Brandon Mattox, 8. Jack Hoyer, 9. Tim Creech, 10. Tyler Hewitt, 11. Larry Kingseed Jr., 12. Carson Garrett, 13. Sterling Cling, 14. Dustin Clark, 15. Paul White, 16. Cooper Welch, 17. Jack James, 18. Korbyn Hayslett. NT
FEATURE: (40 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kyle Cummins (2), 2. C.J. Leary (1), 3. Brady Bacon (8), 4. Jake Swanson (6), 5. Robert Ballou (7), 6. Kevin Thomas Jr. (12), 7. Justin Grant (5), 8. Emerson Axsom (4), 9. Jason McDougal (3), 10. Thomas Meseraull (14), 11. Logan Seavey (16), 12. Mitchel Moles (11), 13. Max Adams (20), 14. Jadon Rogers (13), 15. Matt Westfall (10), 16. Chase Stockon (9), 17. Tom Harris (21), 18. Cole Bodine (19), 19. Dave Darland (17), 20. Anton Hernandez (15), 21. Mario Clouser (18), 22. Alex Bright (24-P), 23. Brandon Mattox (23-P), 24. Scotty Weir (22). NT