Lonnie Wheatley, MESQUITE, Texas (September 7, 2023) – Victory lane at Devil’s Bowl Speedway has long proved elusive for Brady Bacon.
The Broken Arrow, OK, native changed that though on Thursday night, putting a slew of runner-up finishes atop the storied half-mile clay oval in the rear view mirror by taking the $6,000 winner’s share by wiring the field in the 30-lap USAC Sprint Car feature event.
“I’ve finished second here to a lot of good drivers. Jason Johnson, Gary Wright, Shane Stewart, Brian Brown,” Bacon spoke of winged ASCS days past. “I ran a non-wing here once about 13 years ago and finished second in that one too. It feels good to finally win one here.”
While Bacon led it wire-to-wire from the pole position aboard the Dynamics Inc. Smiley’s Racing No. 69, it wasn’t without a last-gasp bid from Robert Ballou.
With Bacon treading about the low side, Ballou began working the upper portion of the oval when challenged by 14th-starter Brody Roa for the second position. And as Ballou began to work the top side, he began nibbling away at Bacon’s advantage in the closing rounds.
Reaching Bacon’s tailtank with just two laps to go, Bacon shifted to the top as well with Ballou slipping off the top of turn one and looping it to bring out a final caution that set up a green-white-checkered flag run.
With Jadon Rogers and Jake Swanson in tow on the restart, Bacon worked the high line over the final two laps and raced on to the checkered flag ahead of Swanson and 13th-starter Kyle Cummins.
“I knew that bottom was going to be tough to beat in one and two but it was getting pretty slow,” Bacon explained. “We were getting close to the end of the race so I just felt like someone was going to have to beat me on the top. He poked his nose out there and I knew it was time to move up, I got a good enough run to get out ahead of him.”
After surrendering second to Ballou on the fifth round, Swanson slipped back to as far as seventh before working his way back up to the runner-up position aboard the AZ Racing Apache Transport No. 21az.
“I honestly kind of just got stuck in the washing machine, these guys are really fast and sometimes they race a little short,” Swanson explained of the second-place run.
Cummins rallied through the field to snare the show position in the Avanti No. 3r.
“The first two guys in front of me completely missed the bottom and I stuck it good and hooked it,” Cummins said of the late-race move into third. “We just got behind in qualifying.”
A bobble on the final restart relegated Rogers to fourth with Justin Grant settling for fifth in his bid for a series-record tying fourth-consecutive win after a Smackdown sweep two weekends ago.
Roa finished up sixth after working as far forward as third from the seventh row with 16th-starter Kevin Thomas, Jr., 21st-starter Emerson Axsom, Mitchel Moles and Kyle Jones completing the top ten.
C.J. Leary established a new track record of 16.237 seconds in qualifying as USAC made it’s first return to Devil’s Bowl since a Rickey Hood win in 1985 with Charles Davis, Jr., Jones, Rogers and Justin Zimmerman posting heat race wins.
Qualifying proved rough for several with Anthony Nicholson and Kobe Simpson both launching wildly off of turn one before turn three bit both Joshua Hanna and J.J. Yeley.
After Dalton Stevens slipped off the top of turn three a lap into the feature event, Davis, Jr., took a hard ride down the backstretch three laps later with Zimmerman stopping off the top of turn three after 13 rounds with a flattened left rear tire following hard contact with another car in turns one and two.
There were no injuries.
USAC Sprint Cars
Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)
September 7, 2023, Results
HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. C.J. Leary, 15x, BGE Dougherty-16.237 (New Track Record); 2. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-16.289; 3. Logan Seavey, 2B, 2B Racing-16.305; 4. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-16.309; 5. Jake Swanson, 21AZ, Team AZ-16.314; 6. Mitchel Moles, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-16.319; 7. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-16.372; 8. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-16.385; 9. J.J. Yeley, 2, Yeley-16.414; 10. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Rock Steady-16.420; 11. Brody Roa, 17R, Dunkel-16.468; 12. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-16.527; 13. Anthony Nicholson, 16, Nicholson-16.536; 14. Justin Zimmerman, #1, D-Up-16.549; 15. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2J, Yeley-16.565; 16. Daison Pursley, 5p, KO-16.588; 17. Jadon Rogers, 17GP, Dutcher-16.632; 18. Dalton Stevens, 99x, Stevens-16.659; 19. Charles Davis Jr., 47, Davis-16.686; 20. Kyle Jones, 11, Melton-16.752; 21. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-16.853; 22. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-16.866; 23. Paul White, 1, Wade-16.920; 24. Jack Hoyer, 5, Baldwin/Fox-16.922; 25. Emerson Axsom, 47BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-16.931; 26. Eddie Tafoya Jr., 51T, Tafoya-16.957; 27. Jason Howell, 44, Sturgeon-17.324; 28. Josh Hanna, 82, Hanna-17.686; 29. Bryan Debrick, 10, Debrick-17.717; 30. Kobe Simpson, 21K, Simpson-NT; 31. Chase Parson, 57, Parson-NT.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Charles Davis Jr., 2. Kyle Cummins, 3. C.J. Leary, 4. Jake Swanson, 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 6. Paul White, 7. Jason Howell.
ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Kyle Jones, 2. Brody Roa, 3. Jack Hoyer, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Mitchel Moles, 6. Daison Pursley, 7. Bryan Debrick. NT
T.J. FORGED THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Jadon Rogers, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Emerson Axsom, 4. Logan Seavey, 5. Matt Westfall, 6. Brandon Mattox, 7. Chase Parson.
CAR IQ FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Justin Zimmerman, 2. Eddie Tafoya Jr., 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Robert Ballou, 5. A.J. Bender, 6. Dalton Stevens. NT
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Mitchel Moles, 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3. Matt Westfall, 4. Daison Pursley, 5. Dalton Stevens, 6. Brandon Mattox, 7. Jason Howell, 8. A.J. Bender, 9. Paul White, 10. Bryan Debrick, 11. Chase Parson. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (1), 2. Jake Swanson (2), 3. Kyle Cummins (13), 4. Jadon Rogers (8), 5. Justin Grant (5), 6. Brody Roa (14), 7. Kevin Thomas Jr. (16), 8. Emerson Axsom (21), 9. Mitchel Moles (11), 10. Kyle Jones (10), 11. Logan Seavey (4), 12. Chase Stockon (12), 13. Matt Westfall (15), 14. Robert Ballou (3), 15. Daison Pursley (17), 16. Jack Hoyer (20), 17. Brandon Mattox (19), 18. Eddie Tafoya Jr. (22), 19. Dalton Stevens (18), 20. Justin Zimmerman (7), 21. C.J. Leary (6), 22. Charles Davis Jr. (9). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Brady Bacon.