Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Sports

April 9, 2013

Inaugural Kokomo Grand Prix to run this weekend

Kokomo — There is just something special about this time of the year.

Aside from hearing the birds chirping, watching the grass turn green and seeing the trees come to life after five months of hibernation, there is the sound race fans have waited all too long to hear — the crack of motors piercing the air.

This weekend the Kokomo Speedway kicks off its 2013 season with the first running of the Kokomo Grand Prix, an event co-sanctioned by the USAC and Powri. It will include some of the top midget drivers that both the Mopar National Midgets and Powri has to offer.

The purse is a sure bet to bring in some of the top shoes as well. Friday’s opening night winner will walk away $4,000 richer and Saturday’s winner can cash a $6,000 paycheck.

The word is that more than 40 cars are pre-entered and include defending USAC champion Darren Hagen and Powri titlist Andrew Felker. In addition, local drivers Dave Darland, Shane Cottle and Chris Gurley will be on hand. Also look for the likes of Bryan Clauson, Jerry Coons Jr., Tracy Hines, Levi Jones, Jon Stanbrough and Steve Buckwalter to be on hand as well just to mention a few.

Clauson is off to a torrid start, having already claimed nine USAC feature wins. J.J. Yeley holds the record for most national event feature wins in a season with 24 in 2003. During his record-setting campaign, Yeley didn’t earn his ninth win until June.

“It should be a good show,” said Jarrod O’Connor, one of the family members that owns the local track. “We’ve been working on things to get it ready. Reese [O’Connor] will be on the track through the week to give the drivers the best possible track to race on. Getting the track ready for midgets is different than for the sprint cars since those little cars need the track to be a lot smoother. I’ve already gotten some calls from some of the drivers and they were hoping for a smoother track than we get on a regular program.”

Ticket information can be found at the track’s website, www.kokomospeedway.net.

Thomas wins thriller

The driver I noted on several occasions the last couple of years who was breaking out into a consistent threat, Kevin Thomas Jr., picked up his second career USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series win Saturday night at the Lawrenceburg Speedway.

Thomas scored the “instant classic” win by narrowly nipping Chase Stockon and Brady Bacon at the finish line as the trio went three wide racing to the flagstand.

Stockon was second and Bacon third. Hunter Schuerenberg was fourth and Clauson fifth.  Kokomo’s Cottle was eighth while Coons rounded out the top 10 aboard the Edison Motorsports/Crume-Evans Insurance/Chalk No. 10E.  Darland was 11th and Justin Grant 13th aboard Jeff Walker’s No. 11.

Nick Drake, Darland, Stockon and Robert Ballou each claimed heat race wins while Cottle captured the star-studded B-main.

In the championship points battle, Stockon claimed the top spot away from Schuerenberg (247-239). Clauson is third with 230 points while Bacon (228) and Tracy Hines (216) complete the top five.

The series returns to action April 20 at the Eldora Speedway for the annual running of the Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic.

USAC inducts four

The United States Auto Club (USAC) inducted four new drivers into the USAC Hall of Fame last week — Tom Bigelow, Tony Bettenhausen, Johnny Rutherford and Jack Hewitt.

Bigelow compiled 81 career USAC national feature wins in his career. His 52 sprint car features still stands as the most all time in the storied history of the sanctioning body.

Bettenhausen was the 1951 and 1958 USAC driving champion and he competed in 14 Indianapolis 500 events during his career. He also scored wins in the Turkey Night Grand Prix as well as the prestigious Hut 100. He lost his life in a practice crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1961.

Rutherford scored three Indy 500 wins in his career and was also the 1965 USAC Sprint Car Series champion. In his Indy car career he sat on the pole at Indy three times and won 20 races in IndyCar competiton.

Hewitt did the unthinkable at the 1998 4-Crown National at the Eldora Speedway, capturing feature wins in all four divisions (sprint car, midget, Silver Crown and U.M.P. Modified). In addition, his 23 wins in Silver Crown competition still ranks first all time and he is second all time in sprint car feature wins with 46. The popular veteran also competed in one Indy 500, finishing 12th in 1998.

Congratulations to all four drivers and their families for each of their storied careers

Brett Bowman may be reached at brettbowman29@aol.com or through the sports department.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • WHSTaylor golf 03 Prep Roundup for Thursday, April 24 Western boys golf coach Steve Hoppes was pleased with his team's fifth-place finish in Saturday's Twin Lakes Invitational, but knew his squad was better than the 339 it posted. The Panthers saw improvement in Wednesday's 165-215 win over Taylor on th

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042414 - Brett Bowman column - Bowman column sig BOWMAN: Gas City gearing up for USAC sprints Heading into the new season at the Gas City I-69 Speedway, there were more questions than answers among fans as to how things were going to be run.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042414 - Dana Neer column - Neer column sig NEER: Barley is a beneficial food It is no secret that raw fruits and vegetables are the best foods for us. Foods full of vitamins, nutrients and amino acids provide life to our cells, energy for our daily schedule and health to our minds, bodies and spirits.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Thursday, April 24 USF's Shurn honored with SI mention Former Kokomo standout Skylarr Shurn has been honored by Sports Illustrated with a spot on the magazine's Faces in the Crowd section, available at the magazine's website now. Shurn led the University of Saint Fran

    April 24, 2014

  • Mathis' leadership paying off INDIANAPOLIS -- An authentic set of battle armor greeted visitors to Robert Mathis' locker Wednesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. The black-and-gold helmet and chest plate look more at home in one of the "300" movies, but they are the

    April 24, 2014

  • SPL - KT042314 - Prep roundup - pic Prep roundup for Wednesday, April 23 Northwestern's track and field teams swept visiting Tri-Central on Tuesday night.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042414 - Brett Bowman column - Brett's column sig BOWMAN: Cottle has high hopes for new campaign In an era that sees superstar athletes at any sport walk around and boast how great they are, it's refreshing to see the likes of Shane Cottle. He is an open wheel racing standout who never blows his own horn and is embarrassed by the attention he receives for being considered one of the top sprint car drivers in the country.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042214 - Prep roundup - pic Prep roundup for Tuesday, April 22 Eastern's girls tennis team beat Northfield 4-1 Monday at Greentown for its second straight win following a season-opening loss to Peru last week.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042214 - B1 briefs - mug Sports briefs for Tuesday, April 22 The Mid-American Conference on Monday named former Kokomo Wildkat standout T.J. Weir its West Division Pitcher of the Week.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042114 - Athlete of the week - mug Simmerman is Athlete of the Week Simmerman helped the Comets go 3-0 last week.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

NCAA Men's Basketball Poll
Featured Ads
SportsKT twitter
More kokomotribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.