Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

July 15, 2013

Thomas, Stanbrough win opening rounds in Indiana Sprint Week

Miller takes 2 wins in Street Stock action.

For the majority of the 2013 season, Mother Nature has frowned on race tracks across the Midwest. Apparently, like thousands of others, she is a huge fan of Indiana Sprint Week for the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series as near-perfect weather provided a pair of riveting events to open up the 2013 version of the popular mini-series. Saturday night at Kokomo Speedway, in the second leg of the seven races in nine days grind, Kevin Thomas Jr. scored his fourth feature win of the season, getting past Wes McIntyre and Chad Boespflug, then holding off McIntyre's repeated charges down the stretch to secure a popular win for the Alabama shoe. "This is really pretty special since this is my favorite track," said Thomas. "It means a lot because most of my family and friends were here [Saturday] and to just win here is something. I've been coming here for a couple of years, but to finally win one is great. I'm proud of my team. I kind of screwed up some both nights but the team worked hard and gave me a great race car."

As is the case most nights, the action was fast and furious from the front of the pack to the back. While Jerry Coons was piloting the Edison Motorsports/Crume-Evans Insurance/Allen's Body Shop/Chalk Chassis No. 10E to the early lead, McIntyre, Boespflug, Dave Darland and Thomas were waging wheel-to-wheel battles all over the ¼-mile bullring. On the fifth lap, McIntyre slipped past Coons on the high side and held the point, but Boespflug was ready to pounce aboard the famed Paul Hazen Motorsports/Physical Medical Consultants/Kercher Engines No. 57.

On the ninth lap Boespflug's persistence paid off as he took the lead from McIntyre and brought Thomas with him as the pair raced nose to tail until Thomas made what turned out to be the pass for the win on the 11th lap. The final 19 laps saw McIntyre try repeatedly on the high side, as the McCordsville driver even got alongside Thomas in the waning laps. Thomas then changed lines, moving his Mike Dutcher-owned Rotondo-Weirich/BlackJack Oil Company/Tri-Star No. 17RW to the high side, taking away McIntyre's preferred line. "We knew there was going to be some grip in the track down low for a while," said Thomas. "Then I saw someone show me their nose on the high side and I thought it was [Darland] when it was actually Wes. After that, I didn't see anybody."

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