---- — Defending USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series champion and current series points leader Bryan Clauson came from out of nowhere to pick up the feature win in the Jack Himelick Fall Finals Friday night at the Gas City I-69 Speedway.
Driving his own Mobil 1 No. 7, Clauson ran down leader Kevin Thomas Jr. in the closing laps, then sealed the deal with a last turn, last lap pass after starting the 25-lap event outside the fifth row.
“I have to give credit to the guys on the team for getting this car ready to race [Friday],” said Clauson. “This was a racy little track and it feels good to win one here.”
Thomas piloted his Mike Dutcher-owned/RW Motorsports/Blackjack Oil No. 17RW to second with Gary Taylor finishing third. Jerry Coons Jr., a winner in three of the previous four events at the track, was fourth aboard the Edison Motorsports/Crume-Evans Insurance/Spike Chassis No. 10E after battling it out with Taylor for the entire 25 laps. Chad Boespflug was fifth aboard the McGhee & Associates No. 17 usually driven by Max McGhee. Boespflug’s usual ride, the Paul Hazen No. 57, was not at the track as Hazen is healing up after an accident a week ago that broke his leg.
Kyle Robbins was sixth, followed in the top 10 by A.J. Hopkins, Kyle Cummins, Dave Darland (after starting 17th) and Logan Jarrett, who started outside the seventh row. Kokomo third-year driver Conner Donelson was 15th.
Ryan Cripe scored the feature win in the U.M.P. Modified feature, topping second-place Jacob Poel and third-place Bill Lewis. Derek Losh and Brian Post rounded out the top five. The Thunder Car feature was claimed by perennial favorite Ervin Turner. Ron Flaugh was second and Jerald Owens third. Gary Mock and Jeremy Wheeler completed the top five.
It was the final race of the season for the track but plans are for it to re-open next April. As has been the case for the last five or so years, the track is for sale and should it not be sold, the plan is for the track to re-open with a few management changes for next year.
IN OTHER ACTION
• Clauson got past Chase Stockon on the 17th lap, then held on down the stretch to score the 30-lap win at Lawrenceburg on Saturday.
With the win, Clauson lengthened his overall points lead over Darland to 13 points (1,706-1,693) with just four races remaining. Stockon finished second while Darland stayed close with his third-place run. Thomas was fourth and Justin Grant fifth. Coons was seventh, Boespflug eighth and former Kokomo track champion Chris Windom 10th.
The series gets back into action Oct. 25-26 in Arizona at the Canyon Speedway Park. Following that the season will conclude at the Perris Auto Speedway in California.
• Kokomo’s Donelson recorded a career-best third-place finish in the Sprint Car feature event at the Lincoln Park Speedway Saturday night.
The Indiana University freshman trailed winner A.J. Hopkins and former Kokomo Speedway Rookie of the Year Brent Beauchamp. Hunter Schuerenberg, a top-10 USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car Series competitor, trailed Donelson to the checkered flag in finishing fourth while former track champ Brian Hayden completed the top five.
• Zach Daum picked up the POWRi Midget feature win Saturday night at the Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill.
Dereck King was second to Daum while Daniel Adler took third. Andrew Felker was fourth and Jake Neuman fifth. Kokomo 15-year old sensation Parker Price-Miller saw his string of top-10 runs come to an end with his 15th-place finish.
The season for the series will come to a finish in an event co-sanctioned with the USAC Honda National Midget Series Thursday-Saturday in the Gold Crown Nationals at the Tri-City Speedway (Pontoon, Ill.).
Blake Fitzpatrick held off Jon Stanbrough to pick up the feature win in the Class Track Fall Roundup at the Tri-States Speedway in Haubstadt for the Midwest Sprint Car Series.
• The three-time winner at Kokomo a couple seasons ago held off Stanbrough, who sits third all-time in sprint car series wins at the local oval and third-place Brady Short at the finish. Newly crowned Kokomo track champion Wes McIntyre was fourth and newcomer Carson Short fifth.
Also on hand was the Sunoco ALMS Late Models and Randy Korte scored the win over second-place Bobby Pierce. Tanner English, Brandon Thirlby and Matt Santel rounded out the top five. Many of the Late Model shoes on hand are expected to be at Kokomo in a couple weeks as part of the seventh-running of the Kokomo Klash.
Brett Bowman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the sports department.