Story By: Dalton Bishop, TribeSportsNetwork Director
Racing- After picking up a win two weeks ago at Brownstown Speedway, Kevin Thomas Jr. has been the hottest driver on the Non-Wing Sprint Car map. Friday evening at Gas City I69 Speedway, there was 20 Non-Wing Sprint Cars signed into the pit area for the first ever Midwest Sprint Car Series event at the track. Chase Stockon of Fort Branch, Indiana, was quickest overall in qualifying with a time of 12.888 seconds. There would be three MSCS heat races with 8 laps in the distance. Greenwood, MO driver Clinton Boyles would wheel the legendary Paul Hazen owned #57 to victory in heat race number one behind him would be Shane Cottle in the Phillips Motorsports #71P and Thomas Meseruall would be third in the Don Whitney Racing #00. Heat race number two would be Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon driving his own FatHeadz Eyewear, Telstar Technologies #99 machine to victory. Following in second was Terre Haute, Indiana’s Brandon Mattox in car #28 and Malvern, PA #50 Tony DiMattia in third. The Third and final MSCS Heat race would be Cullman, Alabama’s Kevin Thomas Jr. picking up the win in the Dooling-Hayward #63. Willow Branch, Indiana’s Isaac Chapple and Rocklin, California native Robert Ballou would round out the top three. That brought us to the 30 Lap Amain event. Brady Bacon would jump out the early lead of 4.76 seconds before a lap 25 caution. That lap 25 caution would bunch all the cars back up with Brady Bacon as the leader, Kevin Thomas Jr. was second and Shane Cottle was third. On the lap 25 restart Bacon would dive back down to the bottom as Kevin Thomas Jr. would head to the top to try to build his momentum to pass Bacon but that wouldn’t be enough, until lap 27 Thomas would pull alongside Bacon off of turn two. Heading into turn three Bacon would fall behind Thomas, heading into turn one Bacon would slide Thomas, KTJ would counter back and take the lead to go onto to win the 30 Lap MSCS Amain. KTJ was piloting the Joe Dooling, Brody Hayward, B&H Contractors, Jonathan Byrd’s racing #63. Brady Bacon would end up second, Shane Cottle from Kokomo, Indiana would be third, with Clinton Boyles and Thomas Meseruall rounding out the top five.
Night 2- The Second race of the weekend would be the USAC Amsoil National Sprint Cars at Plymouth Speedway in Indiana. The ProSource quick qualifier was Kevin Thomas Jr. with a time of 13.089. That would take the Sprint Cars into a set of three ten lap heat races. Simpson Race Products Heat One would be won by Kevin Thomas Jr., Tyler Courtney would finish second in the Clauson-Marshall-Newman #7BC machine. Third place would go to Princeton, Indiana’s Kyle Cummins. Competition Suspension Heat Two was taken by Kokomo, Indiana native Shane Cottle driving the Phillips Motorsports, Frank and Jill Daigh, Half Moon Resturant and Brewery, Foxco powered DRC. Second place finisher was Robert Ballou, with third place finisher being Isaac Chapple. Chalk Stix heat three would be the final Heat of the evening. Defending USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car champion Chris Windom would win with Justin Grant and Tony DiMattia rounding out the top three. The 30 Lap Amain was quite interesting, Dave Darland emerged as the initial leader on lap one by mere inches while one-lap track record holder Chase Stockon wheel-stood his way past Darland to the lead by the time the field reached turn one. Third starting Tyler Courtney had flipped the switch and motored around the outside of Stockon in turn four on the fourth circuit to take the lead. Courtney had much less ground to make up compared to a year ago at Plymouth when he charged to second from his 18th starting position. In just a short amount of time Courtney’s lead began to diminish, as Kevin Thomas Jr. began to shorten the leash. But on lap 20, Daylan Chambers made contact on the back straightaway wall scattering debris across the track as he slanted toward the infield to bring out the final caution of the night. Thomas was now in a position to go to school on Courtney as he did CJ Leary at Tri-State Speedway a week ago. On the 23rd lap, Courtney continued to run the middle/low line while Thomas put his Dynamics, Inc. #69 up top. At the exit of four Courtney swung wide toward the outside wall to keep Thomas behind him. Thomas replied by countering to the bottom entering turn one as Courtney remained high. Thomas slipped by and Ballou tagged along for the ride as well, executing a sweeping pass around the outside of Courtney for second between turns one and two a half lap later. On the final lap Ballou would make contact with Thomas but not enough to take him out of the lead. Thomas would win back to back nights with Tyler Courtney finishing second and Ballou third.
Kokomo Speedway- On Sunday Night Kevin Thomas Jr. was feeling pretty good heading into the racing action in the Dooling Machine #63. Heat race One had some heavy hitters in it including the all time wins leader in Kokomo Speedway history (Dave Darland) the USAC P1 Insurance Midget points leader (Logan Seavey) and last year’s Amsoil National Sprint Car champion (Chris Windom). Shane Cottle, Darland, Windom, and Seavey would all battle for the lead early before Darland took advantage and would win the first heat of the night. Heat two would be no surprise as Kevin Thomas Jr. would win over CJ Leary and Kyle Cummins. The Third and final heat of the night Ione, California’s Justin Grant take the checkers with Carson Short and Thomas Meseruall to follow him. The 30 Lap Amain would be all KTJ but Dave Darland gave him all he had but could not overcome him. Thomas would win over Darland, Grant, Windom, and Cummins. “Indiana kicked my butt for the longest time and to just now begin to be competitive makes me thankful to just keep sticking with it” said Thomas Jr. “This is definitely a weekend i’ll never forget, this just shows how hard the guys behind me work day in and day out to prepare these race cars”.