June 14th, 2009

25 Lap Omni Source Sprint Car A Main
1. 12c Jerry Coons, Jr.
2. 16p Billy Puterbaugh, Jr.
3. 29w Cole Whitt
4. 10e Shane Cottle
5. 27a Andrew Elson
6. 2 Hunter Schuerenberg
7. 5 Levi Jones
8. 1c Kent Christian
9. 12g Chris Gurley
10. 9t Kevin Thomas, Jr.
11. 7r Dave Darland
12. 66j Josh Spencer
13. 42g Jason Holt
14. 9h Russ Harper
15. 10h Shane Hmiel
16. 16d Randy Donelson
17. 5h Patrick Haynes
18. 9 Logan Hupp
19. 12h Ted Hines
20. 27k Ryan Kaplan
DNS 7p Anthony Peterman

15 Lap Rent-A-Center UMP Street Stock A Main
1. 9 Glen Gamblin
2. 8 David Hurst
3. 1 Ervin Turner
4. 56 Tony Bowman
5. 2 Brandon Roundtree
6. 1n Jimmy Nutter
7. 3n Kaleb Nutter
8. 71 Dennis Freeland
9. 11 Thurman Wines
10. 66 Brad Battering

15 Lap UMP Thunder Car A Main
1. 215 Gerald Armfield
2. 26 Jason Larrison
3. 44 Dave Fritz
4. 11d Allen Davis
5. 17m Josh Martin
6. 75 Marvin Uitts
7. 13 Daphnie Paul
8. 55t Jerry Taylor
9. 68 Bill Cox
10. 0 Chris Clark
11. 12c Steve Clark
12. 95 Jeremy Van Ness
13. 5j Jim Summitt
14. 88 Chris Hunter
15. 92z Chanteal Zimmerman
16. 33s Jeff Shaw
17. 23c Brad Clark
18. 38jb John Antoine

30 Lap USAC Indiana Midget Week A Main
1. 39 Brian Clauson
2. 69 Dave Darland
3. 17b Brad Kuhn
4. 1 Cole Whitt
5. 67 Kevin Swindell
6. 19k Kody Swanson
7. 21 Tracy Hines
8. 11 Jerry Coons, Jr.
9. 112 Brent Beauchamp
10. 7c Caleb Armstrong
11. 20 Levi Jones
12. 29 Dene McAllan
13. 2 Thomas Meseraull
14. 7a Dakoda Armstrong
15. 25 Steve Buckwalter
16. 97 Henry Clarke
17. 5d Zach Daum
18. 56 Shane Hmiel
19. 75 Josh Wise
20. 4 Bobby East
21. 3 Darren Hagen
22. 30 Chad Boat
23. 49 Brad Sweet

12 Lap USAC Indiana Midget Week B Main (Top 6 transfer to the A Main)
1. 25 Buckwalter
2. 69 Darland
3. 29 McAllan
4. 30 Boat
5. 20 Jones
6. 112 Beauchamp
7. 90 Chase Barber
8. 07 Wes Gutierrez
9. 35 Matt Sherrell
10. 19k Swanson
11. 12j Nathan High
12. 54 Miranda Throckmorton
13. 10 Justin Grant
14. 31 Buddy Lowther
15. 7 Cole Carter
DNS 8 Ricky Ehrgott
DNS 14 Matt Westfall

Clauson Captivates Kokomo Crowd
Coons Jr., Gamblin, Armfield are also winners

By Derek Fisher

Rare is the day that the Kokomo Speedway is forced to share race cars and race fans with another motorsports facility. The uniqueness of hosting a program on the Sabbath ensures few head-to-head competitors, but every so often a track or series does dare to clash with the Davis Road institution. On these occasions, it’s simply human nature to compare and contrast the racing action at each location and to pontificate about which one may have generated the best motorsports product.

In the coming days, there will certainly be more of that talk than usual due to the fact that the local oval was pitted opposite not one, but two regional dirt tracks running a similar card on Sunday night. With two classes of non-winged sprint cars competing at the venerable Terre Haute Action Track and yet another wingless field forming at Illinois’ Shepp’s Speedway, one had to wonder if Kokomo was the prudent choice at which to spend a spectating dollar.

After Sunday’s USAC Indiana Midget Week finale that also featured OmniSource sprint cars, Rent-A-Center street stocks and thunder cars at the 62-year-old speed plant, are there really any questions?

Bryan Clauson, Jerry Coons Jr., Glen Gamblin and Gerald Armfield were the respective victors in the quadruple-header, putting a quartet of exclamation points on a program that could only be described as sensational.

Clauson’s triumph was easily the most special.

Beginning from inside the third row, the California native struggled with handling issues early on in the 30-lap midget main event and fell as far back as eighth in the opening stages. Helped along by a lap two shunt that eliminated contenders Chad Boat and Brad Sweet, as well as sent Coons to the tail of the field, Clauson found himself in the sixth position by the fifth circuit.

Still waiting on the racing surface to come to his liking, Clauson rode just outside the top five approaching the halfway point as polesitter Dave Darland, Steve Buckwalter and 2008 National Midget champion Cole Whitt — who had started 16th — dueled fiercely for the point.

Riding the high line, the lead trio battled in close proximity with Buckwalter’s repeated low-side lunges at Darland adding heavy drama to the proceedings. Although Darland was scored the official leader of every circuit leading up to a lap 13 caution period, four separate times Buckwalter came within inches of stealing the lead at the line.

After the delay, Clauson began his surge. Stealing fourth from Kevin Swindell on lap 16, Clauson was a rocket in the low groove and began reeling in third-place Whitt immediately. Using one of Buckwalter’s patented slides exiting the fourth turn, the show position was Clauson’s at the conclusion of lap 19.

As Swindell faded, it was a four-car fight for the lead and by lap 21 Clauson was one position closer to the front after edging Buckwalter for second at the flagstand. Not to be outdone, the Pennsylvania shoe returned the favor the next time around, only to see Clauson retake the runner-up spot on the following circuit.

Still clinging to the bottom groove, Clauson’s stalking of Darland was becoming more heated by the 24th lap. Surging off the moisture low in turn four, Clauson was second by less than a foot at the line on lap 25 and looked poised to take the lead once and for all before a third-turn tumble by Henry Clarke and Zach Daum halted the proceedings yet again.

With Buckwalter’s machine faltering before the green period resumed, the war for first was a two-car affair; but not for long. When Darland moved low and into Clauson’s path coming to the line to complete lap 27, Clauson simply blasted around the outside of the Lincoln veteran.

Race over.

“I kind of got mired back in traffic early,” Clauson said from the All-Star Performance / Lowe’s Racing Engines / Crume-Evans Insurance victory lane. “We were a little tight early on after they re-worked the track and the car finally came to us in the middle of the race. I fought tooth and nail with Dave out there and I grew up watching him race, so this is pretty special.”

Darland was matter-of-fact in his post-race comments.

“I saw Bryan under me all the time and without trying the bottom the whole race I didn’t know what to expect,” he said of his late attempt to take away Clauson’s line. “He dove low into turn three and then got around me high out of four. We had a chance, we just blew it.”

Darland slipped to third in the final tally behind a late-charging Brad Kuhn. Whitt was fourth and Swindell settled for fifth.

Coons’ drive in the 25-lap OmniSource sprint car A-feature was considerably less drama-filled, at least from the leader’s perspective.

Coons started outside the front row of the event and immediately jumped into the high groove ahead of Billy Puterbaugh and polesitter Shane Cottle. By lap five, Coons was long gone and would not be heard from again, despite working through dense lapped traffic for much of the event.

Behind him, Puterbaugh rode a comfortable second in front of Cottle for much of the race before a resurgent Whitt complicated matters. Whitt started in the fifth position but fell outside the top 10 after an early-race bicycle by Ryan Kaplan bottled up much of the field. Making up ground quickly, Whitt moved to seventh on lap eight, sixth on lap nine, fifth on lap 10 and fourth on lap 11.

Working on Cottle for third amidst lapped cars, Whitt tried every available groove before finally circling the three-time Kokomo champion on lap 16. More lapped traffic brought Whitt to Puterbaugh’s rear bumper by race’s end, but time simply ran out for diminutive pilot.

Cottle and Andrew Elson completed the top five.

Coons was ecstatic over his team’s effort following a heat race crash.

“We knocked the whole rear end out of this thing in the heat,” Coons said post-race. “My crew is the reason we got this win. They were working on the car pretty much from right after the crash up until we pushed off for the feature. I don’t know this car that well, but it was hooked up.”

Gamblin led every lap of the Rent-A-Center street stock main event, but fought off several challenges — including one in the final corner — from David Hurst.

Sprinting from outside the front row, Gamblin stretched out a comfortable lead in the 20-lap race before Hurst began lurking on the low side five laps in. Consistently applying pressure via the low groove, Hurst was repeatedly denied by inches at the line as Gamblin kept his momentum up high.

With the white flag in the air, Hurst finally looked to have the pass completed in the final set of turns. Diving down low before gliding back up in front of Gamblin, Hurst was nearly knocked sideways when Gamblin made contact with the rear of Hurst’s machine while attempting a crossover move. Hurst was able to continue on and settled for second.

“That was a real good race,” Gamblin said afterwards. “I hated that I got into David there [on the last lap], I thought I had him cleared. That’s racing, though.”

Gamblin and Hurst were followed by Ervin Turner, Tony Bowman and Brandon Roundtree.

Armfield’s thunder car win was also of the wire-to-wire variety.

He was pressured for much of the race by Jeremy Van Ness and Jason Larrison, before Van Ness dropped out with mechanical issues. Larrison eventually settled for second.

“I saw both Van Ness and Larrison hotlap,” Armfield said after the race. “And they were both fast. I didn’t think I had a chance. I got up front and drove my butt off.”

Armfield and Larrison were followed by Dave Fritz, Allen Davis and Josh Martin.