By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
PUTNAMVILLE — Chad Boat captured round three of “USAC Indiana Midget Week” at Lincoln Park Speedway on Thursday night, topping a field of 31 other midgets as well as Mother Nature.
Rain threatened early in the afternoon and a few light sprinkles fell throughout the evening, but held off as the full show was completed. Boat captured the special event feature after swapping sliders with Tanner Thorson over the course of the middle of the 30-lapper. Justin Grant and Tyler Courtney rounded out the podium showing.
The sprint car A-main went to Kevin Thomas Jr., who was able to battle his way past Brandon Mattox during the latter stages of the 25-lapper to claim the victory. James Walters cruised home with the UMP Modified feature after making a pass of Randy Lines to take his second win of the season.
Boat has had much of his success in the later stages of the summer with six career USAC P1 Insurance National Midget victories in the month of August. The Phoenix, Arizona driver got an early start this season after holding off a late charge from Grant to win his first IMW feature.
“We learned a couple things at the tail end of last year with our cars and built on that through the winter and through the indoor season,” Boat explained. “We started off strong at Du Quoin and were really good at Kokomo. I think our cars are where we need them to be. We’ve been fast right off the trailer. If we do the right things throughout the night, I think we should be competitive and in the hunt every single night.”
Thorson was the driver to beat early on in the feature by setting a quick pace on the bottom line of the Putnamville oval on one end and ran the cushion through turns three and four. Behind him, Boat bided his time with a patient approach through the middle of the track.
As the race was slowed by several caution flags and a flip by Zane Hendricks in turn four, Boat was set to make his challenge for the lead.
On lap 17, Boat ripped into turn three and he and Thorson made slight contact and then slipped into the lead past Thorson coming out of turn four. The pair put on quite a show over the next several laps, trading slider after slider through the corners. Boat emerged with the top spot on lap 20 and made a lap 21 restart stick.
“It’s probably not as fun for me as it is for you guys,” Boat said with a laugh. “But, at the end of the day, putting on a good show is number one, so I’m glad we were able to do that. It’s even better when you’re able to come out on top. You always enjoy the slider fest when you’re the one who comes out on top. If you ask Tanner, he probably didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.”
Grant was able to rocket into second place after that same restart and slowly reeled in Boat, who was setting a feverish pace up front. Boat was able to pull away a bit over the last couple of laps after one of Grant’s own sliders lead him to get a bit too sideways.
“Honestly, I still thought it was Tanner,” Boat admitted. “I could only see the little bit of white on his nose. I started to try running a little bit more defensive line to not give him a big opportunity to slide me. I knew as long as I didn’t make any mistakes, I was going to be able to hold my own ground. The big thing was just making sure I had good corner exits and didn’t leave the door open for him to go through.”
USAC P1 INSURANCE MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE
SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer) 1. Bacon, 2. Moore, 3. McDougal, 4. Mitchell, 5. Carrick, 6. Johnson, 7. T. Thomas, 8. Layser, 9. Neuman, 10. Hettinger, 11. Jones, 12. Lopez, 13. Petrozelle, 14. Guilford. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Chad Boat (2), 2. Justin Grant (11), 3. Tyler Courtney (3), 4. Zeb Wise (4), 5. Tanner Thorson (1), 6. Spencer Bayston (9), 7. Logan Seavey (17), 8. Rico Abreu (12), 9. Ryan Robinson (22), 10. Jerry Coons, Jr. (13), 11. Brady Bacon (7), 12. Tanner Carrick (20), 13. Holly Shelton (16), 14. Jason McDougal (21), 15. Brayton Lynch (18), 16. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 17. Matt Moore (10), 18. Sam Johnson (14), 19. Alex Bright (15), 20. Tyler Thomas (23), 21. Tucker Klaasmeyer (5), 22. Jake Neuman (24), 23. Ethan Mitchell (8), 24. Zane Hendricks (19).
Sprint car feature
1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. Brandon Mattox, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Dave Darland, 5. C.J. Leary, 6. Shane Cockrum, 7. Jarett Andretti, 8. Colten Cottle, 9. Thomas Meseraull, 10. Charles Davis Jr., 11. Tim Creech II, 12. Rob Caho Jr., 13. Nate McMillin, 14. AJ Hopkins, 15. Chad Boespflug, 16. Stevie Sussex III, 17. Tony DiMattia, 18. R.J. Johnson, 19. JJ Hughes, 20. Isaac Chappel
UMP Modified feature
1. James Walters, 2. Randy Lines, 3. Kenny Carmichael Jr., 4. Josh McDaniel, 5. Tyler Loughmiller, 6. Jeff Deckard, 7. Travis Shoulders, 8. Kenny Carmichael Sr., 9. Derek Groomer, 10. Cole Parker, 11. Sydney Landes, 12. Brent Hudson, 13. Rob Brickerts, 14. Randy Shuman, 15. Jake Leitzman, 16. Jay Humphrey Jr., 17. Aaron Zellers, 18. Aaron Pace, 19. James Grider