By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Kokomo, Indiana (September 28, 2022)………Let’s just race. That’s the sentiment all will feel this Friday night, September 30, at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway when the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship makes its fifth stop of the year at the 1/4-mile dirt oval.
Let’s Just Race Presented By Schroeder Products brings along with it an abundance of storylines and items to keep an eye on for the final USAC event in the month of September.
Justin Grant aims to become the second driver ever to win three USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship races at Kokomo in a single season.
Kyle Cummins aspires to become the first driver to not only become the first driver to finish inside the top-five on five different occasions with the series at Kokomo in a single season, but also to repeat his dominant Smackdown performance.
Kevin Thomas Jr. eyes the opportunity to keep the streak of alternating victories on the tour alive as he seeks his second USAC victory of the year at Kokomo.
All three have won at Kokomo in USAC National Sprint Car competition in 2022 and all three seem to be the hottest drivers on the tour at the moment.
To boot, either Grant, Cummins or Thomas has won the last eight appearances of USAC National Sprint Car racing at Kokomo between 2021-22. Furthermore, each of three have been victorious in six of the last seven races on the tour leading into this Friday night’s event.
Grant (Ione, Calif.) won both July’s Indiana Sprint Week round and the opening night of Sprint Car Smackdown in August and has been the winner of five of the past eight USAC features at Kokomo. The 2017-19-21 track champion’s six overall USAC Sprint triumphs at Kokomo rank tied for third all-time with Tyler Courtney and trails only Dave Darland (9) and Tony Elliott (8).
Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) has won once, finished 2nd twice and 4th once in USAC National Sprint Car action at Kokomo this year. He’s also been fast time twice in August of this year and owns four career series wins at the joint. His Smackdown win in August was punctuated with a $35,000 top prize.
Thomas (Cullman, Ala.) collected a Smackdown prelim night win at Kokomo in August, which propelled him to two more USAC victories since that point, at Circle City Raceway and at Gas City I-69 Speedway. He’s alternated wins over the past six series races and, if you’re into numerology, the 2016 Kokomo track champion is due for a win at Kokomo this Friday night where’s he won five USAC National Sprint Car features.
Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) is attempting to scratch and claw his way into USAC National Sprint Car championship contention. He sits 80 points behind Grant in the runner-up spot at the moment. The 2020 track champion needs no reminder that Kokomo Speedway is one of the few tracks the four-time series titlist has yet to win at in his USAC National Sprint Car career, nor has his Dynamics, Inc./Hoffman Auto Racing team. Bacon has finished a best of 3rd this year at Kokomo on the final night of Smackdown.
There’s not been too many that have been as solid at Kokomo this year in USAC competition than Robert Ballou. The 2015 USAC National Sprint Car king and one-time Kokomo USAC victor has finished inside the top-five in three of his four starts this year at Kokomo with a 3rd in July, another 3rd in August and a 5th in the Smackdown finale.
C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) owns the longest active top-ten streak with the series at 12 dating back to July 25. That span includes all four of his USAC starts at Kokomo: a 4th, 7th, 3rd and 2nd for the three-time USAC Kokomo winner and 2015 track champion.
Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) is the only other driver this year to finish all of his 2022 USAC National Sprint Car starts at Kokomo inside the top-ten, garnering a 6th, 5th, 5th and 8th. The leading USAC National Sprint Car Rookie’s first USAC national win of any kind came in a NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship race where he scored top honors in April of 2021.
Likewise, Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) notched his first career USAC National Sprint Car victory at Kokomo in 2019 with the Sprint Cars. In four series starts this year at the track, he’s managed a best of 11th.
Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) is one of only 12 drivers to win at least three USAC National Sprint Car races at Kokomo. His three came in the successive years of 2017-18-19. His best result at Kokomo in 2022 came on the opening night of Smackdown when he snagged an 8th.
Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) has finished a best of 9th twice at Kokomo this season, but his shining moment at the track came in 2015 when he grabbed a second night Smackdown score.
Scotty Weir and Shane Cottle have earned six career Kokomo track championships between the two. Weir (Marion, Ind.) the 2008 and 2012 track title holder, was 14th this year with USAC at Kokomo back in August. Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) has collected four track championships at Kokomo in 2004-05-07-11. He was 15th in his only Kokomo USAC start this season, missing the ensuing three during Smackdown due to injury.
Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) has been a standout Rookie in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car action this year, winning twice. Off the trail however, he did pick up his first sprint car feature win without a wing on Independence Day weekend at Kokomo, July 3. He finished 10th twice in his two USAC National Sprint Car starts in August of this year at Kokomo this year.
Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) had himself his best run of the 2022 USAC season in August at Kokomo when he led 10 laps and finished 2nd on the penultimate night of Smackdown, which led into the following night where he connected on a fourth-place result.
Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) has taken home three top-tens in four Kokomo USAC National Sprint Car starts this year with 4th, 7th and 9th. Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.), meanwhile, bagged a best of 6th and 8th with USAC at Kokomo in 2022. Rogers then went on to pick up his first career USAC victory in mid-September at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
USAC feature starts this season at Kokomo have also been recorded by Pleasant Hill, Ohio’s Matt Westfall (11th), who has been victorious with the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series (BOSS) at the track. Anton Hernandez (Arlington, Texas), Max Adams (Loomis, Calif.) and Cole Bodine (Rossville, Ind.) have collected all the 13th place results between them in their USAC National Sprint Car performances this year while Carson Garrett (Littleton, Colo.) took a 19th. Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.), meanwhile, has finished 23rd on three occasions this year at Kokomo, but in the last September USAC race held at Kokomo in 2020, he delivered by leading the six opening laps and tallying a 4th place result.
Mix those in with a full house of others for Friday night’s 30-lap, $5,000-to-win race, which is the 76th USAC National Sprint Car race ever held at Kokomo Speedway.
The USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship will be joined by the Indiana RaceSaver Sprints and Thunder Cars.
Grandstands and pit gates will open at 3pm Eastern with the drivers meeting taking place at 6pm. Hot laps will begin at 6:30pm with qualifying and racing immediately following.
General admission tickets are $25 for adults with kids age 12 under free. Pit passes are $35 for members and $30 for non-members.
General admission tickets are $25, kids 12 and under are free. Pit passes are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.
The Kokomo event begins a double-race weekend for the series’ final Midwest events of the season with Lawrenceburg Speedway’s Fall Nationals on tap one night later on Saturday, October 1.
Friday’s event can be watched LIVE on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3OivVbj.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-2107, 2-Brady Bacon-2027, 3-C.J. Leary-2003, 4-Robert Ballou-1933, 5-Emerson Axsom-1852, 6-Logan Seavey-1770, 7-Chase Stockon-1583, 8-Matt Westfall-1501, 9-Jadon Rogers-1447, 10-Jake Swanson-1328.