THE BREAKDOWN: #LETSRACETWO AT ELDORA

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Rossburg, Ohio (May 4, 2021)………No track has hosted more USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car events than Eldora Speedway with 201.

No track will punch as much high-profile sprint car racing action into two nights than the famed half-mile dirt oval this coming weekend for a pair of consecutive evenings of USAC and NOS Energy Drink World of Outlaws Sprint Car doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, May 7-8.

The two USAC events will pay $10,000-to-win each night, and four past #LetsRaceTwo winners will be vying for the big checks, including two-time winners Robert Ballou and Justin Grant, and one-time victors Brady Bacon and Chris Windom.

Both Ballou and Grant have shared #LetsRaceTwo wins in the same years of 2015 and 2017 with Ballou winning the opener in the inaugural edition, and Grant taking the second night. In 2017, the two Californians flip-flopped by winning the opposite nights.

Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) boasts a total of five USAC Sprint wins at Eldora dating back to 2007, tied for 9th all-time with Dave Darland and Jac Haudenschild. The latter of the two victories in 2017 came in a heroic effort in his second race back from devastating injuries suffered in a racing crash the year before. Coupled with his pair of #LetsRaceTwo victories, the 2015 USAC National Sprint Car champ was a runner-up finisher in 2018 and holds a pair of 5th place results in 2015 and 2018. Ballou also holds the 8-lap track record for USAC Sprint Cars at Eldora with a time of 2:05.51, set on 4/21/2012.

Grant (Ione, Calif.), likewise, is a USAC Sprint Car track record holder at Eldora, turning 30 laps in 8:26.25 to best the field during his first #LetsRaceTwo victory in 2015, which came on a last lap pass of C.J. Leary in traffic. Grant, a three-time USAC Sprint winner at Eldora, also captured a 4-Crown score in 2016 sandwiched between his two #LetsRaceTwo triumphs in 2015 and 2017. The reigning USAC Silver Crown champion took 4th in both 2017 and 2018’s #LetsRaceTwo and was the fastest qualifier in the most recent event held in 2019.

Current USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader Brady Bacon won the #LetsRaceTwo opener in 2018. He’s won twice at Eldora in USAC Sprint Car competition, also taking a 4-Crown matinee in 2014, and a Silver Crown score in 2019. The three-time USAC Sprint champ from Broken Arrow, Okla. has finished inside the top-five in each of his past five #LetsRaceTwo starts, including 3rd in 2017, a 4th in 2018 as well as a pair of 3rds in both 2019 runs. In the event, he’s also finished as the runner-up in 2016 and 5th in 2016 and was the fastest qualifier on both nights in 2017.

Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) possesses his own #LetsRaceTwo victory lane story at Eldora back in 2018. The USAC career Triple Crown champion’s Eldora USAC stats have been sublime with another Sprint victory in 2013 as well as a couple of Silver Crown wins in 2013 and 2016.  At #LetsRaceTwo, Windom’s stats display top-five finishes in each of his last five starts, notching a finish in each position across the board: 1st in 2018, 2nd in 2017, 3rd in 2018, 4th in 2019 and 5th in 2019. Add onto that a fast qualifying time for Windom during the 2016 race.

C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) has won both a USAC Sprint Car and Silver Crown feature at Eldora, in 2017 and 2018, respectively, but, as of yet, hasn’t cracked victory lane at #LetsRaceTwo. He’s been oh-so-close over the years in the event, finishing 2nd four times, including 2015, 2016 and on both nights in 2019. The 2019 series champ has been the fastest qualifier on three occasions, in 2018 and twice in 2019, and also owns a 3rd place result in 2015 and a 4th in 2016.

Matt Westfall’s success at Eldora runs the gamut from open wheel cars to fendered machines. The Pleasant Hill, Ohio driver won his lone USAC National Sprint Car feature at “The Big E” in 2006. He backed that up with a pair of Eldora track championships in a modified in 2014 and in a late model in 2015. His latest #LetsRaceTwo run resulted in his best finish in the event, a 6th in 2019. He was also 8th in 2018. The 1998 NAMARS Midget titlist is also the holder of USAC’s 6-lap Sprint Car track record at Eldora, a 1:37.56 set on 6/19/2004.

Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) has only finished outside the top-ten once in 10 career #LetsRaceTwo starts, anchored by a personal-best 3rd place result in 2018 and 4th place runs in 2017 and 2019, plus a 6th in 2017, a 7th in both 2018 and 2019, a 9th in 2015 and 2016, and a 10th in 2015. Twice, Stockon was the fastest qualifier at #LetsRaceTwo, both occurring on back-to-back nights in 2015.

Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) is another driver highly eager to experience that breakthrough moment to win his first USAC race at Eldora, finishing 2nd in the Silver Crown car in both 2018 and 2019. His 3rd place result in 2017 is the best of his #LetsRaceTwo finishes. KTJ was also 5th in 2018, 6th in both 2018 and 2019, 8th in 2019, and 10th in 2015. He garnered fast time honors once at #LetsRaceTwo in 2018.

Past USAC National Sprint Car Rookies of the Year, Scotty Weir (2006) and Stevie Sussex (2017), will also make returns to #LetsRaceTwo. Weir (Marion, Ind.) finished a best of 9th in 2017 and 10th in 2016 while Sussex (Tempe, Ariz.) took 7th in his only previous event start in 2017.

A pair of past USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champions, Tanner Thorson and Logan Seavey, will make their first USAC National Sprint Car appearances on the famed half-mile this weekend.

Thorson (Minden, Nev.), the leading Rookie of the Year candidate with the series, has won two of his last three USAC Sprint Car starts, the first two of his career, during Keystone Invasion in Pennsylvania in April. The 2016 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champion took 2nd in a midget at Eldora in 2016, and was 4th in 2015, 5th in 2017, 6th in 2013 and 10th in 2019, and also made his first career USAC Silver Crown start at the track in 2015.

Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) will compete for Baldwin/Fox/Curb-Agajanian this weekend at Eldora. The instantly recognizable orange No. 5 has competed on the USAC trail won at #LetsRaceTwo in 2018 with Windom driving, and this year, has made four USAC Sprint Car starts with Dave Darland behind the wheel. Darland is on the mend after suffering a stroke on April 23. Seavey, however, does have Eldora experience in both a midget and in a NASCAR Truck. In the truck, he led a race-high 53 laps before finishing 8th and, in the midget, he finished 3rd in both 2018 and 2019, leading three laps late in the latter of the two events.

Making USAC National Sprint Car debuts at Eldora this weekend are 2017 USAC West Coast Sprint Car champion Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.), 2019 MOWA Sprint Car titlist Paul Nienhiser (Chapin, Ill.) and 2020 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.). Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.), the 2020 USAC National Most Improved Driver, is eying his first USAC Sprint Car feature start at Eldora. He’s returning to Eldora for the first time since enduring a hard crash during qualifying for the first ever #LetsRaceTwo event in 2015.

This Friday and Saturday at Eldora, ticket sales begin at the main gate and turn 4 at 1:30pm ET; the turn 3 pit gate opens at 2pm; the spectator gates open at 2pm; and hot laps begin at 6pm with qualifying and racing for both divisions immediately following.

Tickets for the dream doubleheader, featuring USAC and the NOS Energy Drink World of Outlaws Sprint Cars together on consecutive nights, are on sale now at https://eldoraspeedway.com/tickets. All seats are reserved. If the capacity level isn’t met during pre-sales prior to the race, tickets will be available at the gate.

The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars from Eldora can be watched LIVE on FloRacing both nights at https://bit.ly/3frPoW6.

USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-625, 2-Justin Grant-602, 3-Kevin Thomas Jr.-586, 4-Tanner Thorson-543, 5-C.J. Leary-522, 6-Robert Ballou-502, 7-Chris Windom-499, 8-Jake Swanson-491, 9-Chase Stockon-370, 10-Paul Nienhiser-341.

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