By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Lawrenceburg, Indiana (September 29, 2021)………For Brady Bacon, it was an unconventional way to celebrate a victory, standing beside his hauler with his crew, family and friends by his side as the winner’s trophy was presented to him following the 2020 Fall Nationals at Lawrenceburg Speedway.
Bacon will try to repeat his feat, in a more conventional manner, in this Saturday night’s 14th running of the $10,000-to-win Fall Nationals featuring the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship at southeastern Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway on October 2.
At the time, one year ago, Bacon was already cognizant of being crowned the 2020 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship by virtue of, what appeared to be, a second-place finish. Yet, after initial winner Tyler Courtney was found to be 15 pounds underweight during post-race tech inspection, Bacon was elevated to first place while Courtney was repositioned to the 22nd and final position in the results.
Any way the cookie crumbled for Bacon, he’d take it, especially when it pays $10,000, which he pocketed after emerging victorious in the event. While last year’s Fall Nationals served as the season finale, this weekend’s event holds the position as the Midwest finale before the series heads west for the final five events in Arizona and California in November.
Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) finds himself in the driver’s seat once again as the leader of the championship race heading into the Fall Nationals. The three-time champ owns three USAC scores at Lawrenceburg, with additional victory lane visits coming in the summer of 2015 and the spring of 2021.
At the Fall Nationals, Bacon has been the fastest qualifier in 2011 and has finished in the top-four four times over the years, including 2nd in 2014, 4th in 2015 and a runner-up finish in 2018 where he led 11 laps. He also scored a local victory at the track in May of this year.
Two-time Fall Nationals winner Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) won the first two editions of the event under Midwest Sprint Car Series sanction in 2007 and 2008, the first one coming on the former 1/4-mile and the latter coming on the 3/8-mile version. Ballou has been a Lawrenceburg USAC Sprint winner once before in his career, scoring the “W” during 2011 Indiana Sprint Week. At the Fall Nationals, the 2015 series champion has also finished 4th in 2017 and 5th in 2020.
Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) will join Ballou in their respective quests to become the first three-time Fall Nationals victor. Thomas has four career USAC National Sprint Car feature wins at Lawrenceburg, twice in 2013, then scored a first career Fall Nationals victory in 2017 followed by another in 2019. He also secured a 4th at the Fall Nationals in 2013, a runner-up finish in 2015 and had a 5th place run in 2018.
The very first of Chase Stockon’s 13 career USAC National Sprint Car victories came at the Fall Nationals in 2012. He’s started all 11 Fall Nationals under USAC sanction since 2009. The Fort Branch, Ind. native, who holds the ultimate ironman streak of 320 consecutive USAC National Sprint Car feature starts, also finished as the runner-up in the Fall Nationals during the 2013 race. He took 10th at the event in 2019.
Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) hasn’t appeared in the Fall Nationals since his 2015 triumph six years ago. His first start in the event resulted in a solid 6th place finish back in 2012. His next came in 2015 when he took over the lead on lap two and dominated the rest of the distance in what was his second career series win at the time.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) was triumphant in the 2018 Fall Nationals where he led the first lap and the final 18 mired in a spirited duel with Bacon. Four of Grant’s 28 career USAC National Sprint wins have come at Lawrenceburg, with additional victories in 2012, 2014 and again during Indiana Sprint Week in 2019. He has six career top-five finishes at the Fall Nationals, including a 5th in 2013, a 4th in 2014, a 5th in 2016, a 3rd in 2017, a 1st in 2018 and a 3rd in 2019. He was the winner with the Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series at The Burg in May of this year.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) enters as the most recent winner of a USAC National Sprint Car feature at Lawrenceburg, scoring a decisive victory during July’s Indiana Sprint Week round. Back in June of 2021, Seavey swept both ends of the night, taking wins in both the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget portion and the ensuing Lawrenceburg Sprint car feature. The 2018 USAC National Midget champ’s Fall Nationals debut in 2020 resulted in an 18th.
Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) is the only driver to finish inside the top-five in the past six editions of the Fall Nationals, and likewise, is the only driver to start all previous 15 Fall Nationals feature events since 2007. He’s finished in the top-ten in all 11 previous Fall Nationals run under the sanctioning of USAC, but the Spring 2017 Burg USAC Sprint winner remains on the hunt for his first Fall Nationals triumph. Windom was 2nd and 3rd in 2009, 2nd in 2011, 2nd in 2012, 10th in 2013, 9th in 2014, 5th in 2015, 2nd in 2016, 7th in 2017, 4th in 2018, 5th in 2019 and 3rd in 2020.
C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) has raced to a pair of Lawrenceburg USAC Sprint Car victories during the Indiana Sprint Week round in both 2017 and 2019. The 2019 series champion also won the 2013 Lawrenceburg Speedway track championship and has finished in the top-three twice at the Fall Nationals in his career. He was 3rd in 2015 and 2nd in 2017. He has been 4th in each of the last two years in 2019 and 2020. In both 2015 and 2018, he was the fastest qualifier at the Fall Nationals.
Nick Bilbee (Indianapolis, Ind.) captured his second consecutive Lawrenceburg track championship this season by virtue of his four victories in weekly sprint car competition. He earned a USAC career best finish of 6th in the 2019 Fall Nationals and was the fastest qualifier in USAC Sprint Car competition at Lawrenceburg during the summer of 2018.
Likewise, Max Adams (Loomis, Calif.) has won at Lawrenceburg on the local level in each of the past two years, including once more this past May. His best Fall Nationals results in two career starts came via a 12th in the 2020 race.
Dickie Gaines (Mitchell, Ind.) captured a big USAC National Sprint Car victory at Lawrenceburg in 2005. The 2003 and 2019 Lawrenceburg track champion finished a best of 16th at the Fall Nationals in 2008.
Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) took 7th in the Fall Nationals of 2012. His ride for the Fall Nationals, the Hodges Motorsports No. 74x, won the event with Josh Hodges as the driver during the 2016 season. In fact, the Hodges car has finished in the top-10 at the Fall Nationals in 2016 (1st), 8th in 2017 and 10th in 2018. The 2016 run still stands as the fastest 30-lap USAC Sprint Car race in the history of Lawrenceburg Speedway at 7:21.09.
Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) owns three career top-six results in his Fall Nationals career, led by a 4th in 2016, followed by a 5th in 2009 and a 6th most recently in 2020.
Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) has twice been a runner-up finisher during Indiana Midget Week at Lawrenceburg, in both 2017 and 2018. The 2016 USAC National Midget driving champion and leading USAC Sprint Car Rookie also earned fast qualifying honors at Lawrenceburg’s IMW round in 2014. In USAC Sprint Car competition at Lawrenceburg, he finished a solid 3rd during July’s Indiana Sprint Week round this year in which he also led a lap.
Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) was the fastest qualifier and a 9th place finisher in his Fall Nationals debut in 2020. This past July, Swanson came painfully close to his first career USAC National Sprint Car win at Lawrenceburg, finishing 2nd after leading a race-high 22 laps.
Top-10 finishers returning to the Fall Nationals lineup are Scotty Weir (Marion, Ind.), 8th in 2015, 9th in 2019 and 10th in 2009. Three-time track champion in 2007-09-15, Joss Moffatt (Columbus, Ind.), was a 5th place finisher in 2008. Cole Bodine (Rossville, Ind.) scored a 10th during the 2020 Fall Nationals, which was his first career USAC National Sprint Car feature start.
Further Fall Nationals veterans in the field include two-time USAC National Sprint Car winner, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Jason McDougal (17th in 2018); Pleasant Hill, Ohio’s Matt Westfall (15th in 2018); Rushville, Indiana’s Garrett Abrams (17th in 2017); and Columbus, Indiana’s J.J. Hughes (17th in 2019 & 2020).
USAC National Most Improved Driver for 2020, Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.), is prepared to make his first Fall National starts this Saturday night as is 2020 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) who set fast time during Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying at Lawrenceburg’s USAC Sprint Car show in April of 2021. Saban Bibent (Cincinnati, Ohio) is in the same boat as Mattox and Rogers, trying to crack his first Fall Nationals starting field after winning locally at the track back in June.
Pits open for Saturday’s Fall Nationals at 4pm Eastern with front gates opening at 5pm, drivers meeting at 5:15pm and hot laps at 6pm with qualifying and racing immediately following.
The event features the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and KOI Auto Parts UMP Modifieds. Adult general admission tickets are $30, kids 7-12 are $7, children 6 and under are free. Pit passes are $30 for members and $35 for non-members.
Saturday’s Fall Nationals from Lawrenceburg can be watched LIVE on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3frPoW6.