Halligan holds off Leiby, Campbell in 358 sprint thriller
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA 6/8/2016 – And the beat goes on for Bryan Clauson after the Noblesville, Indiana driver continued his fairytale season Wednesday night by picking up his fifth USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature victory of the season, and 11th overall USAC win, in the 2nd round of the Eastern Storm Tour at Lincoln Speedway.
Clauson ran down Chase Stockon for the lead with just six laps remaining in the caution-free affair to claim his 39th career USAC National Sprint Car victory, just one shy of the legendary Gary Bettenhausen for seventh on the all-time list.
“Chase was pretty good,” Clauson admitted. “He was moving around and I was moving around and we were just kind of staying even. It seemed like once he got to traffic, something happened and he couldn’t get into the corner quite as hard and we were able to track him down. I just kind of threw a half-hearted slider at him just to break his momentum and I don’t know if it surprised him or what, but I never saw him again after that. These races are tough. The competition is so deep in USAC right now. I just feel lucky to be able to drive a racecar as nice as this.”
Clauson lined up third behind front row starters Shane Golobic of California and Joey Biasi of Pennsylvania, but at the start, it was Biasi who took control as the field headed into turns one and two. As the two drag raced down the back straightaway, Golobic was able to mount a charge to grab the lead by a single car length at the line at the completion of lap one.
By lap four, third row starter and Fast Qualifier Chase Stockon began to charge to the front, maneuvering around the outside of Biasi for the second spot in turn one.
On lap six, Stockon had reeled in leader Golobic. The pair blasted side-by-side out of turn two, down the back straight without sparing an inch. As the two came wheel-to-wheel off of four, Stockon stole the leader’s lane, cutting across the nose of Golobic to assume the lead. One lap later, Clauson worked the middle and high grooves to take second away from Biasi with Stockon now his lone target.
Stockon took the high side of the 3/8-mile dirt oval after running low earlier while Clauson continued to search both high and low for the fastest way around. Meanwhile, Chris Windom took third from Golobic on the 12th lap.
Despite applying pressure throughout the middle portion of the 30-lapper, Stockon was able to gain a little breathing room as he distanced himself from Clauson a bit with 13 to go.
With 10 laps left, leader Stockon began to encounter lapped traffic, holding a roughly five-car-length advantage over Clauson in second.
Clauson began to creep ever closer to Stockon, foot-by-foot, inch-by-inch, reeling him in to within an arm’s length distance when Clauson (inside) and Stockon (outside) engaged in a fight that resulted in two near dead-heats at the line on laps 23 and 24, both officially credited to Stockon.
On the 25th lap, Clauson dove to the inside at the entrance of the first turn, pitching his machine sideways to slide up in front of Stockon in turn two, forcing him to slow his momentum, which allowed Clauson to pull away to a good-sized advantage down the back straightaway.
One lap later, when Stockon was still trying to settle back into a groove, Windom used a big run on Stockon heading into turn one, clearing Stockon for second as the duo exited turn two.
In the final laps, Clauson ran away from the pack, taking the victory by a half-straightaway over Windom, Stockon, Thomas Meseraull, Golobic, Ballou, Kevin Thomas, Jr., Biasi, Chad Boespflug and Jerry Coons, Jr.
Clauson has now won an astonishing seven of eight non-wing sprint car starts in the last 11 days.
Wednesday night’s second USAC feature, a 25-lap make-up feature from 2014, the lineup was determined by who finished on the lead lap during the first feature and then completely inverted. Nineteenth place finisher Carmen Perigo, the last driver on the lead lap in the first feature, would start from the pole alongside Landon Simon while first feature winner Clauson lined up 19th.
Perigo led the first two laps from the pole, but Simon would run him down to take the number one spot on lap three.
With five laps to go, it became a three-car race between Simon, Brady Bacon and Aaron Farney.
Bacon closed on Simon until he was right on Simon’s tail tank as the two headed for turn three. Bacon threw a Hail Mary to the treacherous high side in order to find a single ounce of moisture that would propel him past Simon. But it was not to be as Simon took his first career USAC-sanctioned victory and, in fact, Farney was able to make up the ground to beat Bacon to the checkered flag for the second spot.
Ephrata’s Jeff Halligan held off Chandler Leiby and Matt Campbell to score his third career Lincoln win in a thriller that saw all three leaders cross under the flagstand less than three carlengths apart.
Lady driver Brie Hershey led the first nine laps from the pole and was still leading when the Jeff Boll/Mike Miller #91 car went up in smoke entering turn one of lap ten. Halligan, who started eighth, assumed the lead for the restart and led the rest of the way despite heavy pressure from recent high school graduates Leiby and Campbell.
Outside front row starter Jordan Givler crossed fourth, followed by ninth-starting Doug Hammaker. Sixth through tenth were Ashley Cappetta, Brent Shearer, Jeff Rohrbaugh, Todd Rittenhouse, Jr., and Chris Frank.
Heats for the 29 358 sprinters were won by Campbell, Hammaker, and Rittenhouse, with Wyatt Hinkle winning the consolation.
This Saturday, June 11, it will be a special night with the LEFFLER ENERGY “DIRT CLASSIC SHOWCASE” for 410 Sprints (qualifier for 9/24; $7,000 to win). Time trials set for 7:30 PM, gates opening at 5:30 PM.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
USAC AMSOIL EASTERN STORM
USAC Feature (30 Laps) – 1. Bryan Clauson; 2. Chris Windom; 3. Chase Stockon; 4. Thomas Meseraull; 5. Shane Golobic; 6. Robert Ballou; 7. Kevin Thomas; 8. Joey Biasi; 9. Chad Boespflug; 10. Jerry Coons, Jr.; 11. Dave Darland; 12. Kyle Moody; 13. Shane Cottle; 14. CJ Leary; 15. Max McGhee; 16. Brady Bacon; 17. Aaron Farney; 18. Landon Simon; 19. Carmen Perigo; 20. Dustin Smith; 21. Tony DiMattia; 22. Mark Smith.
USAC 2014 Make-Up Feature (25 Laps) - 1. Landon Simon; 2. Brady Bacon; 3. Aaron Farney; 4. CJ Leary; 5. Kyle Moody; 6. Max McGhee; 7. Dave Darland; 8. Jerry Coons, Jr.; 9. Chris Windom; 10. Kevin Thomas; 11. Shane Golobic; 12. Robert Ballou; 13. Bryan Clauson; 14. Carmen Perigo; 15. Mark Smith; 16. Chase Stockon; 17. Dustin Smith; 18. Joey Biasi; 19. Shane Cottle; 20. Chad Boespflug; 21. Thomas Meseraull; 22. Tony DiMattia.
USAC Heat One Finish (8 laps/4 to qualify) - 1. Carmen Perigo; 2. Bryan Clauson; 3. Landon Simon; 4. Chase Stockon; 5. Tony DiMattia; 6. Robert Ballou; 7. Harris Kohen.
USAC Heat Two Finish (8 laps/4 to qualify) - 1. Jerry Coons, Jr.; 2. Dave Darland; 3. Joey Biasi; 4. C.J. Leary; 5. Tom Harris; 6. Isaac Chapple; 7. Aaron Farney.
USAC Heat Three Finish (8 laps/4 to qualify) - 1. Shane Cottle; 2. Max McGhee; 3. Thomas Meseraull; 4. Dustin Smith; 5. Kevin Thomas Jr.; 6. Chad Boespflug; 7. Dick Mahoney.
USAC Heat Four Finish (8 laps/4 to qualify) - 1. Chris Windom; 2. Kyle Moody; 3. Shane Golobic; 4. Mark Smith; 5. Brady Bacon; 5. Mellenberndt.
USAC B-MAIN (12 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. Chad Boespflug; 2 Kevin Thomas, Jr.; 3. Brady Bacon; 4. Robert Ballou; 5. Tony DiMattia; 6. Aaron Farney.
TIME TRIAL RESULTS - 1. Chase Stockon, 15.730 seconds; 2. C.J. Leary, 15.891; 3. Chad Boespflug, 16.051; 4. Chris Windom, 16.212; 5. Bryan Clauson, 16.290; 6. Joey Biasi, 16.354; 7. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 16.358; 8. Shane Golobic, 16.372; 9. Robert Ballou, 16.449; 10. Jerry Coons, Jr., 16.467; 11. Thomas Meseraull, 16.521; 12. Brady Bacon, 16.558; 13. Carmen Perigo, 16.608; 14. Isaac Chapple, 16.612; 15. Shane Cottle, 16.614; 16. Bret Mellenberndt, 16.733; 17. Tony DiMattia, 16.736; 18. Dave Darland, 16.849; 19. Max McGhee, 16.941; 20. Kyle Moody, 17.111; 21. Lilleandon Simon, 17.266; 22. Tom Harris, 17.292; 23. Dustin Smith, 17.340; 24. Mark Smith, 17.376; 25. Harris Kohen, 17.470; 26. Aaron Farney, 17.491; 27. Dick Mahoney, 17.793; 28. Michael Hamer, 21.018; 29. Jarett Andretti, 22.433.
Keizer Aluminum Wheels 358 Sprints:
358 Sprint Feature (20 Laps) – 1. 41-Jeff Halligan; 2. 119-Chandler Leiby; 3. 16-Matt Campbell; 4. 90-Jordon Givler; 5. 66-Doug Hammaker; 6. 89-Ashley Cappetta; 7. 12S-Brent Shearer; 8. 45-Jeff Rohrbaugh; 9. 23-Todd Rittenhouse, Jr.; 10. 00-Chris Frank; 11. 27S-Adrian Shaffer; 12. 35-Tyler Esh; 13. 9-Dalton Dietrich; 14. 12B-Mike Bittinger; 15. 19D-Wyatt Hinkle; 16. 13-Ryan Higgins; 17. 38-Mark Strickler; 18. 5A-Brian Allman; 19. 7-Trey Hivner; 20. 28-Matt Findley; 21. 66A-Cody Fletcher; 22. 23J-Jake Eldreth; 23. 21X-Kyle Abrahims; 24. 91-Brie Hershey (DNF). No Time
Lap Leaders – Brie Hershey (1-9), Jeff Halligan (10-20)
358 Sprint Heat One Finish (8 laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 16-Matt Campbell; 2. 45-Jeff Rohrbaugh; 3. 90-Jordon Givler; 4. 89-Ashley Cappetta; 5. 35-Tyler Esh; 6. 5A-Brian Allman; 7. 19D-Wyatt Hinkle; 8. 23-Jake Eldreth; 9. 10B-Brandon Noel; 10. 22B-Nat Tuckey (DNF); DNS – 17-George Streaker. No Time
358 Sprint Heat Two Finish (8 laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 66-Doug Hammaker; 2. 91-Brie Hershey; 3. 41-Jeff Halligan; 4. 119-Chandler Leiby; 5. 12B-Mike Bittinger; 6. 27S-Adrian Shaffer; 7. 21-Kyle Abrahims; 8. 28-Matt Findley; 9. 23A-Chris Arnold; 10. 1J-Kevin Nouse. Time – 2:10.43
358 Sprint Heat Three Finish (8 laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 23-Todd Rittenhouse, Jr.; 2. 9-Dalton Dietrich; 3. 12-Brent Shearer; 4. 00-Chris Frank; 5. 38-Mark Strickler; 6. 7-Trey Hivner; 7. 13-Ryan Higgins; 8. 66A-Cody Fletcher; 9. 67-Justin Whittall; 10. 15S-Shai Morris (DNF). No Time
358 Sprint Consolation Finish (8 laps/6 to qualify) – 1. 19D-Wyatt Hinkle; 2. 21X-Kyle Abrahims; 3. 13-Ryan Higgins; 4. 23J-Jake Eldreth; 5. 28-Matt Findley; 6. 66A-Cody Fletcher; 7. 23A-Chris Arnold; 8. 67-Justin Whittall; 9. 10B-Brandon Noel; 10. 22B-Nat Tuckey; 11. 1J-Kevin Nouse (DNF); DNS – 15S-Shai Morris, 17-George Streaker. Time – 2:14.17