KOKOMO, Ind. – When an accident eliminated the leaders on the last lap Sunday at Kokomo Speedway, that allowed Shane Cottle to score his second King of Indiana Sprint Series victory in as many races.
“We’re planning on trying to get this. That would be something to have a KISS championship, that would be neat,” Cottle said.
The victory came after the race leaders had taken the white flag and the caution flag flew, necessitating a one-lap restart. Hustling into turn one in the bottom lane, Bryan Clauson was hit by Daron Clayton, immediately flattening his left rear tire. Clayton spun to a stop in the racing groove and while cars scrambled to miss him, Jon Stanbrough got caught in the tangle and flipped.
“I went in hard,” Clayton explained later. “I was happy with second, but I was going to try to make a move for the win. I was going to try to get a little bit on the outside of him going into turn one, cut under him on the backstretch and then just lock it down on the bottom down there and block him. But I had a short between the seat and the steering wheel, I think. I went in there and set the car and the the front end got light and I just ran into the back of him and gave him a flat tire. It ruined both of our nights and that’s about how it went down.”
Inheriting the lead for a second restart, Cottle held off Jerry Coons Jr., Brady Short, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Scotty Weir.
“We were definitely the third fastest car. They had that little skirmish, Bryan and Clayton, and we just lucked into it,” Cottle said.
From the front row, Scotty Weir paced the first nine laps before Clauson caught and passed him. Wheeling his own unsponsored No. 7 Maxim, Clauson built a straightaway advantage while Cottle worked his way to second. But at the mid-race point it became apparent that Clayton had found the sweet spot in the No. 3r Rock Steady Racing Mach-1. In the next several laps he worked past Weir and Cottle and as they began to battle through slower lapped cars, chased Clauson.
But Clauson still had a half-straightaway lead when they took the white flag. C.J. Leary’s spin brought out the caution, erasing the advantage and setting the stage for the final lap drama. While both Clauson and Clayton were eliminated, Stanbrough returned to the track after a quick check in the pits.
“I thought I made a good corner,” Clauson said afterward. “Obviously not as good as he wanted me to. There’s not a whole lot you can do up front. I thought we got a good restart and hit our mark down there on the bottom and obviously got run over. We did our job, we came from sixth and got the lead. If not for that yellow coming to the line we would have won. It’s part of the ballgame, sometime you win some you shouldn’t and sometime you lose some you should win.”
Shane Cottle, Jerry Coons Jr., Brady Short, Kevin Thomas Jr., Scotty Weir, Gary Taylor, Robert Ballou, Chad Boespflug, Justin Grant, Kyle Robbins, Josh Spencer, C.J. Leary, Jon Stanbrough, Dave Darland, Chris Gurley, Dalten Gabbard, Jeff Bland Jr., Parker Price-Miller, Bryan Clauson, Daron Clayton.