BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Three-time series champion Kyle Cummins scored a thrilling victory at Bloomington Speedway Friday night, coming from deep in the pack to overtake Brent Beauchamp on the final lap of the Midwest Sprint Car Series feature event.
Brady Short trailed Beauchamp at the finish, with Shane Cottle and Robert Ballou filling the top five. Although it was his first MSCS victory of the season, Cummins extended his point lead over Ballou.
“Bloomington Speedway, for sure, I come here all the time and I’m like, there’s no way I’m going to win,” he said. “As a kid, I always wanted to win here. And to come from back there, it wasn’t like it was an easy race.”
While Cummins started to work from the sixth row, Casey Shuman built a comfortable advantage in the early laps. After a lap 7 restart, Beauchamp and Short made it a three-car scrap for the lead. But Cummins was charging quickly through the pack in his #3c Vincennes University/Greenwell Auto Body Spike, and he passed both Short and Beauchamp on lap 13.
Riding on Shuman’s bumper for several laps, the leader group was soon working past slower traffic. On lap 18, Cummins grabbed the lead when Shuman was slowed after going to the bottom to make a pass in turn four. The leaders suddenly found themselves in the middle of a pack of backmarkers, all battling each other for position, and were slowed to the speed of the slower cars.
Shuman was able to retake the lead briefly, then Cummins was booted over the top of the turn two banking, losing a half-dozen spots on the track. But the yellow flag came out quickly, for another car stopped on the track. Cummins later said that it appeared the car ahead of him was going to spin.
“He had lost it and when he let off to get some side bite, I kind of got turned around,” he said. “I got hit in the rear and it just nosed the car up and over the cushion a little bit. I got it collected up and I’m glad that there was a yellow right after that because I thought I’d lose more ground.”
As the track crews worked on the restart lineup, Shuman exited to the pits with a flat right rear tire. He had been fighting to keep the tire pressure up for several laps, but lost the battle with the slowed speed under the caution. Beauchamp led Short to the green for the last eight laps, with Cummins restarting behind Cottle in fourth.
Running the fast line around the top, Beauchamp opened a 15-car length lead, but once Cummins cleared Cottle and Short, he began to cut into the lead each lap. Cummins was on Beauchamp’s tail on lap 29 and they took the white flag side-by-side. Going into turn one, the two banged tires, with Cummins sliding up in front for the win. Later, in the pits, Beauchamp admitted that he was disappointed, but there wasn’t a lot he could do differently.
“He did what he had to do to get the win, and I guess that if I was in that same position I would have probably cut it a little close, too. So, it was a good race, I’m glad we put on a good race for the fans. I’m just disappointed that we didn’t walk away with the win. It was ours to have and just kind of got away from us there right at the end.”
Further down pit lane, the Cummins team celebrated the win. He recounted the last lap with satisfaction.