KISS Opener Belongs To Cottle

Shane Cottle won Friday's KISS sprint car race at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway. (Kent Steele photo)
Shane Cottle won Friday's KISS sprint car race at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway. (Kent Steele photo)
Shane Cottle won Friday’s KISS sprint car race at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway. (Kent Steele photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Shane Cottle scored the fourth King of Indiana Sprint Series victory of his career, dramatically passing Brady Short with less than two laps to go as the series opened its season at Bloomington Speedway Friday.

Short held on to second, ahead of Dalten Gabbard, Jerry Coons Jr. and Casey Shuman.

“I really would like to win the KISS championship, but there’s going to be races that I can’t get to. But it really would be nice to win it,” Cottle said. “It means a lot because there’s a lot of tough racers here.”

Gabbard led the first 21 circuits from the pole, as Short and Cottle worked to the front. From eighth-starting slot, Cottle sliced and diced the No. 2e Epperson Painting Spike to fifth on lap three, and second on lap ten. While Gabbard and most of the leaders liked the inside groove, Short found a lane higher to be very quick, and he advanced the No. 11p Pottorff Logging/Indiana Stoneworks Maxim slowly and steadily. On lap 19, Short took second when he caught and passed Carson Short and Cottle in turn two.

On the next circuit, Short grabbed the lead from Gabbard in the first turn, but Gabbard fought back to lead off turn four. But when Gabbard’s No. 5 Baldwin Brothers sprinter caught an infield marker tire and bicycled in turn two, Short secured the point with Cottle on his tail.

Then, after running nose-to-tail, Cottle stuck his nose underneath Short in turn two, moving him off the bottom. The two ran wheel-to-wheel through turn three, but as they came to the white flag, Cottle had cleanly claimed the lead and Short wasn’t able to mount a challenge on the final lap.

“I was just waiting for (Gabbard) to make a mistake and you know what? He did. But it was too late because Brady had got around me and had me squeezed in there. We banged a little bit, but it was a good race. I mean you can race him clean, and he races me clean. It wasn’t where we were trying to take each other out or anything,” Cottle said as Tony Epperson and his crew began to celebrate the victory.

At the other end of pit lane, Short focused on the big picture.

“It kind of caught me off guard a little bit. We raced hard there, trying to get around those guys through the middle. Everybody was putting around the bottom, so I had to try to make something work there through the middle to get to the front. I was able to do that, but we were off there a little bit at the end and he was able to get underneath me and do that. It’s part of racing and we’ll take second in the first KISS race. That’s what we have to do to win this championship.”

The finish:

Shane Cottle, Brady Short, Dalten Gabbard, Jerry Coons Jr., Casey Shuman, Kevin Thomas Jr., Robert Ballou, Ethan Barrow, Carson Short, Bob Cummings, Aaron Farney, Chris Babcock, Brandon Mattox, Landon Simon, Seth Parker, Chad Boespflug, Jordan Kinser, Levi Shields, Dakota Jackson, Gary Taylor.