JACKSONVILLE, Ill. — It was a fitting conclusion to a stellar season for the POWRi Lucas Oil WAR Sprint League tonight as the season finale took center stage at Jacksonville Speedway.
Working by Terry Babb on the fifth circuit, Landon Simon snagged the race lead and never relinquished it. His second WAR Wildcard triumph of the year was far from easy, however, as Thomas Meseraull and Dave Darland were persistent and relentless in their fierce pursuit of Simon throughout lapped traffic.
In the end, Simon held on to become the 15th different winner in 20 WAR Sprint events and extend his WAR Wildcard points lead.
From the outset, Terry Babb bolted into the race lead aboard his No. 88 machine. The first restart following a caution for Mitchell Davis restacked the field on lap five and immediately gave Babb a challenge. Blasting the cushion, Landon Simon stormed around Babb in turns one and two snag the lead down the backstretch, but the race quickly came to a halt as Simon clicked off lap five on the front stretch.
Following Simon on the top, Meseraull put his No. 00 up against the fence and was there to challenge Babb for second right away. Coming out of turn four, however, contact was made as Babb came off the bottom and Meseraull came down from the top. The end result sent Babb’s No. 88 for a wild and wicked flip down the frontstretch, but thankfully he climbed out of the car under his own power.
Coming to the final restart with 17 laps to go, Meseraull gave Simon a fight for the lead right away. Attempting a slider into turn one, Meseraull just missed his opportunity as Simon was able to power around the outside and maintain the top spot. Hitting the halfway mark, Meseraull remained just inches off Simon’s rear bumper as both gassers finessed the cushion, which was planted against the outside wall.
Entering lap traffic with ten laps left, things became tricky as Dave Darland approached Simon and Meseraull at the front of the field. With five to go, the three frontrunners were battling under a blanket with each for the top spot while also navigating a thick swarm of back markers. Lap-after-lap and corner-after-corner, the intensity was building as the pressure built in the closing laps.
As the checkered flag dropped on the 25-lapper, it was Simon aboard his DRC No. 24 crossing the finish line first and scoring his second WAR Wildcard victory of 2018 to extend his point lead down the homestretch
Meseraull finished second with Darland, Mario Clouser and Korey Weyant filling the top five.
Landon Simon, Thomas Meseraull, Dave Darland, Mario Clouser, Zach Daum, Korey Weyant, Colten Cottle, Slater Helt, Mitch Wissmiller, Quinton Benson, Rob Caho Jr., Nic Harris, Wesley Smith, Chris Parkinson, Chet Williams, Anthony Nicholson, Katlynn Leer, Adam Wilfong, Terry Babb, Mitchell Davis, Kyle Simon, Logan Faucon.