PUTNAMVILLE, Ind. — Robert Ballou broke a dry spell in the win department with the AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series as he wired the field in a rim-riding display on Thursday night at Lincoln Park Speedway.
The Rocklin, Calif., driver officially led every lap at the line but fought back advances from Chris Windom early and Bryan Clauson late to score his sixth career win with the series in the Deaton’s Waterfront Services – Vinny DePalma Motorsports No. 12x Maxim/Ott.
“In my mind, I gave last night away, so it feels good to get one tonight. Tony Stewart Racing is a great operation and Bryan Clauson is as good as it gets. You can race with that guy,” Ballou said. “I wasn’t gonna let him get me twice in a row, though. I’m from Northern California and I’m used to big curbs like this. I’ve put in a lot of time up against them, and tonight it just got bigger and harder. I tried to pack it down and work on not losing too much off turn-two because I was better in three and four. We’ve gotten this Don Ott engine really driveable on the smaller tracks. He has made a big difference. It’s great to win for people like that and my guy Derrick Bye, who puts in a lot of time on this deal. Now, we’ve got to keep this rolling.”
After a few cars, including scheduled polesitter Chad Boespflug were late getting to the race track, Ballou was moved to the front row and out-gunned Windom to the early lead. Ballou carved in his path against the cushion, while Windom stuck to the low line. With a long green-flag stretch, those two were side-by-side for the lead with Ballou inching out an advantage at the stripe on a few occasions. Meanwhile, Clauson had started to slice his way from ninth into the top five.
A red flag for Jeff Bland Jr. on lap 19 was the first stoppage, as Clauson was able to join the lead pack that also included Kevin Thomas Jr. and Thomas Meseraull. After the restart, Clauson, Windom, and Thomas fanned out three-wide for second as Ballou opened up some ground. That was short-lived, however, as Windom and Thomas spun together on lap 23, collecting sixth-running Justin Grant.