Courtney Sprints To Western World Hat Trick

Courtney Sprints
Tyler Courtney en route to victory at Arizona Speedway Saturday night. (Ivan Veldhuizen photo)

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. – Tyler Courtney led a NOS Energy Drink sweep of the podium during Saturday night’s sprint car portion of the 53rd Western World Championship at Arizona Speedway and wrote a page of history in the process.

With his win in the Clauson/Marshall/Newman No. 7bc, Courtney became the first driver in the history of the famed event to win three consecutive Western World Championship finale features.

It was also a slice of redemption for the Indianapolis native, who was in position for a top-five finish in the preceding USAC National Midget Series main event before a mechanical failure brought an early end to Courtney’s night in that race.

“It makes it hurt a little worse, but it’s how racing goes,” said Courtney of winning the sprint car feature after exiting the midget race early. “You’re going to have ups and downs, and obviously you don’t want your downs to come at this time of the year, but this result is awesome to be our third Western World [win] in the sprint car.

“That’s an accomplishment in itself that we can all be really proud of. A tough night, but a good night at the same time. This place has treated me well the last three years.”

Adding one more layer of significance to the night, it was Courtney’s 50th win for team co-owners Tim Clauson and Richard Marshall since the launch of the Clauson/Marshall Racing operation in 2016.

“That’s just special,” Courtney noted. “We’ve had a lot of success together and it’s a lot of fun driving for this team with everything that we’ve accomplished.”

Tyler Courtney sits atop the traditional bull in victory lane at Arizona Speedway. (Ivan Veldhuizen photo)

Two cautions slowed the pace during the 30-lapper. The first waved with three laps scored for a car stopped inside the second corner, and the second came with 13 to go after Thomas Meseraull spun sideways in turn two.

Both times, it allowed Windom to close up on Courtney’s rear bumper, with Windom even sliding Courtney for the race lead on multiple occasions.

Every time, however, Courtney countered and pulled away, leaving Windom to settle for runner-up honors.

“Overall, it was a good night for us,” noted Windom. “I can’t thank Bill Michael and his guys enough for having me out here running his car. I felt like we were just as good as the (No.) 7bc there; we stalked him for 30 laps. He’d just inch in front of me, and I’d inch back closer, and I could never get enough to stick a slide job on him for the win.

“It was a bummer last night … but tonight we put this thing where it should be on the frontstretch with a really solid run.”

Justin Grant filled out the all-NOS podium, followed by Damion Gardner and Austin Williams.

Ryan Bernal, hard charger R.J. Johnson, Max Adams, Cody Williams and Brody Roa closed the top 10.

The finish:

1. Tyler Courtney (2), 2. Chris Windom (3), 3. Justin Grant (6), 4. Damion Gardner (5), 5. Austin Williams (11), 6. Ryan Bernal (9), 7. R.J. Johnson (22), 8. Max Adams (16), 9. Cody Williams (7), 10. Brody Roa (14), 11. Charles Davis Jr. (1), 12. Tommy Malcolm (4), 13. Tye Mihocko (19), 14. Stevie Sussex (13), 15. Matt Mitchell (10), 16. Sterling Cling (20), 17. Chris Gansen (18), 18. Kyle Edwards (21), 19. Chris Bonneau (17), 20. Jake Swanson (15), 21. Thomas Meseraull (12), 22. Eddie Tafoya Jr. (8). NT

Lap Leader(s): Tyler Courtney 1-30.

Rod End Supply Hard Charger: R.J. Johnson (+15)