HAUBSTADT, Ind. — Kyle Cummins is seven-for-seven at Tri-State Speedway this season.
The Indiana sprint car driver’s latest victory came in Saturday night’s Haubstadt Hustler for the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and the Brandeis Midwest Sprint Car Series.
Cummins banked $10,000 for winning the 40-lap event.
Despite the blistering run of success, which now includes three USAC victories in 2019, Cummins was cautious to call his shot ala Babe Ruth entering the night.
“I felt like after winning this many in a row here, I was bound to lose because everything’s been going right and we really haven’t had a real bad night,” Cummins admitted. “Throughout a whole season, the more good nights you have, the bad ones are right around the corner.”
Cummins took the early lead, but fell back to second when point leader C.J. Leary took control on the third lap.
Traffic was thick entering the 10th lap for Leary as he swung high and dove low to split his way to the nearest escape route away from Cummins, but to no avail, as his lead diminished and Cummins was prime to strike on the 12th lap when Leary got himself sideways in the middle of turns three and four.
The evening’s lone red flag arrived on the 16th lap when fast qualifier and fourth-running Justin Grant flipped exiting turn four.
The lapped car of Kevin Thomas Jr. separated Cummins and Leary on the lap-17 restart. Leary disposed of Thomas quickly around the top in turn one, but Cummins had scooted away to a one second advantage by that point, forcing Leary into catchup mode right off the bat.
Just after halfway, Cummins was rapidly approaching lapped traffic, allowing Tyler Courtney to rip by Leary for second, then carve deeply into Cummins’ advantage, whittling the interval down to a quarter of a second.
On the 27th lap, Cummins met the side-by-side duo of Doug Christie and Brian Karraker, both on the cusp of being put a lap down while battling for position. Cummins was briefly stifled behind the pair before opting for the top at the entry of turn three with Courtney now less than a car length off Cummins’ rear bumper.
Lapped traffic played a key role on the quarter-mile track.
“One time I thought (a car in front of me) had spun out,” Cummins remembered. “I’m not sure who it was, but I was crossed up as much as I could be, and I thought they had spun out. I really had to backpedal, and when I came off the corner there, I thought, ‘man, I’m really scrubbing off some speed.’ I didn’t know where they were running, so I decided to get away from the bottom and run a couple laps around the top. Then, we got to the next group and they were running the top. It seemed like if you pressured them a little bit, they would slide up. I didn’t feel like (Courtney) was going to pass around the top if they were there too.”
Courtney tried with all his might, riding high into turn one and diamonding off two to get a run on Cummins. Cummins wasn’t about to give Courtney an open door to the front as the defending USAC Sprint champ harassed Cummins, doing everything but passing the new all-time winningest MSCS driver with the laps dwindling.
With three laps to go, heartbreak befell fourth-running Jason McDougal who slowed to a stop in turn two after charging from his 21st starting position. For Cummins, though, it was a godsend to get to step out of the line of traffic for good for the final dash to the finish.
From there, Cummins buttoned up his sixth USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature victory, four of which have come at Tri-State Speedway, by a margin of 0.879 seconds over Courtney.
Leary, Kendall Ruble and Windom rounded out the top five.
To see full results, turn to the next page.