KOKOMO, Ind. — The racing is clearly living up to the name as the second night of Kokomo Speedway’s Sprint Car Smackdown concluded with Chris Windom in victory lane.
Windom took advantage of a new ride and lapped traffic and scored his second USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series victory of the year.
“This is awesome,” Windom said with a grin after his unexpected victory. “I’ve had a rough season. I had to part ways with the team I had a lot of success with last year. I’m driving for Rick Pollock now and this is his first USAC win. It’s really special to get him his first USAC win because he works really hard and I can’t thank him enough.”
Windom charged inside of Tracy Hines on the 29th lap of the 30-lap main event, and held a two car-length advantage at the checkers. Thursday’s winner, Bryan Clauson finished third, followed by Thomas Meseraull and Dave Darland.
At the start, Hines took the lead off of turn two and held off Meseraull and Darland through the first 20 laps. The battle as Darland tried to overtake Hines was breathtaking, with the master of Kokomo’s cushion, Darland, repeatedly carrying more speed off of turn two and pulling even through three, but each time Hines charged back in front as they exited four. But the wall bit the master and Darland bounced off the turn two concrete with a dozen laps remaining. Lurking just a car length behind, Windom’s Bates Commodities No. 21 Maxim shot past on the inside.
“I didn’t know whether to go to the top or the bottom,” Windom said. “I knew Dave would be good on the top, and once I knew I was rolling the bottom, I was just going to stick to it because I didn’t want to move up and have to change lines and try to figure something else out. Lapped traffic came into play there and helped me get around Tracy.”
With 10 laps to go, Windom began to stick his nose inside of Hines in the turns. Darland was just behind, on the cushion, and Clauson was quickly catching the trio. Darland caught the wall again and fell back behind Meseraull. Clauson made it a three-car fight for several laps, but he also got into the wall, on lap 28, and quickly lost ground. When they caught a lapped car in turn two on the next lap, Hines went around him, leaving the door open for Windom, who claimed the inside line as they raced into the third turn, taking the lead.
Windom said, “It happened so fast, I don’t really remember where I passed him at. He tried to go high and I went low around a lapped car and that’s when I really got up next to him. He was running low, but I got lower than him and got around him.”
“I just felt that my car wasn’t as good as it needed to be,” Hines admitted back in the pits. “I’m not going to say that I was just hanging on. I couldn’t commit fully to the throttle, I was dancing the nose a little bit every time I buried the throttle. So I just need to work on the car a little bit. Obviously I just left the groove open. I had to keep running the car up the track down the straightaway, or I’d just have too much bite. So, what happens, happens. It was a good second and we’ll go on tomorrow.”
The point battle tightened considerably as leader Jon Stanbrough was only able to muster a 14th-place result. Levi Jones raced from 18th to 12th and narrowed the gap to just two points. Darland continued to gain and is 44 points behind the leader, while Clauson is only 145 points behind.