Thomas Gets Last-Lap Steal At Lawrenceburg

Kevin Thomas Jr. (17) battles Hunter Schuerenberg en route to winning Saturday's AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series feature at Indiana's Lawrenceburg Speedway. (David E. Heithaus photo)
Kevin Thomas Jr. (17) battles Hunter Schuerenberg en route to winning Saturday’s AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series feature at Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway. (David E. Heithaus photo)

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — Kevin Thomas Jr. waited until the last lap to steal Saturday night’s AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory at Lawrenceburg Speedway.

The 21-year-old who won his first national event last season started 10th and came on late to make a spirited charge on the high side to pull past Chase Stockon off turn two on the final circuit and narrowly held him off to pick up the win.

Thomas, who started this season with a new team, notched the very first victory for newly assembled Mike Dutcher – Rotondo Weirich – Tri-Star Motorsports. Dutcher, who served as crew chief on last season’s championship-winning team, made it his third team in three years to visit a USAC Sprint Car winner’s circle.

Coleman Gulick rocketed from outside the front row and ran the high side around the fast three-eighths mile, pulling out to a sizeable advantage in the opening laps. Stockon was the first to reel him in, though, sliding in front of Gulick on lap 12 to take the point. Gulick countered, however, and took the spot back.

Stockon came calling again on lap 21, grabbing the top spot and pulling away as a free-for-all went on for positions two through six. With the white flag waving, a spin in turn four set up a showdown for the win.

Thomas took the lead on the restart and seemed destined for victory, but another caution slowed the action. Stockon got a better restart and held Thomas off until after seeing the white flag, but the Rotondo Weirich – BlackJack Oil No. 17 RW Maxim/Fisher prevailed off the final corner in near three-wide finish with Stockon and Brady Bacon.

“That’s the best race I’ve ever been a part of, right there. I’m glad everybody came out tonight, and we put on a great race for them. To get a win here, where I’ve always had bad luck, it really feels good. I was pissed to see that last yellow. I finally got to the lead, and the caution comes out. We got lucky for it to fall that way at the end and give us a chance at the win. It’s great to get a win for this new deal and everybody who helps with this team,” Thomas said.