GAS CITY, Ind. — Kevin Thomas Jr. continued his recent hot streak, coming from 10th to capture Friday night’s AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series feature at Gas City I-69 Speedway.
For Thomas, it was the second win in a row with the series and the third of his career.
Robert Ballou flew around the outside of polesitter Scotty Weir to lead lap one and settled in at the top spot, as the leaders set a torrid pace on a very fast surface. Weir, Dave Darland, and new track record holder Thomas Meseraull all worked in a tight pack among the top-four while Thomas was slowly working his way through the pack.
Just past halfway, the track started to widen out and Meseraull moved to second as the sole challenger to Ballou, but Weir caught the front-stretch wall on lap 22 and flipped down the front-stretch, bringing out a red and resetting the top-five for a final dash to the checkered flag.
Thomas, who had moved by Darland on the outside, shot to the cushion on the restart and fought past Meseraull before targeting the lead. He wasted no time grabbing the point, driving by on lap 23 and pulling away to a comfortable 2.182-second win in the Mike Dutcher/RW/Tri-Star Motorsports – Black Jack Oil Company No. 17rw Maxim/Fisher.
“I knew I had to move around and try the top to make something happen. The top was good all along, but the bottom stayed so good for at least the first half of the race, it was hard to get going much. I had to be patient and let the bottom wear out before we could get rolling. Once we could get our momentum going, we started to clear some cars and could run it as hard as we wanted up there. This start has just done so much for my confidence, and even after turning over tonight in the heat race, we know we can still win, coming from tenth or whatever. We’re all on the same page and it really feels great,” Thomas said.
Meseraull followed Thomas to the front, circling Ballou to finish second and complete a fantastic night aboard the Mike McGhee & Associates – Brown & Miller No. 17t Spike/Fisher.
“The bottom was really good, especially off the corner, it was just hard to get going up top. KT just jumped up there and was driving really hard and got by us after the restart. He was a little better than us, obviously, so I’m pretty stoked to have such a good night and run second. Thanks to Mike McGhee, and Davey Jones for helping us tonight,” Meseraull said.
Ballou held on for third, continuing his early-season run of strong finishes aboard the Baldwin Brothers Racing No. 5.
Jerry Coons Jr. ran inside the top-six all night before finishing fourth with Darland fifth.