LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. – Chris Windom finally put six weeks’ worth of bad luck behind him on Saturday night by storming to his first NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series victory at Lawrenceburg Speedway.
Windom started fifth but marched to the front in a hurry, using a lap-seven slide job to wrest the lead away from his Clauson-Marshall Racing teammate Tyler Courtney and then masterfully holding off a hard-charging Chad Boat in the final laps.
The Canton, Ill., veteran led the last 24 circuits around the three-eighths-mile oval uncontested for a win that he said has been “right at the top of my priority list.”
“It’s pretty amazing to stand here and know that we’ve finally got a USAC midget win under our belts,” said Windom. “I’m kind of at a loss for words. The emotions are pretty high. I haven’t run a lot of midget stuff in the last few years, but I’ve been at it for a long time and Clauson-Marshall Racing has been working their butts off trying to get me to victory lane. I know it’s just as sweet for them as it is for me.”
Though Windom started fifth after a top-two qualifying effort earlier in the night, it was another NOS Energy Drink-sponsored driver in Shane Golobic who led the field to the green flag at the start.
Golobic edged out Courtney on the opening lap by .005 seconds, but Courtney was quick to take over with a deep slider in turn one on the second round, moving out into the lead with the No. 7bc.
Though he pushed his advantage out to two seconds in two laps after grabbing the top spot, Courtney’s reign was interrupted by a spinning Andrew Layser in turn three with five laps complete.
That led to a restart in which Windom rocketed from fourth to second in one lap, making a major move stick as he passed both Cannon McIntosh and Shane Golobic before going to work on Courtney.
Turn one was the place where Windom made his move, dropping a bomb to the inside of the race track as he swept inside of Courtney, got a run down the backstretch and cleared the series point leader through the third and fourth turns.
Windom never looked back after that.
“When I got past Courtney, it was really about being in the right place at the right time,” said Windom. “He messed up on the cushion, and I’d just hit the bottom perfectly on that lap to be able to throw a slider on him in (turn) one and get the lead.
“That worked out, kind of out of luck, but I knew we had a car that could win all race long.”
The first challenge to Windom’s dominance came with 14 to go, moments after Seavey cleared Courtney for second by railing the top side of the race track. Seavey chopped Windom’s lead down under a half a second, but jumped the turn-four cushion coming to 10 to go and fell back as a result.
Seavey was gifted a second chance, however, when Courtney slowed from third with a flat right-rear tire at the eight to go mark. That stacked the field up behind Windom, but he rocketed away on the ensuing restart as 16-year-old McIntosh went to work on the low side trying to take second from Seavey.
Seavey held that challenge off and closed back in, getting to Windom’s tail tank with three laps left and dropping a massive slider into turn three in an attempt to take the race lead away.
The move worked – with Seavey ahead by a nose at the line on lap 28 – but a caution was called at the same moment for a slowing Michael Pickens, negating Seavey’s pass and putting Windom back in front.
Windom didn’t let Seavey have another chance at him after that, diving deep into turn one on the final restart as a defensive move and holding off all comers to win by .607 seconds.
“Just before the last restart, Rizzy (crew chief Tyler Ransbottom) came out and told me to get up on the wheel, so I knew Seavey was probably ripping the top,” noted Windom. “I had to slide myself there to kill his momentum, because you could throw big sliders into turn one and I didn’t want to risk him getting that kind of a run on me.
“After that, I hadn’t been to the top in (turns) three and four all race, but I went up there with a prayer to try and take Seavey’s line away and it worked,” he added. “It’s just awesome to be here.”
Though he restarted in sixth with three to go, Boat came forward to steal second from Seavey on the last lap, with Seavey crossing third and extending his Indiana Midget Week points lead to 36 ahead of the finale at Kokomo Speedway on Sunday.
Tanner Thorson came from 17th on the grid to finish fourth and garner KSE/Prosource Hard Charger honors, with McIntosh completing the top five after missing the last two Indiana Midget Week features.
To view complete race results, advance to the next page.