Windom Breaks Through In Eastern Storm

Chris Windom (5) charges under Jon Stanbrough USAC sprint car competition Big Diamond Speedway earlier this year. (John DaDalt photo)
Chris Windom (5) charges under Jon Stanbrough en route to winning Friday's USAC sprint car feature at Big Diamond Speedway. (John DaDalt photo)

MINERSVILLE, Pa. — Illinois driver Chris Windom finally broke through with his first AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series victory of the season Friday night at Big Diamond Speedway.

Windom, who tallied his first-career USAC Sprint Car win at the three-eighths-mile oval, was largely unchallenged en route to a flag-to-flag win in the third event of the Rotondo Weirich Eastern Storm with a time of 8:36.25 over 30 laps.

After qualifying fifth, Windom took off from outside the front row and negotiated traffic throughout the second half of the race, building comfortable leads repeatedly after Tracy Hines would carve into his lead. Not only was it Windom’s first win of the year, it was his first podium finish of the year aboard the Baldwin Brothers Racing – Fox Paving No.5 Maxim/Claxton Mopar.

“I knew I wanted to get the jump and get out in the lead at the start. I just tried to run as hard as I could, but I had to get a little conservative with the lapped cars toward the end. I was afraid they might push me up or off the backstretch. I gotta thank (car owner) Kenny (Baldwin) and Derek (Claxton). They gave me a good race car tonight, and we won, and we needed it. We needed this one bad,” Windom said.

While Hines appeared to be closing on Windom multiple times in the race, he was simply holding on at the end of the race. The right-front torsion bar came out of his MP Environmental Services – Support Esophagus Cancer Research No. 4 DRC/Shaver, and that was only part of his problem.

“I think about ten to go, I slipped up out of four, so I entered kinda high into one, so I got in on the cushion and almost flipped. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with the thing. It started dipping down, and then I got pounded by a rock as I pulled a tear-off, so I had to keep it off the cushion at the end and hold on. I can’t say enough about this car tonight, way better than we’ve been. I’m excited and hopefully got something for them tomorrow,” Hines said.

Chase Stockon filled the podium for his best-career finish with the series.

“The track was good the first few laps, and then the bottom just went away, so we had to stick to the top. We really just decided to leave the car alone tonight and that seemed to be the way to go. It’s great to get a top-three here, for sure,” Stockon said.

Damion Gardner finished fourth and Levi Jones, who set a track record 15.237-second lap during qualifying, was fifth.

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