Clauson Scores From 14th At Kokomo
KOKOMO, Ind. — Bryan Clauson backed up his Sprint Car Smackdown I championship in style on Thursday, coming from 14th without the aid of a caution to win night one of the 2013 version at Kokomo Speedway.
Clauson’s 22nd career AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory tied him for 20th on the all-time list with greats Sammy Sessions, Bubby Jones, and Rick Hood.
Six-time winner this season Kevin Thomas Jr. led the field to the green, but Jerry Coons, Jr. jumped from outside the front-row to lead the opening round. Thomas moved under Coons on lap two, though, and held the lead as second-row starter Dave Darland moved to second.
Darland was the man on the move as he slid underneath Thomas on lap-five in turn-three and checked out with the lead. Thomas fell back into a battle for second with Coons, as Clauson carved up the field along with row-seven mate Jon Stanbrough. Clauson moved into the top-five before halfway, and into second just after.
Although Darland had a huge lead, Clauson chopped it down in no time and beat Darland off the fourth corner for the lead on lap 22. He disappeared into traffic and was never challenged, winning by 4.388 seconds in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Chevy Performance No. 20 Beast/Kistler Chevy, and also garnering PPM Titanium Products “Hard Charger Award.”
“Everybody knows I can’t qualify here – but I really love racing at this place. We knew we’d have to be able to move around to get up there. Luckily, I have a lot of practice coming from the back at this place. I found somethin’ in three and four, more through the middle. I had to search to find something our car liked. It kinda surprised me how quickly we tracked Darland down. I glanced up at the scoreboard and thought we could get there, just didn’t expect to get there so quick,” Clauson said.
Darland had no trouble hanging onto second, claiming the runner-up slot by 4.317 seconds in the Phillips Motorsports – Racer’s Advantage No. 71p DRC/Foxco.
“It surprised me to see him go by me like that. The top slowed down a little bit, but I couldn’t believe how fast he was down there. The cushion got some really tricky spots, especially off turn-two. It just wasn’t a real even shape and upset the car. We got into the lead early there and things were looking good, but Bryan and his guys had some things figured out. This is a good track for me, and we’re not disappointed with second, but we gotta be a little better and get us a win this weekend,” Darland said.
Stanbrough completed his drive from 13th by ending up on the podium in the Marion Underground Construction – Shane Wade Enterprises No. 66 DRC/Dynotech.
“We thought we put it on kill, but we were just a little off. We blistered the right-rear, too. We actually got by Bryan at the beginning, but he took off after he got us back. Starting back where we started, tonight was a great result and hopefully we can carry it through the weekend. I made a mistake on my qualifying lap to put us back there, but we were good the rest of the night and hopefully Saturday night is good to us,” Stanbrough said.
Brady Bacon came from ninth to finish fourth in the Hoffman Auto Racing – Mean Green No. 69 Triple X/Stanton Mopar, and Coons rounded out the top-five in the Edison Motorsports – Crume-Evans Insurance No. 10e Spike/Chevy.