Stockon Keeps Rolling At Terre Haute
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Chase Stockon continues to play a hot hand as he captured his second consecutive USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series victory in Friday’s Jim Hurtubise Classic at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Stockon held off a strong challenge from Robert Ballou, as he led all 30 laps. Ballou finished second, and Jerry Coons Jr. claimed the third podium position.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid and playing in the dirt in the infield,” the elated Stockon admitted after the victory lane ceremonies concluded. “I never would have dreamed that I’d win a USAC race here at the Action Track, especially the Jim Hurtubise Classic. It’s pretty awesome.”
Stockon took advantage of starting from outside of the front row to charge around Coleman Gulick and into lead. He led by more than a half-straightaway at times, and made it look effortless. A red flag on lap five when Brandon Mattox got upside-down, and multiple cautions for spins couldn’t slow him. Behind Gulick, Damion Gardner held off Tracy Hines and Jerry Coons Jr., and just after the halfway mark, Ballou had worked from 14th to fifth, and was clearly on a charge. Jon Stanbrough slowed with a severe vibration and pulled into the pits.
On a restart with ten laps to go, Gulick’s car stumbled coming to the green off turn four, and was hit by Gardner, turning almost sideways. He was out of fuel and had to be pushed into the pits. On the restart, Ballou took second from Gardner in turn two, and caught Stockon a lap later, charging to his inside going into three.
But another caution stopped the action as Gardner came to a stop on the frontstretch, also out of gas. With the time for the feature exceeding 50 minutes, USAC displayed the red flag and allowed all of the cars to refuel.
Stockon held off Ballou on the restart, opened a 10-car length advantage, and over the next couple laps, extended his lead to 2.5 seconds, which is how they finished. Hines collected fourth, behind Coons. In the battle for USAC’s national points, Dave Darland and Bryan Clauson battled much of the race, exchanging positions several times. On the 28th circuit, Darland passed Clauson to take fifth and gain a 23-point advantage in the division standings.
Just before the red flag, Stockon said he became concerned that his First Financial Bank/ Superior Tank & Trailer DRC was running out of fuel. But the car took off strongly after refueling. It was under the red that his crew was able to help. “I just essentially got my elbows back up again to see if we could hold him off.”
“They said that he was diamonding off one and two and coming off across the bottom. I tried that for a lap and then the next lap decided to get back up into the good stuff and see if I carried my momentum. It felt pretty good.”
It was good enough for another milestone victory for Stockon, who has now won three features over the past three weekends, two on USAC’s national circuit and one with MSCS sanction.