CARSON SHORT SCORES FIRST WIN AT TRI-STATE IN USAC's 10,000TH RACE
Haubstadt, Indiana.........Carson Short continued the roll of first-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car winners into victory lane Saturday night at Tri-State Speedway, becoming the fourth different driver to pick up his initial career series victory in the first six races of the 29th edition of Indiana Sprint Week. Short, of Marion, Illinois, joined Tyler Courtney (Gas City I-69 Speedway), Kyle Cummins (Kokomo Speedway) and Brent Beauchamp (Bloomington Speedway) as one of the new names to join the USAC record books. The run of new winners hasn't been seen in the series since five drivers - Hunter Schuerenberg, Jacob Wilson, Brad Sweet, Brady Bacon and David Cardey - triumphed for the first time during a seven-race stretch late in the 2008 season.
On this night, USAC celebrated its 10,000th sanctioned event since its debut in January of 1956. Starting from the pole position for the 30-lap event on this momentous occasion was the 20-year-old Short, unrelated to Thursday night's winner at Lincoln Park Speedway Brady Short. Short bolted to the lead in the first turn at the start, sliding up in front of fellow front row starter, Jarett Andretti for the race lead on the opening lap. As Short began to distance himself from second-running Andretti, Tri-State Speedway favorite Cummins was able to sneak by Andretti for the second spot with a move on the inside of turn two. Cummins began to run down leader Short by the sixth lap, but a turn four tangle involving Tyler Thomas and Jeff Bland, Jr. would help tighten up the gap between first and second, placing Cummins right on Short's tail tank for the restart. Both Short and Cummins occupied the middle groove on both ends of the racetrack, setting a blistering pace as both entered lapped traffic.
With ten laps remaining, Short would have to weave his way through a bevy of slower traffic with the Haubstadt master, Kyle Cummins hot on his trail as the laps wound down. With lapped cars running high, low middle and everywhere in between, Short had to be nearly perfect as he worked his way through the nooks and crannies in the back of the field while simultaneously being shadowed and hounded by Cummins. With just five to go, Short almost saw the race slip through his fingers after getting extremely sideways at the exit of turn four. Short momentarily sliced down on Cummins' inside line, forcing Cummins to back off the throttle, which slowed his momentum as Short regained control and maintained his place atop the leaderboard. During the final laps, Short hit all of his marks correctly and was able to maneuver around a handful of lapped machines with relative ease to collect not only his first career series victory, but his first ever sprint car win of any kind, in his Indiana Sprint Week debut of 2016 over Cummins and Chase Stockon.
Carson Short, of Marion, Illinois, became the fourth driver in six Indiana Sprint Week races to record his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory. Robert Ballou took KSE Racing Products/B&W Auto Mart Hard Charger honors for the second straight night after coming home fourth from his 16th starting position and now trails seventh place finisher Brady Bacon by just 10 points heading into Sunday's ISW finale at the Terre Haute Action Track, a place where he's been victorious in his two most recent USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car starts. Meanwhile, Andretti tied his career-best series finish of fifth, set at Bechtelsville, Pennsylvania's Grandview Speedway just a little over a month ago.
It's been quite a successful week for the young lions of USAC racing who've responded to the challenge night-in, night-out at racetracks all around the state of Indiana this week in front of packed houses during ISW. Carson Short became the latest to meet the challenge, stepping up to take the Haubstadt round in his Richard Short/Total Field & Environmental Services - RASS Restoration/DRC/SPEC, marking just his second career top-five finish in his 28th career start dating back to his series debut at Tri-State in 2013. "This is unreal," Short exclaimed. "With about five (laps) to go, I was thinking, 'man, I'm leading this and I know Cummins is down there.' My car started getting better right around half way and on those last five laps, we were really fast. I saw lapped traffic, but they were fast enough to concern me and I think, for sure, played a role in me getting away from Kyle (Cummins) at the end. To beat Kyle makes this even better because he's the best here. The top just wasn't there tonight, so we stuck it on the bottom and Kyle showed me that about half way through, so I owe him one. You can't beat this feeling of winning during Indiana Sprint Week!"
With his second place run on Saturday night, Princeton, Indiana's Cummins tallied his seventh podium finish in 17 series starts this season in his Rock Steady Racing/Vincennes University - Tim Mason ReMax/Mach-1/Cummins. Though Cummins has been known for his close-but-no-cigar moments over the years in USAC competition, after his recent win at Kokomo, Cummins freely admits this second place run doesn't sting as much as it once would have. "Since I won one already, I'm actually happy to run second tonight," Cummins admitted. "The track stayed tacky from beginning to end, so we were just too tight. I was hoping Carson (Short) would make a mistake or get bottled up in the lapped traffic, but it seemed like every time he did, he picked the right line and would get away. It's been an up and down week for us, but we're happy to run second tonight."
Chase Stockon, of Fort Branch, Indiana, earned his sixth straight Tri-State Speedway top-five finish Saturday night, taking third place at the checkered in his 32-TBI Racing/Superior Tank & Trailer - Dewig Meats/DRC/Fisher. "We banked on the track blowing off quite a bit and it never really came to us," Stockon said. "We were set up for the end of the race and the track just didn't behave like we thought it would. We just needed it to be about five or 10 laps longer."
Contingency award winners at Tri-State Speedway included Josh Hodges (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Robert Ballou (Simpson Race Products First Heat Race Winner & KSE Racing Products/B&W Auto Mart Hard Charger), Thomas Meseraull (Competition Suspension, Inc. (CSI) Second Heat Race Winner), Logan Jarrett (Benic Enterprises Third Heat Race Winner), Carson Short (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Race Winner) and Brady Short (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Feature Finisher).
Click here for stats July 16, @ Habstadt - Carson Short - 39 cars