Story By: RICHIE MURRAY / ELDORA SPEEDWAY – ROSSBURG, OH – Amid Tyler Courtney’s amazing string of success at Eldora Speedway, perhaps none were more impressive than the performance he put on at the high-banked half-mile oval on Saturday afternoon to score his fifth consecutive triumph with the series at The Big E dating to 2018, this one worth $10,000.
Courtney led all 30 circuits from start to finish after starting from the pole in his Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing/NOS Turbo – ZMax/Spike/Chevy, living up to his sponsor’s name by putting all but the top-six finishers a lap down at the finish line, thrashing the 22-car field in a caution-free race in which the Indianapolis, Ind. racer made USAC history.
By winning his fifth consecutive feature event at Eldora, Courtney became just the third driver in USAC National Sprint Car history to win five-in-a-row at one track. Jim Hurtubise won five-straight at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track between 1960-62 and Steve Chassey did the same with five successive at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1979.
“It’s very special,” Courtney said. “I never could’ve imagined winning one race at Eldora, let alone five in a row. We’ve got something figured out at this place. I love coming back here. Thanks to (promoter) Roger (Slack) and (track owner) Tony Stewart and everybody here at Eldora for putting up the extra money for the USAC guys.”
Additionally, Courtney became just the 14th driver to win at least 30career USAC National Sprint Car features. His 30th moved him ahead of Robert Ballou and Kevin Thomas Jr. for 14th on the all-time list.
Saturday’s event represented the first leg of Eldora’s first USAC National Sprint Car single day double feature since 1980. Extensive rainfall on Friday night created an extremely moistrous track surface, forcing postponement following qualifying, and shifting the remainder of the event to Saturday afternoon.
A rare daytime dirt show – a more common occurrence in decades past – presented a challenging racetrack to navigate. However, the conditions proved to be no barrier for Courtney.
By lap six of the 30-lap feature, Courtney had ramped up his lead to a full straightaway and was thrust into lapped traffic only eight laps in as he slipped through a four-wide, turn one sandwich alongside Carmen Perigo, Tanner Thorson and Stevie Sussex to extend his advantage.
High-riding on the paper-thin cushion located just inches from the outside concrete, Courtney whipped around traffic with mere inches to spare at moments, many times opting to go a lane higher than the car in front of him rather than throwing a slide job. However, he performed all of the above with perfect precision before reengaging his highwire act up against the concrete.
On the 28th lap, Courtney remained adamant to put an exclamation point on this one, rather than chocking up down the stretch, he split between the already lapped car of Brandon Mattox and the newly lapped car of 7th running Kevin Thomas Jr. and was beginning to bear down on 6th running Brady Bacon when the checkered flag flew.
Courtney wound up a whopping 5.477 seconds ahead of runner-up finisher Robert Ballou with Jadon Rogers, Justin Grant and Chris Windom rounding out the top-five.
“You always want to beat everybody,” Courtney admitted. “It’s really a combination of everything. We qualified really well and had great track position. Everything had to go perfect last night to catch the invert and sit on the front row. That makes the night go a lot smoother when you can start up front and run your own race from the drop of the green and have a really good car at the same time.”
Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) earned his best series finish of the season, finishing as the runner-up to Courtney aboard his Ballou Motorsports/Suburban Subaru – Berks Western Telecom/Triple X/Ott Chevy. For the 2015 series champ, it was his ninth consecutive top-ten finish in his last nine feature starts, tops in the series.
Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) had an impressive Eldora Speedway debut, finishing 3rd in his Randy Edwards/Edwards Concrete Construction – Auto Wheel & Rim – Engler/DRC/SPEC Chevy. It was second consecutive “podium” finish after earning a career best 2nd place result on April 17 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind.
In Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying, held on Friday night before the rain, Brady Bacon earned his 39th career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car fast qualifying time, tying him with Levi Jones for fourth all-time in series history.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: May 7-8, 2021 – Eldora Speedway – Rossburg, Ohio – 1/2-Mile Dirt Track – #LetsRaceTwo
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: (Held on May 7) 1. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-15.006; 2. Logan Seavey, 5, Baldwin/Fox/Curb-Agajanian-15.029; 3. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-15.240; 4. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-15.330; 5. Jadon Rogers, 61m, Edwards-15.420; 6. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-15.481; 7. Chris Windom, 19, Hayward-15.497; 8. C.J. Leary, 77m, Michael-15.544; 9. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-15.650; 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9K, KT-15.660; 11. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-15.667; 12. Paul Nienhiser, 5N, KO-15.711; 13. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-15.761; 14. Jake Swanson, 21AZ, Team AZ-15.766; 15. Stevie Sussex, 77, Wingo-15.947; 16. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-15.955; 17. Tanner Thorson, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-16.004; 18. Max Adams, 17G, On The Gass-16.072; 19. Steven Drevicki, 19s, DeGre-16.158; 20. Carmen Perigo, 21, Stehman-16.167; 21. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-16.197; 22. Evan Mosley, 27, Mosley-16.365; 23. Korbyn Hayslett, 1H, Hayslett-16.380; 24. Paul Dues, 87, Dues-16.475; 25. Dallas Hewitt, 18, Keen-16.511; 26. Ryan Barr, 21B, Barr-16.609; 27. Ryan Thomas, 77FR, Wingo-16.955; 28. Jack James, 99, James-17.034.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 2. Justin Grant, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Chris Windom, 5. Steven Drevicki, 6. Isaac Chapple, 7. Brandon Mattox, 8. Evan Mosley, 9. Dallas Hewitt, 10. Jack James. 2:16.14
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Jake Swanson, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Jadon Rogers, 5. Logan Seavey, 6. Tanner Thorson, 7. Carmen Perigo, 8. Korbyn Hayslett, 9. Ryan Barr. 2:21.620
INDY METAL FINISHING/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Paul Nienhiser, 3. Tyler Courtney, 4. Matt Westfall, 5. Stevie Sussex, 6. Ryan Thomas, 7. Matt Goodnight, 8. Paul Dues, 9. Max Adams. 2:22.526
ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-7 transfer to the feature) 1. Isaac Chapple, 2. Brandon Mattox, 3. Korbyn Hayslett, 4. Dallas Hewitt, 5. Carmen Perigo, 6. Tanner Thorson, 7. Ryan Barr, 8. Paul Dues, 9. Evan Mosley, 10. Matt Goodnight, 11. Jack James, 12. Max Adams, 13. Ryan Thomas. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (1), 2. Robert Ballou (4), 3. Jadon Rogers (2), 4. Justin Grant (3), 5. Chris Windom (9), 6. Brady Bacon (6), 7. Kevin Thomas Jr. (8), 8. Chase Stockon (11), 9. Matt Westfall (10), 10. Logan Seavey (5), 11. C.J. Leary (7), 12. Isaac Chapple (16), 13. Jake Swanson (14), 14. Paul Nienhiser (12), 15. Dallas Hewitt (21), 16. Steven Drevicki (18), 17. Brandon Mattox (13), 18. Tanner Thorson (17), 19. Stevie Sussex (15), 20. Carmen Perigo (19), 21. Korbyn Hayslett (20), 22. Ryan Barr (22). 10:06.253
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Tyler Courtney.
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Brady Bacon-692, 2-Justin Grant-673, 3-Kevin Thomas Jr.-646, 4-Robert Ballou-581, 5-Tanner Thorson-571, 6-C.J. Leary-571, 7-Chris Windom-562, 8-Jake Swanson-535, 9-Chase Stockon-425, 10-Paul Nienhiser-383.
OVERALL PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1-Robert Ballou-52, 2-Thomas Meseraull-47, 3-Tanner Thorson-43, 4-Brady Bacon-36, 5-Chris Windom-34, 6-Buddy Kofoid-29, 7-Justin Grant-29, 8-Kevin Thomas Jr.-24, 9-Bryant Wiedeman-22, 10-C.J. Leary-21.
CONTINGENCY AWARD WINNERS:
GSP Driving Performance of the Night: Isaac Chapple
Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier: Brady Bacon
Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner: Kevin Thomas Jr.
Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner: C.J. Leary
Indy Metal Finishing / Indy Race Parts Third Heat Winner: Robert Ballou
Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi Winner: Isaac Chapple
KSE Racing Products Hard Charger: Dallas Hewitt (21st to 15th)
Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher: Jake Swanson
Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer: Paul Dues