BALLOU HEATING UP, POCKETS PORT ROYAL EASTERN STORMerik158@gmail.com
Port Royal, Pennsylvania…It’s beginning to look like a record-breaking season for Robert Ballou, as the Rocklin, California native continued his sensational season with his sixth victory of the year on Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway. He made it two-in-a-row during “Eastern Storm,” banking $6,000 for each trip to victory lane.
Landon Simon out-gunned Logan Jarrett down the frontstretch to take the lead, as the Tipp City, Ohio driver tried to stay out front for his first ever USAC feature win. Tracy Hines pressured Jarrett as Ballou and Chase Stockon traded the fourth spot in the early circuits. Hines went to second on lap four and was all over Simon.
As Ballou fought off Jon Stanbrough, Stockon took third on lap nine and joined a developing three-car fray for the top spot. Simon was holding on for dear life as the veteran Hines peeked under him, pulling completely alongside on lap ten. Simon repelled all advances, however, before the only caution flag of the race flew on lap fifteen.
On the restart, Ballou attacked the top as Hines and Stockon dogged Simon on the bottom half of the track. Ballou snuck past Hines right up against the outside guardrail on lap eighteen and went right at Simon, using the high side to drive to the lead as they came to complete lap nineteen.
Ballou seemed to be untouchable out front, but Stockon wasn’t done. He drove by Hines for the third spot and took off after Simon for second. Behind the top-four, it was a frenzy from fifth through ninth as Stanbrough, 12th-starting Dave Darland, 13th-starting Brady Bacon, Justin Grant, and Jarrett all battled. Stanbrough fell to seventh with ten to go before rallying to drive back by Bacon and Darland.
Up front, Stockon was closing slightly on Ballou in the final five laps as Stockon took second on lap 27. In the final five laps, Stockon trimmed nearly 1.4 seconds off Ballou’s lead, but it wasn’t enough as the Tom Buch – Blakesley Auto #12 Maxim/Ott went back to victory lane now for the 15th time in his career, tied for 27th all-time.
“I really wanted to win this one tonight for my guys and Tom Buch, who helps me and has hosted us this week. I messed up in qualifying – I knew we were better than our time showed. I did a lot of second-guessing on our changes for the feature, and we really went the wrong way. We had to earn it tonight – it wasn’t easy at all. At one point, I was back to fifth and pretty sure somebody was about to drive by me for that spot, too. The yellow helped us, and I knew I had to go where they weren’t, so I hit the top and got rolling up there as it was the smoothest way around. We freed up a little as it went, and it got better. I honestly thought someone would be coming, but luckily we finished it off,” Ballou said.
Stockon finished a phenomenal night with his runner-up finish aboard the Superior Tank & Trailer – Crescent Electric Supply #32 DRC/Fisher, ending up 1.072-seconds behind Ballou.
“We were definitely happy with the car tonight. We were gaining on him at the end, working the middle of one and two and top of three and four. We were inching away at his lead, but just not fast enough. I was a little frustrated to see the yellow. I think it cost us our best shot to win it, as we were already on those guys. We’ve had to change a lot of things lately, and it’s getting more comfortable again. I really like these big, sweeping places and happy to be back on the podium,” Stockon said.
Simon held on for his best-career finish in the third spot aboard the Mount Baker Vapor – Snap21 #24 DRC/Rider.
“It’s a dream come true to be competing with these guys. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and tonight is an awesome feeling. To get it on the podium, I don’t know what more to say. I gotta thank Mount Baker Vapor and Snap21 for making this possible. It’s just my dad and I out here, and it’s pretty cool to have such a good night. I was trying to keep a good pace out front and seemed to be okay whenever I felt pressure, but the caution at halfway definitely wasn’t what I needed. We got a little free towards the end and I made a couple mistakes – these guys were good enough to capitalize on them,” Simon said.
Hines wound up in the fourth spot aboard his The Carolina Nut Company – MPHG Promotions #4 DRC/Stanton Chevy. Stanbrough came out on top of the war for the fifth spot in the MP Environmental Services – AED Motorsports Products #81 Spike/J&D.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: June 6, 2015 – Port Royal, Pennsylvania – Port Royal Speedway – “Eastern Storm”
QUALIFYING: 1. Shane Cottle, 3, Franckowiak-18.896 (New Track Record); 2. Jon Stanbrough, 81, Stanbrough-18.997; 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 17RW, Dutcher-19.007; 4. Chase Stockon, 32, 32/TBI-19.019; 5. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-19.019; 6. Tracy Hines, 4, THR-19.069; 7. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-19.086; 8. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-19.175; 9. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Byram-19.184; 10. Justin Grant, 40, Hery-19.198; 11. Trevor Kobylarz, 14, RT-19.240; 12. Dave Darland, 71P, Phillips/Curb-Agajanian-19.242; 13. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-19.251; 14. Casey Shuman, 2x, Barnhill-19.263; 15. Chad Boespflug, 66, Amati-19.316; 16. Joey Biasi, B1, Biasi-19.393; 17. Chris Windom, 21x, Pollock-19.428; 18. C.J. Leary, 5, Baldwin-19.439; 19. Richard Vander Weerd, 39, Hogue-19.498; 20. Isaac Chapple, 7G, Goacher-19.515; 21. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-19.694; 22. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti Autosport Short Track-19.964; 23. Brett Arndt, 1A, Biasi-20.298; 24. J.R. Berry, 74JR, Berry-20.793; 25. Michael Hamer, 47, Hamer-20.912; 26. Dick Mahoney, 79, Mahoney-21.321; 27. Rick Horn, 01, Horn-21.422; 28. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Stockon, 3. Jarrett, 4. Grant, 5. Biasi, 6. Cottle, 7. Andretti, 8. Vander Weerd, 9. Hamer. NT
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Shuman, 3. Simon, 4. Kobylarz, 5. Chapple, 6. Stanbrough, 7. Windom, 8. Arndt, 9. Mahoney. NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Boespflug, 3. Hines, 4. Leary, 5. Thomas, 6. Farney, 7. Berry, 8. Cummins. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Stanbrough, 2. Cottle, 3. Windom, 4. Farney, 5. Cummins, 6. Andretti, 7. Berry, 8. Arndt, 9. Hamer, 10. Mahoney, 11. Vander Weerd, 12. Horn. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Robert Ballou, 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Landon Simon, 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Jon Stanbrough, 6. Dave Darland, 7. Brady Bacon, 8. Justin Grant, 9. Logan Jarrett, 10. Shane Cottle, 11. C.J. Leary, 12. Chris Windom, 13. Aaron Farney, 14. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 15. Kyle Cummins, 16. Trevor Kobylarz, 17. Chad Boespflug, 18. Jarett Andretti, 19. J.R. Berry, 20. Joey Biasi, 21. Casey Shuman, 22. Isaac Chapple.