USAC Sprint Title Defense Begins for Courtney

It’s already been a dream start to the season for Tyler Courtney as he’s continued his roll of success through the offseason following a 2018 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car crown.

Last weekend, his fast start included back-to-back victories in the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget openers at Bubba Raceway Park.   Now the Indianapolis, Ind. driver embarks on a mission in his Clauson/Marshall/Newman Racing No. 7BC to duplicate the feat that only some of the very best in this sport can lay claim to as a repeat series champion.

Parnelli Jones was the first to do the deed in 1961-62, followed by Sheldon Kinser (1981-82), Rick Hood (1984-85), Steve Butler (1986-88), Robbie Stanley (1991-93), Brian Tyler (1996-97), Levi Jones (2009-10-11) and Bryan Clauson (2012-13).

Last year, Courtney had one of the top seasons in the history of the series with 11 victories, only the tenth driver to reach double-figures in USAC Sprint Car wins during a single year.  If anything has been proven, it’s not to discount anything Courtney can accomplish at this moment with the streak of success he’s enjoying at the moment.  It’s difficult to win one championship, let alone back-to-backers and put up the same numbers as the year before.  However, it’s been duplicated before and will be again.

While most of the consecutive championship-winning drivers saw their numbers go up on the backend of the back-to-back, Parnelli dropped from nine wins to four between 1961-62, yet still had enough mustard to relish the championship honors once again at season’s end.  Twenty years later, meanwhile, Kinser had a slight dip between his two in 1981-82, from seven to 5.

From thereon, the numbers, in most instances, picked up with Rick Hood increasing from six to nine wins from 1984-85.  Steve Butler was the first three-peat titlist in 1986-87-88, bouncing up from two to three to three victories, respectively, in those years.   Robbie Stanley became the next three-peater, staying stagnant from two to one wins between 1991-92, but 1993 would prove to be his career year, winning five times en route to a series title.  

Brian Tyler had nowhere to go but up following a rare winless championship campaign in 1996, but in 1997, the talented driver would find victory lane on four occasions on his way to another championship.

Levi Jones saw all ends of the championship-winning spectrum during his three-straight from 2009-11, beginning with four in 2009, doubling it to eight in 2010, then back down to three in 2011.  Even-keeled Bryan Clauson notched his second-straight in 2013 with seven scores, following a seven win season the prior year in 2012.

But the main lesson here with those numbers is that championships are made in a myriad of manners.  Winning is only one part of the recipe, along with qualifying up front, transferring through the heat, taking care of the equipment and finishing in the top-five, top-ten every chance you get.  After all, the title race could come down to one single point somewhere along the line.  Case in example when Courtney and Kevin Thomas, Jr. racked up the same number of points throughout 40 races, only being decided on a tiebreaker in the number of wins.

The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car portion of “Winter Dirt Games X” begins this week.  Pits open at 3pm Eastern each day at Ocala.  Grandstands open at 5pm on Thursday/Friday and 4pm on Saturday.   Cars hit the track for engine heat at 6:30pm Eastern on Thursday/Friday and at 5:30pm on Saturday.  An open practice session will take place a day before the action starts from 7-10pm.

All nights of racing from Ocala will be live on https://www.FloRacing.com/.


“WINTER DIRT GAMES X” USAC SPRINT TENTATIVE ENTRY LIST

B1 Joey Biasi / Mary D, PA

3 Dakota Jackson / Elizabethtown, IN

3R Kyle Cummins / Princeton, IN

4 Justin Grant / Ione, CA

5 Dave Darland / Lincoln, IN

5G Chris Windom / Canton, IL

5K Kent Schmidt / Owensville, IN

5o Daron Clayton / Sikeston, MO

7 Timmy Buckwalter / Douglassville, PA

7BC Tyler Courtney / Indianapolis, IN

12 Robert Ballou / Rocklin, CA

19 Kevin Thomas, Jr. / Cullman, AL

19AZ C.J. Leary / Greenfield, IN

20 Damion Gardner / Concord, CA

20G Noah Gass / Mounds, OK

20x Frank Carlsson / Oxford, FL

21 Carson Short / Marion, IL

21H Travis Hery / Piqua, OH

27 Zane Hendricks / Stillwater, OK

28 Brandon Mattox / Terre Haute, IN

32 Chase Stockon / Ft. Branch, IN

33m Matt Westfall / Pleasant Hill, OH

39 Matt Goodnight / Winchester, IN

42 Ty Tilton / Lima, OH

52 Isaac Chapple / Willow Branch, IN

61m Stephen Schnapf / Newburgh, IN

69 Brady Bacon / Broken Arrow, OK

71 Robert Bell / Colfax, IA

71p Jason McDougal / Broken Arrow, OK

75 Dustin Christie / Washington, IN

77K Katlynn Leer / Moulton, IA

84 Tom Harris / Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK

87 Paul Dues / Minster, OH

98e Chad Boespflug / Hanford, CA

Guardino Wins Ventura's Battle of the Beach #1

After trading the lead with Jake Swanson, Tristan Guardino (Fremont, CA) sailed to his first USAC West Coast Sprint Car victory of the year at Ventura Raceway. Racing the family owned #15T Dorso’s Automotive / Allied Auto Stores Maxim, Tristan’s earned $1,500 for his efforts.

Swanson Perseveres in Memphis 100 Win

It takes a master of a craft for an individual to adapt to anything thrown at them.

Swanson Debuts with Nolen at the Top in Memphis Practice

Kody Swanson used Friday’s practice session at Memphis International Raceway to get acquainted with his new ride in the Nolen Racing No. 20 for the 2019 season.

Master Sprint Wrench Jack French Passes

Prolific crew chief Jack French passed away Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at home following a lengthy illness.  He was 75 years old.

Gordon the Most Experienced in Memphis Field

Of all the drivers in this weekend’s USAC Silver Crown field, no driver has more starts than Eric Gordon at 130 coming into the March 22-23 season-opening “Memphis 100” at Memphis International Raceway.

Leary Heads to Memphis to Begin Triple Crown Pursuit

Thus far in 2019, C.J. Leary has already established himself as a prime contender in USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget and AMSOIL National Sprint Car competition with a bright showing in Ocala, Fla., scoring a pair of top-five runs in the midget and a victory in the sprint car.

Dyson Races Uncommon Road to Silver Crown

Chris Dyson’s road to becoming a regular on the USAC Silver Crown circuit is quite unique.  Born into road racing heritage as the son of Sports Car racer and owner Rob Dyson, Chris eventually found his way to the top, capturing a pair of American Le Mans Series titles - the LMP675 driver's title in 2003 and the LMP1 championship in 2011.

Ventura Hosts Battle at the Beach Saturday

After last Saturday’s battle at Bakersfield, the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars will clash with the Ventura Racing Association (VRA) this Saturday, March 23rd at Ventura Raceway.

Swanson Begins New Era at Memphis 100

After finishing off the most successful run between a driver and team in the history of the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series with DePalma Motorsports, Kody Swanson is preparing for this coming season nearly from scratch, with a new team, new cars, new engines and a new home with Nolen Racing, beginning with this weekend’s “Memphis 100” at Tennessee’s Memphis International Raceway on March 22-23.

10-Time USAC Sprint Winning Owner Hillin Passes

Bobby Hillin, whose Longhorn Racing team notched 10 USAC National Sprint Car victories with drivers Bruce Walkup, Jackie Howerton, Jan Opperman and Bubby Jones between 1975 and 1977, passed away last weekend.  He was 79 years old.