Death. Taxes. And Kyle Cummins winning at Tri-State Speedway in 2019.
Cummins made it seven for seven at the quarter-mile dirt oval, which was also his second career Haubstadt Hustler victory. Despite the blistering run of success, which now includes three USAC victories in 2019, Cummins was cautious to call his shot à la Babe Ruth entering the night.
“I felt like after winning this many in a row here, I was bound to lose because everything’s been going right and we really haven’t had a real bad night,” Cummins admitted. “Throughout a whole season, the more good nights you have, the bad ones are right around the corner.”
That was certainly not the case in the final results. The beginning of the main event saw him jump quickly to the lead on the second lap past USAC Sprint Rookie of the Year point leader Dustin Christie. Then he fell back to second as USAC Sprint point leader C.J. Leary bolted to the front around the outside of Cummins between turns one and two on the third circuit.
Traffic was thick entering the 10th lap for Leary as he swung high and dove low to split his way to the nearest escape route away from Cummins. But, as his lead diminished, and Cummins was prime to strike on the 12th lap, Leary got himself sideways in the middle of turns three and four. That allowed Cummins to slip by off turn four to take control up front. The evening’s lone red flag arrived on the 16th lap when previous night’s Terre Haute winner, Justin Grant ramped over the infield and spiraled through the air before landing upside down along the main straightaway. Thankfully, he climbed from the wreckage unharmed.
Rewatch the entire race from Tri- State:
The lapped car of three-time Haubstadt Hustler winner Kevin Thomas, Jr. separated Cummins and Leary on the lap 17 restart. Leary ably disposed of Thomas quickly around the top in turn one, but Cummins had scooted away to a one second advantage by that point. Just after halfway, Cummins was rapidly approaching the throes of lapped traffic, allowing Courtney to rip by Leary for second, then carve deeply into Cummins’ advantage, and whittle the interval down to a quarter of a second. On the 27th lap, Cummins met the side-by-side duo of Christie and Brian Karraker, who were both on the cusp of being put a lap down while battling for position. Cummins was briefly stifled behind the pair before opting for the top at the entry of turn three with Courtney now less than a car length off Cummins’ rear bumper.
“One time I thought (a car in front of me) had spun out,” Cummins remembered. “I’m not sure who it was, but I was crossed up as much as I could be, and I thought they had spun out. I really had to backpedal, and when I came off the corner there, I thought, ‘man, I’m really scrubbing off some speed.’ I didn’t know where they were running, so I decided to get away from the bottom and run a couple laps around the top. Then, we got to the next group and they were running the top. It seemed like if you pressured them a little bit, they would slide up. I didn’t feel like (Courtney) was going to pass around the top if they were there too.”
With three laps to go, heartbreak befell fourth-running Jason McDougal, who slowed to a stop in turn two after charging from his 21st starting position. For Cummins, though, it was a godsend to get to step out of the line of traffic for good for the final dash to the finish. Cummins and the crew went with a slightly different plan of attack. With track conditions changing, it threw the team for a bit of a loop.
“We kind of did a couple things differently from what we normally do,” Cummins explained. “Once I moved up there (to the top), I didn’t know I was as good as I was. Once I got up there on the restart again, it felt good. I couldn’t pass the lapped cars for a while. They were running two-by-two and I was just trying to pick my way through and get in the right spot. Thankfully, we got that last caution to get them out of the way, and we were able to run my own line those last couple of laps.”
For the sprint to the checkered flag, Cummins’ plan was to throw it into the corners knowing his competition was going to have to pull off something special to get by.
“When I went through (turns) one and two, I couldn’t believe how good it stuck,” Cummins exclaimed. “I’m like, ‘this is where I’m going to be,’ and if they’re going to pass me, they’re going to have to slide me or something. I was a little nervous. I got a little loose coming out of turn two on the last lap, and it’s happened multiple times where a guy throws a big haymaker slider. I got into three and actually got a little tight. I’m just glad they weren’t right on me. It felt good to make some money tonight.”
From there, Cummins buttoned up his sixth career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature victory. Four of those wins have come at Tri-State Speedway by a margin of 0.879 sec. over Tyler Courtney, C.J. Leary, Kendall Ruble and Chris Windom.
Contingency award winners at Tri-State Speedway:
- Justin Grant (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier)
- C.J. Leary (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner)
- Dustin Christie (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner)
- Kyle Cummins (AutoMeter Third Heat Winner)
- Tyler Courtney (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner)
- Brady Bacon (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger)
- Chris Windom (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier)
- Carson Short (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher)
- Stephen Schnapf (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer)
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS:
September 14 – Tri-State Speedway – Haubstadt, Indiana
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-13.961; 2. Kent Schmidt, 5K, KO-14.004; 3. Max Adams, 5m, Adams-14.036; 4. Kyle Cummins, 3R, Rock Steady-14.065; 5. Critter Malone, 5s, KO-14.115; 6. C.J. Leary, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-14.153; 7. Chayse Hayhurst, 20, Hayhurst-14.185; 8. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall/Newman-14.226; 9. Brian Karraker, 23, Karraker-14.309; 10. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-14.312; 11. Shane Cottle, 38, Williams-14.335; 12. Kendall Ruble, 17, Ruble-14.344; 13. Chris Windom, 5G, Parallax/Goacher-14.370; 14. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-14.376; 15. Dustin Christie, 75, Christie-14.391; 16. Dakota Jackson, 3, Jackson-14.400; 17. Stephen Schnapf, 61m, Edwards-14.414; 18. Brian VanMeveren, 24, VanMeveren-14.454; 19. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-14.488; 20. Donny Brackett, 4B, Brackett-14.501; 21. Carson Short, 21, RCM-14.520; 22. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.623; 23. Jason McDougal, 71p, Daigh/Phillips-14.641; 24. Scotty Weir, 39, Goodnight-14.698; 25. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 19, Hayward/Thomas-14.806; 26. Aric Gentry, 10, Gentry-14.878; 27. Collin Ambrose, 2, Ambrose-15.332; 28. Sam Scott, 7, Scott-15.620; 29. Eric Perrott, 45, Perrott-15.984; 30. Ryan Bond, 7R, Bond-NT; 31. Brady Short, 11p, Short/Pottorff-NT.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. C.J. Leary, 2. Kendall Ruble, 3. Chase Stockon, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Stephen Schnapf, 6. Carson Short, 7. Jason McDougal, 8. Ryan Bond. 2:19.38
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Dustin Christie, 2. Josh Hodges, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Max Adams, 5. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Isaac Chapple, 8. Scotty Weir. 2:21.60
AUTOMETER THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Kyle Cummins, 2. Shane Cottle, 3. Critter Malone, 4. Kent Schmidt, 5. Brady Short, 6. Brian VanMeveren, 7. Aric Gentry, 8. Sam Scott. 2:22.18
INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Tyler Courtney, 2. Brian Karraker, 3. Chayse Hayhurst, 4. Donny Brackett, 5. Dakota Jackson, 6. Collin Ambrose, 7. Eric Perrott. 2:20.09
SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2. Brady Short, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Dakota Jackson, 5. Jason McDougal, 6. Carson Short, 7. Stephen Schnapf, 8. Isaac Chapple, 9. Brian VanMeveren, 10. Aric Gentry, 11. Scotty Weir, 12. Sam Scott, 13. Collin Ambrose, 14. Eric Perrott.
FEATURE: (40 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Kyle Cummins (3), 2. Tyler Courtney (4), 3. C.J. Leary (1), 4. Kendall Ruble (5), 5. Chris Windom (10), 6. Critter Malone (11), 7. Chase Stockon (9), 8. Brady Bacon (19), 9. Brady Short (18), 10. Josh Hodges (6), 11. Stephen Schnapf (23), 12. Max Adams (14), 13. Carson Short (22), 14. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (17), 15. Donny Brackett (16), 16. Kent Schmidt (15), 17. Dustin Christie (2), 18. Jason McDougal (21), 19. Brian Karraker (8), 20. Chayse Hayhurst (12), 21. Dakota Jackson (20), 22. Justin Grant (13), 23. Isaac Chapple (24), 24. Collin Ambrose (25), 25. Shane Cottle (7). NT
**Justin Grant flipped on lap 16 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Dustin Christie, Lap 2 Kyle Cummins, Laps 3-11 C.J. Leary, Laps 12-40 Kyle Cummins.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Brady Bacon (19th to 8th)
WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Carson Short
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS FIRST NON-TRANSFER: Stephen Schnapf
ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Chris Windom
NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-C.J. Leary-1,835, 2-Tyler Courtney-1,720, 3-Brady Bacon-1,647, 4-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-1,637, 5-Justin Grant-1,629, 6-Chris Windom-1,626, 7-Chase Stockon-1,585, 8-Jason McDougal-1,381, 9-Carson Short-1,361, 10-Isaac Chapple-1,058.
NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: September 28, 2019 – Eldora Speedway – Rossburg, Ohio – “4-Crown Nationals”