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An "Indiana Sprint Week" week wouldn't be complete without a rundown of our favorite finishes from Sprint Week history. Agree, disagree? Let us know!
Don't forget to tune into Thunder Relived as we bring you even more of the best historical moments!
6. 1997 Lawrenceburg (Tyler/Rose)
1996 champion Brian Tyler was unfairly pegged as a “Pavement Guy” at the time while Bill Rose was still searching for his first career USAC National Sprint Car win after so many close calls entering the Lawrenceburg round of Indiana Sprint Week in 1997. Rose made a valiant late push as Tyler nipped him at the line for his first series win on dirt. Rose’s day would come exactly one week later with his first career USAC win at Paragon Speedway.
5. 1998 Twin Cities Raceway Park (Doty/Rice)
The late Kevin Doty had turned into the dominator at Twin Cities Raceway Park in the late 1990s and the 1998 round of Indiana Sprint Week appeared similar to the outcome from the year before when Doty scored his first. However, Robbie Rice, the son of USAC multi-time champion and ESPN Thunder commentator Larry Rice, made a valiant charge in the end. Rice wasn’t sure of the outcome until victory lane when he was told he was about a mere one foot short of what would’ve been his first USAC National Sprint Car victory.
4. 2017 Tri-State Speedway (Cummins/Thomas)
Kevin Thomas Jr. had dominated the Tri-State Speedway round for the entire 30-lap duration in 2017. A late caution negated a surefire victory for KTJ and resulted in just about the most daunting proposition you can receive for a restart: a green-white-checkred finish at TSS with Kyle Cummins lined up right behind you. In the end, Cummins threw everything he had at Thomas and emerged with the victory in one of the closest finishes you’ll ever see.
3. 2009 Kamp Motor Speedway (Darland/Whitt)
The final laps appeared to be a two-horse race between Dave Darland and Chad Boat riding the rim. As Boat makes his move to the lead in turns one and two on the last lap, a black streak appears on the bottom of the screen in the form of Cole Whitt who finds himself in the thick of the race with a big run off turn four. Who won it? It depends which angle you look at it from. The side-by-side battle even continued into victory lane with Darland ultimately declared the winner.
2. 2019 Gas City I-69 Speedway (Cottle/Leary)
It took 72 ISW feature starts for Shane Cottle to get his long-awaited first Indiana Sprint Week win, and the way it all unfolded at Gas City I-69 Speedway will be one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Starting 18th, Cottle worked the bottom to get to 2nd in the final laps as C.J. Leary operated up top. At the stripe on the final lap, Cottle surged ahead just enough to beat Leary to the stripe for the win in one of the closest finishes in USAC racing history.
A glance at the timing showed Leary on top of the leaderboard as Cottle celebrated his triumph in victory lane. However, the transponder on the rear bumper of Leary’s car crossed the timing loop prior to the transponder on the tail of Cottle’s car, positioning Leary in front of Cottle on timing.
However, per USAC rule Part VI 9.4.C, a car will be officially credited with a lap only when its front wheels cross the start/finish line after completing one entire circuit of the course. The USAC chief scorer and race director unanimously agreed that Cottle’s front wheels crossed the start/finish line before Leary’s.
1. 1999 Lincoln Park Speedway (Darland/Yeley/Kruseman)
Most great finishes you’ll witness in sprint car racing involve the top-two, and the stop at Lincoln Park Speedway in 1999 appeared to be just such down the stretch as J.J. Yeley led fellow SCRA regular Cory Kruseman on the bottom through turns three and four one final time. However, that didn’t account for a rare mistake by Yeley who got a tad too sideways at the exit of turn four. Kruseman plowed in, slowing up both driver’s momentum. However, Darland was ripping the top with all the momentum in the world to sneak past both and score a patented “Look what I found” victory and build upon his resume as the winningest Indiana Sprint Week driver of all-time.