6 Breakthrough Moments from Indiana Sprint Week

There’s no bigger stage to breakout in USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car racing than on than the stage of Indiana Sprint Week.  Meet these six drivers who entered the consciousness of the racing world by conquering Indiana Sprint Week on their way to stardom. Tell us which driver on this list you feel has been the most successful!

6. Bud Kaeding (2000 at Twin Cities Raceway Park)

Bud Kaeding moved from his California home in 2000 to chase the USAC National Sprint Car tour as a Rookie.  With the great heritage of the Kaeding family name behind him and an impressive resume to boot, Kaeding was spectacular in capturing his first career National win in 2000 at Twin Cities Raceway Park. He’d go on to capture a total of 17 career USAC National Sprint Car wins in his career plus three Silver Crown championships in 2006-2007-2009.

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5. Justin Grant (2012 at Lawrenceburg Speedway)

Justin Grant was fast from the get-go everywhere he went when he arrived on the USAC Sprint Car scene in the early 2010s, particularly Lawrenceburg Speedway, where in 2012, he notched his first and was in position to capitalize when leader Bryan Clauson fell to the sidelines. Nearly a decade later, he has assumed his position as one of the stars on the USAC circuit and recently returned to ISW victory lane at “The Burg” in 2019.

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4. Kevin Thomas Jr. (2012 at Bloomington Speedway)

Growing up in the state of Alabama, Kevin Thomas Jr. is one of USAC’s most unlikely stars of the modern based on geography.  When he made the move to the Midwest to pursue a full-time racing career in sprint cars, he endured a tough learning curve that ultimately paid off with his first career USAC National Sprint Car victory at Bloomington in 2012, having to pass the star of stars in Dave Darland to get the job done. Now, Thomas is a star on the USAC tour and a perennial threat to win anywhere, especially at Bloomington where he has won the ISW round on three occasions in 2012-17-19 and captured the ISW crown in 2017.

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3. Cory Kruseman (1999 at Bloomington Speedway)

In the latter half of the 1990s and throughout the 2010s, there weren’t many more west coast drivers as successful and popular as Cory Kruseman.  Coming into 1999, the Ventura, Calif. had made two previous week-long tours of Indiana Sprint Week in 1997 and 1998 that had been less than stellar for his standards. In 1999, particularly at Bloomington Speedway, the Kruser hit his stride with the first of his 15 career USAC National Sprint Car wins in his star-studded career.

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2. Tyler Courtney (2016 at Gas City I-69 Speedway)

In 2016, we still didn’t know just how good Tyler Courtney was going to be. A regular competitor with the series over the past few seasons leading into 2016 had netted the Indianapolis, Ind. driver some solid runs and the 2013 Rookie of the Year award. Following a first lap spin during the Gas City round of 2016 Indiana Sprint Week, it certainly didn’t appear to be the night Courtney would make his breakthrough performance. However, Courtney steadily picked off car after car around the quarter-mile after restarting 23rd and found himself in contention for the win in the final laps, passing his mentor Bryan Clauson for his first career USAC National Sprint Car triumph and going on to becoming a two-time USAC National champ in sprints (2018) and midgets (2019).

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1. J.J. Yeley (1997 Everywhere)

In 1997, the drivers of SCRA were revered, but their voyage to the Hoosier state for Indiana Sprint Week was a new-ish novelty at the time. Though talented, the wonder was if any of them could win on Hoosier soil against the USAC regulars.  J.J. Yeley changed all that single-handedly, winning at Kokomo and Terre Haute, then going on to claiming the ISW title in his first try which came on many tracks he was seeing for the first time ever. Yeley’s profile blew up after that run, leading him to an Indianapolis 500 start in 1998 and his placement as just the second driver (Tony Stewart) to win all three USAC National titles in the same season.

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All Stars Add Devil's Bowl June 10

Bumping the overall tally from eight to nine, the 2020 edition of Cometic Gasket Thunder Through The Plains presented by Hercules Tires featuring the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 will now consist of nine events over an 11-day span, as Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, will host the winged warriors on Wednesday evening, June 10. Although not new to All Star Circuit of Champions competition like many of the facilities on the Thunder Through The Plains schedule, it has been over 30 years since the Series last left tracks at Devil’s Bowl Speedway, hosting a doubleheader on March 9-10, 1990.

Meet Your 2020 Full-Time All Stars

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With the 2020 Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 championship point season commencing this weekend, a stout contingent of some of the nation’s finest open wheel competitors are expected to assemble and tour full-time with America’s Series, kicking things off, officially, with a two-day stay at Park Jefferson International Speedway in Jefferson, South Dakota, on Friday and Saturday, May 29-30.

Hedgecock Dominates Sexton Memorial for $10,052

Anybody aiming to win a Late Model feature at 411 Motor Speedway has to outrun home-track standout Cory Hedgecock. No one could do it at Monday night’s Scott Sexton Memorial.

I-55 Hosts USAC Sprints on June 7

Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Mo. has been added to the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship schedule for Sunday night, June 7, making it a doubleheader weekend for the series with a visit to 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa the night before on Saturday night, June 6.

Relive Everything from USAC's T-Town Midget Showdown

USAC's return to action with the T-Town Midget Showdown did not disappoint. If you missed it, or just want to relive it again, here is all the action from the May 22-23 event at Port City.

Stovall Grabs $9,000 Triumph at West Plains

Jesse Stovall of Billings, Mo., picked up a $9,000 Comp Cams Super Late Model Series victory Saturday at Legit Speedway Park, a purse boosted by the late addition of $5,000 by Karl Chevrolet. Stovall overtook polesitter Logan Martin at halfway and survived a restart with five laps remaining to secure the victory as he took the checkers 0.737 seconds ahead of Martin.

Casebolt Hangs on for $10,000 at West Plains

With eight laps remaining in Saturday’s 50-lap Comp Cams Super Dirt Series feature at Legit Motor Speedway, second-running Payton Looney of Republic, Mo., had 5,000 reasons to stay exactly where he was.

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Grant Rides Wave to Night #2 Port City Victory

In any instance, you take inspiration from anywhere you can gather it up.

USAC Sprints Return June 6 at Iowa's 34 Raceway

The USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship is back in action on Saturday, June 6, at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa.

Courtney Takes T-Town Port City USAC Debut

It’s been quite awhile since Tyler Courtney and the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship were last in competition – 76 nights to be exact.