2022 USAC Sprints at Atomic Speedway

USAC Sprints Ready To Rumble At Atomic Speedway

USAC Sprints Ready To Rumble At Atomic Speedway

USAC National Sprint Cars invade Atomic Speedway on Saturday night for the first time since the 2010 season.

Apr 14, 2022 by Brandon Paul
USAC Sprints Ready To Rumble At Atomic Speedway

Chillicothe, Ohio -- For many, Atomic Speedway will be a new experience come this Saturday night, April 16, when the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship returns to the Chillicothe, Ohio racetrack for the first time since 2010’s abbreviated event.

For several others, their level of Atomic experience comes in droves, with several Buckeye Outlaw Sprint Series events taking place at the 3/8-mile dirt oval over the past decade.

USAC’s lone trip of the millennium to Atomic came 12 years ago when the track was still known as K-C Raceway.  After two heats, however, Mother Nature doused the surface, and the remainder of the evening was called off.  Five previous visits for USAC to Atomic (aka K-C) came both with and without wings.

Kenny Jacobs captured the first USAC contest at Atomic, with a wing, in 1987.  Kelly Kinser delivered another winged score in 1991.  Jack Hewitt went back-to-back without a wing in 1992 and 1993, while Dave Darland followed Hewitt in picking up his third career USAC National Sprint Car victory in 1994.


Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) was in attendance at the 2010 round, and only experienced a few brief laps before the rain.  He qualified 12th, but his heat race was never held due to the weather interruption.  The 2021 Mike Curb USAC Super License champ has already won once this season with the series back in February at Ocala, Florida’s Bubba Raceway Park, finishing in the top-six in all three of his starts.

Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) has already won two of the first three features, both in Ocala, finishing inside the top-three in each of the three as well.  He would welcome becoming the fifth driver – and the sixth occasion – to start the season by winning three of the first four features.  Only Don Branson (1959-60), A.J. Foyt (1961), Larry Dickson (1970) and Damion Gardner (2010) are on that select list at the moment.


Five past winners of USAC National Sprint Car features in the state of Ohio are on board for Saturday’s event, all of which have previously come at Rossburg, Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.  However, all five are seeking a first USAC win at Atomic, a list that includes Grant, Brady Bacon, Robert Ballou, C.J. Leary and Matt Westfall.  Grant is among the handful, as is four-time series champion Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.), 2015 champ Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) and 2019 titlist Leary (Greenfield, Ind.).  Bacon, Ballou and Leary are all aiming to break out at Atomic after uncharacteristically rough starts in Ocala, with Bacon 10th, Ballou 16th and Leary 18th in the current standings entering the weekend.


Matt Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio) celebrated his lone USAC National Sprint Car victory in his home state back in 2006 at Eldora.  Westfall has winning experience at Atomic too, capturing the BOSS Sprint Car feature at the track in 2019, and was 3rd there in 2020 and 6th in 2017.

Atomic Speedway can claim multiple generations of Hewitt participants in its history books.  Jack Hewitt is the lone two-time USAC National Sprint Car feature victor at the track, having won in back-to-back seasons during 1992-93.  His nephew, Dallas Hewitt, will try to join Jack as an Atomic USAC winner on Saturday.  Dallas has come close to victory in recent years with BOSS, finishing as the runner-up in 2020, and 3rd in both 2016 and 2017.

Fellow Ohioan Landon Simon (Tipp City, Ohio) took 2nd with BOSS at Atomic in 2015 as well as 5th in 2019 and 8th in 2017.  Ricky Lewis (Oxnard, Calif.), fresh off a USAC West Coast Sprint Car victory at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway in March, finished as the runner-up in July of 2021 with BOSS at Atomic.

Korbyn Hayslett (Troy, Ohio), Cody Gardner (Milford, Ohio) and Paul Dues (Minster, Ohio) will each make their first USAC appearances of the season on Saturday at Atomic, where the trio has earned their share of recent success with BOSS.  Gardner raced to a 5th place result in 2019 and a 7th in 2021 while Hayslett notched a 10th in 2020 and Dues tallied a 10th in 2017.


Several individuals in the driver lineup will make their Atomic debut this weekend, a list that includes Jason McDougal, Chase Stockon, Kyle Cummins, Jake Swanson and Logan Seavey, all of whom possess top-ten finishes thus far this year.  McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) finished as the runner-up in Ocala’s February opener.  Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) ran two nights inside the top-four with a 3rd and a 4th.  Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) collected two in the top-six with a 4th and a 6th place effort.  Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) notched a 7th on night two.  Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) is one of five to finish inside the top-ten in each of the first three races this year along with Grant and Stockon as well as Buddy Kofoid and Carson Short.

Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.), the 2020 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year, will look to turn it around as he seeks his first career USAC win following a career-best second place finish 364 days prior to this Saturday’s race.  The USAC National Most Improved Driver of 2020, Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.), will seek to do the same in getting back into the top-five of the finishing order for the first time with the series since April of 2021.  Second year driver and USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year candidate, Alex Banales (Lafayette, Ind.), will attempt to crack the starting field for the first time in 2022.

Meanwhile, micro sprint, PA Sprint Series 305 and USAC East Coast 360 Sprint Car veteran Austin Graby (Lebanon, Pa.) will make his USAC National Sprint Car debut at Atomic, driving for the same Lotier-Nemeth Motorsports team that Timmy Buckwalter made 38 series starts with between 2018 and 2021.  Graby has served as the car chief for the team in recent years.


On Saturday, the pits open at 2pm ET with the grandstands opening at 3pm and cars on track at 5pm.  Adult general admission is $30.  Senior general admission is $25.  Military general admission is $25.  Adult pit passes are $35 for members and $40 for non-members.  Kids age 6-10 pit passes are $20.

Full coverage of Saturday’s event at Atomic Speedway can be watched LIVE on www.FloRacing.com.