Showing posts with label Tyler Courtney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tyler Courtney. Show all posts

Thursday, December 5, 2019

2019 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Year in Review

 Three-wide at Tri-State Speedway. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (December 5, 2019).........In his eighth full season with the series, youthful C.J. Leary became USAC's newest first-time champion as well as the third youngest USAC National Sprint Car driver champion behind only Bryan Clauson and Levi Jones, who were both just slightly younger at the same age of 23.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Larson Logs 3rd Turkey Night GP Win

Kyle Larson (right) poses with Ventura Raceway promoter Jim Naylor following Friday night's Turkey Night Grand Prix victory. (Rich Forman Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ventura, California (November 29 2019).........Nearing halfway of Friday night's 98-lap feature at California's Ventura Raceway while running fifth, Kyle Larson nearly saw his Turkey Night Grand Prix end in shambles after biking hard into turn one.

Somehow, someway, the Elk Grove, Calif. native regained his footing, kept his foot on the throttle and carried on as if it was just part of the game plan.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Turkey Night Postponed to Friday


Via USAC Media

Ventura, California (November 28, 2019).........Overnight rain mixed with a heavy downpour around 10am Pacific time on Thursday has forced postponement of the 79th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix to Friday, November 29, at California's Ventura Raceway.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Turkey Night Grand Prix-View 2019

Jake Swanson (#73K) battles wheel-to-wheel with Dillon Welch (#81) and Tyler Courtney (#7BC). (Devin Mayo Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ventura, California (November 25, 2019).........It's been nearly three decades since the Turkey Night Grand Prix has reached the levels of enormity in car count and buzz than it has entering this Thursday's 79th edition of the prestigious event, but that's certainly the case in 2019.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Third Time's a Charm for Larson at Bakersfield

Kyle Larson hoists the trophy after winning his second consecutive USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget feature Saturday night at California's Bakersfield Speedway. (Rich Forman Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Bakersfield, California (November 23, 2019).........Kyle Larson became the first driver in 16 years to win back-to-back USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget features in the state of California on Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway, picking off Michael Pickens for good on the 11th lap and commanding the final 20 laps to score his third series victory of the year.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Bakersfield USAC Midget Race Preview

Logan Seavey (#67) and Rico Abreu battle for the win during the final laps of last year's November Classic USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget feature at California's Bakersfield Speedway. (Devin Mayo Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Bakersfield, California (November 18, 2019).........USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets and California's Bakersfield Speedway have a history that dates back six decades. The history between the two roars back to life this coming Saturday, November 23, for the third-straight autumn to contest the November Classic, co-sanctioned by the USAC Western States Midgets.

Turkey Night GP Entry List Surges Past 70 Entries

#81 Dillon Welch (Carmel, Ind.) (Steve Koletar Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ventura, California (November 19, 2019).........The driver lineup for the Nov. 28th Turkey Night Grand Prix at California's Ventura Raceway has surged above 70 entrants for the 79th running of the famed event featuring the USAC NOS Energy Drink National and Western States Midgets.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Hangtown 100 USAC Midget Race Preview

Shane Golobic has won in both a midget and sprint car at Placerville Speedway, wining most recently with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars in September. He also was a victor with the USAC Western States Midgets at Placerville in 2013 and 2017. (Devin Mayo Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Placerville, California (November 17, 2019).........If you're going to make a first impression, make it a big one! The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets make their debut at California's Placerville Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 19-20, for the inaugural Elk Grove Ford Hangtown 100, the richest event in the history of the series with a total purse of over $150,000 for the two-night spectacular.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Sunshine Survives and Thrives in Western World Sprint Opener

Tyler Courtney captured Friday night's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory on night #1 of the Western World Championships at Arizona Speedway. (Rich Forman Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

San Tan Valley, Arizona (November 15, 2019).........Entering the final weekend of the year trailing by 44 points in the USAC AMSOIL National standings, Tyler Courtney's goal was simple. Win a championship.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Leary Tops Sprints at Western World Practice

USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader C.J. Leary was the fastest overall in Wednesday's Western World practice at Arizona Speedway. (Ryan Sellers Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

San Tan Valley, Arizona (November 14, 2019).........USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader C.J. Leary got his weekend off on the right foot by setting the top lap during Wednesday night's USAC AMSOIL National/CRA/Sands Chevrolet Southwest Sprint Car open practice at Arizona Speedway in preparation for the 52nd running of the Western World Championships presented by San Tan Ford on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15-16.

Thomas Leads Western World Midget Practice

Kevin Thomas, Jr. was the quickest in USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget practice Wednesday night at Arizona Speedway. (Dave Dellinger Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

San Tan Valley, Arizona (November 14, 2019).........Kevin Thomas, Jr. recorded the fastest lap during USAC NOS Energy Drink National/Western States Midget open practice Wednesday night at Arizona Speedway in preparation for the 52nd running of the Western World Championships presented by San Tan Ford on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 15-16.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Massive Turkey Night Midget Lineup Awaits Ventura

Kevin Thomas, Jr. (#5) and Zeb Wise (#39BC) race side-by-side earlier during the 2019 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget season. (Lee Greenawalt Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ventura, California (November 13, 2019).........As it stands now, the entry list for the 79th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix is stacked to the gills with the number of cars, drivers and the amount of talent that will be on display for the prestigious event on Thanksgiving Night, November 28, at California's Ventura Raceway.

Talented Crop to Double Up at Western World

#7BC Tyler Courtney won both the sprint and midget portions of September's 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora, the second time he's done that in his career. (Dallas Breeze Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

San Tan Valley, Arizona (November 12, 2019).........This weekend's 52nd Western World Championships presented by San Tan Ford at Arizona Speedway presents a unique opportunity. An opportunity to showcase versatility in both a Sprint Car and a Midget on the same track on the same evening for two consecutive nights.

Monday, November 11, 2019

USAC Sprint Car Western World Preview

C.J. Leary (#19AZ) & Chase Stockon (#32) jockey for position. (John DaDalt Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

San Tan Valley, Arizona (November 11, 2019).........The 2019 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car title comes down to this: two events in two nights at Arizona Speedway where C.J. Leary and Tyler Courtney are engaged in a battle separated by a mere 44 points entering this Friday and Saturday, November 15th and 16th's 52nd annual Western World Championships presented by San Tan Ford.

57 Cars Entered Thus Far for Hangtown 100

#27 Tucker Klaasmeyer (Paola, Kans.) (Lee Greenawalt Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Placerville, California (November 11, 2019).........Last call has arrived for teams to register for the inaugural Elk Grove Ford Hangtown 100 on November 19-20 at California's Placerville Speedway at https://www.hangtown100.com/register-online.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thomas Repeats $25K Oval Nationals Win; Courtney Wins USAC Sprint Title On Tiebreaker

Kevin Thomas, Jr. captured his second consecutive "Oval Nationals" victory Saturday night at California's Perris Auto Speedway. (Photo Courtesy Michael Fry)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Perris, California.........It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

That about sums of the rollercoaster of emotions Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Tyler Courtney endured at the conclusion of Saturday night's Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction at Perris Auto Speedway.

Kevin Thomas, Jr. notched his second-straight "Oval Nationals" win worth $25,000, but lost the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship on a tiebreaker to Tyler Courtney who gained the one spot he needed on the final lap after it appeared as if his title chances had slipped through his fingertips just moments before.

After 40 races from coast-to-coast, and 40 laps around Perris, the 2018 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car season concluded in the most dramatic of fashion, deadlocked at the top of the standings for the first time in the 63-year history of the series. It's a record that will never be eclipsed, breaking the previous closest title race from 1965 when Johnny Rutherford defeated Greg Weld by 2.5 points.

Drama, agony, ulcers, heartbreak and, ultimately, joy were just a few of the ingredients in the mix during the final lap of the 23rd annual affair, which provided us with a nail-biter of a race on the track and on the Xcel Spreadsheet which was unlike any we've seen in recent times.

As he did Friday night, Courtney jumped out front once again at the start of the main event, although it was short-lived as Dave Darland escaped unscathed after a turn four flip on the opening lap.

On the complete restart, Courtney checked out from his outside front row starting spot while polesitter C.J. Leary cleared a charging Chase Stockon in turn two to lock up the second spot where he'd remain for much of the first half. That is until A.J. Bender became the second casualty of the young feature, flipping between turns three and four on the 14th lap before walking away under his own power.

Leary was salivating with thoughts of racing fortune when action resumed, sticking right to the bumper of Courtney until lap 16 when the two went wheel-to-wheel with Leary making the pass in turn two and narrowly leading before Courtney came right back at him for the spot on the following lap. Courtney made his move for the lead on the back straight, but Leary made a charge between three and four with Courtney just barely nipping Leary for the lead at the line this time.

On the 18th circuit, Leary was able to clear Courtney again in turn two to retake the lead and instantly began to widen the gap between he and Courtney to nearly a second and looked to be the head of the class.

With 14 laps remaining, Leary led the field entering turn one, but his ride appeared to be a handful as he wrestled with his steering wheel to get the car to turn. Courtney and Thomas, running second and third at the time, ate his lead up in the flick of a switch. Just moments later, the car of 22nd running Chris Gansen slowed to a stop at the inside of turn four to bring out the yellow. During the caution, Leary pulled into the work area to replace the right rear rubber. Though he returned to the track, his bid for a win was quashed for all intents and purposes and he'd soldier on to a 15th place finish.

That now placed the top-two in points in first and second on the track. Courtney came into the feature with a nine-point advantage and the objective was clear - finish fourth or better and the title was his regardless of what Thomas did. However, at the moment, the biggest single race payday of the year was just within reach and he was keen on putting that cherry on top of the pie with just 13 laps remaining.

Thomas worked on Courtney over the next handful of laps and, on lap 33, made his move around the outside of Courtney to grab the lead. Courtney was still in decent shape as he ran second, but one lap later, Chris Windom also scooted by and, suddenly, Courtney's title bid was in a perilous state.

With four laps remaining, Stockon slipped by the suddenly fading Courtney for third while Bacon was suddenly breathing down his neck for fourth. Courtney was able to take a deep breath for a moment during the red with three laps remaining that resulted when R.J. Johnson flipped between turns one and two from which he'd walk away.

With three to go, leader Thomas and fourth-running Courtney were locked up at the top of the standings as they stood in the moment. Courtney's role was clear. Do not let Bacon get by! However, Bacon put his ride up a lane higher than Courtney on the restart and drove around him in turn two to move into fourth and put Courtney on the outside looking in from fifth. One lap later, with 38 of the 40 laps complete, three-time "Ovals" winner Bud Kaeding slowed to a stop on the inside of turn four. The ensuing restart attempt also didn't take as Max Adams stopped at the bottom of turn two.

Two laps remained for the final round of this yearlong boxing match that's seen the point lead switch nine times among three drivers. As it stood on the lap 39 restart, Thomas was up on Courtney by three markers. Once the green flag fell, two distinct races were occurring for the race win and for fourth. Thomas held Stockon and Windom in check behind him for the race lead while Bacon handled Courtney as the field passed under the white flag.

Entering the first turn, suddenly, Bacon began to slow as his fuel tank began to run dry. Courtney was right there to capitalize and miraculously moved back into fourth and into the safe zone that he needed to be in to win the title.

Thomas finished the final lap of the final race of the season in grand fashion, winning the finale for the second consecutive season and becoming the first driver since Dave Darland in 2005-06 to win the "Oval Nationals" in successive years, while Stockon and Windom finished second and third, respectively.

"Two in a row here at the Oval Nationals! To come out of this place as the winner, that's pretty humbling," Thomas exclaimed. "It's hard whenever you get those cautions late in the race. You just have to struggle on hitting the bottom. I knew I got the lead around Sunshine running the middle. On the last lap, I saw Stockon up there and I knew with the way his stuff rolls and with the way our car was working, I just straight gave up on the bottom. I was just ripping right through the middle."

Meanwhile, Courtney clawed his way back to fourth to win the title via a tiebreaker. Both Courtney and Thomas finished with 2733 points, but Courtney's 11 victories trumped Thomas' 7, thus earning him the title in the closest points race in series history. Another 2018 champion, Damion Gardner, rounded out the top-five in the finish to collect his sixth-straight USAC/CRA Sprint Car crown and seventh overall.

Tyler Courtney won the 2018 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship, equaling the number of points that Kevin Thomas, Jr. scored, but held the tiebreaker with 11 victories compared to 7 for Thomas. (Photo Courtesy Michael Fry)

"I didn't want to make it that close," Courtney said with a laugh. "We had a really good racecar tonight. It just kind of went away on us there. I couldn't stick the middle like those guys were doing, but I'd rather have luck on our side than be good sometimes. I think we had a guy upstairs looking on us tonight. We're doing all this in honor of Bryan Clauson. I'm honored to be a part of this. To come out our first year as a sprint car team and be the national champions is truly something special. It's not something many people can do, and I've got a great group behind me. I've been busting my tail to get to this step and it took a lot of people believing in me along the way. It feels like everything's paying off."

Thomas was matter of fact when it came to the title race. Just one more win - one more position, even - would have provided him just enough points toward the championship.

"For this to come all the way down to the wire and actually tie in points, that's pretty nuts," Thomas reflected. "It was a hard-fought battle all year. We tied, but he won more races. That's what got him here."

At the beginning of this season, Courtney entered new territory, exiting the TOPP Motorsports team that he had accrued so much success with over the past two seasons, to join the newly-created sprint car team owned by Tim Clauson, Richard Marshall and 1999 USAC Silver Crown champion driver Ryan Newman. The goals may have been lofty to some, but this team meant business from day one and there's no resting on their laurels according to Courtney.

"One of our goals was to be on the podium at the end of the year," Courtney remembered. "Obviously, we try to exceed our goals and we came out with 11 wins and a championship. We're going to go back to the drawing board, reset our goals, and come back and defend this title."

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Perris Auto Speedway were R.J. Johnson (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner) Chris Windom (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Brady Bacon (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Dave Darland (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Max Adams (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier), Isaac Chapple (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher), Logan Seavey (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Logan Williams & Danny Faria, Jr. (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfers).

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USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: November 10, 2018 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 23rd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Thomas Meseraull, 77m, Michael-16.626; 2. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-16.636; 3. Brady Bacon, 99, Bacon-16.649; 4. Dave Darland, 12, Ballou-16.769; 5. Jason McDougal, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-16.810; 6. Logan Seavey, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-16.823; 7. Bud Kaeding, 16, Martin-16.865; 8. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.904; 9. R.J. Johnson, 92, Sertich-16.907; 10. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-16.968; 11. Chase Johnson, 36D, Goodnight/Thomas/Curb-Agajanian-16.971; 12. Logan Williams, 5J, Jory-17.049; 13. Max Adams, 5m, Adams-17.055; 14. Danny Sheridan, 15, Johnson-17.075; 15. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.090; 16. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-17.158; 17. Charles Davis, Jr., 50, Davis-17.171; 18. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.198; 19. Tommy Malcolm, 5x, Napier-17.206; 20. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.216; 21. Danny Faria, Jr., 42, Cheney-17.289; 22. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-17.317; 23. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-17.334; 24. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.344; 25. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-17.497; 26. Randy Waitman, 90, Waitman-17.614; 27. Tye Mihocko, 5T, Mihocko-17.666; 28. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-17.675; 29. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-17.699; 30. Matt McCarthy, 28m, McCarthy-17.766; 31. Jake Swanson, 34AZ, Grau/Burkhart-18.003; 32. Austin Ervine, 51, AJ-18.505; 33. Gary Marshall, Jr., 72, Marshall-19.794; 34. Frank Rodgers, 11x, Rodgers-19.942.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS / EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-2 transfer to the feature) 1. R.J. Johnson, 2. Adams, 3. Davis, 4. Hodges, 5. Faria, 6. Edwards, 7. McDougal, 8. Marshall, 9. Meseraull. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) / CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE / ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-2 transfer to the feature) 1. Windom, 2. A. Williams, 3. Sheridan, 4. Seavey, 5. McCarthy, 6. Bender, 7. Chapple, 8. Rodgers, 9. Waitman. 2:53.25

CHALK STIX / KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-2 transfer to the feature) 1. Bacon, 2. C. Johnson, 3. J. Vander Weerd, 4. Kaeding, 5. Liggett, 6. Malcolm, 7. Mihocko, 8. Swanson. 2:54.56

INDY RACE PARTS / BUTLERBUILT SEATS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-2 transfer to the feature) 1. Darland, 2. Roa, 3. C. Williams, 4. Gansen, 5. Sweeney, 6. Ervine, 7. L. Williams, 8. R. Vander Weerd. NT

BR MOTORSPORTS / KING RACING PRODUCTS SUPER SIX DASH: (6 laps, finish order sets feature lineup) 1. C.J. Leary (#30 Leary), 2. Tyler Courtney (#7BC Clauson Marshall Newman), 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (#69 Dynamics), 4. Chase Stockon (#32 32 TBI), 5. Justin Grant (#4 TOPP), 6. Damion Gardner (#4x Alexander). NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) FIRST SEMI: (12 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Hodges, 2. Seavey, 3. Liggett, 4. J. Vander Weerd, 5. Bender, 6. L. Williams, 7. Malcolm, 8. McCarthy, 9. Sweeney, 10. Sheridan, 11. Ervine, 12. R. Vander Weerd. NT

PYROTECT RACING CELLS / ROD END SUPPLY SECOND SEMI: (12 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Kaeding, 2. McDougal, 3. Chapple, 4. C. Williams, 5. Gansen, 6. Faria, 7. Edwards, 8. Mihocko, 9. Rodgers, 10. Davis. 3:31.71

FEATURE: (40 laps - starting positions in parentheses) 1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (3), 2. Chase Stockon (4), 3. Chris Windom (8), 4. Tyler Courtney (2), 5. Damion Gardner (6), 6. Logan Seavey (15), 7. Austin Williams (14), 8. Justin Grant (5), 9. Brody Roa (10), 10. Chase Johnson (13), 11. Brady Bacon (7), 12. Danny Faria, Jr. (26), 13. Isaac Chapple (19), 14. Jace Vander Weerd (23), 15. C.J. Leary (1), 16. Logan Williams (25), 17. Chris Gansen (20), 18. Max Adams (11), 19. Bud Kaeding (18), 20. R.J. Johnson (12), 21. Cody Williams (22), 22. Jason McDougal (16), 23. Josh Hodges (17), 24. A.J. Bender (24), 25. Austin Liggett (21), 26. Dave Darland (9). NT
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**Meseraull flipped during the first heat. Gardner flipped during the Super 6 Dash. Darland flipped on the opening lap of the feature. Bender flipped on lap 14 of the feature. R.J. Johnson flipped on lap 38 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-15 Courtney, Lap 16 Leary, Lap 17 Courtney, Laps 18-26 Leary, Laps 27-32 Courtney, Laps 33-40 Thomas.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / RACING OPTICS HARD CHARGER: Logan Seavey (15th to 6th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Isaac Chapple

ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Max Adams

SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS FIRST NON-TRANSFERS: Logan Williams & Danny Faria, Jr.

FINAL USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Courtney-2733, 2-K. Thomas-2733, 3-Windom-2651, 4-Stockon-2343, 5-Bacon-2331, 6-Leary-2328, 7-Darland-2292, 8-Grant-2290, 9-Robert Ballou-1771, 10-Chapple-1572.

FINAL AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Gardner-1643, 2-Roa-1598, 3-A. Williams-1354, 4-C. Williams-1189, 5-Swanson-1173, 6-R.J. Johnson-1113, 7-Max Adams-1044, 8-L. Williams-976, 9-Faria-972, 10-Gansen-872.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Grant Strikes Twice For Oval Nationals Night Two Victory

Justin Grant captured his second-straight win in as many nights Friday at the "Oval Nationals" in Perris, Calif. (Photo Courtesy Michael Fry)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Perris, California......... When it comes to the first two nights of the 23rd annual Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction at Perris Auto Speedway, it seems you just can't keep Justin Grant and Tyler Courtney away from each other in late-race situations.

It also appears that down the stretch of the season, you just can't keep Justin Grant out of USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victory lane as he collected his fifth win in the past seven races.

Lightning does in fact strike the same spot twice when it comes to the final two laps of the first two nights of the "Ovals." Just like he did in Thursday's opener, Justin Grant chased down Tyler Courtney in traffic coming to the white flag with the two making contact while battling for the lead in turn three.

For the second-straight night, Grant got the upper hand in the end with Courtney settling for a runner-up finish despite a dominant performance up to that point.

It led to a subdued victory lane celebration in which Grant chided himself for how it all went down in the end as he was gunning for race wins while Courtney was in the midst of a seriously tight points race on the final weekend of the season.

"I'm pretty disappointed in myself," Grant admitted. "That's not how I wanted to win that thing. I got tight against the cushion going into three right when he was getting sideways - my mistake. I'm really glad he didn't get turned around and lose many points. The last thing I wanted to do was mess that up. That's not how I wanted to win that race. My guys deserve it, but I feel really bad about it. It's hard racing in traffic like that. There's not a lot of options, but I certainly didn't want to do that."

Grant set fast qualifying time earlier in the evening while Courtney and fellow title contender Kevin Thomas, Jr. occupied the front row for the 30-lap feature. Courtney slotted himself into the lead ahead of Thomas on the opening lap when a melee ensued involving five cars: Brady Bacon, Dave Darland, Richard Vander Weerd, Brody Roa and Isaac Chapple, who tipped upside down. Chapple climbed out of the wreckage unscathed, but was finished for the night as was Roa, who saw his opportunity at a first USAC/CRA crown take a major blow.

Once action resumed, Courtney checked out, lifting the front wheels to the heavens as he ripped down the back straightaway. Meanwhile, Grant was already on the assault, jetting from fifth to fourth to third on laps two, three and four to settle in behind Chase Stockon and leader Courtney in the early going.

By lap nine, Grant and Stockon were exchanging recipes for sliders at both ends of the racetrack, ultimately securing the second spot on the 11th lap. However, Courtney used that opportunity to construct a six second lead as the race neared the midway point.

Simultaneously, Courtney began his approach of lapped traffic, setting a torrid pace as he avoided close calls with a pair of past USAC champs, first with bumper-to-bumper contact of Danny Faria, Jr. between turns three and four and near wheel-banger with R.J. Johnson at the flag stand. Grant munched more than a third out of Courtney's lead in the process.

Courtney had no intention of being timid as he charged through traffic, slicing high and low between the tail end of the field. But, so was Grant. With ten to go, Grant on the scene trying his hand at a pair of sliders in turn three on laps 21 and 22 that he very nearly pulled off.

At some points, it appeared to be over, especially after smacking the concrete between turns three and four with six laps remaining that cost him valuable ground as the clock, and the laps, ticked away. But sand still remained in the hourglass for Grant as Courtney met a three-wide group of Josh Hodges, Max Adams and Damion Gardner involved in their own race for 13th, allowing Grant to reel Courtney in for one more run.

With the victory, Grant set a new, personal season-high of USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car wins with five, moving him into a three-way tie for 42nd on the all-time series win list alongside Don Branson & Steve Chassey at 13 wins.
(Photo Courtesy Rich Forman)

As the two raced to the white flag, Grant followed Courtney down the back straight with less than two car lengths separating the pair. Courtney entered high in turn three around the outside of Hodges. Grant followed suit with a big run on the cushion when Grant's front bumper and Courtney's rear bumper collided, resulting in Courtney performing a 90-degree angle turnabout while Grant escaped by the skin of his teeth between Courtney and the outside wall. Courtney miraculously gathered it up and carried on his merry way, albeit in second, with a championship-salvaging save considering the implications that would've transpired had he stalled it.

Grant finished off the final lap unchallenged, winning his fourth-straight feature event at Perris in as many starts this year. Courtney took second ahead of Kevin Thomas, Jr., Chris Windom and Stockon.

With the victory, Grant set a new, personal season-high of USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car victories with five, moving him into a three-way tie for 42nd on the all-time series win list alongside Don Branson and Steve Chassey at 13 wins.

Courtney's second-place run did allow him to open up his National point lead over Thomas from seven to nine heading into Saturday's season finale. Meanwhile, in the CRA title race, Gardner and Roa had less than desirable finishes of 16th and 25th respectively. Gardner extended his lead to 33 as he aims to lock down his sixth-straight series crown and seventh overall.

Contingency award winners Friday night at Perris Auto Speedway were Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Tyler Courtney (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), R.J. Johnson (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner), Damion Gardner (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner), Chase Stockon (Angle Buildings Fifth Heat Winner), Austin Williams (Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier & Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher) and Chris Windom (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger).

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USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: November 9, 2018 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 23rd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-16.868; 2. Jason McDougal, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-16.881; 3. Thomas Meseraull, 77m, Michael-16.944; 4. Bud Kaeding, 16, Martin-16.974; 5. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-16.978; 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 69, Dynamics-16.994; 7. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-17.063; 8. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-17.066; 9. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-17.069; 10. Jake Swanson, 34AZ, Grau/Burkhart-17.115; 11. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-17.126; 12. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-17.127; 13. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-17.146; 14. Dave Darland, 12, Ballou-17.205; 15. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-17.211; 16. Brady Bacon, 99, Bacon-17.217; 17. Chase Johnson, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-17.255; 18. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-17.299; 19. Damion Gardner, 4x, Alexander-17.300; 20. Max Adams, 5m, Adams-17.309; 21. Logan Seavey, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-17.310; 22. Logan Williams, 5J, Jory-17.335; 23. R.J. Johnson, 92, Sertich-17.350; 24. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-17.374; 25. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-17.438; 26. Danny Sheridan, 15, Johnson-17.471; 27. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-17.522; 28. Charles Davis, Jr., 50, Davis-17.629; 29. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-17.713; 30. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-17.773; 31. Dennis Gile, 13, Gile-17.812; 32. Verne Sweeney, 98, Tracy-17.864; 33. Danny Faria, Jr., 42, Cheney-17.877; 34. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-17.898; 35. Matt McCarthy, 28m, McCarthy-17.917; 36. Tommy Malcolm, 5x, Napier-18.027; 37. Tye Mihocko, 5T, Mihocko-18.096; 38. Randy Waitman, 90, Waitman-18.167; 39. Austin Ervine, 51, Ervine-18.752; 40. Gary Marshall, Jr., 72, Marshall-19.169; 41. Frank Rodgers, 11x, Rodgers-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS / EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Thomas, 2. Seavey, 3. Bacon, 4. Grant, 5. Rodgers, 6. Sheridan, 7. J. Vander Weerd. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) / CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE / ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Courtney, 2. L. Williams, 3. McDougal, 4. Liggett, 5. C. Johnson, 6. Chapple, 7. Sweeney, 8. Mihocko. 2:54.17

CHALK STIX / KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. R.J. Johnson, 2. A. Williams, 3. Windom, 4. Leary, 5. Davis, 6. Faria, 7. Meseraull, 8. Waitman. 2:54.73

INDY RACE PARTS / BUTLERBUILT SEATS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Gardner, 2. Darland, 3. Roa, 4. Kaeding, 5. Bender, 6. C. Williams, 7. Gansen, 8. Ervine. 2:54.43

ANGLE BUILDINGS / ULTRA SHIELD RACE PRODUCTS FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Stockon, 2. Hodges, 3. R. Vander Weerd, 4. Adams, 5. Swanson, 6. McCarthy, 7. Edwards, 8. Marshall. 2:55.46

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) SEMI: (12 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Meseraull, 2. Swanson, 3. Chapple, 4. C. Johnson, 5. J. Vander Weerd, 6. Faria, 7. McCarthy, 8. Bender, 9. Edwards, 10. Gansen, 11. Mihocko, 12. Sweeney, 13. Waitman, 14. Marshall, 15. Rodgers, 16. Ervine, 17. Davis, 18. Sheridan, 19. C. Williams. NT

EVELYN PRATT FEATURE: (30 laps - starting positions in parentheses) 1. Justin Grant (6), 2. Tyler Courtney (1), 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (2), 4. Chris Windom (17), 5. Chase Stockon (3), 6. Brady Bacon (15), 7. C.J. Leary (8), 8. Thomas Meseraull (7), 9. Bud Kaeding (4), 10. Jason McDougal (5), 11. Logan Seavey (20), 12. Jake Swanson (10), 13. Austin Williams (12), 14. Max Adams (19), 15. Josh Hodges (23), 16. Damion Gardner (18), 17. Richard Vander Weerd (14), 18. Chase Johnson (16), 19. Austin Liggett (24), 20. Dave Darland (13), 21. Logan Williams (21), 22. R.J. Johnson (22), 23. Danny Faria, Jr. (26), 24. Cody Williams (25), 25. Brody Roa (9), 26. Isaac Chapple (11). 9:01.84
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**Gile flipped during qualifying. Malcolm flipped during qualifying. Davis flipped during the semi. Chapple flipped on the opening lap of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Courtney, Laps 29-30 Grant.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / RACING OPTICS HARD CHARGER: Chris Windom (17th to 4th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Austin Williams

ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Austin Williams

SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS FIRST NON-TRANSFER: Jace Vander Weerd

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Courtney-2672, 2-K. Thomas-2663, 3-Windom-2587, 4-Leary-2295, 5-Bacon-2290, 6-Stockon-2276, 7-Darland-2269, 8-Grant-2241, 9-Robert Ballou-1771, 10-Chapple-1535.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Gardner-1585, 2-Roa-1552, 3-A. Williams-1302, 4-C. Williams-1166, 5-Swanson-1163, 6-R.J. Johnson-1090, 7-Max Adams-1017, 8-L. Williams-945, 9-Faria-933, 10-Gansen-843.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: November 10 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 23rd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Tyler Courtney Leads Oval Nationals Practice Night

#7BC Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Courtesy Adam Mollenkopf)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Perris, California.........The top drivers in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car points recorded the top-two lap times in Wednesday night's practice session at Perris Auto Speedway in preparation for the 23rd annual Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction this Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, November 8-9-10.

Tyler Courtney, who trails Kevin Thomas, Jr. in the standings by just two points, topped the charts with a lap of 16.419 seconds around the half-mile dirt oval aboard his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing/NOS Energy Drink - Priority Aviation/Spike/Rider Chevy. Thomas was second fastest at 16.435, while Justin Grant, Jason McDougal and Brady Bacon rounded out the top-five among the 27 cars who took to the track.

Third in the National standings, reigning champ Chris Windom, did not partake in the practice session. He's 50 points out of the series lead coming into these final three races of the 2018 season.

Meanwhile, a tight USAC/CRA Sprint Car point race will also be decided this week with Damion Gardner holding a nine-point lead over Brody Roa. Gardner is aiming for his sixth-straight series crown and seventh overall, while Roa is gunning for his first. Neither driver participated in Wednesday's session.

A car count in the mid-40s is expected for the "Oval Nationals," which has a purse of over $131,000 and a payout of $25,000 to Saturday night's feature winner.

On Thursday and Friday, the pits open at noon, front gates open at 4pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 5:30pm. On Saturday, the pits open at noon, front gates open at 3pm, autograph session from 3-4pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 5:15pm.

All three nights will be live on http://www.SpeedShiftTV.com/ with live audio also available on the USAC app.

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USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR PRACTICE RESULTS: November 7, 2018 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 23rd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction

PRACTICE: 1. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-16.419; 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 69, Dynamics-16.435; 3. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-16.449; 4. Jason McDougal, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-16.452; 5. Brady Bacon, 99, Bacon-16.524; 6. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-16.528; 7. Thomas Meseraull, 77m, Michael-16.567; 8. Chase Johnson, 36D, Goodnight/Curb-Agajanian-16.569; 9. R.J. Johnson, 92, Sertich-16.615; 10. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-16.718; 11. A.J. Bender, 21, Bender-16.726; 12. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-16.734; 13. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-16.750; 14. Bud Kaeding, 16, Martin-16.782; 15. Dave Darland, 12, Ballou-16.849; 16. Charles Davis, Jr., 50, Davis-16.912; 17. Austin Liggett, 83, Liggett-16.959; 18. Dennis Gile, 13, Gile-16.967; 19. Matt McCarthy, 28m, McCarthy-17.078; 20. Randy Waitman, 90, Waitman-17.413; 21. Kyle Edwards, 39E, Edwards-17.424; 22. Gary Marshall, Jr., 72, Marshall-18.041; 23. Joel Rayborne, 12B, Blair-18.064; 24. Frank Rodgers, 11, Rodgers-18.764; 25. Danny Faria, Jr., 42, Cheney-19.266; 26. Eric Englert, 35, Englert-21.251; 27. Danny Sheridan, 15, Johnson-NT.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

History In The Making: Narrow USAC Sprint Title Race To Be Decided At Perris

#7BC Tyler Courtney trails Kevin Thomas, Jr. in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car race by a mere 2 points entering the Nov. 8-9-10 Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction at California's Perris Auto Speedway. (Photo Courtesy Rich Forman)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Perris, California (November 6, 2018).........As the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars head into the season's final weekend of 2018, we're staring down the barrel of history in the making.

Only two points separate Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Tyler Courtney in the National standings with just three races remaining - the 23rd annual Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction at California's Perris Auto Speedway on November 8-9-10.

The old saying, "if the season ended today...," would make the current interval the closest finish in the history of the series. Close championship races have been more of the norm of late with six of the top-ten closest championships all occurring since the year 2000.

Last year's battle came down to the final race with Chris Windom prevailing by a mere six points over Justin Grant to lock up the title in the third-closest title race ever. None have yet surpassed the 2.5-point margin Johnny Rutherford had to close out his 1965 USAC National Sprint Car championship over Greg Weld, however.

A close title race such as this is sure to get the drivers up on their toes and the fans on their feet with each qualifying session, heat race and feature having substantial meaning. Two points is literally just one spot in the feature. Each spot in the top-ten pays three points more than the driver behind him from 70 to 43. From 11th to 20th, the dropdown is two points per position from 41 points to 23. Twenty-three points are granted for all finishers 20th on back.

If trouble befalls one or both, it could prove to be the nail in Thomas or Courtney's bid for the title. Plus, your reigning series champ and 2010 "Oval Nationals" winner Windom is just 50 points back, ready to pounce.

Without further ado, here is the list of the all-time closest points races in the history of the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars. We very well could have a new number one when all is said and done this Saturday night, so get your calculators and T-Squares ready. You're going to need them!

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CLOSEST USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACES
1. 1965: (2.5) Johnny Rutherford over Greg Weld
2. 2012: (5) Bryan Clauson over Dave Darland
3. 2017: (6) Chris Windom over Justin Grant
4. 1967: (11) Greg Weld over Sam Sessions
5. 2002: (13) Tracy Hines over J.J. Yeley
6. 2005: (13) Levi Jones over Dave Darland
7. 2001: (19) J.J. Yeley over Jay Drake
8. 1973: (24) Rollie Beale over Lee Kunzman
9. 2000: (24) Tony Elliott over Jay Drake
10. 1979: (32) Greg Leffler over Bubby Jones
11. 1987: (32) Steve Butler over Rich Vogler
12. 1991: (35) Robbie Stanley over Eric Gordon
13. 1986: (36) Steve Butler over Rick Hood
14. 1994: (43) Doug Kalitta over Tray House
15. 1992: (45) Robbie Stanley over Steve Butler
16. 1972: (47) Sam Sessions over Rollie Beale
17. 1962: (50) Parnelli Jones over Roger McCluskey
18. 1971: (55) Gary Bettenhausen over Larry Dickson
19. 2014: (56) Brady Bacon over Bryan Clauson
20. 1980: (61) Rich Vogler over Steve Chassey
21. 1998: (62) Tony Elliott over Kevin Thomas
22. 2013: (63) Bryan Clauson over Dave Darland
23. 1961: (67.8) Parnelli Jones over Jim Hurtubise
24. 2004: (74) Jay Drake over Bud Kaeding
25. 1977: (75) Sheldon Kinser over Tom Bigelow
26. 2008: (84) Jerry Coons, Jr. over Levi Jones
27. 2007: (85) Levi Jones over Darren Hagen
28. 2015: (87) Robert Ballou over Dave Darland
29. 1975: (88) Larry Dickson over Rollie Beale
30. 2006: (88) Josh Wise over Levi Jones
31. 2011: (99) Levi Jones over Chris Windom
32. 1984: (102) Rick Hood over Sheldon Kinser
33. 1995: (119) Tony Stewart over Doug Kalitta
34. 1970: (131) Larry Dickson over Gary Bettenhausen
35. 2010: (132) Levi Jones over Damion Gardner
36. 1983: (148) Ken Schrader over Larry Rice
37. 1981: (160) Sheldon Kinser over Rich Vogler
38. 1989: (171) Rich Vogler over Eric Gordon
39. 1993: (175) Robbie Stanley over Tray House
40. 1996: (176) Brian Tyler over Doug Kalitta
41. 1974: (184) Duane "Pancho" Carter over Tom Bigelow
42. 1969: (189.2) Gary Bettenhausen over Larry Dickson
43. 1966: (194) Roger McCluskey over Mario Andretti
44. 1982: (217) Sheldon Kinser over Rich Vogler
45. 1988: (222) Steve Butler over Greg Staab
46. 1978: (223) Tom Bigelow over Chuck Gurney
47. 1999: (224) Dave Darland over Tracy Hines
48. 2009: (224) Levi Jones over Cole Whitt
49. 1964: (236) Don Branson over Jud Larson
50. 1990: (257) Steve Butler over Eric Gordon
51. 1997: (289) Brian Tyler over Kevin Thomas
52. 1985: (301) Rick Hood over Steve Butler
53. 1963: (309) Roger McCluskey over A. J. Foyt
54. 2016: (314) Brady Bacon over Chase Stockon
55. 2003: (352) J.J. Yeley over Jay Drake
56. 1968: (358) Larry Dickson over Gary Bettenhausen
57. 1976: (369) Duane "Pancho" Carter over Tom Bigelow

On Thursday and Friday, the pits open at noon, front gates open at 4pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 5:30pm. On Saturday, the pits open at noon, front gates open at 3pm, autograph session from 3-4pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and cars on track at 5:15pm.

All three nights will be live on http://www.SpeedShiftTV.com/ with live audio also available on the USAC app.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sunshine Finds A Pocketful Of Redemption At Western World

Tyler Courtney became the 7th driver in the history of the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car series to win at least 11 races in a year Saturday night in the "Western World" finale at Arizona Speedway. (Photo Courtesy Rich Forman)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

San Tan Valley, Arizona.........Twenty-four hours prior to taking the green flag for Saturday night's 51st "Western World Championships" finale at Arizona Speedway, Tyler Courtney was lamenting how he threw away a victory in lapped traffic.

It was a mistake the Indianapolis, Indiana driver expressed he couldn't repeat when racing against competition that is at the top of their game.

Twenty-four hours later, Courtney was standing in victory lane, reversing the spell that cast him in the throes of lapped traffic. This time, it was he who capitalized in lapped traffic as he ran down Dave Darland with 13 laps remaining to win his 11th USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature of the season.

"I screwed myself with lapped cars last night and I was determined that I wasn't going to do that again," an adamant Courtney said.

Courtney started fifth on the field while, up front, fellow USAC National Sprint Car championship contender Chris Windom rocketed from his outside front row starting position to the lead past pole sitter Damion Gardner and quickly carved out a two-plus second advantage.

On the move and not wasting a single heartbeat was Courtney who advanced three spots to second on the opening lap, slithering around the outside of Dave Darland on the top of turn two to gain the position. Darland fought back to regain second on the fourth lap just before the night's first yellow flag fell for the stopped car of 2014 "Western World" winner Matt Rossi on lap five.

On the restart, Darland reared back and fired a slider into turn one. As Windom came off the top to launch his way off turn two, the duo nearly went hammer to nail. Windom got on the binders, which shuffled him out of the deck and back to fourth as Courtney and Leary shot past for second and third, respectively, while Darland carried onward with the race lead.

However, the lap six restart following top CRA Rookie Joel Rayborne's incident in turn four saw Leary wrestle the second position away from Courtney where he would remain until the ninth lap when Courtney eked between Leary and the turn two concrete to nab the runner-up position for the time being, with leader Darland now within earshot.

Whereas Courtney gave into impatience and trigger happiness on Friday night, Saturday night would prove to have a different outlook as he stuck to his guns up top. On lap 18, Courtney's stick-to-itiveness paid off as the two began to work their way into traffic. Darland went to the bottom of three and four to work by Rossi and R.J. Johnson, still maintaining the lead to the stripe.

Entering turn one, Darland drove it in the corner as straight as an arrow and slid to the top, cutting in front of Courtney's line up on the lip. Courtney countered underneath Darland and two raced wheel-to-wheel down the back straight of the 3/8-mile dirt oval with Darland clinging to a slight advantage into three. Courtney threw his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing/NOS Energy Drink - Priority Aviation/Spike/Rider Chevy deep into turn three, shoulder-to-shoulder with Darland.

Darland appeared, momentarily, to have the momentum to ride back by Courtney on the outside, but, instead, snagged the right rear in the cushion just enough to lift the front wheel just a smidge. The two remained wheel-to-wheel all the way through the corner with Darland getting just a tad squirrely on exit, somehow avoiding contact with the distance between the two being roughly the circumference of a feline whisker, as Courtney raced to the lead at the line by two car lengths.

"I screwed myself with lapped cars last night and I was determined that I wasn't going to do that again." - Tyler Courtney (Photo Courtesy Adam Mollenkopf)

Moments later, Austin Williams slowed to bring out the yellow, setting up a restart with 11 to go that had Darland weighing his options, first peeking his front bumper to the inside of Courtney to no avail, but remaining in stalking mode with his hackles raised, just hoping for a Courtney mistake down the stretch on the narrowing groove up top.

The cameramen were in position, this author's headline was already halfway written, the checkered flag was in hand and all appeared to be settled on the final lap for Courtney when Rossi stopped at the flag stand to bring out the final yellow, setting up a green-white-checkered finish.

Courtney was hoping for an uneventful last restart and that's just what he got as Darland could not get close enough to the back bumper of Courtney to mount a challenge throughout the two-lap shootout. Courtney sealed the deal with a pair of laps that were in sync, with car and driver in perfect harmony to win by half a second over Darland, Leary, Windom and Logan Seavey.

Courtney's 11th win of the year positioned him as just the seventh driver to reach that number of victories within a single USAC National Sprint Car season, equaling him with Bubby Jones' 11-win season in 1979. With point leader Kevin Thomas, Jr. taking eighth in the feature, Courtney moved to within two points of the USAC National Sprint title with three races remaining on Nov. 8-9-10 at California's Perris Auto Speedway.

"We had high expectations coming into this year, but I think we've exceeded all of them," Courtney exclaimed. "But we're not done yet. We've got three races left and still have the big picture in mind. We've just got to keep doing what we're doing and plug along. You just got to let it play out."

Meanwhile, in the USAC/CRA Sprint Car standings, Gardner overtook Brody Roa atop the leaderboard in the standings by five points with three races left to go at Perris.

Contingency award winners Saturday night at Arizona Speedway were Isaac Chapple (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner / Roger & Barb Tapy 13th Fastest Qualifier), Tyler Courtney (Competition Suspension, Inc. Second Heat Winner), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Chalk Stix Third Heat Winner / KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Chase Stockon (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner) and Brody Roa (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL & CRA SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: November 3, 2018 - Arizona Speedway - San Tan Valley, Arizona - 51st"Western World Championships"
WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Dave Darland, 12, Ballou-15.235; 2. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-15.277; 3. Logan Seavey, 19, Reinbold/Underwood-15.298; 4. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-15.375; 5. Thomas Meseraull, 77m, Michael-15.434; 6. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-15.473; 7. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-15.503; 8. Damion Gardner, 4x, Alexander-15.534; 9. Jake Swanson, 34AZ, Grau/Burkhart-15.551; 10. Danny Sheridan, 15, Johnson-15.575; 11. Jason McDougal, 19s, Reinbold/Underwood-15.631; 12. Cody Williams, 44, Jory-15.647; 13. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-15.649; 14. Austin Williams, 2, Jory-15.735; 15. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 69, Dynamics-15.793; 16. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-15.814; 17. Chris Gansen, 4G, Gansen-15.822; 18. R.J. Johnson, 92, Sertich-15.866; 19. Ryan Bernal, 73, Ford-15.890; 20. Brody Roa, 91R, BR-15.908; 21. Josh Hodges, 74x, Hodges-15.949; 22. Danny Faria, Jr., 42, Cheney-16.044; 23. Matt Rossi, 02, Rossi-16.109; 24. Dennis Gile, 13, Gile-16.117; 25. Brady Bacon, 99, Bacon-16.132; 26. Stevie Sussex, 12A, Allen-16.138; 27. Logan Williams, 5x, Jory-16.169; 28. Tye Mihocko, 5T, Mihocko-16.290; 29. Joel Rayborne, 12B, Blair-16.821.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS / EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Chapple, 2. Swanson, 3. Bacon, 4. Darland, 5. Hodges, 6. Meseraull, 7. Gansen, 8. Rayborne. 2:10.11

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) / CIRCLE TRACK PERFORMANCE / ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Courtney, 2. Johnson, 3. Grant, 4. Sheridan, 5. A. Williams, 6. Sussex, 7. Faria. 2:12.18

CHALK STIX / KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS / ROD END SUPPLY THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Thomas, 2. Rossi, 3. Windom, 4. Bernal, 5. Seavey, 6. McDougal, 7. L. Williams. 2:12.02

INDY RACE PARTS / BUTLERBUILT SEATS / ROD END SUPPLY FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Stockon, 2. Leary, 3. Roa, 4. Gardner, 5. Mihocko, 6. Gile, 7. C. Williams. NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) / ROD END SUPPLY SEMI: (12 laps, top-6 transfer to the feature) 1. Meseraull, 2. Hodges, 3. Seavey, 4. A. Williams, 5. Sussex, 6. L. Williams, 7. Mihocko, 8. Gile, 9. Gansen, 10. Rayborne, 11. McDougal. 3:15.18

FEATURE: (30 laps - starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (5), 2. Dave Darland (6), 3. C.J. Leary (4), 4. Chris Windom (2), 5. Logan Seavey (7), 6. Justin Grant (3), 7. Damion Gardner (1), 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (13), 9. Chase Stockon (14), 10. Thomas Meseraull (8), 11. Ryan Bernal (16), 12. Jake Swanson (9), 13. Brody Roa (17), 14. Isaac Chapple (11), 15. Brady Bacon (20), 16. Josh Hodges (18), 17. R.J. Johnson (15), 18. Danny Sheridan (10), 19. Matt Rossi (19), 20. Austin Williams (12), 21. Stevie Sussex (21), 22. Logan Williams (22), 23. Joel Rayborne (24), 24. Cody Williams (23). NT
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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-4 Windom, Laps 5-17 Darland, Laps 18-30 Courtney.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS / SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS / RACING OPTICS HARD CHARGER: Kevin Thomas, Jr. (13th to 8th)

WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Brody Roa

ROGER & BARB TAPY 13TH FASTEST QUALIFIER: Isaac Chapple

SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS FIRST NON-TRANSFER: Tye Mihocko

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-K. Thomas-2521, 2-Courtney-2519, 3-Windom-2471, 4-Darland-2195, 5-Leary-2178, 6-Bacon-2175, 7-Stockon-2138, 8-Grant-2084, 9-Robert Ballou-1771, 10-Chapple-1461.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Gardner-1470, 2-Roa-1465, 3-A. Williams-1235, 4-C. Williams-1115, 5-Swanson-1068, 6-Johnson-1030, 7-Max Adams-943, 8-Faria-900, 9-L. Williams-882, 10-Gansen-803.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: November 8-9-10 - Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, California - 23rd Budweiser "Oval Nationals" presented by All Coast Construction