Bill Gardner Sprintacular Looming For USAC Stars

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Bill Gardner Sprintacular Looming
The Bill Gardner Sprintacular takes to the track this weekend at Lincoln Park Speedway. (Brendon Bauman photo)

PUTNAMVILLE, Ind. – Back-to-back nights of AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series racing are on the horizon during an Independence Day weekend doubleheader.

Friday and Saturday, July 3-4, will feature USAC’s best non-winged sprint car stars as part of the Bill Gardner Sprintacular at Lincoln Park Speedway.

Both events at the five-sixteenths-mile dirt oval will be co-sanctioned by USAC and the Midwest Sprint Car Series.

The Friday, July 3 event will be a full-points event for MSCS and will award 50 appearance points to all competing licensed AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car drivers and teams toward the series championship standings. This event will utilize the MSCS format.

The Saturday, July 4 event at Lincoln Park will be a full points race for both the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars and the MSCS sprints.

USAC’s format of single car qualifying, with the top four transferring from each heat race and top six from the semi-feature to seed the feature starting lineup, will be used.

Thirty-five previous USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car events have been held at Lincoln Park Speedway since Sheldon Kinser’s victory there in 1981. Dave Darland leads all drivers with six career USAC National Sprint Car victories at Lincoln Park.

Darland, of Lincoln, Ind., was the 1990 and 1991 Lincoln Park Sprint Car track champion and owns USAC feature wins there in 1997, ’98, ’99, ’05, ’12 and ’18.

In the USAC portion of the Bill Gardner Sprintacular, the National Sprint Car Hall of Famer has finished inside the top eight in all three events run thus far, with an eighth in 2015, a fifth in 2016 and a charge from 20th to seventh in 2018.

Carson Short has twice been a fast qualifier with USAC at the Bill Gardner Sprintacular, in both 2015 and 2018. In both instances, the recent Tri-State Speedway World of Outlaws winner and one-time USAC National Sprint Car winner captured the semi-feature victory.

Jason McDougal made his USAC National Sprint Car debut at the 2018 Bill Gardner Sprintacular, where he was spectacular, driving from 22nd to a third-place finish.

Twice a winner in USAC National Sprint Car competition in his career, McDougal is set to debut in a Goacher Racing machine this week.

Speaking of impressive debuts, Tanner Thorson was tabbed as a sub in the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports No. 19az while Logan Seavey heals up following a crash during the third round of Indiana Midget Week at Lincoln Park a couple weeks ago.

Thorson finished second at Plymouth (Ind.) Speedway last Friday in his first series start, the best debut performance in the series since McDougal, and the first time since Tanner Swanson at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway in 2008 that a driver finished in the top two in his first USAC sprint car start.

Thorson was seventh during the Indiana Midget Week race at Lincoln Park.

Thomas Meseraull won the MSCS portion of the Bill Gardner Sprintacular in 2016. The 10-time USAC National Sprint Car winner captured a heat race win on the USAC side of things in 2018 en route to a sixth-place finish in the feature later that night.

He was a 10th-place finisher in the recent Indiana Midget Week feature at Lincoln Park on June 19.

Justin Grant, winner of three of the four most recent USAC National Sprint Car events and the series point leader entering this week’s slate, won the MSCS feature at the Bill Gardner Sprintacular in 2018.

Grant was also ninth, with a heat race win to his credit, during Indiana Midget Week.

Kevin Thomas Jr. won the MSCS feature at the Bill Gardner Sprintacular in 2017. On the USAC side of the equation with the event, Thomas led the first 22 laps of the feature before flipping atop the turn two curb.

The last occasion a Bill Gardner Sprintacular feature was held, Kyle Cummins was the winner with MSCS, and he also won the last time the USAC National Sprint Cars competed at Lincoln Park, during Indiana Sprint Week.

Cummins was second in the USAC night of the inaugural Bill Gardner Sprintacular in 2015.

Two-time USAC National Sprint Car champion Brady Bacon has been a USAC sprint car winner at Lincoln Park in his career, taking the Indiana Sprint Week round in 2015 while also finishing third in the USAC round of the Bill Gardner Sprintacular in 2016.

C.J. Leary finished third in his most recent USAC visit to Lincoln Park last July of 2019 after starting from the outside of the front row.

The defending USAC National Sprint Car champion recorded his 25th career fast qualifying time with the series last week at Plymouth, moving him past Gary Bettenhausen, Justin Grant and J.J. Yeley for 15th on the all-time series list.

Chase Stockon recently made his 300th consecutive USAC National Sprint Car feature start last Friday at Plymouth, extending his all-time record to once untouchable numbers after taking ownership of the record in late 2019.

Stockon won his heat race at the Bill Gardner Sprintacular feature in 2015, where he also finished third in the feature. The Ironman followed that up with a sixth in the 2016 event.

Brandon Mattox is one of 10 drivers with the series to start all six USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car events thus far in 2020.

The Terre Haute, Ind., native had one of his better runs of the 2019 season at the USAC portion of the Bill Gardner Sprintacular, finishing eighth after starting 12th.

Previous Bill Gardner Sprintacular winners include Jerry Coons Jr. (USAC) and Robert Ballou (MSCS) in 2015; Ballou (USAC) and Thomas Meseraull (MSCS) in 2016; Kevin Thomas Jr. (MSCS) in 2017; Tyler Courtney (USAC) and Justin Grant (MSCS) in 2018; and Cummins (MSCS) in 2019.

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