Bacon Bags $10K, Sprint Bandits TNT Title in Lakeside Finale
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon cashed in on a big Saturday night at Lakeside Speedway by topping the $10,000-to-win Ron Shuman Classic and putting the clamps on the Fifth Annual Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless championship in the process.
The 19-year-old emerged unscathed from a calamitous 30-lap affair atop the fast ½-mile clay oval, prevailing in a torrid duel with the unheralded Hud Cone to snare his third win in the week's four completed events and taking the coveted Pedal Car trophy that goes along with winning the prestigious Lakeside Speedway event.
While Bacon ultimately took the checkered flag in front of two-time event winner Jesse Hockett and Casey Shuman, Cone's near storybook drive ended in ghoulish fashion with a violent flip down the backstretch that set up a green-white-checkered dash to the line.
Cone's flip was the seventh of the feature event, with the other six taking place in a tough opening four laps.
"The track was good for us, we had the car for it," Bacon explained after his sixth career Sprint Bandits TNT triumph aboard Mike and Megan Eubanks' Wesmar-powered Tel-Star Communications No. 99 Triple-X. "You just had to use a little patience, not drive like the race was just ten laps long."
After earning the pole position by virtue of earning the most points through Friday's preliminary events and then Saturday night's heats and qualifiers, Bacon led fellow front row starter Hockett and Shuman through the turbulent early rounds.
But, after the early mayhem was out of the way, Oakland City, Indiana's Cone was clearly the man on the move aboard Roger Tapy's Trucker's 24-Hour Road Service entry, surging past both Shuman and Hockett to claim second by 13th round.
With Bacon working through traffic, Cone closed in and raced by on the high side to take command on the 19th circuit.
Bacon volleyed right back, with the duo slugging it out for the point in grand style over the next ten rounds to the delight of the packed house, all the while maneuvering through lapped machines with Hockett trying to close enough ground to make it a three-way duel.
Cone held strong, fending off Bacon's repeated advances and a slider or two until the Broken Arrow Bandit made a turn one and two slider stick on the 28th round.
With Bacon racing off the fourth turn and the white flag in sight, the yellow lights flickered when Mitch Wissmiller coasted to a stop on the top side of turn two with rear end woes.
Making one last bid for the win on the restart, Cone slid high exiting turn two, tagged the retaining wall and launched into a wild series of flips down the backstretch. Cone walked away from the wreckage uninjured.
Even with Hockett and Shuman on his tailtank for the final restart, Bacon was unphased. Two flawless laps sealed the deal as Bacon raced to the stripe unabated.
Hockett fell one spot short of a record third event victory by finishing second aboard the Tom Buch/VKCC Motorsports No. 13, with Shuman claiming the show position in Robbie Rice's STIDA No. 21x DRC with a 1993 Shaver powerplant under the hood.
California's Matt Mitchell advanced from 17th to post his best finish of the week by crossing the stripe fourth in Steve Watts' No. 81m machine, with Josh Wise rebounding from a heat race tumble to round out the top five in the Indiana Underground No. 37.
Arizona's R.J. Johnson was sixth, with Nebraska's Jack Dover snaring seventh in just his third night of wingless Sprint Car competition. Chris Morgan climbed ten spots from 18th to finish eighth, with Caleb Armstrong the final car on the lead lap in ninth. Dusty Murray completed the top ten.
The feature event got off to the most inauspicious of starts with the red flag flying on three consecutive occasions for flips by Bryan Clauson (turn two), Sheldon Leesekamp (turn three) and J.J. Yeley (turn one).
Clauson returned and salvaged 12th with severe handling issues, while Leesekamp also returned and posted an eleventh place run. Yeley was transported to a local hospital complaining of neck pain.
While the fourth attempt to start the finale was successful, only four laps were in the books when two-time and defending race winner Robert Ballou slipped too high in turns one and two and flipped after tagging the wall. Ballou, who had wasted little time charging from ninth to fifth, walked away uninjured.
On the ensuing restart, Friday night winner Darren Hagen bicycled in turn three and flipped in spectacular fashion, with "B" Main winner Casey Riggs collected in the melee and flipping as well. Hagen and Riggs both walked away.
With 30 cars in the pit area for Saturday night's $10,000-to-win tilt, Hagen, Bacon, Hockett and Ballou topped heat race action, with Armstrong, Wissmiller, Cone and Dover winning the qualifying races.
The second heat race was red flagged twice for flips by Kim Kennedy and Kyle Robbins. Both drivers were uninjured, but done for the night.
After posting a fifth-place Silver Crown finish earlier in the day, Friday night runner-up Josh Wise biked it getting into turn three in the night's third heat race and got upside down. Wise accumulated enough overall points to start seventh in the feature event, with his fifth-place run putting him second in the week's final point rundown.
The night opened with a presentation to Roger Tapy and the Trucker's 24-Hour Road Service team for their dedication to the sport by competing in each Sprint Bandits TNT event over the past five years, the only team to accomplish such a feat.
In addition to the $10,000 winner's share, Bacon picked up a $1,000 bonus as the Sprint Bandits TNT champion and a $3,000 certificate from Maxwell Industries towards the purchase of a shock dyno.
Wise received a $900 bonus as points runner-up and a $2,000 certificate from Maxwell Industries, with Hockett pocketing $800 for third in points and a $1,000 certificate from Maxwell Industries. R.J. Johnson earned an extra $700 for ranking fourth in points, with Clauson picking up $600 for finishing fifth.
Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless Lakeside Speedway Ron Shuman Classic Results:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 12-Darren Hagen, 2. 81m-Matt Mitchell, 3. 7k-Chris Morgan, 4. 11-Bryan Clauson, 5. 11d-Caleb Armstrong, 6. 37r-Casey Riggs, 7. 69-Mike Moore, 8. 18-Tim Newman.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 99-Brady Bacon, 2. 1-J.J. Yeley, 3. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 4. F1-Sheldon Leesekamp, 5. 65-Chris Parkinson, 6. 98-J.C. Bland, 7. 17r-Kyle Robbins, 8. 1k-Kim Kennedy.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 13-Jesse Hockett, 2. 10-Hud Cone, 3. 21x-Casey Shuman, 4. 53-Jack Dover, 5. 23-Mitch Wissmiller, 6. 46-Dusty Murray, 7. 37-Josh Wise.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 88-Chad Tye, 3. 15-R.J. Johnson, 4. 10r-David Wheeler, 5. 90-Patrick Budde, 6. 51-Doug Martens, 7. 11x-Craig Braden.
Qualifying Races (Top 8 in Combined Points from Friday's Preliminary Events and Saturday's Heats & Qualifiers to Front Four Rows of "A" Main; "A" Main Positions 9-18 and "B" Main Lineup Determined from Saturday's Heat & Qualifier Points):
First Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 11d-Caleb Armstrong, 2. 81-Robert Ballou, 3. 1-J.J. Yeley, 4. 7k-Chris Morgan, 5. 69-Mike Moore, 6. 88-Chad Tye, 7. 90-Patrick Budde. DNS: 1k-Kim Kennedy.
Second Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 23-Mitch Wissmiller, 2. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 3. 21x-Casey Shuman, 4. 81m-Matt Mitchell, 5. 12-Darren Hagen, 6. 65-Chris Parkinson, 7. 51-Doug Martens. DNS: 11x-Craig Braden.
Third Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 10-Hud Cone, 2. 99-Brady Bacon, 3. 11-Bryan Clauson, 4. 15-R.J. Johnson, 5. 37r-Casey Riggs, 6. 46-Dusty Murray. DNS: 17r-Kyle Robbins.
Fourth Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 53-Jack Dover, 2. 13-Jesse Hockett, 3. F1-Sheldon Leesekamp, 4. 10r-David Wheeler, 5. 98-J.C. Bland, 6. 18-Tim Newman. DNS: 37-Josh Wise.
"B" Main (Top Six Advance to "A" Main):
"B" Main (10 Laps): 1. 37r-Casey Riggs, 2. 88-Chad Tye, 3. 46-Dusty Murray, 4. 98-J.C. Bland, 5. 69-Mike Moore, 6. 51-Doug Martens, 7. 90-Patrick Budde, 8. 18-Tim Newman, 9. 65-Chris Parkinson. DNS: 17r-Kyle Robbins, 11x-Craig Braden, 1k-Kim Kennedy.
Sprint Bandits TNT Lakeside Speedway Ron Shuman Classic "A" Main
“A” Main (30 Laps): 1. 99-Brady Bacon, 2. 13-Jesse Hockett, 3. 21x-Casey Shuman, 4. 81m-Matt Mitchell, 5. 37-Josh Wise, 6. 15-R.J. Johnson, 7. 53-Jack Dover, 8. 7k-Chris Morgan, 9. 11d-Caleb Armstrong, 10. 46-Dusty Murray, 11. F1-Sheldon Leesekamp, 12. 11-Bryan Clauson, 13. 10-Hud Cone, 14. 98-J.C. Bland, 15. 69-Mike Moore, 16. 23-Mitch Wissmiller, 17. 10r-David Wheeler, 18. 88-Chad Tye, 19. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 20. 12-Darren Hagen, 21. 37r-Casey Riggs, 22. 81-Robert Ballou, 23. 51-Doug Martens, 24. 1-J.J. Yeley.
Lap Leaders: Brady Bacon 1-18, Hud Cone 19-27, Brady Bacon 28-30.
Final Sprint Bandits TNT Points (Top Ten): 1. Brady Bacon 590, 2. Josh Wise 578, 3. Jesse Hockett 552, 4. R.J. Johnson 540, 5. Bryan Clauson 536, 6. Matt Mitchell 530, 7. Caleb Armstrong 512, 8. Robert Ballou 496, 9. Hud Cone 478, 10. Kyle Robbins 447.