By Lonnie Wheatley, OSKALOOSA, Iowa (August 8, 2006) Arizona's Jerry Coons, Jr., proved to be explosive in the opening round of the Second Annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandits COMP Cams Tour 'N Topless Midwest Swing by picking off the $30,000 winner's share in Tuesday night's Fifth Annual 30-lap Ultimate Challenge feature event at Southern Iowa Speedway.
Coming from the ninth starting position, Coons meticulously worked his way forward and ultimately overtook young hotshoe Bryan Clauson for the lead on the 21st circuit before opening up a half straightaway advantage over the final rounds to secure the victory aboard the Hoffman Racing Kroger/Tide No. 69 F-5 Chassis.
Coons started in the fifth row, a pair of diminutive drivers, each equipped
with a disproportionately heavy throttle foot, led the field to the green flag
Seventeen-year-old gunner Clauson of Indiana wasted little time entering the lead mix from his sixth starting position by charging into second by the completion of the second lap with both front wheels clawing at the air all the while.
Clauson then closed on Haudenschild for the lead as Sweet fended off the likes of Don Droud, Jr., and defending Sprint Bandits champion Levi Jones for third as Coons climbed to sixth in the opening five rounds.
With Haudenschild running his preferred high line, Clauson moved in to challenge on the seventh round. After looking to the inside several times, Clauson made the move stick when we raced underneath Haudenschild entering turn three on the ninth lap. The pair raced down the front chute in side-by-side fashion, with Clauson narrowly leading at the stripe just moments before the race's first caution flew for J.T. Imperial's stalled mount. Imperial rejoined the chase, with Bud Kaeding surrendering the tenth position when he retired to the pit area with a heavily smoking engine.
Clauson led the way on the restart with Haudenschild, Sweet, Droud, Jones and Coons in tow. Droud made quick work of Sweet to take over third on the eleventh lap, with Coons surging past both Jones and Sweet to take over fourth by the 13th circuit when the red flag flew for a turn four tumble by Scotty Weir. Weir was uninjured.
With the green flag flying again, Coons continued his forward march by charging past Droud for third on the 14th lap. One lap later, Coons disposed of Haudenschild for second and set his sights on the fleet Clauson.
Coons dove to Clauson's low side entering turn three on the 20th round, only to have the youngster fend off the move. But a half lap later, Coons made the move stick as he raced into the lead off the bottom of turn two on the 21st lap.
Coons cruised away to a 2.746-second advantage over the final rounds to become the fifth different Ultimate Challenge winner in as many years, with Clauson settling for the runner-up slot at the line. Haudenschild took the show position, with Droud in fourth.
from the 17th position, Darren Hagen took over the fifth position
with just two laps to go to earn the Keith Hutton Hard Charger Award. Jon Stanbrough
gained several positions over the final laps to snare sixth, with 14th-starter
Shane Cottle, Jay Drake, 20th-starter
Kyle Wissmiller, Stanbrough
and Droud each earned a free set of front hubs from
Weld Racing and a steering wheel from ButlerBuilt by
topping heat race action for the 35-car field, with Jeff Davis, Clauson, Coons and Charles Davis, Jr., each pocketing an
extra $100 courtesy of
Critter Malone fought off the persistent challenges of Kruseman to win the 12-lap "B" Main.
The night's second heat race got off to a rough start when Kent Christian flipped violently down the backstretch. Then on the second lap of the same race, Mat Neely tumbled through turns three and four. The start of the night's fourth heat race was marred by a wild flip entering turn one when front row starters Jan Howard and Dickie Gaines tangled.
In qualifying race action, R.J. Johnson backed his mount into the turn one fence and turned over.
Complaining of back pain, Christian was transported to a local hospital for observation. There were no other injuries.
O'Reilly Sprint Bandits COMP Cams TNT action resumes next Tuesday night at Nebraska Raceway Park's I-80 Speedway, before moving on to Wichita's 81 Speedway on Wednesday night, Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, MO, on Thursday night and then culminating with Lakeside Speedway's Annual $10,000-to-win Wingless Clash in Kansas City, KS, on Friday and Saturday.
OReilly Sprint Bandits Tour N Topless
Heat (8 Laps): 1. 3J-Brad Sweet, 2.
5g-Shane Cottle, 3. 29p-Terry Pletch,
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 2k-Kyle Wissmiller, 2. 7-Critter Malone, 3. 29-Bud Kaeding, 4. 11d-Levi Jones, 5. 47-Dale Howard, 6. 33-Jeff Davis, 7. 2b-Mat Neely, 8. 11-Dave Darland, 9. 1c-Kent Christian.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 53-Jon Stanbrough, 2. 6-J.T. Imperial, 3. 67k-Jay Drake, 4. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 5. 67-Bryan Clauson, 6. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr., 7. 71-Darren Hagen, 8. 11p-Preston Peebles II, 9. 36-Brady Short.
Fourth Heat (8
Laps): 1. 44-Don Droud,
Jr., 2. 35-Jac Haudenschild, 3. 75-Jesse Hockett, 4.
41-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 5. 46-Jan Howard, 6.
21x-Dickie Gaines, 7. 22-Scotty Weir.
Qualifying Races Top 18 in Combined Passing Points from Heats & Qualifiers to A Feature; Balance of field to B Main
First Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 33-Jeff Davis, 2. 35-Jac Haudenschild, 3. 71-Darren Hagen, 4. 75-Jesse Hockett, 5. 44-Don Droud, Jr., 6. 47-Dale Howard, 7. 41-Ray Allen Kulhanek, 8. 36-Brady Short, 9. 15-R.J. Johnson.
Second Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 67-Bryan Clauson, 2. 3J-Brad Sweet, 3. 29p-Terry Pletch, 4. 5g-Shane Cottle, 5. 77u-Chris Urish, 6. 11-Dave Darland, 7. 7-Critter Malone. DNS: 46-Jan Howard, 1c-Kent Christian.
Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 69-Jerry Coons,
Jr., 2. 92-Daron Clayton, 3. 29-Bud Kaeding, 4. 11d-Levi Jones, 5. 38-
Fourth Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 2. 67k-Jay Drake, 3. 54-Matt Westfall, 4. 6-J.T. Imperial, 5. 53-Jon Stanbrough, 6. 22-Scotty Weir, 7. 53a-Dave Anderson. DNS: 21x-Dickie Gaines.
B Main Top 6 Advance to A Main
Main (12 Laps): 1. 7-Critter Malone, 2.
O'Reilly Sprint Bandits
Main (30 Laps): 1. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr.,
2. 67-Bryan Clauson, 3. 35-Jac Haudenschild, 4.
44-Don Droud, Jr., 5. 71-Darren Hagen, 6. 53-Jon Stanbrough, 7. 5g-Shane Cottle,
8. 67k-Jay Drake, 9. 38-
Lap Leaders: Jac Haudenschild 1-8, Bryan Clauson 9-20, Jerry Coons, Jr., 21-30.