- Spencer Frady
Axsom Gets First-Ever USAC National Sprint Car Victory
It took multiple restarts at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida, but Clauson Marshall Racing driver Emerson Axsom is now a winner in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series. Axsom earned the win on the first night of Winter Dirt Games XIII and got the perfect start to his first full season with the national tour.
Axsom said he was thrilled to bring a victory to the Clauson Marshall Racing team. “I’m speechless. I’m glad we got one out of the way early,” he said. “I’m so happy for this team.”
The 30-lap feature race was bogged down with a series of incidents, a red flag period, and multiple restarts. Axsom started the event in the pole position and never gave up the top spot. He led flag-to-flag and held off Jason McDougal and Thomas Meseraull by running the low line nearly every lap.
Behind the top three, things were a little more chaotic with plenty of side-by-side and three-wide racing late in the feature race.
The Keith Kunz Motorsports team produced one of the biggest stories of the night. The team pulled a nine-hour shift to repair damage on the #67 sprint car and get it ready for the evening. Driver Buddy Kofoid transferred into the feature from his heat race and then had to pick his way past a gaggle of race cars to get a Top Five finish. He earned the Hard Charger Award for the night by going from 19th to 5th position.
Kofoid said tire management was a major key to his race. “I was able to bide my time and ride the rubber and keep my tires under me,” said Kofoid. “19th to 5th ain’t [sic] bad. Hopefully we can have a way better day tomorrow so I don’t have to pass that many cars.”
Second-place finisher McDougal also noted the challenge of saving his equipment to get to the finish. “I felt my stuff start to vibrate with about seven to go. I kind of rode around after that,” said McDougal. “I figured it was better to run second than to blow a right rear.”
At the end of the day, it was Axsom celebrating the win and looking to the future. “I talked Tim [Clauson] into letting me run a full season. I want to stay with this team as long as possible,” he said in Victory Lane. “They give me a great race car. I can’t thank them enough.”
The USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series continues the Winter Dirt Games XIII event at Bubba Raceway Park on Friday, February 18 and Saturday, February 19.
Heat 1: 1. Justin Grant 2. Shane Cottle 3. Tanner Thorson 4. Chase Stockon 5. Mario Clouser 6. Brandon Mattox 7. Braxton Cummings 8. Jadon Rogers 9. Jack Hoyer 10. Josh Turner 11. Jake Swanson
Heat 2: 1. Brady Bacon 2. Buddy Kofoid 3. Emerson Axsom 4. Brady Short 5. Logan Seavey 6. Cole Bodine 7. Wesley Smith 8. Chad Boespflug 9. Kyle Shipley 10. Dallas Hewitt 11. Jeremy Kerman
Heat 3: 1. Robert Ballou 2. Charles Davis, Jr. 3. Jason McDougal 4. Matt Westfall 5. Kyle Cummins 6. Landon Simon 7. Dustin Clark 8. Alex Bright 9. Jackson Slone 10. Brian Ruhlman 11. Eddie Vancil
Heat 4: 1. Thomas Meseraull 2. CJ Leary 3. Shane Cockrum 4. Kory Schudy 5. Carson Short 6. Carson Garrett 7. Briggs Danner 8. Steve Irwin 9. Alex Banales 10. Robert Bell
C-Main: 1. Dustin Clark 2. Jadon Rogers 3. Steve Irwin 4. Alex Banales 5. Jack Hoyer 6. Jackson Slone 7. Dallas Hewitt 8. Kyle Shipley 9. Brian Ruhlman 10. Josh Turner 11. Robert Bell 12. Jeremy Kerzman
Semi-Feature: 1. Kyle Cummins 2. Carson Short 3. Landon Simon 4. Mario Clouser 5. Jake Swanson 6. Wesley Smith 7. Logan Seavey 8. Braxton Cummings 9. Cole Bodine 10. Briggs Danner 11. Carson Garrett 12. Brandon Mattox 13. Alex Bright 14. Dustin Clark 15. Chad Boespflug 16. Steve Irwin 17. Jadon Rogers 18. Alex Banales
Feature: 1. Emerson Axsom 2. Jason McDougal 3. Thomas Meseraull 4. Kyle Cummins 5. Buddy Kofoid 6. Justin Grant 7. Chase Stockon 8. Carson Short 9. Logan Seavey 10. Mario Clouser 11. Shane Cottle 12. Brady Short 13. Matt Westfall 14. Jake Swanson 15. Kory Schudy 16. Brady Bacon 17. Landon Simon 18. Robert Ballou 19. Tanner Thorson 20. Shane Cockrum 21. Charles Davis, Jr. 22. CJ Leary 23. Wesley Smith