INDIANA SPRINT WEEK: Meet the Full-Timers
Series News Release - USAC Media
Speedway, Indiana (July 18, 2023) - At press time, 31 different driver and team combinations have plans to compete in all eight events of 2023 USAC NOS Energy Drink Indiana Sprint Week Presented by Honest Abe Roofing.
The 36th annual edition of Indiana Sprint Week runs from July 21-29 at eight different venues, and features a full array of established champions, burgeoning winners, aspiring local talent and much, much more who’ll converge from the west coast, the east coast, the south and even Australia to take on the challenge.
Let’s meet the full-timers for USAC Indiana Sprint Week 2023, all of whom possess the innate desire to succeed on the big state of the biggest week of sprint car racing in the Hoosier State.
HAIL TO THE CHAMPS
Seven past Indiana Sprint Week champions are set to compete on 2023’s slate. Seeking a third series championship is Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.), who captured titles in both 2017 and 2021 as he prepares to take on all challengers in Dwight Cheney’s No. 42.
Five single-time champions are aiming for a second career ISW title in 2023, including Rocklin, California’s Robert Ballou (2015), Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon (2016), Greenfield, Indiana’s C.J. Leary (2019), Fort Branch, Indiana’s Chase Stockon (2020) and Ione, California’s Justin Grant (2022).
Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.) owns practically every major Indiana Sprint Week record, including wins (20), top-fives (66), top-tens, laps led, fast qualifying times and feature starts. The 1998-2001-2007 ISW king will contest four rounds of the series at Gas City, Kokomo, Circle City and Lincoln Park.
CHEERS TO THE WINNERS
While all seven of the drivers listed above have achieved a multitude of feature wins over the years during Indiana Sprint Week, they aren’t alone in the win column.
A number of others, seven to be exact, will take on Sprint Week with feature wins in their back pocket, five of which are pursuing a first ISW title.
Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) is among that group, winning six Indiana Sprint Week features over the course of his career, and finishing a best of fourth in the final standings in 2020 for the same Rock Steady Racing group he’s wheeled to three USAC wins with in 2023.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) has won four career ISW features, reeling off the most recent three-race ISW winning streak in 2021 en route to a career-best third-place result in the standings. He’ll take on this year’s slate with 2B Racing, which won the 2004 ISW title with Levi Jones behind the wheel.
Shane Cottle and Thomas Meseraull have each won twice in ISW, and each have a connection to each other entering this year’s edition. Cottle (Kansas, Ill.) has taken over the wheel of the Epperson Racing No. 2E, which had formerly been driven by Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) this season. Meseraull will now pilot the Simon Racing No. 23, with which he has piloted to three victories this year mainly in and around the Ohio area.
Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) became the most recent first-time ISW feature winner in 2022, collecting the Lincoln Park round. He’ll once again be back in the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports No. 19AZ, which collected the ISW championship with C.J. Leary back in 2019.
Furthermore, five-time ISW feature winner Brady Short (Bedford, Ind.) and one-time victor Brent Beauchamp (Fairland, Ind.) will participate on a part-time basis at selected tracks during ISW this coming week.
EMERGING ISW CONTENDERS
The top-two drivers in the current USAC National Sprint Car standings – Jake Swanson and Emerson Axsom – have something in common. It’s the fact that neither have yet captured an Indiana Sprint Week victory to date. Both have won multiple USAC National Sprint Car features this season. Now, Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) and Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) look to become the next breakthrough artists on the Sprint Week scene this week.
Indiana Sprint Week first timer Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) would like to break through in more ways than one during the week. The top USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year contender in 2023 will try to become the first driver since Carson Short in 2016 to win his first points paying USAC National Sprint Car feature during ISW.
Returning to Indiana Sprint Week and eying their first ISW victories include Carson Garrett (Littleton, Colo.), a recent runner-up finisher at Illinois’ Macon Speedway during the first week of July. One-time USAC National Sprint Car winners Matt Westfall (Pleasant Hill, Ohio) and Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) will vie for their initial ISW triumphs this week as will Max Adams (Loomis, Calif.) in the seat of Michael Dutcher’s No. 17GP, which raced to four ISW victories with Kevin Thomas Jr. and Jon Stanbrough at the wheel.
FROM THE WEST COAST
A long-held tradition in Indiana Sprint Week lore is the arrival of the west coast gang who’ve taken time out of their regular duties with the AMSOIL USAC CRA Sprint Car series to travel and compete in the Hoosier State.
This year’s group of CRA invaders includes Logan Calderwood, Charles Davis Jr. and Eddie Tafoya Jr. Davis (Buckeye, Ariz.) and Tafoya (Chino Hills, Calif.) have made frequent trips to compete with USAC on the national stage in recent years, and Indiana Sprint Week isn’t their first rodeo.
However, the same can’t be said for Calderwood, the grandson of famed USAC car owner Dave Calderwood, whose cars have been driven to USAC National victories by the likes of Jimmy Sills and Kenny Irwin Jr. Logan (Goodyear, Ariz.) will make his initial foray to Indiana Sprint Week in 2023 in his family-owned ride.
TO THE EAST COAST (AND THE SOUTH)
Like the West Coast, the USAC Rapid Tire East Coast Sprint Cars will also bring along its share of talent. Alex Bright (Collegeville, Pa.), the 2021 USAC EC champ, will wheel the Heffner Racing Enterprises No. 27 throughout all eight events of ISW. Joey Amantea (Mount Pocono, Pa.), third in USAC EC points, will make his first trip out to Indiana Sprint Week.
Briggs Danner (Allentown, Pa.), the reigning USAC EC titlist and current point leader, will stop by Indiana Sprint Week for the second half only aboard the Hogue Enterprises No. 39 at Terre Haute, Lincoln Park, Bloomington and Tri-State.
And coming from the south is Dalton Stevens (Scurry, Texas) who makes his return to Indiana Sprint Week for another run after making his debut in 2022.
The southern hemisphere is represented by a pair of Australian drivers, both of whom will participate throughout the entire eight-race Indiana Sprint Week series.
Tullamore, New South Wales competitor Troy Carey is a bull rider and sprint car driving extraordinaire. He has returned for his second consecutive Indiana Sprint Week after contesting the entire series in 2022.
Victorian Wingless Sprint Car champion Travis Millar (Melbourne, Victoria) made his first laps on United States soil this past weekend in local competition at Lincoln Park. This week, he’ll face off against an entire host of new venues on a nightly basis throughout.
THE LOCAL FLAVOR
Another handful of regulars on the tough and rugged local Indiana Sprint Car scene will attempt to make their mark on Indiana Sprint Week.
Brayden Fox (Avon, Ind) has already been a victor twice this season at Bloomington, and his father, Brad Fox, scored his first USAC win at the same track back in 1997. Geoff Ensign (Sebastopol, Calif.) captured his first track championship at Bloomington in 2022 and a first triumph with the USAC National series this week would suit him just fine in the On The Gass No. 17.
Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.) has long been a stalwart of the USAC National Sprint Car circuit. He’s kept it a bit more local this season and has been a regular frontrunner at Lincoln Park throughout the 2023 campaign.
Same goes for Arizona racers Sterling Cling (Tempe, Ariz.) and Stevie Sussex (Tempe, Ariz.). Sussex will drive the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine inspired color scheme for Travis Sturgeon Racing all week long. Sussex, the 2017 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year, passed 52 cars throughout 2021 Indiana Sprint Week to earn ProSource Passing Master honors.
Friday, July 21: Gas City I-69 Speedway - Gas City, IN
Saturday, July 22: Kokomo Speedway - Kokomo, IN
Sunday, July 23: Lawrenceburg Speedway - Lawrenceburg, IN
Monday, July 24: Circle City Raceway - Indianapolis, IN
Wednesday, July 26: Terre Haute Action Track - Terre Haute, IN
Thursday, July 27: Lincoln Park Speedway - Putnamville, IN
Friday, July 28: Bloomington Speedway - Bloomington, IN
Saturday, July 29: Tri-State Speedway - Haubstadt, IN