Last Lap, Last Turn, Photo Finish for Seavey at Circle City
Series News Release - USAC Media
Indianapolis, Indiana (September 15, 2023) - Throughout the first 31 races of the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship season, Logan Seavey had led just one single, solitary lap.
During Friday night’s feature at Indianapolis, Indiana’s Circle City Raceway, all the Sutter, Calif. native led was about 10 feet or so to pull off his first series victory of the year in his 2B Racing/Honest Abe Roofing – Benic Enterprises – Goodnight Racing/DRC/Claxton Chevy.
Shane Cottle, who had taken over the lead on lap 19 of the 30-lap main event, appeared to have the race in his grasp until roughly four laps to go. That’s when Seavey began to make some headway on Cottle who had pegged himself to the bottom groove.
Lap after lap, Seavey got a little bit closer, until he found himself trailing Cottle by a single car length at the line on the white flag lap. Seavey dug in, and at the exit of turn four on the 30th and final lap, finally emerged ahead of Cottle, just moments before the two crossed the finish line with Seavey out front.
Seavey’s one car length margin of victory was calculated at a 0.142 second interval over Cottle, the second closest finish of the series season behind only Mitchel Moles’ 0.093 second score over Carson Garrett in July at Macon (Ill.) Speedway.
Already a four-time NOS Energy Drink National Midget winner and twice a Silver Crown victor in 2023, Seavey’s National Sprint Car win made him the first driver this season to earn victories in all three of USAC’s national divisions.
Furthermore, Seavey provided his 2B Racing team with its first USAC National Sprint Car feature triumph since a May 18, 2012, win by driver Bobby East at Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway more than 11 years ago.
Overall, it was Seavey’s ninth career USAC National Sprint Car win, moving him to 57th on the all-time list and into a tie with Mario Andretti, Pat O'Connor, Hunter Schuerenberg and Robbie Stanley. But this one at Circle City was certainly among the most satisfying.
“I was just watching the laps click down with seven or eight to go and I really wasn’t gaining on him,” Seavey recalled. “I knew that the harder I ran, the slower I’d go. I just talked to myself a little bit and made sure I hit my marks rather than overdrive it. There were a few laps where I was turning down off four and it was okay, but I knew that in order to run him down earlier, I had to get up there and pound it.”
Prior to this night, Seavey’s best performance of the USAC National Sprint Car season came via a runner-up result in July at the very same place – Circle City Raceway. Although it had been his best run to this point in the year, Seavey felt he left one on the table. He was determined not to let that happen this time around.
“The last time I was here, I got myself a little bit out of balance in the middle of the race and I felt like I gave one away,” Seavey admitted. “This time, I wanted to make sure my car was going to stay good against the cushion so I could run it as hard as I could, but man, it was tough.”
To boot, Seavey’s car was one he had not driven before. The chassis is a nine-year-old DRC built in 2014 that has been driven occasionally by Scotty Weir on the local level at Gas City (Ind.) I-69 Speedway. It was originally owned by Baldwin Brothers Racing but was later sold to Lou Gagliardi’s team and driven by Dustin Smith. When Gagliardi sold his equipment a couple years ago, 2B Racing team owner Scott Benic purchased the car. But that’s only where the story begins.
Benic had the car powder coated and sold it to Australian driver Travis Millar, who raced it during this summer’s USAC Indiana Sprint Week series. At the conclusion of ISW, Millar sold the car back to Benic and the 2B Racing team made the machine their backup car. After not running up to their expectations last weekend, the car with a long, winding history was upgraded to the primary ride for Seavey at Circle City. Thanks to the car affectionately nicknamed “Barney,” the old dinosaur put Seavey and 2B Racing back in victory lane.
Carson Garrett started first and ran first for the initial six laps of the feature until outside front row starting Seavey made a flourish into the lead with a full head of steam as he charged around the outside of Garrett to lead lap seven by a foot with Cummins, winner of the last two USAC Sprint Car races this season at Circle City, right on their heels back in third.
Seventh running Jadon Rogers spun to a stop in turn three on lap eight to bring out the yellow. Sixth starting Cottle had held steady in sixth until the caution, but the emperor soon found his new groove along the bottom of the 1/4-mile dirt oval as he marched his way up to fourth three laps later.
After clipping the turn four infield tire on lap 14, Cottle lost substantial ground in his quest. However, he soon received a reprieve due to the misfortune of those just in front of him. On lap 17, Garrett (2nd) and Cummins (3rd) headed for the same piece of real estate entering turn one. Cummins climbed Garrett's left side wheels, resulting in Garrett spinning to a stop as Cummins continued onward.
Seavey's 1.154 second lead was eradicated with the stoppage, and the beneficiary soon after was Cottle. In one fell swoop, Cottle drove under both Cummins and Seavey to advance from third to first on lap 19. With five to go, Cottle’s seemingly healthy lead stood at more than a full second until Seavey tracked him down to earn his first series win since June of 2022 at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway.
The confidence and swagger for Seavey and the 2B Racing team has rekindled of late after what has been a trying season that has had the team outside of the top-10 in the series point standings all year long. But the team stuck with it, and finally, good fortune was theirs in the end.
“These guys are doing everything they can to make this car good for us,” Seavey praised. “We’ve had some good runs and we’ve also struggled a lot too. Scott (Benic), Derek (Claxton), Matt (Meeks), Kevin Newton and everyone who works on this thing has put in the time and effort and has not given up. There have been a lot of nights where we were all just looking at each other not knowing what we were doing wrong. They brought in a new car this week and it drove really good all day. Hopefully we can keep this speed up for the rest of the year.”
For Shane Cottle (Kansas, Ill.), it was a frustrating end to what was a spectacular performance which saw him nearly win his first USAC feature of the season. But just like the end of his USAC Silver Crown run at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in August, his winning expedition was ripped away in the waning laps by Seavey. Nonetheless, Cottle earned Honest Abe Roofing Fast Qualifying honors to open the night, then drove his Epperson Racing/Epperson Painting – PPG Paints/DRC/Claxton Chevy to a season-best second place result.
“I don’t know what I could’ve done differently,” Cottle lamented. “I was good around the bottom, and I kept hearing him for about two or three laps. All I could do was just keep hitting my marks. He was just better than I was. It’s just one of them deals.”
Mired back in the 14th starting spot, Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) had a long road to hoe on his way to a third-place result in his Ballou Motorsports/The Boss Builder’s Outlet Super Store – Dragonfly Aviation/Twister-X/Ott Chevy. That effort of 11 positions gained earned Ballou hard charger honors for the evening.
“You’ve just got to go where they’re not, so I picked the middle land,” Ballou explained. “At the beginning, they were kind of dicing around the bottom. I went a lane above them and got by some guys that are normally really difficult to pass. I think I must’ve caught them by surprise. The seas kind of parted, so I moved to the middle, and we were okay until about 10 to go and I just kind of lost a little drive. These top-five to 10 guys are extremely tough and they’ve got really good crews and they’ve got really good engines and they’ve got their package together. I’ve been just a tick off all season and we’re finally starting to creep around to where I think we’re almost in a stride.”
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Logan Seavey (2), 2. Shane Cottle (6), 3. Robert Ballou (14), 4. Kyle Cummins (4), 5. Brady Bacon (11), 6. Matt Westfall (7), 7. Justin Grant (5), 8. Mitchel Moles (15), 9. Emerson Axsom (19), 10. C.J. Leary (3), 11. Thomas Meseraull (20), 12. Brent Beauchamp (9), 13. Chance Crum (22), 14. Jake Swanson (10), 15. Daison Pursley (12), 16. Chase Stockon (17), 17. Brandon Mattox (16), 18. Jack Hoyer (21), 19. Kody Swanson (18), 20. Trey Osborne (13), 21. Jadon Rogers (8), 22. Carson Garrett (1). NT
USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-2043, 2-Brady Bacon-2034, 3-Kyle Cummins-1916, 4-Emerson Axsom-1911, 5-Jake Swanson-1876, 6-C.J. Leary-1803, 7-Robert Ballou-1721, 8-Chase Stockon-1583, 9-Mitchel Moles-1544, 10-Logan Seavey-1494.