Meseraull all fired up in Lakeside sprint victory

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June 26, 2016  |  by Richie Murray

In a battle between the two most consistent drivers throughout the 2016 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car season, Thomas Meseraull prevailed through the early rain and a brief fire on his car during a red flag period in the feature, sneaking underneath Brady Bacon on the bottom of turn four as the two raced to the white flag and holding on to take his second series victory of the year.

Heavy showers just prior to the original starting time delayed the proceedings for more than an hour. When the cars hit the track for the first time at a quarter after seven, it was evident the track was going to be heavy and hammer down.

Thomas Meseraull drove home the point in ProSource Qualifying, breaking Chase Stockon’s one-day old USAC Sprint Car track record at the 4/10-mile dirt oval by more than three-tenths of a second. That would position the San Jose, California driver outside of the third row for the start of the 30-lap feature.

On the start, Dave Darland darted out front from the pole position to lead the opening lap with Brady Bacon in tow.

By the fifth lap, Bacon was challenging for the top spot as he worked the bottom and Darland held court up top. The next five circuits all appeared as mirror images of each other with Bacon edging ahead entering turn four and Darland using the momentum off the top to race past Bacon to reach the flagstand first each time.

On lap 10, Darland and Bacon encountered the lapped car of Terry Richards as the two entered turn three. With the line up on the cushion occupied by Richards, Darland switched lanes to the middle of the track between three and four. Bacon seized the opportunity, slipping by Darland on the bottom to take the point with 21 to go.

On the ensuing restart after a caution for the stopped car of Riley Kreisel, Bacon stretched his lead over Darland by a half-straight margin. But, by lap 20, Bacon had gained new company.

With 11 to go, Meseraull motored by Darland for second off the fourth turn and now had his radar locked on the distant Bacon.

In the midst of Bacon putting Clinton Boyles a lap down on the 22nd lap, Boyles vaulted over Bacon’s right rear tire with his own left rear, sending Boyles hard into the turn two outside wall with the right rear wheel first before helicoptering around 360 degrees in mid-air, landing and flopping over to the right side, and then coming to a rest on all fours. Boyles was uninjured.

Under the red flag period that brought a stoppage to the action, flames began to shoot out of the left side of second-running Meseraull’s machine. The safety crew was able to extinguish the fire, but not before the flames singed the left side body work of the Amati Racing number 66.

Though it appeared as a somewhat serious situation at first, Meseraull was able to restart without an issue from the second position, right on Bacon’s tail for the lap 22 restart.

Bacon got a nice jump on the field on the restart, putting a little breathing room between himself and Meseraull up front.

Two laps later, Meseraull was able to close in a flash, amazingly laying down some of his fastest laps of the race during the late stretch of laps.

Like one of the ghosts in a game of Pac-Man, Meseraull tracked Bacon down, rapidly erasing the distance between himself and Bacon as the final handful of laps ticked away.

On lap 26, Meseraull was two car lengths back; on lap 27, one length back. On lap 28, Meseraull had Bacon in his crosshairs and was ready to fire.


Thomas Meseraull won Sunday night's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at Lakeside Speedway.

Meseraull was able to pull even with Bacon midway down the back straightaway with two to go and, with the white flag in the air, Meseeraull pounced to the front to pull ahead of Bacon exiting turn four.

Meseraull finished out the night in the same manner he started it in qualifying: with his number 66 listed at the top of the scoreboard after taking the checkered flag in front of Bacon, Chris Windom, Chase Stockon and Chad Boespflug.

The familiar refrain “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain” is a tune that played out to reality in Sunday night’s event at Lakeside Speedway with competitors and fans able to withstand the rain early on as well as witness Meseraull’s resilience, coming back from a burning car near the midway point of the feature to standing in victory lane at night’s end after picking up his fourth career series win in his Amati Racing/Marion Underground Construction – Zeller Construction/DRC/Dynotech.

“I was chasing Brady (Bacon) and I finally decided I was maybe good enough to do something with him,” Meseraull said. “I saw (Dave) Darland moving around people pretty good on the outside earlier, so I just got it in a little higher and got myself diamonded off of (turn) two. On that lap, Brady moved up just enough and I got underneath him. I love racing Brady. He gave me room and he raced me clean.”

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Bacon grabbed second in his Dynamics, Inc./Mean Green – Lykins Oil/Triple X/Williams Mopar. Despite the disappointment of seeing the win slip through his fingers in the final laps, Bacon lost minimal ground – two points to be exact - in the championship race to Meseraull, his nearest challenger, after earning his seventh consecutive top-4 finish. He now holds a 59-point advantage heading into the 2nd annual “Bill Gardner Sprintacular” at Putnamville, Indiana’s Lincoln Park Speedway on July 1.

“I had an extremely successful Midwest swing,” Bacon noted. “I’m disappointed to come up short at the end here at Lakeside, but I can’t complain too much about second-place. My tires went away a little after that red and I lost just enough grip that enabled (Meseraull) to get by.”

Windom, of Canton, Illinois, drove his Baldwin Brothers Racing/Fox Paving – AMSOIL/Maxim/Claxton Mopar to a third-place finish Sunday night.

“Track position was a big key tonight,” Windom acknowledged. “We qualified well and it put us up front. We anticipated to stay on the top, so we tightened the car up a little too much. We did a few things that hurt us when (the groove) moved to the bottom, but (the car) was actually really good around the bottom. We held on. We weren’t a winning car tonight, but we’ll take a top-three to finish off this weekend.”

Fifth-place finisher Boespflug pocketed the Weld Racing $1000 bonus.

Contingency award winners at Lakeside included Thomas Meseraull (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Chris Windom (Simpson Race Products First Heat Race Winner), Chase Stockon (Competition Suspension, Inc. (CSI) Second Heat Race Winner), Robert Ballou (Benic Enterprises/Indy Race Parts Third Heat Race Winner), Isaac Chapple (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Rob Caho, Jr. (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Feature Finisher).

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USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: June 26, 2016 – Kansas City, Kansas – Lakeside Speedway

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Thomas Meseraull, 66, Amati-16.712 (New Track Record); 2. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-16.871; 3. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-16.908; 4. Chris Windom 5, Baldwin-17.117; 5. Max McGhee, 17, McGhee-17.139; 6. Dave Darland, 11, Walker/Curb-Agajanian-17.148; 7. Aaron Farney, 15F, Farney-17.212; 8. Bret Mellenberndt, 97, Mellenberndt-17.231; 9. Robert Ballou, 1, Ballou-17.291; 10. Chad Boespflug, 98E, NineEight/EZR-17.293; 11. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-17.297; 12. C.J. Leary, 17GP, Dutcher-17.348; 13. Chris Parkinson, 65, Parkinson-17.507; 14. Joe Bares, 19, TEST-17.549; 15. Rob Caho, Jr., 78, Caho-17.592; 16. Riley Kreisel, 90, Smith-17.605; 17. Danny Thoman, 27, Thoman-17.787; 18. Clinton Boyles, 77, Hockett-17.844; 19. Wyatt Burks, 11R, Rumsey/Clausen-18.285; 20. Kenny Potter, 55, Potter-18.449; 21. Terry Richards, 18, TR’s Tool Service-18.469; 22. Warren Johnson, 42, Johnson-NT, 23. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR-NT; 24. Cody Baker, 9, Hall-NT.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Boespflug, 3. Farney, 4. Parkinson, 5. Meseraull, 6. Kreisel, 7. Burks, 8. Johnson. 2:22.40

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. Simon, 3. Mellenberndt, 4. McGhee, 5. Chapple, 6. Potter, 7. Thoman, 8. Bares. NT

BENIC ENTERPRISES/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Ballou, 2. Bacon, 3. Caho, 4. Darland, 5. Leary, 6. Boyles, 7. Richards. 2:20.21 (New Track Record)

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Thomas Meseraull, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Chase Stockon, 5. Chad Boespflug, 6. Dave Darland, 7. Isaac Chapple, 8. C.J. Leary, 9. Aaron Farney, 10. Landon Simon, 11. Robert Ballou, 12. Bret Mellenberndt, 13. Rob Caho, Jr., 14. Max McGhee, 15. Chris Parkinson, 16. Wyatt Burks, 17. Terry Richards, 18. Clinton Boyles, 19. Riley Kreisel, 20. Danny Thoman, 21. Kenny Potter, 22. Warren Johnson. NT

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**Bares flipped during the second heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 Darland, Laps 10-28 Bacon, Laps 29-30 Meseraull.

KSE HARD CHARGER: Isaac Chapple (22nd to 7th).

WELD RACING MOVE OF THE NIGHT: Chad Boespflug.

NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Bacon-1,417, 2-Meseraull-1,358. 3-Stockon-1,277, 4-Ballou-1,252, 5-Darland-1,224, 6-Leary-1,174, 7-Boespflug-1,116, 8-McGhee-1,014, 9-Windom-978, 10-Farney-845.