Plainfield, IN - As the largest weekend in non wing sprint car racing in Indiana comes to a close Chad Boespflug and his NineEight Motorsports / EZR Team are pleased with their results in the Kokomo Smackdown. Kokomo Speedway in Kokomo, IN played host to the 5th annual three day event that draws some of the toughest non wing competition all season long. Despite the flooding rains, high winds, and even tornado's that took place throughout the entire weekend the O'Connor family provided a great racing surface all three days. Two preliminary nights of racing were not only complete USAC shows, but drivers earned points in qualifying, heats, and mains both nights to rank them for Saturday's Smackdown Finale.
Night 1 45 Amsoil USAC National Sprint Cars filled the pits in hopes of be the first to #ParkIt in BC's Victory Lane. The O'Connor family dedicated Kokomo Speedway's victory lane to Clauson during Wednesday's Celebration of Life. Boespflug was hungry to be the first to do so and was fast right out of the gate setting the bar high in ProSource qualifying taking the top spot early, but was surpassed by two drivers and would end up 3rd quick overall. A deep heat race invert starting position was expected as the first two nights followed traditional USAC format. Making his way through the heat race field did not seem to be a problem for the 6th place starter as he secured the second position. He chased down Tyler Thomas, the heat race leader, but had to let off and drop back to avoid contact with Thomas as he biked in turn 3 & 4. Boespflug avoided contact with Thomas as he regained control of the 04 and settled into 2nd behind him to finish the heat race. Finishing 13th after starting 5th was not the results Boespflug and the team had hoped for with such a strong car early in the night.
"We just missed the setup in the main and backed up to 13th. Our strong run in qualifying and the heat saved us in overall points." - Boespflug reflected on Night 1.
Another strong qualifying lap would start off Night 2 as Boespflug took over the top qualifying position yet again, but this time it was good enough to hold on through the remaining qualifiers. Earning his 2nd USAC ProSource Quick Time award of the season over 42 cars Boespflug was off to another good start to the night. He went on to advanced through his heat race into the main finishing 3rd after starting 6th. Boespflug advanced to 4th early in the main after starting 6th and was right in the mix as the top three battled for the lead just ahead of him. As the track changed and the bottom got a little better veteran Shane Cottle was able to slip by in the last few laps. Boespflug held on to finish 5th in the AMain.
Following the first two nights accumulated points were tallied locking the top 8 in points into the King of the Hill Challenge for Saturday. Boespflug was ranked 5th overall and would face 4th ranked CJ Leary in the first round of KOTH. Beating Leary in round 1 moved Boespflug on to face #1 ranked Thomas Meseraull where he was defeated in round 2, but locked in to the 3rd starting postion for the 40 lap Smackdown Finale. Boespflug put together 40 strong laps chasing down the leader after moving into the second position before halfway. Boespflug ran the top in 1 and 2 and the bottom in 3 and 4 trying to gain ground on the leader Kevin Thomas, Jr but did not have enough to take over the top spot.
"We had a strong car all weekend. I wish we could have had better results on Thursday, but two top fives for the weekend and a podium finish Saturday is the best Smackdown results I have had personally. I am fortunate to have made all 5 Smackdown AMains and have been able to improve each year. I have to thank my guys for toughing it out through the rain, mud, and heat to put a great car together for me all weekend. Now i'll take advantage of the break in the USAC National schedule and head home to Cali for California Sprint Week." - Chad Boespflug
Boespflug has been given the opportunity to compete in the entire USAC / CRA California Sprint week beginning Friday, September 3rd in the Alan Kaiser Special. The six race stretch begins at Calistoga Speedway for the 2 day 9th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic. He will then travel to Petaluma, Chico, and Watsonville before finishing the week at his home track in Hanford, CA.
"I always look forward to being able to race back in Cali when the opportunity presents itself. I was unable to make the trip last year due to a scheduling conflict, but all of the right things have fallen into place for me to be able to make the trip to compete in the whole week this year for Alan Kaiser. Being able to travel for racing is difficult at times since I have a full time job outside of racing, but thankfully they have been understanding and have allowed me to travel quite a bit lately. The nice thing is I have the ability to work away from the office as well, that allows me to race the whole week instead of just a few days. Alan has nice equipment so hopefully we click right of the bat and I can do my part and we'll have a successful week." Boespflug discusses heading home to California.
Thank You to All Continued Supporting Partners:
Amsoil, Bell Helmets, Butlerbuilt Seats, B & W Auto Mart, Claxton Engines, Creative Finishing, DLG, FK Indy, HRP, Indy Race Parts, Manvel Motorsports, Maxim Racing, Midwest Shades, PAC Racing Springs, RevvedUp Industries, Rockwell Time, Schroeder Torsion Bars, Shaws, Simpson Race Products, and STIDA.
Smackdown Night 1 at Kokomo Speedway: 8/25: Qualifying: 3rd / 45 Cars - Heat Race: S 6th F 2nd - AMain: S 5th F 13th
Smackdown Night 2 at Kokomo Speedway: 8/26:Qualifying: 1st / 43 Cars - Heat Race: S 6th F 3rd - AMain: S 6th F 5th
Smackdown Night 3 at Kokomo Speedway: 8/27: Overall Pts: 5th - KOTH: 3rd - AMain: S 3rd F 2nd
9/3 - Calistoga Speedway - Calistoga, CA - Louie Vermeil Classic USAC/CRA California Sprint Week
9/4 - Calistoga Speedway - Calistoga, CA - Louie Vermeil Classic USAC/CRA California Sprint Week
9/5 - Petaluma Speedway - Petaluma, CA - USAC/CRA California Sprint Week
9/8 - Silver Dolla Speedway - Chico, CA - USAC/CRA California Sprint Week
9/9 - Ocean Speedway - Watsonville, CA - USAC/CRA California Sprint Week
9/10 - Keller Auto Speedway - Hanford, CA - USAC/CRA California Sprint Week
Photo Credits: TeeJay Crawford and NineEight Motorsports