SOUTH COFFEYVILLE, Okla. (August 15, 2007) – Sixteen-year-old Chris Windom of Canton, IL, posted the biggest win of his young career by pocketing $4,000 in Wednesday night's 25-lap O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless feature at Mid-America Speedway, the second leg of the series Third Annual Midwest Swing.
Windom took quick advantage of Mat Neely's early misfortune and then held off a late charge from Tim Kaeding to take the checkered flag in the BORN Paint Company No. 17 DRC-chassis by a mere two car-lengths.
Windom led a charge of three teen aged shoes among the top four finishers, with 16-year-old Cole Whitt finishing a close third behind fellow California racer Kaeding and then 18-year-old Robert Ballou of Rocklin, CA, in fourth. Defending Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing champion Jesse Hockett of Warsaw, MO, rounded out the top five.
"My car kept getting tighter there near the end of the race," Windom explained in victory lane. "I knew Tim (Kaeding) and those guys were right on me and if I slipped up the track just a little bit they'd race right by me."
But Windom held his line like an experienced professional to become the youngest winner in Sprint Bandits TNT history.
Windom earned the front row outside starting position for the feature through heat race and qualifying race action as wingless 410-ci Sprint Cars debuted at Mid-America Speedway, but it was fellow Illinois racer Mat Neely gunning into the early lead from the pole position.
Neely held the early lead over Windom and fourth-starter Kaeding, with the first caution flying after just three laps when fifth-starter Gary Taylor came to a stop in turn three with a cut right rear tire. Almost simultaneously, 18th-starting Cory Kruseman suffered front-end damage after jumping Neil Shepherd's right rear tire and retired to the infield. Taylor rejoined the chase after putting on fresh rubber.
Action was halted again two laps later when Shepherd and Brady Short tangled entering turn one, with the ensuing restart waved off when Jesse Mack and Cody Cordell got together in turn one as well.
With the field set to return to green flag racing, Neely came to a stop near the end of the backstretch with power steering box woes, denying what could have been his first Sprint Bandits TNT triumph.
Windom assumed the point on the restart and asserted himself in short order by establishing a half straightaway lead over Kaeding and Whitt by the race's midway point. But Windom's lead would soon start to shrink as lapped traffic became a factor.
Kaeding and Whitt closed the gap and were on Windom's tail tank over the final laps. Windom picked off a pair of lapped cars at opportune times to establish the slightest amount of breathing room, albeit temporarily as Kaeding and Whitt would follow soon after.
Kaeding closed to Windom's rear bumper on the final lap and pressured the leader through the final pair of corners. Not phased by the pressure, Windom held steady and beat Kaeding to the stripe. Kaeding settled for a close second-place finish for the second time in as many nights and took over the O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing points lead.
Right on Kaeding's heels was Whitt in third, with Ballou and Hockett next across the line.
Bud Kaeding advanced a handful of positions to claim sixth, with Charles Davis, Jr., Jerry Coons, Jr., Dustin Morgan and 16th-starter Dave Darland completing the top ten.
With 45 cars in the pit area, Neely, Hockett, Whitt, Windom and Taylor topped heat race action while Tim Kaeding, Don Droud, Jr., Ballou, Neely and Davis won the qualifying races.
Short won the first "B" Main with Kruseman topping the second "B" Main.
Dean Franklin was the night's only flip victim when he got upside down on the second lap of the first "B" Main. Franklin was uninjured.
The five-race O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing moves on to Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa, OK, on Thursday night along with the ASCS2 Non-Wing Micro Sprints before wrapping up with two nights at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, KS, on Friday and Saturday.
O’Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless Mid-America Speedway Results:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 17n-Mat Neely, 2. 71-Damion Gardner, 3. 4J-Jamie Passmore, 4. 85s-Forrest Sutherland, 5. 10r-David Wheeler, 6. 4-Casey Shuman, 7. 22J-Jasiel Randolph, 8. 55-Tony Everhart. DNS: 8-Rodger Eckhardt.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 75-Jesse Hockett, 2. 29-Bud Kaeding, 3. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 4. 21-Michael Trimble, 5. 52-Roy Larkin, 6. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 7. 12-Trey Robb, 8. 02-Matt Rossi, 9. 97-Bret Mellenberndt.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 29w-Cole Whitt, 2. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr., 3. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 4. 7s-Tim Simmons, 5. 10-Dave Darland, 6. 87-Brian McClelland, 7. 30-Chad Boat, 8. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 9. 5$-Danny (Okla.) Smith.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 17-Chris Windom, 2. 27-Andy Shouse, 3. 71m-Jesse Mack, 4. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 5. 15-R.J. Johnson, 6. 42-Dean Franklin, 7. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 8. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 9. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg.
Fifth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 92-Gary Taylor, 2. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 3. 5c-Cody Cordell, 4. 81-Robert Ballou, 5. 2b-Brady Short, 6. 76-Mike Leslie, 7. 71T-Jake Simmons, 8. 9x-Larry Carter. DNS: 4d-Danny (Ind.) Smith.
Qualifying Races – Top 16 in Combined Passing Points from Heats & Qualifiers to "A" Feature; Balance to Twin "B" Mains
First Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 2. 10-Dave Darland, 3. 2b-Brady Short, 4. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr., 5. 29w-Cole Whitt, 6. 27-Andy Shouse, 7. 22J-Jasiel Randolph, 8. 55-Tony Everhart. DNS: 97-Bret Mellenberndt.
Second Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 2. 5c-Cody Cordell, 3. 92-Gary Taylor, 4. 17-Chris Windom, 5. 12-Trey Robb, 6. 71m-Jesse Mack, 7. 15-R.J. Johnson, 8. 5$-Danny (Okla.) Smith, 9. 02-Matt Rossi.
Third Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 3. 4-Casey Shuman, 4. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 5. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 6. 42-Dean Franklin, 7. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 8. 30-Chad Boat. DNS: 4J-Jamie Passmore.
Fourth Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 17n-Mat Neely, 2. 10R-David Wheeler, 3. 21-Michael Trimble, 4. 71-Damion Gardner, 5. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 6. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 7. 8-Rodger Eckhardt, 8. 7s-Tim Simmons. DNS: 87-Brian McClelland.
Fifth Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 2. 76-Mike Leslie, 3. 29-Bud Kaeding, 4. 75-Jesse Hockett, 5. 52-Roy Larkin, 6. 9x-Larry Carter, 7. 85s-Forrest Sutherland. DNS: 71T-Jake Simmons, 4d-Danny (Ind.) Smith.
Twin "B" Mains – Top 3 from Each Advance to "A" Main
First "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 2b-Brady Short, 2. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 3. 4-Casey Shuman, 4. 27-Andy Shouse, 5. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 6. 02-Matt Rossi, 7. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 8. 4d-Danny (Ind.) Smith, 9. 22J-Jasiel Randolph, 10. 55-Tony Everhart, 11. 42-Dean Franklin, 12. 52-Roy Larkin, 13. b4-Eric Baldaccini, 14. 71T-Jake Simmons. DNS: 87-Brian McClelland.
Second "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 2. 71m-Jesse Mack, 3. 15-R.J. Johnson, 4. 30-Chad Boat, 5. 10R-David Wheeler, 6. 4J-Jamie Passmore, 7. 76-Mike Leslie, 8. 5$-Danny (Okla.) Smith, 9. 8-Rodger Eckhardt, 10. 85s-Forrest Sutherland, 11. 9x-Larry Carter, 12. 12-Trey Robb, 13. 7s-Tim Simmons. DNS: 97-Bret Mellenberndt.
O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Mid-America Speedway "A” Main
“A” Main (25 Laps): 1. 17-Chris Windom, 2. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 3. 29w-Cole Whitt, 4. 81-Robert Ballou, 5. 75-Jesse Hockett, 6. 29-Bud Kaeding, 7. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 8. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr., 9. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 10. 10-Dave Darland, 11. 4-Casey Shuman, 12. 21-Michael Trimble, 13. 15-R.J. Johnson, 14. 71-Damion Gardner, 15. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 16. 92-Gary Taylor, 17. 2b-Brady Short, 18. 71m-Jesse Mack, 19. 5c-Cody Cordell, 20. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 21. 17n-Mat Neely, 22. 21k-Cory Kruseman.
Lap Leaders: Mat Neely 1-5, Chris Windom 6-25.
O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing Points (Top 25 Through Two of Five Rounds): 1. Tim Kaeding 292, 2. Bud Kaeding 282, 3. Dave Darland 280, 4. (tie) Robert Ballou and Chris Windom 276, 6. Jerry Coons, Jr. 274, 7. Cole Whitt 272, 8. R.J. Johnson 262, 9. Charles Davis, Jr. 260, 10. Jesse Hockett 258, 11. Neil Shepherd 256, 12. Casey Shuman 250, 13. (tie) Cory Kruseman and Brady Short 248, 15. Michael Trimble 234, 16. (tie) Mat Neely and Damion Gardner 228, 18. Hunter Schuerenberg 205, 19. Mike Leslie 191, 20. (tie) Chad Boat and Jesse Mack 189, 22. Bret Mellenberndt 187, 23. (tie) Matt Rossi and Don Droud, Jr. 185, 25. (tie) Tony Everhart, Larry Carter and Trey Robb 150.