SAPULPA, Okla. (August 16, 2007) – Rocklin, California's Robert Ballou became the third different winner in as many rounds of the Third Annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless Midwest Swing by charging to victory lane in Thursday night's 30-lap feature at Creek County Speedway.
After starting tenth aboard the Don Ott-powered MPHG Promotions No. 81 Maxim, Ballou raced around early pacesetter Tim Kaeding for the lead on the fifth lap and led the rest of the way to post his second career Sprint Bandits TNT triumph by 1.638 seconds over Bud Kaeding, with Tim Kaeding taking the show position.
"We struggled a little bit earlier in the night, but the car was great for the feature," the 18-year-old commented from victory lane. "I thought we'd be alright here, this isn't any smaller than some of the places we race back home," Ballou explained of the ¼-mile Creek County Speedway oval.
After a rocky start to the feature that included several cautions in the opening rounds, the final 20 circuits clicked off with but just one late interruption.
Entering the night atop the Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing point charts, Tim Kaeding earned the pole position for the first wingless 410-ci Sprint Car feature in Creek County Speedway history by winning both his heat and qualifying races.
Kaeding outgunned fellow front row starter Brady Short for the early lead, with the caution flying on the third lap when 15-year-old Chad Boat of Phoenix, AZ, looped his mount in turn two while battling for second, collecting Cole Whitt and Jerry Coons, Jr., in the process. Coons was done, while Boat rejoined the field before exiting a lap later when the caution reappeared for Kevin Battles' turn one spin.
In those opening two circuits, Ballou had used the high side of track to pick off several positions and gained three more spots when Boat spun to climb to second behind Kaeding.
After Mat Neely nearly turned over in turn two while battling among the top five and coming to a stop a lap later, Ballou went to Kaeding's outside and took command.
After two more minor cautions over the next several laps, the red flag flew after ten rounds for Damion Gardner, who went for a high flyer after being squeezed into the backstretch wall entering turn three. Gardner was uninjured but done for the night.
Ballou set sail on the restart, slipping away to a half straightaway advantage in front of Bud Kaeding, who had battled past his brother Tim Kaeding by the tenth round.
Even when Ballou encountered lapped traffic on the 19th lap, he maintained his lead by running the high line masterfully and picking off several lapped cars before the race's final caution flew after 23 laps when Michael Trimble and Jamie Passmore tangled on the backstretch while racing for eighth position.
Ballou went unchallenged over the final seven circuits, slipping away from the field once again and pulling a wheelie the length of the front straightaway as he flashed underneath Will Hale's checkered flag.
Bud Kaeding and Tim Kaeding earned second and third, respectively, with reigning Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing champion Jesse Hockett crossing the stripe fourth.
Wednesday night winner Chris Windom advanced from 14th to fifth in front of Tuesday winner Dave Darland and Cory Kruseman. Whitt rebounded from the early incident to claim eighth, with Gary Taylor also bouncing back from an incident on the fifth lap to snare ninth. Brady Short completed the top ten.
Ballou, Whitt, T. Kaeding, Gardner and Darland topped heat race action for the 42-car field, with Boat, T. Kaeding, Short, Windom and Neil Shepherd victorious in qualifying race action.
Dustin Morgan won the first 12-lap "B" Main, with Trimble topping the second "B" Main. Charles Davis, Jr., surrendered the early lead in the first "B" Main with a cut right rear tire, while Hunter Schuerenberg suffered race-ending mechanical woes while leading midway through the second "B" Main.
Matt Rossi's night came to an early end when he tumbled wildly off of turn one and into the pit area fencing on the opening lap of the night's fifth heat race. Danny Jennings was caught up in the melee as well, also turning over. Rossi was uninjured, while Jennings returned for "B" Main action.
The Third Annual O'Reilly Sprints TNT Midwest Swing concludes with two nights of action at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, KS, on Friday and Saturday, with Saturday night's Ron Shuman Classic offering up a $10,000 winner's share.
O’Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless Creek County Speedway Results:
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr., 3. 9x-Kevin Battles, 4. 42-Dean Franklin, 5. 4J-Jamie Passmore, 6. 4-Casey Shuman, 7. 52-Roy Larkin, 8. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 9. 22-Koby Barksdale.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 29w-Cole Whitt, 2. 75-Jesse Hockett, 3. 17n-Mat Neely, 4. 92-Gary Taylor, 5. 15-R.J. Johnson, 6. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 7. 76-Mike Leslie, 8. 5c-Cody Cordell, 9. 8-Rodger Eckhardt.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 2. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 3. 2b-Brady Short, 4. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 5. 17-Chris Windom, 6. 55-Tony Everhart, 7. 7s-Jake Simmons, 8. 75x-Jac Wallace.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 71-Damion Gardner, 2. 29-Bud Kaeding, 3. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 4. 21-Michael Trimble, 5. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 6. 71m-Jesse Mack, 7. 41-Brent Swift, 8. 27-Andy Shouse.
Fifth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 10-Dave Darland, 2. 30-Chad Boat, 3. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 4. 12-Trey Robb, 5. 71T-Tim Simmons, 6. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 7. 02-Matt Rossi, 8. 8k-Danny Jennings.
Qualifying Races – Top 16 in Combined Passing Points from Heats & Qualifiers to "A" Feature; Balance to Twin "B" Mains
First Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 30-Chad Boat, 2. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr., 3. 29w-Cole Whitt, 4. 9x-Kevin Battles, 5. 4J-Jamie Passmore, 6. 71m-Jesse Mack, 7. 52-Roy Larkin, 8. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 9. 22-Koby Barksdale.
Second Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 2. 17n-Mat Neely, 3. 4-Casey Shuman, 4. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 5. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 6. 5c-Cody Cordell, 7. 76-Mike Leslie, 8. 71T-Tim Simmons, 9. 8-Rodger Eckhardt.
Third Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 2b-Brady Short, 2. 75-Jesse Hockett, 3. 15-R.J. Johnson, 4. 81-Robert Ballou, 5. 42-Dean Franklin, 6. 75x-Jac Wallace, 7. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 8. 7s-Jake Simmons.
Fourth Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 17-Chris Windom, 2. 92-Gary Taylor, 3. 10-Dave Darland, 4. 71-Damion Gardner, 5. 21-Michael Trimble, 6. 55-Tony Everhart, 7. 41-Brent Swift. DNS: 27-Andy Shouse.
Fifth Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 2. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 3. 29-Bud Kaeding, 4. 12-Trey Robb, 5. 15k-Kerry McAlister, 6. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr. DNS: 02-Matt Rossi, 8k-Danny Jennings.
Twin "B" Mains – Top 3 from Each Advance to "A" Main
First "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 2. 4-Casey Shuman, 3. 4J-Jamie Passmore, 4. 15-R.J. Johnson, 5. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 6. 52-Roy Larkin, 7. 71T-Tim Simmons, 8. 8-Rodger Eckhardt, 9. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 10. 41-Brent Swift, 11. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 12. 15k-Kerry McAlister. DNS: 27-Andy Shouse.
Second "B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 21-Michael Trimble, 2. 5c-Cody Cordell, 3. 9x-Kevin Battles, 4. 71m-Jesse Mack, 5. 42-Dean Franklin, 6. 76-Mike Leslie, 7. 75x-Jac Wallace, 8. 7s-Jake Simmons, 9. 55-Tony Everhart, 10. 8k-Danny Jennings, 11. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 12. 22-Koby Barksdale. DNS: 02-Matt Rossi.
O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Creek County Speedway "A” Main
“A” Main (30 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 29-Bud Kaeding, 3. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 4. 75-Jesse Hockett, 5. 17-Chris Windom, 6. 10-Dave Darland, 7. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 8. 29w-Cole Whitt, 9. 92-Gary Taylor, 10. 2b-Brady Short, 11. 5c-Cody Cordell, 12. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 13. 4-Casey Shuman, 14. 4J-Jamie Passmore, 15. 21-Michael Trimble, 16. 9x-Kevin Battles, 17. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 18. 12-Trey Robb, 19. 71-Damion Gardner, 20. 17n-Mat Neely, 21. 30-Chad Boat, 22. 69-Jerry Coons, Jr.
Lap Leaders: Tim Kaeding 1-4, Robert Ballou 5-30.
O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing Points (Top 25 Through Three of Five Rounds): 1. Tim Kaeding 436, 2. Bud Kaeding 438, 3. Robert Ballou 426, 4. Dave Darland 418, 5. Chris Windom 416, 6. Cole Whitt 406, 7. Jesse Hockett 400, 8. Cory Kruseman 384, 9. Jerry Coons, Jr. 380, 10. Brady Short 378, 11. Casey Shuman 374, 12. Neil Shepherd 372, 13. Michael Trimble 354, 14. Damion Gardner 340, 15. Mat Neely 338, 16. R.J. Johnson 337, 17. Charles Davis, Jr. 335, 18. Chad Boat 297, 19. Hunter Schuerenberg 280, 20. Mike Leslie 266, 21. Jesse Mack and Trey Robb 264, 23. Bret Mellenberndt 262, 24. (tie) Matt Rossi and Don Droud, Jr. 260.