KANSAS CITY, Kan. (August 18, 2007) – Robert Ballou put the wraps on the Third Annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless Midwest Swing by posting a commanding victory in Saturday night's $10,000-to-win 30-lap Ron Shuman Classic at Lakeside Speedway.
Ballou wired the field for his third consecutive TNT win of the week and earned a share of the Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing championship, as he and Tim Kaeding ended up knotted atop the point charts to become TNT co-champions splitting first and second place money of $2,500 and $1,500 to earn $2,000 apiece.
After winning Friday night's preliminary feature to earn the pole position for Saturday's finale, Ballou gunned into the lead at the outset on Saturday night and led throughout aboard the Don Ott-powered MPHG Promotions No. 81 Maxim to post his fourth career series victory.
And he did it without the help of any brakes over the final two-thirds of the race.
"I lost my brakes after that yellow flag nine laps into the race," Ballou explained in victory lane. "I was lucky we got those cautions when we did, otherwise Tim (Kaeding) probably would have got by me in lapped traffic."
In addition to the $10,000 winner's share, Ballou also earned the coveted pedal car trophy annually awarded to the Lakeside Speedway wingless winner. "That's what I really wanted was that pedal car."
Ballou got the jump on fellow front row starter Brady Short at the drop of the green flag and quickly raced away from the field as Short held off Kaeding for second.
The race's first caution flew after nine laps when Neil Shepherd got into the turn one wall, erasing Ballou's half straightaway lead. On the ensuing restart, Kaeding blasted around Short for second and tried unsuccessfully to keep pace with the fleet Ballou.
Four laps later, the caution flew again when Gary Taylor came to a stop on the backstretch. Taylor, piloting the mount driven by Cody Cordell earlier in the week after junking his primary mount on Friday night, rejoined the field at the tail.
With Ballou and Kaeding leading the way, Hockett battled past Short for third at the midway point. Kaeding began to reel Ballou in as lapped traffic came into play, but a caution after 24 laps for Mat Neely gave Ballou all the clear track he needed for the final six laps.
Ballou raced away from the field once again to secure the win, with Kaeding and Hockett taking the final podium positions. Teen shoe Hunter Schuerenberg posted his top finish of the week by advancing four positions to claim fourth, with Don Droud, Jr., also turning in his strongest drive of the week by racing from 11th to round out the top five as Short slipped to sixth in the final rounds.
After missing his heat race when his flight from Silver Crown in action in Springfield was delayed, Dave Darland won the "B" Main and then charged from 21st to seventh in the feature, with 16-year-old Cole Whitt, Cory Kruseman and 17th-starter Damion Gardner completing the top ten.
Taylor, Whitt, Chris Windom and Gardner topped heat race action, with Charles Davis, Jr., Chris Morgan, Kruseman and Casey Shuman winning the qualifying races.
Twenty different drivers competed in all five rounds of the Third Annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing, including Ballou, Kaeding, Hockett, Whitt, Short, Kruseman, Shuman, Shepherd, Gardner, Neely, Davis, Schuerenberg, Michael Trimble, Chad Boat, R.J. Johnson, Droud, Jesse Mack, Mike Leslie, Bret Mellenberndt and Tony Everhart.
Sixty-eight drivers competed in at least one event over the course of the week.
O’Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless Lakeside Speedway Ron Shuman Classic Saturday Results:
Locked in from Friday Night's Preliminary Feature:
81-Robert Ballou, 2b-Brady Short, 10k-Tim Kaeding, 75-Jesse Hockett.
First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 5c-Gary Taylor, 2. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 3. 30-Chad Boat, 4. 4-Casey Shuman, 5. 65-Chris Parkinson, 6. 12b-Mike Boyer, 7. 71m-Jesse Mack, 8. 75g-Rob Hockett. DNS: 11-Levi Jones.
Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 29w-Cole Whitt, 2. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 3. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 4. 11w-Ricky Williams, 5. 21L-Mike Lefholz, 6. 20-Ron Lefholz, 7. 97-Bret Mellenberndt. DNS: 10-Dave Darland.
Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 17-Chris Windom, 2. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 3. 96c-Jim Cameron, 4. 7c-Chris Morgan, 5. 76-Mike Leslie, 6. 69-Mike Moore, 7. 18-Tim Newman. DNS: 92J-J.R. Topper.
Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 71-Damion Gardner, 2. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 3. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 4. 15-R.J. Johnson, 5. 21-Michael Trimble, 6. 55-Tony Everhart. DNS: 17n-Mat Neely, 36L-Joe Larkin, Jr.
Qualifying Races – Top 16 in Combined Passing Points from Heats & Qualifiers to "A" Feature; Balance to "B" Main
First Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 2. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 3. 71m-Jesse Mack, 4. 65-Chris Parkinson, 5. 69-Mike Moore, 6. 71-Damion Gardner, 7. 17-Chris Windom. DNS: 11-Levi Jones, 36L-Joe Larkin, Jr.
Second Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 7c-Chris Morgan, 2. 5c-Gary Taylor, 3. 10-Dave Darland, 4. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 5. 96c-Jim Cameron, 6. 21L-Mike Lefholz, 7. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 8. 12b-Mike Boyer.
Third Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 2. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 3. 76-Mike Leslie, 4. 30-Chad Boat, 5. 20-Ron Lefholz, 6. 18-Tim Newman, 7. 11w-Ricky Williams. DNS: 92J-J.R. Topper.
Fourth Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 4-Casey Shuman, 2. 29w-Cole Whitt, 3. 17n-Mat Neely, 4. 15-R.J. Johnson, 5. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 6. 75g-Rob Hockett, 7. 55-Tony Everhart, 8. 21-Michael Trimble.
"B" Main – Top 4 Advance to "A" Main
"B" Feature (15 Laps): 1. 10-Dave Darland, 2. 76-Mike Leslie, 3. 17n-Mat Neely, 4. 11w-Ricky Williams, 5. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 6. 69-Mike Moore, 7. 18-Tim Newman, 8. 20-Ron Lefholz, 9. 75b-Rob Hockett, 10. 21L-Mike Lefholz, 11. 12b-Mike Boyer, 12. 65-Chris Parkinson, 13. 55-Tony Everhart, 14. 92J-J.R. Topper. DNS: 21-Michael Trimble, 11-Levi Jones, 36L-Joe Larkin, Jr.
O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Lakeside Speedway Ron Shuman Classic "A” Main
“A” Main (30 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 10k-Tim Kaeding, 3. 75-Jesse Hockett, 4. 10T-Hunter Schuerenberg, 5. 2J-Don Droud, Jr., 6. 2b-Brady Short, 7. 10-Dave Darland, 8. 29w-Cole Whitt, 9. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 10. 71-Damion Gardner, 11. 17-Chris Windom, 12. 21s-Charles Davis, Jr., 13. 15-R.J. Johnson, 14. 4-Casey Shuman, 15. 11d-Dustin Morgan, 16. 30-Chad Boat, 17. 17n-Mat Neely, 18. 11w-Ricky Williams, 19. 5c-Gary Taylor, 20. 96c-Jim Cameron, 21. 71m-Jesse Mack, 22. 7c-Chris Morgan, 23. 4n-Neil Shepherd, 24. 76-Mike Leslie.
Lap Leaders: Robert Ballou 1-30.
Final O'Reilly Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing Points (Top 25): 1. (tie) Robert Ballou and Tim Kaeding 726, 3. Jesse Hockett 686, 4. Cole Whitt 664, 5. Brady Short 662, 6. Cory Kruseman 632, 7. Casey Shuman 626, 8. Neil Shepherd 616, 9. Damion Gardner 602, 10. Mat Neely 590, 11. Charles Davis, Jr. 575, 12. Hunter Schuerenberg 560, 13. Michael Trimble 555, 14. Dave Darland 554, 15. Chris Windom 544, 16. Chad Boat 537, 17. R.J. Johnson 536, 18. Don Droud, Jr. 534, 19. Jesse Mack 492, 20. Mike Leslie 486, 21. Dustin Morgan 484, 22. Gary Taylor 474, 23. Bret Mellenberndt 445, 24. Bud Kaeding 428, 25. Jerry Coons, Jr. 380.