Contact Us


Kevin Thomas JR Lays the Smackdown on Night One at Kokomo

Kevin Thomas JR Lays the Smackdown on Night One at Kokomo

Kevin Thomas, Jr. stormed out of the gates on the opening lap and never looked back as he completely dominated all 30 laps to win Thursday night’s “Sprint Car Smackdown V” USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship opener at Kokomo Speedway.

The victory was an emotional one for the Cullman, Alabama native as he became the first driver to roll onto the newly-redesigned victory lane adorned with the late Bryan Clauson’s “BC” logo and, underneath, the words “Parked It” – a phrase that had become synonymous with Clauson throughout his legendary career.

“Winning tonight means everything,” Thomas said in victory lane alongside his 4J Motorsports/Franklin Equipment - CEP Concrete/DRC/Chevy. “We’d come to this place and race for five dollars and this was a lot of people’s ‘place of worship,’ not even just Bryan’s. But it’s special to pull into victory lane and see his name there. It’s hard to hold the emotions back, but there’s no real need to. Every time we showed up here, you knew you had to beat him and that was something that pushed all of us to strive for greatness here. I learned from him and studied what he did here, so it’s special. I’m just glad we could ‘park it.’ As for the rest of our weekend, I’m really confident. We’ve raced here a lot this year, so we’ve seen about every different track condition that could present itself. That’s definitely beneficial, I feel like, so I feel like if we stay out of trouble, we’re going to have a good shot at winning this whole deal.”

When the green flag dropped, Thomas shot out of a cannon from his pole starting position, sliding up in front of outside front row starter Chase Stockon into turn one to grab the lead and quickly distanced himself from the rest of the field.

On the third lap, tenth-running Cole Ketcham slowed to a creep down the front straightaway, creating a hairy moment in the middle of pack. Series point leader Brady Bacon and Jerry Coons, Jr. narrowly avoided catastrophe as they made contact with the rear of Ketcham’s slowing machine. Bacon and Coons would continue on while Ketcham’s night would come to a close.

On the lap three restart, Thomas once again affixed his no. 4J to the top of the leaderboard, but a fierce battle behind him commenced with Dave Darland and Stockon slugging it out for second.

Darland drove it deep into turn three, sliding right across the nose of Stockon with mere inches to spare in turn four, briefly taking the spot, but Stockon was able to counter, turning underneath Darland to beat the four-time track champ to the flag stand to reclaim second.

Darland followed in pursuit of Stockon into turn one as Chris Windom entered the fray on the bottom. Darland used a big run off the cushion at the top of turn two to split between Windom and Stockon down the back straight to grab second and began to set his sights on Thomas, who used the battle behind him to his advantage, extending his lead to one-and-a-half second by lap five.

By the tenth lap, Thomas’ lead over Darland was a full-straightaway, while Windom and Stockon duked it out in a classic duel for third. Lap-after-lap, Windom and Stockon exchanged sliders as they sliced and diced their way past each other throughout much of the middle stages of the 30-lapper.

A yellow for the stopped car of Logan Jarrett erased Thomas’ advantage, but on the restart, Thomas would have the lapped car of Aaron Farney as a buffer between himself and second-running Darland when racing resumed.

Not that Thomas needed the extra help on this particular night, but he would accept it nonetheless, as he pulled away once again on the restart to break away from the pack.

With eight laps to go, Windom began to flex his muscle, sliding past Darland on the bottom of turn four, then beating him in a drag race down the front straightaway to secure the second position. Yet, Windom still found himself over one second back of Thomas with just a handful of laps remaining as he used the bottom to chase down the leader up on the cush.

In the final laps, Windom was able to chip away at the gap between he and Thomas slowly and surely down low, but it would not be enough to run down Thomas as he dominated the contest for all 30 laps to take his second series win of 2016 (Brownstown, Ind.), his 11th career series win and second USAC victory at Kokomo Speedway (2013) over Windom, Darland, Stockon and Justin Grant.

Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois, a two-time Kokomo USAC winner and “Smackdown” preliminary night winner back in the event’s inaugural year of 2012, made a solid charge to second at the checkered after a furious battle between himself and Stockon throughout much of the race in his Baldwin Brothers Racing/Fox Paving – AMSOIL/Maxim/Claxton Mopar.

“I raced Chase (Stockon) hard, but clean, which was a lot of fun,” Windom sail. “I think I just raced too hard for too long, though, which hurts because I think we had the best car. By the time we got to a position to track down KT, it was just too late. We’ll take it from eighth tonight and we’ll just have to try and qualify a little better to give us a better starting spot.”

Kokomo Speedway legend Dave Darland of Lincoln, Indiana knocked out his eighth top-five series finish of the 2016 season, rounding out the podium in third in his Jeff Walker-Curb-Agajanian Racing/Jam-It-In Storage – Hoosier Tire/Maxim/Claxton.

“We were better early in the race than we were late,” Darland acknowledged. “I should’ve made some adjustments in the car, but I didn’t. I didn’t keep up with the track the way I should have, but the track was great. My guys have been teasing me all summer about not running the top enough, so I finally had enough and said ‘I’m going up there.’ We’ll take this third, though, and try to just be a couple better tomorrow and Saturday.”

Contingency award winners Thursday night at Kokomo Speedway included Thomas Meseraull (ProSource Fast Qualifier), C.J. Leary (Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Jon Stanbrough (Competition Suspension, Inc. (CSI) Second Heat Winner & KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Tyler Thomas (Benic Enterprises Third Heat Winner), Hunter Schuerenberg (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Winner) and Chad Boespflug (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Feature Finisher).

Newsletter Sign-up Driver Registration

Latest Results

Kokomo Speedway7/3/2024Non Wing 410 Sprints
Full Results
Kokomo Speedway7/3/2024Modifieds
Full Results
Kokomo Speedway7/3/2024Thunder Cars
Full Results
Kokomo Speedway6/10/2024Dirt Super Late Models
Full Results
Kokomo Speedway6/10/2024Modifieds
Full Results
Kokomo Speedway6/9/2024Non Wing 410 Sprints
Full Results
Kokomo Speedway6/9/2024Midgets
Full Results

Current Points

Non Wing 410 Sprintsas of 7/3/2024
Full Points
Lane Automotive
RE Griesemer
Window World
Crume Evans Insurance
Rock Auto
Wheelen Engineering
Omni Source - Cash for Scrap
Financial Builders
Hoosier Racing Tires
Explore Indiana