Seavey Avoids Catastrophe to Win Sprintacular Opener at Lincoln Park

There was a point in time in which Logan Seavey thought his race was over during Friday night’s 10th Annual Bill Gardner Sprintacular opener at Putnamville, Indiana’s Lincoln Park Speedway.

While leading 13 laps into the 30-lap main event, Seavey attempted to avoid a pair of spinning cars just in front of him. Despite fairly significant contact with one of the two machines, Seavey pushed through quite literally and figuratively to claim his ninth victory of the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship season.

Just as he did in his most recent series outing at Macon (Ill.) Speedway six nights earlier, Seavey set the tone for the night by setting fast qualifying time in his Abacus Racing/MPV Express – CG CPAs – Indy Custom Stone/DRC/Stanton Chevy, then proceeded to march his way to victory lane during the feature event.

In doing so, Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) became the first driver to simultaneously score back-to-back fast qualifying times and feature wins with the series in nearly a decade. Bryan Clauson was the most recent driver to achieve the feat late during the 2013 season at Indiana’s Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway and Arizona’s Canyon Speedway Park.

Overall, Seavey’s victory was the 19th of his USAC National Sprint Car career, moving him past Kyle Cummins and into sole possession of 34th place on the all-time list. This time, he won one at the 5/16-mile dirt oval that he has long considered one of his ultimate favorites.

“When I first started coming out here, this became one of my favorite tracks in Indiana,” Seavey exclaimed. “It’s beaten me up for a lot of years, so it’s cool to get one here at Putnamville and get these guys back in victory lane.”

Not only did Seavey kick off the night by besting the 47-car field on his time trial run, he did so by obliterating the previous USAC track record at Lincoln Park. His time of 11.959 seconds in Honest Abe Roofing Qualifying was the first ever official 11-second bracket lap turned at LPS, erasing the former record of 12.276 seconds set by Brady Bacon in 2018.

Slated to start sixth on the grid for the feature event, Seavey and Abacus first had to perform a bit of preventative maintenance beforehand. It was a certain facet that stole victory away from the team during a USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Midget event at Circle City Raceway in 2023, making it of utmost importance to correct before the main event got underway.

“We had a wire break, actually a kill switch, which is something that has cost us a race in the past,” Seavey explained. “So, we were being extra careful just to make sure this thing was hitting on all eight cylinders and just firing in general. It’s these things that our guys are getting really good at.  Avoiding issues like that is what allows you to contend for championships.”

Seavey, who has led the USAC National Sprint Car standings since mid-February, quickly hustled his way up to third on the opening lap, slotting in behind the duo of front row occupants Mitchel Moles and Robert Ballou who diced things up for the first trio of laps with Moles leading the way each time.

However, Seavey was superb in ringing the cushion as he zipped by Ballou for second off the exit of turn four on lap three. Mere moments later, Seavey blasted around Moles on the high side of turns one and two to escape with the lead. By the time the frontrunners reached turn four on lap four, Ballou had slipped under Moles for the runner-up spot.

At this juncture, seemingly the only thing that could stifle Seavey is getting tripped up in traffic, and that nearly came to fruition. As Seavey reached the tail end of the field on the 13th lap, the car of Harley Burns sat idly in the middle of turn three. By this point, Seavey had committed to the high side for his escape plan. However, the car directly in front of Seavey, driven by Rylan Gray, smashed into the side of Burns, sending Gray spinning backwards straight into the path of Seavey. Seavey’s left front wheel wound up clipping the back end of Gray’s machine, but Seavey managed to continue onward.

“I thought I broke my front end, and I thought my race might be over,” Seavey revealed. “My steering wheel was all crooked and I had to readjust some things in the car. It kept feeling like it was getting worse and worse. I thought I was folding up a draglink. I could feel something going away in my front end. Luckily, this thing held together and (crewmen) Ronnie (Gardner) and Kirk (Simpson) gave me a great racecar like they always do.”

Meanwhile, second running Ballou also executed a narrow escape much similar to Seavey as he attempted to dodge catastrophe, hitting the tail tank of Burns who was rolling down toward the inside of the track right into the path of Ballou. Despite the contact, Ballou also managed to keep himself going by escaping and racing on.

On the ensuing restart, sixth running Justin Grant saw his bid for a solid finish go by the wayside when the car of Carson Garrett (4th) slid sideways in turn one. As a result, Grant got into the left side of Garrett’s car, then Bacon (7th) subsequently plowed into Grant, flattening Grant’s left rear tire. Grant restarted after being escorted to the Indy Metal Finishing Work Area but ended up 17th at the finish.

Ballou made a run at Seavey for the lead just before the halfway mark and was able to pull even briefly before Seavey swapped over to the low line, stealing away Ballou’s groove, and from there, was able to break away and put a lock down on the race for the lead.

“My car was really good on the cushion early, so it was hard to give that up,” Seavey said. “You know it always goes away here, especially when the bottom is that good. It was getting slick on the exit out of two, so I knew it was time to get down. Lapped traffic was on the bottom, so I knew that would give me a little bit more time to figure it out.”

Once Seavey did figure it out, he was able to secure his position up front just as he’s done already eight times before with the series in 2024.

“It’s so hard to change lines when you’re leading,” Seavey stated. “You see it all the time where second has a little bit of an advantage. It’s tricky and I’m not really known for running the bottom. I was doing big ol’ wheelies down the back stretch because you’re going so slow, and there’s so much grip, you just drag the tail tank all the way down the back stretch, which makes it hard to get into turn three. There were lots of adjustments I was doing to make myself better once I did move down, I didn’t really know whether to blow through the middle or really get down by the tires, but it seemed like whenever I did, my car went through there very nicely and I could just cruise around there.”

When all was said and done, Seavey took his first Lincoln Park Speedway USAC victory, crossing the stripe 0.806 seconds ahead of Ballou with Moles third, Bacon fourth and Garrett fifth.

For the second straight race, Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) earned a podium finish, taking second on this night in his Ballou Motorsports/Suburban Subaru – Deaton’s Waterfront Services/DRC/Ott Chevy.

Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) led the opening three laps and finished inside the top-six for the eighth straight event in his Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports/AME Electrical – Mesilla Valley Transportation/Spike/Stanton Chevy.

Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) worked his way into the top-10 after being mired all the way back on the outside of row nine. In the end, KTJ advanced from 18th to 10th to collect hard charger honors for the night’s feature.

Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) made a valiant comeback late in the going during the Elliott’s Custom Trailers & Carts Semi-Feature. Starting ninth, he worked his way up to the fourth and final transfer spot to earn his way into the night’s feature. He was rewarded as the recipient of the Inferno Armor Fire Move of the Night.

In the third heat race of the night, Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) established a new 10-lap USAC National Sprint Car track record at Lincoln Park Speedway. His time of 2:08.53 surpassed the former record of 2:09.325 held by Kyle Cummins since July of 2021.