The Autumn Wind is a Racer: $20,000 on the Line at Saturday’s Lawrenceburg Fall Nationals

When the people say it’s all coming down to the home stretch, no more of an apt description could be given to what lies ahead this weekend.

 

All the leaves are brown, the money is green and so much is at stake when the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship makes its annual pilgrimage to southeastern Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway this Saturday night, October 7.

 

To the winners go the spoils in several facets this time around. The Fall Nationals will reward its newest champ with a $20,000 check, while non-USAC regulars will have the opportunity to boost their take home pay to $30,000 if they can achieve a noble triumph.

 

Emerson Axsom leads a trail of hopefuls aiming to claim a $10,000 bonus in the finale of the 10-race Bubby Jones Master of Goin’ Faster series presented by Spire Sports + Entertainment.

 

Justin Grant hopes to cement his second consecutive USAC National Sprint Car title in the Midwest season finale as Brady Bacon gives chase to track him back down.

 

Time is winding down. The final stretch, the final month of the USAC Sprint Car season has arrived. Here’s six Fall Nationals storylines to watch as they pass like sand through the hourglass.

 

 

FALL NATTIES

 

No less than seven past Fall Nationals winners are expected to compete in this Saturday’s event, the most ever in the race’s history, which dates back to 2007.

 

Robert Ballou (Rocklin, Calif.) scored the first two Fall Nationals wins in 2007 and 2008. Chase Stockon (Fort Branch, Ind.) claimed his very first career USAC victory in the 2012 event. Thomas Meseraull locked up a victory at the 2015 race.

 

Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) is the lone three-time winner of the Fall Nationals in 2017-19-21. Each of the past three Fall Nationals features have seen three different first-time event winners: Ione, California’s Justin Grant (2018), Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon (2020) and Princeton, Indiana’s Kyle Cummins (2022).

 

Meanwhile, two drivers who’ve experienced their fair share of Lawrenceburg success are seeking their first career Fall Nationals victories: C.J. Leary and Logan Seavey.

 

Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) has won a pair of USAC National Sprint Car races at The Burg with both coming in the summer of 2017 and 2020 and was also a track champion in 2013. Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) has won two of the past four USAC National Sprint Car events since mid-September. His prowess at Lawrenceburg extends to victories in both USAC National Sprint Car and National Midget competition in 2021.

 

 

BOUNTY HUNTERS

 

USAC regulars have gone undefeated all season in AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship competition with full-time series drivers and teams winning every event run thus far in 2023.

 

Now, NOS Energy Drink and USAC have posted a $10,000 bounty to any driver who can beat the USAC regulars during Saturday night’s Fall Nationals at Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway.

 

Any driver outside the top-12 in the USAC National Sprint Car standings will be eligible for the opportunity to cash in an extra $10,000 bonus by winning that night’s feature event.

 

With the Fall Nationals already paying $20,000 to the feature winner, it is possible that a driver could walk out of the southeastern Indiana 3/8-mile dirt oval that night with a total of $30,000 in earnings.

 

Among the top contenders to claim the bounty are three-time Fall Nationals winner Kevin Thomas Jr. as well as Thomas Meseraull, another prior Fall Nationals winner in his own right. Three-time Lawrenceburg sprint car track champion Nick Bilbee (Indianapolis, Ind.) is among those drivers, already winning four local races at the track this year plus the track title.

 

Also making a run at the bounty are Carson Garrett (Littleton, Colo.) who has twice finished on the podium with USAC this year, plus one-time USAC National Sprint Car winner Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) and Briggs Danner (Allentown, Pa.), the reigning USAC East Coast Sprint Car champ and current series point leader.

 

Max Adams (Loomis, Calif.) will find himself in the mix for the bounty as will Brandon Mattox (Terre Haute, Ind.), Sterling Cling (Tempe, Ariz.) and Joss Moffatt (Columbus, Ind.). Cling and Moffatt have both won on the local level at Lawrenceburg this season.

 

 

PURSUING THEIR MASTERS

 

One thing is for sure on Saturday night. A Bubby Jones Master of Goin’ Faster Series Presented By Spire Sports + Entertainment champion will be crowned.

 

The finale of the 10-race series within a series arrives this weekend at Lawrenceburg with Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) and his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing team standing atop the points.  At stake is a $10,000 bonus for the champion driver plus a $2500 bonus to the crew chief champion.

 

With a maximum of 84 points up for grabs on race night (6 for the fast qualifier, 8 for each heat race winner & 70 for the feature winner), technically, seven drivers remain eligible to take home the top prize.

 

It’s tight at the top with Axsom leading Leary by five while reigning Master of Goin’ Faster champ Brady Bacon sits third, just 14 points out of the lead. Fourth through seventh entering the event include Mitchel Moles (-33), Jake Swanson (-66), Kyle Cummins (-79) and Justin Grant (-84).

 

Winners of the Bubby Jones races thus far in 2023 include two-time winners Emerson Axsom (June 16 at Williams Grove & Jul 28 at Bloomington), Brady Bacon (May 23 at Terre Haute & Sep 16 at Tri-State Speedway) and C.J. Leary (May 6 at Eldora & Jul 22 at Kokomo). One-time miniseries winners this season include Jake Swanson (June 3 at Knoxville), Justin Grant (June 17 at Port Royal) and Matt Westfall (September 9 at Texarkana 67).

 

 

THE NATIONAL TITLE RACE

 

Don’t sleep on the USAC National Sprint Car championship race. Three races are left on the docket with Saturday’s round at Lawrenceburg marking the final Midwest race of the season, and three total races remaining on the season.

 

Justin Grant enters Saturday’s Fall Nationals with his largest point lead of the year at 66 markers over Brady Bacon. The previous largest point lead possessed by any driver with the series this season was Grant with a 42-point advantage back in early May.

 

Bacon’s recent difficulties at Eldora, which began with a flip in qualifying, followed by methanol getting into his eye in the pits and concluding with a blown engine in the feature, did significant damage to his “drive for five” in terms of USAC National Sprint Car championships.

 

Grant has hit his most consistent stretch of the year. His recent 12-race stretch consists of five wins, nine top-fives and 12 top-tens, which have pushed him to the brink of becoming a back-to-back series champ.

 

 

SUMMER RACE REWIND

 

USAC National Sprint Cars have officially completed one event this season at Lawrenceburg, which came in July of 2023 during USAC NOS Energy Drink Indiana Sprint Week, an entertaining event which saw opportunities knocked, lost and regained, and that just represented the final few laps.

 

With five laps remaining, hopes of winning were fleeting for Justin Grant. Yet that’s precisely when he was able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. After leading the initial 23 laps of the 30-lap feature, Grant could only watch as C.J. Leary passed by and pulled away from him with just a handful of laps remaining.

 

But then, a crazy thing little thing happened. As Leary began to distance himself from Grant on lap 26, Leary got bitten by the third turn wall, sending him flipping over several times and denying him the glory.

 

Re-enter Grant as the leader, and this time, he was unshaken, unstirred and untouchable as he closed out The Burg with his fifth career USAC victory at Lawrenceburg, tied for second all-time behind only Dave Darland with seven.

 

While Jake Swanson scored a solid second, Brady Bacon charged from his 22nd starting spot to take third after being forced to start at the tail of the field when his car was deemed underweight at the scales. Kevin Thomas Jr. took another solid fourth place finish where he’s previously won five times while Daison Pursley scurried up to fifth, his most recent top-five run this season.

 

 

GRAND FINALE FOR THE RUDISELLS

 

Saturday will be the farewell for Dave and Kim Rudisell as promoters of Lawrenceburg Speedway, a position they have held since the 2007 season.

 

This weekend’s race will be the 40th and final USAC National Sprint Car event promoted by the husband and wife promoting duo. Their tenure at the southeastern Indiana dirt oval ranks eighth in series history and 14th across all three USAC National divisions.

 

In terms of USAC National Sprint Car races promoted, Earl Baltes of Eldora Speedway fame is first with 209. Don Smith ranks second with 89 followed by Roger & Linda Holdeman (87), The O’Connor Family (61), Don Kazarian (53), Tom Helfrich (50), Bob Sargent/Track Enterprises (44), Lindy Vicari (39), Dave & Kim Rudisell (39) and Spiker Promotions (32).

 

 

RACE DETAILS

 

This Saturday night, October 7, it’s the 16th running of the Fall Nationals at Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway, paying $20,000-to-win. A $10,000 bonus is also on the line for any driver outside the top-12 in the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship standings.

 

Pits open at 3pm Eastern with the grandstands opening at 5pm, the drivers meeting at 5:15pm and cars on track at 6pm with qualifying and racing immediately following. General admission tickets are $35, kids 7-12 are $7 and children 6 and under are free.

 

The Lawrenceburg Fall Nationals can be watched LIVE on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/40w7aPg.

 

USAC PR

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