O’REILLY SPRINT BANDITS ROUND ONE TNT SERIES
Robert Ballou opened up the 2008 edition of the O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless Midwest Swing in the same way that he finished out the 2007 version; standing in victory lane.
Ballou wrestled the lead away from Dave Darland on the 21st lap and went on to capture his fifth career TNT feature win in Monday night's 30-lap main event at Lucas Oil Speedway, cashing in on a $4,000 payday. Darland chased Ballou to the stripe, with Casey Shuman, Levi Jones and Gary Taylor rounding out the top five.
It was a significant reversal of fortune at Lucas Oil Speedway for the 19-year-old Rocklin, CA, native, who endured a grinding crash during TNT action two years ago at "The Diamond of Dirt Tracks". Ballou explained, "It destroyed everything on that car and made for a long day in the parking lot the next day. I'm liking this a lot better."
Ballou came from the fourth row outside to cool off the red-hot hand of Dave Darland, who was gunning for a fifth Sprint Car feature win over the past seven days. And he did it without the benefit of a caution. After the initial start was waved off for a turn one scrum that ultimately sent Alex Schutte tumbling off the turn one embankment aboard one of three Cory Kruseman entries, the entire 30-lap distance ran off in non-stop fashion.
The Fourth Annual O'Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour 'N Topless Midwest Swing moves on to Nebraska Raceway Park's I-80 Speedway on Tuesday night, with ensuing stops at Oklahoma City's State Fair Speedway (Wednesday), Creek County Speedway near Tulsa (Thursday) and then Kansas City's Lakeside Speedway (Friday and Saturday).
“A” Main (30 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 2b-Dave Darland, 3. 32-Casey Shuman, 4. 1-Levi Jones, 5. 5*-Gary Taylor, 6. 10-Darren Hagen, 7. 61a-Andrew Felker, 8. 10T-Thomas Meseraull, 9. 5c-Cody Cordell, 10. 75-Jesse Hockett, 11. 14-Coleman Gulick, 12. 83-Tim Kaeding, 13. 15-R.J. Johnson, 14. 21k-Cory Kruseman, 15. 71-Damion Gardner, 16. 43-Frank Brown, 17. 41k-Henry Clarke, 18. 8-Jeff Wingate, 19. 97-Bret Mellenberndt, 20. 55-Tony Everhart, 21. 99-Brady Bacon, 22. 5k-Alex Schutte.
by Lonnie Wheatley