Lonnie Wheatley, WINCHESTER, Ind. (August 1, 2019) – After eight nights of intense Indiana Sprint Week action among the USAC National Sprint Car ranks over the past two weekends, Brady Bacon shifts back to winged action aboard the BBR No. 99 entry over the coming pair of weeks.
And it all begins with this weekend’s Knoxville 360 Nationals at the storied Marion County Fairgrounds in Knoxville, IA. Bacon is set to take in the Thursday qualifying portion of the event that will set the stage for Saturday night’s finale.
“It will be our first time back at the 360 Nationals since about 2014 I believe,” Bacon commented. “It will help to get some good laps in before we put the 410 in for Sunday’s Capitani Classic and then next week’s Knoxville Nationals.”
Bacon, who swept July’s USAC-sanctioned Corn Belt Nationals at Knoxville, returns to Iowa after a stellar Indiana Sprint Week that netted a second-place finish in ISW points aboard the Hoffman Racing / Mean Green No. 69 Sprint Car and a climb in USAC National Sprint Car points from sixth to second.
“We made it through one of the toughest weeks of the year and had a first or second-place caliber car each night with the exception of maybe one,” Bacon explains. “And at Lawrenceburg, we had to change a rear-end early so that didn’t leave us time to make adjustments the way we needed to.”
Bacon tuned up for Indiana Sprint Week with a makeup of Eldora’s #LetsRaceTwo event on Wednesday, July 17, by racing to a podium finish of third.
“We had a second-place car and just barely tagged the wall, otherwise we would have been right at the front,” Bacon recalls.
Indiana Sprint Week kicked off the next night at Gas City I-69 Speedway where “The Macho Man” timed in second to start the week and then posted a fourth-place finish in the feature.
“We had a car good enough to win,” Bacon says of Gas City. “The bottom was coming in and I didn’t get down there in time.”
Moving on to Plymouth Speedway on Friday, July 19, Bacon led the field for a half-dozen laps around the midway point before settling for a second consecutive fourth-place finish.
“We got to the lead, then we had that red flag and the tire went away,” Bacon says. “I was just holding on the rest of the way; it was frustrating to know that we had such a good car.”
Moving on to Kokomo Speedway the next night, Bacon narrowly missed out on victory lane as he settled for the first of a pair of runner-up finishes on the week. And it came after his crew swapped out motors in just 14 minutes after hot laps, quick enough to get Bacon out in time for qualifying.
“That really saved our night, it they don’t get it changed that quick then we miss qualifying and would have been buried,” Bacon explained.
Bacon made it worthwhile with the runner-up showing.
“We were a little too tight at the beginning of the feature,” Bacon said after starting the 30-lapper from the pole position. “We got going though and I was on the bottom on the last lap and making a run at the lead when he came down, it was all I could do to keep from getting crashed.”
The Sunday, July 21, card at Lawrenceburg Speedway got off to a rough start with a broken set of quick-change gears in heat race action relegating Bacon to “B” Main action.
After swapping out rear ends, Bacon raced to a “B” Main win and then climbed from eighth to claim sixth in the main event.
“My team did a great job fighting through adversity again,” Bacon recalls. “We got up to fourth at one point and then got too tight on the cushion. It was still a good night after the way we had to scramble after the heat.”
Following a pair of off nights, action resumed at the Terre Haute Action Track last Wednesday with Bacon earning Hard Chargers by rallying from 14th to capture fourth.
The two-time USAC Sprint Car champion raced to his second runner-up finish of the week the following night at Putnamville’s Lincoln Park Speedway and then had perhaps his best chance of a triumph at Bloomington Speedway on Friday night, only to have the run interrupted by a loosened nozzle line.
After quick repairs, Bacon rallied back through the field to salvage a seventh-place finish.
“We definitely had a car capable of winning,” Bacon laments.
Bacon finished out the week at Haubstadt’s Tri-State Speedway by earning his second Hard Charger award of the week with a rally from 15th to fifth in the ISW finale.
“We have had some struggles at Haubstadt in the past, but we keep making gains each time there and it showed again,” Bacon says.
Overall, for the week, Bacon and the Hoffman Racing team finished among the top-five in six of eight races with no finish lower than seventh.
It’s a trend that has been ongoing since the season-opening events in Florida with top-ten runs in 18 consecutive USAC Sprint Car features since those February events.
Now, Bacon looks to carry that success over to the winged ranks in Knoxville over the next two weeks.
Brady Bacon Racing is bolstered by the support of partners including Mean Green, Fatheadz Eyewear, Imperial Wagyu Beef, Gene Franckowiak, Drivewfx.com, Tel-Star Technologies, B&S Cattle, Lykins Oil, Elliott’s Custom Trailers, Triple X Race Co., Hoosier Tire, XYZ Machine, Factor4, Heath Clips Lawn Care, FK Indy, Engler Machine and Tool, Lucas Oil, FK Rod Ends, Keizer Wheels, Purple Heart Foundation, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Smiley’s Racing Products, DMI, Walker Filters, ProGlide Coatings, Chalk Stixx, Wilwood Engineering, Lajoie Seats, Smith Precision Products, Allstar Performance, Simpson Racing Products, Driver Websites, Schroth Racing, Saldana Racing Products, KSE Racing Products, King Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers.
2019 Quick Stats: 72 races, 7 wins, 30 top-fives, 42 top-tens.
Up Next: Knoxville 360 Nationals in Knoxville, IA, on Thursday and Saturday and then the Capitani Classic on Sunday.
If you would like Brady Bacon Racing press releases e-mailed directly to you, send your e-mail address to Lonnie Wheatley at [email protected]
Penning the recurring series of “The Wheatley Chronicles” articles on www.sprintcarmania.com, Lonnie Wheatley provides media, public relations and more for select tracks, drivers and events. For more information, Wheatley may be contacted at [email protected]