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Bacon Bounces Back for Sprint Bandits TNT Huske…

[b Bacon Bounces Back for Sprint Bandits TNT Husker Nationals Win!]

[i Lonnie Wheatley, GREENWOOD, Neb. (August 17, 2009)

Brady Bacon’s night didn’t get off to the best of starts at I-80 Speedway on Monday night.

But, by the time the opening round of this year’s Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless competition was completed, the 19-year-old Broken Arrow, OK, bandit had rebounded in strong fashion to take the $4,000 winner’s share in the Fifth Annual TNT Husker Nationals.

Working forward from the 14th starting position, Bacon became the race’s fourth and final leader when he wrestled the point away from California native Josh Wise on the 20th round en route to his fourth career Sprint Bandits TNT triumph.

“It seems like sometimes we do better starting further back like that,” Bacon explained after the triumph aboard Mike and Megan Eubanks’ Wesmar-powered Tel-Star Communications No. 99 Triple-X.

Bacon’s night got off on the wrong foot when he was collected in an opening lap incident in the night’s third heat race. After his crew made the necessary repairs, the winner of three consecutive TNT events last year worked forward from eighth to fifth in his qualifier to earn the 16th starting slot in the 24-car feature grid. When his father, Leon Bacon, scratched with engine issues, Brady moved up another row to start 14th.

While Bacon took the green flag seven rows deep, Arizona’s R.J. Johnson gunned into the lead at the outset and paced the opening three rounds before two-time and defending Lakeside Speedway Ron Shuman Classic winner Robert Ballou raced into the lead on the top side aboard Dallas Mulvaney’s No. 81 entry.

Wise followed suit aboard the Indiana Underground No. 37 entry soon after a lap nine caution and the West Coast natives took off as Bacon battled past Damion Gardner and Johnson to take over third.

With Bacon stalking the lead pair, Wise battled past Ballou for the lead on the 14th lap, one round before the red flag flew as Gardner coasted to a stop on the frontstretch ablaze. Upon being extricated from his car, Gardner was transported to a local hospital with second-degree burns on his lower legs and feet.

When action resumed, Bacon made quick work of Ballou and began dicing with Wise for the point, taking command just before the red lights flickered one last time for Jack Dover, who got upside down in turn two in his wingless debut.

Wise pressured Bacon over the final ten circuits, but Bacon was flawless on the low side of the 4/10-mile clay oval to secure the win. Wise settled for runner-up honors, with two-time Husker Nationals winner Dave Darland battling past Ballou in the final rounds to snare the show position aboard Scott Benic’s No. 2b entry.

Levi Jones also moved up by taking fourth in the latter stages, with Ballou rounding out the top five.

After losing a nerf bar to bring out a caution with nine laps in the books, Bryan Clauson rallied from the tail of the field to claim sixth. Coleman Gulick was seventh, with Jesse Hockett, 19th-starter Mike Moore and 18th-starter Matt Mitchell completing the top ten.

Wise, Caleb Armstrong and Ballou topped the night’s heat race action, with Gulick, Dover and Johnson winning the qualifying races.

This year’s edition of Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless resumes on Wednesday night at Oklahoma City’s State Fair Speedway, with ensuing events at Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa, OK, on Thursday night and then the $10,000-to-win Ron Shuman Classic at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, KS, on Friday and Saturday.

Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless I-80 Speedway Husker Nationals Results:

Heat Races:

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 37-Josh Wise, 2. 0c-Preston Peebles II, 3. 99x-Leon Bacon, 4. 71-Damion Gardner, 5. 13-Jesse Hockett, 6. 81m-Matt Mitchell, 7. 14-Coleman Gulick, 8. 17r-Kyle Robbins.

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 11d-Caleb Armstrong, 2. 2b-Dave Darland, 3. 15-R.J. Johnson, 4. 11-Bryan Clauson, 5. 1-Justin Grant, 6. 32-Mike Martin, 7. 51-Doug Martens, 8. 10-Hud Cone.

Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 81-Robert Ballou, 2. 38-Levi Jones, 3. 53-Jack Dover, 4. 69-Mike Moore, 5. 37r-Casey Riggs, 6. 5x-Jody Wirth, 7. F1-Sheldon Leeskamp, 8. 99-Brady Bacon.

Qualifying Races:

First Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 14-Coleman Gulick, 2. 11-Bryan Clauson, 3. 2b-Dave Darland, 4. 81-Robert Ballou, 5. 99-Brady Bacon, 6. 99x-Leon Bacon, 7. 69-Mike Moore, 8. 5x-Jody Wirth.

Second Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 53-Jack Dover, 2. 13-Jesse Hockett, 3. 37-Josh Wise, 4. 71-Damion Gardner, 5. 38-Levi Jones, 6. 81m-Matt Mitchell, 7. 17r-Kyle Robbins, 8. 51-Doug Martens.

Third Qualifier (8 Laps): 1. 15-R.J. Johnson, 2. 37r-Casey Riggs, 3. 1-Justin Grant, 4. 10-Hud Cone, 5. 11d-Caleb Armstrong, 6. 0c-Preston Peebles II, 7. F1-Sheldon Leeskamp. DNS: 32-Mike Martin.

Sprint Bandits I-80 Speedway Husker Nationals “A” Main

“A” Main (30 Laps): 1. 99-Brady Bacon, 2. 37-Josh Wise, 3. 2b-Dave Darland, 4. 38-Levi Jones, 5. 81-Robert Ballou, 6. 11-Bryan Clauson, 7. 14-Coleman Gulick, 8. 13-Jesse Hockett, 9. 69-Mike Moore, 10. 81m-Matt Mitchell, 11. 11d-Caleb Armstrong, 12. 10-Hud Cone, 13. 1-Justin Grant, 14. 15-R.J. Johnson, 15. 17r-Kyle Robbins, 16. 37r-Casey Riggs, 17. 51-Doug Martens, 18. F1-Sheldon Leeskamp, 19. 32-Mike Martin, 20. 0c-Preston Peebles II, 21. 53-Jack Dover, 22. 5x-Jody Wirth, 23. 71-Damion Gardner, 24. 99x-Leon Bacon (DNS).

Lap Leaders: R.J. Johnson 1-3, Robert Ballou 4-13, Josh Wise 14-19, Brady Bacon 20-30.

Sprint Bandits TNT Points (Top 10): 1. Brady Bacon 150, 2. Josh Wise 146, 3. Dave Darland 144, 4. Levi Jones 142, 5. Robert Ballou 140, 6. Bryan Clauson 138, 7. Coleman Gulick 136, 8. Jesse Hockett 134, 9. Mike Moore 132, 10. Matt Mitchell 130.