Sunshine Rides Strong into Eastern Storm after Knoxville Triumph
Lonnie Wheatley, INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 14, 2018) – A victory at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway is something that every Sprint Car driver hopes to achieve at some point along the way.
Indiana’s Tyler Courtney can check that goal off the list after racing to victory lane in last Saturday night’s USAC Amsoil National Sprint Car event atop the ½-mile at the Sprint Car Capital of the World.
It capped off a banner week in the Heartland for “Sunshine” and the Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing Priority Aviation No. 7bc Sprint Car after charging from 12th to capture runner-up honors the previous night at Greenwood, Nebraska’s I-80 Speedway.
“I put it right there with wins at the Hulman and Smackdown,” Courtney said of the Knoxville triumph that ran his season win total to six overall including four in USAC Sprint Car competition. “Any driver that respects the history of the sport knows what it means to win at Knoxville, it’s an honor to know that I’ve won a race there now.”
There is little time to relish the moment though, as Courtney and crew roll east with the USAC Sprint Car traveling troops for the Eastern Storm that kicks off Thursday night at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, PA. It’s the first of six consecutive nights of racing that continues with Williams Grove Speedway on Friday, Port Royal Speedway on Saturday, BAPS Motor Speedway on Sunday, New Jersey’s Bridgeport Speedway on Monday and then New York’s Weedsport Speedway on Tuesday.
“This week it’s really important to race well all six nights and maximize our points,” Courtney said of the six-race Eastern Storm. “It’s a week that can really make or break the season.”
Courtney goes into the Eastern Storm second in USAC Sprint Car points, just 24 points out of the lead after last weekend’s finishes of second at I-80 and then first at Knoxville.
Qualifying at I-80 Speedway to kick off the weekend may have been the only part of the double that didn’t go exactly according to plan, as Courtney timed in 12th-quick. The balance of the weekend clicked off in near flawless fashion.
“We missed it a little in qualifying, but then we came back and won our heat race and went from 12th to the front pretty quick in the feature,” Courtney said of the I-80 outing.
Indeed, “Sunshine” needed less than half of the 30-lapper to race through the field into second, where he stayed until the checkered flag.
“By the time we got there, KT had checked out and getting through traffic was pretty tough,” Courtney said. “But after qualifying where we did, we turned it around and made the most of what we could do.”
Moving on to Knoxville Raceway on Saturday night, Courtney turned in a perfect night by setting a fast time of 18.948 seconds in qualifying and then racing from sixth to win his heat race and then scoring his fourth series win of the year in the 30-lap nightcap.
Patiently working his way forward from the sixth starting position, Courtney pounced on the lead on lap 20 by racing past C.J. Leary and Brady Bacon before slipping away from the field to secure the win.
“I knew I was going to have to do something drastically different to get around those guys because it was tough to slide a guy since they could carry so much momentum around the outside,” Courtney explained. “I knew if I could stick the bottom once that there was enough getting off all night that we could squeak by them there and it worked to our favor. I got by one and then got to slide Brady for the lead. When you get to the lead, you can run your own race here.”
With another feature in his cap, Courtney begins the pursuit of the Eastern Storm crown on Thursday night.
2018 Quick Stats: 29 races, 6 wins, 18 top-fives, 20 top-tens.
Friday, June 8 – 2nd in USAC National Sprint Cars at I-80 Speedway.
Saturday, June 9 – 1st in USAC National Sprint Cars at Knoxville Raceway.
Up Next: USAC Amsoil National Sprint Cars Eastern Storm
Thursday, June 14 – Grandview Speedway (Bechtelsville, PA)
Friday, June 15 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, June 16 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Sunday, June 17 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Monday, June 18 – Bridgeport Speedway (Swedesboro, NJ)
Tuesday, June 19 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)
For those unable to catch the racing action in person, five of the six events (all except Bridgeport) are available via PPV at https://www.speedshifttv.com/.
Keep Track: Keep track of Tyler Courtney’s on-track action including schedule and results at www.tylercourtney.com.
If you would like Tyler Courtney Racing press releases e-mailed directly to you, send your e-mail address to Lonnie Wheatley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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@example.com.