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Mario Clouser (Richard Bales photo)

Clouser Conquers WAR Sprints

WHEATLAND, Mo. — Mario Clouser took control after an early back-and-forth battle and led the final 20 laps to earn his 13th career POWRi WAR Sprint feature victory during Thursday’s portion of the 12th annual Jesse Hockett-Daniel McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway.

Clouser beat Wyatt Burks by just over a second to locked himself into Saturday night’s $4,077-to-win main event.

“I was a little nervous there. Wyatt got by us a couple of times early and I had to kind of hustle to get him back,” Clouser said after his $2,000 triumph.

Clouser said Burks showed him a line early in the race of using the high groove in turns one and two and the low line in three and four.

“I was afraid that might be the scenario. It’s up over the edge there off four,” Clouser said. “You just can’t carry enough momentum there to make it work. I won one here a couple of years ago where you had to run high down there and low down here.”

Clouser, who set fast qualifying time earlier in the evening before winning his heat race, started on the pole and led the opening lap. But Isaac Chapple used a pass out of turn four to lead lap two before the two swapped places again on lap five.

A close battle between the leaders began to see separation by lap 12 as Clouser opened a two-second lead over Chapple. Wyatt Burks moved into second a lap later with seventh-starting Schudy advancing to fourth.

Clouser’s lead hit 2.5 seconds by lap 17 as he weaved his way through lapped traffic. That comfortable margin was wiped away, however, when a caution flag flew with eight laps to go.

Clouser was able to hang onto the lead after the restart, holding off Burks by 1.08 seconds with Joe B. Miller rallying from 13th to third. Xavier Domey finished fourth with Casey Shuman fifth.

The finish:

Feature (25 laps): 1. 6-Mario Clouser[1]; 2. 11W-Wyatt Burks[3]; 3. 31-Joe B Miller[13]; 4. 74-Xavier Doney[17]; 5. 24X-Casey Shuman[6]; 6. 28-Kory Schudy[7]; 7. 52C-Isaac Chapple[2]; 8. 5-Jesse Vermillion[9]; 9. 11-Justin Melton[19]; 10. 37-Brian Beebe[20]; 11. 77X-Colt Treharn[5]; 12. 13-Chase Howard[10]; 13. 21K-Kobe Simpson[11]; 14. 73-Samuel Wagner[12]; 15. 48-Nathan Moore[16]; 16. 44P-Jason Howell[8]; 17. 33W-Rece Wommack[15]; 18. 79-Ryan Hall[18]; 19. 33-Bryson Smith[14]; 20. 33L-Mark Lane[22]; 21. (DNF) 77K-Katlynn Leer[4]; 22. (DNS) 88G-Garrett Hulsey