Robert Ballou (12) races under Mario Clouser at I-70 Motorsports Park. (Russell Moore photo)

Ballou Holds Off Bacon At I-70

ODESSA, Mo. — It was a reversal of roles as the USAC National Sprint Car Series returned to the dirt at I-70 Motorsports Park for the first time in 40 years on Saturday night.

After Brady Bacon dominated Thursday night’s main event at Lakeside Speedway with Robert Ballou taking runner-up honors, Ballou turned the tables to score Saturday night’s win atop the recently revamped dirt oval aboard the Don Ott-powered Suburban Subaru No. 12 Triple-X sprint car.

It was the first series win for the Rocklin, Calif., native since an Eastern Storm triumph at New Jersey’s Bridgeport Speedway last June.

“I’ve said all year long this is gonna be the Bacon-Ballou Show,” Ballou explained afterward.  “He’s got the best race car, I just wanted it a little worse tonight.”

It didn’t come without a serious challenge from the reining USAC sprint car champion, as Bacon slid into the lead momentarily in turns three and four on the 21st lap.  But Ballou adeptly countered the move to recapture the lead and slipped away in the closing circuits to secure the victory.

“I changed my lane a little bit in traffic and I knew I was backing up,” Ballou commented afterward.  “I kind of got into him a little bit when slid up and was backing up the racetrack.  I could have spun him but that’s not the way we race.”

While Ballou gridded the field outside the front row, it was pole starter Mario Clouser breaking out into the initial lead.  Ballou wasted little time powering by on the high side on the second lap and slipped away as Bacon worked forward from fifth and began tracking down the leader as the laps clicked off.

Bacon made his move for the point and led the 21st lap before Ballou struck back to lead the rest of the way.

“He was slowing down in lapped traffic and the line I was running was clear so I was able to catch him,” Bacon explained.  “Then I kind of used up what I had and couldn’t get back to him, he was running a really fast pace when he got out front.  We gave it a shot and got ahead of him once but didn’t have quite enough.”

After starting eighth, Justin  Grant salvaged a trying weekend by racing into the podium position in the non-stop affair. 

“We worked on everything, we worked on the car, we worked on the motor, we worked on the driver and we worked on the semi,” Grant said.  “We’re back on the podium tonight and still out here racing Sprint Cars, it’s a lot better than digging ditching and grinding dumpsters which is what I would be doing if I wasn’t out here.”

C.J. Leary crosse the stipe fourth with Emerson Axsom in fifth.

After rookie contender Axsom established a track record of 15.856 seconds in qualifying, McDougal, Bacon and Seavey topped heat race action before Wyatt Burks stormed to a half-lap victory in the 10-lap B Main.

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