Dsc 1732
Justin Grant has won all three USAC sprint car features at Ocala Speedway this month. (Al Steinberg photo)

Grant Remains Perfect On Ocala Dirt

OCALA, Fla. — Justin Grant is way too young to consider retirement. But if he was ready to retire, Ocala would be an appropriate location after notching his third consecutive USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car Series victory at Ocala Speedway.

Grant won both series events at the three-eighths-mile oval last weekend, then started outside the front row for Thursday’s 30-lapper and was never headed in the $6,000-to-win feature. 

But it wasn’t because Logan Seavey, who swept the two Volusia Speedway Park events earlier in the week, didn’t give it a shot before settling for second ahead of polesitter Chase Stockon.

“It’s really hard when Justin starts in the front row,” offered the sixth-starting Seavey. “We passed a few cars early on and got to him but he didn’t mess up at all, so we had to settle for second.”

Stockon got to turn one first on the initial break but Grant tried him low off turn two and almost got by.  When they exited turn four to complete the initial lap, Grant had a full head of steam up and shot by to take a lead he would hold to the checkers. 

The race’s first caution came on lap seven, when Briggs Danner blew an engine and drove in the back gate with his car on fire.  By then fifth starting Timmy Buckwalter had advanced to third and was hounding Stockon for second with Daison Pursley following him.  The duel continued with the return to green only to have Buckwalter do a half spin on lap 14 and stall in the first turn.

The yellow was extended when sixth-running Brady Bacon had a right rear go flat under yellow, but with the green Seavey turned the wick up and had passed Stockon for second before yellow and red both flew when Trey Osborne vaulted the third turn wall and disappeared into the night. Osborne’s flier was the second at that end of the track, as Zach Daum took a wicked tumble over the fourth turn wall in his heat, landing backwards against the bank the bleachers sit on with the car on fire.  Much to the relief of the crowd, both drivers escaped injury.

The second half of the feature was much calmer, running non-stop from the green with 16 laps in the books to the checkers. Grant and Seavey were in a league of their own, immediately pulling out to a full turn lead over the field.  The action was behind them, with Stockon and Daison Pursley battling for third-place money.

They finished that way after Pursley got under Stockon to turn one only to have Stockon immediately cross him and take the spot back. Jake Swanson was fifth, with Matt Westfall, hard charger award winner Kevin Thomas Jr., Kyle Cummins, C.J. Leary and Jadon Rogers rounding out the top 10.

“It wasn’t as easy as it looked but it wasn’t bad,” offered Grant.  “I heard Logan on that last restart but I never actually saw him. I didn’t nail it in three and heard him under me for a lap and a half. Then I got going again, changed my line a little and we were good. I’ve also won three in a row at Kokomo but this was a really good night too.”

Stockon was actually pleased with third, saying “I just played defense all night. That’s about it. We couldn’t match Justin and Logan’s pace.  We’re getting closer but we’re not there yet.”

Justin Grant in victory lane. (Dave Olson photo)

USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, Ocala Speedway, Ocala, Fla., Feb. 15, 2024

HONEST ABE ROOFING QUALIFYING: 1. Logan Seavey, 57, Abacus-13.925; 2. Timmy Buckwalter, 20, Hummer-13.929; 3. Daison Pursley, 21AZ, Team AZ-14.005; 4. Jake Swanson, 2B, 2B Racing-14.039; 5. Carson Garrett, 15, BGE Dougherty-14.039; 6. C.J. Leary, 15x, BGE Dougherty-14.040; 7. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-14.099; 8. Zach Daum, 5d, Daum-14.100; 9. Chase Stockon, 5s, KO-14.126; 10. Briggs Danner, 39, Hogue-14.132; 11. Brady Bacon, 69, Dynamics-14.149; 12. Kyle Cummins, 3p, Petty-14.194; 13. Matt Westfall, 33m, Marshall-14.212; 14. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3R, Rock Steady-14.258; 15. Tom Harris, 84, Harris-14.340; 16. Mitchel Moles, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-14.348; 17. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.349; 18. Jadon Rogers, 17GP, Dutcher-14.376; 19. Trey Osborne, 5, Baldwin/Fox-14.445; 20. Joey Amantea, 88J, JPA-14.452; 21. Alex Bright, 27, Heffner-14.487; 22. Tye Mihocko, 5T, Wilson-14.550; 23. Chase Howard, 13, Howard-14.968; 24. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-14.973; 25. Shane Butler, 18, Butler-15.047; 26. Hunter Maddox, 24m, Maddox-15.075; 27. Kobe Simpson, 21K, Simpson-16.139; 28. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-17.189.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Matt Westfall, 2. Chase Stockon, 3. Robert Ballou, 4. Alex Bright, 5. Logan Seavey, 6. Carson Garrett, 7. Shane Butler. 1:57.91

ROD END SUPPLY SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Jadon Rogers, 2. Tye Mihocko, 3. Timmy Buckwalter, 4. Briggs Danner, 5. Kevin Thomas Jr., 6. C.J. Leary, 7. Hunter Maddox. 1:56.20

T.J. FORGED THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Brady Bacon, 2. Daison Pursley, 3. Justin Grant, 4. Trey Osborne, 5. Tom Harris, 6. Chase Howard, 7. Kobe Simpson. 1:58.32

CAR IQ FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Kyle Cummins, 2. Joey Amantea, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Mitchel Moles, 5. Brandon Mattox, 6. Zach Daum, 7. Robert Bell. 1:57.28

ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-4 transfer to the feature) 1. Carson Garrett, 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Chase Howard, 4. Shane Butler, 5. Hunter Maddox, 6. Kobe Simpson, 7. Robert Bell.

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Justin Grant (2), 2. Logan Seavey (6), 3. Chase Stockon (1), 4. Daison Pursley (4), 5. Jake Swanson (3), 6. Matt Westfall (9), 7. Kevin Thomas Jr. (14), 8. Kyle Cummins (8), 9. C.J. Leary (12), 10. Jadon Rogers (10), 11. Robert Ballou (17), 12. Joey Amantea (19), 13. Brady Bacon (7), 14. Carson Garrett (11), 15. Mitchel Moles (16), 16. Tye Mihocko (20), 17. Alex Bright (24), 18. Tom Harris (15), 19. Brandon Mattox (22), 20. Trey Osborne (18), 21. Timmy Buckwalter (5), 22. Chase Howard (21), 23. Briggs Danner (13), 24. Shane Butler (23).