HAUBSTADT, Ind. — The richest Haubstadt Hustler to date is on tap for the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship and Midwest Sprint Car Series this Saturday night, September 16, at Tri-State Speedway.
Forty laps will lead to a $20,000 payday for one driver and one team to experience this weekend at The Class Track’s quarter-mile dirt oval during the 16th running of the Haubstadt Hustler.
A long(er) distance, a big payout, the prospect of Jadon Rogers repeating, Kyle Cummins setting a new all-time record and the possibility of an emerging first-time USAC National Sprint Car points-paying race winner such as Daison Pursley, Carson Garrett and others are more than enough to whet the appetite.
But that only scratches the surface with the Haubstadt Hustler presenting round two of the USAC NOS Energy Drink Hoosier Trifecta and the penultimate round of the Bubby Jones Master of Goin’ Faster Presented By Spire Sports + Entertainment series.
All hotly contested races and all at the forefront of the storylines that we have our eyes peeled to this coming Saturday in southern Indiana.
RODGERS RUNNIN’ IT BACK
Countless individuals have clutched onto the dream of winning their first career USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship feature race. Some are able to realize that dream but, for most, it remains but a fleeting notion that is never fully seized.
It was “carpe diem” for Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) during the 2022 Haubstadt Hustler as he led the final five laps to score his first career USAC feature victory.
It had been a long time coming for the 2020 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year, the same season in which he raced from his 14th starting position to finish 2nd during his first Haubstadt Hustler start.
He’s also the most recent winner at Tri-State, scoring the Midwest Sprint Car Series show on Labor Day weekend, September 3. He ran fourth with USAC there in the spring of this year, equaling his best performance of the season with the series.
Furthermore, he seems to have found a home with Michael Dutcher Motorsports, finishing 5th, 4th, 7th and 4th in four of his past five starts with the team as he angles to return to victory lane for the first time in a calendar year with USAC and also provide Dutcher his first USAC win since 2015. A Dutcher-owned car won the Haubstadt Hustler in 2013 with Kevin Thomas Jr. at the wheel.
CUMMINS ONE AWAY
Two-time Haubstadt Hustler winner Kyle Cummins has been the barometer that many others have measured themselves against when it comes to racing at Tri-State Speedway.
Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) is tied atop the list for all-time USAC National Sprint Car victories at the track, having won six times, including the Haubstadt Hustler on two occasions in 2016 and 2019. With one more victory, he’d officially become the king of USAC Sprint Car racing at Tri-State in terms of total wins.
However, he’s been shut out of victory lane in each of his last five outings with USAC at TSS dating back to the spring of 2021, the longest such stretch of his career.
Cummins, who swept to victory in all eight of his sprint car starts at Tri-State in 2019, has already won twice this year at TSS with MSCS, during May’s Memorial Weekend Classic and August’s Hoosier Sprint Nationals.
DAISON & CARSON, FIRST ONE?
Daron Clayton (2006), Hunter Schuerenberg (2008), Blake Fitzpatrick (2010), Carson Short (2016), Stephen Schnapf (2020) and Jadon Rogers (2022) all know the feeling well.
They’ve all experienced a first career USAC National Sprint Car feature win at Tri-State Speedway.
Daison Pursley and Carson Garrett are two individuals looking to experience the same feeling this Saturday night during the Haubstadt Hustler, both of whom have ties to the southern Indiana dirt oval.
Mind you, yes, Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) did win a non-point paying USAC Sprint Car feature down in Florida at Volusia Speedway Park to kick off the season, but another on Saturday would actually be his first points-paying victory with the series. The top-Rookie in the 2023 USAC National Sprint Car standings finished 8th in his Haubstadt Hustler debut in 2021, which also marked his first career USAC Sprint Car start with the KO Motorsports team, a team that is a regular fixture at Tri-State.
Meanwhile, Garrett (Littleton, Colo.) has already won twice with MSCS this season, once in May and again in June. He ran seventh in the spring with USAC at Tri-State but has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. With USAC, he finished with a career best second place result (by inches) at Illinois’ Macon Speedway and has also run inside the top-five multiple times since. Now he’s primed to be USAC’s first “first-time” Sprint Car winner of 2023.
TRIFECTA ROUND TWO
And then there were three!
Justin Grant, Kyle Cummins and Logan Seavey are gunning for their share of the USAC NOS Energy Drink Hoosier Trifecta, round two of which arrives during this Saturday’s Haubstadt Hustler.
Two Trifecta events remain with a pair of $20,000-to-win showdowns on Saturday at Tri-State and on Saturday, October 7, during Lawrenceburg Speedway’s Fall Nationals.
Grant took round one of the Trifecta in August at Kokomo’s Smackdown ahead of Cummins and Seavey. Now Grant is chasing a clean sweep worth more than $100,000 in total prize money if he can win at both Tri-State and Lawrenceburg.
The driver with the highest average Trifecta finishing position and also finishes inside the top-three in the trio of events will earn the prize – over 100,000 dollars in total to win all three, a $20,000 bonus to finish second or better in all three and $10,000 to score a top-three result in all three races.
BUBBY JONES PENULTIMATE ROUND
Emerson Axsom leads a hotly contested title race in the Bubby Jones Master of Goin’ Faster Presented By Spire Sports + Entertainment standings.
The 10-race miniseries for the USAC National Sprint Cars takes on round nine on Saturday at Tri-State, a series in which Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) possesses a 13-point lead over C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.).
Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) remains 41 points out of the lead with defending “Bubby” champ Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) 49 markers back and Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) 59 tallies behind the leader.
The driver accumulating the most total points throughout the 2023 Bubby Jones Racing Master of Goin’ Faster series will be rewarded with a $10,000 prize. Furthermore, the championship winning crew chief will collect a $2,500 bonus.
Winners of the Bubby Jones races thus far in 2023 include C.J. Leary (May 6 at Eldora), Brady Bacon (May 23 at Terre Haute), Jake Swanson (June 3 at Knoxville), Emerson Axsom (June 16 at Williams Grove), Justin Grant (June 17 at Port Royal), C.J. Leary (July 22 at Kokomo), Emerson Axsom (July 28 at Bloomington) and Matt Westfall (September 9 at Texarkana 67).
Two Bubby Jones events remain in 2023 starting at Tri-State Speedway on Saturday, September 16, and ending on Saturday, October 7, at Lawrenceburg Speedway.
DIFFERENT FORMAT & “POINT”ING IT OUT
At this time of the season, much of the talk surrounds the season-long championship points races. While Saturday’s Haubstadt Hustler, co-sanctioned by the Midwest Sprint Car Series, will pay points toward the USAC National Sprint Car title race, the points will only be distributed in the form of appearance points.
All participating USAC National Sprint Car licensed drivers and entrants will receive 50 points across the board for their participation in the event regardless of finishing position this Saturday night.
The MSCS format of group qualifying to set heat race lineups and a draw to determine the feature inversion will be utilized for the Haubstadt Hustler, as has traditionally been the case in this event. April’s Spring Showdown at Tri-State, also co-sanctioned by USAC and MSCS, routinely uses the USAC format.
That takes points out of the equation for the night, meaning teams and drivers might play it a bit less conservatively when it comes to taking chances, and perhaps, on the set-up. But knowing this group, there’s not much “conserving” when $20,000 and bragging rights are on the line.