By PETE SWANSON
For the Daily Clarion
Saturday night's Tri-State Speedway tripleheader will feature the sixth annual Sprint Stampede on Haubstadt's high-banked quarter-mile dirt track. The race will mark comebacks for former Princeton Community three-sport athlete Kyle Cummins and Fort Branch resident Chase Stockon.
"We changed cars a while back due to a chassis problem, but last Friday in Putnamville our current car had a part malfunction," said the 30-year-old Cummins, a five-time Midwest Sprint Car Series (MSCS) season champion, but not in points lead contention this season because he has missed a few MSCS programs while running United States Auto Club (USAC) races.
"We got that part changed and we'll race Saturday," said the former Princeton Community soccer goalkeeper, basketball player and hurdler, whose only 2018 feature came came at Bloomington Speedway in early-season. He placed fourth in Tri-State's May 27 Memorial Weekend Classic feature won by Stockon.
"We'll not only run in Saturday's MSCS feature, which is non-wing; but also in the MOWA (Midwest Open Wheel Association) competition for wing cars," said the 30-year-old Stockon, who grew up in Sullivan but moved to Fort Branch three years ago when Toyota hired wife Breanne as a quality engineer.
"Our last full MOWA race, we led the feature a while before finishing 12th. A couple nights later, at the I-55 Speedway in Pevely, Mo., we had an oil issue."
Saturday's tripleheader will include the Midwest Mini Sprint Association, which was part of the Memorial Weekend Classic program. Cody Trammell of Bloomington won that MMSA feature. Mike Terry Jr. of Plainfield won the May 12 MOWA feature, followed by Chase Briscoe of Mitchell.
"I like to do both non-wing and wing because I like to do something different," Briscoe said. "The feeling changes, and I think it's easier on me."
Stockon finished fifth in the recently completed USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Series, accumulating 1,086 points in a series won by Tyler Courtney with 1,260. Avon resident Kevin Thomas Jr., an early-season winner at Tri-State, finished second with 1,254.
"Chase is one of several guys who race more than one car," Tri-State operator Tom Helfrich said.
"Last year Carson Short raced two different cars here. A few other drivers have gone back and forth. A lot of times, some young drivers from the Indianapolis area come here for our wing shows. Some Ohio drivers, too."
Short, of Marion, Ill., leads the current MSCS standing with 547 points, according to statistics compiled by Tri-State Speedway publicity director Eldon Butcher of Mackey. Brandon Mattox of Cory, Ind., near Terre Haute, follows with 543. Fort Branch resident Donny Brackett stands third with 506, Owensville's Kent Schmidt fourth with 466. Robards, Ky., resident Aric Gentry with 431 completes the top five.
Jacob Patton of Bethalto, Ill., leads the MOWA standing with 546.
Gates will open at 5 p.m. Saturday, followed by warmups from 5:45 to 6. Qualifying trials will start at 6:30, followed by heat races at 7:30 and then the three features. The MSCS feature winner will earn $2,500, the MOWA and MMSA victors each $2,000. Admission prices are $20 per adult and $15 per student. As per custom set by Tom and wife Loris Helfrich, youths 12 and under are admitted without charge.
Tri-State will host a USAC Indiana Sprint Week program July 28.