By Roger Faulkner
It was another hot weekend at O’Reilly Raceway Park, in Clermont, IN. as the track came alive for three solid days of great racing. This was my second year at the great old track to cover Nascar for On Pit Road, but this year we got there early, arriving Thursday afternoon. That early arrival gave us time to catch the USAC action as the Midgets and the Silver Crown Sprint cars were in action.
The Midgets ran their 30 lap feature first and it was Kody Swanson of Kingsburg, CA. that led the race flag to flag. Among the field that night was Jason Leffler. Ryan Newman attempted the race in a Tony Stewart car, but they could never get the car to handle and pulled in after only a couple of laps in the heat race. In the Silver Crown race, both Leffler and Newman started the 100 lap race, with Newman starting second and leading the first lap. But both Newman and Leffler would retire early as the race was dominated by Brad Sweet, Kody Swanson and Bobby East. On lap 64 Tracy Hinds took the lead and never looked back as he collected the win.
In the Nascar Camping World Truck Series AAA Insurance 200, it was an three early battle between, Pole sitter Timothy Peters, Kyle Bush and Ron Hornaday. But as the laps wore down, it was Hornaday taking the lead and holding off the challengers. Peters would eventually fade back in the field and the battle was all Hornaday and Bush, but the crafty old veteran hung out there to repeat as the winner again this year at ORP. Bush had to settle for second, followed by Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and James Buescher. Rounding out the top 10 was Rookie Austin Dillon, sixth, followed by series point leader Todd Bodine, Brad Sweet, David Starr and Timothy Peters in 10th.
A jubilant Hornaday celebrated hard in Victory Lane as he is on a rebound from a poor start to the season. He made reference to that bad start when he declared, “this win is for Ray Dunlap.” the popular reporter for SPEED TV, “ Ray said that I was out of the running and could hang it up, early in the season. Ray, I’m still here.”
On Saturday night, the Nascar Nationwide Series took to the same track at ORP, with Trevor Bayne starting on the pole for the second year. Nascar had been watching the weather all day and there were threats of rain, so the start of the race was moved up 15 minutes. Bayne led the early laps, but as the race settled in it was Kyle Bush and Trevor Bayne swapping the lead several times. Carl Edwards charged to the front, but he never had enough to get past Bush. With an eye on the radar Nascar made quick work of the 6 cautions in this race and finished the race in less than 2 hours. It looked like the race was going to finish early and right on the 200 lap mark, but a spin in turn 4 by Joe Nemechek brought out the 6th caution on lap 196. That set up a green-white-checker finish with Edwards pushing hard to catch Bush. But Kyle would have no part of that so on lap 201 he collected his third win in a row at ORP in the Nationwide car. Edwards crossed the line second, followed by Almirola, Bayne and Sorenson. Series point leader Brad Keselowski finished 8th.