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Monday, Aug. 29, 2016

"Copper on Dirt" a big weekend for Jones and Sweet

Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010, at 4:16 PM

USAC racing headed from one warm locale to another this past weekend as all three series hit the dirt in quest of a coveted "Copper on Dirt" title in Tuscon, AZ.

Chris Windom has quickly become one of the young rising stars in sprint car racing and for much of Sunday's weather postponed 40-lapper, he appeared set to add a very big feather to his cap. However, Windom's stellar run ran into some bad luck as he ran out of fuel on the white flag lap after leading the first 38 laps of the event at USA Raceway.

Olney, Ill. native, Levi Jones was the recipient of Windom's misfortune as he claimed the victory as Windom was relegated to a disappointing 17th-place finish.

Jones powered his Tony Stewart Racing/Bass Pro Shop/Chevy sprinter across to take the checkers ahead of Jerry Coons Jr., Bud Kaeding, Damion Gardner and Robert Ballou.

The event served as one of the early battles between the East and West Coast pilots as the weekend was co-sanctioned by the USAC National and CRA organizations.

Forty sprint cars qualified for the event with Kaeding taking top time ahead of Coons Jr. and Indiana's Dave Darland.

With his fourth-place finish, Gardner maintains the USAC National Sprint Car points lead while Jones now tops the CRA points.

Jones wasn't finished for the weekend as he also claimed the USAC Silver Crown event in a 50-lap battle to the checkered flag.

Jones caught up to Kaeding on the final lap to claim his first win in the series and gave Tony Stewart Racing a record-tying 23rd career Silver Crown wins as an owner.

Kaeding led the first 49 laps of the event and finished second in the race ahead of Bobby East, Jerry Coons Jr. and Hines.

Jones was also the fastest qualifier on Friday night and won the dash to earn the pole starting position. Bryan Clauson qualified second in another Stewart-owned car.

Coleman Gulick won the qualifying race ahead of Shane Hollingsworth and Russ Gamester.

In the midget portion of the weekend, Grass Valley, CA native, Brad Sweet, was the winner after being the fast qualifier on Friday night.

Sweet was able to lead the first 21 laps and then the final three to pick up the victory after passing Tracy Hines on lap 28. Bobby East, another Indiana competitor, took second ahead of Hines, Darland and Brad Kuhn in the series opener.

Thirty midgets qualified on Friday night as Alex Bowman was second fastest behind Sweet's Kasey Kahne Racing/Ollie's Bargain Outlet/Mopar-powered machine. Clauson won the dash and placed sixth.

The sprints and midgets now head to Las Vegas as Jones searches for a victory on Thursday in the Las Vegas Super Sprint Classic at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway dirt track. Jones is the defending three-time USAC National Sprint Car Champion and is gunning to become the first-ever four-time National Sprint Champ.

Sweet heads to Las Vegas in search of his second win in a row in the midget division. The California-native was the fastest qualifier for the Las Vegas midget show last year and finished 14th in the feature. Coons Jr. is the two-time USAC National Midget Champ and is a Triple Crown title holder in the USAC Series. He's also the defending winner of the Las Vegas midget feature.

On Saturday, the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars and USAC National/Western Midgets will compete at Perris, CA Auto Speedway in the "Sokola Shootout" for a 30-lap main event for both series on the half-mile dirt oval.

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