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Kruseman checks out on the field at Haubstadt

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Carey Fox photo

Ventura, Ca driver, Cory Kruseman got past Bryan Clauson late in Sunday's 30-lap feature at Haubstadt to take his second feature win of the 2005 Valvoline Indiana Sprint Week.

HAUBSTADT, Ind. -- Cory Kruseman was just waiting to get through to the checkout line in Sunday's USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series race at Tri-State Speedway.

And once he did, there was nothing anyone could do.

The Ventura, Calif. native won his second Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" race in three races, leading the final 11 laps in Round 3 of the seven-race series and collected the ISW points lead in the process. He passed rookie standout Bryan Clauson with a masterful slide in Turn 4 on the 20th lap and led the rest of the way in the No. 67 Vital Express Bullet/Snyder Chevy.

"I wish they'd move this track to California; I love running here," said Kruseman, who won the Haubstadt round in 2002 en route to that year's "Indiana Sprint Week" title. "This track is one of the best in America."

Kruseman took full advantage of a pair of cautions to move to the front. Kruseman trailed Clauson after the first caution period on Lap 8 after Daron Clayton spun on the backstretch, and after losing ground to Clauson as they weaved through the back of the field, regained that gap after Tom Hessert III spun and rolled over in Turn 2 on Lap 18.

That yellow flag gave Kruseman what he needed.

On the restart, Kruseman kept close, then slid underneath and up in front of Clauson through Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 20, causing Clauson to let off the gas. Once he got back on it, Kruseman was hard on the throttle himself and in front by two cars.

That gap stretched decisively by the checkered flags, as Clauson held tight to hold off Damion Gardner for the runner-up spot. But the Concord, Calif. native -- who runs second in USAC/CRA points -- got around the National series rookie on the white flag lap for second. Clauson finished third, ahead of Levi Jones and Hines.

"My hat's off to him, he did a great job tonight," said Kruseman of Clauson. "But I have thank my crew; they had this thing dialed in this whole week.

"If I keep getting the racecars that I do, we might have a good shot at winning (the title)," Kruseman added.

Clauson was sensational in his attempt for his first series victory. Living up to his nickname "Bullet," Clauson jumped ahead of Hines on the onset from his second-place starting spot, and established a half straightaway gap by Lap 3 and a full straightaway advantage by Lap 5. The caution on Lap 8 slowed his prowess, and he was left to battle Kruseman for the final 22 laps.

"We had a good run," Clauson said. "I would have loved to win, but third is a good run for us. We just have to go out and try to have a good run at Putnamville (Ind.) now."

Having started fourth, Kruseman drove past defending series champion Jay Drake and Hines to gain second in the first five laps. He then tried desperately to pass Clauson in the tight turns of the quarter-mile track, only to lose ground to Clauson on the straightaways before the two encountered traffic on Lap 18.

Clauson moved through the traffic without hesitation or contact, weaving high and low before pulling away slightly on Lap 19. But the caution involving Hessert a lap later allowed Kruseman to slip in behind Clauson, and he made the winning move a lap later.

A caution involving Kyle Wissmiller's stalled car on Lap 27 didn't deter Kruseman, who won a record 11th career USAC Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" race. He ran away at the end and led Gardner by over two car lengths at the end.

Justin Marvel, who finished seventh in the 30-lap feature, set fast time with a 12.903-second lap in qualifying. Lee Boss and local racer Hud Cone won six-lap qualifying races, while Kyle and Mitch Wissmiller, John Wolfe and Brady Short scored eight-lap heat wins. Drake won the 12-lap semifeature.

Kruseman holds a two-point edge on Hines heading into Tuesday's rescheduled event at Lincoln Park Speedway at Putnamville.

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