GAS CITY, Ind. - Cory Kruseman of Ventura, Calif. led Levi Jones by nearly four car lengths Wednesday to win his third Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" race in five races, taking the 30-lapper at Gas City I-69 Speedway.
Kruseman, in the Keith Kunz Motorsports Vital Express Bullet/Snyder Chevy, inherited the lead from early leader Brandon Petty on Lap 24 after Petty broke his car's driveline and increased his advantage every lap thereafter for his record 12th career ISW victory.
Petty proved to be the dominant figure in the night's feature. Holding the pole after taking the sixth quick qualifying time, Petty tried three times to garner the point for good but was unable to grasp the spot as twice the start was delayed following incidents.
On the third try, however, Petty beat Justin Marvel into Turn 1, then kept his momentum to lead the first lap. Marvel didn't give up though, and his persistence paid off on Lap 4, when he inched ahead at the flag stand. But Petty regained the point coming out of Turn 2, and quickly distanced himself from the rest of the field.
Petty's dominance was displayed throughout the first half the event, when he established a half straightaway advantage at times over Kruseman. When he encountered traffic, however, Petty lost ground to Kruseman, who crept up on Petty's tail tank in a not-so-ambitious attempt to take the lead.
The first of two cautions came on Lap 19, when Bud Kaeding and Damion Gardner tangled just ahead of the leaders. Neither Petty nor Kruseman were involved.
Petty whipped around the bottom of the track on the restart, and quickly established a gap Kruseman could not easily overcome.
Or so he thought.
Driving his No. 3R Reynolds Racing machine around the cushion on Lap 24, Petty encountered driveline problems and immediately stopped on the top of Turn 4. When Petty out, Kruseman took the point, with Jones in tow.
Kruseman didn't have to withstand a severe challenge by Jones on the restart. He hugged the bottom line over the remaining seven laps, and held off the Illinoisan by just under a second. Marvel finished a career best third, ahead of Dickie Gaines and defending National Series champ Jay Drake.
Six drivers were involved in Lap 1 incidents. Following the green flag on the initial start, Jon Stanbrough flipped in Turn 2 only to crawl out under his own power. When the green flag was displayed again, five cars were involved in three separate incidents: Tracy Hines and Jerry Coons Jr. collided coming out of Turn 4, Gas City weekly points leader John Wolfe spun in front of the flag stand, and fast qualifier Daron Clayton and Dave Darland tangled. Hines and Clayton were unable to restart. Darland, Tuesday night's victor at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind., finished 16th. Coons recovered to finish 10th.
Clayton's fast time stood at 12.562 seconds. Jimmy Laser and local competitor Scotty Weir won six-lap qualifying races, while Hines, Bart Grider, Dustin Smith and Mat Neely won 10-lap heats. Clayton triumphed in the 12-lap semifeature.
The win returned Kruseman to the top of the Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" points standings, as the tour heads Thursday to Lawrenceburg Speedway in southeastern Indiana for the penultimate event of the seven-race series. Kruseman's gap stands at 35 points over Jones -- the defending series champion -- with two races remaining.