While Darland was racking up his 17th "Indiana Sprintweek" race win, Levi Jones capped off a consistent week to tie Kevin Thomas as the only drivers to ever capture four "Sprintweek" championships.
Shane Cottle jumped to the lead from the pole position and was in command for much of the race. A demanding track led to multiple stoppages early in the event, but with the rhythm of a longer run, Cottle was pulling away. Behind him, it was Darland holding down second while the "race within a race" took place behind him with Jones, Bryan Clauson, and Jon Stanbrough racing for position and a potential "Sprintweek" title, as Kevin Thomas, Jr. stuck his nose in running the bottom from his 13th starting position.
"The track was changing throughout the race so I just had to keep trying different things until I found something that worked. I had to find a way to out-do him somehow in one and two and have a chance to make a move in three and four. KT (Kevin Thomas, Jr.) actually helped me a little bit to make Cottle nervous on the bottom, I think. I was hoping when I had that run that we weren't gonna end up in the woods. We had him cleared plenty there and just had to keep getting off the corner to beat him," Darland said.
Thomas stuck to his line on the bottom and eventually moved by Cottle as well, capping off a strong run to end his "Sprintweek" in the Black Jack Oil -- Indy Metal Finishings #9K Spike/Kistler with a runner-up finish and the Schroeder Torsion Bars "Hard Charger" Award.
On the last lap, still looking for enough points to steal the "Sprintweek" title, Clauson threw a massive turn-three slidejob on Cottle to take third in the Curb Records -- R&B Trucker's #7 Maxim/Fisher.
"It was game on tonight. All we could do tonight is do our best and beat them both, and we did that. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough cars in between us to do it. Came up a few points short again. It was a great week for us, and a couple bad breaks undid us this week," Clauson said.
Cottle held on for fourth in the Epperson Painting -- Infinity Shocks #2 Spike/Claxton, while Jones cleared Stanbrough off turn-four to steal the fifth spot and secure his week-long championship in the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing -- Chevy Performance #20 Maxim/Kistler.
"We definitely wanted to win races, but we were in the hunt every night and put together a great week. It's an awesome week with great fans, and it's great to drive for this race. Tonight, we were fast time and drove up through the heat race. It was tough for us to go anywhere in the feature, but I kept the 7 and the 21x right in front of us the whole race, and that was what we had to do to win it," Jones said.
AMSOIL USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR RACE RESULTS: July 22, 2012 -- Putnamville, IN -- Lincoln Park Speedway -- 25th AMSOIL "Indiana Sprint Week" Finale
QUALIFYING: 1. Levi Jones, 20, Stewart/Curb-Agajanian-12.718; 2. Bryan Clauson, 7, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-12.786; 3. Daron Clayton, 92, Clayton-12.807; 4. Dave Darland, 11, Walker-12.893; 5. Jon Stanbrough, 21x, Roberts/Tate-12.916;6. Jerry Coons Jr., 71P, Phillips-12.950; 7. Jace Vander Weerd, 88, Vander Weerd-13.009; 8. Coleman Gulick, 14, Gulick-13.017; 9. Jon Sciscoe, 57, Hazen-13.134; 10. Jonathan Hendrick, 68, Hendrick-13.135; 11. Shane Cottle, 2, Epperson-13.177; 12. Kody Swanson, 19, Slinkard-13.208; 13. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-13.235; 14. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9k, BlackJack-13.264; 15. Thomas Meseraull, 18, Keen-13.270; 16. Chase Stockon, 32, Stockon-13.314; 17. Hunter Schuerenberg, 35, Byram-13.316; 18. A.J. Hopkins, 14H, Hopkins-13.398; 19. Chad Boespflug, 69, Dynamics-13.399; 20. Brent Beauchamp, 34, Olson-13.416; 21. Logan Hupp, 9H, Hupp-13.452; 22. Chris Gurley, 12G, Team Automotive-13.471; 23. Damion Gardner, 71, DG-13.498; 24. Seth Parker, 38p, Parker-13.560; 25. Robert Ballou, 81, MPHG-13.565; 26. Richard Vander Weerd, 10, Vander Weerd-13.570; 27. Jeff Bland, Jr., 38, Bland-13.572; 28. Tracy Hines, 4, Hines-13.575; 29. Bobby East, 5E, East-13.582; 30. Josh Clemons, 71c, Pedersen-13.594; 31. Logan Jarrett, 29, Jarrett-13.650; 32. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-13.660; 33. Casey Shuman, 22, Batcheldor/Rice-13.677; 34. Dakota Jackson, 3, Jackson-13.700; 35. Josh Burton, 04, Burton-13.711; 36. Scotty Weir, 77, Wingo-13.752; 37. Joe Liguori, 6rr, Liguori-13.964; 38. Kyle Cummins, 3c, Cummins-14.123; 39. Daylan Chambers, 4c, Chambers-14.231; 40. Garrett Abrams, 32x, Abrams-16.994.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jones, 2. Stanbrough, 3. Schuerenberg, 4. Leary, 5. Sciscoe, 6. Ballou, 7. East, 8. Liguori, 9. Hupp, 10. Shuman. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Hopkins, 3. Gurley, 4. Thomas, 5. Coons, 6. Hendrick, 7. Clemons, 8. R.Vander Weerd, 9. Jackson, 10. Cummins. NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Cottle, 2. Gardner, 3. Meseraull, 4. Bland, 5. Clayton, 6. Boespflug, 7. J.Vander Weerd, 8. Burton, 9. Jarrett, 10. Chambers. 2:29.41
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Darland, 2. Gulick, 3. Stockon, 4. Hines, 5. Parker, 6. Beauchamp, 7. Abrams, 8. Weir, 9. Swanson, 10. Windom. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Sciscoe, 2. Clayton, 3. Boespflug, 4. J.Vander Weerd, 5. Coons, 6. Hendrick, 7. Windom, 8. Beauchamp, 9. Ballou, 10. Shuman, 11. East, 12. Parker, 13. Hupp, 14. Jarrett, 15. Burton, 16. Jackson, 17. R.Vander Weerd, 18. Cummins, 19. Clemons, 20. Liguori, 21. Abrams, 22. Chambers. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 3. Bryan Clauson, 4. Shane Cottle, 5. Levi Jones, 6. Jon Stanbrough, 7. Coleman Gulick, 8. Hunter Schuerenberg, 9. Jonathan Hendrick, 10. Thomas Meseraull, 11. Daron Clayton, 12. Chad Boespflug, 13. Jeff Bland, Jr., 14. Chris Windom, 15. C.J. Leary, 16. Robert Ballou, 17. Chris Gurley, 18. Damion Gardner, 19. Jon Sciscoe, 20. Chase Stockon, 21. A.J. Hopkins, 22. Jace Vander Weerd, 23. Jerry Coons Jr., 24. Tracy Hines, 25. Richard Vander Weerd. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-26 Cottle, Laps 27-30 Darland.
NEW AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT POINTS: 1-Stanbrough-1,138, 2-Jones-1,132; 3-Darland-1,055, 4-Clauson-952, 5-Gardner-950, 6-Hines-885, 7-Schuerenberg-833, 8-Ballou-824, 9-Thomas-817, 10-Stockon-816
FINAL AMSOIL INDIANA SPRINT WEEK POINTS: 1-Jones-391, 2-Clauson-384, 3-Stanbrough-371, 4-Darland-360, 5-Coons-288, 6-Stockon-285, 7-Schuerenberg-267, 8-Thomas-260, 9-Gardner-254, 10-Cottle-217.
NEXT AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT RACE: July 28 -- Rossburg, OH -- Eldora Speedway -- "Summer Sprint Car Shootout"