Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
When veteran driver Jon Stanbrough ushered in a new season in Florida back in February, he found himself facing a pair of unfamiliar challenges.
Running for a new car owner and presenting a different driving style that has him filling the role of points chaser on not only one but three midwestern sprint car circuits.
While he appears comfortable racing for long-time car owner Daryl Tate, the points-chasing approach hasn’t come all that easy for a guy accustomed to chasing checkered flags and not points.
With the current campaign rapidly approaching the mid-season mark, it appears Stanbrough is on target to fulfill preseason commitments while still making his share of visits to victory lane.
At the end of last week Stanbrough had already won the King of Indiana Sprint Series title and was leading the points on both the Midwest Sprint Car Series and USAC sprint circuits. There’s a distinct possibility of making it a triple crown sweep at seasons end.
The normally reserved and soft spoken Stanbrough seems almost as uncomfortable discussing points as he does chasing them. It’s a task he doesn’t embellish but knows goes along with the duties of the modern day professional race driver.
Seldom will you find the hard-charging Avon racer satisfied with a second-place finish but such was the scenario last Tuesday night at the Action track.
After coming up just short of edging out Levi Jones for a win that would have tied him as the winningest driver in Action track history Stanbrough took time to reflect on the current campaign and changes that have come his way.
“I don’t like running for points but I’ve made the commitment that we would try and win some championships this year. Hopefully we’ll get that done and next year forget the points and go back to racing my normal deal,” he said moments following the conclusion of the 25-lap MSCS sprint feature.
Stanbrough concedes he’s had to alter his driving style in the unfamiliar role of points chaser. “I feel I can still race hard but when I get myself into a position where it could be a position that might not end up the way I want it to I’m more apt to back off or try again.”
“I guess I’ve become a little smarter points racer. To finish is better than to get yourself in a position where you crash, not finish and lose points,” he reasoned.
“We’ve already won the KISS championship and can win the MSCS and USAC deals. Hopefully we can get both. All I know I’m done chasing championships. I’m going racing next year,” he exclaimed.
I I I
n NASCAR Night — In what become a welcomed change from that of recent years it was nice to view the nights action for the most part dust free. All the makings were there for a dusty affair-the high temps and steady moisture depleting winds- but Reece O’Connor and crew were on top of the conditions throughout the day and night.
Action Track supporters may have found themselves with a new fan favorite with modified feature winner Justin Allgaier. His winning efforts on the track and the promotional efforts on the part of himself and fellow NASCAR racer Kenny Wallace easily won over a new fan base locally.
And how about the guy everybody came to see-Tony Stewart. While at times Stewart’s off-track antics can wear thin one can never question the guys ability to drive a race car. Any type- any track. He was in non-wing sprint, modified and yes champ dirt car at the Action Track Tuesday night and less than 72 hours later muscling a stock car to a runnerup finish on the road course at Sears Point.
Two of the most eye catching moves of the night involved local drivers Braylon Fitzpatrick and Kenny Carmichael Jr. Fitzpatrick’s wheel brushing incident with Jon Stanbrough may have gone unseen by most but those who caught it, including his dad John Fitzpatrick flinched at the potential of a nasty bone jarring ride for the talented newcomer.
Carmichael’s fourth turn tangle with Kenny Wallace in the modifieds also had the makings of a bad night for the local driver but his quick actions left the NASCAR star positioned for a hit from uncoming traffic while the caging North Terre Haute racer sped off to safety.
Joe Buckles can be reached at email@example.com.