Robert Ballou made his POWRi Lucas Oil WAR East Sprint League debut in stunning fashion coming out victorious at the league's season finale event at Fairbury American Legion Speedway. Sprint Mania gathered a wide variety of drivers for the inaugural event with nine different states represented among the field of 31 cars. Ballou bested the group over Dave Darland, Joe B. Miller, Landon Simon, and League Champion Korey Weyant rounded out the top five.
The feature event was full of big sliders, close calls, and drama. Mario Clouser and Joe B. Miller led the 22-car starting field to green flag racing Saturday night with Miller leading lap one while Ballou sat third, but he didn't waste any time before throwing a slide job in turns three and four to take over second.
The yellow flag flew early on in the race for Mitch Wissmiller and Kevin Thomas Jr. who tangled and came to a stop in turns three and four. Kevin Thomas Jr. and Josh Hodges had originally travelled to Haubstadt, Indiana earlier that day for a race at Tri-State Speedway which got rained out. They loaded up and hauled directly to "FALS" where they tagged the back of the B-Main and both transferred into the feature event. Thomas won the B-Main from the back.
When the green flag came back out, a fierce battle within the top five continued to heat up. Joe B. Miller remained in the lead while Tyler Courtney challenged Ballou for second and then Dave Darland showed his nose to challenge Courtney for third. Courtney found enough momentum coming off of turn two and threw the slider at Ballou in turns three and four to make the pass for second leaving Ballou now in third.
As Miller began to catch lapped traffic, the red flag would wave for Terry Babb who got above the cushion in turns three and four and upside down. He climbed out under his own power but was done for the evening.
21 laps remained. The green flag flew, and Courtney was hot on Miller's trail as he followed him down the backstretch. Courtney threw the slide job for the lead, Miller crossed over and they drag raced down the front straightaway to the crowd's delight. Courtney was the new race leader.
Courtney remained in a comfortable lead while Ballou and Darland worked their way past Joe B. Miller. Ballou began reeling Courtney in as he caught lapped traffic. Ballou pressured Courtney in turns three and four, but Courtney remained in the lead until he made contact with lap car Kevin Thomas Jr in turns one and two and flipped with four laps to go. Courtney climbed out under his own power, but would not refire.
With an open racetrack and four laps left ahead of him, Ballou would go on to snag his first POWRi Lucas Oil WAR East win of his career and a stellar $4,000 payday over Dave Darland and Joe B. Miller.
Heat 1 - 8 laps
1. 24-Landon Simon, Tipp City, OH (6); 2. 56-Mitchell Davis, Auburn, IL (1); 3. 14-Chad Wilson, Toledo, OH (2); 4. 31L Buddy Lowther, Cincinnati, OH (5); 5. 4G-George Gaertner III, Salem, WI (7); 6. N2-Nic Harris, Atlanta, IL (3); 7. 24X-Kyle Simon, Covington, OH (7)
Heat 2 - 8 laps
1. 23C-Tyler Courtney, Indianapolis, IN (3); 2. 8D-Terry Babb, Decatur, IL (1); 3. 17GP-Dave Darland, Lincoln, IN (5); 4. 1-Mitch Wissmiller, Saybrook, IL (8); 5. 11-James Lyerla, Hillsboro, IL (6); 6. 52F-Logan Faucon, Elkhart, IL (7); 7. 1T-Tyler Shoemaker, Bloomington, IN (4); 8. 95-Tommy Rockwell, Towanda, IL (2)
Heat 3 - 8 laps
1. 6-Mario Clouser, Auburn, IL (1); 2, 12-Robert Ballou, Rocklin, CA (5); 3. 5H-Patrick Haynes, Bradley, IL (2); 4. 20-Steve Thomas, Rantoul, IL (3); 5. 89-George Gaertner Jr, Salem, WI (6); 6. 7-Steve Clott, N/A (8); 7. 9-Kevin Thomas Jr, Cullman, AL (7)-DNS; 8. 74-Josh Hodges, Tijeras, NM (8)-DNS
Heat 4 - 8 laps
1. 99-Korey Weyant, Springfield, IL (1); 2. 47-Katlynn Leer, Moulton, IA (4); 3. 51B-Joe B. Miller, Millersville, MO (6); 4. 38-Allen Hafford, Beach Park, IL (3); 5. 31-Austin Sears, Macomb, IL (2); 6. 16-Anthony Nicholson, Bartlett, TN (5); 7. 37X-Dave Gross, Rochester, IN (7)
B-Main - 12 laps
1. 9-Kevin Thomas Jr (14); 2. 16-Anthony Nicholson (7); 3. 74-Josh Hodges (15); 4. 11-James Lyerla (2); 5. 38-Allen Hafford (1); 6. 52F-Logan Faucon (4); 7. 31-Austin Sears (5); 8. 89-George Gaertner Jr (3); 9. 95-Tommy Rockwell (12); 10. 1T-Tyler Shoemaker (11); 11. 29-Randy Stanford (10); 12. 37X-Dave Gross (9); 13. 7-Steve Clott (6); 14. N2-Nic Harris (8); 15. 24X-Kyle Simon (13)
POWRi Lucas Oil WAR East Sprints A-Main - 35 laps
1. 12-Robert Ballou (4); 2. 17GP-Dave Darland (9); 3. 51B-Joe B. Miller (2); 4. 24-Landon Simon (6); 5. 99-Korey Weyant (7); 6. 6-Mario Clouser (1); 7. 56-Mitchell Davis (10); 8. 74-Josh Hodges (19); 9. 16-Anthony Nicholson (18); 10. 52F-Logan Faucon (22); 11. 14-Chad Wilson (12); 12. 38-Allen Hafford (21); 13. 5H-Patrick Haynes (13); 14. 11-James Lyerla (20); 15. 20-Steve Thomas (16); 16. 31L-Buddy Lowther (14); 17. 4G-George Gaertner III (15); 18. 23C-Tyler Courtney (5)-DNF; 19. 9-Kevin Thomas Jr (17)-DNF; 20. 47-Katlynn Leer (3)-DNF; 21. 8D-Terry Babb (11)-DNF; 22. 1-Mitch Wissmiller (8)-DNF