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PETERSEN MEDIA: Robert Ballou put together a strong a strong finishes during the annual USAC Eastern Storm that included his first USAC win of the season as he took top honors at BAPS Motor Speedway on Father’s Day.
“It was a decent week for our team,” Robert Ballou said. “We keep searching to get me comfortable in the racecar, because I feel that if I am not comfortable I need to find something else to do. Last week, we hit on some things and strung together some good finishes including a nice win on Sunday.”
Opening the Eastern Storm up last Thursday night, Ballou checked in at Grandview Speedway where he timed the Dickinson Farms/Lucas Oil Products/Abreu Vineyards machine in 10th fastest in time trials.
On the hard, slick surface, Ballou would race to the heat race win but then found himself back in the fifth row for the feature event. With the surface tough to pass on, Ballou would manage to pick up a couple of positions as he kept his machine inside the Top-10 and got his Eastern Storm off and running with an eighth place finish.
Friday night the scene shifted to the famed Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA where Ballou got what would be a very good night kicked off by timing in seventh fastest in qualifying time trials.
Finishing second in his heat race, Ballou would have a little help and find himself on the front row of the feature event. On a hooked up Williams Grove Speedway, Ballou would jump out to the lead early as he paced the field in the early goings. Past the halfway point Brady Bacon would close in on ‘The Mad Man’ as they ran through traffic, but back in clean air Ballou would open his lead up until the caution flag negated his progress.
When the race came back to life, Ballou would find himself under siege from Brady Bacon and Chris Windom and he would actually lose the lead and fall back to third where he would finish.
Checking in at Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night, Ballou got things kicked off in style as he timed in second fastest before finishing second in his heat race for the second consecutive night.
Lining up in the third row of the feature event at the ‘Speed Palace’, Ballou would battle with Dave Darland, Chase Stockon, and Tyler Courtney as the drivers jockeyed for position inside the Top-10. Continuing to put together consistent finishes, Ballou closed Saturday night out with a fourth place finish.
Father’s Day Sunday saw the series check in at the newly renovated BAPS Motor Speedway. Getting off to another great start, the Rocklin, CA native would time in third fastest before again finishing second in his heat race.
Lining up on the outside of row-two for the feature event, Ballou admitted he was weary of his car in the opening laps of the race. Able to jump into third, Ballou’s car came to him and he soon knew that he would be the car to beat on this night.
As Dave Darland and Chris Windom duked it out in front of him, Ballou moved into second on the eight lap, and hooked up in an entertaining battle for the top spot with Christ Windom for the next two laps as they swapped the lead several times with Ballou officially taking command of the race on the ninth lap.
Able to clear Wimdom, Ballou would do an fantastic job of operating in traffic. Able to clear cars at will, Ballou was able to park his machine in USAC victory lane and end a 31-race winless streak with the series that dated back 11 months.
With a USAC win under his belt, Ballou would follow the series to Bridgeport Speedway on Monday night where finish sixth, before wrapping up Eastern Strom on Tuesday night at Weedsport Speedway.
Destroying his car in time trials, Ballou would be forced to pull down his spare car and tag the back of the pack for the feature event.
Lining up 20th, Ballou would have his elbows up as he quickly worked his way up inside the Top-10 by the time the race’s first caution flag flew.
Able to pick up a few more spots in the waning laps of the tough week, Ballou would dig out of a huge hole as he finished seventh in the feature event. When the final Eastern Storm points were tallied Ballou would end up fourth in those standings as he now sits fourth in the overall USAC National Sprint Car Series points as well.
“We ran well, and I think continue to get better night in and night out,” Ballou added. “It felt good to get that many races in a row in and get the monkey off our back with the USAC guys. We have some work to do after destroying a car on Tuesday, and I have to thank all of the great people on the side of our car that continue to support us.”
Robert Ballou would like to thank Dickinson Farms, Lucas Oil Products, Abreu Vineyards, Deaton’s Waterfront Service, Rossie Feed and Grain, Unique Breedz, Suburban Subaru, Jamie Davidson Scrap Metal, Twister-X, Hinchman Indy, Don Ott Racing Engines, Manvel Motorsports, Blakesley Auto, Olson Custom Design, Konnected Clothing, Hooker Harness, Indy Race Parts, Hoosier Tire, Schoenfeld Headers, ISC Racers Tape, Chalk Racing Products, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Saldana Racing Products, and Bell Helmets for their support.
ON TAP: Ballou is tentatively scheduled to compete at Kokomo Speedway on Sunday night.
2018 BY THE NUMBERS: Starts- 24, Wins- 2, Top 5’s- 12, Top-10’s- 20
STAY CONNECTED: Stay up to speed with ‘The Mad Man’ by following him on Twitter @RoberBallou81, liking https://www.facebook.com/robertballoumotorsports/, or by clicking over to www.balloumotorsports.com.
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