The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

June 14, 2013

Shawn Wood's motorsports column: Highs and lows in one week

It was a week in motorsports that showed us just how great our sport is and how tragic it can be.

The week began last Wednesday when the rim-ridding style of "The Modern Day Cowboy" Daron Clayton of Sikeston, Mo., had the capacity crowd on their feet at Grandview Speedway in the opening-night race of the United States Auto Club's Eastern Storm for the National Sprint Cars.

Over the final dozen laps, Clayton and two-time defending sprint car points champion Bryan Clauson of Noblesville along with Levi Jones of Oley, Ill., had a race amongst themselves that the late Jesse Hockett would have approved of.

Clayton used every inch of the cushion to secure the win which was in doubt over the final few laps.

His style of racing had won over many central Pennsylvania sprint car fans a few years ago to the point where he sold out of t-shirts in one night!

I had the pleasure of watching Clayton and Hockett among others showcase their skills in the Midwest in the summer of 2006 when I was broadcasting the Sprint Bandit non-wing tour over the Internet. I could sense then that these guys had a special talent.

The race itself had the fans buzzing so much afterwards that they majority of them stayed and took in the ARDC 20-lap feature.

I think they were still trying to soak in what they had just saw, including the fact that Clauson came from 13th on the starting grid on the 1/3-mile bull ring!

"Grandview Speedway gave us a great race track, and we were just able to knife our way through," Clauson said. "Bob Miller is one of the best promoters we have and I'm glad he lets us race here."

Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of talent in central Pennsylvania between the 410s and 358s ranks that can come from 13th to the front, but a non-wing sprint car is a different animal than a winged 410 sprint car.

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