Updated: Jun 22, 2021
PC- Lonnie Wheatley
PETERSEN MEDIA: Robert Ballou has been hitting his stride with the United States Auto Club National Sprint Car Series since running second and picking a win with the series at Eldora Speedway back in May. Fast forward to Mid-June and Ballou continued to flex his muscle as his second win of the season with the series and two additional Top-5’s led him to his second career Eastern Storm Championship.
“We are certainly getting our cars better and better, but I am still not quite where I want to be,” Ballou said. “Our Don Ott Racing Engines have been wonderful the last month, and that has helped us get back to the front, but we still have some work to do to get even better, but still what a trip out to the East Coast it was.
The opening night of Eastern Storm saw the series check in at Grandview Speedway. Getting off to a bit of a slow start aboard the Suburban Subaru/Deaton’s Water Front Service/Rossie Feed and Grain backed entry, Ballou would time in 14th fastest.
Able to rocket his way to a heat race win, the Rocklin, CA native would grid the field from the ninth starting position in the 40-lap feature event.
Able to make some moves over the course of the feature, Ballou got his trip off to a nice start as he would pocket a fifth-place finish when it was all said and done.
Wednesday night saw the scene shift to Bridgeport Speedway, and Ballou was able to get off to a hot start as he timed in second fastest qualifying time trials and surged his way through the field to pick up the heat win.
Lining up fifth on the field, Ballou would do a masterful job of working his way forward on the slick, high banked speedway. Coming alive just before the halfway point, Ballou would move into second as he got passed Briggs Danner and set his sights on Shane Cottle who had established a strong pace out front.
With a full head of steam, Ballou was able to track Cottle down and make his move on the 17th lap as he took the top spot and went on to pick up his second win of the season with the series.
Traveling to Selinsgrove Speedway on Thursday night, Ballou would time in 15th fastest and again need to pick up a heat race win to give himself a nice starting position in the feature event.
Able to do just that, Ballou would move into the 30-lap finale where he would take the green flag from the seventh starting position.
Biding his time early in the feature, Ballou would become a challenger for the race win in the final eight laps of the feature. Making a couple of big moves, Ballou was able to get into third, and pressure Chris Windom and Justin Grant for the top spot as it became a three-car battle for the win.
In close quarters racing action, contact between Ballou and Windom would see Ballou emerge in second as he closed on Grant, but the caution would press pause on the battle.
The ensuring restart saw Ballou hang with Grant for a couple of laps, but Grant would soon distance himself has Ballou settled for his second straight podium finish as he closed the night out with a second-place finish.
While Friday night was an off night for the Eastern Storm, Ballou was still in action as he took part in the Williams Grove 100 Silver Crown Race aboard a Sean Dyson owned machine.
Timing in ninth in time trials, Ballou would keep his machine inside the Top-10 during the duration of the feature as he closed the night out with a ninth-place finish.
Saturday night the Eastern Storm was scheduled to invade Port Royal Speedway, however Mother Nature intervened and washed the night out as the scene then shift to the revamped Bloomsberg Fair Raceway on Sunday night.
In a very tight points battle for the weeklong point standings, Ballou would again struggle in time trials as he timed in 16th fastest, but he would keep his hopes alive for the title by picking up the heat race win for the fourth time of the week.
Lining up seventh in the feature, Ballou would need to keep Brady Bacon within three spots of him on the track to emerge with the title and he did just that in the early stages of the race as Bacon ran second and Ballou ran fifth.
Keeping pace with Bacon even as they both slipped back to third and sixth respectively, things looked to slip from Ballou’s grasp late as Bacon moved up to second and continued to run in sixth.
Though Ballou would be unable to get into fifth, a late race move would see Bacon slip back to third when the checkered flag flew, and it would give ‘The Mad Man’ the points title by a mere one digit.
“I have a lot of great people behind me who really bust their tails to help me out in any way they can, so to win this deal is pretty special,” Ballou said. “It has been a struggle the last couple of seasons, but I really feel confident we are heading in the right direction. Aside from my guys, I also want to thank Sean Dyson and his guys for the opportunity to run the ‘Crown’ race on Friday night.”
Robert Ballou would like to thank Suburban Subaru, Deaton’s Waterfront Service, Rossie Feed and Grain, Berks Western Telecom, Inc., Jamie Davidson Scrap Metal, Hinchman Indy, Don Ott Racing Engines, Manvel Motorsports, 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, Moose Blocks, Inc., JE Pistons, AO Designs, Abreu Vineyards, and Arai Helmets for their support.
ON TAP: Ballou's next race is TBD.
BY THE NUMBERS: Starts-25, Wins- 2, Top 5’s- 9, 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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