Pontoon Beach, Illinois.…..After charging from 13th to finish second on the first night of the 5th “Gold Crown Midget Nationals,” Bryan Clauson came back on Friday to lead the final twenty laps en route to victory at Tri-City Speedway. It was the Noblesville, Indiana driver’s fourth Honda National Midget win of the season, giving him 29 career wins, just one out of the top-ten all-time.
Clauson earned the pole by winning the dash, but Zach Daum took the early lead from outside the front row. Clauson fell into an early battle with Tracy Hines before a caution for Kevin Thomas, Jr. set up a lap-six restart.
Clauson battled past Daum through turns one and two and gapped the field, as Daum found himself under attack from Hines. Thursday night winner Rico Abreu also entered the fray. The trio then raced side-by-side as Abreu slid past both before they each countered with a crossover.
With just three laps to go, Parker Price-Miller flipped while running tenth. The restart set up a final chance for Abreu, Hines, and Daum to take a shot at Clauson, but Abreu could not keep up as Clauson won by 1.073 seconds in the Corey Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian Racing – Mobil1 #39 Spike/Esslinger.
“I just had to try the middle there to get by Zach on the restart. I was happy to see that early caution to shake free of Tracy and get a reset. I knew Rico had gotten to second before that final caution, so I thought I needed to get to the top in three and four. I didn’t think you wanted to be leading that race late, with it moving around quite a bit. Our car was really strong anywhere we wanted to put it, though,” Clauson said.
Abreu dropped down to hold onto the runner-up spot in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #67K Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“I think Bryan was just able to conserve his stuff a little bit and had plenty left at the end. It was some good racing with those guys for second and third, but I kinda used my stuff up, especially my tires, trying to get by them. It’s a little different being able to control the race from the lead to tonight where I had to work through there from as far back as fifth. I’m excited for tomorrow’s race and the extra laps – I feel like my racing has matured a lot since last year, and this was one that came down to the end for us last year,” Abreu said.
Hines crossed just behind Abreu to take the final podium spot in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota.
“Everybody raced really clean in our pack, so it was fun and easy to race them the same way. You couldn’t really run a distinct line tonight, so it opened up some slides and it was tough to react to those. I thought I was slowly working Bryan after I got by Zach, and all of a sudden Rico caught me. After the red, he came down some to protect the slide, so we just had to hold onto third,” Hines said.
Daum finished fourth in the Daum Crop Insurance – Weld Wheels #5D Eagle/Stanton Toyota, and Chris Bell rounded out the top-five in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
HONDA USAC NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE RESULTS: October 4, 2013 – Pontoon Beach, Illinois – Tri-City Speedway – 5th “Gold Crown Midget Nationals” (co-sanctioned by POWRi)
FIRST HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Taylor Ferns (55, Ferns), 2. Alex Bright (77, Hemler), 3. Parker Price-Miller (9P, Ronk), 4. Caleb Armstrong (7c, C&A), 5. Ryan Criswell (11R, R&C), 6. Jonathan Beason (36, Beason), 7. Dave Darland (17, RW/Curb-Agajanian), 8. Tyler Robbins (5H, Hoppe), 9. Dave Camfield, Jr. (4x, Meents). 2:01.72
SECOND HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Jerry Coons, Jr. (63, Dooling), 2. Tracy Hines (24, Parker), 3. Rico Abreu (67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Chris Windom (3F, RFMS), 5. Bobby East (4, Klatt), 6. Colten Cottle (5c, Cottle), 7. Tim Buckwalter (52, Buckwalter), 8. Danny Frye (5, Frye). 2:01.15
THIRD HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Austin Brown (7, Brown), 2. Chris Bell (71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Darren Hagen (3, RFMS), 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (2, Steele), 5. Shane Cottle (56P, Hmiel), 6. Brady Bacon (11, Wilke), 7. Danny Stratton (56A, Hmiel), 8. Darren Kingston (94, Kingston). 2:01.16
FOURTH HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson (39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Dalton Armstrong (7A, C&A), 3. Jake Blackhurst (25, Blackhurst), 4. Terry Babb (88, Babb), 5. Billy Wease (10x, Moore), 6. Ross Rankine (39x, Rankine), 7. Dalton Camfield (10c, Camfield), 8. Tanner Thorson (67, Thorson). 2:02.27
FIFTH HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Andrew Felker (11A, Felker), 2. Zach Daum (5D, Daum), 3. Tyler Thomas (91T, Thomas), 4. Brad Kuhn (10, Cook), 5. Brenden Bright (92, Bright), 6. Logan Hupp (38, Gardner), 7. Daniel Robinson (57, McCreery), 8. John Campbell (19, Campbell). 2:01.72
C MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Stratton, 2. Windom, 3. Robbins, 4. Campbell, 5. Kingston, 6. Camfield, Jr., 7. Dalton Camfield, 8. Frye. 2:58.41
DASH: (6 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Daum, 3. Abreu, 4. Hines, 5. Felker, 6. Ferns. 1:34.68
SEMI: (15 laps) 1. Hagen, 2. Kuhn, 3. Bacon, 4. T. Thomas, 5. S. Cottle, 6. Beason, 7. Stratton, 8. Darland, 9. Windom, 10. East, 11. Hupp, 12. Robinson, 13. C. Cottle, 14. B. Bright, 15. Buckwalter, 16. Robbins, 17. Rankine, 18. Criswell, 19. Babb, 20. Campbell. NT
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Rico Abreu, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Zach Daum, 5. Chris Bell, 6. Darren Hagen, 7. Shane Cottle, 8. Brad Kuhn, 9. Caleb Armstrong, 10. Alex Bright, 11. Dave Darland, 12. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 13. Danny Stratton, 14. Andrew Felker, 15. Jonathan Beason, 16. Jake Blackhurst, 17. Jerry Coons, Jr., 18. Tyler Thomas, 19. Taylor Ferns, 20. Brady Bacon, 21. Austin Brown, 22. Dalton Armstrong, 23. Parker Price-Miller, 24. Billy Wease, 25. Bobby East.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-5 Daum, Laps 6-25 Clauson.
**Price-Miller flipped on lap 23.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bell-839; 2-Clauson-780; 3-Hines-730; 4-Hagen-682; 5-Coons-667; 6-Abreu-653; 7-Daum-593; 8-Felker-577; 9-Thorson-492; 10-Kuhn-486.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE: October 5 – Pontoon Beach, Illinois – Tri-City Speedway – 5th “Gold Crown Midget Nationals” (co-sanctioned by POWRi)