Peoria, Arizona.…..Darren Hagen waited only until his second night of Honda National Midget Racing aboard the Shane Hmiel-owned #56 to find victory lane, coming out on top of Night 2 in Canyon Speedway Park’s “Western World Championships.”
Hagen took advantage of the misfortune of scheduled front-row starter Chris Windom, who was unable to start the race, and led the race’s opening lap from the front row. Rico Abreu started on the pole but found his momentum early, taking the lead coming to the flag on lap three.
Abreu led until the first caution on lap ten, and Hagen used the restart to pounce for the lead. He took the point as Dave Darland stalked in third, with third-row starters Brady Bacon and Chris Bell lurking in the top-five. Another quick yellow on lap 13 gave Bacon a chance to move to the front, and he found himself second at the halfway point.
The race’s final caution fell just a lap later, setting up an opportunity for Bacon to go after the lead. Bacon ducked under Hagen for the lead as Abreu, Caleb Armstrong, and Bell raced hard behind them, with 20th-starting Bryan Clauson and Darland duking it out for fifth.
Hagen stayed with Bacon and found another opportunity on lap 19 to take the lead for the third and final time, this time moving to the top in turns one and two to protect his lead. Although Bacon shadowed him throughout, Hagen brought it home despite a last-lap bobble to win by .157 seconds in the Great Clips – Fatheadz Eyewear Beast/Esslinger.
“It was a fun night, with Shane Hmiel and Levi Jones working to get the car comfortable for me. I could diamond off four, and move around to try to find out where I needed to be. I finally worked to figure out how to get by Rico, and then Bacon blows by me on the bottom. He missed it once and I was able to get back by him, and then I just jumped up top right when we needed to. We had a bit of a vibration late, and then I slapped the cushion in two on the last lap, opening the door for them, so I had to nail the bottom and get to the checkered,” Hagen said.
Bacon finished as the runner-up for the second night in a row aboard the PPM Titanium Products – Magneti Marelli #99 Spike/Esslinger.
“It was a fun race for sure, I just wish we would have come out on top. I didn’t know if the bottom was gonna be good enough once we got our momentum up, and my car was struggling down there. I killed it down there one time because we had to go so slow on entry. If you bobbled one time, it would cost you big. I moved up, and he ended up getting back by me. The line just moved around several times through the race,” Bacon said.
National point leader Bell logged another solid finish, as he closed on the leaders late before settling for third in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“It was a really tough race – I shoulda crashed three or four times and luck was just on our side and I sat it back down. I got in the cushion a few times and biked it up. Once I got that figured out, we were able to drive by some guys because we were the first to find it, but I screwed up and let a couple back by me. I was really hoping they’d kinda get stuck on each other and go to the bottom, leaving the top for me to get a run, but they did what they needed to do,” Bell said.
Abreu ended up fourth in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #67K Bullet/Speedway Toyota, while Clauson rounded out the top-five aboard the Corey Tucker Racing/BCI/Curb-Agajanian – Mobil1 #39 Spike/Esslinger.
Cars locked into Saturday’s dash to line up the first four rows of the “Western World Championship” feature are Bell, Hagen, Bacon, Abreu, Armstrong, Darland, Clauson, and Tracy Hines. All other cars will run heat races during Saturday’s championship program.
HONDA USAC NATIONAL & WESTERN DIRT MIDGET RACE RESULTS: November 15, 2013 – Peoria, Arizona – Canyon Speedway Park – “Western World Championships”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Caleb Armstrong, 7c, C&A-14.218; 2. Brady Bacon, 99, Ronk-14.220; 3. Chris Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.229; 4. Darren Hagen, 56, Hmiel-14.266; 5. Dave Darland, 73, Ford-14.297; 6. Chris Windom, 3, RFMS-14.300; 7. Rico Abreu, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.361; 8. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-14.393; 9. Bobby East, 4, Klatt-14.404; 10. Jerry Coons, Jr., 3F, RFMS-14.421; 11. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.434; 12. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-14.435; 13. Ronnie Gardner, 68, Johnson-14.533; 14. Parker Price-Miller, 9P, Ronk-14.539; 15. Dalton Armstrong, 7A, C&A-14.541; 16. Brad Kuhn, 10, Cook-14.552; 17. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-14.567; 18. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-14.570; 19. Taylor Ferns, 55, Ferns-14.602; 20. Levi Roberts, 2, Roberts-14.607; 21. Trey Marcham, 37, McQueen-14.639; 22. Josh Pelkey, 12, Allen-14.654; 23. Kyle Edwards, 39x, Edwards-14.663; 24. Bryan Clauson, 39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-14.677; 25. Andrew Felker, 11A, Felker-14.691; 26. Mike Spencer, 57, Ecker-14.709; 27. Nick Drake, 55x, Cline-14.747; 28. R.J. Johnson, 51, Martin-14.755; 29. Aaron Reutzel, 91A, Thomas-14.881; 30. Jake Swanson, 05, VanDyne/Swanson-14.997; 31. Rick Shuman, 22, Shuman-15.447.
FIRST HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. East, 3. Gardner, 4. Darland, 5. Marcham, 6. C. Armstrong, 7. Felker, 8. Reutzel.
SECOND HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Daum, 3. Windom, 4. Coons, 5. Pelkey, 6. Spencer, 7. Price-Miller, 8. Swanson.
THIRD HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Bell, 2. Abreu, 3. Thorson, 4. Ferns, 5. Edwards, 6. D. Armstrong, 7. Drake, 8. Shuman.
FOURTH HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Hagen, 3. Roberts, 4. Hines, 5. McQueen, 6. Kuhn, 7. Johnson.
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Kuhn, 2. C. Armstrong, 3. D. Armstrong, 4. Spencer, 5. Johnson, 6. McQueen, 7. Price-Miller, 8. Pelkey, 9. Drake, 10. Swanson, 11. Shuman, 12. Reutzel, 13. Marcham, 14. Edwards, 15. Felker.
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Darren Hagen, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Chris Bell, 4. Rico Abreu, 5. Bryan Clauson, 6. Caleb Armstrong, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Tanner Thorson, 9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 10. Brad Kuhn, 11. Tyler Thomas, 12. Bobby East, 13. Tracy Hines, 14. Ronnie Gardner, 15. Andrew Felker, 16. Mike Spencer, 17. Parker Price-Miller, 18. Trey Marcham, 19. Dalton Armstrong, 20. Shannon McQueen, 21. Taylor Ferns, 22. R.J. Johnson, 23. Levi Roberts, 24. Chris Windom.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Hagen, Laps 3-9 Abreu, Laps 10-16 Hagen, Laps 17-18 Bacon, Laps 19-30 Hagen.
**Marcham flipped in the Semi. McQueen flipped in the Semi.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bell-1,034; 2-Clauson-911; 3- Hagen-851; 4-Hines-838; 5-Abreu-821; 6-Coons-747; 7-Daum-694; 8-Felker-658; 9-Kuhn-595; 10-Thorson-583.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL & WESTERN DIRT MIDGET RACE: November 16 – Peoria, Arizona – Canyon Speedway Park – “Western World Championships”