HAGEN HOLDS OFF BELL TO WIN “BELLEVILLE BASH” OPENING NIGHT DUEL
Belleville, Illinois.…..Defending Honda National Midget champion Darren Hagen of Riverside, California picked up his first National Dirt Midget win of the season after coming out on top of a spirited showdown with current National point leader Chris Bell. The 30-lapper kicked off “Belleville Bash” weekend at Belle-Clair Speedway, with both programs co-sanctioned by both POWRi and BMARA series.
Polesitter Bubba Altig led the opening lap before a caution flew, and Hagen jumped to the lead on the restart. It was a lead Hagen would never officially lose.
ProSource “Fast Qualifier” Bell started sixth, but was quickly on the move, taking third before a lap-six yellow. Just after that restart, he moved to the runner-up spot and the battle commenced.
Bell’s first move for the lead came on lap thirteen, but Hagen was quick to cross-over to retake the lead. He opened up his advantage and was not challenged again until the final restart of the night, which came after a lap-24 caution for Altig, who was running in the top-five when he jumped the turn-one cushion and stopped, collecting Colten Cottle.
Hagen again had Bell throwing everything at him after the restart. On lap 26, Bell appeared to clear Hagen for the top spot, but a bobble in turn-four gave Hagen a narrow advantage at the start-finish line. The pair continued to slide and cross each other over for the final few laps. After losing ground at the white flag, Bell threw a desperation attempt at Hagen that nearly spun himself out, with Hagen winning by 1.217 seconds in the RFMS Racing – McGladrey #3 DRC/Esslinger.
“That race for the lead got wild. Christopher Bell is one of the best kids coming up right now, and he and Keith are really fast right now. We threw a lot of sliders back and forth, and obviously made a lot of mistakes on the cushion, too. We had to diamond off a few times to get the lead back and throw some fake sliders too to hold him back there. The cushion was big and fluffy, so I was trying to keep the wheels spinning into it, but it got crazy up there. I was trying to get away, but he just kept coming back,” Hagen said.
Bell held on for the second spot, as he gathered up his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota and dove to the bottom of the straightaway.
“It was a pretty good race. The cushion was really tough to run. It was kind of a matter of who made less mistakes. He made a couple and let me run up to him, and we started sliding each other. We ran out of real estate there once and he got away a little bit, but it was a fun race. We were driving as hard as we could, but that cushion would bite every couple laps,” Bell said.
Brad Kuhn was the late mover, finally clearing a large pack racing for third through tenth to take home the final podium position in the Mason Cook – Willits Towing & Recovery #10 Beast/Fontana.
“It was a mean cushion. Luckily it sat back down every time I hit it wrong. They were definitely better than us up front, but I think them racing each other brought them back to us a little. The only way we had much for them is if they crashed. Christopher was trying really hard early and banged the fence off four, and I had to check up a couple times, so that cost us some ground, but we got going a lot better towards the end,” Kuhn said.
Ryan Criswell used the bottom to claw his way to fourth in the Criswell Auto Brokers – Jones Engineering #11R Spike/Hawk Chevy, and hometown driver Nick Knepper rounded out the top-five with a big run on the cushion in the Toenjes Brick Contracting – Illinois Roof Finishing #155 Spike/Esslinger.
HONDA USAC NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE RESULTS: July 5, 2013 – Belleville, Illinois – Belle-Clair Speedway – “Belleville Bash” (co-sanctioned by POWRi & BMARA)
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Chris Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.390; 2. Brad Kuhn, 10, Cook-11.393; 3. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-11.407; 4. Colten Cottle, 5c, Cottle-11.415; 5. Andrew Felker, 11A, Felker-11.421; 6. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-11.427; 7. Ryan Criswell, 11R, R&C-11.441; 8. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-11.470; 9. Nick Knepper, 155, Knepper-11.481; 10. Jake Blackhurst, 25, Blackhurst-11.492; 11. Darren Hagen, 3, RFMS-11.503; 12. Bubba Altig, 37, Felker-11.509; 13. Jerry Coons, Jr., 63, Dooling-11.512; 14. Parker Price-Miller, 9P, Ronk-11.523; 15. Terry Babb, 88, Babb-11.529; 16. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.535; 17. Bryan Clauson, 39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-11.606; 18. Justin Grant, 56, Hmiel-11.608; 19. Shane Cockrum, 14c, Cockrum-11.632; 20. Tyler Robbins, 35, Robbins-11.644; 21. Jake Neuman, 3N, Neuman-11.647; 22. Danny Stratton, 2x, Lein-11.695; 23. Caleb Armstrong, 7c, C&A-11.723; 24. Aaron Andruskevitch, 37x, Felker-11.727; 25. Rich Camfield, 87, Mathias-11.742; 26. Austin Brown, 7, KBR-11.753; 27. Seth Motsinger, 2M, KBR-11.765; 28. Derrick Myers, 25M, Myers-11.795; 29. Garrett Aitken, 32, Aitken-11.803; 30. Davey Camfield, 86c, Camfield-11.816; 31. Darren Kingston, 94, Kingston-11.826; 32. Taylor Ferns, 55, Ferns-11.872; 33. Tony Roney, 1T, Roney-11.885; 34. Daniel Adler, 50, Adler-11.892; 35. Tim Siner, 15, Siner-11.940; 36. Ross Rankine, 39x, Rankine-11.941; 37. Matt Ponder, 5H, Hoppe-11.942; 38. Cameron King, 55K, King-11.951; 39. Dalton Camfield, 10c, Camfield-11.963; 40. Dalton Armstrong, 7A, C&A-12.002; 41. Jeff Flesher, 6, Camfield-12.018; 42. Daniel Robinson, 57, Ecker-12.091; 43. Alex Bright, 27, RW/Curb-Agajanian-12.096; 44. Chett Gehrke, 11c, Gehrke-12.104; 45. Danny Frye, 5, Frye-12.130; 46. John Campbell, 19, Campbell-12.241; 47. Payton Pierce, 2P, Murdock-12.331; 48. Nick Bailey, 07, Bailey-12.391; 49. Jake Palmisano, 401K, Kirkpatrick-12.418; 50. Brian Rieck, 57x, McCreery-12.439; 51. Dave Camfield III, 16, Camfield-12.474; 52. Bobby Brewer, 1, Brewer-12.807.
FIRST QUALIFYING RACE: (8 laps) 1. Siner, 2. Roney, 3. Frye, 4. Ponder, 5. Dalton Camfield, 6. Pierce, 7. Palmisano, 8. Flesher, 9. Bright, 10. Dave Camfield III. NT
SECOND QUALIFYING RACE: (8 laps) 1. Adler, 2. Rankine, 3. King, 4. Robinson, 5. Campbell, 6. Gehrke, 7. Brewer, 8. Rieck, 9. D. Armstrong. NT
FIRST HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Bell, 3. Felker, 4. Coons, 5. Knepper, 6. Siner, 7. R. Camfield, 8. Aitken, 9. Neuman. NT
SECOND HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Grant, 2. Price-Miller, 3. Brown, 4. Kuhn, 5. Blackhurst, 6. Stratton, 7. Roney, 8. Camfield, Jr., 9. Thomas. NT
THIRD HEAT : (10 laps) 1. C. Armstrong, 2. Hagen, 3. Cockrum, 4. Babb, 5. Adler, 6. Criswell, 7. Daum, 8. Motsinger. NT
FOURTH HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Altig, 2. Andruskevitch, 3. Thorson, 4. Hines, 5. Robbins, 6. Cottle, 7. Rankine, 8. Ferns, 9. Myers. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Daum, 2. Criswell, 3. Cottle, 4. Knepper, 5. Stratton, 6. Robbins, 7. Aitken, 8. Motsinger, 9. Siner, 10. Camfield, Jr., 11. Roney, 12. Adler, 13. Neuman, 14. Rankine, 15. Ferns, 16. R. Camfield, 17. Blackhurst. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Darren Hagen, 2. Chris Bell, 3. Brad Kuhn, 4. Ryan Criswell, 5. Nick Knepper, 6. Andrew Felker, 7. Tracy Hines, 8. Bryan Clauson, 9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 10. Danny Stratton, 11. Zach Daum, 12. Shane Cockrum, 13. Tyler Robbins, 14. Parker Price-Miller, 15. Garrett Aitken, 16. Caleb Armstrong, 17. Aaron Andruskevitch, 18. Tanner Thorson, 19. Austin Brown, 20. Bubba Altig, 21. Colten Cottle, 22. Justin Grant, 23. Terry Babb. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Altig, Laps 2-30 Hagen.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bell-393; 2-Clauson-356; 3-Hagen-352; 4-Felker-333; 5-Coons-312; 6-Hines-298; 7-Kuhn-272; 8-Daum-269; 9-C.Armstrong-258; 10-Rico Abreu-250.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE: July 6 – Belleville, Illinois – Belle-Clair Speedway – “Belleville Bash” (co-sanctioned by POWRi & BMARA)