HAGEN CAPTURES NATIONAL PAVEMENT MIDGET TITLE WITH COLUMBUS VICTORY
Columbus, Ohio.…..Darren Hagen finished off his 2013 Honda National Pavement Midget Series championship with a convincing win in Saturday’s 40-lap Feature at Columbus Motor Speedway. Hagen came into the night tied with Tracy Hines atop the standings, but after both won their respective Scramble Races, they shared the front row and Hagen clinched the championship with his 22nd career National Midget win.
Hagen jumped to the lead from outside the front row with Hines in tow. Fast qualifier Kyle Hamilton was the car on the move early, as he pressured Hines for the second spot. He ducked underneath on lap five and quickly reeled in Hagen for the lead.
Hamilton worked on Hagen high and low for most of the race, as the two slowly crept away from Hines. They finally caught traffic past halfway, but Hagen was up to the task and worked past them. As Hagen slowly enlarged his lead, Hamilton tried to catch him as they caught another slower car. He clipped the car’s right-front in turn-two and spun with five laps to go.
Hines lined up behind Hagen for the restart, but he could not mount a challenge. Hagen won by 1.091 seconds in the RFMS Racing – Liberty Village #3 Beast/Esslinger.
“I’m really happy to win this for my team and car owner Don Fike. They really deserve it. We were slow in practice, and we didn’t qualify well obviously. And Tracy was right there with us. He goes out and wins his Scramble, so I knew I had to go out and win ours, as well. I was thinking big-picture in the race, so I peeked at the scoreboard and saw Hamilton move to second,” Hagen said of the early portion of the race.
Asked how he handled the feature from his spot at the front, Hagen added, “I was trying to save tires enough to hold off Tracy if Kyle got us. I got to run hard at the end, but then we get a restart with five to go and Tracy right behind us. I know Tracy would do everything he could to get us there, so I had to hit a great restart – and our engine builder Jim (Craig) has this thing taking off really well. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together.”
Hines was busy in the final laps, holding onto second while being pressured from all angles. He finished in the runner-up spot aboard the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota, as the Armstrongs crossed right behind him. Caleb was third in the Winfield Racing – EverFi #7c Beast/Stanton Toyota, while Dalton finished fourth in the Winfield Racing – EverFi #7A Beast/Stanton Toyota. Taylor Ferns rounded out the top-five in the Motor City Auto Transport - Simpson #55 Beast/Stanton Mopar.
USAC HONDA NATIONAL PAVEMENT MIDGET RACE RESULTS: October 12, 2013 – Columbus, Ohio – Columbus Motor Speedway
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kyle Hamilton, 33, Hamilton-13.423; 2. Caleb Armstrong, 7c, C&A-13.517; 3. Nick Hamilton, 32, Hamilton-13.538; 4. Kyle O’Gara, 27, RW/Curb-Agajanian-13.552; 5. Chris Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian; 6. Bobby Santos, 17, RW/Curb-Agajanian-13.628; 7. Taylor Ferns, 55, Ferns-13.635; 8. Dalton Armstrong, 7A, C&A-13.646; 9. Bryan Nuckles, 59, Nuckles-13.657; 10. Darren Hagen, 3, RFMS-13.698; 11. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-13.732; 12. Austin Prock, 41, Prock-13.798; 13. Tyler Edwards, 56, Hmiel-13.798; 14. Jim Anderson, 36, Guess-13.811; 15. Mike Larrison, 50, Hamilton-13.949; 16. Bret Sanderson, 66, Sanderson-14.722.
FIRST SCRAMBLE: (12 laps) 1. Hines, 2. K. Hamilton, 3. Bell, 4. Ferns, 5. N. Hamilton, 6. Nuckles, 7. Larrison, 8. Edwards. 2:44.35
SECOND SCRAMBLE: (12 laps) 1. Hagen, 2. Santos, 3. C. Armstrong, 4. D. Armstrong, 5. O’Gara, 6. Anderson, 7. Prock, 8. Sanderson. NT
FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Darren Hagen, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Caleb Armstrong, 4. Dalton Armstrong, 5. Taylor Ferns, 6. Bobby Santos, 7. Bryan Nuckles, 8. Nick Hamilton, 9. Jim Anderson, 10. Kyle Hamilton, 11. Austin Prock, 12. Kyle O’Gara, 13. Mike Larrison, 14. Tyler Edwards, 15. Bret Sanderson. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-40 Hagen.
FINAL HONDA NATIONAL PAVEMENT MIDGET POINTS: 1-Hagen-477; 2-Hines-474; 3-Santos-438; 4-O’Gara-397; 5-K.Hamilton-373; 6-D.Armstrong-361; 7-C.Armstrong-329; 8-Bell-317; 9-Ferns-237; 10-Tanner Swanson-220.