Wayne City, Illinois.……Bryan Clauson fended off Rico Abreu in another legendary duel between the two, banking $20,000 in the third-annual “Jason Leffler Memorial” at Wayne County Speedway on Friday night. The Noblesville, Indiana knocked off his next crown jewel victory by fending off repeated advances from Abreu the entire latter half of the 40-lap Feature for the Honda National Midget Series co-sanctioned by POWRi.
Clauson led from the front row with Kevin Thomas, Jr. in tow, as polesitter Justin Peck slowed on lap three to bring out the initial caution flag. From there, the race went all the way to halfway under green, with Abreu tracking down Thomas, Jr. in traffic to take over second.
Abreu worked up his momentum after the restart, finally getting a run on Clauson as they completed lap 27, throwing a turn-one slidejob for the lead. Clauson countered it to keep the lead, but Abreu came back the next lap to throw a turn-three slidejob for the lead.
Clauson came right back at him, though, edging into the lead at the close of lap thirty before Abreu threw yet another turn-one slidejob. Clauson crossed it over once again and hit the bottom of turns three and four to complete lap 31 in the lead. Seventh-running Tanner Thorson spun to bring out a caution with nine to go.
Tyler Thomas brought out a red flag a lap later, but he was unhurt. After the restart, Abreu gave it another shot with a turn-one move underneath Clauson on lap 33. Clauson cleared him again, and this time he slipped away from Abreu. He appeared on his way to victory, but a red flag for Dereck King was displayed as he was taking the white flag. King walked away.
Abreu gave it one last ditch effort on the final lap, but he came up just short in turn-two as Clauson powered past with his 36th career National Midget win aboard the Jonathan Byrd’s Racing – B&H Contractors #63 Spike/Stanton Mopar for car owner Joe Dooling and crew chief Rusty Kunz.
“This is a race that means a lot to everybody in the pit area. I’m sure Rico would say the same, and we’ve raced each other a lot for big wins the past few years. That was about as much fun as I’ve had in a long time, but there was a lot of money on the line, too, so it was pretty stressful. It felt like we swapped the lead a bunch of times, and I was able to pass him back each time and break his momentum before he got away. It was a bit of a chess match there to be able to beat him,” Clauson said.
Abreu finished .472-seconds back in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #97 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“This is one of those you want really bad, and you’ll do anything it takes to win. Bryan is a special guy to race with, and he races you really clean, and that makes it a lot of fun battling with him. You gotta step up your game in a race like that, and tonight we were driving as hard as possible. I could get to him, but I just couldn’t quite make enough happen to get him and get away. Tonight was a lot of fun, and hopefully we can knock this one off the bucket list next year,” Abreu said.
Zach Daum came from eighth and moved past Daryn Pittman with six laps to go to finish third in the Daum Crop Insurance – Weld Wheels #5D Eagle/Stanton Toyota.
“There’s a lot of great racers throughout the pack tonight, so it makes this a tough race. It’s a lot of fun, and a great race track and this many good cars – that’s what midget racing is all about. We had a great battle with Pittman and finally cleared him late, but we didn’t have anything for the top two. Nothing to complain about, so it’s nice to end our outdoor season on such a high note,” Daum said.
Defending race champion Pittman finished fourth in the Bob Hurley Ford – MHC Kenworth #21 Spike/Esslinger, and Payton Pierce rounded out the top-five in the Bryan Clauson Racing – Priority Aviation Services #39c Spike/Esslinger.
USAC HONDA MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: October 23, 2015 – Wayne City, Illinois – Wayne County Speedway –“Jason Leffler Memorial” (co-sanctioned by POWRi)
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Zach Daum (#5D Daum), 2. Bryan Clauson (#63 RKR/Dooling), 3. Danny Stratton (#56 5IVE-6IX), 4. Tracy Hines (#24 Parker), 5. Kyle Schuett (#9k Schuett), 6. Dereck King (#91 Harris), 7. Spencer Bayston (#39 Clauson), 8. Austin Prock (#41 Prock). NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Daryn Pittman (#21 Pittman), 3. Brady Bacon (#76m Manafort), 4. Blake Hahn (#8k Hard Eight), 5. Chett Gehrke (#11c Matteson), 6. Gage Walker (#7x Walker), 7. Daniel Robinson (#37 Felker), 8. Kellen Conover (#76 Conover). NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jake Neuman (#3N Neuman), 2. C.J. Leary (#11 Gray), 3. Tyler Thomas (#91T Thomas), 4. Tucker Klaasmeyer (#27 Klaasmeyer), 5. Dalton Camfield (#86c Camfield), 6. Anton Hernandez (#37x Felker), 7. Dave Camfield (#16c Camfield). NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Rico Abreu (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Andrew Felker (#11a Felker), 3. Austin Brown (#7 Brown), 4. Thomas Meseraull (#37T Felker), 5. Daniel Adler (#50 Adler), 6. Parker Price-Miller (#9p Ronk), 7. Johnny Murdock (#0 Zero), 8. Hunter Lane (#0A Zero). NT
FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Dave Darland (#63x RKR/Dooling), 2. Keith Rauch (#47 Mason), 3. Isaac Chapple (#52 Chapple), 4. Andy Malpocker (#22 Malpocker), 5. Ryan Robinson (#71 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Shane Stewart (#5E Daum). NT
SIXTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Jonathan Beason (#8J Hard Eight), 2. Justin Peck (#5x Peck), 3. David Budres (#31 Manic), 4. Payton Pierce (#39c Clauson), 5. Tim Siner (#15 Siner/Cyilax), 6. Alex Hill (#19P Ronk), 7. Brad Loyet (#05 Loyet). NT
SEVENTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Kevin Thomas Jr. (#67k Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Darren Hagen (#17 Brown), 3. Terry Babb (#88 Babb), 4. Dillon Welch (#99P Ronk), 5. Tyler Courtney (#7K Irwin), 6. Matt Ponder (#5H Hoppe), 7. Brayton Lynch (#1k RKR/Dooling). NT
ALSO AT THE TRACK: Justin Grant (#38 Gardner) and Zach Hampton (#35x Three-Five).
NON QUALIFIERS RACE: (10 laps) 1. Bayston, 2. D. Robinson, 3. Stewart, 4. Loyet, 5. Conover, 6. Prock, 7. Hill, 8. Lynch, 9. Lane, 10. Dave Camfield, 11. Murdock. NT
FIRST QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. Peck, 2. Darland, 3. Pierce, 4. T.Thomas, 5. R.Robinson, 6. Klaasmeyer, 7. King, 8. Neuman, 9. Bayston, 10. Hahn, 11. Adler. 2:27.74
SECOND QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Abreu, 3. Thorson, 4. Hines, 5. Courtney, 6. Meseraull, 7. Siner, 8. D.Robinson, 9. Brown, 10. Dalton Camfield, 11. Rauch. NT
THIRD QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. K.Thomas, 2. Beason, 3. Stratton, 4. Schuett, 5. Hernandez, 6. Leary, 7. Malpocker, 8. Price-Miller, 9. Budres, 10. Stewart, 11. Chapple. NT
FOURTH QUALIFIER: (12 laps) 1. Pittman, 2. Daum, 3. Bacon, 4. Felker, 5. Hagen, 6. Babb, 7. Walker, 8. Gehrke, 9. Ponder, 10. Loyet, 11. Welch. 2:17.04
C MAIN: (12 laps) 1. D.Robinson, 2. Bayston, 3. Price-Miller, 4. Hahn, 5. Gehrke, 6. Loyet, 7. Stewart, 8. Brown, 9. Welch, 10. Dalton Camfield, 11. Budres, 12. Adler, 13. Chapple, 14. Rauch, 15. Neuman. NT
B MAIN: (15 laps) 1. R.Robinson, 2. Hagen, 3. Courtney, 4. Leary, 5. Hernandez, 6. Klaasmeyer, 7. King, 8. Siner, 9. Bayston, 10. Meseraull, 11. Babb, 12. Hahn, 13. D.Robinson, 14. Price-Miller, 15. Walker, 16. Malpocker. NT
FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Rico Abreu, 3. Zach Daum, 4. Daryn Pittman, 5. Payton Pierce, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Jonathan Beason, 8. Danny Stratton, 9. Dave Darland, 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 11. Andrew Felker, 12. Tracy Hines, 13. Kyle Schuett, 14. Anton Hernandez, 15. Ryan Robinson, 16. Tanner Thorson, 17. Isaac Chapple, 18. C.J. Leary, 19. Dereck King, 20. Tyler Thomas, 21. Darren Hagen, 22. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 23. Austin Brown, 24. Spencer Bayston, 25. Justin Peck, 26. Tyler Courtney. NT
**Prock flipped during the first heat. Murdock flipped during the fourth heat. Siner and Hill flipped during the sixth heat. T.Thomas flipped on lap 33 of the feature. King flipped on lap 39 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Clauson, Lap 29 Abreu, Laps 30-40 Clauson.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Hines-771, 2-K.Thomas-744, 3-Thorson-738, 4-Abreu-715, 5-Bayston-642, 6-T.Thomas-622, 7-Jerry Coons Jr.-607, 8-Chirstopher Bell-487, 9-Hagen-398, 10-Darland-348.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: November 26 – Perris, California – Perris Auto Speedway – 75th “Turkey Night Grand Prix”