CLAUSON CONQUERS “BELLEVILLE BASH” NATIONAL MIDGET FEATURE
Belleville, Illinois.…..Bryan Clauson finished off the first “Belleville Bash” Honda National Dirt Midget event, co-sanctioned by both POWRi and BMARA, with late-race win to close out an exciting weekend of racing at Belle-Clair Speedway. The Noblesville, Indiana driver used a lap-28 slidejob on race-long leader Jerry Coons, Jr. to collect his 27th National Midget win, tying him for 13th on the all-time list.
Coons jumped from the front row to take the lead, despite a close slide from Brad Kuhn on the initial start. Kuhn tucked in line as Clauson eventually passed Austin Brown for third, with the top four cars pulling away from the field. After an early caution, Clauson moved by Kuhn for the runner-up spot as the race moved past halfway.
Clauson tracked down leader Coons on the long green run, with Tracy Hines finding the bottom to move to third and pressure Clauson for second. Clauson ducked low in front of Hines and peeked inside the leader just as a caution flew with seven laps remaining. Coons switched things up on the restart, trying out the bottom while Clauson jumped to the cushion, but a yellow re-appeared for Darren Hagen, who retired from the event.
On the ensuing restart, Coons was back on the top and held the lead over Clauson, who shadowed him on the cushion. Hines followed along on the bottom, with Kuhn nosing in as well. On lap 28, Coons bobbled off turn-two, and Clauson slid past for the lead with a full head of steam down the backstretch. He ran the final two laps mistake-free to take a .740-second victory in the Curb Records – Mobil1 #39 Spike/Esslinger.
“I just needed to get a clean shot at him, get a big run and clear him. I would get in trouble when I had to lift a little for him. I thought I might have been able to make the pass on the bottom, but I knew we were good enough up top that I needed to be up there. Our car was good all night, but it’s tough with the tight quarters here. Fortunately, we got the opportunity and slid up to the cushion quickly to get back going before they could come back at me,” Clauson said.
Coons held on for second in the Joe Dooling – Westin Packaged Meats #63 Spike/Esslinger.
“I just kinda got in the cushion a little too much coming off the corner and bobbled enough for him to get a run. There was nothing I could do – that was a perfect slidejob where he was far enough by me that I couldn’t turn and go back past him. The bigger the curb got, I just wasn’t quite as good. I tried the bottom on the first restart, but I could hear him up top, so I knew I needed to stick to my guns and make the cushion work. I was trying to minimize mistakes and felt like I did better towards the end, but that one bobble was enough,” Coons said.
Kuhn narrowly nipped Hines at the line for his second podium finish of the weekend in the Mason Cook – Willits Towing & Recovery #10 Beast/Fontana.
“It’s certainly good to put two podiums on the board after having some terrible luck so far this season. Mason Cook is a great car owner. He’s always thinking, and we have done some work with the engine to make gains. We got a little too tight for the feature, but we got better toward the end of the race. We just got behind those guys and couldn’t get back by. I’m happy to get third, but we had too many mistakes in the middle of the race to be able to recover,” Kuhn said.
Hines wound up fourth in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota, while point-leader Chris Bell snuck into the top-five aboard the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
HONDA USAC NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE RESULTS: July 6, 2013 – Belleville, Illinois – Belle-Clair Speedway – “Belleville Bash” (co-sanctioned by POWRi & BMARA)
FIRST HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Tracy Hines (24, Parker), 2. Zach Daum (5D, Daum), 3. Andrew Felker (11A, Felker), 4. Tim Siner (15, Siner), 5. Korey Weyant (37x, Felker), 6. Terry Babb (88, Babb), 7. Jake Blackhurst (25, Blackhurst), 8. Taylor Ferns (55, Ferns), 9. Derek Rossio (70, Rossio). NT
SECOND HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson (39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Danny Stratton (2, Lein), 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (17, RW/Curb-Agajanian), 4. Nick Knepper (155, Knepper), 5. Ryan Criswell (11R, R&C), 6. Bubba Altig (37, Felker), 7. Alex Bright (27, RW/Curb-Agajanian), 8. Bobby East (4, Klatt). 1:58.78
THIRD HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Justin Grant (56, Hmiel), 2. Caleb Armstrong (7c, C&A), 3. Cameron King (55K, King), 4. Parker Price-Miller (9P, Ronk), 5. Colten Cottle (5c, Cottle), 6. Payton Pierce (2P, Murdock), 7. Travis Berryhill (401K, Kirkpatrick). NT
FOURTH HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Jerry Coons, Jr. (63, Dooling), 2. Chris Bell (71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Tyler Robbins (35, Robbins), 4. Matt Ponder (5H, Hoppe), 5. Tanner Thorson (67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Chett Gehrke (11c, Gehrke), 7. Justin Dickerson (21D, Dickerson), 8. Bobby Brewer (1, Brewer). NT
FIFTH HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Brad Kuhn (10, Cook), 2. Derrick Myers (25M, Myers), 3. Daniel Robinson (57D, Ecker), 4. Seth Motsinger (2M, KBR), 5. Jake Neuman (3N, Neuman), 6. Danny Frye (5, Frye), 7. Dalton Armstrong (7A, C&A), 8. Dalton Camfield (10c, Camfield). NT
SIXTH HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Austin Brown (7, KBR), 2. Tony Roney (1T, Roney), 3. Garrett Aitken (32, Aitken), 4. Daniel Adler (50, Adler), 5. Darren Hagen (3, RFMS), 6. Ross Rankine (39x, Rankine), 7. Brian Rieck (57A, McCreery), 8. Shane Cottle (57, Ecker). 2:06.46
ALSO AT THE TRACK: Davey Camfield (86, Camfield).
FIRST QUALIFYING RACE: (12 laps) 1. Kuhn, 2. Daum, 3. Hines, 4. Price-Miller, 5. Knepper, 6. S. Cottle, 7. East, 8. Neuman, 9. Weyant, 10. Ferns, 11. Roney, 12. Criswell. NT
SECOND QUALIFYING RACE: (12 laps) 1. Coons, 2. Stratton, 3. Hagen, 4. Grant, 5. Thorson, 6. Motsinger, 7. Ponder, 8. C. Cottle, 9. Altig, 10. Dalton Camfield, 11. Thomas, 12. Brewer. NT
THIRD QUALIFYING RACE: (12 laps) 1. Brown, 2. Felker, 3. Robinson, 4. Blackhurst, 5. Adler, 6. Bright, 7. C. Armstrong, 8. Gehrke, 9. Babb, 10. King, 11. Rossio, 12. Dickerson. NT
FOURTH QUALIFYING RACE: (12 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Bell, 3. Aitken, 4. Myers, 5. Robbins, 6. Siner, 7. Berryhill, 8. Rankine, 9. D. Armstrong, 10. Frye, 11. Pierce. 2:37.39
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Jerry Coons, Jr., 3. Brad Kuhn, 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Chris Bell, 6. Daniel Robinson, 7. Zach Daum, 8. Andrew Felker, 9. Tanner Thorson, 10. Danny Stratton, 11. Austin Brown, 12. Tim Siner, 13. Parker Price-Miller, 14. Garrett Aitken, 15. Tyler Robbins, 16. Daniel Adler, 17. Jake Blackhurst, 18. Shane Cottle, 19. Justin Grant, 20. Alex Bright, 21. Caleb Armstrong, 22. Seth Motsinger, 23. Darren Hagen, 24. Derrick Myers, 25. Nick Knepper, 26. Colten Cottle. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-27 Coons, Laps 28-30 Clauson.
**Criswell flipped in the First Qualifier.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bell-441; 2-Clauson-416; 3-Felker-372; 4-Coons-369; 5-Hagen-365; 6-Hines-349; 7-Kuhn-326; 8-Daum-311; 9-C.Armstrong-271; 10-Rico Abreu-250.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE: July 30 – Beloit, Kansas – Solomon Valley Raceway – “Chad McDaniel Memorial”