BELL BESTS “GOLD CROWN MIDGET NATIONALS” FIELD FOR TEN GRAND
Pontoon Beach, Illinois.…..Chris Bell of Norman, Oklahoma continued his phenomenal 2013 season as he laid down a dominant 50-lap run to take home $10,000 as the winner of Sunday’s 5th “Gold Crown Midget Nationals” at Tri-City Speedway. The Honda National Dirt Midget point leader lengthened his advantage for the championship while notching his fifth win of the season in the major event postponed to Sunday by rain.
Bryan Clauson won the dash to earn the pole and grabbed the lead on the start. Bell quickly worked from the third row and passed his teammate Rico Abreu for the second spot. He ran down Clauson and threw a slidejob into turn-three on lap nine, but Clauson was ready to cross over and retain the lead.
Bell tried it again on the following lap, this time making it stick as he led lap ten. In the midst of a 28-lap green-flag run, Bell distanced himself from the rest of the pack as he encountered heavy traffic. Meanwhile, Clauson began smoking a pulled off the track while running second due to a punctured oil line.
After a caution on lap 30, Bell had a bevy of lapped cars behind him as a great race erupted for second between Abreu and Alex Bright. Behind them, Jerry Coons, Jr. was on the move from tenth and bringing Chris Windom with him.
The race took a major turn on lap 31 when Tanner Thorson slowed in turn-four on the high side and left Jake Blackhurst and Abreu with nowhere to go. Both Blackhurst and Abreu flipped. Amazingly, they both restarted, though Abreu had to make repairs in the pits.
Bell again had a comfortable cushion of lapped cars, but behind him the rest of the eleven cars on the lead lap were dicing through lapped cars, racing for position. Coons and Windom were on the move, throwing monster sliders up to second and third, and Danny Stratton had found something and marched inside the top-five. With just seven laps to go, Coons got caught up in a tangle with Tyler Thomas in turn-three, putting him to the tail for a final restart.
Bell had no lapped cars between himself and Windom for the restart, but it didn’t matter as he walked away to take the win by 2.703 seconds in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“We finally got to start closer to the front tonight, and I knew we were really good from the start as we jumped up behind those two in the first couple laps. I wanted to get the lead and be able to run my race, so I was just focusing on staying smooth and keeping my tires under me. The cushion got really treacherous, so I was just making sure I didn’t tear the car up and try to avoid the big curb while still using the moisture. It’s pretty cool to win another big midget race, so we’ll go out west and try to win a couple more,” Bell said.
Stratton picked his way third and waged war with Windom for second, as the duo swapped sliders and crossovers back and forth before Stratton nailed down the runner-up spot in the Great Clips – 3 Wide Networks #56A Beast/Esslinger.
“It was a lot of fun racing for second there at the end – Chris (Windom) and I have raced together before and he does a great job. The track was perfect for these cars. We made some changes under the red, but the biggest thing was changing my line as it took rubber in a few spots. I got some big runs through there and got to throw some sliders to make my way through there. I woulda liked to be farther up on the last restart and have a shot at Bell, but he’s been on fire this year and running second to them isn’t too bad at all. I just have to thank the Hmiels and their team for such a good run,” Stratton said.
Windom crossed third after a strong run, but his car failed post-race technical inspection. Behind him, Abreu had climbed all the way back from his earlier issues and was credited with third aboard the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #67K Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“You can’t ever give up. You’re gonna have nights like those in auto racing. We were just racing in such a big pack there, and I had nowhere to go. I came back and thought I was done, undressing and cussing myself, and some guys – Bryan Clauson and his guys – are going to work on my car, changing a front end and everything. My car was still really good after all that, and I had to move around a lot towards the end. We’re a confident team and know it’s never over until the checkered,” Abreu said.
Zach Daum came home fourth in the Daum Crop Insurance – Weld Wheels #5D Eagle/Stanton Toyota, and Alex Bright held on to notch a top-five in the Joe Hemler – Lightcap Electric #77 Elite/Fontana.
HONDA USAC NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE RESULTS: October 6, 2013 – Pontoon Beach, Illinois – Tri-City Speedway – 5th “Gold Crown Midget Nationals” (co-sanctioned by POWRi)
DASH: (8 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson (39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Rico Abreu (67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Zach Daum (5D, Daum), 4. Darren Hagen (3, RFMS), 5. Chris Bell (71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 6. Shane Cottle (56P, Hmiel).
FIRST B MAIN: (15 laps) 1. Tracy Hines (24, Parker), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (2, Steele), 3. Chris Windom (3F, RFMS), 4. Jake Blackhurst (25, Blackhurst), 5. Brady Bacon (11, Wilke), 6. Caleb Armstrong (7c, C&A), 7. Dave Darland (17, RW/Curb-Agajanian), 8. Parker Price-Miller (9P, Ronk), 9. Austin Brown (7, Brown), 10. Tim Buckwalter (52, Buckwalter), 11. Billy Wease (10x, Moore), 12. Daniel Robinson (57, McCreery), 13. Dave Camfield, Jr. (4x, Meents), 14. Tyler Robbins (5H, Hoppe). NT
SECOND B MAIN: (15 laps) 1. Alex Bright (77, Hemler), 2. Jerry Coons, Jr. (63, Dooling), 3. Brad Kuhn (10, Cook), 4. Danny Stratton (56A, Hmiel), 5. Andrew Felker (11A, Felker), 6. Tyler Thomas (91T, Thomas), 7. Tanner Thorson (67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 8. Jonathan Beason (36, Beason), 9. Brenden Bright (92, Bright), 10. Dalton Armstrong (7A, C&A), 11. Ryan Criswell (11R, R&C), 12. Terry Babb (88, Babb), 13. Dalton Camfield (10c, Camfield), 14. Taylor Ferns (55, Ferns).
FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Chris Bell, 2. Danny Stratton, 3. Rico Abreu, 4. Zach Daum, 5. Alex Bright, 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Jonathan Beason, 8. Jerry Coons, Jr., 9. Darren Hagen, 10. Dave Darland, 11. Parker Price-Miller, 12. Brad Kuhn, 13. Andrew Felker, 14. Caleb Armstrong, 15. Tim Buckwalter, 16. Jake Blackhurst, 17. Tracy Hines, 18. Billy Wease, 19. Dalton Armstrong, 20. Brenden Bright, 21. Austin Brown, 22. Tyler Thomas, 23. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 24. Tanner Thorson, 25. Shane Cottle, 26. Bryan Clauson, 27. Chris Windom. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 Clauson, Laps 10-50 Bell.
**Abreu & Blackhurst flipped on lap 31 of the Feature.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bell-899; 2-Clauson-793; 3-Hines-749; 4-Hagen-718; 5-Abreu-707; 6-Coons-706; 7-Daum-644; 8-Felker-604; 9-Kuhn-515; 10-Thorson-506.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE: November 14 – Peoria, Arizona – Canyon Speedway Park – “Western World Championships”