Wednesday, 3 August 2016


Chad Boat of Phoenix, Arizona earned his first career USAC National Midget victory Tuesday night at Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Nebraska. Chad Boat of Phoenix, Arizona earned his first career USAC National Midget victory Tuesday night at Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Nebraska. Brad Brown Photo


Fairbury, Nebraska.........In the USAC Midget National Championship’s return to the state of Nebraska after a nine-year hiatus, Phoenix, Arizona’s Chad Boat broke through in his 65th career series start, leading the final 19 laps to take his first series victory in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Riverside Chevrolet’s “Tuesday Night Thunder” in USAC’s first ever visit to Fairbury, Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway.

The night’s 35-lap feature marked just the sixth the time a USAC National Midget main event of this distance had been held, and the first occasion since February of 1979 when Bob Wente took the victory at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum.

On the opening laps of the 35-lap feature, pole sitter Holly Shelton waged in a side-by-side battle with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate Spencer Bayston, who started alongside on the outside of the front row.  Bayston appeared to have the upper hand at the entrance to turns one and three, but each time, series rookie Shelton fought back on the inside line to retain the top spot.

On the third lap, fourth-running Tanner Thorson got bottled-up on the topside of turn four, sliding to a stop at the exit of the turn to bring out the night’s first yellow flag.

On the lap four restart, third-running Tyler Thomas, returning from a two-month break from midget racing, dove to the bottom in turn one, going three-wide alongside Shelton (middle) and Bayston (outside).  Thomas was able to edge ahead to the lead, albeit briefly, before both Shelton and Bayston made a Tyler Thomas sandwich off of turn two, resuming their high-low battle for the lead as Thomas slid back to third.

On lap five, Bayston was finally able to slip by Shelton for the lead on the outside with Thomas in tow, shuffling Shelton back to third.

On the tight confines of the 1/5-mile dirt oval, real estate was at a premium, but that wasn’t any hindrance to sixth-starting Boat, who sailed his way past Thomas for the second spot on lap 12.

Boat was able to chase down Bayston in the ensuing laps and, on lap 16, made his first bid for the lead on the inside of Bayston in turn one, but was unable to make the move stick.  Undeterred, Boat stayed right with Bayston as the two sped down the back straightaway into the third turn, ripping the bottom as he propelled himself past Bayston for the lead at the flagstand at the conclusion of lap 17.

Meanwhile, Thomas found his second wind as Boat found himself fenced-in while negotiating lapped traffic.   But, with 11 laps to go, an incident involving the cars of Terry Goodwin, Lance Bennett and sixth-running Ryan Greth in turn three slowed the pace, bringing out a caution and, thus, removing lapped traffic from play to give the leaders a clear track ahead on the restart.

Chad Boat aimed for the bottom on the lap 25 restart as Thomas shadowed just behind in second.  One lap later, Thomas showed Boat his nose entering the first turn, but Boat was able to withstand the pressure to hold onto to the lead as the pair exited turn two.

With just seven to go, Greth’s once-promising night went from bad to worse after flipping wildly down the front straightaway.  He would climb away from the wreckage uninjured.

Boat got a solid jump on Thomas on the final restart on lap 29, distancing himself out in front by roughly five car-lengths by the time the two hit the back straightaway. 

The final spot on the podium was still up for grabs, though.  After starting 13th, Bryan Clauson, who was utilizing a backup car after experiencing troubles with the primary car during qualifications, had carved his way through the pack to get by Bayston with an outside turn two pass for third with six laps to go while ProSource Fast Qualifier Bacon was able to slip by Bayston for the fourth position.

The see-saw battle between the two saw Bacon fight back to regain the third spot from Clauson with four laps to go.  Yet, Clauson would battle back to regain the spot on the white flag lap.  However, a bobble on the cushion on the final lap by Clauson allowed Bacon to shoot by Clauson to claim the third position for good.

Up front, Boat was in total control, pulling away from Thomas after the final restart to take his first career USAC National Midget feature victory by 0.981 seconds over Thomas, Bacon, Clauson and Bayston.

Boat, the 2008 series Rookie of the Year, has found success in his first full year of USAC National Midget competition since the 2010 season, joining Shane Golobic (Du Quoin) and Spencer Bayston (Gas City) to become the third different first-time winner in the series in 2016 in his Tucker-Boat Motorsports/ – K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota.

“I knew my car was going to come to me on the bottom on that last restart, so I wasn’t super nervous,” Boat admitted.  “I was committed to the top, but Tyler Thomas showed me the bottom in (turns) one and two and I just went down there to make them beat me on the top.  What a great car we had, though!  Those laps in the middle of the race, when everybody else was on the bottom and we were up top, this thing was hauling!  It was dicey getting through the lapped traffic, but it’s exciting to get my first National win.  It feels like a monkey off our back and I think we’re going to start rolling from here.  We have some momentum now and I’m excited to get the rest of the week going.”

Thomas hadn’t made an appearance in a USAC Midget National Championship event since the “Indiana Midget Week” finale at Kokomo Speedway nearly two months ago, but the Collinsville, Oklahoma native made his return to the series a successful one, equaling his career-best USAC finish of second in his Tyler Thomas Motorsports/BT Machine – AirGroup/Spike/Esslinger.

“I drove as hard as I could drive,” Thomas said.  “Chad (Boat) drove a great race and didn’t make any mistakes.  I didn’t feel like I did either; it’s tough to run second again.  We took a two-month break from midget racing to get our program right and it paid off.  My dad worked his tail off these last two months to make sure these engines were running right.  I just really want to win.  It seems like I’ve had a lot of seconds, but we’ll get our win.  You have to lose some before you win them, though.  Our confidence right now is not even in the same ballpark.  We feel really good about what we have.  (Solomon Valley Raceway in) Beloit (Kansas) is a good track for us, so we’re excited for tomorrow.”

Fellow Oklahoma native Brady Bacon, of Broken Arrow, earned his fourth consecutive top-five series finish with his third place run Tuesday night.  Although he’s yet to pick up a feature win this season, Bacon’s consistency has put him just 15 points out of the point lead behind Spencer Bayston and Bryan Clauson in the latest standings for the USAC Midget National Championship on the strength of six top-five finishes in nine series starts in his FMR Racing/Beast/Toyota.

“We got into lapped traffic and that was tough tonight,” Bacon said.  “We had a car good enough to win, (we) just needed the cards to fall a little differently.  Chad (Boat) and Tyler (Thomas) got through the traffic better at the beginning, but we were up beside them when that first yellow came out, so we were good enough to run with them.  It’s great to come to a place, though, where the fans are really into the event and everybody who was a part of it did a fantastic job.”

Contingency award winners at Jefferson County Speedway included Brady Bacon (ProSource Fast Qualifier), Bryan Clauson (Simpson Race Products First Heat winner & KSE Racing Products Hard Charger), Tucker Klaasmeyer (Competition Suspension, Inc. (CSI) Second Heat Race winner), Ryan Greth (Benic Enterprises Third Heat Race winner), Tyler Thomas (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat winner) and Keith Rauch (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).


USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 2, 2016 – Fairbury, Nebraska – Jefferson County Speedway – Riverside Chevrolet “Tuesday Night Thunder”

PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-11.354; 2. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-11.457; 3. Ryan Greth, 4, Lesher-11.479; 4. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-11.514; 5. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.581; 6. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.586; 7. Ryan Robinson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.631; 8. Holly Shelton, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.687; 9. Carson Macedo, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.702; 10. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 27, Klaasmeyer-11.718; 11. Dave Darland, 11AG, Gray-11.745; 12. Keith Rauch, 47, Mason-11.819; 13. Bryan Clauson, 63, Dooling/Hayward-11.911; 14. Matt Johnson, 85, Central-11.929; 15. Chett Gehrke, 11c, Matteson-11.948; 16. Bob Harr, 2, Halarr-11.989; 17. Anton Hernandez, 25, Petry/Goff-11.994; 18. John Klabunde, 77, Klabunde-12.054; 19. Brayton Lynch, 1K, RKR-12.137; 20. Lance Bennett, 10, McCauley-12.138; 21. Troy Simpson, 7, Simpson-12.332; 22. Terry Goodwin, 2G, Goodwin-12.443; 23. Dustin Weland, 88, Weland-12.503; 24. Ryan Oerter, 43, RKO-12.510; 25. Jeff Stasa, 91, SBR-12.578; 26. Johnny Murdock, 0, Zero-12.647; 27. Derek Kral, 0B, Zero-12.923; 28. Tyler Dunkle, 37, Zero-13.212; 29. Nathan Johnson, 13, Zero-13.254; 30. Mark Hamilton, 76, Hamilton-16.499; 31. Casey Shuman, 32, Dunlap-NT; 32. Jeff Crook, 5J, Crook-NT; 33. Ashley Oerter, 16, RKO-NT (Time of 14.082 disallowed).

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Macedo, 3. Hernandez, 4. Thorson, 5. Bacon, 6. Simpson, 7. Stasa, 8. N. Johnson, 9. A. Oerter. 2:00.76

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Klaasmeyer, 2. Bayston, 3. Boat, 4. Goodwin, 5. Murdock, 6. M. Johnson, 7. Klabunde. NT

BENIC ENTERPRISES THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Greth, 2. Darland, 3. Weland, 4. Gehrke, 5. Robinson, 6. Kral, 7. Lynch. NT

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Shelton, 3. Rauch, 4. Harr, 5. R. Oerter, 6. Bennett, 7. Dunkle, 8. Crook. 2:00.58

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Robinson, 3. Lynch, 4. Bennett, 5. Stasa, 6. Klabunde, 7. Simpson, 8. Kral, 9. N. Johnson, 10. A. Oerter, 11. R. Oerter, 12. Dunkle, 13. Murdock. NT

FEATURE: (35 laps) 1. Chad Boat, 2. Tyler Thomas, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Bryan Clauson, 5. Spencer Bayston, 6. Carson Macedo, 7. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 8. Holly Shelton, 9. Ryan Robinson, 10. Tanner Thorson, 11. Brayton Lynch, 12. Chett Gehrke, 13. Keith Rauch, 14. Lance Bennett, 15. Bob Harr, 16. John Klabunde, 17. Dustin Weland, 18. Terry Goodwin, 19. Ryan Greth, 20. Dave Darland, 21. Anton Hernandez, 22. Jeff Stasa. NT


**Greth flipped on lap 29 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-4 Shelton, Laps 5-16 Bayston, Laps 17-35 Boat.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Bryan Clauson (13th to 4th)

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-581, 2-Clauson-574, 3-Bacon-566, 4-Boat-532, 5-Thorson-505, 6-Macedo-449, 7-Shane Golobic-407, 8-Robinson-376, 9-Thomas-353, 10-Zach Daum-349.

NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: August 3 – Beloit, Kansas – Solomon Valley Raceway – 7th annual "Chad McDaniel Memorial"

Richie Murray - USAC Media