Pole-sitter Bobby Santos held back a swarm of midgets on Saturday to take the win in the Mopar USAC National Midget portion of the Casey’s General Store “USAC Triple Crown” at Iowa Speedway. The Franklin, Massachusetts driver successfully defended his win from last season in the Santos Motorsports-K&N Beast/Esslinger.
“I knew right from the beginning of the race that I had a good car. I just had to not make any mistakes. Those restarts are tough, because you can just draft right by people. You’re kind of a sitting duck, actually, as the leader. Hagen got me early, and then I saw Sweet’s shadow a couple times peeking under me, but I picked it up a little bit. We had a really, really good car today,” Santos said of his first victory of the season.
Santos and a pack of three- and sometimes four-wide midgets battled for the lead throughout the first half of the race. A strong move by Darren Hagen gave him the lead to end lap five, but Santos re-claimed the spot on lap six.
From there, Santos held a short lead on Hagen and Brad Sweet, who looked to contend for his third win of the season. While Sweet disposed of Hagen, he could not quite muster the speed to surpass Santos. The runner-up finish was Sweet’s fifth top-five of the year in five races aboard the Kasey Kahne-Curb Racing Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Beast/Speedway Mopar.
“My car was really good, and we could move around. I felt like I was good enough to run with Bobby (Santos), but I had to clear a couple guys first. I could ride just behind him, but just couldn’t quite get a good enough run to pass him. We could get alongside, but not all the way past. We had the opportunity, but he just had a little bit left whenever I got a run. It was really fun to draft and have a race that’s a little bit different than other races we run,” Sweet said.
Hagen held on for third in the RFMS Racing-Liberty Village Beast/Esslinger.
“We were good all day and raced for the lead, but just had a little problem. Around halfway, it started running hot and ran on a little bit. That made it a handful getting into the corners. I got to the lead once and thought I was gonna get him (Santos) again later, but the caution came out. We were fast from when we unloaded, though,” Hagen commented.
Behind Hagen, point-leader Bobby East took “Hard Charger” honors by racing from 20th to finish fourth in the Klatt Enterprises-Ford Racing Beast/Esslinger. Henry Clarke finished fifth in the Keith Kunz Motorsports Beast/Esslinger. Sixth was Bryan Clauson in the Corey Tucker Racing-Keith Kunz Motorsports-BCI Beast/Toyota. David Byrne raced as high as third before finishing seventh in the Bytec, Inc. Beast/Esslinger. Daniel Bedford ran eighth in the F&F Mechanical Beast/Esslinger. Alex Bowman was ninth in the Haas Automation Beast/Esslinger, and Dave Darland rounded out the top-ten in the Keith Kunz Motorsports Beast/Toyota.
The series will be back on track this Saturday, May 29th with the annual running of the famed “Night Before the 500” at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Indiana.
Bryan Clauson stayed close over the first half of the race before making his move late in Saturday’s 50-lap AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car leg of the Casey’s General Store “USAC Triple Crown.” Clauson took the lead for good on lap 46 to claim his second victory of the season in the Rotondo Weirich – Benic Enterprises Beast/Gaerte.
“It was one of those races where I felt like I was patient enough to let things come to me. We had a good car from the beginning, and the key was staying in touch with the front two the whole race. Iowa Speedway is about a perfect race track for us – you can go just about anywhere you want to run,” Clauson said of his victory on the ̢