National Dirt
Thursday, 11 June 2015



Gas City, Indiana.……Tanner Thorson finally broke through with his first-career Honda National Midget Series feature victory in Wednesday night’s “Indiana Midget Week” opener at Gas City I-69 Speedway. The Minden, Nevada youngster had experienced many close calls over two seasons campaigning for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, but he survived a late fluid clean-up and a red flag to seal the deal with win number one.

Thorson began from the pole and beat Ryan Bernal into the first corner, and those two scrapped for the top spot in the early going, with Bernal coming as close as .042-seconds of the lead at the stripe on lap eight. Bryan Clauson was on the move from row-four, however, and he went by Bernal for the second spot on lap nine.

Clauson went right after Thorson, coming with a full head of steam on lap thirteen to peek inside for the lead. Thorson had Clauson in his shadow with ten laps to go as the caution flew for eighth-running Brady Bacon, who dropped oil from turn-four all the way around to turn-two. The leaders nearly caught the fence as they slid through the slick spot in turn-four, but they continued on under yellow. A quick bit of track work to clean up the mess got everything back in order, and the race resumed.

And when it did, Christopher Bell immediately hit the high side of one and two with a ton of momentum, flashing to the outside of Spencer Bayston for the third spot as the duo hit turn-three. They ran out of real estate, though, and Bell got the worst of it, flipping to a stop. He was uninjured.

From there, all eyes were on Clauson, as he tried to find an avenue around Thorson. With three to go, he jumped to the high side of one and two and ran Thorson down for the top spot, pulling nearly to his tailtank as they took the white. Clauson couldn’t get through turn-two cleanly on the final lap, though, and Thorson took the .683-second victory in the Toyota TRD – Abreu Vineyards #67 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.

“It’s pretty unreal to get the first USAC win. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been trying so hard to finish one of these off. Keith (Kunz) gives me a great car every time out, and it’s up to us to finish it on the track. I can’t thank David Abreu enough for the opportunities he’s given me, and putting me in a position like this. I hit the oil slick there and about put it in the wall, and I was a little worried with those guys back there, but the top probably got even a little bit faster and kinda played my way a little bit more,” Thorson said.

Clauson took home the second spot in the Curb Records – Dooling Machine #63 Spike/Stanton Mopar.

“We can go to bed tonight knowing we tried everything. Obviously, the plan was to try to hit one and two perfect on the final lap to try a big move for the win, but it was a fine line up there. We slid a little bit, and I had to abort it. Who knows if it would have worked. I really wanted to get to traffic, because I thought we’d be more maneuverable than he was, mostly because we had to try stuff the whole race. We just couldn’t quite get the top cleaned off the way it needed to be in one and two, but it was a good run from eighth to start the week,” Clauson said.

Young Bayston captured his best-career USAC finish, as well, as he rounded out the podium in the Bryan Clauson Racing – Priority Aviation Services #39 Spike/Esslinger.

“It was pretty cool to realize I was racing with my car owner, but I knew on that last restart, he was probably the guy to beat and I’d probably be best to follow him. That was my first thought, and we ended up going with different lines, but it worked out. Tim (Clauson) nailed the setup tonight, and keeping up with Bryan and racing with those guys made for a fun night. We were a strong third tonight, and I have to thank Priority Aviation for the help they give us,” Bayston said.

Justin Grant came home fourth in the Larry Gardner – Speedcraft Prototypes #38 Stealth/Gaerte, and Rico Abreu rounded out the top-five in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #97 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.

Tracy Hines topped qualifying for the ProSource “Fast Time Award” before finishing ninth, and Tyler Thomas charged from 17th to finish eighth, garnering the B&W Auto Mart “Hard Charger Award.”

Chett Gehrke earned the American Racing Ministries "Perseverance Award" as the last transfer from the Semi-Feature.

USAC HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS: June 10, 2015 – Gas City, IN – Gas City I-69 Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-12.390; 2. Rico Abreu, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.424; 3. Spencer Bayston, 39, Clauson-12.532; 4. Bryan Clauson, 63, RKR/Curb-Agajanian-12.609; 5. Christopher Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.630; 6. Justin Grant, 38, Gardner-12.637; 7. Tyler Courtney, 7K, Irwin-12.677; 8. Chase Stockon, 25k, Rodela-12.685; 9. Ryan Bernal, 2, Taylor-12.686; 10. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.691; 11. Brad Mosen, 1NZ, Buckley-12.696; 12. Brady Bacon, 73x, Ford-12.700; 13. Hayden Williams, 27NZ, HLR-12.706; 14. Darren Hagen, 17, Brown-12.706; 15. Kevin Thomas Jr., 67k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.745; 16. Jerry Coons Jr., 27, Heffner-12.749; 17. Trey Marcham, 73, Ford-12.751; 18. Brenden Bright, 92, Bright-12.767; 19. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-12.781; 20. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-12.787; 21. Chett Gehrke, 37, Felker-12.915; 22. Brock Maskovich, 5D, Daum-12.919; 23. Alex Bright, 56, 5VIE-6IX-12.989; 24. Brett Thomas, 69, Thomas-13.059; 25. Dave Darland, 2x, Bush-13.100; 26. Justin Peck, 5x, Peck-13.101; 27. Steve Buckwalter, 25, Buckwalter-13.106; 28. Andy Malpocker, 22, Malpocker-13.117; 29. Chris Cochran, 7c, Klaasmeyer-13.119; 30. Tony DiMattia, 50, Brandywine-13.129; 31. Anton Hernandez, 51, Bailey-13.158; 32. Ronnie Gardner, 37x, Felker-13.164; 33. Nick Rowe, 5F, Daum-13.202; 34. Nathan Smee, 7AU, Cooper-13.218; 35. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 27k, Klaasmeyer-13.234; 36. Austin Nemire, 91, Nemire/Yager-13.431; 37. Justin Dickerson, 21D, Dickerson-13.506; 38. Katlynn Leer, 77, Leer-13.707; 39. Gary Gipson, 5, Byers-13.741; 40. Cole Fehr, 15, Live Loud-13.935; 41. Gage Walker, 7, Walker-NT (time of 13.327 disallowed).

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bernal, 2. Hines, 3. Darland, 4. Williams, 5. Marcham, 6. Walker, 7. Bell, 8. Gehrke, 9. Rowe, 10. Cochran, 11. Dickerson. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thorson, 2. Abreu, 3. Grant, 4. Smee, 5. B.Bright, 6. Peck, 7. DiMattia, 8. Leer, 9. Hagen, 10. Maskovich. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. K.Thomas Jr., 2. Mosen, 3. Buckwalter, 4. A.Bright, 5. Bayston, 6. Courtney, 7. Chapple, 8. Klaasmeyer, 9. Hernandez, 10. Gipson. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Coons, 2. T.Thomas, 3. Stockon, 4. Bacon, 5. Clauson, 6. Gardner, 7. Malpocker, 8. B.Thomas, 9. Nemire, 10. Fehr. NT

C MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Gardner, 2. Rowe, 3. Walker, 4. Klaasmeyer, 5. Nemire, 6. Fehr, 7. Leer, 8. Dickerson. 2:17.57

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Bayston, 3. B.Bright, 4. Courtney, 5. Bell, 6. Gehrke, 7. Chapple, 8. Walker, 9. Hagen, 10. Hernandez, 11. Gardner. 12. Rowe, 13. DiMattia, 14. Cochran, 15. Maskovich, 16. Klaasmeyer, 17. Malpocker, 18. Marcham, 19. Peck, 20. B.Thomas. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Spencer Bayston, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Rico Abreu, 6. Ryan Bernal, 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 8. Tyler Thomas, 9. Tracy Hines, 10. Chase Stockon, 11. Darren Hagen, 12. Tyler Courtney, 13. Kevin Thomas Jr., 14. Alex Bright, 15. Brad Mosen, 16. Nathan Smee, 17. Hayden Williams, 18. Gage Walker, 19. Brenden Bright, 20. Christopher Bell, 21. Brady Bacon, 22. Dave Darland, 23. Steve Buckwalter, 24. Chett Gehrke. NT
**Bell flipped on lap 21 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Thorson.

NEW HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Thorson-193, 2-Hines-180, 3-Hagen-159, 4-Bayston-141, 5-Coons-140, 6-T.Thomas-139, 7-K.Thomas Jr.-132, 8-Darland-128, 9-Buckwalter-98, 10-Walker-83.

INDIANA MIDGET WEEK POINTS: 1-Thorson-68, 2-Clauson-64, 3-Bayston-61, 4-Abreu-60, 5-Grant-58, 6-Bernal-53, 7-Coons-50, 8-Hines-49, 9-T.Thomas-46, 10-Stockon-39.

NEXT HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: June 11 – Putnamville, IN – Lincoln Park Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”