National Dirt
Sunday, 7 August 2016


Chad Boat wins the "Belleville Midget Nationals." Chad Boat wins the "Belleville Midget Nationals."


Belleville, Kansas………Phoenix, Arizona’s Chad Boat joined his father Billy in Belleville High Banks lore, replicating his dad’s 1995 victory by winning Saturday night’s 39th running of the “Belleville Midget Nationals.”

Boat picked up the lead on the lap 14 restart and drove away to his third USAC National Midget feature victory in the last four races, including back-to-back nights at Belleville to cap off the series’ visit to the Heartland.

After dominating victories earlier in the night during his heat race and the pole dash, Boat earned the pole position for Saturday night’s 40-lap finale.

Though Boat had been the driver to beat all weekend, it was Tanner Thorson who had the advantage on the outside, blasting to the lead into turn one.

Boat attempted a slider on Thorson for the lead at the entrance to turn one on lap two, going side-by-side to the inside of Thorson to no avail, allowing Thorson to open up his lead as Boat lost momentum and fell into line in the second position.

On lap six, three-time “Belleville Midget Nationals” winner Bryan Clauson had rose to the forefront, sliding across the nose of Boat for second at the exit of turn four.  Boat countered, diving to the inside of Clauson to reclaim the spot as the two sprinted down the front stretch.

Clauson kept tabs on Boat and, on lap 10, was able to capitalize when Boat’s turn one slider attempt on Thorson fell short.  With the high-side momentum in his favor, Clauson flat-footed past Boat on the outside of turn two to grab second with the leader, Thorson, now within sight.

On lap 13, Clauson quickly reeled in Thorson as the frontrunners encountered lapped traffic.  Clauson and Boat were able to pounce as the two grabbed first and second, respectively, while Thorson fell to third.

One lap later, Clauson was once again on cruise control as he stretched his lead, but as Clauson entered the top of turns three and four, his car and a lapped car made contact, sending Clauson flipping end-over-end on the high side of the track.  His car careened down to the middle of the racing surface at the exit of turn four where it was struck by the car of Ryan Greth.  Greth walked away uninjured, but Clauson would be transported to a Lincoln, Nebraska hospital due to the incident.

On the restart, Boat checked out from the field and never looked back, warding off a Spencer Bayston rally in the final laps that saw him come within three-car-lengths of Boat with five to go as the duo entered lapped traffic.  Boat was able to navigate around the cars of Michelle Decker and Travis Scott to gain all the separation he needed at the end, taking the checkered flag by 1.283 seconds over Bayston, Jerry Coons, Jr., Brady Bacon and Carson Macedo.

Boat became the 12th driver to win the “Belleville Midget Nationals” from the pole in his Tucker-Boat Motorsports/ – K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota, the first to do so since Christopher Bell in 2013.  Boat also became the 18th driver to win the feature on both his preliminary night and on “Championship Night” on the same weekend, the first to accomplish the feat since Coons in 2012.

Boat’s victory also came in the second round of the seven-race Jonathan Byrd’s “Indy Challenge,” putting him in position to claim either a seat in the 2017 Freedom 100 Indy Lights race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway if he can win four of the next five “Byrd Challenge” races.  If Boat can attain victories in the next five-straight “Byrd Challenge” events, he would secure a seat for the full schedule of oval races on the 2017 Indy Lights schedule.

“This is hard to describe,” Boat said.  “You dream about winning races like Belleville, the Chili Bowl, kind of the ‘Big Five’ in midget racing.  To get my first of the ‘Big Five’ tonight is really special.  At the beginning of this year, we set out to win races.  Until this week, I hadn’t been holding up my end of the deal.  To come out of here with three out of four is pretty pleasing.  The lapped cars split for me at the right time, but it was a battle because I could push harder, but I knew I needed to save my tires.  From that last caution to the end, I was probably only a quarter-throttle to save them.”

Spencer Bayston extended his point lead to 35 markers in the race for the USAC Midget National Championship with his second place finish in his Keith Kunz - Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD – Mobil 1/Bullet/Speedway Toyota.

“This place is tricky, especially when it lays rubber,” Bayston explained.  “It’s hammer-down, but there’s a fine line between being aggressive and conserving your equipment.  We changed a left rear under the red and that got us to the end.  I wanted to push myself to track him down, but if I drove too hard, I’d get out of the rubber.  We were right on the edge all night, but Chad got ahead first and we just had to soldier on.”

Three-time “Belleville” winner Jerry Coons, Jr. finished a season-best third in his Rusty Kunz Racing/Competition Suspension, Inc. – Hoosier Tire/Spike/Stanton SR-11, scoring his best finish in a USAC National Midget event since a second-place run at “Little Belleville” in 2013 at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Illinois.

“I never felt like we had the car where I was comfortable,” Coons said.  “We were just a tad loose, but we changed left rears under the red.  The car was good after the red, though we were able to pass some cars and get in a position to get to third past Tanner on that last restart.  It was just one of those nights where we just missed it a little bit.”

Contingency award winners Saturday night at the Belleville High Banks were Chad Boat (Simpson Race Products First Heat Race winner), Tanner Thorson (Competition Suspension, Inc. (CSI) Second Heat Race winner), Carson Macedo (Benic Enterprises Third Heat Race winner), Spencer Bayston (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Race winner), Curtis Spicer (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Garett Hood (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).


USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: August 6, 2016 – Belleville, Kansas – Belleville High Banks – 39th “Belleville Midget Nationals”

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Chad Boat (#84 Tucker/Boat), 2. Holly Shelton (#67K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Tyler Thomas (#91T Thomas), 4. Jeff Stasa (#91 SBR), 5. Terry Goodwin (#2G, Goodwin), 6. Ryan Oerter (#43 RKO), 7. Phillip Davis (#11o Gehrke). NT

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson (#67 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Ryan Robinson (#71 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 3. Bryan Clauson (#63 Dooling/Hayward), 4. Michelle Decker (#4m Meents), 5. Ryan Greth (#4 Lesher), 6. Tyler Dunkle (#37 Zero), 7. Chase McDermand (#10A MWR). 2:21.66

BENIC ENTERPRISES THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Carson Macedo (#71K Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Brady Bacon (#76m FMR), 3. Scott Hatton (#1 Hatton), 4. Travis Scott (#2s Scott), 5. Morgan Frewaldt (#2 Nussbaum), 6. Warren Johnson (#42 Nussbaum), 7. Chad Frewaldt (#4F Nussbaum). 2:22.40

INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Spencer Bayston (#97 Kunz/Curb-Agajanian), 2. Jerry Coons, Jr. (#1K RKR), 3. Isaac Chapple (#52c Chapple), 4. Chett Gehrke (#11c Matteson), 5. Garett Hood (#11H Two Hoods), 6. Curtis Spicer (#13 Zero), 7. Ashley Oerter (#16 RKO), 8. Hunter Fischer (#24 Fischer). 2:22.88

ALSO AT THE TRACK: Johnny Murdock (#0 Zero) & Zach Middleton (#0B Zero).

POLE DASH: (4 laps) 1. Boat, 2. Thorson, 3. Bayston, 4. Macedo, 5. Coons, 6. Bacon, 7. Robinson, 8. Shelton. 1:13.45

B-DASH: (4 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Thomas, 3. Hatton, 4. Chapple, 5. Decker, 6. Scott, 7. Stasa, 8. Gehrke. 1:12.88

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Greth, 2. Hood, 3. Goodwin, 4. McDermand, 5. Davis, 6. Spicer, 7. Dunkle, 8. C. Frewaldt, 9. A. Oerter, 10. R. Oerter. 3:55.63

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Chad Boat, 2. Spencer Bayston, 3. Jerry Coons, Jr., 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Carson Macedo, 6. Tanner Thorson, 7. Holly Shelton, 8. Ryan Robinson, 9. Isaac Chapple, 10. Jeff Stasa, 11. Michelle Decker, 12. Travis Scott, 13. Garett Hood, 14. Curtis Spicer, 15. Scott Hatton, 16. Bryan Clauson, 17. Tyler Thomas, 18. Ryan Greth, 19. Chett Gehrke, 20. Tyler Dunkle, 21. Terry Goodwin, 22. Phillip Davis, 23. Chase McDermand, 24. Chad Frewaldt. NT


**Clauson and Greth flipped on lap 14 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-12 Thorson, Lap 13 Clauson, Laps 14-40 Boat.

KSE RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Curtis Spicer (22nd to 14th)

NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-790, 2-Bacon-755, 3-Boat-751, 4-Clauson-720, 5-Thorson-716, 6-Macedo-632, 7-Robinson-536, 8-Thomas-490, 9-Shelton-490, 10-Greth-422.

NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: August 14 – York Haven, Pennsylvania – Susquehanna Speedway – “Pennsylvania Midget Week”