Clauson claims USAC Lincoin Park win
Clauson parks it at Lincoin Park for USAC Midget Week
Putnamville, Indiana.……Bryan Clauson used every inch of Lincoln Park Speedway on Thursday night to drive from tenth for the win in Round 2 of “Indiana Midget Week.” The two-time Honda National Midget champion made it 34 career wins in the division with the30-lap winning drive.
Tyler Thomas got to the early lead from the pole, but Rico Abreu was building steam on the high side and roared by on the cushion to take the lead on lap three. His teammate and the night’s ProSource “Fast Qualifier” Tanner Thorson, fresh off his first National Midget win on Wednesday night, was coming along with Abreu as they took over the 1-2 spots.
Clauson was on the move to fourth as the first caution hit, with Christopher Bell showing he was on the charge, too, as he sat ninth after starting 16th. Clauson disposed of Thorson for second on the restart, and it appeared an Abreu-Clauson duel was shaping up for the top spot. Behind them, Tracy Hines and Darren Hagen both got by Thorson and were racing for third.
Clauson working the win at Lincoin Park
Thorson got turned around on lap seventeen to bring out the next caution, and Bell had just broken into the top-five with a slick move to split two cars down the frontstretch. On the restart, Clauson began to work Abreu hard for the lead as Bell moved up to third. Clauson finally had the momentum he needed on lap 22 as he threw a big slider into turn-three for the lead. At the same time, Bell crossed under Abreu and had the runner-up spot.
On lap 23, as he was racing back through the field, Thorson got pinched into the frontstretch wall and flipped wildly up and over turn-one. He crawled out of the car but was held for observation. From there, Clauson held Bell at bay as Hines took over third down the stretch.
Bell looked to have a run at Clauson as they came to the white, trying to gain enough momentum on the high side to mount a charge, but he pushed slightly in turn-two, ending his bid at the win. Clauson made it win number one on the year for himself and the Curb Records – Dooling Machine #63 Spike/Stanton Mopar.
“This week is special to anybody, but especially to somebody like me who grew up here, the Midget Week and Sprintweek wins mean a lot. I don’t get to race full-time in this series now, but we’re trying to get this team an owner’s championship, too. Rusty (Kunz) has these things good, especially when things get slick and technical. We weren’t quite as good as those guys at the top of three and four, but we could move around and that gave us the chance to go by them. This place can get so technical, and you have to be close to perfect to have a chance. It’s a fun place, and a real driver’s race track,” Clauson said.
Bell, who crashed violently last year at Lincoln Park and was nursing some bruises from Wednesday night’s crash at Gas City, came home second in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota. He earned the B&W Auto Mart “Hard Charger Award” for his drive to the front.
“It was a really tough deal tonight. It was so technical, and you couldn’t run it too hard and make mistakes with that curb being so firm. I didn’t get a good lap down in qualifying, and that buried us, but Bryan was back there pretty far too. I could use the bottom through one and two to get some guys, and we could roll the cushion nicely on the other end. We’ve had to pass a ton of cars in the last week, but we just have to be better early in the night,” Bell said.
Hines gave himself a 25-point gap in the National Midget standings with another podium finish aboard the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota.
“Tonight was a difference between making good laps down low and trying to wait out the mistakes they made up high. They were a bit better, and we got back to about fifth at one point before taking advantage of some bobbles to get back to third. We had some things off for the race last night, but we got those fixed and had another good night tonight,” Hines said.
Tracy Hines now heads the points in the USAC National chase
Abreu wound up fourth in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #97 Bullet/Speedway Toyota, and Jerry Coons, Jr. rounded out the top-five in the Heffner Racing Enterprises – Lelands.com #27 Triple X/Esslinger.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. C.Cottle, 2. Courtney, 3. Thorson, 4. T.Thomas, 5. Marcham, 6. Peck, 7. Klaasmeyer, 8. Smee, 9. Rowe, 10. Gehrke, 11. DiMattia. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Buckwalter, 2. Clauson, 3. Mosen, 4. Stockon, 5. Coons, 6. B.Bright, 7. Hagen, 8. Gardner, 9. Hernandez, 10. Nemire. 2:15.02
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bell, 2. Bernal, 3. Abreu, 4. Darland, 5. Ray, 6. B.Thomas, 7. Chapple, 8. Bayston, 9. Cochran, 10. Rankine. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Walker, 2. A.Bright, 3. Hines, 4. K.Thomas Jr., 5. Maskovich, 6. Criswell, 7. Leer, 8. Fehr, 9. Williams, 10. Malpocker. 2:20.08
C MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Smee, 2. Hernandez, 3. Peck, 4. Nemire, 5. Leer, 6. Cochran, 7. Fehr, 8. Rowe, 9. Rankine. 2:22.63
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Coons, 2. Hagen, 3. Bayston, 4. Williams, 5. Klaasmeyer, 6. DiMattia, 7. Peck, 8. Gardner, 9. Smee, 10. Maskovich, 11. B.Bright, 12. Malpocker, 13. Ray, 14. Nemire, 15. Chapple, 16. Criswell, 17. Marcham, 18. B.Thomas, 19. Gehrke, 20. Hernandez. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Christopher Bell, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Rico Abreu, 5. Jerry Coons Jr., 6. Darren Hagen,7. Tyler Thomas, 8. Chase Stockon, 9. Spencer Bayston, 10. Kevin Thomas Jr., 11. Davey Ray, 12. Gage Walker, 13. Hayden Williams, 14. Dave Darland, 15. Tony DiMattia, 16. Nathan Smee, 17. Alex Bright, 18. Brad Mosen, 19. Colten Cottle, 20. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 21. Tanner Thorson, 22. Ryan Bernal, 23. Tyler Courtney, 24. Steve Buckwalter. NT
**Bayston flipped during qualifying. DiMattia flipped during the first heat. Thorson flipped on lap 24 of the feature. Mosen flipped on lap 26 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 T.Thomas, Laps 3-21 Abreu, Laps 22-30 Clauson.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Hines-243, 3-Thorson-218, 3-Hagen-208, 4-Coons-197, 5-T.Thomas-186, 6-Bayston-179, 7-K.Thomas Jr.-170, 8-Darland-158, 9-Abreu-121, 10-Buckwalter-119.
NEW INDIANA MIDGET WEEK POINTS: 1-Clauson-131, 2-Abreu-121, 3-Hines-112, 4-Coons-107, 5-Bayston-99, 6-Thorson and T.Thomas-93, 8-Stockon-83, 9-Bernal and K.Thomas Jr.-73.
Race report courtesy USAC Racing
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: June 12 – Bloomington (IN) Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”
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