Larson returns to Indiana Midget Week and Wins
Montpelier Motor Speedway-Montpelier –Opening race in the Indiana Midget Week showcased the best of the best with Kyle Larson returning for a guest drive with KKM. Larson was joined by Bell and Abreu in an expanded Keith Kunz effort for the Indiana Midget Week opener.
Kyle Larson showed that his presence in NASCAR has not diminished his dirt track talent .driving the 1K Keith Kunz – Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Parker Store – Target/Bullet/Speedway Toyota Larson won the pole position after the strong qualifying and the win in heat four.. The Larson win came after being passed early by Thorson and then attacking his teammate for the next 23 laps before banging in a slider on lap 25 to move into the race lead with only 5 to run.
Thorson had been under heavy fire from Larson and Clauson but kept the pair searching for the opening while Christopher Bell was working his way out of a difficult start that had Oklahoma charger making up ground from his rear of the field starting position.
What an amazing effort by the Kunz Team to managing 8 race cars, keeping the drivers tuned in must be a massive effort and quite demoralizing f or some of the less experienced teams and driver’s .For Kunz drivers to take two of the three podiums position and the remaining 5 to finish the feature was a super effort.
There can be no doubt that the old saying “the cream always rises to the top “and the podium at Montpelier of Kyle Larson, Bryan Clauson and Christopher Bell certainly underpins that.Larson’s successful return to the Midget was welcomed by the Midget mad crowd but you had to feel for Thorson after taking the race to and past the NASCAR star only to then fall back for a 18th final placing , disappointing but mark our words he will be back up front very quickly.
The Larson win was the 10th for the Kunz team and with the sixth different driver this season. The race win was Larson’s 4th career Indiana Midget Week win and his 13th USAC National Midget win.
The Resource fast time went to Christopher Bell from Chad Boat and Spencer Bayston and heat races wins went to Steve Buckwater, Carson Macedo, Rico Abreu and Kyle Larson.
Post race interview:
Kyle Larson “That was a lot of fun.” Larson exclaimed. “I didn’t think the top in (turns) one and two would be that great, but Tanner was able to rip around me. I knew I was a lot better than him in (turns) three and four. I just couldn’t quite figure out turn two. I was getting beat pretty bad over there. I don’t know if it just got cleaned off or what, but my grip off of turn two got a little better and I could stay closer to Tanner and then, eventually, throw the slider. I had so much fun, though! Thirty laps fly by in these races. It’s so enjoyable to run with Keith (Kunz) and Pete (Willoughby). They deserve all the attention that they’ve been getting the last few years.”
Bryan Clauson “It became a race between me and Kyle to see who could clear Tanner first,” Clauson explained. “I got a run and threw something at him and Tanner got into me when he came back across and I let Kyle get by us. We just started getting tight there at the end. It might not have made a difference because it got tough to run once the track got real curby, but second is a solid start to “Indiana Midget Week.”
Christopher Bell “Staying out of trouble was huge,” Bell said with a sigh of relief. “Everybody kept crashing each other and it got me on the first lap. But once I got back there, they kept running into each other and I didn’t really feel like I passed a whole lot of cars. I was good at the end; it just got to be so fast around the top that you couldn’t really slide anybody unless you had a big run like Kyle did. I worked around the bottom really well, so that helped, but we just needed them to bottle up on the top one more time.”
Both Bell and Larson will be back for round two at Gas City but we understand Abreu will return for the Bloomington race with Bell .
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Buckwalter, 2. Windom, 3. Bacon, 4. Quin, 5. Bell, 6. Walker, 7. Ray, 8. Nocella, 9. Greth, 10. Hatton, 11. Baue. Ton raceNT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION, INC. (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Macedo, 2. Boat, 3. Clauson, 4. Coons, 5. Biggs, 6. Kingshott, 7. Golobic, 8. Koontz, 9. Schuett, 10. Secrest, 11. Gray. 2:28.28
BENIC ENTERPRISES THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Abreu, 2. Bayston, 3. Shelton, 4. Darland, 5. Nelson, 6. DiMattia, 7. White, 8. Morton, 9. Conover, 10. Daum, 11. Neuman. NT
INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Larson, 2. Thorson, 3. Robinson, 4. Peck, 5. Thomas, 6. Jarrett, 7. Johnson, 8. Prock, 9. Fehr, 10. Gehrke, 11. Nemire. NT
C-MAIN: (10 laps) 1. Ray, 2. Neuman, 3. Kingshott, 4. Jarrett, 5. Hatton, 6. Morton, 7. Nemire, 8. Fehr, 9. Koontz, 10. Secrest. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Bell, 2. Daum, 3. Golobic, 4. Thomas, 5. Walker, 6. DiMattia, 7. Ray, 8. Nelson, 9. Jarrett, 10. Prock, 11. Schuett, 12. Neuman, 13. Biggs, 14. Kingshott, 15. Nocella, 16. Greth, 17. Gehrke. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kyle Larson, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Christopher Bell, 4. Jerry Coons, Jr., 5. Brady Bacon, 6. Chad Boat, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Chris Windom, 9. Tyler Thomas, 10. Jimi Quin, 11. Zach Daum, 12. Spencer Bayston, 13. Kyle Schuett, 14. Rico Abreu, 15. Tony DiMattia, 16. Holly Shelton, 17. Gage Walker, 18. Tanner Thorson, 19. Carson Macedo, 20. Ryan Robinson, 21. Shane Golobic, 22. Justin Peck, 23. Steve Buckwalter. NT
NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: June 1 – Gas City, IN – Gas City I-69 Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”
Photo credits USAC Racing ,Bryan Clauson Racing and MAJ1K Motorsports