Sun Prairie, WI – Christopher Bell opened up the Angell Park Speedway “Pepsi Nationals” weekend with a convincing win in Saturday’s 30-lap Honda National Midget feature, which was co-sanctioned by POWRi and BMARA. The Norman, Oklahoma driver led throughout after starting on the pole in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota, leading a team sweep of the podium.
“Tonight was pretty typical for here, with a pretty gnarly ledge all the way around. You run as hard as you can without tripping over the cushion. It’s a tricky place. It’s dead flat but you rip around here wide open. This place taught me a lesson my first time here when I turned over. It definitely feels good to be on this end now,” Bell said.
Bell took the lead on the start, as Tracy Hines sat second ahead of the pair of teammates, Rico Abreu and Tanner Thorson, dicing early for the third spot. A red flag came out on lap three as Terry Babb flipped over a slowing Brandon Waelti. Both were uninjured, and Babb restarted.
After the restart, Abreu and Thorson continued their battle as they roared by Hines for second and third. Abreu closed on Bell as the duo encountered lapped nearing the halfway mark. Abreu showed his nose repeatedly under Bell as they slid past slower cars. Right at halfway, ninth-running Tyler Courtney slowed and went to the work area with a packed right-rear wheel.
Just a couple laps after the restart, Zach Daum caught the front-stretch wall and flipped hard to the inside of the track, bringing out a red. Daum walked away.
With 13 laps to go, Bell pulled away on the final restart, opening up a gap on his teammates as they again encountered traffic over the final few laps. With no mistakes on his end, Bell won by a 1.340-second margin.
Abreu held off Thorson for the second spot, sustaining his healthy point lead in the National Midget standings with the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #97 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“As crazy as it sounds for me, I’ve got to keep putting good finishes up there and race smart without making stupid mistakes. We put another great night together from start to finish. I tried to hit the bottom on the start and lost a little bit. I got to second and tracked Christopher down and just waited for him to make one mistake, but he’s so good up on the cushion like that,” Abreu said.
Thorson backed up his ProSource “Fast Time” from earlier in the night with a podium finish in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #67 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“I got a great start and got past Rico, but the next thing I know he was sliding me for that spot. I can’t thank Keith and Pete enough for a great car again tonight. It’s tough to run this place up against the curb like that. Lapped traffic was a challenge tonight, but I learned a lot with it and had fun racing with those guys up front,” Thorson said.
Chris Windom finished in fourth aboard the RFMS Racing – Liberty Village #3 DRC/Stanton Mopar, and Hines ended up fifth in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota.
USAC HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS: July 5, 2014 – Sun Prairie, Wisconsin – Angell Park Speedway –“Pepsi Nationals” (co-sanctioned by POWRi & BMARA)
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.559; 2. Michael Pickens, 3F, RFMS-14.568; 3. Chris Windom, 3, RFMS-14.637; 4. Rico Abreu, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.641; 5. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-14.660; 6. Christopher Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.738; 7. Bryan Clauson, 63, RKR/Curb-Agajanian-14.811; 8. Tyler Courtney, 2B, Lein-14.816; 9. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-14.884; 10. Parker Price-Miller, 9P, Ronk-14.950; 11. Austin Brown, 7, KBR-14.962; 12. Andrew Felker, 11A, Felker-14.975; 13. Kevin Olson, 25x, Hardy-14.980; 14. Bill Balog, 2s, Lein-15.055; 15. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9K, KBR-15.064; 16. Jake Blackhurst, 25, Blackhurst-15.087; 17. Brady Bacon, 11, Wilke-15.152; 18. Garrett Aitken, 32, Aitken-15.161; 19. Seth Motsinger, 2, KBR-15.163; 20. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-15.181; 21. Robbie Ray, 3R, Ray-15.203; 22. Spencer Bayston, 39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-15.270; 23. Brandon Waelti, 15, Huston-15.276; 24. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-15.318; 25. David Budres, 31, Manic-15.320; 26. Terry Babb, 88, Babb-15.328; 27. Scott Hatton, 4, Hardy-15.368; 28. Jerry Coons, Jr., 57, Ecker-15.423; 29. Katlynn Leer, 77K, Leer-15.450; 30. Darren Hagen, 56, Hmiel/Wilke-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bacon, 2. Hines, 3. Daum, 4. Thorson, 5. Ray, 6. Olson, 7. Budres, 8. Leer. 2:31.40
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bell, 2. Bayston, 3. Pickens, 4. Aitken, 5. Balog, 6. Babb, 7. Price-Miller, 8. Hagen. 2:32.20
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. K. Thomas, 3. Windom, 4. Waelti, 5. Brown, 6. Motsinger, 7. Hatton. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. T. Thomas, 2. Abreu, 3. Blackhurst, 4. Coons, 5. Felker, 6. Courtney, 7. Chapple. 2:34.51
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Courtney, 2. Brown, 3. Balog, 4. Felker, 5. Price-Miller, 6. Babb, 7. Olson, 8. Motsinger, 9. Ray, 10. Chapple, 11. Budres, 12. Hatton, 13. Leer. 3:14.88
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Rico Abreu, 3. Tanner Thorson, 4. Chris Windom, 5. Tracy Hines, 6. Michael Pickens, 7. Bryan Clauson, 8. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 9. Tyler Courtney, 10. Parker Price-Miller, 11. Spencer Bayston, 12. Andrew Felker, 13. Jerry Coons, Jr., 14. Jake Blackhurst, 15. Austin Brown, 16. Bill Balog, 17. Garrett Aitken, 18. Seth Motsinger, 19. Kevin Olson, 20. Tyler Thomas, 21. Zach Daum, 22. Terry Babb, 23. Brady Bacon, 24. Brandon Waelti. NT
**Babb flipped on Lap 3 of the Feature. Daum flipped on Lap 18 of the Feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1-30 Bell.
NEW HONDA USAC NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Abreu-548; 2-Hines-445; 3-Bell-439; 4-Clauson-437; 5-Thorson-376; 6-Windom-328; 7-Dave Darland-311; 8-Daum-304; 9-K.Thomas-303; 10-Felker-302.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: July 6 – Sun Prairie, Indiana – Angell Park Speedway – “Pepsi Nationals” (co-sanctioned by POWRi & BMARA Midgets)
– USAC Press Release
Photo Credit: Rich Forman