Putnamville, IN – Dave Darland of Lincoln, Indiana led flag-to-flag in Thursday’s 30-lap “Indiana Midget Week” kickoff at Lincoln Park Speedway, surviving a marathon night that ended with thirty straight laps of Honda National Midget Feature action.
After original front-row starter Tanner Thorson got spun around on the original start, Darland moved to the front row and got the jump on polesitter Steve Buckwalter. Darland protected the bottom, as Tracy Hines came along and Buckwalter tried to hold off ProSource “Fast Qualifier” Rico Abreu.
As they entered traffic, Abreu ran down the top two and worked to the outside of Hines for second, relentlessly running the tricky cushion. Abreu briefly held second on multiple occasions and nearly nipped Darland for the lead, but struggled with the cushion off turn-four, continually tossing the front-end and losing his momentum.
In the final laps, Abreu dropped to third as Hines had a shot at Darland on the final circuit, but Darland was mistake-free and took the win in Driven Racing Oil – CML RW Security #17 Beast/Fontana.
“I never did see anybody, but I could hear somebody back there even with my bad hearing, so I knew they had to be pretty dang close. Running the cushion was pretty treacherous, so I didn’t think guys would be able to put very many laps together up there. I tried to limit mistakes and force them to do it the hard way and hit the cushion to perfection,” Darland said.
Hines held on for second in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota.
“Track position was key with as heavy as it was. I was able to run a little bit lower into one, and once he saw me, he moved down a little bit and got better. I thought seeing Rico may make him move, but I figured he knew they’d mess up more on the top than he would. It was just so good down low, it was tough to ever get a run on him even at the end,” Hines said.
Abreu completed his first night back in a car since a vicious wreck on May 25th left him with a broken collar bone, and the St. Helena, California driver added to his series point lead in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian – Toyota TRD #97 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“My whole goal tonight was just to get through the night. I got going to get up there with those guys, but the top was just so hard to get through. I over-drove it a little and kinda wore myself out. I just never could get past him. Dave’s hard to rattle, and so is Tracy. It’s nice to get back in after three weeks away, and tonight I had to get up on the wheel. I’m a little sore, but I had a great race car and everything is good. I never thought I’d say this, but we’re racing for points too and tonight was a good night in that department,” Abreu said.
Bryan Clauson completed an impressive drive from his 18th starting position to finish fourth, while New Zealand driver Michael Pickens rounded out the top-five.
USAC HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS: June 12, 2014 – Putnamville, Indiana – Lincoln Park Speedway –“Indiana Midget Week”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Rico Abreu, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.863; 2. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-13.009; 3. Dave Darland, 17, RW/Curb-Agajanian-13.052; 4. Andrew Felker, 11a, Felker-13.071; 5. Christopher Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.119; 6. Damion Gardner, 4, Klatt-13.158; 7. Brady Bacon, 11, Wilke-Pak-13.169; 8. Kevin Thomas Jr., 9k, Brown-13.179; 9. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.192; 10. Steve Buckwalter, 25, Buckwalter-13.195; 11. Colten Cottle, 5c, Cottle-13.217; 12. Alex Bright, 77, Hemler-13.223; 13. Garrett Aitken, 32, Aitken-13.269; 14. Michael Pickens, 3F, RFMS-13.271; 15. Justin Grant, 35, Gardner-13.273; 16. Parker Price-Miller, 9p, Ronk-13.304; 17. Seth Motsinger, 2, KBR-13.347; 18. Ryan Criswell, 11R, R & C-13.354; 19. Ronnie Gardner, 68, Six-Eight-13.367; 20. Tyler Courtney, 35x, Hampton-13.390; 21. Domain Ramsay, 20, Ramsay-13.394; 22. Bryan Clauson, 63, RKR/Curb-Agajanian-13.406; 23. Jaimie McKinlay, 42, Graham-13.420; 24. Nathan Smee, 3x, Cooper-13.437; 25. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-13.460; 26. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-13.467; 27. Brenden Bright, 92, Bright-13.475; 28. Chris Windom, 3, RFMS-13.487; 29. Alex Schutte, 28, Schutte/McElwee-13.493; 30. Austin Brown, 7, Brown-13.496; 31. Leyton Kendall, 7L, Kendall-13.511; 32. Andy Malpocker, 22, Malpocker-13.604; 33. Thomas Meseraull, 16, Sandy-13.605; 34. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-13.686; 35. Tony DiMattia, 50, Brandywine Auto-13.740; 36. Jimmy Light, 23, Light-13.771; 37. Brock Maskovich, 39c, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-13.862; 38. James Edens, 5E, Daum-14.014; 39. Gage Walker, 7G, Walker-14.145; 40. Gary Gipson, 5, Byers-14.234; 41. Trey Marcham, 39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-14.259; 42. Robby Parish, 7k, Irwin-14.363; 43. Justin Dickerson, 21D, Dickerson-14.425; 44. Justin Peck, 5x, Peck-NT.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Abreu, 2. Thorson, 3. Ramsay, 4. Meseraull, 5. Aitken, 6. Marcham, 7. Motsinger, 8. Schutte, 9. Daum, 10. Maskovich, 11. Bell. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Buckwalter, 3. Pickens, 4. Hines, 5. Criswell, 6. T.Thomas, 7. Chapple, 8. Brown, 9. D.Gardner, 10. Edens. NT
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Cottle, 2. Bacon, 3. Darland, 4. B.Bright, 5. McKinlay, 6. R.Gardner, 7. Kendall, 8. Dickerson, 9. DiMattia, 10. Walker, 11. Grant. NT
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. A.Bright, 2. Courtney, 3. Price-Miller, 4. Windom, 5. Felker, 6. Snee, 7. K.Thomas, 8. Malpocker, 9. Light, 10. Gipson. NT
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Felker, 2. D.Gardner, 3. Aitken, 4. Grant, 5. R.Gardner, 6. Smee, 7. Daum. 8. Motsinger, 9. Marcham, 10. DiMattia, 11. Schutte, 12. Edens, 13. Maskovich, 14. Chapple, 15. Dickerson, 16. Kendall, 17. T.Thomas, 18. K.Thomas, 19. Criswell, 20. McKinlay, 21. Brown, 22. Malpocker, 23. Walker. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Dave Darland, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Rico Abreu, 4. Bryan Clauson, 5. Michael Pickens, 6. Andrew Felker, 7. Steve Buckwalter, 8. Damion Gardner, 9. Colton Cottle, 10. Garrett Aitken, 11. Nathan Smee, 12. Parker Price-Miller, 13. Chris Windom, 14. Thomas Meseraull, 15. Brady Bacon, 16. Zach Daum, 17. Tyler Courtney, 18. Ronnie Gardner, 19. Domain Ramsay, 20. Tanner Thorson, 21. Alex Bright, 22. Justin Grant, 23. Brenden Bright, 24. Kevin Thomas Jr. 10:55.15
**Peck flipped during practice and was taken to a local hospital for obervation. Maskovich flipped during the first heat. Bell flipped during the first heat. Edens flipped during the second heat. Brown flipped during the semi. McKinlay flipped during the semi.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Darland.
NEW HONDA USAC NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Abreu-274, 2-Hines-219, 3-Clauson-202, 4-Bell-196, 5-Thorson-181, 6-Felker-177, 7-Darland-164, 8-Windom-140, 9-K.Thomas-138, 10-Daum-133.
NEW INDIANA MIDGET WEEK POINTS: 1-Darland-70, 2-Abreu-68, 3-Hines-67, 4-Clauson-59, 5-Pickens-54, 6-Felker-52, 7-Buckwalter-49, 8-Cottle-44, 9-D.Gardner-43, 10-Aitken-35.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: June 13 – Bloomington, Indiana – Bloomington Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”
Photo Credit: USAC PR