Bloomington, IN – Christopher Bell duplicated his Bloomington Speedway “Indiana Midget Week” win from 2014 on Friday night, as the Norman, Oklahoma knocked off his first Honda National Midget victory of the season. The 2013 National Midget champion flipped in Wednesday night’s IMW opener before rebounding to second on Thursday night, but he was not to be denied as he took the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #67 Bullet/Speedway Toyota to victory while subbing for teammate Tanner Thorson, who sat out after a wild flip on Thursday night at Lincoln Park.
Jerry Coons, Jr. and Davey Ray brought the field to green, and Ray jumped down in front of Coons on the bottom as Kevin Thomas, Jr. roared by them off turn-two with the lead. He brought teammate Rico Abreu with him. A red flag on lap three for Hayden Williams saw the two Kunz cars out front over Ray, Coons, Brad Mosen, Bryan Clauson, and Bell.
Coons took care of Ray on the restart and hung with the lead duo as they stretched it out over the rest of the field. Bell and Clauson came along as they made it a five-car breakaway up front, while a hive of cars battled two-wide for sixth on back. As Coons tried to slide past Abreu for second, Abreu crossed back over and Bell took the opportunity to sneak by both of them.
Bell carved into Thomas’ lead as they reeled in traffic, and he pulled alongside on lap 21, though Thomas held the top spot by .023 seconds at the line. The next time by, Bell had taken over the lead while Abreu crossed just inches ahead of Clauson for third in a side-by-side battle. Clauson went by both Abreu and Thomas on lap 23, but the yellow appeared for a stalled car and moved him back to the fourth spot on the restart.
Bell was untouchable in the final eight laps, leading Thomas on the cushion and stretching it to 1.465-seconds at the finish for his 15th-career series victory.
“I really like this place! If I’m not winning, I’m not happy, so it’s good to get back to winning with these guys. The surface was great, and you could move around really well. We got a terrible start and I found myself running seventh in the first few laps. Once we got going and I could choose my line, I was able to get back up through there. I was pretty good up top in three and four, but I was really, really good on the bottom down there. We had options on where to go, for sure. It was a relief to get the lead and some open race track with the caution at the end,” Bell said.
Thomas rebounded from a tough two nights to start the week as he held the runner-up position in the Toyota TRD – Bakken Concrete #67K Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“I was committed to the top throughout, and I got to traffic and guys were all over the place racing each other. I got schooled in lapped traffic there, got passed for the lead, but it is what it is. It’s a major improvement from the last two nights, but I’m sure not happy about it, losing the lead in the last ten laps,” Thomas said.
Clauson’s bid for the front ended as he searched around for a little more to challenge Thomas, ending up third in the Curb Records – Dooling Machine #63 Spike/Stanton Mopar.
“I was really upset to see that late caution. It not only took away our advantage of being in traffic, but it took us from second to fourth. Once we were in clear track, all of us were pretty equal. Again, our car was tight enough to move around and traffic played into our hand, but it just didn’t fall our way at the end. We were able to beat Rico, and our goal is to win the week, so we’ll move on to Lawrenceburg tomorrow,” Clauson said.
Abreu, who set ProSource “Fast Time” for the night with a new Bloomington Speedway midget track record, wound up fourth in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #97 Bullet/Speedway Toyota, and Coons rounded out the top-five in the Heffner Racing Enterprises – Lelands.com #27 Triple X/Esslinger.
Tyler Thomas drove from 17th to finish seventh and earn the B&W Auto Mart “Hard Charger Award,” while Chett Gehrke took another right-rear tire courtesy of the American Racing Ministries “Perseverance Award” as the last transfer from the Semi-Feature.
USAC HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS: June 12, 2015 – Bloomington, IN – Bloomington Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Rico Abreu, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.551; 2. Bryan Clauson, 63, RKR/Curb-Agajanian-11.663; 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 67k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.681; 4. Christopher Bell, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.750; 5. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-11.768; 6. Davey Ray, 33, Team RAYPRO-11.854; 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 27, Heffner-11.856; 8. Brad Mosen, 1NZ, Buckley-11.894; 9. Darren Hagen, 17, Brown-11.924; 10. Chase Stockon, 25k, Rodela-11.944; 11. Spencer Bayston, 39, Clauson-11.956; 12. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-11.966; 13. Trey Marcham, 73, Ford-11.970; 14. Tyler Courtney, 7K, Irwin-11.971; 15. Alex Bright, 56, 5VIE-6IX-11.980; 16. Hayden Williams, 27NZ, HLR-11.992; 17. C.J. Leary, 11, Gray-12.003; 18. Brenden Bright, 92, Bright-12.005; 19. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-12.026; 20. Brock Maskovich, 5D, Daum-12.039; 21. Brett Thomas, 69, Thomas-12.045; 22. Chett Gehrke, 37, Felker-12.050; 23. Nathan Smee, 7AU, Cooper-12.064; 24. Ryan Bernal, 2, Taylor-12.070; 25. Ronnie Gardner, 37x, Felker-12.071; 26. Gage Walker, 7, Walker-12.079; 27. Justin Peck, 5x, Peck-12.096; 28. Jake Neuman, 3N, Neuman-12.104; 29. Austin Nemire, 91, Nemire/Yager-12.119; 30. Andrew Felker, 11A, Felker-12.141; 31. Andy Malpocker, 22, Malpocker-12.155; 32. Anton Hernandez, 51, Bailey-12.178; 33. Shane Cottle, 57, Ecker-12.190; 34. Nick Rowe, 5F, Daum-12.205; 35. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 27k, Klaasmeyer-12.297; 36. Chris Cochran, 7c, Klaasmeyer-12.301; 37. Clinton Boyles, 98, Boyles-12.317; 38. Tony DiMattia, 50, DiMattia-12.353; 39. Justin Dickerson, 7R, Dickerson-12.379; 40. Chase Briscoe, 33D, Davis-12.403; 41. Cole Fehr, 15, Live Loud-12.438; 42. Michael Koontz, 17k, Koontz-12.459; 43. Dave Darland, 2x, Bush-12.465; 44. David Budres, 31, Manic-12.614.
FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Abreu, 2. Leary, 3. Hagen, 4. Gardner, 5. B.Thomas, 6. Nemire, 7. Boyles, 8. Marcham, 9. Hines, 10. S.Cottle, 11. Fehr. NT
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Stockon, 2. B.Bright, 3. Clauson, 4. Ray, 5. Gehrke, 6. Courtney, 7. Felker, 8. Walker, 9. Rowe, 10. DiMattia, 11. Koontz. 2:04.58
THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Smee, 2. A.Bright, 3. K.Thomas Jr., 4. Coons, 5. Bayston, 6. Peck, 7. Darland, 8. T.Thomas, 9. Klaasmeyer, 10. Malpocker, 11. Dickerson. 2:03.38
FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bell, 2. Bernal, 3. Williams, 4. Mosen, 5. Chapple, 6. Neuman, 7. Briscoe, 8. Hernandez, 9. Budres, 10. Maskovich, 11. Cochran. NT
C MAIN: (10 laps) 1. S.Cottle, 2. Rowe, 3. Darland, 4. DiMattia, 5. Boyles, 6. Koontz, 7. Briscoe, 8. Budres, 9. Dickerson.
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Hines, 2. Bayston, 3. T.Thomas, 4. Courtney, 5. Neuman, 6. Gehrke, 7. Felker, 8. Chapple, 9. Hernandez, 10. Peck, 11. Darland, 12. S.Cottle, 13. Malpocker, 14. B.Thomas, 15. DiMattia, 16. Nemire, 17. Walker, 18. Rowe, 19. Marcham, 20. Maskovich. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Kevin Thomas Jr., 3. Bryan Clauson, 4. Rico Abreu, 5. Jerry Coons Jr., 6. Spencer Bayston, 7. Tyler Thomas, 8. Tracy Hines, 9. Chase Stockon, 10. Brad Mosen, 11. Davey Ray, 12. Brenden Bright, 13. Nathan Smee, 14. C.J. Leary, 15. Hayden Williams, 16. Tyler Courtney, 17. Ryan Bernal, 18. Gage Walker, 19. Chett Gehrke, 20. Darren Hagen, 21. Ronnie Gardner, 22. Jake Neuman, 23. Alex Bright, 24. Isaac Chapple. NT
**Hines flipped during the first heat. Maskovich flipped during the fourth heat. Marcham flipped during the semi. Williams flipped on lap 3 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-21 K.Thomas Jr., Laps 22-30 Bell.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Hines-288, 2-Coons-250, 3-K.Thomas Jr.-237, 4-T.Thomas-230, 5-Hagen and Bayston-227, 7-Tanner Thorson-218, 8-Abreu-186, 9-Darland-159, 10-Bell-152.
NEW INDIANA MIDGET WEEK POINTS: 1-Clauson-196, 2-Abreu-186, 3-Coons-160, 4-Hines-157, 5-Bell-152, 5-Bayston-147, 7-K.Thomas Jr.-140, 8-T.Thomas-137, 9-Stockon-127, 10-Bernal-99.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: June 13 – Lawrenceburg (IN) Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”
Story: USAC PR – Photo: Neil Cavanah