Haubstadt, Indiana.……Saturday night’s 60th “Hut Hundred” USAC Mopar National Midget event, co-sanctioned by POWRi, turned into a two-man battle over the latter stages as Jerry Coons, Jr. led Brady Bacon. Misfortune for Coons, however, ended their deal with two laps to go as a broken heim on the left-rear slowed Coons and allowed Bacon clear sailing for the final two laps to score his second-career series victory in spectacular fashion.
The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma driver, who last won in USAC Midget competition in 2006, stalked Coons as they weaved in and out of traffic, setting a frenetic pace around Tri-State Speedway. With the two over a straightaway ahead, including many lapped machines, a caution appeared on lap 86. That quickly turned into a red flag for a short rain shower passing over the speedway. That delay set up the dramatic ending.
Coons bobbled once on the turn-one cushion, allowing Bacon a shot at the lead. The Tucson, Arizona native held off Bacon, but a tight finish seemed inevitable. That quickly went away when Coons exited turn-four on lap 98 and leaned hard on the left-rear with obvious problems. Bacon flashed by and went unchallenged for two laps to score the win aboard the Wilke-Pak Racing – Speedway Motors #11w Spike/Stanton Toyota.
“Right before that red, we were right on him and got up beside him a couple times. I think our car was getting better than his as the race went on. Unfortunately, he broke there at the end. I think we still had a shot at him anyway, but I’ll take it. The last fifty laps we were running pretty hard, and the last ten laps we were running really hard, determined to get by him,” Bacon said.
As Coons tried to hold on for two more laps, a three-car pack moved by and raced three-wide for the runner-up spot. Bacon’s teammate Chris Windom came out with second after starting 14th aboard the Wilke-Pak Racing – Speedway Motors #11 Spike/Speedway Toyota.
“I could tell the bottom was gonna be good throughout the race, and starting so far back, I just kept picking them off on the bottom. It took a while to get up there, but I knew if I stayed and kept my nose clean, we could get up there. I was committed to it and adjusted my shocks to be as good as we could down there, and we came out on top of that battle for second there at the end, and it’s cool for us to run 1-2 here at the “Hut Hundred” for the Wilkes,” Windom said.
It was Levi Jones who nipped Bryan Clauson at the line for the final podium spot aboard the 5IVE-6IX, Inc. – 3 Wide Networks #56 Beast/Esslinger.
“It was just a lot of fun. A hundred-lap midget race at Haubstadt is just gonna be great. We had a good enough car to put ourselves in a position to run up front, and we finish third. It was tough in traffic, hard to be aggressive, because I didn’t have any rear brakes to cool it down. I had to pick my spots, but we made it through alright,” Jones said.
Clauson used to the top to climb from 12th to fourth, with most of his advancement coming late in the race in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #67 Bullet/Speedway Toyota. Early leader Ryan Bernal, who was making his National Midget Series debut, fell back as far as tenth before finding the cushion to get back to the top-five in the Keith Kunz Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
Coons held on for sixth in the RW Motorsports – Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil #17 Beast/Fontana, but was obviously disappointed with his unfortunate ending.
“Brady was right there, and he was fast, so I was pushing it pretty hard. I moved to the top in three and four, and felt like I had a good rhythm going up there, but we just needed a couple more laps,” Coons said.
Darren Hagen finished seventh after starting 18th, while Brett Anderson picked up the “Hard Charger” after climbing from 25th to finish eighth. Levi Roberts was ninth from 24th, and Steve Buckwalter rounded out the top-ten. 21 cars were running at the end of the race, with 13 on the lead lap.
MOPAR USAC NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS: June 2, 2012 – Haubstadt, IN – Tri-State Speedway – 60th “Hut Hundred”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Jerry Coons, Jr., 17, RW-13.793; 2. Brady Bacon, 11w, Wilke-13.813; 3. Ryan Bernal, 71, Kunz-13.872; 4. Daniel Robinson, 57, McCreery-13.988; 5. Levi Jones, 56, Hmiel-14.025; 6. Bubba Altig, 37, Felker-14.118; 7. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-14.138; 8. Mario Clouser, 27, RW-14.155; 9. Chett Gehrke, 11c, Matteson-14.158; 10. Steve Buckwalter, 63, Dooling-14.177; 11. Rico Abreu, 67K, Kunz-14.210; 12. Bryan Clauson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.260; 13. Andrew Felker, 11a, Felker-14.270; 14. Chris Windom, 11, Wilke-14.286; 15. Thomas Meseraull, 2, Bush-14.311; 16. C.J. Leary, 24L, Parker-14.340; 17. Caleb Armstrong, 7c, C&A-14.341; 18. Darren Hagen, 3, RFMS-14.342; 19. Davey Ray, 33, RayPro-14.347; 20. Bobby East, 4, Klatt-14.348; 21. Ryan Criswell, 11R, Criswell-14.385; 22. Brett Anderson, 11B, Anderson-14.389; 23. Austin Brown, 7, KBR-14.422; 24. Jimmy Simpson, 21, Simpson-14.465; 25. Cameron Hagin, 37x, Felker-14.479; 26. Garrett Aitken, 32, Aitken-14.523; 27. Levi Roberts, 39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-14.568; 28. Andy Malpocker, 22, Malpocker-14.569; 29. Tyler Robbins, 35, Robbins-14.575; 30. Colten Cottle, 5c, Cottle-14.607; 31. Ted Hines, 16, Sandy-14.624; 32. Chase Barber, 191, Barber-14.700; 33. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-14.734; 34. Jake Neuman, 3N, Neuman-14.828; 35. Kent Schmidt, 5K, Schmidt-14.998; 36. Michael Koontz, 17x, Koontz-15.003; 37. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-15.018; 38. Cameron King, 55K, King-15.239; 39. Mike Hess, 82, Johnson-15.461; 40. Dalton Armstrong, 7A, C&A-NT; 41. Nick Knepper, 55, Knepper-NT (time of 14.580 disallowed).
SEMI: (15 laps) 1. Brown, 2. Daum, 3. Roberts, 4. Anderson, 5. Cottle, 6. Hagin, 7. Ted Hines, 8. Simpson, 9. Thomas, 10. Robbins, 11. Malpocker, 12. Hess, 13. Barber, 14. Knepper, 15. Schmidt, 16. Neuman, 17. Koontz, 18. D. Armstrong, 19. King, 20. Aitken. NT
FEATURE: (100 laps) 1. Brady Bacon, 2. Chris Windom, 3. Levi Jones, 4. Bryan Clauson, 5. Ryan Bernal, 6. Jerry Coons, Jr., 7. Darren Hagen, 8. Brett Anderson, 9. Levi Roberts, 10. Steve Buckwalter, 11. Andrew Felker, 12. Thomas Meseraull, 13. Davey Ray, 14. Mario Clouser, 15. Bobby East, 16. Caleb Armstrong, 17. Tyler Thomas, 18. Rico Abreu, 19. Cameron Hagin, 20. Dalton Armstrong, 21. Zach Daum, 22. Austin Brown, 23. Bubba Altig, 24. Chett Gehrke, 25. Colten Cottle, 26. Andy Malpocker, 27. Ryan Criswell, 28. Ted Hines, 29. Tyler Robbins, 30. Daniel Robinson, 31. Tracy Hines, 32. Mike Hess, 33. C.J. Leary, 34. Jimmy Simpson. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-16 Bernal, Laps 17-98 Coons, Laps 99-100 Bacon.
**D.Armstrong flipped in Qualifications. Aitken flipped in the Semi.
NEW MOPAR NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Hagen-327; 2-East-277; 3-Larson-262; 4-C.Armstrong-253; 5-Jones-241; 6-Clouser-235; 7-Hines-225; 8-Clauson-217; 9-Roberts-215; 10-D.Armstrong-188.
NEXT MOPAR NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: June 13 – Gas City, IN – Gas City I-69 Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”