Lawrenceburg, Indiana.……Darren Hagen is simply unstoppable right now. The Riverside, California used three late cautions to his advantage, taking the lead off turn-two on lap 29 to find victory again, this time at Lawrenceburg Speedway on Saturday in “Indiana Midget Week” action.
A 26-lap green flag run saw Collegeville, Pennsylvania driver Alex Bright build a comfortable lead in pursuit of his first Mopar National Midget Series victory. A caution for a spinning car slowed the pace and gave both Hagen and second-place runner Chris Windom a shot at the leader.
On the restart, Bright held the advantage, but Hagen used the top of turn-one to fly by Windom. Just two laps later, the caution reappeared for a car spun on the backstretch, giving Hagen his shot at the win.
Bright led the restart with two laps to go and saw Hagen throw a slide-job into turn-one, but Bright countered off turn-two to regain the lead. A caution quickly flew, however, and a final restart was set with two laps still remaining.
On the final restart, Bright went low as Hagen flew to the top-side, diamonding off the second corner to roar into the lead. Bright could not counter, and Hagen parked the RFMS Racing – Liberty Village #3 DRC/Esslinger back in victory lane.
“This is unbelievable. I’ve got the best bunch of guys, and sponsors, and an awesome car owner in Don Fike. The cautions worked out perfectly for me. I knew he would try to protect the bottom on that last restart after I sailed under him the first time, so I knew I had to get the big diamond off the corner,” Hagen explained of his winning move.
Bright scored his best-career USAC National Midget finish as he came home in the runner-up spot in the Lightcap Electric – Elite Chassis #77 Elite/Fontana, hearing a loud applause from the Lawrenceburg crowd who saw him lose a heart-breaking 30-lap feature.
“That restart killed me. And then that second restart killed me even more. I knew I had a decent lead when we were green, and I didn’t see anybody peeking…I really thought I had it. The first restart, Hagen slid me, so I thought I’d go to the bottom the next time, and he just got a big run to beat me. Ya learn from your mistakes, and this is still a great finish for us. I’m ready to go to Kokomo tomorrow,” Bright said.
Windom kept the leaders in sight but could not make a move for the lead on the restarts, rounding out the podium in the Wilke-Pak Racers – Speedway Motors #11 Spike/Stanton Toyota.
“We had a solid finish. It’s good to run in the top-three. Gotta congratulate Hagen on the win, he drove a great race. And Bright was fast as hell the whole race, and I wasn’t gonna catch him. We’re right behind Hagen in points for the week, but he’s just strong every night,” Windom said.
Tracy Hines finished fourth in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota, while fast qualifier Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five in the Keith Kunz Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
MOPAR USAC NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS: June 16, 2012 – Lawrenceburg, IN – Lawrenceburg Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kyle Larson, 71, Kunz-14.953; 2. Darren Hagen, 3, RFMS-15.139; 3. Trevor Kobylarz, 49, Kobylarz-15.141; 4. Bryan Clauson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.167; 5. Chris Windom, 11, Wilke-15.180; 6. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-15.184; 7. Alex Bright, 77, Hemler-15.195; 8. Caleb Armstrong, 7c, C&A-15.212; 9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 63, Dooling-15.224; 10. Mario Clouser, 27, RW-15.234; 11. Bobby East, 4, Klatt-15.238; 12. Michael Pickens, 1NZ, Buckley-15.241; 13. Brad Kuhn, 17, RW-15.272; 14. Davey Ray, 33, RayPro-15.358; 15. Levi Jones, 56, Hmiel-15.411; 16. Steve Buckwalter, 25, Buckwalter-15.427; 17. Chris Bell, 21B, Lowe-15.438; 18. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-15.501; 19. Ryan Criswell, 11R, Criswell-15.588; 20. Scott Hatton, 15, Huston-15.602; 21. Rico Abreu, 67K, Kunz-15.658; 22. Chase Barber, 191, Barber-15.739; 23. Dalton Armstrong, 7A, C&A-15.750; 24. Taylor Ferns, 55, Ferns-15.809; 25. Jimmy Simpson, 21, Simpson-15.813; 26. Ryan Smith, 33x, Steward-15.866; 27. Nathan Smee, 7x, Cooper-15.885; 28. Nick Wean, 78, Wean-15.933; 29. Justin Grosz, 99, Grosz-16.006; 30. Kent Schmidt, 5K, Schmidt-16.024; 31. Andy Malpocker, 22, Malpocker-16.053; 32. Thomas Meseraull, 16, Sandy-NT (time of 15.514 disallowed).
FIRST HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Larson, 2. Kuhn, 3. Coons, 4. Windom, 5. Bell, 6. Abreu, 7. Simpson, 8. Grosz. 2:04.38
SECOND HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Hagen, 2. Hines, 3. Clouser, 4. Ray, 5. Daum, 6. Barber, 7. Smith, 8. Schmidt. 2:03.95
THIRD HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Jones, 2. Bright, 3. Criswell, 4. Smee, 5. D. Armstrong, 6. Malpocker, 7. Kobylarz, 8. East. NT
FOURTH HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Pickens, 2. Buckwalter, 3. Hatton, 4. Clauson, 5. C. Armstrong, 6. Meseraull, 7. Wean, 8. Ferns. 2:03.78
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Daum, 2. C. Armstrong, 3. Bell, 4. Abreu, 5. D. Armstrong, 6. Kobylarz, 7. Smith, 8. Wean, 9. Barber, 10. Ferns, 11. Simpson, 12. Schmidt, 13. Malpocker, 14. Meseraull, 15. Grosz. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Darren Hagen, 2. Alex Bright, 3. Chris Windom, 4. Tracy Hines, 5. Kyle Larson, 6. Caleb Armstrong, 7. Jerry Coons, Jr., 8. Brad Kuhn, 9. Michael Pickens, 10. Zach Daum, 11. Mario Clouser, 12. Davey Ray, 13. Scott Hatton, 14. Rico Abreu, 15. Levi Jones, 16. Bryan Clauson, 17. Steve Buckwalter, 18. Dalton Armstrong, 19. Nathan Smee, 20. Ryan Criswell, 21. Trevor Kobylarz, 22. Jimmy Simpson, 23. Chris Bell. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Bright, Laps 29-30 Hagen.
**East flipped in Heat 3.
NEW MOPAR NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Hagen-598; 2-Hines-436; 3-East/C.Armstrong-397; 5-Windom-387; 6-Larson-386; 7-Clauson-355; 8-Clouser-341; 9-Jones-340; 10-Kuhn-325.
NEW INDIANA MIDGET WEEK POINTS: 1-Hagen-271; 2-Windom-222; 3-Hines-211; 4-Coons-198; 5-Bright-161; 6-Buckwalter-149; 7-Clauson-138; 8-Larson-124; 9-East-120; 10-Pickens-119.
NEXT MOPAR NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: June 17 – Kokomo, IN – Kokomo Speedway