Kyle Larson started "Indiana Midget Week" in victory lane at Gas City.

Kyle Larson started “Indiana Midget Week” in victory lane at Gas City.USAC Photo


Gas City, Indiana.……Kyle Larson of Elk Grove, California has a history of late-race heroics, and Wednesday’s “Indiana Midget Week” opener for the Honda National Dirt Midget Series was just another one of those tales. The 20-year old used a restart with three laps left to launch on the high-side from third to an unbelievable move around Tracy Hines coming off the final corner for the win.

“It’s nice to steal a win on the last lap from Tracy. I’ve finished second enough to him. I really had trouble getting going, got stuck on the bottom early. It took a while to get the top cleaned off, but once it did, I could carry a lot of momentum. I’ve never raced at Gas City like this. It was awesome. I got to second on the top right away on that restart, and then just hit two or three great laps to barely beat him,” Larson said.

Andrew Felker jumped from the pole to lead the opening lap, but Hines dropped low off turn-four to move under the Missouri driver for the lead to close lap two. Hines took off with the lead as a hornets nest erupted behind him for top-five spots. Laps clicked off quickly, as the first half went all green. A yellow on lap 16 bunched up the field with Hines leading Christopher Bell, Felker, Larson, and new track record holder Bryan Clauson.

Once back to green, Larson made a big dive underneath Felker for the third spot, as the front trio separated themselves from the pack. Bell gained on Hines as the laps wore on, but it appeared nothing would stop the New Castle, Indiana veteran.

Just three laps from the end, top-ten running Rico Abreu spun in turn two. Hines led the field to the restart, and Larson flew off into turn-one and circled his teammate Bell, with Hines in his cross-hairs. As the two hit the white flag, Larson moved alongside Hines for the lead. Off turn-two for the final time, Hines had just a nose in front, but Larson used a full head of steam to just sneak by Hines off the final corner. Larson’s win in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71K Bullet/Speedway Toyota was just .142 seconds over Hines in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota.

“Nobody showed their nose the whole time, so I just stuck to my guns. By the time I knew he was coming, we were looking at the checkers. I don’t know if I could have done anything even if I knew he was coming. We just got beat. I don’t feel like I slowed down at all over the course of the race, so I just kept trying to put down the same laps,” said a dejected Hines.

Bell came home third in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota in his first podium with the USAC Honda National Midget Series.

“I think we were really, really even with Tracy. I thought I could do something if we ever got to traffic. I was debating on that last restart if I should go to the top. I thought I could get a good enough run off four to do something into one, but then I got tight, and Kyle drove by us. It was a heckuva race, though, and a great way to start the week,” Bell said.

Felker came home fourth in the 66 Truck & Salvage – Auto Express #11A Spike/Fontana, while Steve Buckwalter claimed the final top-five spot in the Buckwalter’s Roofing – VRP Shocks #25 Elite/Ott by Deppe.

Bryan Clauson picked up the night’s “ProSource Fast Time Award” by shattering the old track record, coming out 36th during a hammer-down session to go 12.225 seconds around the quarter-mile.

HONDA USAC NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE RESULTS: June 12, 2013 – Gas City, Indiana – Gas City I-69 Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Bryan Clauson, 39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-12.225; 2. Steve Buckwalter, 25, Buckwalter-12.241; 3. Brad Kuhn, 10, Cook-12.256; 4. Kyle Larson, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.259; 5. Christopher Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.262; 6. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-12.265; 7. Darren Hagen, 3, RFMS-12.272; 8. Andrew Felker, 11A, Felker-12.279; 9. Dillon Welch, 98, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-12.292; 10. Levi Jones, 56, Hmiel-12.316; 11. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-12.332; 12. Rico Abreu, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.333; 13. Michael Pickens, 1NZ, Buckley-12.335; 14. Jerry Coons, Jr., 63, Dooling-12.352; 15. Brad Mosen, 7, Buckley-12.398; 16. Davey Ray, 33, Team RayPro-12.407; 17. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 2, Steele-12.423; 18. Brady Bacon, 11, Wilke-12.437; 19. Dave Darland, 2x, Lein-12.443; 20. Jamie McKinlay, 42AU, Fedrizzi-12.457; 21. Bobby East, 4, Klatt-12.485; 22. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.510; 23. Caleb Armstrong, 7c, C&A-12.581; 24. Thomas Meseraull, 16, Sandy-12.584; 25. Alex Bright, 17, RW/Curb-Agajanian-12.650; 26. Matt Jackson, 97AU, Stuebgen-12.660; 27. Taylor Ferns, 55, Ferns-12.708; 28. Billy Wease, 10x, Moore-12.848; 29. Brenden Bright, 92, Bright-12.904; 30. Johnny Heydenreich, 22, Givens-12.949; 31. Dalton Armstrong, 7A, C&A-12.953; 32. Ross Rankine, 39R, Rankine-12.997; 33. Michael Koontz, 17K, Koontz-13.000; 34. Blake Edwards, 17E, Koontz-13.012; 35. Jimmy Light, 23, Horsepower-13.047; 36. Johnny Murdock, 0, Murdock-13.860; 37. Aaron Pierce, 56P, Hmiel-NT (Tim of 12.512 disallowed); 38. Justin Dickerson, 21D, Dickerson-NT (time of 13.465 disallowed).

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thomas, 2. Pickens, 3. Clauson, 4. Bell, 5. East, 6. A. Bright, 7. Welch, 8. B. Bright, 9. Pierce, 10. Koontz. 2:06.16

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Thorson, 2. Coons, 3. Hines, 4. Bacon, 5. Jones, 6. Buckwalter, 7. Jackson, 8. Heydenreich, 9. Edwards, 10. Dickerson. 2:07.86

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. . C. Armstrong, 2. Mosen, 3. Hagen, 4. Daum, 5. Darland, 6. Kuhn, 7. D. Armstrong, 8. Ferns, 9. Light. 2:05.58

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Larson, 2. Abreu, 3. Meseraull, 4. Felker, 5. Ray, 6. McKinlay, 7. Wease, 8. Rankine, 9. Murdock. 2:08.74

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Buckwalter, 2. Kuhn, 3. Ray, 4. Darland, 5. Jones, 6. Welch, 7. East, 8. A. Bright, 9. B. Bright, 10. Wease, 11. Pierce, 12. Edwards, 13. McKinlay, 14. Light, 15. Jackson, 16. Rankine, 17. D. Armstrong, 18. Ferns, 19. Koontz, 20. Heydenreich, 21. Murdock. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Kyle Larson, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Christopher Bell, 4. Andrew Felker, 5. Steve Buckwalter, 6. Brad Mosen, 7. Bryan Clauson, 8. Darren Hagen, 9. Brad Kuhn, 10. Zach Daum, 11. Jerry Coons, Jr., 12. Levi Jones, 13. Michael Pickens, 14. Bobby East, 15. Dave Darland, 16. Alex Bright, 17. Brady Bacon, 18. Dillon Welch, 19. Caleb Armstrong, 20. Davey Ray, 21. Tanner Thorson, 22. Rico Abreu, 23. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 24. Thomas Meseraull. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Felker, Laps 2-29 Hines, Lap 30 Larson. 
**Ferns & D. Armstrong flipped in the Semi.

NEW HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET POINTS: 1-Hines-64; 2-Bell-61; 3-Felker-56; 4-Clauson-54; 5-Hagen-45; 6-Kuhn-43; 7-Daum/Coons-38; 9-Jones-30; 10-East-25.

NEW HONDA “INDIANA MIDGET WEEK” POINTS: 1-Larson-71; 2-Hines-64; 3-Bell-61; 4-Buckwalter-57; 5-Felker-56; 6-Clauson-54; 7-Mosen-52; 8-Hagen-45; 9-Kuhn-43; 10-Daum/Coons-38.

NEXT HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE: June 13 – Putnamville, Indiana – Lincoln Park Speedway – “Indiana Midget Week”