Clauson Rockets To Angell Park Score
SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Bryan Clauson rocketed from third to first on an early restart and led the final 26 laps to win the Miller Lite Cornfest, an event sanctioned by the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series, Honda USAC National Dirt Midgets and the Stark Automotive Group/Mid-State Equipment Badger Midgets Sunday at Angell Park Speedway.
Andrew Felker, running the outside, had led the opening four laps from pole. Zach Daum had shot past Clauson and Caleb Armstrong on the inside in turn one to take over second place when the caution came out. Felker knew he’d be vulnerable to an attack from Daum and decided to restart on the inside. Daum followed him and Clauson had a clear path on the outside.
“I was happy to see Daum go to the bottom,” Clauson said. “It opened the door for us. Catching the caution was key. I needed to shake free of Caleb. We’d been doing sliders and Felker and Daum were getting away. I knew if I could get to the top and get ripping, we’d be pretty good.”
Clauson’s victory was his third this season and 21st in POWRi Midgets, third on the all-time list, and 28th in USAC National Midgets. The 24-year-old from Noblesville, Ind., a three-time National Midget driving champion, was challenged by Tracy Hines in the closing laps.
“I think I was being tentative in traffic,” Clauson said. “There were about eight cars running two and three wide in front of me.”
Hines’ Toyota-powered Spike was one car length behind Clauson’s Curb Records Spike-Esslinger when the race’s second caution came out, leaving three laps to the checkered flag.
“Traffic allowed me to get close,” Hines said. “Clauson pulled me three car lengths on the restart and that was the race. We were pretty even after that. It was a solid run for us. It wasn’t the bet car. We needed more forward bite. We lacked forward drive.”
Without any cars in front of him after the restart, Clauson finished four car lengths in front of runner-up Hines.
Darren Hagen’s DRC-Esslinger finished third. He was fourth for the final restart and slid past Felker in turns one and two for his final pass. Hagen started 15th.
“I started working the bottom, then went to the top and finally found rubber in the middle and passed Jerry Coons (Jr.) for sixth,” Hagen said. “We got up to fourth and slid Felker for third.”
Coons finished fourth in his Spike-Esslinger, Daum was fifth in his Eagle-Toyota and Felker sixth in his Spike-Fontana. Daum leads Felker for the POWRi championship by 120 points with 20 of 31 events completed.