NEWS
HAGEN OPENS MIDGET SEASON WITH "KOKOMO GRAND PRIX" TRIUMPH
Posted 4 years ago
Photo by: TeeJay Crawford
Kokomo, Indiana.……Darren Hagen opened the Honda National Midget Championship season with a strong night in his first USAC start aboard the Kenny Brown Racing – Great Clips #17 Boss/Esslinger as he marched to the “Kokomo Grand Prix” victory on Saturday night. The Riverside, California native notched his 25th-career win to put himself in a tie for 16th on the all-time win list with Parnelli Jones and Dave Strickland.

Davey Ray grabbed the lead with a big run on the cushion through turns one and two on the opening lap. He ran hard on the high side with the lead as Hagen followed into second before the first caution on lap three.

Hagen came calling for the lead on the restart, and the two exchanged crosses before Hagen came roaring by to lead at the stripe on lap seven. Zach Daum was also on the move, and he and Ray battled for the runner-up spot. ProSource “Fast Qualifier” Kevin Thomas, Jr. was also using the high side to his advantage, and he passed both of them on a lap-13 restart to vault to second.

Just past halfway, Thomas got sideways in turn-two and collected Daum, who was able to restart on the tail. Thomas was done for the night.

Tracy Hines became the new pursuer of Hagen, and he drew close as they neared traffic, even flashing to the inside of Hagen on multiple occasions. Just as Hagen began to put cars a lap down, Ryan Greth hooked the infield marker tire in turn-four and flipped on lap 25. He was unhurt.

From there, Hagen was unchallenged to take the win, making it 11 years in a row with at least one USAC National victory. This one was also the first for Boss Chassis and builder Austin Brown.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity I have with this team, and especially Austin Brown with his Boss Chassis. Putting them in victory lane for the first time is cool. I almost gave it away with two to go, making a mistake down through one and two. We had a fast race car tonight, and I’m happy to get it done,” Hagen said.

Hines came home second in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota.

“I got going there in the long run, but he was a little too strong on the short runs. I got us in trouble on the start and gave some positions away, thinking the bottom would come in a little bit. Our car was good, but it was too little, too late to get the win. I got to him and moved down a bit and had a good look at him, but we caught that red at the end and took any shot we had. It was good racing tonight, though,” Hines said.

Tanner Thorson earned the “Hard Charger Award” by filling the podium after starting 11th in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorports – Toyota TRD #67 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.

“We struggled early in the night, and I have to thank Keith (Kunz) for working to get me more comfortable in the feature. We had to pass some cars to get there, but it was coming on the farther into the race we got. We definitely didn’t need the red late in the race. We had a shot at them without it. I’m happy to start our points season this way, though,” Thorson said.

Steve Buckwalter came home fourth in the Buckwalter’s Roofing – VRP Shocks #25 Elite/Ott by Deppe, and Ray rounded out the top-five in the Team RayPro – Mecum Auctions #33 Stealth/Mopar.

USAC HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS:
April 11, 2014 – Kokomo, IN – Kokomo Speedway – “Kokomo Grand Prix”

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Kevin Thomas Jr., 67k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.175; 2. Andrew Felker, 11a, Felker-13.288; 3. Darren Hagen, 17, Brown-13.309; 4. Spencer Bayston, 39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-13.397; 5. Davey Ray, 33, RAYPRO-13.464; 6. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-13.527; 7. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-13.662; 8. Steve Buckwalter, 25, Buckwalter-13.707; 9. Justin Peck, 5x, Peck-13.719; 10. Alex Bright, 56, 5IVE-6IX-13.737; 11. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-13.766; 12. Justin Grant, 38, Gardner-13.766; 13. Jerry Coons Jr., 27, Heffner-13.767; 14. Dave Darland, 63, RKR/Curb-Agajanian-13.804; 15. Colten Cottle, 5c, Cottle-13.833; 16. Tyler Courtney, 7KR, Irwin-13.885; 17. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-13.988; 18. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-14.047; 19. Shane Hollingsworth, 85, Hollingsworth-14.170; 20. Gage Walker, 7, Walker-14.219; 21. Katlynn Leer, 77, Leer-14.306; 22. Ryan Greth, 4R, Lesher-14.333; 23. Jim Radney, 95, Radney-14.447; 24. Tucker Klassmeyer, 27k, Klaasmeyer-14.452; 25. Stratton Briggs, 2s, Briggs-14.768; 26. Austin Nemire, 91, Nemire/Yager-14.891; 27. Justin Dickerson, 21D, Dickerson-14.954; 28. Logan Arnold, 43, Arnold-15.098; 29. Robbie Parish, 7k, Irwin-26.769; 30. Shane Cottle, 57, Ecker-NT.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. K.Thomas, 2. Ray, 3. Coons, 4. T.Thomas, 5. Peck, 6. Leer, 7. Briggs. 2:25.03

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Felker, 2. Bright, 3. Daum, 4. Darland, 5. Chapple, 6. Greth, 7. Nemire. 2:25.23

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Hagen, 2. Hines, 3. Thorson, 4. Hollingsworth, 5. C.Cottle, 6. Radney, 7. Dickerson. 2:21.55

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Buckwalter, 2. Grant, 3. Courtney, 4. Bayston, 5. Walker, 6. Klaasmeyer, 7. Arnold. 2:21.59

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Peck, 2. Greth, 3. Walker, 4. Chapple, 5. Klaasmeyer, 6. Radney, 7. Nemire, 8. Leer, 9. Briggs, 10. Dickerson, 11. Arnold, 12. Parish, 13. C.Cottle, 14. S,Cottle. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Darren Hagen, 2. Tracy Hines, 3. Tanner Thorson, 4. Steve Buckwalter, 5. Davey Ray, 6. Andrew Felker, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Tyler Thomas, 9. Jerry Coons Jr., 10. Tyler Courtney, 11. Shane Hollingsworth, 12. Gage Walker, 13. Zach Daum, 14. Isaac Chapple, 15. Spencer Bayston, 16. Justin Grant, 17. Jim Radney, 18. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 19. Ryan Greth, 20. Kevin Thomas Jr., 21. Alex Bright, 22. Justin Peck. NT
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**Bright flipped during qualifying. Bright flipped on lap 2 of the feature. Greth flipped on lap 25 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-6 Ray, Laps 7-30 Hagen.

NEW HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-Hagen-72, 2-Hines-64, 3-Thorson-60, 4-Buckwalter-59, 5-Ray-57, 6-Darland-47, 7-T.Thomas-44, 8-Coons-42, 9-Daum-34, 10-Walker-31.

NEXT HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: May 29 – Plymouth, IN – Plymouth Speedway