LINCOLN, Ill. – Christopher Bell led all 30 laps of the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature Friday at Lincoln Speedway en route to claiming his 11th victory of the 2014 season.
Polesitter Bell led the field to green, setting the pace for the field as the green flag waved. With Bell’s Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports’ Toyota-powered Bullet comfortably out front, fifth-starting Zach Daum set out to change that as he quickly worked his Toyota-powered Eagle into the second position. As Daum set his sights on Bell, Mike Hess would spin to bring out the first caution of the evening, collecting Terry Babb and Seth Motsinger.
With five laps completed, Hess’ caution would bunch the field back up giving Daum a shot at Bell. When Bell led the field back to green flag racing, he would jump right back to the top side of the race track with Daum in tow, only for racing to be slowed due to Dalton Camfield spinning out in turns one and two.
As Bell led the field back to green with Daum in tow, the caution would fly for the stopped car of Dave Camfield Jr. On the restart with eight laps in the books Bell would jump right back to the top side as Daum dove to the bottom side while the battle heated up. As Daum tried to set up Bell, Bryan Clauson would make a move against Darren Hagen for third. After passing Hagen for third, Clauson would try to slide Daum in turns one and two, but be unable to make it stick and kill his own momentum as Hagen appeared to gain back lost ground.
Just as Bell entered lap traffic Hess would spin in turns one and two, bunching the field back up. With 20 laps in the books Bell led the field back to green with pressure from Daum while Daum was pressured by Clauson. With Daum reeling in Bell and right as he appeared to be in striking distance, the red would come out for the first time in the feature event as Kyle Schuett would catch the outside wall, landing upside down in turns one and two. Schuett would be alright, but damage sustained to the car would be enough to force him to the pits for the remainder of the event.
When Bell led the field back to green with 25 laps complete the closeness of the top four made it easy to capitalize on any mistake Bell made. But as laps ran out, Daum and Clauson were unable to get within striking distance. Following Bell to the checkered flag was Daum in second and Clauson in third. Coming in fourth was Hagen and rounding out the top five was Spencer Bayston.
“It’s definitely been a magnificent year,” said Bell. “I couldn’t do it without Keith Kunz Motorsports and the whole Toyota crew. It’s a dream come true to be able to drive this No. 71 car. ”
Daum’s second-place finish was enough for him to clinch his second-straight POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series championship.
“We’ve been making gains,” said Daum. “We’ve gotten a little bit better on this thing all year and we worked hard on it. We’re happy with the way it’s going. At least there was only one Keith Kunz car ahead of us tonight. That’s better than most.”
“We tried to outsmart them on tire selection, but it didn’t quite work out for us,” explained Clauson. “We were pretty good, just took me too long to find the racetrack and then it rubbered up. We’ve had a heck of a year so far. It feels good to be disappointed with a third, I guess. It was one of those nights we definitely didn’t have the best car; the 71 did. I felt like we were kind of even with the five car.”
Christopher Bell, Zach Daum, Bryan Clauson, Darren Hagen, Spencer Bayston, Tanner Thorson, Andrew Felker, Parker Price-Miller, Ryan Criswell, Daniel Robinson, Andy Malpocker, Austin Brown, Rico Abreu, Gage Walker, Andy Baugh, Mike Hess, Kyle Schuett, Dalton Camfield, David Camfield Jr., Seth Motsinger, Terry Babb.