Hess, a former POWRi and Badger midget champion, passed Kuhn in the final 25 yards to take second by half a car length. The 38-year-old from Riverton, Ill., was running the low line, Kuhn the high line.
“Lots of laps and experience did that,” Hess said “You have to be patient and roll the bottom. I had run the top, but the cushion got big and treacherous and halfway through, I went to the bottom. It was the same speed as the top and a shorter way around.”
Hess started in ninth position in his Buzzard-Hawk and moved into third on the final restart with seven laps remaining. Hess ran second from laps 24 through 28, but Kuhn had edged him at start/finish line on the 29th lap.
“Kuhn got me and going down the back straight n the last lap, I knew I had to do (turns) three and four perfect to beat him and I did,” Hess said.
Kuhn had started 11th and steadily climbed. The two-time POWRi midget champion from Avon, Ind., passed Andrew Felker for third on the lap 19 restart and was running there for the last restart.
Second-running Zach Daum of Pocahontas, Ill., had his rear suspension break in turn one and he bounced off the wall into the path of Kuhn’s Spike-Fontana on the outside.
“I turned down away from Daum, but I hit his left rear tire with my right front tire,” Kuhn said. “Hess squeezed through on the bottom.”
The contact allowed Hagen to pull out to a substantial advantage and set up the battle between Kuhn and Hess for second.
Daum recovered to finish fourth and veteran Scott Hatton of Roscoe, Ill., was fifth.