PEORIA, Ariz. — Six nights after Tracy Hines ended a dry spell in the USAC National sprint car ranks, he broke an ever longer slump atop the same Canyon Speedway Park clay by topping the opening night of Honda USAC National Midget action during the 47th annual Sands Chevrolet Western World Championships.
Hines battled past Zach Daum 12 rounds into the 30-lapper then held off a Keith Kunz Motorsports charge led by Christopher Bell to snare his first National Midget win on dirt since 2012.
While Hines gridded the feature field from the pole position aboard the Toyota-powered Parker Machinery No. 24, he fell back in the early rounds as second-row starter Zach Daum outdueled front row outside starter Ronnie Gardner for the point in the early rounds.
Hines worked his way back to the front soon enough though, racing past Daum for the lead on a lap 12 restart and holding on the rest of the way for the win.
“The track really changed a lot throughout the race,” Hines explained. “We fell back to about fourth or so early working the bottom, then moved to the top and then back to the bottom by the end. It probably worked to our advantage to fall back early so we could search around some.”
Hines took command following a quick red flag after 11 laps when Tyler Thomas tipped over in turn two and led the way in front of Daum, Tanner Thorson, Bell and Gardner when the race’s final interruption occurred at the midway point when Casey Shuman’s mount lost power entering turn one and was drilled by Jarid Blondel. Both drivers walked away.
Daum kept the pressure on Hines when action resumed with Bell moving up to third and joining in on the lead chase until getting loose in turn four with less than ten laps to go.
Bell rebounded quickly, reeling in a fading Daum for second and closed to within two car lengths by the final pair of rounds.
Hines held strong though, keeping the KKM duo of Bell and Thorson at bay to the line with Daum slipping to fourth. Bryan Clauson climbed from 10th to round out the top five with Brady Bacon, Gardner, Darren Hagen, Rico Abreu and Shane Golobic completing the top 10.
Hagen opened the night by establishing a track record of 13.489 seconds on the third-mile oval.