HAUBSTADT, Ind. — Wheeling the 5ive-6ix-Inc. Great Clips/Fatheadz Eyewear Beast fielded by Shane Hmiel, Darren Hagen trounced a strong POWRi midget series field at Tri-State Speedway.
Starting from the pole, Hagen raced out front in the first turn and didn’t slow down until he was in victory lane. It was his third POWRi win in the U.S. this year, with an additional victory in New Zealand under POWRi sanction over the winter.
As his team loaded their trailer, Hagen spoke about the strength of Hmiel’s organization.
“I’ll tell you what. You put any driver in the Keith Kunz cars and they’re going to run up front and that’s how good this thing was tonight,” Hagen said. “You could have put any driver in and ran up front. Levi Jones is one of the best race car drivers in the country and he’s also one of the best crew chiefs in the country. He really knows what a driver’s feeling and knows what we want to feel. So when we explain what it’s doing, he knows how to fix it with all of his experience of being in the seat.”
While Hagen was running out front, the best racing was behind him as Tyler Thomas, Seth Motsinger and Dereck King battled within the top five. The only cautions came on the 18th circuit as Jacob Patton looped in turn three, and then on the restart when Motsinger and Ryan Criswell tangled going into four.
With each restart, Hagen quickly pulled ahead of the rest of the pack. At the finish, Hagen held a third of a lap advantage over Zach Daum and King, who had started seventh and eighth. Kevin Thomas Jr. hustled from 14th to finish fourth, while Thomas earned fifth.
Although he was in lapped traffic for much of the race, it didn’t slow Hagen’s progress. He explained, “It was three wide there and I made sure that I timed it a lap and a half before of when I was going to get to them. I definitely have learned a lot over the years with Kyle Larson and Rico Abreu coming from wing stuff, how to get through some lapped cars. They’ve really made us step up our game and I’ve learned a lot from both of those drivers. I think that it’s how quick when you are running a winged car the lapped cars come up on you and you have to get by them. That’s what we are trying to anticipate now in the midget. We are all just trying to step up our game more and more every day.”
It was the final event of the Ford EcoBoost Challenge, the first two having been won by Christopher Bell.
The POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series feature was collected by Nathan Benson.
Darren Hagen, Zach Daum, Dereck King, Kevin Thomas Jr., Tyler Thomas, Garrett Aitken, Chet Gehrke, Jake Blackhurst, Austin Brown, Hud Cone, Seth Motsinger, Nick Knepper, Andrew Felker, Parker Price-Miller, Spencer Bayston, Terry Babb, Daniel Adler, Jake Neuman, Ross Rankine, Jacob Patton, Ryan Chriswell, Colten Cottle, Andy Malpocker.