WAYNE CITY, Ill. – Daryn Pittman overtook Bryan Clauson on lap 26 and led the final 14 laps to claim his first career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series win at the eighth-mile Wayne County Speedway during the second annual Jason Leffler Memorial sponsored by Great Clips Tuesday night.
The Jason Leffler Memorial is one of the largest purses for a POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series race with a $10,000 payout to the winner. One hundred percent of the front entrance is committed to the Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Fund.
Christopher Bell started on the pole in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports’ Toyota-powered Bullet for the 40 lap A-main. At the drop of the green flag, Christopher Bell, second place starter Clauson, and third place starter Tyler Thomas all gunned for the front with a three way battle for the lead in turn one, continuing all the way back to the stripe, with first lap honors credited to Bell. Heading down the back stretch, Thomas’ Esslinger-powered Triple-X would fade just enough for Bell and Clauson to pull away.
Just as Clauson looked to make a move on Bell, the caution came out as Bell’s Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate, Tanner Thorson lost it after getting too sideways off turn two creating a pileup that collected the cars of Seth Motsinger, Colten Cottle, Garett Aitken, Austin Brown and Dave Darland. All cars would restart as the only car with damage, a flat left rear tire, was the Schuett Racing Esslinger-powered Spike piloted by Darland. Darland would be repaired in the work area and resume racing at the tail.
When green flag racing resumed with three laps in the books, Bell and Clauson would take off with Clauson’s Rusty Kunz Racing/Curb-Agajanian, Esslinger-powered Spike all over Bell. On lap eight, Clauson would overtake Bell and rocket into the lead, chasing down lap traffic on the fast bullring. Just as Clauson caught traffic on lap 14, the red would come out for the turned over KBR Performance, Gunslinger-powered Boss of Seth Motsinger.
When Motsinger landed, Andrew Felker who was already committed to the top plowed into Motsinger’s machine. Both drivers were alright, but damage to Motsinger’s machine was enough to force him to the pits for the remainder of the event. Felker would seek assistance in the work area to his Fontana-powered Boss and resume racing at the tail.
With 14 laps down, Clauson would lead the field to green powering down the front stretch. With 15 laps complete, Tyler Thomas would dive to the bottom of turns three and four in hopes of passing Christopher Bell for second place, but caught the rut on the bottom hard enough to stall out the car and collect Shane Cockrum.
When green flag racing resumed, the race for the lead would tighten up as Bell and fellow Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammate Rico Abreu would reel in Clauson. With Clauson up top, Bell on the bottom and Abreu flying high by the fence, a fantastic three way battle for the lead was taking place. Heading into turn one, Abreu would hit the fence and barely hang on to save it, continuing racing, while Parker Price-Miller would lose it in turns three and four bringing out the caution.