BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Bryan Clauson notched his first Midwest Sprint Car Series (MSCS) victory of the season in Friday’s 30-lap Fall Clash at Bloomington Speedway.
Clauson battled Robert Ballou early, but was able to pull away over the final ten laps. Ballou outran Kyle Larson for second, as Brent Beauchamp and Jon Stanbrough were fourth and fifth.
Ballou gained the early lead from the outside of the front row, pulling ahead of Clauson, who started from the pole, as they raced off the second turn. Ballou led the first five circuits before Clauson caught and passed him with a patient effort through turns three and four. While Ballou was working the top grove, Clauson was using everything below that and drove under in turn three, and out-accelerated Ballou off of four.
Wheeling the Agajanian/Curb Records/R&B Truckers #7 Maxim, Clauson built a 2/3 straightaway lead. But the gap was erased when a tangle on lap 21 brought out the caution just as Clauson was beginning to work his way past back-markers. While Clauson hustled away on the restart, Larson quickly passed Beauchamp for third. Then he caught Ballou, and took second on lap 22. But Ballou fought back, and after several laps of nearly side-by-side battling, retook second four laps later.
Clauson said that there were several keys to the win.
“Traversing the rough stuff on the bottom, being able to keep (the car) low down the straightaways and being good enough late,” he said. “I think those guys came back to me a little bit late, but we were so good on the bottom that I was afraid to move. I was going to make them go around me. It seems that if you can run some mistake-free laps here, you can fight them off for a little while and that’s what we were able to do. These guys gave me a great race car, these things are a lot of fun to drive this year.”
While the first three finishers started in the first three starting positions, Beauchamp earned fourth from a tenth place start, Stanbrough, the MSCS point leader, started a row behind him. The two battled through most of the race.