ALTAMAHAW, N.C. — Darren Hagen led throughout Saturday’s 30-lap USAC Mopar National Midget Series feature as Ace Speedway concluded its Salute to Shane Hmiel with “The Real Deal.”
Hagen’s biggest threat came in the form of a lengthy red flag on lap 11 to clean up fluid from a puncture in the oil tank of Nick Drake, who was running fifth at the time, but the Riverside, Calif. driver inched away over the final few laps in his RFMS Racing – Liberty Village Beast/Esslinger No. 3.
“Tanner (Swanson, his teammate) found something in the heat – we tried something with him and that helped. It’s cool to win this one named after “The Real Deal” Shane Hmiel. It’s a testament to the work these guys put in,” Hagen said.
Mario Clouser, off his career-best finish of third on Friday, stayed with Hagen through the middle portion of the race, but the Auburn, Ill. driver could not keep up with Hagen’s pace. He held on for second in the RW Motorsports – Fontana Automotive Beast/Fontana No. 27.
“I can’t complain. I’d have liked to see it go green the whole way, and we might have been able to challenge him, but they were able to adjust under the red, and we didn’t really want to change anything. It’s an awesome way to start the season, with two of the best nights of my career,” Clouser said.
A battle between cousins developed for the third spot as Caleb Armstrong locked down the third spot with Caleb Armstrong edging Dalton Armstrong. Friday night winner Bobby East finished fifth.
Jared Irvan won the Ford Focus feature.BREAKING NEWS: SPEED SPORT is back in print with a new monthly format! Subscribe for just $24.95. Special offer for former subscribers.