Hagen Dominates Night Before The 500

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Darren Hagen won Saturday's rain-delayed Night Before the 500 midget race. (David E. Heithaus photo)
Darren Hagen won Saturday’s rain-delayed Night Before the 500 midget race. (David E. Heithaus photo)

CLERMONT, Ind. — Defending USAC national midget champion Darren Hagen led all 30 laps of Saturday night’s 68th Night Before the 500 classic for the Honda USAC National Pavement Midget Championship at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Driving the RFMS Racing Liberty Village/McGladrey & Pullen Beast/Esslinger, he beat Bobby Santos to the checkered flag for his second victory in the American classic.

Hagen outlasted the elements and the competition to take to the win at the Visit Hendricks County USAC Midget feature held at Lucas Oil Raceway on Saturday. The feature was shortened to 30 laps after persistent light showers delayed the start and continued threatening weather in the area.

“It was go from the start at 10 laps in,” Hagen said. “I rode for a bit in the middle of the race then the last ten laps I went as hard as I could. It is great to win the biggest pavement race in the United States twice. I’m very blessed.”

Fast-qualifier Tracy Hines took third, followed by Kyle O’Gara and Caleb Armstrong.