Kuhn Nips Clauson At Angell Park

Brad Kuhn (17) edged Bryan Clauson by mere fete to win Sunday night's USAC midget race at Wisconsin's Angell Park Speedway. (Jeff Arns photo)
Brad Kuhn (17) edged Bryan Clauson by mere fete to win Sunday night's USAC midget race at Wisconsin's Angell Park Speedway. (Jeff Arns photo)

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Brad Kuhn picked up his first Mopar National Midget win of the year on Sunday night at Angell Park Speedway.

Kuhn led on three occasions in the 30-lapper, which was co-sanctioned by POWRi and BMARA clubs, but he didn’t take it for the final time until he drove by Bryan Clauson off the final corner to the checkered flag, posting a .019-second victory.

Zach Daum jumped to the lead from the pole, but Tracy Hines quickly moved by for the top spot on lap two. Hines built a lead while a torrid battle took place behind him. The caution flew on lap seven, however, as Hines slowed to a halt on the backstretch.

Kuhn assumed for the lead on the restart, but it quickly turned into a war up front as Darren Hagen pressured him for the lead and brought Clauson with him. Hagen used a lap 12 restart to hit the bottom and move by Kuhn for the top spot.

Kuhn would not go away, though. He stayed up top and hounded Hagen, while Clauson looked for room behind them. Behind them, Jerry Coons, Jr. had moved to within striking distance, and Levi Jones made his way into the top-five.

Kuhn took the lead back on lap 18, but Hagen was still working the bottom, pulling alongside on several occasions for the top spot. With under 10 laps to go, Clauson moved to second and looked for the lead on Kuhn, but three cautions and a lap 28 red flag for Alex Bright, who flipped down the backstretch while running seventh, slowed their battle up front.

With three to go, Clauson again assaulted Kuhn on the restart, finally nosing ahead at the line to lead at the white flag. Clauson led the duo off turn-two but a huge run on the cushion in turns three and four gave Kuhn a head of steam off turn-four as the two nearly made contact and Kuhn glanced off the front-stretch wall, barely nosing out the exciting win aboard the Rotondo Weirich – Fontana Automotive No. 17 Beast/Fontana.

“I thought it was gonna be the biggest crash ever for the win there. We even cleaned a couple spots off the wall with the right rear. It’s a good finish. This is what we’re here for. I know Bryan (Clauson) wanted to win that one, but I’m tired of getting beat by those cars. We’re tired of running second. We were just tired of it, so we wanted to win this one bad tonight,” Kuhn said.

Clauson sat atop his cage on the frontstretch, just missing a second-straight Angell Park win in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD No. 71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.

“I just missed the bottom a little bit in that final corner. I feel like I let my team down a little bit on that one. We had a great battle up front. I’m not sure it could have been much closer at the line, but we came up just that much short,” Clauson said.

Hagen held on for third, padding his driver point lead and holding onto the owner’s point lead for the RFMS Racing — Liberty Village No. 3 DRC/Esslinger.

“When I took the lead, I hit the guardrail down there and messed up the headers. It definitely hurt us towards the end. My guys worked their butts off to get me more comfortable tonight. It was definitely a great race up front tonight,” Hagen said.

Levi Jones finished off a fine run from row-six to finish fourth. Chris Windom beat out his teammate Coons in a photo-finish for fifth.