PONTOON BEACH, Ill. — official series release — POWRi photo —
Darren Hagen utilized a late race caution and the longest way around the racing surface at Tri-City Speedway to capture his third POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series victory of 2015 Friday evening.
Austin Brown started on the pole, sharing the front row with Zach Daum. Daum was involved in a hard wreck racing in Australia on April 18 that sidelined the defending POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series champion from midget racing until this weekend. When the green flag waved, Daum’s Toyota-powered Eagle meticulously worked the bottom side as Brown’s Toyota-powered BOSS Chassis pushed through the upper middle. Daum would barely lead lap one just as Jake Neuman would take a hard hit into the turn one wall and flip. Neuman would be OK.
Coming back to green, Brown would briefly challenge Daum until Daum’s rhythm smoothed out and he began to pull away from Brown. On lap 11 Andrew Felker would challenge for third and take the position, all the while as Darren Hagen riding in fifth waited patiently for the very top side of the high-banked three-eighths-mile track to come in.
With 15 laps down, Hagen would snag third from Felker and set his sights on second. Hagen would take the second position from Brown on lap 19.
As 21 laps were complete, Kyle Schuett would bring out the yellow as his Esslinger-powered BOSS Chassis would lock up entering turn three, bringing the leading POWRi Rookie of the Year candidate’s evening to a halt. The late race caution was not what Zach Daum wanted to see, but exactly what Darren Hagen needed to get the job done.
Coming back to green, Hagen would again take the long way around as Daum continued to cruise on the bottom, only for the caution flag to fly as Andrew Felker’s Mel-Mark Pipe & Supply, Stanton SR-11-powered BOSS Chassis sat disabled off turn two.
Coming back to green, Hagen again took charge straight for the high-side as Daum worked the bottom, only for Daum to move to the top entering turn three. Entering turn one, Hagen would slide Daum for the lead, barely gaining the top position coming to the line on lap 24. Hagen would continue ripping the top as Daum tried to keep up, while Felker worked to challenge Brown for third. Entering turn three, Brown would slide himself, banging the cushion and losing momentum as Felker slid by on the bottom to take the final podium position. Garrett Aitken took fourth and Austin Brown rounded out the top five.
“I have got to thank the Lord Jesus Christ and all these guys behind me,” stated Darren Hagen. “Thank you fans for coming out, we appreciate it, hopefully it was a good show. Without you guys, we wouldn’t be out here.”
“That late race caution hurt us,” said Zach Daum. “We were committed to the bottom early and the top was definitely better late.”
“We had a little help and got turned around there, but we had a good car,” explained Andrew Felker. “We lost a little bit of ground to Hagen tonight, but as long as we keep parking it on the front stretch, we can get it done.”
CREDIT: POWRi Racing