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Clauson’s Vegas victory narrows Driver of the Year point gap

From Bryan Gapinski

Las Vegas, Nev. — Bryan Clauson has closed to within seven points of Brad Kuhn in the battle for the 2009 National Midget Driver of the Year Championship. Clauson narrowed the margin Saturday Night winning the 50-lap USAC Western Midget Car Series feature at The Bull Ring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with five events remaining.

The victory was Clauson’s eleventh midget feature victory of the season, with five different sanctioning organizations. The next event will be the 30th annual Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway on Thursday Nov. 12. Kuhn a two-time NMDOTY Champion finished second in last year’s Copper Classic event, while Clauson’s best PIR finish was 25th in the 2007 race.

Action will then switch to Jim Naylor’s Ventura Raceway on Nov. 21 for the ARP/J.W. Mitchell Fall Classic, which will pay $5,000 to win. Kuhn has several runner-up feature finishes at the Oceanside 1/4-mile dirt oval. The Toyota Speedway at Irwindale California will then host the 69th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix on Thanksgiving Night Nov. 26.

The final two events which will determine the Championship will be on Friday & Saturday Night’s Nov. 27-28 events at Canyon Speedway Park (Peoria, Ariz.). The SouthWest Championships will feature midget racing sanctioned by the AMRA, along with non-winged 360 sprint Cars, and mini sprints. Saturday Night’s feature will pay $2,000-to-win.

Trailing Kuhn and Clauson, and still in contention for the NMDOTY title are also ’07 Champion Jerry Coons Jr.and Brad Loyet. Kuhn’s primary car owner RW Motorsports leads the Car Owners Championship by 61 points over Loyet Motorsports. Spike (Chassis), and Ford-Esslinger (engine) have clinched the Manufacturers Championship. Missouri’s Andrew Felker holds a two-point lead over Caleb Armstrong in the Design 500 Racewear rookie fo the Year standings. Trailing the duo by an additional 14 points is Alex Bowman.

POINTS

Driver: 1. Brad Kuhn 1412; 2. Bryan Clauson 1405; 3. Jerry Coons Jr. 1250; 4.Brad Loyet 1243; 5. Darren Hagen 910; 6. Brad Sweet 900; 7. Tracy Hines 849; 8. Bobby East 826; 9. Cole Whitt 683; 10.Scott Hatton 663.

Car Owner: 1. RW Motorsports#17, 1302; 2. Loyet Motorsports#05, 1241, 3. Wilke-PAk#11, 1069, 4. Corey Tucker#39, 963; 5. RFMS#3, 816.

Rookie of the Year: 1. Andrew Felker 381; 2. Caleb Armstrong 379; 3. Alex Bowman 365; 4. Alex Schuette 301; 5. Tanner Swanson 249.

Manufactures:

Engine: 1. Ford-Esslinger 518; 2. Mopar 170; 3. Fontan 128; 4. Toyota 117; 5. Chevrolet 83.

Chassis: 1. Spike 517; 2. Beast 264; 3. Stealth 155; 4. Drinan 45; 5. Buzzard 31.