From Richie Murray
BELLEVILLE, Kan. (August 5, 2016) — When it comes to racing at the Belleville High Banks, Chad Boat has big shoes to fill. On Friday night, Chad used those shoes to stand on the gas, whipping by Carson Macedo on the high side on lap 10 and narrowly avoiding disaster on the final lap to take night one of the “Belleville Midget Nationals,” joining his father Billy as the first father-son duo to win preliminary features in the 39-year history of the storied event.
At the start of the 25-lap feature, Macedo quickly stormed from his third starting position to the front, going three-wide on the bottom alongside front row combatants Brady Bacon (middle) and Ryan Robinson (outside), sliding up in front of both to take the lead between turns one and two.
Meanwhile, fifth-starting Chad Boat shot to second on the opening lap in hot pursuit of Macedo as the front-two peeled away from the pack.
Boat, who picked up his first career USAC National Midget feature win just three nights prior at Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Nebraska, was on a tear as Macedo held steady at the helm. Boat reeled him in, poking his nose underneath Macedo as the two began to encounter lapped traffic.
Macedo, making his Belleville debut, gradually crept down the banking to protect his line. That decision provided Boat the opportunity to take Macedo to school as he rode the cushion, using a big run on the outside of turn four to beat Macedo to the flagstand on lap ten for the top spot.
Boat quickly motored away, distancing himself from second-running Macedo by more than two seconds, and increasing, with less than ten laps remaining as he majestically maneuvered past each lapped car as if they were two ships passing in the night.
However, Boat’s cruise to the checkers would be reeled back in after Isaac Chapple slowed to a stop in turn three with just seven laps to go, erasing Boat’s ever-increasing lead. Yet, on the restart, Boat and second-running Macedo were separated by the lapped cars of Scott Hatton and Morgan Frewaldt, allowing Boat to throttle away as Macedo fought to slip by the two machines down a lap with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian teammate and ProSource Fast Qualifier Tanner Thorson in tow.
In the final five-lap dash to the finish, Boat swelled the distance between him and second-place Macedo from a little over a half-second to more than a second as the rest of the pack watched him disappear into the horizon.
On the white flag lap, pressure for Boat was non-existent as he had his first Belleville victory just within his grasp. That’s when disaster struck.
As Boat entered turn three, the lapped car of Morgan Frewaldt slid sideways at the exit of the fourth turn, coming to a stop directly in the middle of the track. As the yellow flag flew, Boat veered hard left from the high side of the track to avoid clipping Frewaldt, narrowly missing contact by mere inches and averting disaster for both.
Just as Boat and Frewaldt breathed a sigh of relief after making it through unscathed, the rest of the field entered turn four, including fourth-running Bryan Clauson. Clauson had nowhere to go as he arrived on the scene, pitching his car sideways in an attempt to avoid carnage as he sped toward Frewaldt. But, it was too late. The right side of Clauson’s car hit Frewaldt’s left side, flipping both over and igniting flames out of the left side of Frewaldt’s car that quickly burnt itself out.
Both Frewaldt and Clauson were able to exit their cars, but were shook up after the vicious incident. Both were able to walk away, but Clauson’s hit also hurt him in the race for the USAC National Midget title. His 18th place result cost him his short-lived point lead, relegating him back to third in the standings.
The restart set up a green-white-checkered dash that now put Macedo and Thorson directly on leader Boat’s tail tank as he led the field down to the green flag.
Boat spurted out front as Thorson worked on teammate Macedo for second. Thorson came trucking against the outside guardrail with a head of steam, gliding by Macedo for second off of turn two.
By that time, Boat had the race in the refrigerator and the door was closed. Nobody was going to catch him as he ripped the banks and, figuratively, dropped the mic by recording the fastest lap of the race on the final lap, taking the checkered flag over Thorson, Macedo, new series point leader Spencer Bayston and Jerry Coons, Jr.
Phoenix, Arizona’s Chad Boat joined his father, Billy Boat, as a preliminary feature winner at the “Belleville Midget Nationals” Friday night in his Tucker-Boat Motorsports/PristineAuction.com – K & C Drywall/Spike/Speedway Toyota, roughly two decades after his dad also took prelim victories on the “High Banks.” Billy scored prelim feature wins in 1995 and 1997. In 1995, Billy grabbed the preliminary win en route to his first and only “Championship Night” Belleville Nationals title: a feat that 24-year-old Chad is aiming to repeat this Saturday night.
“This is unbelievable,” Boat exclaimed. “What a car we had tonight! I have to thank John Lawson. He gave us the idea to build this car and now I can see why he won so many damn races. This thing was a rocket and I can’t wait for 40 laps tomorrow night. I knew I was faster than (Carson) Macedo at the beginning, so I was just trying to be patient and work around them. When I knew I’d showed him the bottom, I knew it’d be faster up top and my car was better, which is why I could make the bottom work. But when he moved down, I was just thinking ‘thank you.’ The track was up there tonight, but we expect it to be even higher tomorrow, so we’ll have to be extra-focused and just put together 40 perfect ones.”
Tanner Thorson, of Minden, Nevada, took home his second consecutive runner-up finish in the series, taking second place after passing teammate Macedo with two laps to go in his Keith Kunz – Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD – JBL Audio/Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“Chad (Boat) has been fast all year and they had a great car tonight,” a complimentary Thorson said. “It’s cool for him to get back in a midget after a few years and be able to win, so congratulations to them. My guys have been working hard and I know it’ll be the same tomorrow; we just need to be a little better.”
Lemoore, California’s Carson Macedo rounded out the podium in his Belleville debut after leading the first nine laps of the feature in his Keith Kunz – Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD – Tarlton & Son/Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“I just got beat,” Macedo admitted. “I saw Chad (Boat) on the bottom and went down there to protect it, but that wasn’t the move to make. I think I just made too many mistakes that I just have to learn from moving forward. You can’t make those with these USAC guys and expect to win. My guys did a great job and we had a car good enough to win. This place is wild; it’s fast. You have to carry momentum and keep it straight. This car was a rocket tonight and, if I just do my job, it’s good enough to stay up front.”
Contingency award winners at the Belleville High Banks included Tanner Thorson (ProSource Fast Qualifier & Simpson Race Products First Heat Race winner), Chad Boat (Competition Suspension, Inc. (CSI) Second Heat Race winner), Spencer Bayston (Benic Enterprises Third Heat Race winner), Carson Macedo (Indy Race Parts Fourth Heat Race winner), Travis Scott (KSE Racing Products Hard Charger) and Chett Gehrke (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher).
USAC National Midget Car Series
Belleville High Banks
Friday August 5, 2016
PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.114; 2. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-17.118; 3. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.150; 4. Carson Macedo, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.240; 5. Bryan Clauson, 63, Dooling/Hayward-17.300; 6. Ryan Robinson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.364; 7. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-17.416; 8. Jerry Coons, Jr., 1K, RKR-17.506; 9. Holly Shelton, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.514; 10. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-17.716; 11. Ryan Greth, 4, Lesher-17.821; 12. Cody Brewer, 96, Central-17.861; 13. Jeff Stasa, 91, SBR-17.882; 14. Isaac Chapple, 52c, Chapple-17.936; 15. Garett Hood, 11H, Two Hoods-17.977; 16. Scott Hatton, 1, Hatton-18.080; 17. Chett Gehrke, 11c, Matteson-18.167; 18. Michelle Decker, 4m, Meents-18.178; 19. Chase McDermand, 10A, MWR-18.661; 20. Terry Goodwin, 2G, Goodwin-18.727; 21. Matt Johnson, 85, Central-18.945; 22. Hunter Fischer, 24, Fischer-18.996; 23. Morgan Frewaldt, 926, Nussbaum-19.327; 24. Warren Johnson, 42, Nussbaum-19.368; 25. Chad Frewaldt, 4F, Nussbaum-19.987; 26. Ryan Oerter, 43, RKO-20.284; 27. Phillip Davis, 11o, Gehrke-20.310; 28. Curtis Spicer, 13, Zero-20.441; 29. Johnny Murdock, 0, Zero-20.501; 30. Travis Scott, 2s, Scott-20.509; 31. Zach Middleton, 37, Zero-20.841; 32. Ashley Oerter, 16, RKO-22.713; 33. Tyler Dunkle, 0B, Zero-NT.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Thorson, 2. Shelton, 3. Gehrke, 4. Stasa, 5. Middleton, 6. Clauson. NT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Boat, 2. Thomas, 3. Chapple, 4. Robinson. 5. Decker, 6. Davis, 7. A. Oerter, 8. Fischer. 2:18.56
BENIC ENTERPRISES THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bayston, 2. Bacon, 3. Hood, 4. Greth, 5. McDermand, 6. M. Frewaldt, 7. Spicer. 2:19.56
INDY RACE PARTS FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Macedo, 2. Coons, 3. Hatton, 4. Goodwin. 5. W. Johnson, 6. Murdock, 7. R.Oerter. 2:21.05
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Decker, 3. McDermand, 4. Scott, 5. W. Johnson, 6. M.Frewaldt, 7. Davis, 8. Spicer. 9. R. Oerter, 10. Middleton, 11. Murdock, 12. Brewer, 13. A. Oerter. 3:29.83
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Chad Boat, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Carson Macedo, 4. Spencer Bayston, 5. Jerry Coons, Jr., 6. Brady Bacon, 7. Ryan Robinson, 8. Tyler Thomas, 9. Holly Shelton, 10. Ryan Greth, 11. Scott Hatton, 12. Garett Hood, 13. Chett Gehrke, 14. Travis Scott, 15. Michelle Decker, 16. Jeff Stasa, 17. Terry Goodwin, 18. Bryan Clauson, 19. Morgan Frewaldt, 20. Isaac Chapple, 21. Curtis Spicer, 22. Warren Johnson, 23. Chase McDermand, 24. Phillip Davis. NT
**M. Frewaldt and Clauson flipped on lap 24 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-9 Macedo, Laps 10-25 Boat.