March 20, 2017 – The “Shamrock Classic” at the Southern Illinois Convention Center in DuQuoin can be described as your typical indoor midget race. It’s close quarters and you need some luck. The difference is, it is a full-blown point race to kick off the USAC National Midget Series. Brady Bacon and the Frank Manafort Racing #76m team emerged satisfied with their fourth place finish, especially after some adversity in their heat and Qualifier.
Brady drew the fifth starting spot in the fifth heat. “We had a car that locked up its motor in front of us,” he says. “We stalled and went to the tail. We came back to second, and that gave us high points after the heat.”
The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma driver started outside row three for his Qualifier. “Nothing was going our way in the Qualifier,” he says. “If I was zigging, they were zagging. We got kind of bogged down. We were able to get to fourth, but a guy spun out on the last lap and we got into them a little bit. We lost a couple spots and finished sixth.”
That put Brady on the front row of the B main, which he won. “One or two more spots in the Qualifier would have given us a good starting spot in the feature,” he says. “That’s not how it worked out. We were more fortunate than a lot of people there, but we’d have liked to get through those races clean.”
The B main win meant starting inside row seven for the feature. “The car was fast all night,” says Brady. “It took a few laps to get going in the feature, and then we passed a few cars. We were waiting for the bottom to come in a little bit. I figured it was going to clean off and start rubbering off. I was just hoping to find it quick.”
Brady would use the bottom to move up to fourth. “On one of the late restarts, I was able to find the bottom and pass several cars,” he says. “(Shane) Golobic passed Jerry Coons on the bottom and he showed him where to go. Jerry got in front of me and we weren’t able to get by him. We were pretty close. The berm was about two and a half feet tall, so it wasn’t something you wanted to play with unless you knew you were getting by him.”
Brady was happy to get through the event with a fourth place finish. “It’s a nice race to win, but it’s also a race that you have to survive,” he says. “A lot of guys had problems. We were able to come out of there with a solid finish. Everything is back to normal with the team. We had a few issues at the Chili Bowl, but everything worked really well on Saturday.”
The next USAC National Midget race will be in Indiana at Kokomo Speedway April 7. In the meantime, Brady will head to California to pilot the Josh Ford Motorsports #73 with the World of Outlaws at Stockton this weekend, before also hitting Placerville, Hanford and Perris.
(Rich Forman/USAC Photo)