From Bryan Gapinski
Belleville, Kan., Aug. 5—Eighteen-year old Kyle Larson continued his brilliant season capturing the 25-lap feature, Friday Night on the opening night for the 34th annual RevHoney Belleville Midget Nationals. It marked the Elk Grove, California’s drivers first ever appearance at the track.
Larson jumped into the lead at the start, from the pole position. Two cautions during the first seven laps kept the field grouped together. Jerry Coons Jr. passed Brad Loyet for second place on Lap 8, while Larson increased his lead each lap.
Coons running second, retired with engine problems on Lap 13, one lap later the caution appeared for another stopped car. Brad Kuhn took over second place on the restart, while a heated battle waged for positions two-five. Larson appeared headed for an easy victory when Danny Sheridan stopped with a flat tire, with four laps remaining.
On the restart Larson was flawless, while Kuhn ran second, defending winner Bryan Clauson moved into third place, and challenged Kuhn for the runner-up position. Larson driving the Keith Kunz owned Bullet-Toyota No. 71 finished 1.8 seconds ahead of Kuhn, Clauson, Loyet, and Caleb Armstrong.
Zach Daum who started in 18th position finished sixth, followed by Mario Clouser who earlier in the night during qualifications lowered the track record to 17.497 seconds, breaking Cole Whitt’s two-year old record. Dalton Armstrong, Bobby East, and C.J. Johnson completed the top ten. “This event has so much history, its great to score a victory here” commented Larson afterwards.
Qualifications: 1. Mario Clouser, MCM#06-17.497(NTR); 2. C.J. Johnson, Johnson#45-17.568; 3. Kyle Larson, Kunz#67-17.589; 4. Brad Kuhn, RWB#17-17.737; 5. Don Droud Jr., Smith#44-17.782; 6. Brad Loyet, Loyet#05- 17.784; 7. Caleb Armstrong, Kunz#71-17.803; 8. Bobby East, Klatt#4-17.807; 9. Dave Darland, Wilke-PAK#11-17.829; 10. Jerry Coons Jr., Lendich#3nz-17.917; 11. Bryan Clauson, Tucker-BCI-Curb-Agajanian-17.954; 12. Levi Roberts, Nine Racing#9-17.986; 13. Danny Sheridan, Allen#12s-18.000; 14. Josh Pelkey, Allen#12jr-18.018; 15. Zach Daum, Daum#5d-18.084; 16. Darren Hagen, RFMS#3-18.154; 17. Cody Brewer, Brewer#96-18.155; 18. Jeff Stasa, Stasa#91-18.219; 19. Dalton Armstrong, Kunz#71k-18.291; 20. Patrick Stasa, Stasa#19-18.459; 21. Terry Goodwin, Goodwin#2-18.554; 22. Chet Gehrke, Mattson#11c-18.586; 23. Todd Plemons, Minarik#98-18.702; 24. Garrett Hood, Hood#11h-18.991; 25. Randy Boyer, Boyer#69-20.799.
8-lap Heat Race#1: Loyet, Brewer, Clouser, Sheridan, Droud, Hood, Boyer.
8-lap Heat Race#2: Hagen, Roberts, Darland, Kuhn, P. Stasa, Plemons.
8-lap Heat Race#3: Larson, Clauson, D. Armstrong, East, Daum Gehrke.
8-lap Heat Race#4: Coons, C. Armstrong, Pelkey, Johnson, J. Stasa, Goodwin.
20-lap Feature: 1. Kyle Larson; 2. Brad Kuhn; 3. Bryan Clauson; 4. Brad Loyet; 5. Caleb Armstrong; 6. Zach Daum; 7. Mario Clouser; 8. Dalton Armstrong; 9. Bobby East; 10. C.J. Johnson; 11. Don Droud Jr.; 12. Levi Roberts; 13. Danny Sheridan; 14. Cody Brewer; 15. Garrett Hood; 16. Jeff Stasa; 17. Terry Goodwin; 18. Josh Pelkey; 19. Jerry Coons Jr.; 20. Randy Boyer; 21. Dave Darland; 22. Darren Hagen; 23. Chet Gehrke; 24. Patrick Stasa; 25. Todd Plemons.
Feature Lap Leaders: Larson 1-25.