Larson scores brilliant Belleville victory

2011 Belleville High Banks

From Bryan Gapinski

Belleville, Kan., Aug. 5—Kyle Larson scored a dramatic victory winning the 34th annual RevHoney Belleville Midget Nationals Saturday Night at The Belleville High Banks.

Bryan Clauson trying to win a record third straight victory in the event jumped into the lead at the start, followed by Larson. The pair pulled away from the field, when the caution was displayed on Lap 6, when Mario Clouser stalled. Clauson pulled away from the field again on the restart and held a one second lead over Larson on Lap 10.

Clauson began lapping the tail of the field four laps later increasing his advantage over Larson. Clauson struggled with lapped traffic the next five circuits allowing Larson to pull within a car-length at the midway point.

The pair continued to lap cars, while Clauson maintained his one-car length advantage. On Lap 27 Larson pulled even with Clauson but was unable to make the pass for the lead. Two-time Champion Jerry Coons Jr. who started tenth worked his way through the field and was running third.

With ten laps, remaining the pair lapped up to fifth place. Larson finally made the pass work for the lead passing Clauson exiting Turn Four with six laps remaining. Larson pulled to a five-car advantage and appeared headed for the victory. Seventh place running C. J. Johnson hit the wall entering Turn One and flipped landing outside the track on the final lap. Johnson escaped injury.

The accident set up a one-lap shootout with Larson leading Clauson, Coons, Bobby East and Brad Kuhn. Clauson suffered engine problems coming down for the restart and retired. Larson driving the Keith Kunz Motorsports owned Bullet/Toyota No. 67. was flawless and finished three-car lengths ahead of Coons. East, Kuhn, and Clauson completed the top five. Brad Loyet, Caleb Armstrong, Josh Pelkey, Dalton Armstrong, and Danny Sheridan completed the top ten.

“This is just a fabulous victory, Keith and the crew had the car perfect, I never saw this place before coming here to race Friday” commented Larson, who collected $12,500 for the victory.


8-lap Heat Race#1: 1. Dalton Armstrong (Kunz#71k); 2. C.J. Johnson (Johnson#45); 3. Levi Roberts (Nine Racing#9); 4. Jeff Stasa (Stasa#91); 5. Cody Brewer (Brewer#96); 6. Patrick Stasa (Stasa#19); 7. Todd Plemons (Minarik#98).

8-lap Heat Race#2: 1. Jerry Coons Jr. (Lendich#3nz); 2. Darren Hagen (RFMS#3); 3. Bryan Clauson (Tucker-BCI-Curb-Agajanian#39); 4. Dave Darland (Wilke-PAK#11); 5. Zach Daum (Daum#5d); 6. Terry Goodwin (Goodwin#2).

8-lap Heat Race#3: 1. Josh Pelkey (Allen#12jr); 2. Caleb Armstrong (Kunz#71); 3. Bobby East, (Klatt#4); 4. Danny Sheridan (Allen#12s); 5. Chet Gehrke (Mattson#11c); 6. Randy Boyer (Boyer#69); 7. Garrett Hood (Hood#11h).

6-lap Dash: 1. Bobby East; 2. Bryan Clauson; 3. Caleb Armstrong; 4. Kyle Larson (Kunz#67); 5. Brad Loyet (Loyet#05); 6. Brad Kuhn (RWB#17); 7. Mario Clouser (MCM#06); 8. C.J. Johnson.

40-lap Feature: 1. Kyle Larson; 2. Jerry Coons Jr.; 3. Bobby East; 4. Brad Kuhn; 5. Bryan Clauson; 6. Brad Loyet; 7. Caleb Armstrong; 8. Josh Pelkey; 9. Dalton Armstrong; 10. Danny Sheridan; 11. Jeff Stasa; 12. Zach Daum; 13. C.J. Johnson; 14. Darren Hagen; 15. Levi Roberts; 16. Terry Goodwin; 17. Dave Darland; 18. Cody Brewer; 19. Todd Plemons; 20. Mario Clouser; 21. Chet Gehrke; 22. Patrick Stasa; 23. Garrett Hood; 24. Ryan Boyer.

Feature Lap Leaders: Clauson 1-33, Larson 34-40.
*Johnson flipped on Lap 39 of feature landing outside of track, uninjured.