Scott Hatton wins Chad McDaniel Memorial to open POWRi’s Midget Money Week

POWRi logo 2011

powri 2011From Tim Tuttle

BELOIT, Kan. (July 27, 2012)—Scott Hatton won the third feature of his career in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series, leading the final 18 laps Friday in the third annual Chad McDaniel Memorial at one-fifth mile Solomon Valley Raceway.

Hatton chased leader CJ Johnson for most of the opening 13 laps, passing him at start/finish and holding onto it with a slide-block maneuver in turn one. The 49-year-old from Roscoe, Ill., won by five car lengths over Zach Daum of Pocahontas, Ill., in the 30-lap race.

Hatton’s victory in the opening event of POWRi’s Speedway Motors Midget Money week presented by RevHoney Energy Drinks came in his 50th POWRi start. Hatton, who has raced part-time in POWRi in its eight seasons and was making his seventh start of 2012, had gone more than three years without a win in the series. Both of his previous victories were in 2009 in Illinois, at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach and Jacksonville Speedway.

Hatton started on the pole, with crowd favorite Johnson next to him on the front row. Johnson took the lead on the outside in turns one and two and pulled away from Hatton on four restarts in the opening 11 laps.

“I’d been trying some different things and during the red, my team thought I should try a diamond (maneuver),” Hatton, a four-time Badger Midget and two-time New Zealand Midget champion said. “That corner was a little harder to figure out how to diamond it, but it got better and better and I hit it just right.

“Once I got into a great rhythm, I went up high (between turns three and four) and pinned the car, then had the run off the corner to drive in there (turn one) and take the low line I needed.”

Hatton passed Johnson, of Quinter, Kan., on the inside entering the front straight and was a car length ahead going into turn one. Hatton made the left-hand turn in his Stealth-Esslinger in front of Johnson’s JE-Esslinger, who was forced to slow to avoid a collision.

It was a spectacular pass, but Hatton would have inherited the lead soon anyway. Johnson was having motor problems and it quit running a couple of laps later.

“The engine started missing on lap five,” Johnson said. “I thought maybe I might have had that one.”

The 21-year-old Daum passed Jonathan Beason of Broken Arrow, Okla., for second on the 24th lap. He won his first POWRi feature at Macon (Ill.) Speedway on May 12 and wanted his second.

“We ran up front, but this (second) flat sucks,” Daum said. “Scott has been racing it seems like for ages, before I was born. The old man can still do a pretty good job.”

Beason finished third in his Spike-Essingler for Hard 8 Racing team owner John Cantor of Tulsa.

“It feels good to finish third,” Beason said. “You wonder what kinds of results we could get if we ran week in and week out in this series. We owe it to John Kantor for being here, we couldn’t run without his help.”

Hatton earned $3,000 for his win at Solomon Valley. Money Midget Week continues tonight (Saturday) with the eighth annual Cornhusker Midget Challenge at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., and Sunday at US 36 Raceway in Cameron, Mo. Tonight’s winner will earn $5,000.

The three Money Midget Week events are also part of the inaugural 14-event POWRi Lucas Oil West Series.

POWRi Lucas Oil National/West Midget Series feature results (30 laps): 1. Scott Hatton, 2. Zach Daum, 3. Jonathan Beason, 4. Matt Sherrell, 5. Chett Gehrke, 6. Blake Hahn, 7. Austin Brown, 8. Daniel Robinson, 9. Garrett Aitken, 10. Tim Siner, 11 Andy Malpocker, 12. Cameron Hagin, 13. Riley Emmel, 14. Garrett Hood, 15. CJ Johnson, 16. Darren Kingston, 17. Jake Blackhurst, 18. Don Droud, 19. Brad Kuhn, 20. Gavin Galbraith, 21. Randy Bowyer, 22. Andrew Felker, 23. Terry Goodwin.

POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series 2012 race winners: Kennedale, Texas—Brady Bacon; Kennedale, Texas—Dave Darland; Jacksonville, Ill.—Mario Clouser; Grain Valley, Mo.—Brett Anderson; Wheatland, Mo.—Jake Blackhurst; Macon, Ill.—Zach Daum; Belleville, Ill.—Danny Stratton; Peoria, Ill.—Andrew Felker; Brownstown, Ill.–Brett Anderson; Haubstadt, Ind.—Brady Bacon; Grain Valley, Mo.—Michael Pickens; Springfield, Mo.—Michael Pickens; Lincoln, Ill.—Danny Stratton; Macon, Ill.—Bubba Altig; Wilmot, Wis.—Andrew Felker; Sun Prairie, Wis.—Rico Abreu; Beloit, Kan.—Scott Hatton.

POWRi Lucas Oil West Series 2012 race winners: Kennedale, Texas—Brady Bacon Kennedale, Texas—Dave Darland; Grain Valley, Mo.: Brett Anderson; Wheatland, Mo.—Jake Blackhurst; Grain Valley, Mo.—Michael Pickens; Springfield, Mo.—Michael Pickens; Oklahoma City—Andrew Felker; Oklahoma City—Andrew Felker; Beloit, Kan—Scott Hatton.

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