HAUBSTADT, Ind.—Brady Bacon shot past Jerry Coons Jr.’s wounded Midget to take the lead with less than two laps remaining and won the 60th Lucas Oil Center Hut Hundred on Saturday at Tri-State Speedway.
Coons had a suspension piece in the left-rear on his Fontana-powered Beast break in Turn One on the 99th of 100 laps on the quarter-mile track. The 40-year-old from Tucson, Ariz., had taken the lead on the 17th lap and Bacon’s Toyota-powered Spike had been his closest pursuer since the 19th. It was Bacon’s first victory in the Hut Hundred, one of Midget racing’s most prestigious events that was co-sanctioned by the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and USAC’s Mopar National Midget Series this season. There were 41 entries for the 34 (including one provisional for Dalton Armstrong) starting positions.
“It’s unfortunate for Jerry,” the 23-year-old Bacon, of Broken Arrow, Okla., said. “I’d like to beat him heads up, but I’ll take it. It feels good. It’s probably the biggest Midget race to win as far as prestige. I felt we were getting faster and faster and I think we were going to get by him anyway. We were all over him.” Coons has been one of short track racing’s biggest stars for a decade, a Triple Crown champion of USAC’s Midget, Sprint Car and Silver Crown divisions, but he hasn’t won the Hut Hundred. Coons didn’t think Bacon could have overtaken him in the final two laps.
“It’s a pretty big disappointment,” Coons said. “I had everything under control. He hadn’t shown his nose to me except in traffic. We had the car to beat, no question. To be honest, this race is definitely one you want to put on your resume.”
Chris Windom , Bacon’s Wilke-Pac Racers teammate, finished second. Windom, of Canton, Ill., started 14th –the middle of the fifth row in the three-abreast lineup–and steadily moved up. He was sixth when the race was red flagged for 20 minutes for a rain shower after 85 laps.
“It’s pretty awesome for a one-two for Wilke-Pac,” Windom said. “I’m happy with second. The bottom was good and I adjusted the shocks to make my car work on the bottom.” Levi Jones of Olney, Ill., finished third, Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind., was fourth and Ryan Bernal of Hollister, Calif., was fifth. Coons took the checkered flag sixth. “We were one of three or four of the best cars and if you run up there, eventually you’re going to win some,” Jones said. Coons started on pole with Bacon next to him and Bernal on the outside of the front row.
Bernal took the lead on the start and held it for 16 laps that included a caution period from lap four through 12. The caution laps counted in the Hut Hundred up to lap 50, then went to the usual short-track non-scoring procedure. Coons passed Bernal for the lead on the inside exiting Turn Four on the 17th lap and was able to work high and low to get through traffic. Bacon was never far behind. “You might think that with running 100 laps, you can lay back a little,” Bacon said. “It’s not the case. You have to run hard for all 100 laps.”
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