(TeeJay Crawford Photography)
Sweet Springs, MO | July 16, 2018 –Snapping a streak of five consecutive second-place finishes and securing the honors of Mid-America Midget Week champion, Logan Seavey methodically and patiently paced himself in the closing stages of Sunday night’s “John Hinck Championship” at the Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, until he struck for the race lead on the 37th circuit. Working from the seventh slot at the drop of the green flag, Seavey carefully guided his Keith Kunz Motorsports, Mobil 1, Bullet/Toyota No. 67 throughout the first half and moved into second on lap 27. Giving chase to Cole Bodine, who led an impressive 28 laps in only his seventh night ever behind the wheel of a midget, Seavey took command with four to go as he snuck under Bodine on the bottom and ran away in the final laps to score his second-career USAC National Midget victory.
Attracting 40 entries for the inaugural visit to the Sweet Springs, Missouri facility, Sunday’s car count represented the highest in 2018 for an outdoor USAC National Midget event. Not only did SSMC bring in a healthy car count, but the 1/6th-mile track that hosts weekly micro sprint racing also welcomed a near standing-room only crowd with cars parked as far as can see and fans lining the pit area and filling the grandstands.
Opening the night on a strong note, Seavey topped the charts in qualifying with a quicktime of 12.252 that established the track record. Trailing the Sutter, California native in qualifying was Jason McDougal (12.323), Maria Cofer (12.446), Ryan Robinson (12.447), and Brady Bacon (12.481). Heat race victories were taken by Bacon, Tyler Courtney, Zach Daum and Tyler Thomas, before Casey Shuman triumphed in the C-Main. That led us into a STOUT B-Main that transferred the likes of Seavey, Justin Grant, Christopher Bell, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Riley Kreisel.
With five of the top-ten qualifiers missing a heat race transfer, 11th-quick Cole Bodine fell just perfectly into into the inversion and was placed on the pole position of the 40-lap main event. Filling the seat of the Priority Aviation, Vision Collision No. 39BC for the injured Zeb Wise, Bodine immediately powered into the race lead and commanded the opening four laps. Falling to second on lap five, Bodine succumbed to the pressure of Tanner Carrick, who worked a lane above Bodine and drove around the outside to lead the fifth lap in his Keith Kunz Motorsports, CVC Concrete No. 71K.
As a four-car war was unleashed at the front of the field, Carrick, Bodine, Courtney and Bacon hosted an exciting bout as they all contested for the lead while racing under a blanket. Showing his calm, cool and collected attitude, Bodine bided his time and ultimately maneuvered back to the top spot on lap 12 of the 40-lapper. Bodine continued to pace the field as Bacon stole second from Carrick and continually pressured Bodine, but to no avail. Just moments after Carrick somehow miraculously saved a huge bike on the cushion of turn two, Seavey worked by Bacon for the second-spot and set his sights on Bodine.
Coming to the final restart with nine laps left, Seavey persisted on rolling the bottom of turns one and two and screaming around the top of turns three and four. Hanging right with Bodine in the closing laps, Seavey made his move on the 37th lap as Bodine left just enough real estate underneath him for Seavey to stick his nose in. Gently and cleanly nudging Bodine’s No. 39BC off the bottom, Seavey hit his marks and came roaring off turn two and down the backstretch with command of the race lead. Pulling away a 0.8 second advantage, Logan Seavey led only the final four laps, but paid off as he snapped his bridesmaid streak and parked the KKM No. 67 in victory lane for his second-career USAC National Midget victory and the Mid-America Midget Week championship.
Trailing Seavey to the line with a valiant and impressive second-place finish, Cole Bodine made his mark on the racing world as he contended for the victory against the best in the business in just his seventh night behind the wheel of a midget and his fourth USAC start. Finishing on the podium, Ryan Robinson brought his Keith Kunz Motorsports, Abreu Vineyards No. 71 to the front stretch with a third-place bid. Closing out the top five was Brady Bacon in the fourth position aboard the Frank Manafort Racing, Beast/Toyota No. 76M and Tyler Courtney in the fifth spot in the Clauson-Marshall Racing, Driven 2 Save Lives, Spike/SR-11 No. 7BC. Rounding out the top ten was Christopher Bell in sixth, Spencer Bayston in seventh, Tanner Carrick in eighth, Justin Grant in ninth and Chad Boat in tenth.
The USAC National Midget Series now takes a break for two weeks before heading east for the third and final midget week of the 2018 season. Tackling the “Keystone State” with four nights of action-packed racing, the series hosts Pennsylvania Midget Week from August 2nd-5th with trips to Path Valley, Linda’s, Lanco, and BAPS highlighting the four-race swing.
A-Main (40 Laps): 1. 67-Logan Seavey (7), 2. 39BC-Cole Bodine (1), 3. 71-Ryan Robinson (5), 4. 76M-Brady Bacon (4), 5. 7BC-Tyler Courtney (3), 6. 21-Christopher Bell (14), 7. 97-Spencer Bayston (21), 8. 71K-Tanner Carrick (2), 9. 17BC-Justin Grant (12), 10. 84-Chad Boat (11), 11. 63-Kevin Thomas Jr. (10), 12. 72-Sam Johnson (13), 13. 5D-Zach Daum (19), 14. 25-Jerry Coons Jr. (22), 15. 1K-Brayton Lynch (24), 16. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer (8), 17. 67K-Holly Shelton (23), 18. 93K-Riley Kreisel (9), 19. 91T-Tyler Thomas (20), 20. 27Z-Zane Hendricks (15), 21. 76E-Kyle Craker (18), 22. 3N-Jake Neuman (17), 23. 21KS-Karter Sarff (16), 24. 15-Jason McDougal (6).
Lap Leader(s): Bodine 1-4, Carrick 5-12, Bodine 13-36, Seavey 37-40.
Hard Charger(s): Bayston +14 (21st-to-7th)