NEWTON, N.C. — On Easter Saturday, Jessica Bean stood on the frontstretch at Hickory Motor Speedway and admitted she was disappointed to finish second at the historic .363-mile oval.
Fast forward one week, and the Indiana native and former Kenyon Midget Series champion dispelled those frustrations by picking up he second win in four races to start the season.
Bean qualified fifth but pulled the No. 1 pill in Saturday’s redraw, giving her the pole for the 35-lap feature, and she used the track position to lead from start-to-finish despite heavy pressure from her Radical Racing teammate Chris Lamb.
The win was the seventh of Bean’s Eastern Midget career, and Hickory marks the sixth different track she has won at with the series.
“I knew Chris was back there; I felt him a couple of times,” Bean said. “We did not have that good of a car, so I’m really not sure how we’re here, to be honest with you. I’m definitely thankful for it, though. Starting on the front row helps a lot in these cars … and we obviously proved that here tonight.”
Lamb set the fast time in qualifying, coming within a quarter-second of the 13-year-old track record, but didn’t quite have enough in the main event to bypass Bean and score his fifth checkered flag at Hickory.
“We just didn’t make the right adjustments tonight,” Lamb admitted. “We were free in, free in the center and free off. It was a handful to hold on to for 35 laps. Congratulations to Jessica, though. She did what she needed to do. She held me off, ran her line and really ran a clean race. This place is fun when you have a good car, but we did not have one of those in this one.”
Nolan Allison charged from fifth to third in the final laps to complete the podium, followed by Jagger Parker and two-time season winner George Kurtz, who won last weekend at Hickory.
With her victory, Bean takes over the Eastern Midget points lead by four markers over Kurtz. She has finished no worse than second in the four races completed so far this year.
The USAC Speed2 Eastern Midget Series resumes on May 6 at East Carolina Motor Speedway. Lamb is the defending race winner.
RESULTS: USAC Speed2 Eastern Midget Series; Hickory Motor Speedway; April 22, 2017
Feature (35 laps): 1. Jessica Bean , 2. Chris Lamb , 3. Nolan Allison , 4. Jagger Parker , 5. George Kurtz , 6. Jake Trainor , 7. Bradley Riethmeyer , 8. Jake Smith , 9. Eric Lewis , 10. Neal Allison .
Time Trials: 1. Chris Lamb, 9, Lamb-15.043; 2. Bradley Riethmeyer, 8R, Radical-15.146; 3. Jagger Parker, 20, Parker-15.176; 4. Nolan Allison, 16, Allison-15.179; 5. Jessica Bean, 5, Radical-15.215; 6. Jake Trainor, 8T, Trainor-15.359; 7. George Kurtz, 4, Kurtz-15.388; 8. Eric Lewis, 28, Radical-15.419; 9. Neal Allison, 15, Allison-15.610; 10. Jake Smith, 93, Smith-15.673.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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