ROSSBURG, Ohio – official release — Travis Branch photo — Bryan Clauson opened up an afternoon of action during the Four Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway on Sunday with a flag-to-flag 25-lap Honda USAC National Midget Series win, but it didn’t come easily.
The Noblesville, Ind., driver led throughout but felt pressure from defending series champion Christopher Bell, who recovered from an early-race tangle which sent him to the tail.
Bell tried to slide past Clauson in the closing laps, but the Fairbury Westin Packaged Meats/Curb Records No. 63 Spike/Esslinger held him off and navigated traffic right in front of him, coming to the checkered to close the 33rd National Midget victory of his career.
“I knew when I saw the 71 (Bell) come up to second on the board I had to turn up the wick a little bit,” Clauson said. “The track was really wide and tough to run up there on the cushion so close to the wall, but I was really good off turn-two and could carry a lot of speed on entry to kind of protect myself. We’ve been really close here quite a few times before, so it’s great to finally seal the deal on a win here.”
Bell completed an incredible comeback to run second in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Toyota TRD No. 71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota. Darren Hagen rounded out the podium in the Great Clips/Fatheadz Eyewear No. 56 Beast/Esslinger.
Zach Daum finished fourth in the Daum Crop Insurance/Weld Wheels No. 5D Eagle/Stanton Toyota and Shane Cockrum finished fifth while winning the Larry Rice High Performance Award for his drive from 13th.