By RICHIE MURRAY
SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ – Regardless of the type of car or the venue, Brady Bacon has a knack for winning at the Western World Championships.
Entering Saturday night’s 52nd Western World finale at Arizona Speedway, the Broken Arrow, Okla. native had previously earned four final night victories in a 360 c.i. sprint car, first in 2009 and 2010 in Tucson, then again in 2016 and 2018 at Arizona.
Now you can add a victory in a midget to his Western World resume after leading all 30 laps of the feature to earn his fifth overall final night win in the event and his first USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget victory since the inaugural BC39 in Indianapolis during the 2018 season.
While waiting to be pushed off for the feature, Bacon did a last-minute check of his surroundings and keyed in on some of the tire setups he saw on the competitors around him. The observation gave him a second thought and an 11th hour decision was made and put into action just prior to the start.
“The guys gave me a good car,” Bacon praised. “We made a last-minute decision there in staging. I was checking everybody else’s tires out and I’m like, I got to make a change here because they didn’t quite do as much track work as we were expecting. Western World has always been good to me at several different racetracks. It was good to me again tonight.”
Bacon launched from the outside of the front row in his FMR Racing/TRD – Black Watch Farms – Mobil 1/Beast/Speedway Toyota, taking the lead on the opening lap while a scramble for position ensued among the balance of the top-five.
Outside second row starter Logan Seavey slotted into second on the first lap and engaged in his race-long pursuit of Bacon. Seavey trekked through the middle in one and two and the top side of three and four in his chase toward Bacon. Seavey attempted to slide Bacon multiple times in turn one during the first third of the race to no avail as Bacon smoothly rode the cushion to fend off the Seavey challenge.
Just before midway, the top-four of Bacon, Seavey, Zeb Wise and Tyler Courtney ran in close-quarters nose-to-tail when a series of accidents slowed the action. Series Rookie Jesse Colwell was the first to take a tumble in turn two on the 15th lap. On the ensuing restart, Colwell’s Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian teammate Tucker Klaasmeyer was the next to find trouble, flipping in the same area of the second turn.
Rookie Karsyn Elledge took the most serious spill of the event, flipping high and violently down the front straightway several times on the 17th lap. Colwell, Klaasmeyer and Elledge all walked away from their respective incidents under their own power.
The cushion was building up, and the path to victory was narrowing with rubber on the entry into the corners. Seavey consistently cut through the middle and was able to steer his car up to the cushion where it worked just as well. Seavey was able to drive up right to the tail of Bacon but was unable to faze the two-time USAC National Sprint Car champion.
“We biked up a couple times,” Bacon recalled. “That cushion was getting really big. It was so slick up to it, you could hit it really easy, then I almost didn’t catch the rubber there at the end. I moved down, I think, just in time. I don’t know how close he was getting to me, but if he found it first, he was probably catching me pretty quickly.”
Seavey needed either a really good run into the corner or needed Bacon to make a mistake, both of which seemed to be just out of reach. Bacon held smooth and steady and closed out his first series victory of the year to become just the second driver in 2019 to win main events in all three of USAC’s National series, joining Tyler Courtney.
Bacon triumphed with a 0.482 sec. margin at the checkered over Seavey, Wise, Courtney and KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Rico Abreu who started 18th.
Bacon’s eighth career USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget win tied him for 79th all-time alongside Merle Bettenhausen, Tony Bettenhausen, Hank Butcher, Kevin Doty, Dan Drinan, Ronnie Duman, Brian Gerster, Kenny Irwin Jr, Eddie Johnson, Michael Lewis, Andy Michner and Josh Wise.
Contingency award winners Friday night at Arizona Speedway were:
Rico Abreu (KSE Racing Products/Saldana Racing Products Hard Charger)
Jerry Coons, Jr. (AutoMeter/Competition Suspension, Inc./Ultra Shield Race Products Third Heat Winner)
Tyler Courtney (Fatheadz Eyewear Fast Qualifier)
Robert Dalby (Saldana Racing Products First Non-Transfer)
Shannon McQueen (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Finisher)
Daison Pursley (Competition Suspension, Inc./Brown & Miller Racing Solutions Second Heat Winner)
Chris Windom (Indy Race Parts/Butlerbuilt Seats Semi Winner)
Zeb Wise (Simpson Race Products/Extreme Mufflers First Heat Winner)
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK NATIONAL & WESTERN STATES MIDGET RACE RESULTS: November 16, 2019 – Arizona Speedway – San Tan Valley, Arizona – 52nd Western World Championships presented by San Tan Ford – 1/3-Mile Dirt Oval
FATHEADZ EYEWEAR/WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY QUALIFYING: 1. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson/Marshall-15.725; 2. Carson Macedo, 21, Tarlton-15.742; 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 5, Petry-15.751; 4. Karsyn Elledge, 1, Tucker/Boat-15.765; 5. Logan Seavey, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.771; 6. Gio Scelzi, 84, Tucker/Boat-15.776; 7. Chris Windom, 17BC, Clauson/Marshall-15.780; 8. Jesse Colwell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.783; 9. Brady Bacon, 76E, FMR-15.811; 10. Zeb Wise, 39BC, Clauson/Marshall-15.821; 11. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 27, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.823; 12. Andrew Layser, 47BC, Clauson/Marshall-15.853; 13. Buddy Kofoid, 98, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.864; 14. Tanner Carrick, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.871; 15. Jerry Coons, Jr., 25, Petry-15.899; 16. Jason McDougal, 76m, FMR-15.914; 17. Daison Pursley, 9, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.932; 18. Kyle Cummins, 2G, Styres/Yeley-15.943; 19. Rico Abreu, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.974; 20. Holley Hollan, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-16.007; 21. Noah Gass, 20G, Gass-16.016; 22. Robert Dalby, 4D, Dalby-16.025; 23. Conor Daly, 15, Petry-16.065; 24. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-16.072; 25. Thomas Meseraull, 13, Gile-16.177; 26. Cory Elliott, 11E, Elliott-16.352; 27. C.J. Sarna, 20, Sarna-16.535; 28. Brett Becker, 2B, Becker-NT.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS/EXTREME MUFFLERS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Zeb Wise, 2. Jason McDougal, 3. Buddy Kofoid, 4. Tyler Courtney, 5. Rico Abreu, 6. Thomas Meseraull, 7. Karsyn Elledge, 8. Robert Dalby, 9. Brett Becker, 10. Chris Windom. NT
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI)/BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS SECOND HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Daison Pursley, 2. Jesse Colwell, 3. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 4. Logan Seavey, 5. Tanner Carrick, 6. Carson Macedo, 7. Cory Elliott, 8. Conor Daly, 9. Holley Hollan. NT
AUTOMETER/COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI)/ULTRA SHIELD RACE PRODUCTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps, top-5 transfer to the feature) 1. Jerry Coons, Jr., 2. Kyle Cummins, 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Andrew Layser, 6. Gio Scelzi, 7. Noah Gass, 8. Shannon McQueen, 9. C.J. Sarna. 2:10.938
INDY RACE PARTS/BUTLERBUILT SEATS SEMI: (12 laps, top-7 transfer to the feature) 1. Chris Windom, 2. Gio Scelzi, 3. Carson Macedo, 4. Holley Hollan, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Conor Daly, 7. Karsyn Elledge, 8. Robert Dalby, 9. Cory Elliott, 10. Noah Gass, 11. Brett Becker, 12. C.J. Sarna, 13. Shannon McQueen. NT
FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Brady Bacon (2), 2. Logan Seavey (4), 3. Zeb Wise (1), 4. Tyler Courtney (6), 5. Rico Abreu (18), 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (5), 7. Chris Windom (9), 8. Jerry Coons, Jr. (14), 9. Gio Scelzi (8), 10. Tanner Carrick (13), 11. Andrew Layser (11), 12. Daison Pursley (16), 13. Shannon McQueen (22), 14. Holley Hollan (19), 15. Kyle Cummins (17), 16. Noah Gass (23), 17. Conor Daly (20), 18. Karsyn Elledge (7), 19. Jason McDougal (15), 20. Tucker Klaasmeyer (10), 21. Jesse Colwell (3), 22. Buddy Kofoid (12), 23. Thomas Meseraull (21). NT
**Holley Hollan flipped during the second heat. Jesse Colwell flipped on lap 15 of the feature. Tucker Klaasmeyer flipped on the lap 15 restart. Karsyn Elledge flipped on lap 17 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Brady Bacon.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS/SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS HARD CHARGER: Rico Abreu (18th to 5th)
WILWOOD BRAKES 13TH PLACE FINISHER: Shannon McQueen
SALDANA RACING PRODUCTS FIRST NON-TRANSFER: Robert Dalby
NEW USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Tyler Courtney-1,851, 2-Logan Seavey-1,680, 3-Chris Windom-1,679, 4-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-1,619, 5-Zeb Wise-1,579, 6-Tanner Carrick-1,406, 7-Jerry Coons, Jr.-1,384, 8-Jason McDougal-1,309, 9-Tucker Klaasmeyer-1,263, 10-Chad Boat-1,255.
NEW USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET POINTS: 1-Robert Dalby-647, 2-Cory Elliott-618, 3-Shannon McQueen-524, 4-David Prickett-466, 5-Austin Liggett-458, 6-Ben Worth-450, 7-C.J. Sarna-433, 8-Kyle Beilman-372, 9-Marvin Mitchell-370, 10-Jake Swanson-348.
NEXT USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK NATIONAL & WESTERN STATES MIDGET RACES: November 19-20, 2019 – Placerville Speedway – Placerville, California – Elk Grove Ford Hangtown 100 – 1/4-mile dirt oval