Photo by John DaDalt
If the season opening race for the USAC Dirt Midget Association was any indication, defending champion Will Hull showed his competitors they have some work to do. Starting last in the field of 13, Hull drove by everyone at Bear Ridge Speedway to win the first race of the year. Justin Phillips led the feature from the first lap and had built up a comfortable lead as the field diced for position behind him. A caution on lap 10 for a Jeff Champagne spin proved to be the turning point. The tail starting Hull had raced his way to second when the caution flew. One lap after the green flag flew to restart the feature, Hull worked his way around Phillips to take the lead which he held for the remainder of the race.
After the race Hull was a happy winner. “The car worked great anywhere on the track”. That was evident by Hull’s passing of teammate Seth Carlson on the low side of the track, a mid track split of Floyd Billington and Manny Dias and taking the car up high if needed. The night wasn’t perfect for Hull however as the steering broke in the Seals-It #3 as he went out for his heat race relegating him to last place in the heat.
Runner-up Phillips was disappointed to come up short after running so strong early in the feature but all in all was happy with the night. “We re-worked the wiring and the computer on the car over the winter and weren’t certain what to expect”. Phillips added “The bottom was still muddy and I never really tried the high groove. I felt good other than Will passing me. Figured I’d stay low unless someone else went by and they never did. Bringing it home 2nd was a good start to the year”. Third place finisher Seth Carlson was satisfied but saw room for improvement. “The car wasn’t bad for its first real outing, still lacking some forward drive but we have ideas to get it better. Will drove a smart race and congrats to him”.
Series newcomer Floyd Billington did a fine job finishing 4th. Manny Dias rounded out the top five. Seymour Performance Products heat race winners were Tim West in his first race for the Seals-It racing team and Phillips. The next race for the USAC-DMA midgets is Saturday July 11th at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, VT.
USAC-DMA midgets race #1. Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford, VT
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Will Hull 2. Justin Phillips 3. Seth Carlson 4. Floyd Billington 5. Manny Dias 6. Jeff Champagne 7. Brandon Piastka 8. Justin Sheridan 9. Wayne Koehler 10. Melvin Pierson 11. Tim West 12. Patrick Bleau, Jr. 13. Owen Carbee. Mike Chaffee did not start the feature.