Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

June 18, 2013

Midgets heat up Speedway

Bell tops Larson in exciting feature.

The 2013 version of Indiana Midget Week for the USAC Honda National Midget Series had been cluttered with frustrated fans and officials after a pair of subpar events. Those who witnessed all five shows agreed wholeheartedly that the best was saved for Sunday night at the Kokomo Speedway.

Late in the week, the parking lot at the track and the ticket booth were submerged in water. A yeoman’s effort by track workers paid off when a large crowd gathered to enjoy the Midget Week finale that saw young Chris Bell capture the feature as well as the title of 2013 Midget Week champion.

The tone was set early when both Kyle Larson and Rico Abreu eclipsed Dave Darland’s two-year old USAC midget track record. Larson was the first to better Darland’s mark of :13.149 when he piloted Keith Kunz’s Curb Records/Agajanian No. 71K to a time of :13.063. Abreu upped the ante a few cars later, also piloting one of Kunz’s cars, the No. 67K, with a pass of :13.009.

Fans who had complained about track conditions at the previous few stops for Midget Week were treated to an appetizer during the heat races as cars were all over the track. Once the green fell on the feature, things got really interesting as Brad Mosen rode the rim all the way around the ¼-mile bullring to pace the field the first 21 laps.

Larson, who finished second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Michigan Speedway, was in hot pursuit as he searched all over for a line to get past Mosen. Using the bottom of the track, Larson slipped by the Australian standout on the 22nd lap and it appeared he was well on his way to the win.

Bell, also from the Kunz stable and one of Larson’s best friends, was hooked up flawlessly on the high side and when Larson nearly flipped, Bell took the lead on the 27th lap. Bell then had to hold off the persistent Larson the remaining three laps to secure his second win in the previous five nights.

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