ST. LOUIS – All the dominos tipped in Jonathan Beason’s favor Thursday night inside The Dome at America’s Center.
Beason blistered the top groove to lead the final 12 of 20 laps on his way to the Gateway Dirt Nationals preliminary victory in the midget class.
His 3.037-second triumph for the $3,000 prize was sparked by two events. First, when Beason narrowly missed Zach Daum’s lap-three spin, and two when Karter Sarff moved everyone off the bottom groove with his speed around the high side.
But on lap seven, while Nick Hoffman remained the leader, Sarff got sideways running second. Beason powered by and then ran down Hoffman, a sitting duck on the bottom.
“A couple people helped me out: Daum spun out earlier, then I ended up screwing him up. I one to him,” Beason said. “Then I owe one to Karter. He drove by us. Thankfully I was able to get back by him, and I knew I had to get up there.
“Never would have thought we would get all the way up there but it was way fast and my car was really good there,” Beason said of relying on the top groove of the one-fifth-mile clay oval.
Hoffman, the DIRTcar Nationals modified champion making his fifth midget start, led the first eight laps but couldn’t keep pace around the bottom side and finished second.
Three-time USAC national champion Chris Windom dominated his heat race and started fourth but finished 18th of 19 cars following an accident on the restart three laps into the main event.
Jame Neuman, Sarff and Daum completed the top five.
Daniel Robinson, Landon Crawley, Sam Johnson, Shane Cottle and Sean McClelland completed the top 10.
The midgets return for preliminary night two on Friday, once again racing 20 laps for $3,000 to win. Saturday’s finale will run 30 laps for a $10,000 winner’s share.
Jonathan Beason, Nick Hoffman, Jame Neuman, Karter Sarff, Zach Daum, Daniel Robinson, Landon Crawley, Sam Johnson, Shane Cottle, Sean McClelland, Chett Gehrke, Ronnie Gardner, Rylan Gray, Landon Simon, Bryan Stafill, Danny Frye III, Terry Babb, Chris Windom, Austin Brown