Brown wins Bakersfield Speedway USAC Western Midget goBy Bobby Gerould – Oildale, CA. March 25, 2006Garrett Hansen had it seemingly locked up. He was on his way to a feature event win at Bakersfield Speedway Saturday night in USAC Western Midget competition. However, Hansen’s luck changed in a flash on the back straightaway on lap 28. A blown engine, complete with a big bang, and flames sent Hansen into disappointment and lit the way for runner-up Tyler Brown to claim the win. As it turned out the 28th lap was the last lap with the race being called two laps shy of its scheduled distance due to curfew concerns.


“I’ve never won a race where all I only led for two turns”, said Brown in the chilly 47 degree Bakersfield pits following his victory. “I stayed on the bottom of the track and it came in for the main.” Brown started ninth in the 20 car feature.


At Noel Dawson’s green flag Hansen took off with the lead. He opened up a half-straightaway advantage over Chris Rahe by lap five. USAC National Champion, Josh Wise made his way into third position by the fifth tour on the 1/3-mile high-banked clay oval. There was a great battle for fourth as the race approached lap nine. Matt Mitchell, Brown, Robby Flock, and Johnny Rodriguez – the 2004 USAC Western Midget Champion were dicing to the delight of the good sized crowd.


Flock nailed the front chute wall trying to gain fourth outright on lap 14. He kept going but lost several positions. Two laps later the red flag appeared for Ernie Bartley who flipped his machine in turn three. Uninjured, Bartley was done for the event. Rodriguez stopped in turn two on lap 18 with an unknown problem.


Brown was in fifth place on lap 20 but he kept working his low groove line and he picked off Mitchell, Wise, and then Rahe to put himself in position to win. Brown, a 20 year-old from Norco, (Calif.) was tied with Ryan Kaplan in 2005 for the most USAC Western Midget feature wins. Rahe finished second, followed by Wise, Mitchell, and eleventh starting Brad Kuhn.


27 midgets and 20 Ford Focus midgets were on the grounds. Quick qualifier Brad Galedrige suffered a wicked spiraling flip in turn two during his heat race. His TGIC #29 had the lower left side frame rail ripped off and thus was too badly damaged for Galedrige to return to action. “It seemed like I was in the air for along time”, said Galedrige, who climbed out of his wrecked racer under his own power.


Alex Pruett was also a heat flip victim; nailing the wall at the start of the first heat. He too was okay. Heats were won by Jimmy Christian, Michael Lewis, and Cameron Beard. Flock won the Last Chance “B” Main.


The companion Ford Focus feature event was won in wire-to-wire fashion by Bobby Michnowicz. Chris Veach challenged Michnowicz the duration of the 20-lap event but had to settle for second place. The podium was completed by Jet Davison. Cameron Veach flipped on lap 12 of the Focus feature. He walked away.


USAC WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: March 25, 2005Bakersfield, CaliforniaBakersfield Speedway


      QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Bradley Galedrige, 29, Galedrige-12.618; 2. Ryan Kaplan, 21, Kaplan-12.755; 3. Josh Wise, 88, McKenney-12.756; 4. Robby Flock, 19, Sala-12.886; 5. Matt Mitchell, 37, Mitchell-12.887; 6. Scott Pierovich, 35, Pierovich-12.961; 7. Chris Rahe, 3, Rahe-12.983; 8. Danny Stratton, 21az, Burkhart-12.984; 9. Garrett Hansen, 70, Hansen-13.009; 10. Alex Pruett, 60, Western Speed-13.032; 11. Michael Lewis, 40, Western Speed-13.034; 12. Johnny Rodriguez, 7R, Priestley-13.042; 13. Chase Barber, 91, Barber-13.146; 14. Tyler Brown, 34, Brown-13.162; 15. Rick Hendrix, 12, Hendrix-13.204; 16. Brad Kuhn, 79, Sala-13.210; 17. Brian Gard, 9, Gard-13.214; 18. Greg Bragg, 05, Walker-13.375; 19. Garratt Boyden, 42, Boyden-13.491; 20. Chris D’Arcy, 10T, Walker-13.526; 21. Shannon McQueen, 7, McQueen-13.548; 22. Jimmy Christian, 10, Walker-13.667; 23. Greg Dennett, 47, 3D Racing-13.677; 24. Cameron Beard, 19B, Beard-13.681; 25. Ernie Bartley, 74, Bartley-13.850; 26. Randi Pankratz, 8, Pankratz-14.235; 27. Jimmy Voitel, 5, Marcus-14.348.


      FIRST HEAT: (6 laps) 1. Christian, 2. Bartley, 3. Boyden, 4. Kuhn, 5. Rahe, 6. Barber, 7. Pruett, 8. Flock, 9. Galedrige. NT


      SECOND HEAT: (5 laps) 1. Lewis, 2. Brown, 3. Gard, 4. D’Arcy, 5. Pankratz, 6. Kaplan, 7. Dennett, 8. Mitchell, 9. Stratton. NT


      THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Beard, 2. Bragg, 3. Wise, 4. Rodriguez, 5. Voitel, 6. Hansen, 7. McQueen, 8. Pierovich, 9. Hendrix. 1:50.67


      SEMI: (10 laps) 1. Flock, 2. Hansen, 3. Mitchell, 4. Pierovich, 5. Hendrix, 6. Pruett, 7. McQueen, 8. Barber, 9. Dennett. NT


      FEATURE: (28 laps#) 1. Tyler Brown, 2. Chris Rahe, 3. Josh Wise, 4. Matt Mitchell, 5. Brad Kuhn, 6. Michael Lewis, 7. Rick Hendrix, 8. Garrett Boyden, 9. Shannon McQueen, 10. Scott Pierovich, 11. Robby Flock, 12. Greg Bragg, 13. Cameron Beard, 14. Jimmy Christian, 15. Garrett Hansen, 16. Chris D’Arcy, 17. Johnny Rodriguez, 18. Ernie Bartley, 19. Jimmy Voitel, 20. Brian Gard, 21. Randi Pankratz.


**Pruett and Galedrige flipped during the first heat. Kaplan flipped during the second heat.


FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-27 Hansen, Lap 28 Brown.


NEW WESTERN MIDGET CAR STANDINGS: 1-Lewis-114; 2-Kuhn-82; 3-Mitchell-72; 4-Brown-67; 5-Steele-66; 6-Wise-64; 7-Rahe-61; 8-Jay Drake-54; 9-Cole Carter-53; 10-Ron Gregory-48.


Pit Notes:


  • Tyler Brown has a new Spike chassis for 2006. He initiated the car at the Chili Bowl. Brown plans to run only the dirt portion of the USAC Western Midget schedule.
  • Pruett and Lewis’ Western Speed team – known for their pavement prowess have their eyes on a run for the Western and National USAC Midget championships respectively. Pruett will concentrate on the California, and Arizona races, while Lewis will mix it up on the National stage in 2006. Said Lewis of his time on the Bakersfield dirt after qualifying, “This is fun!” Both Western Speed dirt midgets are Spike chassis machines.
  • 2005 USAC Western Midget champion Jerome Rodela was at the track but not competing. This season Rodela will ride at special selected midget events for NHRA star Cruz Pedregon.