NAMARS Midgets: Rookie Stuns Talented NAMARS Drivers
28 June 1998By LES MESZAROS
COLUMBUS, OH - Saturday night at the Columbus Motor Speedway rookie driver Jason Setser of Columbus, IN surprised a talented field of midget drivers when he captured the 25 lap NAMARS Auto Value feature. Setser has steadily improved all season and just last Saturday led over half the feature before settling for second. Setser is the ninth different winner in 9 races this season. Setser is also the fifth new feature winner this year. Setser was driving the Don Johnson owned Stealth chassis with a Gaerte power plant under the hood.
At the drop of the green Setser jumped into the lead as the field behind him scrambled for position. Wayne Chinn held second the first 2 laps then Matt Westfall the third lap but Jason Leffler charged past Westfall on lap 4. By this time, Setser had built up a good lead and Leffler had a way to go to catch up.
Lap after lap in the non-stop race Leffler drove the wheels off the car trying to cut into the big lead Setser enjoyed. Late in the race when traffic became an issue for Setser, Leffler made up some of the ground but he never got close enough to mount a challenge for the lead. Leffler also had to hold off another rookie Matt Westfall in third and fast timer Jim Hettinger in fourth.
While every one behind him was looking over their shoulder Setser was enjoying his day in the sun and took the checkered flag first ahead of Jason Leffler, Matt Westfall, Jim Hettinger and Kevin Besecker.
Jim Hettinger again set fast time with a lap of 13.433 seconds. Heat race victories went to Wayne Chinn, Jason Leffler and A.J. Fike. John Nervo won the Semi-feature.
NAMARS NOTES--- midgets were in the pits at Columbus----Drivers from 10 different states started the feature race. Some from as far away as California, Washington, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as NAMARS continues to draw the most talented midget drivers from all over North America--- Next Friday night, July 3rd, the NAMARS midgets will be challenging the high banked Winchester Speedway in Winchester, IN.
Qualifications: 1. Jim Hettinger, Don Smith, 71, 13.433; 2. Kevin Besecker, McClellan Motorsports, 3, 13.569; 3. John Nervo, Bob Nervo, 21, 13.586; 4. Jason Leffler, Gregg Steele, 43, 13.632; 5. Gene Lee Gibson, Gibson, 0, 13.662; 6. Matt Westfall, Jack Hammons, 54, 12.677; 7. Larry Gibson, Dick Myers, 5, 13.747; 8. Jason Setser, Don Johnson, 16, 13.756; 9. Wayne Chinn, Chinn Motorsports, 71, 13.784; 10. Jimmy Kite, Jerry Covington, 95, 13.795; 11. A.J. Davis, Margaret Owen, 28, 13.841; 12. Scooter Ellis, Ellis, 73, 13.842; 13. Dave Ray, Jr., Chuck Rencurrel, 56, 13.901; 14. Ronnie Johncox, Jim Welty, 60, 13.929; 15. Bob Nock, Nock, 51, 13.933; 16. Jim Sawyer, Sawyer, 59, 13..983; 17. Dick St John, Gary Mullins, 12, 14.004; 18. A.J. Fike, Fike, 69, 14.113; 19. J.D. Turner, Bruce Turner, 53, 14.149; 20. Kevin Newton, Steve Newton, 14, 14.201; 21. Randy Dailey, Dailey, 78, 14.201; 22. Don Moore, Moore Family, 55, 14.383; 23. Phil Rutledge, Rutledge, 97, 14.449; 24. Jason Fuller, Keith Faulkner, 9, 14.723; 25. B.J. Manson, Corse-Tek, 14, 15.394; 26. Nick Fornoro, Jr., McClellan Motorsports, 2, NT, Robbie Ott, Ott, NT.
First Heat (8 laps): Chinn, Hettinger, Westfall, Moore, Sawyer, Turner, Ray, Kite, Manson.
Second Heat (8 laps): Leffler, Davis, Johncox, L. Gibson, Fornoro, Besecker, St. John, Newton, Rutledge.
Third Heat (8 laps): Fike, Setser, G.L. Gibson, Fuller, Ellis, Nervo, Nock, Ott, Dailey.
Semi-feature (12 laps): Nervo, Kite, Besecker, Fornoro, Nock, Ellis, St. John, Turner, Newton, Sawyer, Dailey, Rutledge, Ott, Ray.
Feature (25 laps) (Finishing position, starting position, name, hometown): 1. (2) Jason Setser, Columbus, IN; 2. (6) Jason Leffler, Long Beach, CA; 3. (4) Matt Westfall, Ludlow Falls, OH; 4. (10) Jim Hettinger, Mason, MI; 5. (9) Kevin Besecker, Greenville, OH; 6. (20) Nick Fornoro, Jr., Stroudsburg, PA; 7. (11) A.J. Davis, Spartanburg, SC; 8. (5) Gene Lee Gibson, Richwood, OH; 9. (8) John Nervo, Akron, OH; 10. (13) Ronnie Johncox, Jackson, MI; 11. (16) A.J Fike, Galesburg, IL; 12. (17) J.D. Turner, Cincinnati, OH; 13. (16) Jimmy Kite, Stockbridge, GA; 14. (2) Larry Gibson, Richwood, OH; 15. (14) Bob Nock, Jamestown, OH; 16. (15) Dick St. John, Milwaukee, WI; 17. (1) Wayne Chinn; Tipp City, OH; 18. (12) Scooter Ellis, Seattle, WA; 19. (19) Jason Fuller, Plymouth, IN; 20. (18) Don Moore, Hamilton, OH.
Top Ten Points: 1. A.J. Davis, 589; 2. Matt Westfall, 517; 3. Kevin Besecker, 501; 4. Nick Fornoro, 495; 5. A.J. Fike, 477; 6. Jim Hettinger, 471; 7. Jim Sawyer, 441; 8. Wayne Chinn, 407; 9.Ronnie Johncox, 389; 10. Jason Setser, 377.