BROWNSBURG — The rain had fallen, the stands were fairly empty and the start time was delayed nearly an hour and a half but they got in the 68th annual Night Before the 500 at Lucas Oil Raceway late Saturday night.
Those fans that stayed witnessed a rout in the prestigious USAC Midget Feature.
Darren Hagen won his second Night Before the 500 (2011) in dominating fashion by leading all 30 laps of the feature.
“Just to win one Night Before the 500 is unbelievable,” Hagen said. “And I told the guys today that ‘Hey if we win again, we’re going to do some donuts all the way down the frontstretch.’ But with the rain and them trying to get the race in we didn’t want to hold up the show anymore.
“It’s pretty unbelievable to win the biggest pavement race of the year in the United States twice. We’ve just been really blessed, Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us a lot.”
The race was shortened from 50 laps and did not start until 10:50 p.m. after the close to two and half hour rain delay. Because of the shortened race, it was important for Hagen to get a quick start from his second starting position.
“I think races a lot of times are won it on some starts and going green to checkered that was a big, crucial start there,” Hagen said. “You didn’t want to fall behind early and use up some tires to get to the lead. You’d rather manage your own stuff from the start. With the RMFS Liberty Village McGladrey and Pullen Hinchman Race Uniforms Bell Helmet car being that spot on, you could turn the switch anytime you wanted.”
About halfway through the race, Hagen’s lead started shrinking and but he quickly drove away.
“When they shortened it to 30 from the rain we just decided to go from the start,” Hagen said. “Got about halfway and just started cruising a little bit and if they beat me from cruising we’re going to be in trouble. We got back after it and the car was spot on.”