Angell Park Turns Into a Near Miss for Walker
By Jessica Jenkins
One week after making his debut in the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association at Sycamore Speedway, Gage Walker returned to Bill Ecker/RAB Racing’s #57 at Angell Park Speedway on Sunday, July 31st.
At Sycamore on July 23rd, Walker started fourth and claimed the win in the first heat before storms washed out the rest of the night. This time he was back for a try at bringing completion to what he’d started down in Illinois. He turned second quick in hot laps (just 2/10ths behind first) and an outside front row starting spot into a win in the first heat. What all of that meant was the 18-year-old lined up in the third spot for the feature in Sun Prairie, WI.
Once the green flag dropped, it did not take the Indianapolis, IN-native long to begin gaining spots as the car picked up right where he’d left off in his first series appearance. As they exited turn two on lap one, Walker was already up into the second position and rapidly pulled away from third place as he hunted down the leader. The middle of the pack was staging some intense racing, but Walker was well ahead of that mess and kept focused on the sole car in front of him. As he neared the leader on lap 7, some lapped traffic got in the way and he bobbled ever so slightly in turn 1. Unhindered, he quickly caught up to first place and they were in the middle of a multi-lap battle for the lead when a huge wreck on the backstretch called them to a stop.
When they went back green, the red #57 immediately went back to where they’d left off and Walker drove by for the lead one lap after the restart. This time it took a couple laps of sailing around on the outside line before Walker took the lead completely for himself. A huge gap quickly built up and as the laps ticked off he began lapping cars. As they came to the line to begin lap 15 he caught a couple lapped cars in the wrong spot and nearly made contact with one of them. Even that could not slow him down though and in just a couple laps he was back up to a straightaway lead.
But then misfortune struck in a big way and the only thing that could have slowed him down brought him to a stop on lap 18 of the 20 lap feature: engine problems. As he raced into turns one and two on lap 18, there was a slight bobble and it went up in smoke, causing him to coast to a stop just past the exit of turn two. The rest of the race went on without him and he was credited with a 14th place result, 3 laps down to the winner. Anyone who was watching knew how dominant and untouchable he had been though, and if he gets another opportunity to run a Badger midget again, there’s not much doubt that the third time will be the charm for this rising young star.
Huge thanks go out to Bill Ecker, RAB Racing, Spike Chassis, Esslinger, Fowler Heating & Air Conditioning and the team’s other sponsors for giving Gage Walker this incredible opportunity to lead laps and race for wins!
To keep up with Walker and everywhere he is racing, stay tuned to his Facebook fan page at Facebook.com/GageWalkerRacing, follow him on Twitter @GageWalker7 or visit his website at GageWalkerRacing.com.
Next up on the USAC schedule for Walker is Pennsylvania Midget Week from August 14th–17th.
Photo Credit: PushinTheCushion Race Videos
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