United States Auto Club (USAC) Ford Focus Midwest Pavement Midget Car Series leader Tate Martz (No. 1 Tony Stewart Racing-Lucas Oil Products Beast) earned his first feature race win on the Kentucky Speedway paved quarter-mile track this afternoon.

The 23-year-old and his Tony Stewart-owned entry raced off to multiple car length leads that were cut by five caution periods throughout the 25-lap event. He survived each caution restart and earned his fourth feature win of the season by warding off three late challenges from second-place finisher James Robertson (No. 42 Robertson Drywall Beast). Mario Clouser (No. 06 Illinois Corn Bread-Bob Ridings Ford Beast) placed third.

Martz, a Rushville, Ind., native whose father previously fielded USAC entries for defending NEXTEL Cup Series champion Stewart, started from the pole position.

"The first 15 laps I was really getting into a rhythm and really starting to feel good. Then we had all those cautions and I got out of rhythm a little bit," Martz said. "I just tried to make sure I hit my marks those last few laps. As long as I didn't get the car sideways, I knew I'd come out all right.

"I learned so much watching Tony (Stewart) for so many years, so to be able to win with his name on the car is pretty special. He lived with us for about a year-and-a-half when he was just getting started in USAC. It's been neat to follow him through all he's done. Hopefully, I'll be able to go the same direction."

Robertson picked his way through the 20-car field from the 11th starting position, but fell fractions of a second short of his second win of the season. He entered the day 54 points behind Martz in the series standings and was happy with his fifth straight top-five finish.

"We didn't fare too well in the heat race and had to make the best out of our starting position. We did that, making it up to second," he said. "Tate did really well holding his line. The low-line is a tough way to pass. We did the best we could but he had a good car and held his line. That's all you have to do when you're in the lead."

Clouser delivered his sixth top-five finish in as many starts this season and will hold on to the third position in the standings entering the series next race at Kil-Kare Speedway July 28.

"We hung behind Tate there for a little while, but then Robertson ended up getting by us. The track was real tough and real hard to get around. This series has been really tough overall, so we're pretty happy to be running the way we are." NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying is up next at 4:30 p.m., The Charlie Daniels Band will be in concert at 6:00 p.m., on the Turn 1 Concourse music stage and 36 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers will take to the 1.5-mile tri-oval at 8:15 p.m., for the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers."

Tickets for the race are still available at speedway ticket booths.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

~ Kentucky Speedway ~