POWRi - Pickens Wins 2nd Straight In POWRi/BMARA Midgets, Felker Triumphs In 600cc Micros At Peoria
PEORIA, June 5, 2011: Michael Pickens held off Brad Loyet in the closing laps to take his second straight feature victory in a POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget//Badger Midget Auto Racing Association co-sanctioned event Saturday at Peoria Speedway.
Loyet, of Sunset Hills, Mo., climbed from 10th starting position to second on the 19th of 30 laps. Following the final restart three laps from the end, Loyet slid his Spike-Esslinger from bottom to top in Turn Four, clearing Pickens to briefly take the lead. Pickens had anticipated the move and he stomped the throttle and darted inside to regain the lead.
“I thought he (Loyet) was going to try something,” Pickens said. “I was ready to come under him.”
Loyet wasn’t able to challenge Pickens, of New Zealand, again.
“I thought that was my shot, my last shot,” Loyet said. “I really thought I had him. We had a good enough car to win, but we started too far back. We needed more laps.”
Pickens, who has won five Midget championships in New Zealand and Australia, also won the POWRi/Badger feature Friday at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, Ill. Loyet was second there, too.
“We’re racing against the best in the world,” Loyet said.
There were 42 entries Saturday, a star-studded field competing for 22 spots in the feature.
Pickens started on the outside of the front row alongside Brett Anderson of Belleville, Ill. He went from third to first on the sixth lap.
Anderson drove into a puddle, left by a brief shower that delayed the event for 15 minutes, on the inside and lost control. Pickens, who had been running on the outside, passed Anderson and second-running Thomas Meseraul exiting the turn by splitting them in the middle of the track.
“It took us a couple of laps to get going,” Pickens said. “Anderson ran into the water on the bottom and I got a good run on Thomas in Turn Two. From there, it was flat out.”
Pickens has multiple victories in Midgets in the USA, but the wins Friday and Saturday were the first for car owner Jack Berry.
“It means a lot,” Pickens said. “They’re the first races Jack Berry has won in America.”
Nick Knepper, of Belleville, Ill., finished third in an impressive run from 14th starting position.
“The cautions (eight) helped us and hurt us,” Knepper said. “It hurt us because I’d make a pass and the caution would come out and we’d lose it and it helped because it kept bunching up the field. I’m pretty happy with third. We definitely had a third-place car.”
USAC star Jerry Coons Jr., of Tucson, Ariz., finished fourth and Anderson was fifth.
Andrew Felker, of Carl Junction, Mo., won the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micros feature. Trent Beckinger, of Evansville, Ind., was second and Dereck King, of Vienna, Ill., was third.
“We finally got the monkey off our back,” Felker said. “We’ve had a rough couple of weeks.”
Felker was running second Friday at Fayette County when a fuel line broke on the final lap and he finished 16th. He also made the Midget feature and fell out with an engine failure.
“My car started good from the hot laps and we made a few adjustments to make it better,” Felker said. “We were able to put the hammer down in the feature.”
Beckinger won at Fayette County and finished third in the previous feature at Wayne County, Ill.
“There was a puddle water between Turns One and Two and that’s why we had so many cautions,” Beckinger said. “My car likes it on the inside, but I had to go outside and it’s nice my car is quick out there, too. It was a really good weekend. It’s nice to be up there in POWRi. I feel like it’s some of the best Micro racing in the nation.”
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget results (30 laps): 1. Michael Pickens, 2. Brad Loyet, 3. Nick Knepper, 4. Jerry Coons Jr., 5. Brett Anderson, 6. Bubba Altig, 7. Tyler Robbins, 8. Darren Kingston, 9. Austin Brown, 10. Thomas Meseraull, 11. Jake Blackhurst, 12. Dalton Armstrong, 13. Tim Siner, 14. Mike Hess, 15. Daniel Robinson, 16. John Campbell, 17. Dereck King, 18. Brandon Waelti, 19. Scott Hatton, 20. Derek Rossio, 21. Dillon Welch, 22. Chris Bell.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micros results (20 laps): 1. Andrew Felker, 2. Trent Beckinger, 3. Dereck King, 4. Jordan Campbell, 5. Paul Nienhiser, 6. Joe B. Miller, 7. Jacob Patton, 8. Ryan Guyett, 9. J.B. Gilbert, 10. Sara Elrod, 11. Ethan Fleetwood, 12. Jake Neuman, 13. Casey Swift, 14. Derek LeMaster, 15. Jason Harms, 16. Zach Hampton, 17. Keith Garner, 18. Luke Vaughn, 19. Devin Feger, 20. Derek Schuett, 21. Mike Hudson, 22. Kyle Schuett.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.