By Tim Tuttle
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (Oct. 1, 2011)—Brett Anderson won the Charlene Meents Memorial and Brad Loyet finished 13th driving with a flat tire to take his second straight championship Saturday in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series at Belle-Clair Speedway.
Loyet finished 30 points ahead of Nick Knepper, 3,170-3,140. The 23-year-old from Sunset Hills, Mo., entered the event with a 70-point advantage, seven finishing positions in the feature. Knepper of Belleville, Ill., shaved 40 points by finishing ninth.
Loyet started the 30-lap feature on the 1/5th-mile track from 10th position, the outside of the fifth row. Knepper began from 13th, the inside of the seventh row.
On the fourth lap, Andrew Felker spun in front of Loyet’s Vacuworx Spike-Essingler.
“I ran into Felker’s car and flattened the right front tire,” Loyet said. “I thought, ‘Congrats, Nick Knepper.’ But the car was OK. It was kind of unpredictable. If I went into a turn the wrong way, it was push across the race track.”
Loyet became the first driver to win three POWRi Midget championships. He’s also headed for the title in the Speedway Motors American Sprint Car Series Warrior Region in its season-finale at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Mo., on Oct. 7. Loyet can clinch by starting the heat race.
“It just feels good to get two championships in two types of cars in one year,” Loyet said. “It’s a testament to our team and the cars they prepare.”
Knepper led the championship from the start through the 20th race in the 23-race season.
“I’m very disappointed,” Knepper said. “It would have been my first championship. We folded down the stretch. We had a terrific first half to the season, and not a very good second half.”
Anderson passed Mario Clouser with two laps remaining for his second victory of the season. The 26-year-old from Belleville, Ill., had been a championship contender in the first half of the season, but an engine failure forced him to miss seven straight races. Anderson returned to finish third in the previous race at Macon (Ill.) Speedway.
“It wasn’t a good year, but I’m happy to get a win for momentum for next year,” Anderson said. “We really needed this win to end the year.”
Anderson started on the pole in his Spike-Toyota, but had trouble accelerating at the start and subsequent restarts.
“The fueling system was loading up and it would take three or four laps to get it cleaned out and get going and fine my line,” Anderson said.
Anderson held the lead from the 10th lap to the 22nd, but lost it to Clouser following a restart.
“Eventually I got going and got past him,” Anderson said.
Bubba Altig of Mechanisburg, Ill., passed Clouser in the last turn of the last lap, banging wheels, to take second.
“I got underneath him and we got together off the corner and I ran over him,” Altig said. “He understood it was just a racing incident and I apologized for running into him.”
Clouser of Auburn, Ill., had his best POWRi Midget finish of the season.
“It was still a good run for us,” he said. “It’s been a really good year.”
Joe B. Miller passed Dereck King on a restart with two laps remaining to win the season finale in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series.
It was the second win of the season in POWRi Micors, both at Belle-Clair, for the 20-year-old from Millersville, Mo.
“I kept trying the top and I couldn’t get it to work,” Miller said. “I saw the bottom going away We had a caution and I adjusted the car to run at the top. It was all or nothing, the car wasn’t going to work at the bottom and it worked.
“Dereck has done that to me a dozen times. I learned it from him.”
King of Vienna, Ill., is a three-time POWRi Micro champion.
“Joe B. one hundred percent deserved that,” King said. “We don’t have mirrors and I didn’t know where he was. I was working good on the bottom and stayed there.”
Jacob Patton of Bethalto, Ill., finished third, his seventh top-three of the year in POWRi Micros.
“We’ll definitely take it,” Patton said. “It’s the best year I’ve ever had.”
Trent Beckinger of Evansville, Ind., had clinched the Micro title in the previous event at Macon (Ill.) Speedway. He finished fifth at Belle-Clair, his 17th top-five in the 19 races he entered. Beckinger’s other two finishes were sixth and eighth. Beckinger led the series with four victories and had six second-place finishes.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature results (30 laps): 1. Brett Anderson, 2. Bubba Altig, 3. Mario Clouser, 4. Donnie Lehmann, 5. Tony Roney, 6. Chett Gehrke, 7. Austin Brown, 8. Derrick Myers, 9. Nick Knepper, 10. Brad Kuhn, 11. Ryan Criswell, 12. Tim Siner, 13. Brad Loyet, 14. Dereck King, 15. Joey Moughan, 16. Kent Schmidt, 17. Daniel Adler, 18. Jake Blackhurst, 19. Tyler Robbins, 20. Andrew Felker, 21. Chris Bell, 22. Rich Camfield, 23. Dave Camfield Jr.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series feature results (20 laps): 1. Joe B. Miller, 2. Dereck King, 3. Jacob Patton, 4. Jeremy Camp, 5. Trent Beckinger, 6. Spencer Montgomery, 7. Andrew Felker, 8. Stanley Kreisel, 9. Brad McDaniel, 10. Kara King, 11. Chris Bell, 12. Austin Brown, 13. J.B. Gilbert, 14. Jordan Campbell, 15. Derek Schuett, 16. Brad Kuhn, 17. Natasha Cox, 18. Paul Nienhiser, 19. Chad Elliott, 20. Casey Swift, 21. Matt Ponder, 22. Jake Neuman, 23. Ryne Welch.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.