By Tim Tuttle
Jake Blackhurst of Mapleton, Ill., leads the championship in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series going into events Friday (May 18) at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill., and Saturday (May 19) at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway, his hometown track.
“I never dreamed I’d be in the points lead in my second year in a Midget,” the 16-year-old Blackhurst said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
Blackhurst has a 115-point advantage, 745-630, over second-place Brett Anderson of Belleville, Ill., after six events. He won his first POWRi Midget race at Lucas Oil Speedway on May 5 and also has finishes of fifth at Grain Valley, Mo., sixth at Jacksonville, Ill., eighth at Macon, Ill., and 11th at Cowtown Speedway in Kennedale, Texas.
“We’ve been consistent and had a boost in points with the win,” Blackhurst said. “We want to stay consistent and protect the point lead.”
Blackhurst was the POWRi Midget and the National Midget Rookie of the Year in 2011 in his first season on dirt and in a Midget. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons in USAC Ford Focus Midgets, taking the Midwest Pavement championship in 2010 and drove Kenyon Midgets in the previous two seasons.
Blackhurst finished 11th in the 2011 POWRi Midget points. He had five top-10s in 14 features including 10th, 15th, 16th and 18th at one-fifth mile Belle-Clair and 11th at quarter-mile Peoria. He’s excited about returning to Peoria.
“It’s always pretty cool to race in front of friends and family,” Blackhurst said. “It’s nice they don’t have to drive four or five hours to be there.”
Blackhurst drove for Bryan Clauson Racing last year, but the team is being operated by him and father/crew chief Paul Blackhurst this season.
“They (Clauson team) help us, but it’s just me and my dad at the track this year,” Blackhurst said.
Blackhurst is coming off one of his most impressive drives in a Midget. He started 22nd and finished eighth in the feature at one-fifth mile Macon last Saturday (May 12).
“I’m pretty proud of it,” Blackhurst said. “I got caught up in a wreck in my heat and had to go the B-main (where he finished fourth out of 21 cars). I stayed smooth and didn’t overdrive the car in the main. It’s pretty sweet to come from 22nd to eighth.”
POWRi is co-sanctioning Peoria with the Stark Automotive Group/Mid-State Equipment Badger Midget Series.
The POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series also are racing at Belle-Clair and Peoria. Joe B. Miller of Millersville, Mo., leads the championship by 30 points, 320-290, over second-place Jacob Patton of Bethalto, Ill., after two events. Justin Peck of Monrovia, Ind., is third with 270.
Miller finished second at Macon and eighth at Jacksonville in season’s two features. Patton was seventh at Macon and sixth at Jacksonville. Peck was third at Macon and 12th at Jacksonville.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series top-10 points standings (after six of 31 events); 1. Jake Blackhurst 745, 2. Brett Anderson 630, 3. Andrew Felker 610, 4. Chett Gehrke 595, 5. Chris Bell 555, 6. Zach Daum 540, 7. Tyler Thomas 530, 8. Garrett Aitken 515, 9. Tyler Courtney 475, 10. Brad Kuhn 430.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series 2012 race winners: Kennedale, Texas—Brady Bacon; Kennedale, Texas—Dave Darland; Jacksonville, Ill.—Mario Clouser; Grain Valley, Mo.—Brett Anderson; Wheatland, Mo.—Jake Blackhurst; Macon, Ill.—Zach Daum.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series top-10 points standings (after two of 23 events): 1. Joe B. Miller 320, 2. Jacob Patton 290, 3. Justin Peck 270, 4. Aaron Andruskevitch 260, 5. Cale Thomas 240, 6. Carlee Gress 220, 7. Andrew Felker 210, 8. Alex Harris 200, 9. (tie) Paul Nienhiser, Austin Brown 190.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series 2012 race winners: Jacksonville, Ill.—Andrew Felker; Macon, Ill.—Alex Harris.
For more information, go to www.POWRi.com.