DU QUOIN, Ill. (March 26, 2011)—Tony Roney won the first race of his POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series career Saturday, taking the Dean King Memorial at the Southern Illinois Center’s Mini Magic Mile.
Roney, a 42-year-old from Herculaneum, Mo., regarded his victory as one of the high points of his career. He’s been racing in POWRi since it began. The series opened its seventh season Saturday.
“It’s right up there,” Roney said. “Qualifying for the A main at the Chili Bowl last year is up there, too. I’d won POWRi Micros (600cc Outlaw Sprints), but never in Midgets.”
Roney started third in the 22-car feature. He was running fifth when leader Tyler Courtney spun on the inside and blocked the track, causing the cars directly behind to crash. Roney was able to stop short of the wreck and inherited the lead on the third lap. He led the final 38 on the one-fifth mile dirt track.
“The track was completely blocked,” Roney said. “There was nothing else I could do. It was that or kill the engine. It could have gone either way.”
Roney wasn’t seriously challenged the rest of the way, running a smooth and consistent inside line.
“I felt like I was hot lapping,” Roney said.
Nick Knepper, of Belleville, Ill., finished second, out-dueling Tim Siner, of Dupo, Ill. Knepper ran the outside and Siner the inside and they were virtually even for 20 straight laps before Knepper pulled ahead with five to go.
Dereck King, of Vienna, Ill., finished fourth and Andrew Felker, of Carl Junction, Mo., was fifth.
Ryan Langston, of Greenfield, Ind., won the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series at the Dean King Memorial, besting a field that began with 76 entries a nd was pared down to 23 for the 30-lap feature.
“It’s really tough competition,” Langston said. “I got lucky in my heat, started sixth and won it. I was able to pass so many cars on a track that is difficult to pass upon. That gave me the points to start on the front row in the feature.”
Langston, 31, challenged Devon Piper, of Springfield, Ill., for the lead for 18 laps. On the 19th, he darted decisively inside in Turn One and pulled away. Langston said it was his “fifth or sixth” win in the POWRi 600cc Micro Series, but his first since 2008.
“I kind of got a little bit of a run and didn’t’ know if I had him cleared and I held it in there,” Langston said. “The more laps we ran, he (Piper) couldn’t hold the bottom and I waited and waited for the right moment.”
King passed Piper on the outside exiting Turn Two on the final lap to take second. Piper was third, Scottie Gretzmacher, of St. Genevieve, Mo., was fourth and Joe B. Miller, of Millersville, Mo., was fifth.
“It would have been nice to win my grandfather’s memorial race,” King said. “We’ve run second a couple of times in this race. We’ve won at Du Quoin, but not this race. We had a good run. It took too long to get the track working the way I needed it. We were set up to run up top and it didn’t come in until there were 10 laps to go.”
The next event for POWRi’s Lucas Oil Midgets and Speedway Motors Micros is April 22 at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series results: 1. Tony Roney, 2. Nick Knepper, 3. Tim Siner, 4. Dereck King, 5. Andrew Felker, 6. Tyler Courtney, 7. Casey Shuman, 8. Danny Stratton, 9. Brad Kuhn, 10, Caleb Armstrong, 11. Shane Cocckrum, 12. Rich Camfield, 13. Tracy Hines, 14. Tyler Robbins, 15. Zach Daum, 16. Chris Morgan, 17. Kevin Thomas, 18. Dave Darland, 19. Brad Loyet, 20. Chris Gwinn, 21. Brett Anderson, 22. Steven Weber.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series feature results: 1. Ryan Langston, 2. Dereck King, 3. Devon Piper, 4. Scottie Gretzmacher, 5. Joe B. Miller, 6. Kara King, 7. Jordan Campbell, 8. JB Gilbert, 9. Jimmy Wood, 10. Mike Terry, 11. Alex Harris, 12. Megan Wood, 13. Randy Brown, 14. Ryan Leak, 15. Jake Palmisano, 16. Andrew Felker, 17. Ryan Marsch, 18. Spencer Montgomery, 19. Austin Brown, 20. Aaron Andruskevitch, 21. Jim Sterns, 22. Sara Elrod, 23. Jerrod Wilson.