From Tim Tuttle, TWC Photo
WHEATLAND, Mo. (April 30, 2011)—Brad Loyet made a difficult outside pass of Zach Daum for the lead midway through the Missouri Mid-State Midget Nationals and went unchallenged the rest of the way to win the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget race on Saturday at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Loyet, of Sunset Hills, Mo., had run in second place for 13 of the 30-laps on a racing surface that appeared to favor a tight inside line. He proved it wasn’t a one-line track when he drove around Daum, of Pocahontas, Ill., on the outside in Turn One on lap 14 and had a lead of several car lengths on the backstraight.
“I noticed he was babying it going into the corner and I knew my car would stick on the outside,” Loyet said. “We were set up for 30 laps, not 15. We had a car for the whole race. I had a really stable car the whole race.”
Loyet, 23, was disappointed not to have swept the weekend in the POWRi series. He led laps seven through 22 at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Mo., on Friday before an engine problem took him out and Brett Anderson, of Belleville, Ill., swept past to win.
“I should have done that (win) last night,” Loyet said.
The victory was the 53rd for Loyet, the POWRi Midget champion in 2010 and 2007, in Midgets in all series and competitions.
“It’s our first win for our new sponsor, Vacuworx International, and I’m happy about that,” Loyet said.
Chett Gehrke, of Broken Arrow, Okla., passed Daum for second with three laps remaining for his best finish in a POWRi Midget race for the second straight night. Gehrke was fourth at Grain Valley.
“It’s getting better and better for me,” Gehrke said. “It was a good night, my best finish in POWRi.”
Gehrke, 26, went underneath Daum, who drifted to the outside, in Turn 4 and had just enough speed to take second place going into Turn One.
“We banged a little when I got next to him,” Gehrke said.
Daum finished third and blamed himself for making mistakes that cost him both positions.
“I was too conservative and made too many mistakes,” Daum said. “I was a sitting duck (for Loyet) when I was leading. I didn’t want to search around and try to find a faster line and he got around me. I got out of shape and slid all the way to the outside and let Gehrke pass me. I tried to slam the door on him in Turn 1, but he got past me.”
Nick Knepper, of Belleville, Ill., finished fourth and Dereck King, of Vienna, Ill., was fifth.
The next event for the POWRi Midgets is Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill., on May 13, followed by the makeup of a rain out at Macon (Ill.) on May 14.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series results: 1. Brad Loyet, 2. Chett Gehrke; 3. Zach Daum, 4. Nick Knepper, 5. Dereck King, 6. Brad Kuhn, 7. Tyler Robbins, 8. Brett Anderson, 9. Rusty Dukes, 10. Tim Siner, 11. Will Pierce, 12. Daniel Adler, 13. Austin Brown, 14. Jimmy Glenn, 15. Kenny Brown, 16. Mike Riley, 17. John Campbell, 18. Pat Schudy, 19. Derrick Myers, 20. Andrew Felker, 21. Gavin Galbraith, 22. Todd McVay, 23. Chad Shields.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.