By Tim Tuttle
Australasia star Michael Pickens will challenge the drivers from the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Badger Midget Auto Racing Association at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, Ill., Friday (June 3) and Peoria (Ill.) Speedway on Saturday (June 4).
Pickens, a 28-year-old from New Zealand, is a three-time New Zealand Midget champion and two-time winner of the Australian Speedcar Super Series. He drives for Australian car owner Jack Berry, who had Pickens’ Essingler-powered Breka shipped to the USA from his shop in the state of Queensland.
“I can’t wait to race against the POWRi drivers,” Pickens said. “The competition is pretty good in the POWRi Series and adding the Badger drivers makes it even tougher.”
POWRi and BMARA are co-sanctioning both events, bringing together a field that includes POWRi season point leader Nick Knepper, of Belleville, Ill., Dereck King, of Vienna, Ill., and Tim Siner of Dupo, Ill., two-time BMARA champion Mike Hess, of Riverton, Ill., and Bubba Altig, of Marengo, Ill.
Hess holds the distinction of having won the POWRi championship, too, in 2005.
Pickens began a 10-race tour in the USA on Monday, finishing second to Altig in a BMARA/USAC event at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prarie, Wis. Pickens, who was the fastest qualifier Monday, has a 2004 victory in the Badger series at Angell Park and won in POWRi in 2007 at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway. Pickens will also race in POWRi on June 18 at Macon (Ill.) Speedway.
Pickens finished third in the main event of the prestigious Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla., in January. His three New Zealand titles have been in the 2010-11, 2006-07 and 2002-03 seasons.
POWRi’s Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series will also race on the quarter-mile tracks at Fayette and Peoria.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series top-10 points standings (after four of 30 events): 1. Nick Knepper 720, 2. Dereck King 680, 3. Tim Siner 580, 4. Chett Gehrke 500, 5. Brad Loyet 470, 6. Brad Kuhn 460, 7. Zach Daum 390, 8. Tyler Robbins 360, 9. (tie) Andrew Felker, Brett Anderson 350, 10. Rich Camfield 240.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series 2011 race winners: Du Quoin, Ill.—Tony Roney; Grain Valley, Mo.—Brett Anderson; Wheatland, Mo.—Brad Loyet; Belleville, Ill.—Brad Loyet.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.