By Tim Tuttle
POWRi’s Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micros will race for the first time at West Plains (Mo.) Motor Speedway on Friday (June 10) and Springfield (Mo.) Raceway on Saturday (June 11).
Nick Knepper, of Belleville, Ill., leads the Midget championship over Brad Loyet, of Sunset Hills, Mo., 1,030-850 with six events completed. Tim Siner, of Dupo, Ill., is third with 740, followed by Dereck King, of Vienna, Ill., with 730 and Brett Anderson, of Belleville, Ill., with 680.
The 24-year-old Knepper has two second places, three thirds, a fourth and an eighth in features in POWRi Midgets this season. Loyet was 19th at Du Quoin, Ill., and 16th at Grain Valley, Mo., in the opening two events before taking back-to-back victories at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., and Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville., Ill., and adding seconds at Brownstown, Ill., and Peoria, Ill.
Siner has four top-10s including third at Du Quoin, King has four-top fives including second at Belleville and Anderson has a victory at Grain Valley and three more top-eight finishes.
“The competition in POWRi is as tough as ever,” Knepper said. “There are seven or eight drivers capable of winning on any night.”
Knepper, fourth in the championship last season, will be hunting for his first win of 2011 this weekend.
“We’ve been consistent, so far, so good,” Knepper said. “Eighth at Brownstown has left a sour taste in my mouth, I know we were better than that. But we went from (starting) 14th to third at Peoria and that was a very good run. I’d like to get some wins. I’m tired of finishing behind those guys.”
Teams from the Southern Open Wheel Series (SOWS) and the Lucas Oil ASCS EcoTec Midgets are also expected to enter at West Plains and Springfield. Revolution Racing Engines will pay $150 to the top finisher and $50 for second with the RRE EcoTec.
King leads runner-up Trent Beckinger, of Evansville, Ind., 900-720 in the POWRi Outlaw Micros with Joe B. Miller, of Millersville, Mo., third with 710, J.B. Gilbert, of Charleston, Ill., fourth with 700 and Jordan Campbell, of Bloomington, Ill., fifth with 560.
King, a three-time POWRi Micros champion, has a victory at Wayne County, Ill., a pair of seconds, a third and a seventh in the five features. Beckinger didn’t enter DuQuoin and has climbed in the points with a win at Brownstown, Ill., second at Peoria, Ill., third at Wayne County and sixth at Belle-Clair.
“It’s really exciting to be that far up there after missing a race,” Beckinger said. “We’re going to really try to run all the races and run for the championship. I feel like POWRi is some of the best Micros racing in the nation.”
Miller has four top-six finishes including second at Brownstown, Gilbert was four top-nines including a third at Belle-Clair and Campbell has a third, fourth and seventh in five features.
Saturday’s event on Springfield’s quarter-mile will be a showdown between the POWRi Micros and the Lucas Oil ASCS2 Outlaws, who are co-sanctioning. Teams from the ASCS2 Outlaws are also expected to run Friday on West Plains’ three-eighths mile. The event pays $1,000 to win and $100 to start.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series top-10 points standings (after six of 30 events): 1. Nick Knepper 1,030, 2. Brad Loyet 850, 3. Tim Siner 740, 4. Dereck King 730, 5. Brett Anderson 680, 6. Chett Gehrke 645, 7. (tie) Tyler Robbins, Austin Brown 505, 9. Brad Kuhn 460, 10. Zach Daum 390.
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; Brownstown, Ill.—Michael Pickens; Peoria, Ill.—Michael Pickens.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series top-10 points standings (after five of 26 events): 1. Dereck King 900, 2. Trent Beckinger 720, 3. Joe B. Miller 710, 4. J.B. Gilbert 700, 5. Jordan Campbell 560, 6. Paul Nienhiser 485, 7. Jacob Patton 485, 8. Andrew Felker 470, 9. Aaron Andruskevitch 450, 10. Ryan Guyett 415.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series 2011 race winners: Du Quoin, Ill.–Ryan Langston; Belleville, Ill.–Aaron Andruskevitch; Wayne County, Ill.—Dereck King; Brownstown, Ill.—Trent Beckinger; Peoria, Ill.; Peoria, Ill.—Andrew Felker.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.