By Tim Tuttle
MACON, Ill. (July 23, 2011)—Bryan Clauson led all 30 laps to win the feature in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Andrew Felker became the first to take back-to-back triumphs this season in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series Saturday night at Macon Speedway.
Clauson has been the National Midget Driver of the Year the past two seasons, but Macon’s 1/5-mile track had been tough on him. It was his first victory at the track.
“Macon has always been a hard track for me, brutal,” Clauson said. “I think the best I’ve ever finished before was sixth. It was good to come here and get the monkey off our back and get the win.”
Clauson, of Noblesville, Ind., started on the outside of the front row in his Ford/Essingler-powered Spike next to Brett Anderson. Using the high line at the start, he took the lead exiting Turn Two. Several laps into the race, Clauson switched to the inside line and was never seriously threatened.
“The car was really good,” he said. “We got the lead, set sail and never looked back. We had the only car that could race the top and then we headed for the bottom.”
Anderson, driving a Toyota-powered Spike, had been frustrated by mechanical problems since early June. The driver from Belleville, Ill., had one victory and two other top-five finishes in the initial six races, but hadn’t had a top-five in the past six.
“Second isn’t too bad with the luck I’ve been having lately,” Anderson said. “I thought I had him passed once, but the yellow came out (nullifying the pass). After that, he ran the inside, the track rubbered up and there was no passing.”
POWRi championship leader Nick Knepper finished third, his 10th top-five in 13 races.
“We were decent and we’ll take it,” Knepper said. “It’s another momentum builder going out West.”
The POWRi Midgets begin a four-event, four-day swing Thursday in Beloit, Kan.., followed by two events in McCool Junction, Neb., and concluding at Cameron, Mo.
Felker earned $2,000 for his victory in the Building Systems of Illinois Mini Sprint Nationals. There were 61 entries and 33 starters for the 40-lap feature. The 18-year-old from Carl Junction, Mo., started in the middle of the front row, took command early and never relinquished the lead.
“It’s cool to have won a race like this and it’s definitely a good payday,” Felker said. “We were decent, but not the fastest car. I had to really work to hold Jacob Patton off. Our engine started to let go with 10 to go and I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it to the finish. The engine is gone.”
Felker won the previous feature in Belleville, Ill., and has a series-leading three in the past eight races.
“We’ve got things going now,” he said.
Patton, of Bethalto, Ill., finished second, able to close up but not overtake Felker.
“It helped to start on the outside of the front row,” Patton said. “We put a new set-up on the car before the main and it worked. I’ve never been very good on rubbered-up tracks. We need more of these. It was a great points night.”
Chris Bell, a 16-year-old from Norman, Okla., finished third.
“We ran pretty good,” Bell said. “The car started to slow down as the race went on. We were a little off on the gearing, but we’ll take it.”
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature results (30 laps): 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Brett Anderson, 3. Nick Knepper, 4. Tim Siner, 5. Daniel Adler, 6. Taylor Ferns, 7. Dereck King, 8. Ryan Criswell, 9. Kyle Neal, 10. Don Lehmann, 11. Tyler Robbins, 12. Chett Gehrke, 13. Rich Camfield, 14. Jake Blackhurst, 15. John Campbell, 16. Brad Kuhn, 17. Brad Loyet, 18. Pat Schudy, 19. Tony Roney, 20. Dave Camfield Jr., 21. Jerry Coons Jr., 22. Mike Hess.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series results (40 laps): 1. Andrew Felker, 2. Jacob Patton, 3. Chris Bell, 4. Blake Hahn, 5. Trent Beckinger, 6. Trey Datweiler, 7. Nate Lauderbaugh, 8. Ryan Guyett, 9. J.B. Gilbert, 10. Clayton Duff, 11. Willie Urish, 12. Brian Clauson, 13. Brandon Hahn, 14. Max Pozsgai, 15. Parker Price-Miller, 16. Spencer Montgomery, 17. Cameron King, 18. Dereck King, 19. Jordan Campbell, 20. Joe Faloon, 21. Kara King, 22. Ryne Welch, 23. Joe B. Miller, 24. Jordan Herrman, 25. Austin Brown, 26. Mike Hudson, 27. Casey Swift, 28. Garrett Duff, 29. Shelby Boise, 30. Evan Weyant, 31. Brad McDaniel, 32. Justin Peck, 33. Jake Palmisano.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.