By Tim Tuttle
BELOIT, Kan. (July 26, 2011)–The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series embarks on a grueling stretch of four events in four straight nights Thursday (July 28) with the 2nd annual Chad McDaniel Memorial at Solomon Valley Raceway.
“This stretch will definitely make or break our season,” POWRi points leader Nick Knepper said. “I’ll definitely have to bring my A game.”
The Chad McDaniel Memorial opens the Speedway Motors Money Midget Week presented by RevHoney Energy Drinks. It will be followed by the Cornhusker Midget Challenge on Friday and Saturday (July 29-30) at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., and the Sunday (July 31) finale at U.S. 36 Raceway in Cameron, Mo. Purse money in excess of $100,000 will be paid for the four events.
POWRi is co-sanctioning the four events with Badger Midgets, Rocky Mountain Midgets and Southern Open Wheel Series and the purses, which pay $3,000 to win on Thursday, Friday and Sunday and $10,000 to win on Saturday, are expected to attract drivers from additional prominent series.
Brad Kuhn will be going for his second straight victory in the McDaniel Memorial. The 30-year-old from Avon, Ind., also finished second in the Cornhusker feature a year ago. Kuhn won the POWRi Midget championships in 2006 and 2009 and is fourth in the points this season behind Knepper, Brad Loyet and Brett Anderson.
“Any time we can run for three grand every night and ten thousand to cap the thing off on Saturday, we’re looking forward to going for sure,” Kuhn said. “It should be a fun week of racing out there on the Plains in all POWRi shows.”
Knepper leads Loyet in the points, 2,050-1,590. The 24-year-old from Belleville, Ill., has one victory and a total of 10 top-fives in 13 events.
“I think we’ve got as good a shot as anybody out there, we’re rolling pretty good right now,” Knepper said. “We’re looking forward to it. I kind of look to get a couple of top fives and maybe if something goes our way we can sneak in a win. That’s pretty much our game plan right now.”
Loyet, the 2007 and 2010 POWRi Midget champion, finished second at U.S. 36 and third at Solomon Valley last year. The 22-year-old from Sunset Hills, Mo., leads the series with three wins this season.
“Running four races up there is definitely tough on everybody,” Loyet said. “It’s four days of really hard racing against really tough competition. It takes strong will and good maintenance to get through the week without any issues. Hopefully, we’ll pick up a couple of wins out of it. We had a really good car at Beloit last year, we were running second at McCool Junction when a bolt broke on the car and put us out and we were second at U.S. 36.
“The swing is really going to show what the points are going to do. I think it’s going to be interesting, you never know what will happen. It’s definitely fun. We get to run some different tracks and I enjoy that.”
The Jayhusker Racing Micros are also on the program for the Chad McDaniel Memorial.
Bryan Clauson, the National Midget Driver of the Year the past two seasons, will drive on Saturday at Junction Motor Speedway and Sunday at U.S. 36. He won both races in the Speedway Motors Midget Money Week last year.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series top-10 points standings (after 13 of 25 events): 1. Nick Knepper 2,050, 2. Brad Loyet 1,590, 3. Brett Anderson 1,300, 4. Brad Kuhn 1,280, 5. Chett Gehrke 1,275, 6. Andrew Felker 1,270, 7. Tim Siner 1,165, 8. Austin Brown 1,000, 9. Tyler Robbins 885, 10. Dereck King 880.
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; West Plains, Mo.–Tyler Thomas; Springfield, Mo.–Brad Loyet; Belleville, Ill.—Nick Knepper; Belleville, Ill.—Brad Kuhn; Wilmot, Wis.—Brad Kuhn; Sun Prairie, Wis.—Jerry Coons Jr.; Macon, Ill.—Bryan Clauson.