From Tim Tuttle
Jacksonville, IL — (April 27, 2012) — Mario Clouser drove to his first victory in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Andrew Felker won the season opener in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series on Friday at quarter-mile Jacksonville Speedway.
“It’s really, really cool,” Clouser said. “I live about 20 minutes from here and this is about as close to a home track as it gets. My family and many friends were here, 20 to 30 people.”
Although Jacksonville is nearby, it was only the third time the 23-year-old from Auburn, Ill., had raced at Jacksonville. Clouser failed to advance out of the semi into the feature in a POWRi Midget race at Jacksonville last Sept. 16, a disappointment in an otherwise strong season with four top-fives and seven top-10s in nine events. He closed out his POWRi campaign in 2011 by finishing third at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville,Ill., on Oct 1.
“I’ve been trying to get one in POWRi and I’m really excited to get into Victory Lane,” Clouser said. “It’s our first dirt race of the year.”
Clouser started from the inside of the fifth row in the 25-lap feature and his Beast-Mopar Wallace found it liked the inside. He went from third to first exciting Turn Four on the eighth lap, passing pole sitter Brad Kuhn of Avon, Ind., and Zach Daum of Pocahontas, Ill.
“It wasn’t my plan to stay inside, but I started passing cars early down low and stayed there,” Clouser said. “It got really hooked up and I was able to capitalize on a couple of mistakes they made. I got by them really quick and shot ahead.”
Clouser was never threatened after taking the lead, breaking away on two restarts and building a multi-car length lead.
Danny Stratton of Indianapolis passed Kuhn and Daum shortly after a restart on the 12th lap and finished second. Kuhn was third.
Felker’s victory was his 10th in POWRi Micros. The 19-year-old from Carl Junction, Mo., led all 20 laps in his Sawyer-Yamaha.
“The key was I started eighth in my heat and won and it put me on the pole for the main,” Felker said. “It’s a big track for a Micro and you needed horsepower and I had a very strong engine built by Momo’s Racing Engines with Engler fuel injection and I checked out.
“It’s cool to get into double figures (wins). This is our fourth year in POWRi. We must be doing something right.”
POWRi’s Midgets and Micros race at Macon (Ill.) Speedway on Saturday night.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.