By Tim Tuttle
GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. (May 4, 2012)—Brett Anderson held off Chett Gehrke by a car length Friday to win his second straight feature at quarter-mile Valley Speedway in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series.
Gehrke briefly took the lead in Turn Three on the 30th and final lap and Anderson regained it exiting Turn Four. Anderson had led the race since the eighth lap.
“I was caught in lapped traffic and was held up for three laps,” Anderson said. “He got inside me going into Turn Three and slid me and I did a diamond (maneuver) in Four and went from the cushion to the bottom.”
Anderson, the POWRi Midget champion in 2008, won the same event a year ago. The 27-year-old from Belleville, Ill., has been ill from a kidney infection for a week and almost didn’t enter Friday’s event.
“We left at the last minute,” Anderson said. “After they threw the checkered flag, I almost passed out. I don’t know how I finished. Right now, I feel better because of winning, but I’ll pay for it later.”
It was the 11th victory of Anderson’s POWRi career.
Gehrke’s second equaled his best finish in POWRi Midgets. He also was runner-up in 2011 at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., where the series returns tonight for the Missouri Mid-State Midget Nationals.
“He (Anderson) got above the cushion in Turns One and Two (on the last lap) and I was able to get underneath him on the back straight,” Gehrke said. “Going into Three, I thought I might have a chance. I was going to the bottom and slide him and he set me up and got back by. I was ahead for about half a turn.
“Second ties by best (finish) in POWRi, so I can’t complain.”
Tyler Thomas finished third. He started on the outside of the front row, next to pole sitter Chris Bell of Norman, Okla., and took the lead at the start exiting Turn Two. The 16-year-old from Collinsville, Okla., stayed out front until Anderson, who had started fourth, passed him on the eighth lap.
“I hit the cushion in Turn One too hard and fell back to fifth,” Thomas said. “It was an awesome car and worked everywhere and I was able to get back to third. One mistake cost me. I’m happy with third, but I know I had a car to win, so it’s kind of bittersweet.”
Bell finished fourth and Jake Blackhurst of Mapleton, Ill., was fifth.
Friday’s event was also part of POWRi’s Lucas Oil West Midget Series. Gehrke, Thomas and Bell are racing for championships in the National and West series.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature results (30 laps): 1. Brett Anderson, 2. Chett Gehrke, 3. Tyler Thomas, 4. Chris Bell, 5. Jake Blackhurst, 6. Matt Sherrell, 7. Andrew Felker, 8. Tim Siner, 9. Scott Hatton, 10. Garrett Aitken, 11. Colten Cottle, 12. Tyler Robbins, 13. Andy Malpocker, 14. Gavin Galbraith, 15. Daniel Robinson, 16. Tyler Courtney, 17. Cody Ledger, 18. Brunson Behning, 19. Austin Brown, 20. Cameron Hagin, 21. Andrew Deal, 22. Jake Neuman.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.