By Tim Tuttle
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (Aug. 8, 2012)—Brett Anderson has missed five straight events in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series, but the veteran driver Belleville, Ill., returns Sunday to his hometown track at Belle-Clair Speedway for the 21st annual Arnie Knepper Memorial still in title contention.
Anderson has slipped to third with 1,650 points, trailing leader Andrew Felker’s 2,040 and second-place Chett Gehrke’s 1,990. Anderson was tied with Felker for the championship lead before illness prevented him from entering two races in Wisconsin and POWRi’s three-race western swing to Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.
“I’m feeling fine and ready to get back at it,” Anderson said. “We’re planning on trying to win the championship. If I can stay healthy and not have flat tires, we have a chance. We’ve run good this year.”
The winner of the Knepper Memorial in his POWRi National Midget championship season of 2008, Anderson has two victories included in six top-fives, nine top-10s and has made the feature in all 12 events he’s entered this season.
Anderson’s three finishes outside the top 10, 11th at Macon (Ill.) Speedway, 19th at Springfield (Mo.) Raceway and 20th at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway, have been from flat tires.
Gehrke of Broken Arrow, Okla., gained 470 points on Felker on the western swing. He finished second at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., and fifth at Solomon Valley Speedway in Beloit, Wis., and US 36 Raceway in Cameron, Mo.
Felker of Carl Junction, Mo., dropped out of the three features with mechanical problems and finished 22nd, 20th and 19th.
“I didn’t think we had a chance at the national deal,” Gehrke said. “We were shooting to try to win the West. We’re leading the West and maybe we have a chance at the National (championship).”
Gehrke leads the inaugural POWRi Lucas Oil West Series over Felker, 1,490-1,090. The trio of western swing races were part of its 14-race championship. The Knepper Memorial is not part of the West schedule.
Felker has two wins included in five top-fives and 11 top-10s in the National series. Gehrke has three second-place finishes included in seven top-fives and two more top-10s in the National series.
The POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series are also racing in the Knepper Memorial. Joe B. Miller of Millersville, Mo., leads Aaron Andruskevitch of Riverton, Ill., 1,570-1,285, with Felker third at 1,130.
The Outlaw Micros feature at Washington, Mo., on Saturday (Aug. 4) was not completed because of heavy rain.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series top-10 points standings (after 19 of 29 events); 1. Andrew Felker 2,040, 2. Chett Gehrke 1,990, 3. Brett Anderson 1,650, 4. Austin Brown 1,500, 5. Daniel Robinson 1,395, 6. Jake Blackhurst 1,335, 7. Tyler Thomas 1,330, 8. Garrett Aitken 1,320, 9. Brad Kuhn 1,300, 10. Cameron Hagin 1,170.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series 2012 race winners: Kennedale, Texas—Brady Bacon; Kennedale, Texas—Dave Darland; Jacksonville, Ill.—Mario Clouser; Grain Valley, Mo.—Brett Anderson; Wheatland, Mo.—Jake Blackhurst; Macon, Ill.—Zach Daum; Belleville, Ill.—Danny Stratton; Peoria, Ill.—Andrew Felker; Brownstown, Ill.–Brett Anderson; Haubstadt, Ind.—Brady Bacon; Grain Valley, Mo.—Michael Pickens; Springfield, Mo.—Michael Pickens; Lincoln, Ill.—Danny Stratton; Macon, Ill.—Bubba Altig; Wilmot, Wis.—Andrew Felker; Sun Prairie, Wis.—Rico Abreu; Beloit, Kan.—Scott Hatton; McCool Junction, Neb.—Rico Abreu; Cameron, Mo.—Kyle Larson.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series top-10 points standings (after 11 of 19 events): 1. Joe B. Miller 1,570, 2. Aaron Andruskevitch 1,285, 3. Andrew Felker 1,130, 4. Jacob Patton 1,075, 5. Jeremy Camp 1,070, 6. Cale Thomas 1,060, 7. Justin Peck 1,020, 8. Steven Russell 870, 9. Derek Schuett 770, 10. Devin Feger 755.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series 2012 race winners: Jacksonville, Ill.—Andrew Felker; Macon, Ill.—Alex Harris; Belleville, Ill.—Travis Senter; Peoria, Ill.—Andrew Felker; Brownstown, Ill.—Andrew Felker; Haubstadt, Ind.—Trent Beckinger; Lincoln, Ill.—Justin Peck; Macon—Aaron Andruskevitch; Marion, Ill.—Chris Andrews; Marion, Ill.—Justin Peck; Marion, Ill.—Chris Andrews.
For more information, go to www.POWRi.com.