By Tim Tuttle
Andrew Felker holds a 210-point lead over Brett Anderson with four races remaining in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series going into the Herb Barlow Memorial on Friday (Sept. 14) at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway and the Tom Knowles Memorial on Saturday (Sept. 15) at Spoon River Speedway in Canton, Ill.
Felker, a 19-year-old from Carl Junction, Mo., is challenging for the championship late in the season for the first time. Anderson, a 27-year-old from Belleville, Ill., was the 2008 POWRi Midget champion. Daniel Robinson of Mt. Vernon, Ill., is third, 565 behind Felker. POWRi awards 200 points for winning a feature down to 10 for finishing 20th or worse.
“We’re really happy,” Felker said. “We’d much rather be out front than chasing people. Ever time we think about points, we seem to get into trouble. We’re going to try to win some races and hopefully that will work out.
“Brett is a tough racer and we’re sure he’ll be shooting for us in the last four races. We definitely don’t want to give up any points. We’d like to be out front and force the people behind us to take some big chances to pick up points on us.”
This has been a breakout season for Felker, who won his first POWRi Midget race on May 19 at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway and added his second at Wilmot (Wis.) Raceway on July 14. He has four more top-fives and 11 more top-10s and has made the feature in all 25 events.
“We’ve finally put everything together we’ve learned in the last four years in Midgets,” Felker said. “We brought in Duanne Moore this season to crew chief with my dad (Danny Felker) on the Midget. He’s helped a lot with set ups and the experience in Midget racing he has, different things he likes to try than we used to do. It’s taken some pressure off my dad and I. Duanne works more with the Midget and my dad and I work more on the Micro.”
Felker also races regularly in POWRi’s Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series. He has four wins in 2012 including on April 27 at Jacksonville, where the series also races Friday, and is second on the all-time list with 13. Felker is one of six drivers to have won in POWRi’s Midgets and Micros and the only to do it at the same event, at Peoria in May.
“We’ve definitely found our stride this year and hopefully we’ll keep it up for many years to come,” Felker said.
Felker knows reliability will be a key for him in the remaining events. He dropped out of the Midget feature at quarter-mile Jacksonville on April 27 with engine problems and finished 22nd. Felker was seventh in the POWRi feature at three-eighths mile Spoon River last season.
“We usually run pretty good on the big tracks,” Felker said. “this year, we’ve gotten caught in other people’s messes on big tracks. It’s just a matter of finishing them.”
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series top-10 points standings (after 25 of 29 events); 1. Andrew Felker 2,650, 2. Brett Anderson 2,440, 3.Daniel Robinson 2,085, 4. (tie) Austin Brown 2,000, Chett Gehrke 2,000, 6. Tyler Thomas 1,960, 7. Jake Blackhurst 1,855, 8. Brad Kuhn 1,710, 9. Dillon Welch 1,570, 10. Garrett Aitken 1,440.
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; Belleville, Ill.—Rico Abreu; Lincoln, Ill.—Bryan Clauson; Macon, Ill.—Bryan Clauson; Sun Prairie, Wis.—Brad Kuhn; Du Quoin, Ill.—Tyler Thomas; Du Quoin, Ill.—Bryan Clauson.
For more information, go to www.POWRi.com.