By Brian Walker
PEVELY, MO – August 7, 2022 – Michael Pickens had just enough momentum coming off Turn 4 to the checkers for a last-second surge past Jacob Denney, earning his first victory at Federated Auto Parts Raceway in Saturday night’s Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented Toyota main event.
Denney grabbed the lead on a restart with 12 to go and was holding off the field by circling the very bottom of the track. Pickens gave chase on a restart with three to go, putting his car on top and blasting around the outside on the last lap. In the final corner, it looked as if Denney would have just enough to hang onto the win, but Pickens’ Toyota-powered Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports car carried enough momentum to edge Denney at the finish by just over a tenth of a second.
Pickens, an accomplished racer from Auckland, New Zealand, became the fifth different winner through the Series’ first five races in its inaugural season.
“I’m not sure if he missed his marks or what, but we made a ton of ground coming off Turn 2 and Turn 4,” said Pickens, 39, who pocketed $5,000 for the victory and is now headed back to his native New Zealand. “It was super tricky trying to hit my marks down there, it was like a long, big run. I had to lay my right rear over it in the black.
“I’ve got a to say a massive, massive thank you to Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports. They put me in this car just for this weekend. I’ve heard so many cool stories about this place. It’s a privilege to race in America, but especially to race at Pevely and get a win. Sitting on that plane for 15 hours out of Houston is going to be a lot shorter ride than it would have been without a win.”
Pickens started from the outside of the front row and grabbed the lead on the initial start of the 30-lapper, but polesitter Chase McDermand recovered and led until the caution on Lap 18. McDermand bounced through the middle of Turns 1 and 2 on the restart and Denney pounced on the opportunity.
Denney led through four more restarts, including one following a red flag when Emillio Hoover flipped with seven to go.
“It definitely sucks, but congratulations to Michael and the whole Dave Mac Dalby crew,” said Denney, of Galloway, OH. “Michael ran a better last three laps than I did. I just didn’t do the best laps I could do when it counted.”
Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series championship points leader Zach Daum charged from 11th to finish third, maintaining a streak of five top-10 finishes, the only driver to accomplish the feat.
“Michael made the middle and the top work,” said Daum, of Pocahontas, IL. “We passed a lot of cars on the bottom and then we kind of fell in line towards the end. We just kept chugging. We’ve been battling some electrical gremlins the past week, I think we finally got those straightened out. The motor runs good, we just need to finish one of these.
Consistency wins championships. I’ve been in championship deals before, I know what it takes. If we keep putting ourselves in this position we’re going to win a race. We just have a few more things to fine tune and then we’ll be alright.”
News & Notes: This weekend’s Xtreme Outlaw Series races at Federated Auto Parts Raceway were run in conjunction with POWRi. … Michael Pickens was quickest overall in Whitz Racing Products Group Qualifying, turning a lap around the high-banked 1/3-mile oval in 12.770 seconds. … Heat race winners included Brenham Crouch, Karter Sarff, Cade Lewis and Chase McDermand, who pulled a “0” for the inversion. … Bryant Wiedeman won the Last Chance Showdown with former NASCAR Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes earning the final transfer to the main event. … Emillio Hoover and Branigan Roark used provisionals to start the Feature.
Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series Feature Results (30 laps) – 1. 08$-Michael Pickens[$5,000]; 2. 61-Jacob Denney; 3. 9M-Zach Daum; 4. 21K-Karter Sarff; 5. 01-Bryant Wiedeman; 6. 40-Chase McDermand; 7. 26-Chance Crum; 8. 97-Brenham Crouch; 9. 25K-Taylor Reimer; 10. 84X-Jesse Love; 11. 71M-Cade Lewis; 12. 7U-Kyle Jones; 13. 51B-Joe B Miller; 14. 84-Jade Avedisian; 15. 06-Rylan Gray; 16. 97K-Ben Rhodes; 17. 71K-Dominic Gorden; 18. 44-Branigan Roark; 19. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold; 20. 21E-Emilio Hoover; 21. 7-Shannon McQueen; 22. 97A-Mitchell Davis.
NEW Championship Standings (After 5/10 races) – 1. Zach Daum (1062); 2. Brenham Crouch (-60); 3. Bryant Wiedeman (-78); 4. Kyle Jones (-136); 5. Taylor Reimer (-155); 6. Chance Crum (-167); 7. Sam Johnson (-250); 8. Jade Avedisian (-261); 9. Dominic Gorden (-283); 10. Ethan Mitchell (-344).
Next Up: The Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series presented by Toyota joins the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models Aug. 26-27 at Davenport Speedway in a couple of $4,000-to-win showdowns.