Jacob Patton finished 11th in the feature in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series at Wayne County (Ill.) Speedway on May 21, but he should be a bona fide contender to win when the series returns to the 1/8th-mile track Friday (Sept. 9) and in Saturday’s event at Coles County Speedway in Mattoon, Ill.
Patton has been a serious threat in the past five POWRi Micro features. He won at Washington, Mo., on Aug. 6, was passed for the lead on the final lap by Joe B. Miller at Belleville, Ill., on Aug. 10 and finished second to Andrew Felker at Macon on July 23. Patton led the opening 19 laps and had a 10-car length lead on the 20th and final lap at Lincoln, Ill., in the most recent event on Aug. 20 when a mechanical failure stopped him and he finished 15th. Patton was running second on the previous night at Macon when the same problem, a broken chain, took him out and he finished 22nd.
“We had an awesome car,” Patton said at Lincoln. “Our master link on the chain broke for the second night in a row. We’ll find a new supplier and get that part fixed. We’ve found the setup and with the way our car is handling, we’ll be in victory circle a couple of more times this season. We’ve got things rolling.”
Patton has two wins this season and is fifth in the points, 855 behind leader Trent Beckinger of Evansville, Ind. With five POWRi Micro events remaining, Patton can’t overtake Beckinger, but he’s in range of second place in the championship. The 20-year-old from Bethalto, Ill., trails second place Miller, of Millersville, Mo., by 275 points. Runner-up in the championship would be a big jump from last year, when Patton was ninth.
Beckinger has a commanding 680-point lead over Miller and will be going for his third straight POWRi victory at Wayne County. He finished third there on May 21. He has a series-leading four wins plus five second-place finishes and two thirds in 16 events. Beckinger’s worst finish is eighth. He hasn’t mathematically clinched his first POWRi title, but he’s in a strong position with five events remaining.
POWRi’s scoring system requires drivers to drop their two lowest point races of the year. Beckinger didn’t enter the season-opening event at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, which is eligible to be one of his dropped events. He’s raced in the 16 events since then. POWRi awards 200 points to the feature winner and it descends by 10 points per finishing position to 10 points for 20th place and below.
The POWRi Micros follow Wayne County and Coles County with events in Illinois at Jacksonville Speedway on Sept. 16, Macon Speedway on Sept. 24 and Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville on Oct. 1.
Miller has one victory and 13 top-seven finishes in 15 features. Felker of Carl Junction, Mo., is third in the championship, 720 points behind Beckinger. Felker has three victories and a total of nine top-fives in 17 features, but six finishes of 16th or worse have cost him considerable points.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series top-10 points standings after 17 of 22 events: 1. Trent Beckinger 2,880, 2. Joe B. Miller 2,200; 3. Andrew Felker 2,160; 4. Jacob Patton 1,925, 5. Dereck King 1,820, 6. J.B. Gilbert 1,665, 7. Paul Nienhiser 1,480, 8. Ryan Guyett 1,395, 9. Jordan Campbell 1,385, 10. Natasha Cox 1,105.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series 2011 race winners: Du Quoin, Ill.–Ryan Langston; Belleville, Ill.–Aaron Andruskevitch; Wayne County, Ill.–Dereck King; Brownstown, Ill.–Trent Beckinger; Peoria, Ill.-Andrew Felker; West Plains, Mo.–Triston Tidmore; Springfield, Mo.–Trent Beckinger; Lincoln, Ill.—Mike Hudson; Marion, Ill.—Jacob Patton; Marion, Ill.—Christopher Bell; Belleville, Ill.—Kara King; Belleville, Ill.—Andrew Felker; Macon, Ill.—Andrew Felker; Washington, Mo.—Jacob Patton; Belleville, Ill.—Joe B. Miller; Macon, Ill.—Trent Beckinger; Lincoln, Ill.—Trent Beckinger.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.