Brad Loyet trails Nick Knepper by 50 points in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series heading into events Friday (Sept. 16) at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway and Saturday (Sept. 17) in the Tom Knowles Memorial at Spoon River Speedway in Canton, Ill.
It’s a crucial weekend in the championship for Loyet, who is trying to win his second straight and third overall in POWRi Midgets. Only two events, Sept. 24 at Macon (Ill.) Speedway and Oct. 1 at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill., remain following Jacksonville and Spoon River and a schedule conflict will force Loyet to miss Macon.
“Hopefully, we can string together a couple of good races because we’ll be missing Macon,” Loyet said. “Hopefully, with a little luck, we can win the championship.”
Loyet won at Jacksonville last year and was “leading it pretty good” when rain stopped the feature at Spoon River two laps short of halfway, the distance required for an official race. They are performances that give him confidence in his Vacuworx Spike-Esslinger this weekend.
“We know what we have underneath us,” Loyet said.
Loyet is contending for two championships this season in two types of cars. He’s also leading the American Sprint Car Series’ Warrior division, a winged Sprint Car series powered by 360-cubic inch engines, in his rookie season. He’ll be racing in it at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., on Sept. 23-24.
“We have a 227 point lead with three races left,” the 23-year-old from Sunset Hills, Mo., said. “Things are pretty good there. I think it would be a pretty big achievement to win two different championships in two types of cars. It’s not often you see it in the same year. It would be a true testament to our team (Loyet Motorsports) to what we can do in all disciplines.”
Loyet has three wins, 11 top-fives and 13 top-10s in 17 features in POWRi Midgets this season. Knepper of Belleville, Ill., has one win, 11 top-fives and 15 top-10s in 18 features. Brad Kuhn of Avon, Ind., is also in contention, 130 points behind Knepper.
POWRi’s scoring system requires drivers to drop their two lowest point races of the year including events not entered. 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 most points Knepper will lose is 10 and Loyet and Kuhn, who leads the series with five feature victories in 14 events entered, will lose none. Every point in the last four races will count for the championship.
The POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series also races at Jacksonville’s ¼-mile track. Trent Beckinger of Evansville, Ind., has a 680-point lead over Joe B. Miller of Millersville, Mo., with five events, including two postponements that POWRi hopes to reschedule, remaining.
Beckinger will be going for his third straight victory. 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.
Jeremy Camp of Blue Mound, Ill., won last year’s POWRi Micros feature at Jacksonville and Beckinger finished second.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series top-10 points standings (after 19 of 23 events): 1. Nick Knepper 2,560, 2. Brad Loyet 2,510, 3. Brad Kuhn 2,430, 4. Austin Brown 1,880, 5. Tim Siner 1,740, 6. Andrew Felker 1,720, 7. Chett Gehrke 1,685, 8. Brett Anderson 1,480, 9. Dereck King 1,050, 10. Tyler Robbins 1,015.
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series 2011 race winners: Du Quoin, Ill.–Tony Roney; Grain Valley, Mo.–Brett Anderson; Wheatland, Mo.–Brad Loyet; Belleville, Ill.–Brad Loyet; Brownstown, Ill.–Michael Pickens; Peoria, Ill.–Michael Pickens; West Plains, Mo.–Tyler Thomas; Springfield, Mo.–Brad Loyet; Belleville, Ill.—Nick Knepper; Belleville, Ill.—Brad Kuhn; Wilmot, Wis.—Brad Kuhn; Sun Prairie, Wis.—Jerry Coons Jr.; Macon, Ill.—Bryan Clauson; McCool Junction, Neb.—Brad Kuhn; McCool Junction, Neb.—Brad Kuhn; Cameron, Mo.—Kyle Larson; Belleville, Ill.—Brad Kuhn; Macon, Ill.—Dave Darland; Lincoln, Ill.—Bryan Clauson.
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.