DU QUOIN, Ill. (Sept. 1, 2012)—Bryan Clauson made a last-lap, last-corner pass to finish less than a foot ahead of Tyler Thomas to win the feature in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Jake Neuman drove to his first victory in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series in the Dean King Memorial finale Saturday at the Southern Illinois Center one-sixth Mini-Magic Mile.
Clauson chased Thomas for the opening 29 laps, but a final slide job that began in turn three put him a couple of feet in front exiting turn four. Thomas went under Clauson and they ran side-by-side to a few feet from the checkered flag. Their rear wheels touched and Thomas flipped on his side as the race ended.
It was the 17th career victory in POWRi Midgets for Clauson, the National Midget Driving champion for the 2009 through 2011 seasons and 2012 Indy 500 starter from Noblesville, Ind.
“I kept throwing sliders at him to break his momentum and I finally did it in turns one and two (on the final lap),” Clauson said. “It gave me a good run in the drag race to turn three and I was able to get past him in turns three and four. Experience won a little bit there. It feels really good to win another POWRi race.”
Thomas maintained the lead following the final restart on lap 26.
“I was driving a little too defensively the last couple of laps,” Thomas said. “He got a run on us. It was the most fun I’ve had racing these Midgets. Racing guys like Bryan Clauson teaches you a lot.”
The 16-year-old from Collinsville, Okla., is in his second season driving Midgets and won his second POWRi feature Friday.
“We made him (Clauson) work for it,” Thomas said. “It’s something to be proud of. I never would have dreamed of racing for the lead with Bryan Clauson. We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.”
Thomas started on the inside of the second row, Clauson on the outside of the front row. Clauson and Thomas emerged from the second corner running one-two and Thomas passed him on the inside in turns three and four to take the lead.
“I had a really good start,” Thomas said. “I was in shock to be in first.”
They were never separated by more than two or three car lengths the rest of the race, which had three cautions.
Brett Anderson of Belleville, Ill., ran third the entire feature.
“We weren’t good enough for Clauson and Thomas,” Anderson said. “We didn’t have much for them. You can’t be off even a little bit if you want to win. You have to be on top of your game.”
Neuman, a 15-year-old from New Berlin, Ill., started on pole and led all 30 laps. His best finish in 10 previous features was fourth at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway on Aug. 17.
“It feels great,” Neuman said. “I think the cautions (five) helped us. I was able to keep on my (inside) line.”
Spencer Montgomery of Neoga, Ill., finished second for his best finish in POWRi Micros. He started in seventh position and steadily moved up, passing Carson Short for second on the 14th lap.
Montgomery has four top-10 finishes in 10 features this season, but was coming off his previous best of fourth at Macon (Ill.) Speedway on Aug. 18.
“This race has been a turnaround for the whole season,” Montgomery said. “We got the car good and the track came to us. This is a race I wish I could have won, but I’ll take second.”
Short of Marion, Ill., finished third.
“It was all right,” Short said. “I felt like we could have done better, but it was a one lane track.”
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature results (30 laps): 1. Bryan Clauson, 2. Tyler Thomas, 3. Brett Anderson, 4. Nick Knepper, 5. Tim Siner, 6. Shane Cockrum, 7. Austin Brown, 8. Daniel Adler, 9. Daniel Robinson, 10. Tony Roney, 11. Joe B. Miller, 12. Jake Blackhurst, 13. Dillon Welch, 14. Colten Cottle, 15. Andrew Felker, 16. Rich Camfield, 17. Derek Holmwood, 18. Eric Fenton, 19. Dereck King, 20. Cameron Hagin.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series feature results (30 laps): 1. Jake Neuman, 2. Spencer Montgomery, 3. Carson Short, 4. Jeremy Camp, 5. J.B. Gilbert, 6. Cale Thomas, 7. Corey Nelson, 8. Jacob Patton, 9. Andrew Felker, 10. Joe B. Miller, 11. Derek Schuett, 12 Steven Russell, 13. Justin Peck, 14. Jeremy Zumwalt, 15. Jimmy Wells, 16. Jake Palmisano, 17. Aaron Andruskevitch, 18. Dylan Benscoter, 19. Dereck King, 20. Shawn Sears, 21. Kyle Schlotz, 22. Matt Veach.
For more information, go to www.POWRi.com.