MACON, Ill. (Sept. 29, 2012)—Tyler Thomas drove to his second victory of the season and Brett Anderson kept his championship hopes alive by finishing second Saturday in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series at Macon Speedway.
Thomas started eighth in the 22-car field and took the lead on the 15th of 30 laps on the one-fifth mile track, passing Anderson with a slide job in turns one and two. The 16-year-old from Collinsville, Okla., wasn’t threatened the rest of the way, winning by eight car lengths.
“I didn’t want to be the guy who changed the outcome of the championship, but I had a fast enough car to get out front of Anderson,” Thomas said. “Once I was there, it was on a rail. My dad (crew chief Brian Thomas) gave me a great car and it was a blast to drive.
“I never thought we’d get a win at Macon because we haven’t been that good there. But ever since Du Quoin (Ill.), we’ve had a good handling car on this type of track.”
Thomas won his first feature of the season at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin on Aug. 31 and finished second to Bryan Clauson at the same track on Sept. 1. Thomas’ triumph at Macon was the third of his 35-event career in POWRi.
Anderson needed to finish ahead of championship leader Andrew Felker to stay in the hunt for the title. They started on the front row—Anderson on pole—and ran one-two until Thomas passed Felker for second on the 13h lap.
Felker finished fifth and leads Anderson, 2,980-2,790. POWRi requires a driver to drop its two lowest finishes, which effectively reduces his lead to 170. Anderson didn’t enter eight events this year and two count as dropped. Felker, a 19-year-old from Carl Junction, Mo., can clinch the title by finishing 17th in the season finale on Oct. 6 at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill.
Anderson, the 2008 POWRi Midget champion from Belleville, Ill., was focused on staying alive in the championship more than winning the race.
“We still have a good chance to win it,” Anderson said. “Tyler Thomas was running over the edge and I’m trying to win the championship. I really didn’t let him by when he passed me, but I couldn’t take the risk to try too hard to hold him off.”
Felker was satisfied to take fifth and take his 170-point lead to Belle-Clair.
“We played it a little conservatively on our setup and it bit us,” he explained. “I can’t complain about that. We had the ball in our court when Anderson and I were running first and second and that was fun. I drove smart.”
Trent Beckinger of Evansville, Ind., won his fourth feature of the season in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series, finishing four car lengths in front of Aaron Andruskevitch of Riverton, Ill.
Beckinger won the 2011 POWRi Micros championship with four wins in 19 features. He’s entered only eight events this year. In addition to the four wins, he’s been second twice and third twice.
“When you’re running part time in the series and not for points, you can try different setups and it seems to be paying off,” Beckinger said. “Last year, I ran on the bottom because that was the setup we had and it was working. I ran the top tonight. We also built a new car (Sawyer) and switched to Engler fuel injection (on his Kawasaki) and that’s made a difference for us.”
Andruskevitch strengthened his hold on second place in the points behind Joe B. Miller, who has clinched the championship. The POWRi Micros also close out the season on Oct. 6 at Belle-Clair.
“It was a good run,” Andruskevitch said. “Second is better than last, we’ll take it. My hat’s off to Trent.”
Jacob Patton of Bethalto, Ill., finished third for the third time in the past four features
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature results (30 laps): 1. Tyler Thomas, 2. Brett Anderson, 3. Danny Stratton, 4. Bubba Altig, 5. Andrew Felker, 6. Brad Kuhn, 7. Cameron King, 8. Daniel Adler, 9. Garrett Aitken, 10. Tim Siner, 11. Riley Emmel, 12. Tony Roney, 13. Jeff Flecher, 14. Jake Blackhurst, 15. Dillon Welch, 16. Daniel Robinson, 17. Austin Brown, 18. John Campbell, 19. Nick Knepper, 20. Jay Mounce, 21. Critter Malone, 22. Colten Cottle.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series feature results (20 laps): 1. Trent Beckinger, 2. Aaron Andruskevitch, 3. Jacob Patton, 4. Justin Peck, 5. Jeremy Camp, 6. Kyle Schuett, 7. Nic Harris, 8. Cale Thomas, 9. Michael Bustamante, 10. Max Pozsgai, 11. Trey Datweiler, 12. Jeff Billingsley, 13. Alec Long, 14. Jimmy Miller, 15. John Dines, 16. Evan Weyant, 17. Chad Elliott, 18. Josh Ponder, 19. Derek Schuett, 20. Joe B. Miller, 21. Alex Harris, 22. Devin Feger, 23. Zach Hampton.
For more information, go to www.POWRi.com.