Friday, October 2nd
Belleville, IL – Tyler Thomas of Owasso, Oklahoma claimed the 11th Annual Charlene Meents Memorial at Belle-Clair Speedway after a hard fought battle with Zach Daum for his sixth career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series victory, while Darren Hagen’s podium finish sealed the championship. Joe B. Miller led the final six laps of the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series feature to claim his fifth victory of the 2015 season.
Earning his first-career pole, and in a brand Spike Chassis with Stanton-Fontana power under the hood, Jake Neuman of New Berlin, Illinois led the field to green with Zach Daum to his outside. At the drop of the green flag Daum would take point in the Daum Crop Insurance, Toyota-powered Eagle #5D coming off turn two as Neuman struggled to keep the front wheels on the ground. With one lap in the books, a nine care pile up would occur off turn four involving Tanner Thorson, Austin Brown, Justin Peck, Daniel Adler, Dereck King, Kevin Thomas, Jr., Eric Fenton, Tim Siner, and Joe B. Miller.
Coming back to green, Tyler Thomas would move to the topside and quickly dispatch of Neuman for second. By lap five Thomas was all over Daum for the lead waiting for the right moment to pounce. Entering turn three, Thomas would make his move sliding for the lead only for the caution to fly for Austin Prock and Justin Peck. Resuming racing with nine laps down, Thomas would be all over Daum going down the back stretch and slide for the lead entering turn three, but Daum powered back around, while Darren Hagen took third from Tucker Klaasmeyer.
With 14 laps in the books, the caution would fly as Jake Neuman slowed on the front stretch with a flat left rear tire. On lap 15, Spencer Bayston would move past Tucker Klaasmeyer for the fourth position, only for the red flag to fly one lap later as Terry Babb tipped over on the front stretch after contact with Austin Brown. Coming back to green, Thomas would dive to the bottom of turns three and four, sliding Daum for the lead, but Daum never flinched and drove right around the outside holding onto control. Entering turn one, Thomas would again slide for the lead and briefly take point down the back stretch, only for Daum to retake control coming to the line.
The action would be slowed on lap 20 as Tucker Klaasmeyer’s WCI, Toyota-powered BOSS Chassis slowed on the back stretch. Coming back to green, Thomas’ BT Machine, Inc., Esslinger-powered Spike Chassis would pounce and again slide Daum for the lead entering turn three, but this time the #5D machine would be unable to return as Thomas would hold the lead down the front stretch. Try as he might, Daum would be unable to get close enough to Thomas to make a move as Thomas would securely cross the line for the 11th Annual Charlene Meents Memorial victory. Darren Hagen would come in third, securely becoming the 2015 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Champion. Tanner Thorson took fourth, while Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.
“When we first started coming here, I was the B-main bandit,” said Tyler Thomas. “I’ve wadded a racecar up here and I never had the best luck here, but man it’s really been a good one for us lately. Three wins since SPEED Week last year here. First of all, I’ve got to thank my dad. He did a really good job setting up the car tonight. It was fun racing with Zach. To race this hard with these guys up here and shake hands about it after the race is pretty awesome.”
“We broke a valve spring or retainer, something in the valve train broke there,” said Zach Daum. “Something was wrong from the get go. Kind of in a hard spot there; you’re leading the thing and you don’t want to pull off. It got to the point where we had to bury the right rear in there to get off and it just wouldn’t pull itself back off. It was a fun little Belleville race; I never thought I’d say that.”
“This team, without these guys this wouldn’t be possible,” said newly crowned 2015 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Champion, Darren Hagen. “All my sponsors, everybody back at the shop, my car owner Austin Brown, my crew Flea and Corey, without their hard work, we wouldn’t have pulled off this championship. It’s really a testament to how good the car is, and how good our chemistry is as a team.”
In what appeared to be Aaron Andruskevitch’s third victory of the 2015 season, a mid-race caution changed Andruskevitch’s fate as Miller received a much needed break due to Tucker Klaasmeyer’s misfortune. Capitalizing on the caution, Miller applied pressure on Andruskevitch until the duo almost made contact off turn four resulting in Andruskevitch barely hanging on, but ultimately spinning entering turn one. Inheriting and finishing in the second position after Andruskevitch’s misfortune, Nic Harris of Atlanta, Illinois would take a 2015 season career-best, holding off Nathan Benson. Jeremy Camp would take fourth, while Joey Wirth rounded out the top five.
“It’s fun racing with Aaron like that,” said Joe B. Miller. “That’s probably the hardest I’ve had to push it here in a long time. I’ve got to thank everyone that helps, and all my sponsors. Without all these people, this wouldn’t be possible.”
“We couldn’t do what we do without the fans,” said Nic Harris. “Without the fans, racing wouldn’t even be a sport. We’ve had terrible luck this year. I’m just happy we finished a POWRi race. I’ve got to thank my dad and all my family.”
“I had the car all wrong there at the beginning, said Nathan Benson. “Thank God for all those cautions and shock adjusters. We didn’t have anything for Joe B, for sure. But we were seventh or eighth early, and we pulled out a podium. Thanks to all the people that make this possible, the FTZ motor ran awesome tonight, so thanks to them.”
Ford Heat Race Winners: Heat 1: 5D – Zach Daum, Heat 2: 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer, Heat 3: 67 – Tanner Thorson, Heat 4: 11A – Andrew Felker
Toyota Semi-Feature Winner: 3 – Joe B Miller
Great Clips Feature Winner: 91T – Tyler Thomas
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Feature Results (30 laps): 1. 91T – Tyler Thomas 2. 5D – Zach Daum 3. 17 – Darren Hagen 4. 67 – Tanner Thorson 5. 39 – Spencer Bayston 6. 71 – Ryan Robinson 7. 67K – Kevin Thomas 8. 22 – Andy Malpocker 9. 91 – Dereck King 10. 9K – Kyle Schuett 11. 88 – Terry Babb 12. 3 – Joe B Miller 13. 15 – Tim Siner 14. 50 – Daniel Adler 15. 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer 16. 7 – Austin Brown 17. 39C – Payton Pierce 18. 41 – Austin Prock 19. 3N – Jake Neuman 20. 11A – Andrew Felker 21. 5X – Justin Peck 22. 14E – Eric Fenton
Ford Heat Race Winners: Heat 1: 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer, Heat 2: N2 – Nic Harris, Heat 3: 23 – Jeremy Camp, Heat 4: 8H – Matt Howard, Heat 5: 51B – Joe B Miller, Heat 6: 21 – Aaron Andruskevitch
Toyota Semi-Feature Winners: 65E – Chad Elliott; 46 – Zac Taylor
Great Clips Feature Winner: 51B – Joe B Miller
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series Feature Results (20 laps): 1. 51B – Joe B Miller 2. N2 – Nic Harris 3. 2B – Nathan Benson 4. 23 – Jeremy Camp 5. 77W – Joey Wirth 6. 1 – Dereck King 7. 14 – Kurt Westerfield 8. 3B – Shelby Bosie 9. 21 – Aaron Andruskevitch 10. 3 – Ayrton Gennetten 11. 46 – Zac Taylor 12. 99 – Alec Long 13. 9 – Austin Stewart 14. 42M – Spencer Montgomery 15. 50 – Brian Jones 16. 30T – Tyler Vantoll 17. 42 – Andy Bishop 18. 22S – Slater Helt 19. 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer 20. 5X – Bobby Bittle 21. 8H – Matt Howard 22. 65E – Chad Elliott 23. 7C – Chris Cochran
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