Belleville, IL – In an almost identical, cowboy up 30 laps that were similar to his first-career victory four years ago at the 8th Annual Charlene Meents Memorial, Austin Brown claimed the 12th Annual Charlene Meents Memorial for his third career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series victory in front of a hometown crowd at Belle-Clair Speedway.
Brown’s Meents Memorial victory was his second win of 2016, with the first coming at Quincy Raceways for night one of Illinois SPEED Week.
Starting third row outside for the 30 lap show honoring one of midget auto racing’s most iconic individuals, Charlene Meents, Brown quickly moved into the third position at the drop of the green flag behind Daniel Adler and Dereck King. Brown’s charge to the front would be slowed three times until the field was able to get a solid green flag stretch. Taking charge on lap 13, King bobbled exiting turn four allowing Brown the chance to pounce.
For the remaining 17 laps Brown had to fend off a hard charging Nick Knepper while working to flawlessly run above the cushion in between multiple momentum-breaking cautions. Coming down to the wire, Brown was able to cushion his lead, crossing the checkers with Knepper in tow. Championship contender Zach Daum finished in the third position with Tyler Thomas in fourth. Daniel Adler rounded out the top five.
“I knew before we pushed out it was my kind of track,” said Austin Brown. “I knew we had a good car, but I’ve got to thank Flea and Corey and all the guys that setup this thing. I’ve got to thank Stephanie Meents for putting this memorial on. It’s actually my second Meents Memorial win, so it’s quite an honor. I think I’m starting to get good at these.”
“Not too bad for a retired racecar driver,” Nick Knepper stated. “I’ve got to thank AJ Felker for giving me a call yesterday afternoon at about one o’clock. He gave me the opportunity and it was a rocket tonight. Big thanks to AJ and all the guys. I’ve got to thank Zach for racing me the way he did and Austin had a hell of a night. Last of all, I’ve got to wish my mom a happy birthday.”
“We kind of picked a line underneath it and ran a smoother race and were only good enough for third,” Zach Daum commented. “It kind of is what it is. All we can do is keep plugging along and the points will fall where they fall.”
Speedway Motors Heat Race Winners: Heat 1: 31 – DAVID BUDRES, Heat 2: 11A – ANDREW FELKER, Heat 3: 7 – AUSTIN BROWN, Heat 4: 5X – JUSTIN PECK, Heat 5: 3N – JAKE NEUMAN, Heat 6: 5D – ZACH DAUM
Semi Feature Winners: 9K – KYLE SCHUETT, 27 – TUCKER KLAASMEYER
Great Clips Feature Winner: 7 – AUSTIN BROWN
POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Feature Results (30 laps): 1. 7 – AUSTIN BROWN 2. 37X – NICK KNEPPER 3. 5D – ZACH DAUM 4. 91T – TYLER THOMAS 5. 50 – DANIEL ADLER 6. 72 – GRADY CHANDLER 7. 1T – TONY RONEY 8. 22 – ANDY MALPOCKER 9. 57 – CASEY SHUMAN 10. 37 – MICHAEL FACCINTO 11. 83B – JB GILBERT 12. 9K – KYLE SCHUETT 13. 10C – DALTON CAMFIELD 14. 5X – JUSTIN PECK 15. 57D – DANIEL ROBINSON 16. 31 – DAVID BUDRES 17. 7X – GAGE WALKER 18. 91 – DERECK KING 19. 11A – ANDREW FELKER 20. 44 – BRAD LOYET 21. 3N – JAKE NEUMAN 22. 27 – TUCKER KLAASMEYER 23. 5C – COLTEN COTTLE
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