Gilbert, of Charleston, Ill., is second in the points after three events. He has three top-10 finishes in the features, third at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill., eighth at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill., and ninth at Wayne County (Ill.) Speedway. Gilbert trails Dereck King, of Vienna, Ill., 580-430 going into Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, Ill., on Friday (June 3) and Peoria (Ill.) Speedway on Saturday (June 4).
“Rick has been in racing for a lot of years, but he’d been out of it for 25,” Gilbert said. “He decided to get back into it late last season and bought a car. He and my dad (Jack Gilbert) knew each other 25 years ago and we got together and decided to go racing in POWRi this season. I love it. I like POWRi racing due to the fact that every event is so competitive. If you make the feature, you’ve accomplished something with how many cars that show up and it’s fun traveling to all these different tracks.”
The 26-year-old Gilbert was the champion of the disbanded National Modified Midget Association’s Micro 600cc non-wing series in 2005. He switched to Sprint Cars the next season and it’s been his focus until this year.
“We’re kind of in our first year in full-time 600 racing,” Gilbert said. “So far, so good. It’s a new car, new everything and we’re trying to learn the set-up. It feels like we’re getting a grip on it and, hopefully, we’ll pull off a few wins. We’ve only run car five or six times total and we’re still trying to figure it all out.”
Gilbert and Marsh, of Tuscola, Ill., are planning on running the entire 27-race season to attempt to win the championship.
“We’re going to try,” Gilbert said. “It’s our goal at least.”
Gilbert has been driving race cars since he was five, spending time in Quarter Midgets, Junior Sprints and Micros and Sprints. He‘s been to Fayette County, but has never raced at Peoria. Both tracks are quarter-miles.
“I ran the Sprint Car at Brownstown,” Gilbert said. “It’s a little tight for a Sprint Car. I’ve never raced there with Micros, but for a Micro, it’s a big track. I don’t know what to anticipate, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never raced at Peoria in anything and don’t know what to expect.”
The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series also runs at Fayette County and Peoria, in co-sanctioned events with the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association. Three-time New Zealand Midget champion Michael Pickens is entered, too.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series top-10 points standings (after three of 27 events): 1. Dereck King 580, 2. J.B. Gilbert 430, 3. (tie) Joe B. Miller, Aaron Andruskevitch 370, 5. Trent Beckinger 330, 6. Paul Nienhiser 325, 7. Jeremy Camp 310, 8. Kara King 270, 9. Natasha Cox 250, 10. Andrew Felker 220.
POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series 2011 race winners: Du Quoin, Ill.–Ryan Langston; Belleville, Ill.–Aaron Andruskevitch; Wayne County, Ill.—Dereck King.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.