2nd Annual Turnpike Challenge to Serve as the 2015 POWRi Season Opener
March 9, 2015
MILLSTADT, IL - After a long winter, the 2015 POWRi race season will commence at the 2nd Annual Turnpike Challenge in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Port City Raceway will host the two nights of racing on Friday, March 20th and Saturday, March 21st. The 1/8 mile dirt oval will showcase plenty of action, as both the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and POWRi West Midget Series will compete in the first event of the 2015 race season.
The inaugural Turnpike Challenge was dominated by Christopher Bell, as he took home feature wins both nights. Bell, an Oklahoma native, will return to Port City Raceway for the 2nd Annual Turnpike Challenge in hopes to continue the supremacy. Zach Daum, the 2013 and 2014 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series champion, will also travel to Tulsa and attempt to carry the powerful momentum he had during the 2014 season into 2015. The 2014 POWRi West Midget Series champion, Alex Sewell, will be looking to start 2015 at Port City Raceway with a performance that will put him on a path to a repeat championship as well.
With a field of tough competitors on a track that delivers an exciting show for the fans, the 2nd Annual Turnpike Challenge will be an incredible kick off and preview of the 2015 POWRi race season.
2015 POWRi National Midget Series Schedule Released, Featuring Largest Paying Midget Event
Millstadt, IL. - The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series has scheduled 39 events for the 2015 season and will include fan-favorites such as the Turnpike Challenge at Port City Raceway, The Thiel Memorial and Pepsi Nationals at Angell Park Speedway, and the $20,000-to-win Great Clips Jason Leffler Memorial at Wayne County Speedway. The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series will also make their debut at Fairbury Speedway in 2015, a track POWRi was originally scheduled to make their debut at in 2014, but inclement weather forced the cancellation of the event.
The 2015 season begins at Port City Raceway on March 20th and will conclude at Wayne County Speedway on October 23rd for the Jason Leffler Memorial.
The Jason Leffler Memorial, a $20,000-to-win event sponsored by Great Clips, will be the largest-paying midget event in 2015. Held October 23rd at Wayne County Speedway, all proceeds will go to the Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Fund.
The Leffler Memorial was organized by Wayne County Speedway owner Doug Stringer in 2012 to honor his long-time friend who died in a sprint car crash on June 12, 2013. Leffler was 37 and is survived by his five-year old son, Charlie Dean. "This race is my way to honor Jason, who was a great racer, but more importantly a great father to Charlie Dean," Stringer explained. "As we continue to mourn, we must keep Charlie Dean in the forefront of our minds and do everything we can to ensure he grows up knowing what an amazing person his father was and how much he was respected as both a driver and a friend."
Stringer has continued to improve and enhance the facilities since purchasing the track in 2012. In 2014, Stringer added more grandstands, an upper deck area, as well as re-conditioning the track surface with new dirt. Previous winners of the event include 2013 and 2014 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Champion Zach Daum (2013), and 2013 World of Outlaw's STP Sprint Car Series Champion Daryn Pittman (2014).
Returning for the first time since 2008, the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series will run the two day Iron Man 55 at I-55 Raceway in conjunction with the World of Outlaw's STP Sprint Car Series. During the two day Missouri Mid-State Midget Nationals, POWRi will visit the title sponsor-owned, Lucas Oil Speedway on May 2nd, the second and final night of the Missouri Mid-State Midget Nationals. Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana will host the Ford Eco-Boost Challenge with races on Saturday, August 1st and will conclude on Saturday, September 26th. POWRi will also continue to visit their fan-favorite 1/5th mile tracks of Macon and Belleville, with a total of 13 scheduled events between the two tracks alone.
Macon Speedway will host a two-day show on July 3rd and 4th weekend, with the July 4th event paying $5000-to-win. This two day show will be a precursor to the Pepsi Nationals on July 5th at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Continuing to hold their traditional events honoring those who have contributed to the rich history of midget racing, the schedule includes the Arnie Knepper Memorial on August 2nd and the Meents Memorial on October 3rd at Belle-Clair Speedway, as well as the Dana Godfrey Memorial at Macon Speedway on August 22nd.
POWRi's world championship began in New Zealand and continues in Australia later in January. After a short break, the championship renews in the United States on May 23rd at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin for the two-day Thiel Memorial and will conclude on June 7th at Belle-Clair Speedway. Illinois Speed Week includes Quincy Raceway on Thursday June 4th, Jacksonville Speedway on Friday June 5th, Macon Speedway on Saturday June 6th, and closes at Belle-Clair Speedway on Sunday June 7th alongside the world championship.
Fri, March 20 Port City Raceway - Turnpike Challenge
Sat, March 21Port City Raceway - Turnpike Challenge
Fri, April 10 Belle-Clair Speedway
Fri, April 24 Jacksonville Speedway
Sat, April 25 Macon Speedway
Fri, May 1 Valley Speedway - MO Mid-State Midget Nationals
Sat, May 2 Lucas Oil Speedway - MO Mid-State Midget Nationals
Fri, May 8 Belle-Clair Speedway
Sat, May 9 St. Francis County Raceway
Fri, May 15 Fayette County Speedway
Sat, May 16 Macon Speedway
Sat, May 23 Angell Park Speedway - Thiel Memorial
Sun May 24 Angell Park Speedway - Thiel Memorial
Thu, June 4 Quincy Speedway - Illinois SPEED Week
Fri, June 5 Jacksonville Speedway - Illinois SPEED Week
Sat, June 6 Macon Speedway - Illinois SPEED Week
Sun, June 7 Belle-Clair Speedway - Illinois SPEED Week
Fri, July 3 Macon Speedway
Sat, July 4 Macon Speedway
Sun, July 5 Angell Park Speedway - Pepsi Nationals
Sat, July 11 Fairbury Speedway
Sun, July 12 Belle-Clair Speedway
Sat, Aug 1 Tri-State Speedway - Ford Eco-Boost Challenge
Sun, Aug 2 Belle-Clair Speedway - Knepper Memorial
Fri, Aug 7 I-55 Raceway - Iron Man 55
Sat, Aug 8 I-55 Raceway - Iron Man 55
Fri, Aug 21 Lincoln Speedway - Springfield Fair
Sat, Aug 22 Macon Speedway - Dana Godfrey Memorial
Sat, Aug 29 LaSalle Speedway
Fri, Sept 11 Jacksonville Speedway - Herb Barlow Memorial
Sat, Sept 12 Spoon River Speedway - Tom Knowles Memorial
Sat, Sept 26 Tri-State Speedway - Ford Eco-Boost Challenge
Fri, Oct 2 Belle-Clair Speedway - Belleville Bash
Sat, Oct 3 Belle-Clair Speedway - Meents Memorial
Fri, Oct 9 Lincoln Speedway
Sat, Oct 10 Jacksonville Speedway
Fri, Oct 23 Wayne County Speedway - Jason Leffler Memorial
Joey Saldana Steals the Fifth Annual Great Clips Battle at the Center
Sunday, December 21st 2014
Du Quoin, IL. - Joey Saldana of Brownsburg, Indiana led the final five laps in the Shannon Saldana-owned Esslinger-powered Spike Chassis, cruising to victory in the non-points event organized by the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series on the 1/6 "Mini-Magic Mile" at the Southern Illinois Center at the Du Quoin State Fair Grounds.
Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Indiana started on the outside front row in the Rusty Kunz Racing/Curb-Agajanian, Esslinger-powered Spike Chassis and lurched into the lead at the drop of the green flag with 2013 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Rookie of the Year, Parker Price-Miller in tow. As Clauson checked out and started working his way towards lap traffic, Andrew Felker's Fontana-powered Boss Chassis would slow entering turn three, while simultaneously Spencer Bayston's Esslinger-powered Spike would slow on the high-side entering turn three, bringing out the caution and momentarily cooling off the Great Clips Battle at the Center presented by K & N Filters.
With 20 laps down, Clauson would lead the field back to green, and after quickly dispatching the lap car in between himself and Clauson, Saldana would attempt to reel in Clauson with no avail. With Clauson comfortably out front, Christopher Bell of Norman, Oklahoma would pick up momentum and reel in Saldana, overtaking the second position on lap 26 and setting his sights on Clauson for the lead. As Bell's Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports' Toyota-powered Bullet had closed in on Clauson enough to be positioned to challenge for the lead, 2012 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Champion Andrew Felker and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. would tangle in turns one and two, collecting Clauson and Bell, bringing out the second caution of the feature. Damage sustained to Bell's machine would be enough to end his bid for the win.
Capitalizing on Clauson and Bell's misfortune, "The Brownsburg Bullet," Joey Saldana would inherit control on lap 35. Also gaining ground from the caution was Dereck King of Vienna, Illinois and Nick Knepper of Belleville, Illinois as both drivers moved into the top three. When Saldana led the field back to green, Clauson would begin the daunting task of working his way back towards the front with 5 laps left. With Saldana out front, Knepper would close on King and start working him over for the second position. As Knepper was positioned to strike, King would loop it entering turns one and two, collecting Knepper, Ryan Criswell, Seth Motsinger, Kevin Ramey and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., bringing out the caution and slowing the action for the final time on lap 37.
With three laps left, it would be a shootout to the finish between Saldana, Justin Peck of Monrovia, Indiana and Bryan Clauson, who worked all the way back up to the third positon. When the field resumed green flag racing, Saldana would take off as Clauson relentlessly put pressure on Peck for second. On lap 39, Bryan Clauson would overtake Peck, but time would run out as Saldana would take the checkers first, followed by Bryan Clauson and Justin Peck. Coming in fourth was 2014 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series Rookie of the Year, Spencer Bayston and rounding out the top five was Daniel Robinson.
"We got so many people that helped us get this car together," explained a victorious Saldana. "It's just the coolest thing to be able to race and stay home with my family for Christmas. I've been gone for like 13 years going to Australia, so I figured I better find another thing to do to stay home and enjoy the parts of life that fade away really fast. I wish my kids could have been here; they would have loved this, but my son had basketball last night and he's got to do what he loves to do and hopefully I can do something that he's proud of. We had a good car. It just goes to show, if you surround yourself with great people, great things can happen. And tonight it was just a blessing, just right place at the right time. I wasn't fast enough to get caught up in what Bryan and Christopher got caught up in, but I was fast enough to win the race, so that's what counts in the end."
"It's a bummer," said second place finisher Bryan Clauson. "You don't get many racecars that dominant. Just wrong place, wrong time, I guess. It was just one of those deals. It was a bummer; you hate to lose big races especially with a dominant car. I guarantee you, they roll this thing off as good as they did this weekend, the golden driller is going to have to go through us, not the Swindells.
"I was going to try to wait until the last lap to throw a big slider on Joey if I had gotten close enough, but Bryan snuck in there and made it a little fun," explained third place finisher Justin Peck. "It was a good race, had me scared a couple times, thought we were going to get caught up in a wreck."
Results (40 laps): 1. Joey Saldana 2. Bryan Clauson 3. Justin Peck 4. Spencer Bayston 5. Daniel Robinson 6. Andrew Felker 7. Kevin Ramey 8. Ricky Stenhouse 9. Tim Siner 10. Jody Rosenboom 11. Kyle Schuett 12. Dereck King 13. Nick Knepper 14. Seth Motsinger 15. Ryan Criswell 16. Christopher Bell 17. Shane Cockrum 18. Parker Price-Miller 19. Matt Wesfall 20. Tony Roney 21. Dillon Welch.