PEORIA, Ill. —Andrew Felker made POWRi Racing history Saturday, becoming the first driver to win features in POWRi’s Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series in the same event.
Felker’s victory in the 30-lap Midget race at Peoria Speedway was also his first in POWRi. The 19-year-old from Carl Junction, Mo., didn’t have any time to celebrate the breakthrough triumph, jumping into his Micro a few minutes later.
It was Felker’s second Micro win this season and 12th of his POWRi career.
“This is a special night for us for sure,” Felker said. Felker started on the outside of the third row in the Midget feature. Using a unique line on the quarter-mile track, he moved up to third behind Brett Anderson and Danny Stratton on the seventh lap. Stratton, of Brownsburg, Ind., passed Anderson, of Belleville, Ill., for the lead on the eighth lap. Felker passed Anderson on the 19th lap and, on a restart on the 24th lap, shot past Stratton exiting Turn Two.
Felker pulled away from Stratton, winning by four car lengths. The key for Felker was the ability to drive his Fontana-powered Spike high in the middle of Turns One and Two and Three and Four, then sharply turn down, gain speed down the banking and have a clear shot in the middle of the track exiting the corners.
“I found it last year when I won here at Peoria in the Micro race,” Felker said. “It works for us because of how we come off the slope and have the car set up. It paid off big time.” Stratton had used the maneuver to pass Anderson earlier for the lead.
“I used the same line to pass Anderson, but when I tried it later in the race, the car didn’t have the bite it had at the start,” Stratton said. “Andrew and his dad (crew chief Danny Felker) hit the setup. I’ll take second for sure. We just
got beat. I’m happy for Andrew. My hat’s off to him.” Anderson finished third, his fourth top-four and sixth straight feature in the top nine.
“Andrew used the diamond off Turn One and Turn Three and was on a rail,” Anderson said. “Big congrats to Andrew, it’s a well deserved win. We didn’t have the car to win and we’ll take third.” Felker started on the pole for the Micro feature, but Paul Nienhiser of Chapin, Ill., passed him on the first lap and established a five-car gap. The race ran flag-to-flag under green and Felker began gaining on Nienhiser with 10 laps to go.
On the 13th lap, Nienhiser made contact with a car he was trying to lap in Turn Two and Felker went into the lead and never relinquished it. Nienhiser finished second. “Traffic will do that to you,” Nienhiser said. “It was definitely a good run for us.”
Travis Senter of Osceola, Ark., finished third. “It was a good run,” Senter said. “We had to start a little too far back
(eighth).” Felker has been running in POWRi Midgets since 2008 and has had several near misses in pursuing what became an elusive victory. He was passed on the last lap by Nick Knepper at Belle-Clair Speedway last season and finished second. Felker led with four laps to go at Jacksonville, Ill., in his first POWRi Midget race four years ago, but “got moved off the line” by another driver. “Ever since that night (Jacksonville), it’s why we’ve worked so hard to get our first
POWRi Midget win,” Felker said. Felker became the sixth driver to win in POWRi’s Midget and Micro Series and the first
to accomplish it in one event.”
“This was the night he’s been dreaming about,” Danny Felker said.