BELL EARNS 50th MIDGET FEATURE WIN
MARION, Ill. (October 20, 2018) – Christopher Bell took the lead on lap 13 and led the final 28 circuits to earn his 50th career national midget feature victory at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League’s Southern Illinois Shootout at the Southern Illinois Raceway in Marion. All 50 of Bell’s victories have come with Toyota.
The 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion has six midget feature wins this season, including his second consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals title. The victory is the 37th national midget feature win for a Toyota-powered driver in 2018.
Zach Daum started from the pole and immediately moved out to the lead with Logan Seavey sliding into second. Daum’s lead would be short-lived, though, after being caught in a lap four incident that would drop him to the tail end of the field, with Seavey assuming the lead and Bell quickly moving into second after starting from the eight spot.
Three additional yellow flags would slow the action down through lap 11 as Seavey continued to lead Bell, followed by Alex Bright and Jonathan Beason.
Seavey maintained his lead on the lap 12 re-start, but Bell stayed right with him and then made his move for the lead on lap 13. As the race passed the midway point, the lead duo eventually pulled away to make it a two-car race. Bell would maintain the top spot, but Seavey stayed right with him.
A late yellow would create a seven-lap dash to the finish, but Bell simply checked out on the restart, opening up a comfortable lead on the way to his milestone 50th win. Seavey would finish second to make it a Toyota one-two finish for the second consecutive night. They were joined in the top 10 by teammates Tanner Carrick in sixth and Holly Shelton in tenth.
Despite finishing 11th, Tucker Klaasmeyer stretched his championship point lead to 590 points over Ryan Robinson. Klaasmeyer can clinch the 2018 POWRi title simply by advancing to the B main at either of the final two races.
The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League closes out its 2018 season with a pair of races at the Kennedale Speedway Park in Kennedale, Texas, Nov. 9-10.
THOMAS DOMINATES USAC LEFFLER MEMORIAL
WAYNE CITY, Ill. (October 21, 2018) – Tyler Thomas registered a dominating performance in leading 37 of 40 laps on the way to winning Sunday’s USAC P1 Insurance National Midget “Jason Leffler Memorial” at Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Ill. Chad Boat claimed runner-up honors to give Toyota a one-two finish for the night.
Thomas’ victory is his third of the season and his second in three days after capturing the top spot in the POWRi feature at Jacksonville Speedway on Friday. Overall, Toyota-powered drivers have won 38 national midget feature events this season.
Thomas quest for victory began from the outside of the front row on Sunday, next to fellow Toyota driver Jason McDougal. The two quickly pulled out to the lead with McDougal holding down the top spot for the first three circuits before Thomas completed a slider for the lead on lap four.
The leaders began to encounter traffic by lap 12 and Thomas used it to his advantage to begin to pull away, but behind him a new threat was emerging as Christopher Bell had charged up through the field from his seventh starting position, moving into fourth by lap 10, then into third on lap 15. One lap later, Bell claimed second when McDougal was caught up in traffic, only to see his hopes for victory dashed just seconds later when he was collected by a spinning car in lapped traffic. He was able to restart from the back of the pack.
With 15 laps complete, the top five was made up of Thomas, McDougal, Tyler Courtney, Spencer Bayston and Boat. A caution flag would fly once more on lap 20 when McDougal appeared to be clipped by Courtney, sending him spinning and ending his night. As McDougal retired, Boat would claim the third spot.
As the laps began to wind down, Thomas began to stretch his lead as the focus turned to the battle for second between Courtney and Boat. Finally, with just six laps remaining in the 40-lap feature, Boat was able to side into turn one and through two to pass Courtney for second. He would attempt a late run for the lead, but Thomas would pull away again to earn his first USAC national midget win.
Boat claimed the second spot with Bell having climbed all the way through the field to finish sixth after his mid-race incident. Bayston finished seventh and Logan Seavey placed ninth to give Toyota five of the top-10 finishers on the night.
“My parents have worked so hard and put so much time in letting me live my dream, I owe them a huge thank you,” said a victorious Thomas. “This car was on rails all night long. I can’t thank all my sponsors enough. Spike and Toyota Racing gave me some really good equipment tonight. This is such an incredible feeling. It’s not going to set in for a long time. We’re just excited to try to go get another one.”
Seavey continues to lead the USAC title chase with just two races remaining with Brady Bacon currently in second and Boat in third.
The USAC P1 Insurance National Midget Series will head to California for the final two races of the 2018 season beginning at Bakersfield Speedway on Nov. 17 and then closing out at the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway on Nov. 22.