LINCOLN, Ill. — Michael Pickens led all 30 laps en route to his eighth career victory in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Nathan Benson won his first feature of the season in the POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series at Lincoln Speedway in Friday’s second event of POWRi Speed Week.
Pickens climbed into sixth place on POWRi’s all-time midget win list. The 30-year-old from New Zealand has made the long flight to race in seven of POWRi’s nine seasons and has entered 18 events. He’s won in six of his last seven starts.
The midgets were co-sanctioned by Badger and had 47 entries at Lincoln. The multi-time New Zealand and Australian Midget champion started on pole and streaked away from a strong field of 23 starters on the start and two restarts. His lead was never threatened in his Bill Buckley-owned BSL Racing Breka-Essingler, which was shipped from New Zealand. Pickens is also working with his regular crew.
“What an awesome car,” Pickens said. “I have to thank my team for giving me a bullet race car. On the restarts, I pushed away from those guys for a couple of laps and then tried not to make mistakes. The lapped traffic was hard to clear because I wasn’t lapping slow guys.”
Pickens ran the top throughout. The race began with 22 green-flag laps. Darren Hagen was running second for the restarts on laps 23 and 27 and he finished sixth following a wild scramble behind Pickens in the last four laps.
Andrew Felker, the 2012 POWRi National Midget champion from Carl Junction, Mo., made a spectacular pass following the final restart to move up to and finish second, overtaking Hagen and Tyler Thomas with a slide job in turns three and four with his Fontana-powered Spike.
“I was able to get under Darren and Tyler in turn two and got a run down the back straight on both,” Felker said. “I was able to complete a slide job on them both in turns three and four.”