DUQUOIN, Ill. — Dereck King will race in POWRi’s Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series in the sixth annual Dean King Memorial, an event that honors his grandfather, on Friday and Saturday at the Southern Illinois Center’s one-sixth mini-magic mile.
It’s a very special event for King, who prizes a victory in the Midgets or Micros above all of his considerable accomplishments. King was the POWRi Micro champion for three straight seasons from 2007 through 2009 and is the all-time leader with 20 victories in the series.
“It doesn’t pay like the 66 Mike Phillips Memorial, but as far as a race I want to win, it’s at the top of my list,” King said.
The King family of Vienna, Ill., has a storied racing history–primarily in the Micros–that began in southern Illinois. Dean King contributed to the growth of the Micros with dedication to help build cars for son Rick King and other drivers.
“My dad (Rick King) began running Micro sprints in the late ‘80s at Marion (one-eighth mile Southern Illinois Raceway) and my grandfather helped work on my dad’s car,” Dereck King said. “He was at the track every single weekend in the racing season. My grandfather started helping put together other cars in the area in the early ‘90s into the late ‘90s and he had a shop did that for several years after that.”
Dereck King, 27, began racing Micros at age 16 and won his first feature at 17. Starting in 2005, King had at least one POWRi Micro victory for seven straight seasons, but has run a limited schedule in 2012.
“We’ve focused on some of the bigger races to cut down on travel,” King said. “We’ve run 11 races in Micros and have four feature wins. So far, it’s turned out pretty good this year.”
King has been in four POWRi Micro features in 2012, three in the 66 Mike Phillips at Marion that paid $10,000 to winner to Chris Andrews in the grand finale on July 21. King was fourth in the field of 101 cars and was third at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill., in his fourth race on Aug. 12.
“We feel pretty good about our chances (in the Dean King),” King said. “We’ve concentrated on it in particular since the 66 Mike Phillips. Our confidence is pretty high.”
King was second in the Micro feature and fourth in the Midgets in the 2011 Dean King, held in March. He won the POWRi Micro races at the indoor Southern Illinois Center track in the late summer of 2009 and 2010.
“For some reason, whenever we’ve run the Dean King, we’ve run up front, but haven’t won, but have won in the late summer races on the same track,” King said.
King will also be a threat in the Midgets, which would be his first victory in the division in POWRi. He was fourth in the Dean King in March, 2011.
King began racing POWRi Midgets in 2006, when he was the Rookie of the Year. He has five second-place finishes in 74 career starts. He’s entered five POWRi events this season and has been ninth at Macon, Ill., and Belleville in his last two features.
The King family will be well represented in the Dean King. Sister Kara King Hudson will also race Midgets and Micros. She has two POWRi victories in Micros. Mike Hudson, Kara King’s father-in-law, will be driving in the Midgets and Rick King will be the team’s crew chief.
“Being this close to home, we’ll definitely draw a lot of fans who know us and knew my grandfather,” Dereck King said. “It definitely would be special to win for him.”