CANTON, Ill. – Justin Peck took his first-career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series feature victory, winning an action-packed Tom Knowles Memorial at Spoon River Speedway on Saturday night.
Starting on the pole, Justin Peck took the early lead with Christopher Bell in tow, the duo followed by Tyler Thomas. As the top three drivers took to the top shelf on the high-banked three-eighths-mile, Bell’s Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Toyota-powered Bullet worked to reel in Peck.
With Peck on an open track and setting a scorching pace, the front pack closed in on lap traffic by lap eight. Sticking to the high side, Peck and Bell quickly dispatched of the lap traffic until lap 13 when Peck’s momentum was slowed by a lap car, allowing both Bell and Tyler Thomas to close.
The following lap Thomas would slide the BT Machine, Esslinger-powered Spike ahead of Bell and into the second position. Entering turn one, Thomas would edge past Peck’s Duracoat Products, Esslinger-powered DRC for the lead.
On lap 16, Devin Camfield would loop it off turn one, bringing out the caution. Coming back to green, Thomas would head right back to the high side, continuing to rip the top with Peck and Bell in tow. As each lap went by, Peck would inch closer to Thomas. Entering turn one on lap 24, Peck would dive to the bottom of the race track and slide up in front of Thomas exiting turn two, only for Thomas to regain the lead going down the back stretch.
Entering turn three, Thomas continued to work the top as Peck shot through the middle attempting another slide job, but this time making contact with Thomas, sending the No. 91T machine sliding off the racing surface and bringing out the caution. Thomas would head to the work area, but would be done for the night.
Leading the field back to green with six laps to go, Peck worked to hold off a relentless Christopher Bell. Coming to the white flag, Bell would try to make a move for the lead, only to have the door slammed shut. Entering turn three for the final time, Bell would roll the bottom, but Peck proved to have too much momentum rim-riding the topside on his way to victory.
Darren Hagen would take third in the Austin Brown, Esslinger-powered BOSS Chassis, while Andrew Felker took fourth in the Sixty-Six Truck and Foreign Salvage, Stanton SR-11-powered BOSS Chassis. Kevin Thomas Jr. would round out the top five in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Toyota-powered Bullet.
“I’ve got to thank my guys,” said Peck. “They gave me a great racecar. But, I want to apologize to Tyler Thomas. I didn’t mean to get into him. I slid him down in one and two and when we went into three and four, I had a little bit of a run there. I probably should have waited another corner.”
“He definitely did an awesome job, so hats off to him and his crew,” commented Christopher Bell. “I kind of expected it to just go around here on the bottom, until the top of the track got blown off. Then we got to the top and starting rolling it pretty good.”
“Hat’s off to my guys,” Darren Hagen said. “Without these guys, I wouldn’t be here; my crew chief, Flea, Corey, Austin Brown. These guys work their butts off every week to get these cars prepared for me.”
Justin Peck, Christopher Bell, Darren Hagen, Andrew Felker, Kevin Thomas Jr., Spencer Bayston, Ryan Robinson, Austin Brown, Kyle Schuett, Tucker Klaasmeyer, Payton Pierce, Derrick Myers, Dave Camfield Jr., Jake Neuman, Mark Chisholm, Dalton Camfield, Brayton Lynch, Tyler Thomas, Andy Huston, Aaron Hull, Devin Camfield.