BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Tucker Klaasmeyer earned his first national midget feature victory by claiming the top honors in Friday night’s POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League Knepper Memorial at Belle-Clair Speedway.
Klaasmeyer led an all-Toyota podium, with Keith Kunz Motorsports teammate Ryan Robinson finishing second and Andrew Felker crossing in third.
Toyota-powered entries have now won 10 of the 12 national midget features run in 2018.
Klaasmeyer became the sixth different Toyota driver to reach the winner’s circle in a national event this season, but it didn’t come easy in a virtual slider-fest that turned heated at times.
Starting from the pole, Felker took the lead at the green flag, but Klaasmeyer quickly moved into second and eventually started to challenge for the lead as he and Felker exchanged slider after slider – each time with Felker maintaining the point position.
It was a similar sight behind them, as Robinson closed in on third-place Austin Brown.
After a caution, the battle resumed on lap 10, with Klaasmeyer once again challenging for the top spot and eventually throwing another slider. The duo made contact at that point and Klaasmeyer took over the lead, with Robinson moving into second and Felker shuffled back to third.
Another caution waved at the midway point of the race, allowing 14th-starting Logan Seavey to take advantage. He ducked low to take over third from Felker and then set his sights on Robinson for second.
Seavey executed a huge slider to take over second and quickly began to close on the leader. Seavey attempted to pull off a slider for the lead, but Klaasmeyer didn’t give an inch and held on to the top spot.
As the leaders began to fight their way through lapped traffic, the complexion of the race quickly changed as Klaasmeyer and Sam Johnson made contact, with Seavey then collecting his young teammate Johnson in turn four and bringing out another caution.
Seavey re-fired, but resumed his race from the tail of the field.
Klaasmeyer led the field back to green with eight laps remaining and maintained a comfortable lead over Robinson, while the battle for third heated up after Tanner Carrick made a move for third on Felker. The two traded sliders as they banged together through the corners, but Carrick eventually got caught up in a five-car melee, resulting in the final caution of the night with four laps remaining.
At that point, it was all Klaasmeyer as he pulled away to earn his first national win, with Robinson comfortably in second and Felker completing the podium.
Joe B. Miller and Grady Chandler finished fourth and fifth, respectively, while Seavey came back through the field to eighth.
Tucker Klaasmeyer, Ryan Robinson, Andrew Felker, Joe B. Miller, Grady Chandler, Zeb Wise, Holly Shelton, Logan Seavey, Kyle Craker, Zach Daum, Jake Neuman, Tyler Nelson, Ace McCarthy, Tanner Carrick, Daniel Robinson, Sam Johnson, Austin Brown, Payton Pierce, Karter Sarff, David Camfield Jr., Trey Marcham, Kyle Schuett.