BELLEVILLE, Ill. – In one month’s time, the POWRi Lucas Oil National & West Midget Leagues will kick start what is slated to be the biggest season in league history with the sixth annual Turnpike Challenge.
The traditional season opening event for the last few years, the Sooner State special returns to first on the docket this season as the event is bigger and better than ever.
Running from Thursday, March 21 through Sunday, March 24, this year’s Turnpike Challenge features a four-race slate of midgets and micros as racers pour into Oklahoma to compete at Creek County Speedway, I-44 Riverside Speedway and Port City Raceway.
The Turnpike Challenge will open with a trip to Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa, Okla., on Thursday, March 21. A quarter-mile facility that has featured the POWRi Lucas Oil West Midget League for several years, next month’s running will mark the debut of the POWRi National Midgets at Creek County.
A one-night stay at Creek County will be followed by a weekend doubleheader at I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City, Okla. The exclusive home of the Turnpike Challenge for the last two years, I-44 now shares the slate with two other iconic Oklahoma facilities. Retaining their two-day show, racers will encounter I-44’s red dirt clay on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23.
On Sunday, March 24, the 2019 Turnpike Challenge will conclude at the event’s original home, Port City Raceway in Tulsa, Okla. Port City played host to the Turnpike Challenge for three years from 2014-16 and ran six POWRi National & West Midget events over that time.
Originated in 2014, the POWRi National & West Midgets have contested 10 Turnpike Challenge races over the course of the five-year history. After three years at Port City Raceway in Tulsa, the event moved to I-44 Riverside Speedway in Oklahoma City in 2017. However, now the event is truly a Turnpike Challenge, transitioning from Sapulpa to Oklahoma City to Tulsa.
Throughout the five-year history, the Turnpike Challenge has proven to be one of POWRi’s most successful events, boasting an average car count of 58.5 cars in 10 races. While featuring the nation’s best midget racers, nobody has still been able to invade the Sooner State and beat the stout Oklahoma natives.
Partly due to the unreal streak by Norman, Okla.’s Christopher Bell, an Oklahoma native has won every Turnpike Challenge event. Bell is responsible for winning eight of the 10 races, four of those at Port City, four more at I-44, and two he did not attend. Bell has never lost in the Turnpike Challenge. The year Bell was absent, Owasso, Okla.’s Matt Sherrell stepped in to win Friday’s show at Port City and he was followed by Broken Arrow, Okla.’s Jason McDougal fending off Tanner Thorson to win Saturday’s race.