BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Assuming the lead on lap eight, Tyler Thomas ensued to go the distance and earn his 13th career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League victory on Friday night at Belle-Clair Speedway.
Acing restart after restart and mastering the tricky, thick cushion, Thomas was undeniable as he nabbed the fourth Lil’ Belleville triumph of his career aboard the BT Machine, Spike/Toyota No. 91t.
Bringing the 24-car main event field to life, Cannon McIntosh and Jake Neuman paced the 12-row pack. In standard “Hello Neuman” fashion, Jake ripped the lip around McIntosh and put his Jim Neuman Racing, BRANDT, BOSS/SR-11 No. 3n into command of the early lead.
While Neuman shot to the front, Thomas maneuvered from the outside of row two and rocketed into the second spot with a bold slider on McIntosh. Holding a steady lead early on, Neuman’s night came crashing to an early end on the seventh circuit of the 25-lapper, as his car suddenly lost power and slowed to a stop on the backstretch.
Neuman’s misfortune sent him retiring to the infield while Thomas capitalized and moved his No. 91t to the top of the leaderboard. Building a nice, thick cushion up against the iconic Belle-Clair wooden walls, Thomas, McIntosh and the rest of the field continually adapted to an ever-changing fifth-mile surface into the second half of the feature.
Although hampered by a string of several cautions at the mid-race point, Thomas seemed to never waiver, perfecting each restart thrown his way and not allowing McIntosh the opportunity to even dare of a potential bid at the lead.
A green-flag run in the closing stages finally allowed Thomas to extend his advantage while McIntosh kept fighting for more traction atop the cushion and the duo ran into lap traffic. While those two ran away from the field, the battle for third was the most thrilling to witness as Jesse Colwell and Sam Johnson went slider for slider for almost five consecutive laps.
In the end, nobody could match Tyler Thomas on this night, as he controlled the final 18 laps and topped his fourth-career feature at Belle-Clair Speedway.
McIntosh, who is night-after-night so close to that elusive first-career win, was the runner-up finisher on Friday scoring a second-place result in the Dave Mac Motorsports, Drive WFX, Spike/Toyota No. 08. Jesse Colwell, the current POWRi National Midget points leader, rounded out the podium in third-place aboard his Keith Kunz-Curb Agajanian Motorsports, JBL Audio, Bullet/Toyota No. 71.
Closing out the top five was Johnson with a career-best finish of fourth-place and Ace McCarthy with a solid fifth-place run.
Feature (25 laps): 1. 91T-Tyler Thomas (4); 2. 08-Cannon McIntosh (1); 3. 71-Jesse Colwell (3); 4. 72-Sam Johnson (8); 5. 28-Ace McCarthy (9); 6. 103-Broc Hunnell (16); 7. 11-Daniel Robinson (5); 8. 37X-Karter Sarff (13); 9. 9-Daison Pursley (10); 10. 67-Holley Hollan (17); 11. 5D-Zach Daum (6); 12. 97K-Jesse Love (11); 13. 5-Danny Frye (23); 14. 86C-Dave Camfield III (20); 15. 5T-Presley Truedson (14); 16. 37-Max Guilford (24); 17. 17C-Devin Camfield (19); 18. 55-Nick Knepper (15); 19. 50-Daniel Adler (12); 20. 5H-Ryan Mueller (21); 21. 35-Tyler Robbins (22); 22. 3N-Jake Neuman (2); 23. 17-Austin Brown (7); 24. 56AP-Colten Cottle (18).