Behind the Wheel
Kings Without Wings
Felker launches run for two championships in season opener for POWRi Midgets, 600cc Outlaw Micros at Belle-Clair
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (March 20, 2013)—Andrew Felker had a breakout season in 2012, winning his initial two features and the championship in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series. The 20-year-old from Carl Junction, Mo., also became the first driver to take victories in POWRi’s Midget and Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series in the same event.
They are successes that have fueled his confidence and ambition going into the 2013 season, which begins Saturday (March 23) with the POWRi Midgets and Micros plus UMP Modifieds in the Bullring 30s on Belle-Clair Speedway’s one-fifth mile track.
“Our goal is to try to win both championships,” Felker said. “We definitely want to back up what we were able to do in the Midgets and we want to run more consistently up front and rack up some more wins.”
Felker is a proven race winner in the Micros. He has had at least three in each of the past four seasons and 14 total, second on the all-time POWRi list to Dereck King’s 20. Felker had four in 2012 including on May 19 when he won in both divisions—and his first in a Midget—at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway.
“The Micro championship is unfinished business,” Felker said. “And it would be awesome to overtake Dereck King, who has been the best Micro driver (with three championships) in POWRi history.”
Felker drove in all 29 POWRi Midget features last year and had nine top-fives and 17 top-10s. He had a strong post-season, too, finishing second to Tony Stewart in POWRi’s non-points Battle at the Center at DuQuoin, Ill., in December and reaching the A main in the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla., in January. Both indoor events attracted all-star fields and the Chili Bowl had 270 entries.
“I’m more confident than ever and you could see it at the Battle at the Center and the Chili Bowl,” Felker said. “It was my first time to make the A main (where he was a DNF/20th). I had to pass Levi Jones and Cole Whitt on the last lap of the B main to make it to the A.”
Felker’s experience is also a factor in his improvement. Racing frequently in two series in the same event takes considerable energy and effort, but he believes the tradeoff of more laps on the track is worth it.
“I don’t think it takes away,” Felker explained. “I’m getting to see the track multiple times. You take what you’re doing in each division and put it together. It’s an advantage to see the track more than anybody.”
Felker had four wins in the POWRi Micros a year ago, but finished seventh in the championship. He had several mechanical failures early in the year that put him out of title contention and when he was leading the points in the Midgets in the second half of the season, he either didn’t enter or withdrew from the Micros in order to concentrate on the Midgets. Felker drove in 14 of the 19 Micro features.
Felker returns with his family-owned team intact. Danny Felker, his dad, was joined by Duane Moore as co-crew chief a year ago. He’ll drive a Fontana-powered Spike in the Midgets and a Momo Suzuki-powered Suzuki in the Micros.
Felker’s schedule for 2013 isn’t limited to POWRi, which has 10 Midget events co-sanctioned with USAC and 18 with Badger Midget Auto Racing Association included in its 39 scheduled events. The three sanctioning bodies converge for four events this season. POWRi has 26 events scheduled.
“We have a tentative schedule with 65 events,” Felker said. “Our game plan is to run the full POWRi, run all of the USAC we can and all of the Badger. We’ll run most of them with Felker Motorsports, but will probably try to find some rides for Badger events.”
Grandstands for the Bullring 30s open at 5 p.m., hot laps begin at 6 and racing at 7. Tickets are $15 for adults and children under 12 are free. Pit passes are $30.
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