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Michael Pickens won Saturday’s Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series feature at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. (Mark Funderburk photo)

Pickens Powers To Pevely Score

PEVELY, Mo. — Michael Pickens had just enough momentum coming off turn four to the checkers for a last-second surge past Jacob Denney, earning his first victory at Federated Auto Parts Raceway in Saturday night’s Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series event.

The race was co-sanctioned by the POWRi Midget League.

Denney grabbed the lead on a restart with 12 to go and was holding off the field by circling the very bottom of the track. 

Pickens gave chase on a restart with three to go, putting his car on top and blasting around the outside on the last lap. In the final corner, it looked as if Denney would have just enough to hang onto the win, but Pickens’ Toyota-powered Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports car carried enough momentum to edge Denney at the finish by just over a tenth of a second.

Pickens, an accomplished racer from Auckland, New Zealand, became the fifth different winner through the series’ first five races.

“I’m not sure if he missed his marks or what, but we made a ton of ground coming off turn two and turn four,” said Pickens, 39, who pocketed $5,000 for the victory and is now headed back to his native New Zealand. “It was super tricky trying to hit my marks down there, it was like a long, big run. I had to lay my right rear over it in the black.

“I’ve got a to say a massive, massive thank you to Dave Mac Dalby Motorsports. They put me in this car just for this weekend. I’ve heard so many cool stories about this place. It’s a privilege to race in America, but especially to race at Pevely and get a win. Sitting on that plane for 15 hours out of Houston is going to be a lot shorter ride than it would have been without a win.”

Pickens started from the outside of the front row and grabbed the lead on the initial start of the 30-lapper, but polesitter Chase McDermand recovered and led until the caution on Lap 18. McDermand bounced through the middle of turns one and two on the restart and Denney pounced on the opportunity.

Denney led through four more restarts, including one following a red flag when Emillio Hoover flipped with seven to go.

“It definitely sucks, but congratulations to Michael and the whole Dave Mac Dalby crew,” said Denney. “Michael ran a better last three laps than I did. I just didn’t do the best laps I could do when it counted.”

Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series championship points leader Zach Daum charged from 11th to finish third, maintaining a streak of five top-10 finishes.

“Michael made the middle and the top work,” said Daum. “We passed a lot of cars on the bottom and then we kind of fell in line towards the end. We just kept chugging. We’ve been battling some electrical gremlins the past week, I think we finally got those straightened out. The motor runs good, we just need to finish one of these. Consistency wins championships. I’ve been in championship deals before, I know what it takes. If we keep putting ourselves in this position we’re going to win a race. We just have a few more things to fine tune and then we’ll be alright.”

The finish:

Feature (30 laps): 1. 08$-Michael Pickens[2][$5,000]; 2. 61-Jacob Denney[3]; 3. 9M-Zach Daum[11]; 4. 21K-Karter Sarff[8]; 5. 01-Bryant Wiedeman[17]; 6. 40-Chase McDermand[1]; 7. 26-Chance Crum[5]; 8. 97-Brenham Crouch[6]; 9. 25K-Taylor Reimer[12]; 10. 84X-Jesse Love[9]; 11. 71M-Cade Lewis[7]; 12. 7U-Kyle Jones[4]; 13. 51B-Joe B Miller[14]; 14. 84-Jade Avedisian[15]; 15. 06-Rylan Gray[13]; 16. 97K-Ben Rhodes[20]; 17. 71K-Dominic Gorden[18]; 18. 44-Branigan Roark[22]; 19. 19AZ-Hayden Reinbold[16]; 20. 21E-Emilio Hoover[21]; 21. 7-Shannon McQueen[19]; 22. 97A-Mitchell Davis[10].