WHEATLAND, Mo. — Jacob Denney led all 25 laps of the POWRi National and West Midget League feature Saturday night at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Also picking up feature wins at the 12th annual Impact Signs Awnings Wraps Open Wheel Showdown were Chase Johnson (POWRi WAR Sprints) and Matt Covington (ASCS Sooner and Region Regions).
Denney picked up his first career POWRi National Midget League feature triumph. It was worth $4,000 for the 18-year-old driver.
“It feels amazing,” Denney said in victory lane. “I feel like I lost one on my own last night with a mental mistake on my part. I was gonna do everything in my power to get these guys a win. They deserve it. They give me a great piece every time it hits the track. I want to thank the good Lord up above for keeping me safe and allowing me to have such a good life.”
Denney took the lead at the drop of the green from his front-row starting position with Daniel Adler settled into second after starting inside row two. Denney held a 1.1-second lead when the first caution flew on lap four.
Only one lap was completed after the restart before another caution slowed the action, with Denney and Adler still 1-2. On the ensuing restart, seventh-starting Chase Johnson drove into second as Adler slipped back.
Denney opened a 1.7-second lead as the battle for second took place behind him, but a lap-nine caution wiped out his cushion. Two more cautions followed over the next two laps as the front two remained unchanged with Jake Andreotti moving into third and Corbin Rueschenberg in fourth.
Finally getting a lengthy green-flag run, Denney rolled to a 3.3-second command by lap 18 over Johnson, who has nearly a straightaway behind the leader. Denney poured it on from there. He said he kept looking at the video board in turn three as he went down the backstretch, but rarely saw himself.
“I figured since I wasn’t on the big screen, I must have had a pretty good lead,” Denney said. “I wasn’t trying to look at the laps or count them down, but at 20 I said all right, don’t jump the cushion or don’t get tight, you’ll be all right.”
Denney rolled to a 5.04-second victory over Johnson as the checkers flew.
“It was a good time. I just wish we could have been one more spot higher on the podium, but running second is pretty awesome,” Johnson said. “It’s awesome to be here at Lucas Oil Speedway.”
Andreotti finished third with Karter Sarff rallying from 16th to finish fourth and Rueschenberg was fifth.
Feature Results (25 Laps)
1. 25-Jacob Denney; 2. 31B-Chase Johnson; 3. 25M-Jake Andreotti; 4. 21K-Karter Sarff; 5. 26-Corbin Rueschenberg; 6. 97K-Cooper Williams; 7. 71E-Mariah Ede; 8. 00-Talin Turner; 9. 7-Shannon McQueen; 10. 23-Ashton Thompson; 11. 7D-Michelle Decker; 12. 31K-Kyle Beilman; 13. 50-Daniel Adler; 14. 3N-Xavier Doney; 15. 56-Mitchell Davis; 16. 13-Elijah Gile
Johnson wins POWRi WAR Sprints thriller
Johnson wrestled the lead away from Jack Wagner with four laps remaining and emerged from a thrilling finish to claim the POWRi WAR Sprint feature. Johnson, 26, won by .233 of a second, or about a car length, to earn his first career POWRi WAR feature win.
“It’s pretty awesome to do this. It was awesome rolling around and seeing the fans get into this,” said Johnson, who flew to Missouri and made it to Lucas Oil Speedway just in time to race. He was subbing for Riley Kreisel, who had a hard wreck on Friday night in a series race at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex.
“To run for the Kreisel family is awesome and to be able to help him out with the car. I know this is their hometown place and hometown fans. Hopefully all of them were rooting us on,” Johnson said.
In a match of front-row starters, Johnson took over the early lead with Wagner in second. They were separated by just over one second, with Xavier Doney running third, as the first caution appeared on lap four.
Wagner capitalized on the restart to slide his way into the lead in turn four. Wagner, who went from last-to-first to win his heat in impressive fashion, couldn’t pull away from Johnson. He was in front by a couple of car lengths when Blake Bowers lost a wheel to bring out a lap-10 caution.
Wagner got the advantage over Johnson on the restart and on lap 14 third-place Wesley Smith pulled off with a mechanical issue. Wagner and Johnson battled up front with Doney nearly four seconds behind by lap 18.
Johnson closed onto the rear of the leader on lap 20, pulling alongside in turn two but was unable to get past.
But Johnson was able to battle his way to the lead on the backstretch of lap 21.
It was Johnson’s race the rest of the way as he held off Wagner by a car length after the duo exchanged slide jobs in turns three and four of the final lap. Johnson had a bobble with two laps left that allowed Wagner to close the gap and make a last-lap run.
“I almost felt like the left rear went flat, but apparently it didn’t,” Johnson said. “It made for one heck of a show those last couple of laps. I didn’t think we were gonna be able to hang on, but here we are.”
Doney finished 4.86 seconds behind the winner in third with Kory Schudy capturing fourth and Anthony Nicholson fifth.
Covington wins ASCS Sooner and Warior feature
Covington led all 25 laps in a hard-earned ASCS Sooner Region/Warrior Region feature victory.
Covington, 33, never was able to establish a comfortable lead but was able to hold off all challenges from Morton as the race remained under green the final 15 laps. It was Covington’s second straight Warrior Region feature win.
It represented a breakthrough as it was Covington’s first victory at Lucas Oil Speedway after several near-misses over the years.
“I love this place,” Covington said. “There’s been some driver error and some unlucky racing things happen. Probably more my fault than not. It feels good to get the win here. It’s one of the places that I’ve been wanting to knock off the bucket list. Two Warrior Region wins in a row for us. We kind of struggled out of the game on the national tour and thought we’d keep racing, trying to get some speed, and so far I think we have.”
Covington rolled from his pole-starting position to a 1.5-second lead over Chance Morton just three laps into the feature when action was slowed by the race’s first caution for a spinning car in turn three.
Two more cautions followed over the next two laps, the second when third-place Slater Helt drifted too high and hit the turn four wall to end his night. Covington led by .686 seconds when another caution, on lap 10, bunched the field with Morton and Roger Crockett behind him. Finally getting a consistent green-flag run, Covington was unable to get breathing room and Morton closed within three car lengths by lap 18.
By lap 20, Morton with within .282 seconds but was unable to get any closer. Covington held on to beat Moore by .342 seconds at the finish.
Crockett captured third with Chase Porter fourth and Brandon Anderson finishing fifth.