MARION, Ill. – Jake Neuman capitalized late to find victory lane with the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League on Saturday night during the Southern Illinois Shootout at Southern Illinois Raceway.
Going green for the 30-lap main event, Jesse Colwell quickly put his right foot down and hammered around polesitter Tyler Courtney to gain initial command of the lead. Entering with the championship lead under his own control, Colwell set sail with a focus on keeping his nose clean.
Lap traffic on lap five quickly threw a wrench into that plan as Colwell dealt with backmarkers in front of him and a furiously fast Courtney hot on his tail. A lap eight side-by-side bout nearly ended in chaos when Colwell closed the door on Courtney into turn three and launched out of a hole into a lapper, but luckily his No. 71 mount recovered and kept control of the top spot before third-running Cannon McIntosh brought out the red flag with a gnarly turn one flip off the fence.
Back to green on lap nine, Courtney successfully attacked Colwell as he bobbled, moving the Clauson-Marshall Racing No. 17JR to the point. Courtney, a two-time winner in POWRi competition, drove off into lap traffic through the middle stages while Colwell dropped at the hands of his KKM teammates, Tanner Carrick and Holley Hollan.
At the halfway mark, Colwell’s No. 71 slowed to a halt in turn two to bring out the caution and throw some serious championship implications into the fray as he went to the pit area with a mechanical issue. Returning to racing with ten to go, Courtney continued to lead Carrick while Chris Andrews made it by Hollan for the third spot.
Coming together in a fight for the top spot, Colwell and Courtney collided off turn four on the 23rd circuit. They both kept it together and held onto first and second, but the damage was already done. Over the next lap, Carrick’s front end folded on the No. 71K and then Courtney’s left rear went flat, eliminating both contenders from the show.
Inheriting the lead with eight laps left, Chris Andrews commanded the field in the Jim Miller owned No. 95. The chaos quickly resumed, however, as Andrews’ bid for his first National Midget win was shattered just three-quarters of a lap later, when contact between he and Jake Neuman shot the No. 95 around and to a stop.
The final restart saw Neuman fire off with the lead with Andrew Felker and a hard-charging Buddy Kofoid at his heels. Neuman took the conservative route around the inside, but Kofoid, who was making his first POWRi National Midget start, was going all-out after making it to the front from 17th. Kofoid was a show in-and-of himself over the final eight laps while running high, biking big and smashing the gas in pursuit of Neuman, a race that he would make close, but ultimately fall just short of stealing.
At the checkered flag, it was Neuman withstanding the chaos and winning the Southern Illinois Shootout from the 11th spot.
Kofoid settled for second in his POWRi debut after starting 17th, followed by Felker, Daison Pursley and Logan Seavey.
1. 3N-Jake Neuman (11); 2. 97-Buddy Kofoid (17); 3. 44S-Andrew Felker (5); 4. 9-Daison Pursley (7); 5. 67-Logan Seavey (6); 6. 27-Tucker Klaasmeyer (12); 7. 7U-Kyle Jones (13); 8. Zach Daum (19); 9. 28X-Kameron Key (18); 10. 97K-Jesse Love (23); 11. 47BC-Andrew Layser (20); 12. 95-Chris Andrews (9); 13. 88-Tyler Nelson (15); 14. 72-Sam Johnson (14); 15. 17JR-Tyler Courtney (1); 16. 71K-Tanner Carrick (8); 17. 67K-Holley Hollan (4); 18. 57D-Daniel Robinson (16); 19. 103-Broc Hunnell (22); 20. 4F-Chad Frewaldt (21); 21. 71-Jesse Colwell (2); 22. 28-Ace McCarthy (10); 23. 08-Cannon McIntosh (3).