May 3, 2014 — official release — POWRi photo — GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. – Darren Hagen led all 30 laps of Friday’s Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget Series at Valley Speedway to earn his first victory of the season.
Polesitter Hagen took the lead on the start and held off an initial challenge from Chett Gehrke until California native Cole Wood’s flipping car brought out the red flag on lap two. Wood was alright, but unfortunately done for the night.
When the race resumed, Hagen remained cool under the pressure applied by Gehrke and eventually started to pull away as a duel between Gehrke and Parker Price-Miller ensued. Price-Miller, the 2013 Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget Series Rookie of the Year, overtook Gehrke and looked to be gaining ground on Hagen until his car lost power, bringing out the yellow and bunching up the field again.
The restart would give Gehrke another shot at Hagen, but it would also give Colten Cottle a shot at Gehrke. Coming from 10th place, Cottle in his Esslinger-powered DRC would be able to capitalize on Gehrke’s fading car with Jake Blackhurst in tow.
“We managed to get up to the top-five pretty fast,” explained Cottle. “We got a new DRC this year and are finally starting to get things figured out. Hopefully we can keep it up.”
As the final laps in the feature began to wind down, Blackhurst would overtake Cottle as Hagen stretched his lead in the Great Clips-sponsored, Wilke-Pak Spike.
“What an opportunity to drive for the Wilke family,” said Hagen. “To be a part of a team that has so much history behind them and to be a part of the Great Clips family, as well is awesome. To be a part of those two organizations and pull off a win is pretty special.”
Jake Blackhurst of Mapleton, Illinois brought home the second position in his Jake Blackhurst Racing, Esslinger-powered DRC.
“If we could have found the bottom a little earlier, we might have had a shot at the lead,” explained Blackhurst. “But running second to Darren Hagen isn’t too bad.”
Coming in fourth from the eighth starting position was Austin Brown driving his Toyota-powered Boss Chassis and rounding out the top five was Gehrke.