Michael Pickens took his time on a track that made him work for every position in his Midget car on the opening night at Western Springs Speedway.
The Midget field raced two heat races each with wins going to Ryan O’Connor, Peter Hunnibell, Brock Maskovich and Aaron Hodgson. New Zealand Midget test team member Max Guilford’s motor self-destructed in heat two sending the teenager infield for the rest of the evening.
The 20-Car field had Hodgson on pole position with Maskovich to his outside and a pair of National Midget Champions Hunnibell and Pickens occupying the 2nd row. BSL Racings Hayden Guptill and HLR Racing’s Ryan O’Connor filled row three.
With the preferred line hugging the pole line Hodgson had the advantage from the start and forced Maskovich wide. Guptill immediately slipped under Hunnibell to go 3-wide for 2nd place with Pickens in the middle and Maskovich on the outside who bounced off of Pickens wide into no man’s land. The shear lack of grip only meters off the preferred line saw Maskovich spat out the back of the front bunch and back into 8th.
Pickens started to set his car further off the pole line in anticipation of working in a higher line for passing. This let Guptill pass into second with 4th place Hunnibell also pioneering the slightly higher line. Ryan Baker was 5th as the lead group started to stretch out.
After being side by side on the corners for several laps Pickens edged ahead of Guptill to claim 2nd. Hodgson was still leading having just led, start to finish, all 20 laps of the previous race, the F2 Midget Feature.
Maskovich started picking cars off and advancing through the field as sporadic skirmishes broke out throughout the field.
After a mid-race restart Pickens gathered up his momentum and managed to draw alongside the Terra Chassis of Hodgson and send his King Chassis unencumbered into the turn and finally edge ahead across the line to lead the remaining laps to victory.
Hodgson held second and Maskovich recovered to 3rd. Hunnibell and Guptill rounded out the top five. Midget rookie from the TQ ranks Morgan McHugh finished well above his station in 6th ahead of Hayden Williams and O’Connor Travis Buckley and Brad Mosen inside the top ten.
18a Shaun Cooke and 36a Cole Morrison walked away from a spectacular TQ crash in their first heat.
Other winners on the night were Emerson Vincent in the Quarter Midgets Youth division, Scott Baker with his 36th Western Springs TQ Feature win, Aforementioned Aaron Hodgson with the Formula two Midget win and veteran Sprintcar shoe Deal Brindle who made a late and great surge through the field to claim the winged division win.
The next Western Springs Speedway meeting is on 28th of November for the opening round of the Bryce Townsend Midget Car Series.
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