The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

December 21, 2012

Taking second to Stewart was special for Felker

Midget driver Andrew Felker didn’t fare well in his recent sojourn to Australia.

But Felker, 20, a Carl Junction High School graduate, got well last Saturday night at the third Battle at the Center in DuQuoin, Ill.

Felker, this year’s POWRi National Midget Series champion, finished second to NASCAR’s Tony Stewart in the 40-lap main event.

“It was cool running side-by-side with Stewart and getting to talk with him after the race,” Felker said Thursday. “He was getting his race car ready for the Chili Bowl (Jan. 8-12 in Tulsa).”

Felker, who started 11th, said Stewart, 41, from Columbus, Ind., led every lap on the one-sixth indoor Mini Magic Mile at the Southern Illinois Center.

“We may have had the quicker race car,” Felker said. “But I waited too long to make my move. I wasn’t close enough to make a slide job on the last lap. Definitely, we had a good race car. We ran out of time.”

Tim Tuttle, POWRi Racing media director, wrote that Stewart faced one final restart with four laps left in the main and darted away from Felker to win by three car lengths.

“I found the top before anyone and ran it most of the race,” Felker told Tuttle. “It would have been nice to have had a couple more laps. But you can’t be disappointed finishing second to Tony Stewart.”

Felker, who said the runner-up finish was worth $2,000, competed in three events in Australia driving for CJR Motorsports. He placed ninth in a makeup main event but was hampered by mechanical problems and an accident in the other two races and finished in the back.

Felker, following Australia, tackled the 72nd Turkey Classic Grand Prix at the Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway for RAB Racing. He didn’t make that main event.

Felker competed in the third Longhorn Shootout Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Alvarado (Texas). He was third in that midget A feature.

Felker is preparing a micro for the Tulsa Shootout scheduled Dec. 28-30. He’ll turn his attention to the Chili Bowl after the Tulsa Shootout. He hopes to make the Chili Bowl A feature for the first time after reaching B main events the last two years.

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