(Allen Horcher Photo)
Belleville, IL | April 24, 2018 – Ending Friday’s appearance with the POWRi Outlaw Micro League at Belle-Clair Speedway with a misleading 18th-place result, Austin Schaeffer fell just a few feet short of an impressive podium finish. Competing for the first time since his first-career POWRi Micro victory at I-44 Riverside Speedway in March, Schaeffer entered the Belleville, Illinois facility with high hopes of bettering his championship chase. Starting from the outside of row six in the main event, the Columbia, Missouri resident methodically guided his Stallard SST No. 71S to the front of the field and was slated for a podium result, before a heartbreaking final corner mishap left him mere feet away from the finish line.
“The curb was really nasty here tonight,” noted Schaeffer. “I have never really driven anything that rough. It was all about hitting your marks out there. I got up to third and was in position to slide Rennison for second, but I just overdrove it coming out of four and looped it around before the checkered. It was a pretty good night overall though, we showed we have a ton of speed in this 71S!”
Rolling out from the pole of his heat race, Schaeffer carried over the quickness that his Speed Shack Performance powerplant displayed in Oklahoma City, as he ran away with the heat race win in dominating fashion.
Taking the green flag for the 20-lap feature in the 12th position, Schaeffer immediately ripped into the top ten and began his march to the front. Storming into the fifth position by lap six, it was clear early on that the 21-year old was a force to be reckoned with. Continuing to pick his way throughout the top five, Schaeffer wound up in the third position late in the running and was slated for a shot at the runner-up slot.
Sizing up a fellow Missourian, Tyler Rennison, for that second position on the final lap, Schaeffer set up for a bold slider coming to the checkered flag. Going all-out in pursuit of a better finish, Schaeffer ended up over driving the corner just a tad bit too much as his No. 71S went for a spin exiting the fourth corner. The heartbreaking result ended with an 18th-place finish as he came to a stop just short of the start-finish line.
“I’ve been weekly racing pretty much my entire life around Missouri, so going to these bigger shows it teaches you to be aggressive early, especially with the points racing,” stated Schaeffer. “You really have to be on your game from the drop of the green flag in the heat race. Tonight I made a little mistake, but when you are point racing you have to be more consistent, so well get back to that throughout the year.”
On tap next for the Kansas City native is a doubleheader of POWRi Micro action in three weeks. Heading to Jacksonville Speedway on Friday, May 11th, Schaeffer will then travel over to Macon Speedway on Saturday, May 12th. With three of a scheduled 21 events in the books, Schaeffer remains as alive as ever in the pursuit for a POWRi Micro Championship.
4/20: POWRi Micros at Belle-Clair Speedway – Heat Race: 1st (1), A-Main: 18th (12)
Feature Starts (3), Feature Wins (1), Top Fives (1), Top Tens (2), Heat Wins (1).
5/11: POWRi Micros at Jacksonville Speedway in Jacksonville, IL.
5/12: POWRi Micros at Macon Speedway in Macon, IL