Pickens Denies US Invaders for Boxing Day Honors

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (December 26, 2018) – A number of America’s top racers descended upon Western Springs Speedway for the opening leg of the International Midget Series, but it was Kiwi rep Michael Pickens coming away with the victory in Wednesday night’s 30-lap “Boxing Day” feature event.

Kyle Larson and Pickens led the feature field to the green flag with Pickens gunning into the lead at the drop of the green flag and then leading all 30 laps in the caution-free feature event.  Larson settled for runner-up honors with Logan Seavey edging fellow “B” Main transfer Christopher Bell for third at the stripe.

“My car was awesome,” Pickens said in victory lane.  “My crew does a great job on it.”

Larson kept Pickens in sight throughout as they spent much of the race slicing through lapped traffic.  Larson made one last push in the final rounds but still fell a few car lengths short at the stripe.

“I felt like we were running about the same pace,” Larson explained.  “Being behind him, I tried to push a little harder.  I would gain some, then make a mistake and he would get away a little.  We were committed to the top, we ran it the whole race.”

While Pickens and Larson ran one-two throughout, “B” Main transfers Logan Seavey and Christopher Bell were diligently working their way through the 20-car feature field.  Bell blazed the trail, cracking the top five within just nine laps before battling past Zach Daum for fourth soon after and then taking third away from Hayden Williams with less than ten laps to go.

Reigning USAC Midget champion Seavey was on the march as well and slipped past Bell at the line for the final position on the podium.

“I got us in trouble in the heat race and got us buried in the ‘B’”, Seavey commented.  “I have to put a full night together.”

Bell rebounded from a wild heat race flip to finish fourth with Williams rounding out the top five.

December 26, 2018 – International Midget Series at Western Springs Speedway Results:

Heat Winners:  Chris McCutcheon, Jeremy Webb, Kyle Larson, Hayden Williams, Logan Seavey.

“B” Main:  1. 21usa-Christopher Bell, 2. 10usa-Logan Seavey, 3. 5a-Brock Maskovich, 4. 4a-Taylor Clarke, 5. 63a-Jayden Worthington, 6. 22aus-Scott Farmer, 7. 7a-Travis Buckley, 8. 24a-Breyton Davison, 9. 91a-Hayden Guptill, 10. 1aus-Kaidon Brown, 11. 15a-Stevie Walsh, 12. 19a-Mark Mullins, 13. 41a-Ricky McCough, 14. 56a-David Pellow, 15. 61a-Brad Hollier, 16. 29a-Daniel Thomas.

“A” Main (30 Laps):  1. 3nz-Michael Pickens (2), 2. 1usa-Kyle Larson (1), 3. 10usa-Logan Seavey (18), 4. 21usa-Christopher Bell (17), 5. 27a-Hayden Williams (3), 6. 2nz-Zach Daum (5), 7. 70aus-Matt Smith (7), 8. 11a-Shayne Allach (8), 9. 4usa-Tyler Courtney (16), 10. 14a-Brad Mosen (4), 11. 4a-Taylor Clarke (20), 12. 39a-Peter Hunnibell (9), 13. 25a-Scott Buckley (10), 14. 5a-Brock Maskovich (19), 15. 33a-James Cossey (12), 16. 99a-Chris McCutcheon (6), 17. 22a-James Earl (15), 18. 55a-Hamish Dobbyn (14), 19. 87a-Leon Burgess (13), 20. 88c-Jeremy Webb (11).

(Photo by Shot 360)