Rookie Aitken Eyes POWRi Success
LINCOLN, Ill. – Rookie Garrett Aitken will try to amplify his superb start in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series this weekend when the series travels to two Illinois dirt tracks.
Lincoln Speedway will host the series June 22, with Macon Speedway playing host to the series June 23.
The 16-year-old from Paris, Ill., has four top-10s with a best of fifth at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway. Aitken has entered 11 of the 12 POWRi Midget events and made seven features.
He also finished sixth at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo., seventh at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Ill., 10th at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Mo., 12th (in a 64-car field) at Cowtown Speedway in Kennedale, Texas and 18th at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, Ill., and Springfield (Mo.) Raceway.
Aitken is tied for eighth in the points with veteran Tyler Robbins with 730.
Aitken is a pure rookie, driving in his first season in a midget. He won 35 micro sprint features in the past four years and he and his crew chief father, Greg, decided to look for a new challenge. They considered sprint cars at the track championship level, but decided upon running in POWRi National Midgets. It’s the first season Aitken has run for points.
“We looked at midgets and sprints and we’d heard good things about POWRi, so we decided to run for Rookie of the Year,” Aitken said. “It would be nice to win, a once-in-a-lifetime deal.”
The Aitkens made the 1,000-mile drive to Cowntown for the two season-opening events in mid-March. There were 66 entries on the first night and Garrett finished eighth in the B main. He made the feature on the second night by finishing second in his heat.
“All we wanted to do when we went to Cowtown was make the feature,” the younger Aitken said. “We were proud to have made the feature. After that night, we want to get up there and win.”
Aitken finished fifth in his Spike-Fontana in the third event at Jacksonville and followed with 10th at Valley, sixth at Lucas Oil Speedway and seventh at Belle-Clair.
“We’re proud of those four top-10s,” Aitken said.
Aitken had a strong run at Springfield, challenging winner Michael Pickens of New Zealand for the lead for much of the 30-lap race. Aitken was second on a restart with seven laps to go and blew a right-rear tire.
“Springfield was probably like a win for my and my dad,” Aitken said. “It was awesome to run up there.”
Aitken, like with all the tracks he’s raced upon with POWRi this season, will be driving a Midget for the first time at quarter-mile Lincoln and one-fifth mile Macon.
“Hopefully, they’ll be good for us, too,” Aitken said.