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Garrett Aitken enters POWRi Midgets’ Battle at the Center at Du Quoin


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For Immediate Release




Garrett Aitken enters POWRi Midgets’ Battle at the Center at Du Quoin




DU QUOIN, Ill. (Nov. 14, 2013)—Garrett Aitken overcame a car-crunching crash in a preliminary race to finish 12th in the feature of the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series’ non-points event on the Mini Magic Mile at the Southern Illinois Center last December. It was a strong run from 21st on the grid in an exceptional field of drivers that included winner Tony Stewart.




Aitken hopes for a smoother event and a better result when he returns for POWRi’s fourth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center presented by K & N Filters on Dec. 7.




“I’m hoping for a top-five,” Aitken said. “If everything goes right, I’m hoping to have a better starting spot instead of coming back from the B (main).”




The 18-year-old from Paris, Ill., had to run the final qualifying race to transfer to the feature and that guaranteed starting in one of the back rows. Aitken’s prospects darkened on the final lap of the B when, racing three-wide out of turn four, he ran out of room and made contact with another car. It sent him flipping across the finish line, badly damaging his Fontana-powered Stealth.




“It was a pretty good night to get 12th after we flipped in the B main,” Aitken said. “The car was pretty bent up, but we (under the direction of father and crew chief Greg) were able to get the car put back together. The car was real good in the feature.”




Aitken has established himself as a rising star in POWRi Midgets. He was 10th in the points with one top-five and 10 top-10s during his rookie season of 2012 and eighth with two top-fives and seven top-10s this season. Aitken raced in 20 features in both seasons, but missed only two in 2013 after failing to advance in six in 2012.




“I was pretty happy about finishing eighth in the points,” Aitken said. “We weren’t really racing for points. We hoped to make all the (feature) races and get more top-fives.”




Aitken changed chassis, going to Spike, at mid-season and drove to his career-best finish of third at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Mo., on July 27 and was fourth at Macon (Ill.) Speedway on Aug. 17.




“We went to the Spike and it really benefitted us a lot,” Aitken said. “The Stealth was loose and we could actually drive the Spike in the corners, drive it straighter, and it was better on the slick tracks. We started racing the Spike at Tri-City (Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Ill.) and were running fifth and got caught up in a wreck (finishing 17th) and were running sixth at US 36 (Raceway in Cameron, Mo.) the next night and ran into problems and finished seventh. Valley was the third race in three nights and we finished third. It was pretty awesome, it felt good to be on the front straight after the race.”




The Battle at the Center serves as a test race prior to the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla., in January for most drivers including Aitken. The Chili Bowl annually has over 250 entries and is regarded as the Super Bowl of Midget racing.




“The Battle at the Center is a big event, all the big guys are there,” Aitken said. “It’s an opportunity to test new stuff before the Chili Bowl.”




The Battle at the Center on Dec. 7 will feature a 40-lap feature and will be broadcast on MAVTV American Real on a date to be determined.




The Southern Illinois Center is located on the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. Front gates open at 3 p.m. CST, hot laps begin at 5 p.m. CST with racing immediately following. General admission tickets are $20 and children 12-and-under are free.




For more information, go to www.powri.com.





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