Brad Loyet - Third in Illinois Midget Speedweek!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Brad at Jacksonville (Brendon Bauman Photos)Brad at Jacksonville (Brendon Bauman Photos) (Bill W) June 6, 2017 – Brad Loyet and the Vacuworx Global #o5 midget team wrapped up POWRi Illinois Speedweek in solid fashion.  They would finish in the top eight all five nights, topping out with a fourth place run at Macon Speedway.  This weekend, the Sunset Hills, Missouri driver will switch to the sprint car for ASCS Warrior region action at US36 Raceway near Osborn, Missouri Friday and Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri Saturday.

Illinois Midget Speedweek started last Wednesday at Route 66 Speedway in Joliet.  “We started in the back of the heat and the track was rutted up and dry,” says Brad.  “I thought I’d try to outsmart everybody at the start and I just got caught in the dust.  That put us starting 16th in the feature.”

Brad would charge forward right away.  “We had a really good car,” he says.  “We were up to sixth at one point and had a really good run going.  I tried to make a move, and that cost me a couple of spots.  We ended up eighth, and it was a good start to the week.  We learned some things about the car and motor that helped us the rest of the week.”

Thursday, it was on to Fairbury American Legion Speedway.  “I drew the back of the heat race again and ended up fifth,” says Brad.  “It was a pretty loaded heat, and every car finished the heat, which was to our disadvantage.  We were able to win the B main, and that got us in the feature.”

Again, Brad would be on the gas in the main event.  “We had another really good car,” he says.  “We started 17th and drove up to eighth.  We were cruising up on the top, and I felt that we had a car good enough to be in the top five.  About twenty laps in, my feet started to get smoking hot.  I thought it may be the brakes, but we broke the torque tube and ball assembly.  It split a seam down the torque tube and broke a couple of spuds off the ball.  Fortunately, we were able to finish the race and ended up eighth.”

At Jacksonville Speedway Friday, he drew the outside of row one for his heat.  “We kind of got slid dirty on the start of the heat,” says Brad.  “We ended up finishing second.  We started the feature 14th.  We drove up through there and got to Keith Kunz’s cars and by then, our stuff was a little used up.  I got to Rico (Abreu) and we threw some sliders at each other.  We stalled out in seventh and that was about it.  It was still a good run.”

Saturday’s stop was one of Brad’s favorite midget tracks, Macon Speedway.  “We had a good heat three,” he says.  “We went from fourth to second, and we ended up sixth in points.  I was excited, because we’ve run well at Macon.  We were finally in position to contend for a win starting up front.”

He would post outside row three.  “We were able to get to fourth early,” says Brad.  “We were racing with (Terry) Babb and he was making my life hard trying to get around him.  When that happened a couple guys slipped by me and we fell back to sixth.  We worked back up to fourth, and the track took rubber up around the cushion.  We had a really good car, and I was conserving my tires.  We thought the leaders may use theirs up, but unfortunately, it never got to that point.  We needed about five more laps.  It was another good run though.”

The finale was Sunday night at Lincoln Speedway.  “We drove from eighth to third in the heat race,” says Brad.  “It was kind of a ‘Cowboy Up’, rough and tough deal.  We were able to get our elbows up and run through the holes.”

It was good enough for fourth in passing points and a starting spot outside row two for the feature.  “We got to second on the start,” says Brad.  “I felt we had a good shot at (Michael) Pickens.  He had been good all week.  I felt comfortable and we were biding our time.  With about ten laps to go, the car started picking up a small miss in the middle of the corner.  I thought it may be a fuel issue or something electrical.  It just got worse and worse and I was praying for the race to be over.  We were back to third on the white flag lap, and the red came out.”

Brad was not excited about killing the engine.  “A red was the last thing we needed,” he says.  “I didn’t even know if the car would re-fire.  Luckily enough it did.  I threw a slider on them and had the lead for about four seconds.  The car almost completely died and five cars drove around me.  We finished sixth.”

Considering the three-time POWRi midget champ hasn’t been running midgets that often, the week was a success.  “To come out with no DNF’s was great,” says Brad.  “The Esslinger was a new engine to us, and we haven’t run this many midget shows in quite a while.  We had minimal problems that were in our control, which was good.  That’s probably the most we’ve run the midget outdoors in three years combined.  We’ll be doing some more of it, and we’re really looking forward to it.”

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Brad and the Loyet Motorsports team would like to thank primary sponsors: Vacuworx Global and Loyet Landscape Maintenance. Associate sponsors: Maxim Race Cars, J and D Performance Racing Engines, Butlerbuilt Professional Seat Systems, Meramec Heights Collision Center, KSE Racing, Weld Wheels, Penske Shocks, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Hepfner Racing Products, DMI, Saldana Racing Products, Rod End Supply, Bell Helmets, TI 64, Conroy Control, The Engine Heater, Ealey Transportation, and Speedway Motors.

Photo: Brad at Jacksonville (Brendon Bauman Photos)

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