Mario Clouser in action Friday at Charleston Speedway. (Allen Horcher photo)

Charleston WAR Goes Mario Clouser’s Way

CHARLESTON, Ill. — The opening night of the Lucas Oil POWRi WAR Sprint League Illiana Showdown saw outstanding racing action across the Tri-City Speedway surface, with Mario Clouser wheeling his way to the front in a caution-free feature.

With an entry list of 32 POWRi WAR drivers logging in at Charleston, early on-track battles saw Wesley Smith, Shane Cottle, Clouser, and Evan Mosely all claim heat race victories before Trey Gropp earned the semi-feature win.

Gaining the night’s High Point Qualifier award, Clouser led the pack of Lucas Oil POWRi WAR Sprint League drivers to the initial green flag with an extremely fast Garrett Aitken lined up to his outside.

Using a courageous lap-one maneuver, Clouser capitalized by sling-shotting to the high side and taking the early feature advantage.

Though he never relinquished the top spot for the caution-free run, Clouser did not go untested as Aitken remained hot on the trail every circuit as lapped traffic came into play late in the event. Cottle, Smith, and Zach Daum all battled over the fast-racing surface trying to run down the top two in an action-packed feature, but none would prevail over Clouser.

“The lapped traffic was intense for sure, I saw Garrett coming after me but held my line and knew it was time to go,” Clouser said.

Aitken finished a hard-fought second, with Cottle rounding out the Charleston feature podium. Smith and Daum were fourth and fifth, respectively.

The finish:

1. 6-Mario Clouser [1]; 2. 32-Garrett Aitken [2]; 3. 74X-Shane Cottle [5]; 4. 44-Wesley Smith [3]; 5. 311-Zach Daum [8]; 6. 28X-Brandon Mattox [4]; 7. 91-Riley Kreisel [11]; 8. 74-Xavier Doney [9]; 9. 16-Anthony Nicholson [15]; 10. 29-Mitch Wissmiller [10]; 11. 31-Joe B. Miller [19]; 12. 34-Sterling Cling [14]; 13. 28-Kory Schudy [12]; 14. 99-Korey Weyant [18]; 15. 5C-Colten Cottle [16]; 16. 54-Trey Gropp [17]; 17. 38-Chet Williams [7]; 18. 27X-Evan Mosley [6]; 19. 10-Aric Gentry [13]; 20. 8D-Terry Babb [21]; 21. 8-Justin Standridge [20]; 22. 11-James Lyerla [22]; 23. 27-Steve Thomas [23].

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