What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Jesse Colwell was one of more than 60 aspiring drivers from across the nation competing in the Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) Giveback Classic presented by TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Now, Colwell is officially a POWRi champion after the season-finale events at Oklahoma’s Creek County Speedway were cancelled.
“This is pretty amazing,” said 20-year-old Colwell. “I would never have thought I was going to win coming from Outlaw Kart. The midgets are a lot of fun – more fun than anything I’ve ever raced. I can’t thank Keith Kunz, Pete Willoughby and everyone at KKM and Toyota enough.”
After starting his racing career as an Outlaw Kart driver in Northern California, Colwell was rewarded with a KKM entry into midget car racing’s biggest event – the Chili Bowl – when he won the KKM Giveback Classic in 2018. From there, the opportunity continued as Colwell competed in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League for KKM this season. The Red Bluff, California-native captured two POWRi victories – Humboldt Speedway in Kansas and I-30 Speedway in Arkansas – and 15 top-five finishes in nearly 30 races this year.
“Jesse Colwell has really turned heads over this past year,” said Paul Doleshal, group manager of motorsports and asset management for Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). “From last year’s KKM Giveback Classic victory, to what he and Keith Kunz Motorsports have been able to accomplish together, this is a relationship we’ve enjoyed watching flourish and look forward to what they can do in the future.”
Toyota drivers have now won five of the last seven POWRi national midget championships with Zach Daum (2013, 2014, 2016) and Tucker Klaasmeyer (2018).
This year, Toyota drivers have already captured three driver championships, with CJ Greaves (Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League Pro 4), Christian Eckes (ARCA Menards Series) and now Colwell (POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League).