TAKE ME DOWN TO TRI-CITY: USAC MIDGETS ARE ON THE WAY THURSDAY

Granite City, Illinois (May 31, 2022)………When it comes to USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget history, Tri-City Speedway is among the most enduring tracks over the series’ first 67 seasons.

Making its debut on the schedule in 1961, only Indiana’s Kokomo and Lawrenceburg Speedways have a lengthier history that Tri-City’s oval in Granite City, Ill. And, without a doubt, Tri-City Speedway has also endured as the host of some of the most spectacular events for the series time and time again.

For the 46th time, and for the first time in three seasons, a points-paying USAC National Midget event comes to Tri-City this Thursday night, June 2, as a large contingent of talent aspires to bring home the $5,000 winner’s share. Much has changed at the top of the leaderboard in terms of the series standings since the series’ last Tri-City foray in 2019 as new stars have emerged and taken a firm grip upon the championship race.

USAC MIDGETS ARE ON THE WAY THURSDAY

The series has sat idle since April 23 following Buddy Kofoid’s emergence in victory lane for the first time with the series in 2022. Justin Grant has won three of the four series features run this year and, thus, heads the standings at the moment.

Grant (Ione, Calif.) made his lone USAC National Midget appearance at Tri-City a good one, standing on the edge of the podium with a 3rd place result in 2019. While Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) has yet to compete with USAC at Tri-City, he does own a victory there, scoring the Gold Crown Nationals under POWRi sanction in 2020.

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson (Elk Grove, Calif.) will make his USAC season debut on Thursday at Tri-City in the seat of the CB Industries No. 86. Larson owns two career USAC National Midget feature victories at Tri-City back in 2011 and 2012, while also notching a runner-up finish in 2012.

Leading series Rookie Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) has been impressive, standing third overall in points, but this Thursday presents a first-time challenge for the driver who led 22 laps and finished as the runner-up in his most recent series start at Port City.

For much of the younger crop, their first Tri-City midget experiences came via the 2020 Gold Crown Midget Nationals. Surging Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.), fourth in USAC points, finished 9th in the event while Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.), fifth in points, earned a solid 3rd place finish in addition to charging from 18th to 7th there with USAC in 2019.

Veteran Thomas Meseraull’s USAC Midget results at Tri-City date back to 2010. That year, he turned in a 9th and repeated a 9th in 2012. He tallied his best result of 3rd in 2015 and also garnered another top-five with a 5th in 2015.

Seventh in the series standings is Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.), who was dynamite in his 2019 USAC Midget debut at Tri-City, leading a race-high 13 laps and finishing second, and comes into the week with unfinished business at the 3/8-mile dirt oval.

Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.) took 8th in the 2020 Gold Crown and resides eighth in the USAC standings heading in after a pair of top-ten results in her last two starts at Port City in April, including a season-best 3rd.

Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.), ninth in the point standings, is having his most consistent USAC season to date as he vies for victory number one of his USAC career in what will be his Tri-City debut.

Among the veterans in the field are Zach Daum (Pocahontas, Ill.), who has been all over the top-five in USAC competition at Tri-City but has yet to land that elusive first series victory at the track. He’s been 2nd in 2015 and 2016; he was 3rd twice in 2011; he’s recorded four 4th place finishes, three on successive occasions in 2013, and once more in 2015; he’s also been 5th in 2011 for a total of nine USAC top-fives at Tri-City.

Steve Buckwalter’s first USAC National Midget start at Tri-City arrived back in 2003. The rocket from Royersford, Pa. is back on it with a new Honda powerplant at the place he finished 3rd in 2015, 5th in 2010, 6th in 2011 and 2015 and 9th in 2010.

Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) took 17th in his lone USAC Midget run at Tri-City in 2019, and recently, was named as the new driver for Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports, where he’ll partner with teammate and Tri-City debuter Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.).

Meanwhile, a slew of driver in this week’s field are preparing for their first USAC Midget showing at Tri-City after recent appearances. Joe B. Miller (Millersville, Mo.) took 10th there in a 2019 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship event. Sam Johnson (St. Charles, Mo.) was 13th in the 2020 Gold Crown while recent POWRi Midget and Huset’s wing sprint car winner Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla.) was 14th that night and Brenham Crouch (Lubbock, Texas) was 17th.

Outstanding women drivers can be found all throughout the field, with Bryson being joined by Port City fast-timer Taylor Reimer (Bixby, Okla.), Ocala third-place finisher Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.), two-time 2022 series heat race winner Maria Cofer (Macdoel, Calif.) and series Rookie Mariah Ede (Fresno, Calif.).

They come from as far as New Zealand with Travis Buckley (Auckland, N.Z.) making his first series appearance at Tri-City along with Shamrock Classic runner-up Chance Crum (Snohomish, Wash.), Port City top-five finisher Chase McDermand (Springfield, Ill.) and two-time USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midget champion Jacob Denney (Galloway, Ohio).

Series Rookies in the field will also bring us CB Industries teammates Dominic Gorden (Clovis, Calif.) and Jace Park (Overland Park, Kan.) as well as the series debut by youngster Cade Lewis (Bakersfield, Calif.), whose father, Colby Lewis, is a former World Series game winning pitcher for Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers.

On Thursday at Granite City, Ill., the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship will be joined by the HART Outlaw Non Wing Micros, LO206 Wing Karts & Jr. Sprints. The pits open at Noon Central, grandstands at 4pm and cars get on track at 6:30pm.

All tickets are general admission and seating is on a first come basis. Tickets are $30 with kids age 12 and under free. Pit passes are $35 for member and $40 for non-members. Kid pit passes (ages 6-12) are $15. For children age 5 and under, pit passes are free.

That marks the first of eight races in a 10-night span that continues with the start of Indiana Midget Week at Bloomington Speedway on June 3, Lawrenceburg Speedway on June 4, Tri-State Speedway on June 5, Circle City Raceway on June 8, Lincoln Park Speedway on June 9, Gas City I-69 Speedway on June 10 and Kokomo Speedway on June 11.

Full event coverage for Thursday night at Tri-City Speedway can be watched live and on-demand on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3u7ID2N.

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USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Justin Grant-305, 2-Buddy Kofoid-300, 3-Mitchel Moles-244, 4-Bryant Wiedeman-238, 5-Cannon McIntosh-233, 6-Thomas Meseraull-219, 7-Logan Seavey-215, 8-Kaylee Bryson-211, 9-Ethan Mitchell-176, 10-Tanner Thorson-172.

TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL MIDGETS AT TRI-CITY SPEEDWAY:

  1. 1 Lap – 6/11/2010 – Darren Hagen – 14.735
  2. 6 Laps – 10/3/2013 – Brady Bacon – 1:31.13
  3. 8 Laps – 10/7/2011 – Zach Daum – 1:58.38
  4. 10 Laps – 10/3/2013 – Colten Cottle – 2:33.35
  5. 12 Laps – 10/6/2012 – Dave Darland – 3:27.18
  6. 25 Laps – 10/1/2010 – Darren Hagen – 6:43.94
  7. 35 Laps – 10/7/2016 – Tanner Thorson – 9:24.36

ALL-TIME USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS AT TRI-CITY SPEEDWAY:

  • 5-Tanner Thorson
  • 4-Darren Hagen & Bob Tattersall
  • 3-Mel Kenyon
  • 2-Bryan Clauson, Jeff Gordon, Tracy Hines, Steve Knepper & Kyle Larson

1-Rico Abreu, Christopher Bell, Merle Bettenhausen, Tom Bigelow, Pancho Carter, Jimmy Caruthers, Jerry Coons Jr., Tyler Courtney, Danny Frye, Russ Gamester, Jack Hewitt, Levi Jones, Don Meacham, Bill Mehner, Larry Rice, Les Scott, Bob Wente, Josh Wise & J.J. Yeley

PAST USAC NATIONAL MIDGET FEATURE WINNERS AT TRI-CITY SPEEDWAY:

  1. 1961: Danny Frye (8/17)
  2. 1966: Bill Mehner (7/17), Bob Tattersall (7/31) & Don Meacham (9/11)
  3. 1967: Mel Kenyon (6/11) & Bob Tattersall (7/30)
  4. 1968: Bob Tattersall (7/7) & Bob Tattersall (9/28)
  5. 1969: Bob Wente (7/6), Mel Kenyon (7/20) & Les Scott (9/14)
  6. 1970: Larry Rice (7/5) & Jimmy Caruthers (9/20)
  7. 1971: Merle Bettenhausen (6/20)
  8. 1972: Pancho Carter (9/30)
  9. 1984: Tom Bigelow (9/1)
  10. 1985: Mel Kenyon (8/31)
  11. 1990: Russ Gamester (5/5), Jeff Gordon (7/3) & Jeff Gordon (9/1)
  12. 1991: Steve Knepper (4/27), Steve Knepper (7/3) & Jack Hewitt (8/31)
  13. 2002: J.J. Yeley (8/24)
  14. 2003: Tracy Hines (6/4)
  15. 2005: Josh Wise (8/24)
  16. 2008: Brad Sweet (Special Event on 10/9), Brad Sweet (Special Event on 10/10) & Jerry Coons Jr. (10/11)
  17. 2010: Bryan Clauson (6/11), Darren Hagen (9/30), Darren Hagen (10/1) & Darren Hagen (10/2)
  18. 2011: Darren Hagen (10/6), Kyle Larson (10/7) & Levi Jones (10/8)
  19. 2012: Tracy Hines (10/4) & Kyle Larson (10/6)
  20. 2013: Rico Abreu (10/3), Bryan Clauson (10/4) & Christopher Bell (10/6)
  21. 2015: Tanner Thorson (9/4) & Tanner Thorson (9/5)
  22. 2016: Tanner Thorson (10/6), Tanner Thorson (10/7) & Tanner Thorson (10/8)
  23. 2019: Tyler Courtney (5/17)

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