USAC PARTNERS WITH ARDC FOR 19-RACE EASTERN REGIONAL MIDGET SLATE IN 2017
The United States Auto Club and the American Racing Drivers Club have announced a partnership that begins in 2017 with a 19-race slate scheduled at a bevy of traditional stops for midget racing in the east.
The USAC Eastern Regional Midget Series presented by ARDC will ensure that midget racing remains a stronghold in the east. The clubs are two of the most storied in the history of midget auto racing with ARDC's roots dating back to 1940 and USAC's to 1956.
The USAC Midgets' renewed presence in the east over the last couple of seasons has created new opportunities for the famed series to add on to its long-standing Western States Midget Championship with the Midwest Midget Championship, which debuted last year, and its new partnership with ARDC in the east.
"I am thrilled that we are partnering with an organization with the legacy of ARDC," USAC National Series Director Levi Jones said. "By partnering with ARDC, it solidifies the presence of USAC Midget racing across the United States' landscape from the West Coast to the Midwest to the East Coast, in addition to the USAC Midget National Championship. I am really looking forward to working with (ARDC President) Wayne Lesher, the drivers and teams of ARDC for the 2017 season and beyond."
"Everyone involved with the ARDC is very excited of our partnership with USAC," Lesher stated. "USAC gives the ARDC a national platform and ARDC gives USAC a regional presence on the east coast. Both organizations have a common goal of promoting midget racing, so it wasn't a hard decision for either side to make."
ARDC's 75th year of competition is highlighted by high-profile events including six that share the stage with USAC's national series. In fact, the series will share the event card with all three of the national divisions in 2017.
On June 15 and 16, the USAC/ARDC Midgets will race on back-to-back nights at the historic Williams Grove Speedway half-mile in Mechanicsburg, PA. The first of the two events, which are both part of the 11th annual Eastern Storm, takes place on Thursday, June 15 with the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship. The following night, Friday, June 16, the midgets compete on a docket that also features the USAC Silver Crown Championship's "Horn-Schindler Memorial" 100-lapper.
Amid the month of August, the third edition of Pennsylvania Midget Week comes to the Keystone State for four races at four different tracks in a span of five nights in a battle for territorial supremacy with the USAC Midget National Championship.
York Haven's Susquehanna Speedway kicks the week off on Sunday, Aug. 13 with races at Spring Run's Path Valley Speedway Park (Aug. 14) and Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in Newmanstown on the two following nights. A one-day break for rest or a possible rain date (if needed) is slated for Aug. 16 with the week concluding at a yet-to-be-determined venue in Pennsylvania on Aug. 17.
The remainder of the 2017 schedule will be showcased at a variety of familiar stops, including four dates at Linda's Speedway in Jonestown, PA on Mar. 31, May 5, June 30 and Sept. 29; three races on tap at Lanco on Apr. 1, Jul. 1, Aug. 15; four at Susquehanna on Apr. 29, May 20, Jul. 29 and Aug. 13; and a pair at Big Diamond Speedway in Pottsville, PA on May 19 and Jul. 21. Additionally, two TBA dates are slated for Sep. 8-9.
ARDC is the longest, continuously-operating midget racing series in the United States, crowning its first champion, Bill Schindler, after the 1940 season. In 2016, Alex Bright of Collegeville, PA, a veteran of both ARDC and USAC for several seasons as well as the winner of a Chili Bowl Midget Nationals preliminary feature win, earned the title.
The lineage of ARDC champions includes some of the most legendary and successful names in midget auto racing history including Henry Banks, Dutch Schaefer, Mike Nazaruk, Jiggs Peters, Len Duncan and Ray Bull. Plus, Nick Fornoro Jr. and Sr., Johnny and Joey Coy, Bob and Lou Cicconi, Jr., Steve and Tim Buckwalter as well as Bryan and Trevor Kobylarz.
USAC EASTERN REGIONAL MIDGETS PRESENTED BY ARDC 2017 SCHEDULE
Mar 31: Linda's Speedway (Jonestown, PA)
Apr 1: Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway (Newmanstown, PA)
Apr 29: Susquehanna Speedway (York Haven, PA)
May 5: Linda's Speedway (Jonestown, PA)
May 19: Big Diamond Speedway (Pottsville, PA)
May 20: Susquehanna Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Jun 15: Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Jul 16: Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Jun 30: Linda's Speedway (Jonestown PA)
Jul 1: Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway (Newmanstown, PA)
Jul 21: Big Diamond Speedway (Pottsville, PA)
Jul 29: Susquehanna Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Aug 13: (N) Susquehanna Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Aug 14: (N) Path Valley Speedway (Spring Run, PA)
Aug 15: (N) Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway (Newmanstown, PA)
Aug 17: (N) TBA
Sep 8: TBA
Sep 9: TBA
Sep 29: Linda's Speedway (Jonestown, PA)
(N) represents a race with the USAC Midget National Championship during Pennsylvania Midget Week
Alex Bright Wins ARDC Main at Clyde Martin Speedway
Newmanstown, PA - Just call Alex Bright "a phenomenal clean-up guy."
The Phenom brought out his victory broom on Saturday night, sweeping both of this year's stand-alone ARDC Midget events at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. Bright captured the ARDC season opener on April 2nd at Clyde Martin, then added Saturday's Star Spangled Havoc to his racing resume`. This was the final tune up for the ARDC competitors before Battleground USAC on Tuesday, August 16, when the stars of the USAC National Midget Series visit Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway for the very first time.
And, for a while, it appeared that Saturday truly was a star spangled night for the driver from Collegeville, Pa., as Bright also crossed the finish line first in the Dayton Parts wingless 600cc Firecracker Frenzy race. Unfortunately, his No. 75a did not pass the technical inspection afterward, so the 600cc Micro-Sprint triumph went to Austin Bishop, who finished a close second to Bright in that 30-lap A-Main.
Justin Grosz bolted from the pole of the ARDC main to lead the first four trips around the clay. Jim Radney hounded the leader while Brett Arndt broke free from a three-car battle to run third. Ryan Greth, who won last year's inaugural Star Spangled Havoc at the Clyde, tussled with Alex Bright for the fourth position. The first caution flag waved with three laps complete when Kenny Johnson spun at the exit of turn four. Johnson stood on the gas, trying to do a 360 and continue, but his car climbed up the track and clipped the oncoming Danny Stratton.
The race's second yellow flag period occurred one lap later, as Radney's No. 95 vaulted over the left-rear tire of Grosz's car heading off the fourth turn. As Radney turned sideways, Arndt had no where to go and spun, while Radney made it to the far end of the homestretch before he, too, spun out. Grosz was able to motor away and retained the race lead. Both Arndt and Radney were able to restart at the back of the pack.
When the green waved once again, Greth powered around Grosz to snatch the lead as the duo throttled off the second corner and onto the backstretch. It wasn't long before Alex Bright and eighth-starting Trevor Kobylarz, the previous night's winner at Linda's Speedway, were running second and third. Bright stalked Greth for a few circuits before throwing a slide job on the leader in turns one and two. Greth was ready, crossing him over and regaining the top spot on the 17th tour. Twisting their cars back into one and two, however, Greth had the back end of his No. 4 snap around, spinning out of the lead with Bright in hot pursuit.
"Yeah, my eyes grew real big at that point for two reasons," grinned Bright afterward. "My first thought was, 'don't come back up in front of me!' and my second thought was, 'thank you!' because he was real fast and tough to pass."
Kobylarz, now the runner-up to Bright, tried to duck under the Lightcap Electric No. 77 on the ensuing restart, but the new leader was too strong off the top as he pulled away to his 15th career victory with the American Racing Drivers Club. It was also his third win of the season on the ARDC tour.
At the finish, he was nearly two-seconds ahead of Kobylarz, with ninth-starter Kyle Spence earning third place money. Brenden Bright and Nick Wean completed the top five.
Kenny Johnson and Ryan Greth won the pair of heat races for the Midgets. Johnson's victory was particularly impressive, as he gassed his New England Tractor No. 46x around the outside of Grosz and A. Bright near the end of the first heat - with a Volkswagen engine providing the horsepower for his triumph!
ARDC Midget Feature, 30 laps: 1.Alex Bright, 2.Trevor Kobylarz, 3.Kyle Spence, 4.Brenden Bright, 5.Nick Wean, 6.Brett Arndt, 7.Ryan Greth, 8.Justin Grosz, 9.Josh Heckman, 10.Rohan Beasley, 11.Jamie Spears, 12.Jim Radney, 13.Kenny Johnson, 14.Danny Stratton.
RYAN WILSON JOINS THE RANKS WITH ARDC MIDGETS
Maytown, PA 410 Sprint Car driver, Ryan Wilson, is making the move to wingless midget racing with the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) for the 2016 season and the isn't anything if not excited about his plans for the coming season.
Wilson had the opportunity to try his hand in ARDC competition a few seasons back when he traded rides with 2011 ARDC Champion, Drew Heistand. Wilson ran Heistand's midget in two events while the former midget champion got to try his hand behind the wheel of a sprint car. "I had so much fun," the twenty-six year old sprint car driver stated. "I had so much fun just in those few times that I ran."
This season, Wilson will be seeing a lot more midget action as he plans to run the full ARDC schedule which consists of some twenty-four events, including four co-sanctioned events with USAC. Wilson hopes to add the Four Crown and Chili Bowl to his midget experience.
"I'm really looking forward to this season," Wilson related. "I'm looking forward to running at a lot of these tracks where I've run Micros all of my life. As a matter of fact, Wilson has collected wins at every track on the ARDC schedule except one. Big Diamond is the only venue where Wilson has yet to win in either Micro or sprint car competition.
Wilson will be piloting the former No. 28 that was part of the DeGre Engineering arsenal - the car driven by team owner, Greg Fitzpatrick. A Zach Daum power plant will be under the hood.
There will be several other new faces in the ARDC pits as well as a few that haven't been seen for a while.
Micro speedster, Kyle Spence will take his place in the cockpit of a midget this season. Jenna Schostkewitz, another driver from the Micro ranks, had planned to lease what was a second car of Tommy Kunsman. Schostkewitz had planned to race in the midget events at Linda's Speedway but that car was then sold to Spence. Schostkewitz is still hoping to find a ride for several races in 2016.
Another driver from the first state of Delaware, Clayton Glassman, will make his return to ARDC events after a year's absence. Glassman will combine forces with car owner, Jim Jackson for the 2016 season. Jackson will supply the car with Glassman's power plant.
If all goes as planned, Chris Rupp hopes to return to ARDC competition during the 2016 season. It has been several seasons since Rupp raced with the club but the schedule has enticed Rupp to climb back in the cockpit.
Modified drivers, Ryan Watt, Billy Pauch, Jr. and 2012 ARDC Champion, Tim Buckwalter, are looking forward to adding some ARDC shows to their 2016 schedule as time permits. Back-to-back ARDC champion, Steve Drevicki is hoping to find a vacant cockpit for some Friday night action.
And of course, drivers like Trevor Kobylarz, Ryan Greth, Brett Arndt, Brett Wanner, Nick Wean, Tommy Kunsman, Danny Stratton, Alex and Brenden Bright and a host of others will return the three wide and side by side action when it gets underway with the season opener at the Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway on April 2nd.
The excitement is building as the season draws near.
ARDC DRIVERS on the ROAD WEST
30th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Qualifying Begins on Tuesday
The 30th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl takes to the track this week in Tulsa, OK and several area drivers will be among the more than three hundred competitors who are looking to be part of the elite field on Saturday night.
Following a day of practice on Monday, competitors will begin four nights of qualifying on Tuesday.
Tyler Brehm, Alex Bright and Nick Wean - who have all competed in previous Chili Bowl events - will be joined by driver, Troy Betts who will be making his first attempt at the Chili Bowl on Tuesday night.
Of the four drivers, Bright is the only driver to have competed in a Saturday night A Main, finishing fourth in 2014. Bright returns to Chili Bowl action this year with the Lightcap Electric No. 77, owned by his grandfather, Joe Hemler. Bright raced to a 12th place finish on his qualifying night last year and as far as the C Main on Saturday.
Both Bright and Wean were heat winners on their qualifying nights last year. Wean will be behind the wheel of his family owned No. 78 again this year. He got trapped in the pits after an early race incident and was unable to complete the A Main on his qualifying night last year. Wean's 2015 Chili Bowl went as far as the D Main on Saturday.
This will be Tyler Brehm's third Chili Bowl event, behind the wheel of a second Steve Buckwalter entry. Brehm has been very competitive in his past attempts and came close to qualifying for the A Main on his qualifying night last year. He raced in the E Main on Saturday and hopes to improve on that performance this year.
Troy Betts has attended past Chili Bowl events with his friend, Shawn Jackson. Betts will make his first Chili Bowl start this year after competing with both URC sprints and ARDC midgets this past season.
Shawn Jackson will wheel the Betts Garage sponsored No. 7 on Wednesday and hopes to find some Chili Bowl luck this year. Jackson was in qualifying position when he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time last year.
Steve Buckwalter has raced his way into the big event on five occasions and hopes to make it number 6 this year. Buckwalter's best performances include a third place finish in his qualifying night A Main and a 9th place finish in the Saturday night main event in 2009. Buckwalter also found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time last year after winning yet another qualifying heat race.
Brenden Bright is the third competitor who will attempt to qualify on Wednesday night. Bright was a heat winner last year and rallied to an 11th place finish on his qualifying night after racing his way from the back of the pack. On Saturday, Bright led the first half of the C Main before engine failure erased his chances for a Chili Bowl start.
Danny Stratton will wheel one of Andy Bondio's No. 47 on Thursday night. Stratton finished sixth on his qualifying night last year and hopes to improve this time around. Stratton joins team mate, Tim McCreadie in the Bondio camp.
Stratton has made the Chili Bowl main event on four occasions. A fourth place finish in 2012 is his best Chili Bowl finish to date.
Larry Wight will make his Chili Bowl debut in one the two Mike Heffner entries on Wednesday night. Wight, a young hot shoe in the Modified Stock ranks in upstate New York will make his first midget start in Tulsa.
A second Heffner entry will feature Oklahoma native, Tanner Berryhill. Berryhill has an extensive racing background and was names as the 2009 Chili Bowl Rookie of the Year. Berryhill's qualifying night is Thursday.
2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz returns to Chili Bowl action this year with his R/T Racing No. 14. Kobylarz is looking to improve on his best performance to date - racing in the B Main on Saturday after a top five run on his qualifying night in 2013.
Kobylarz will take to the track on Friday night for his qualifying attempt.
The pressure is on for each qualifying day. Every competitor wants to make his best effort to insure his best possible position when the Alphabet Soup gets underway for final qualifying on Saturday.
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STEVE DREVICK CAPTURES BACK-TO-BACK ARDC CROWNS
ARDC Looks Ahead to 2016 Season
Mother Nature may have put the period on the 2015 season for the competitors of the American Racing Drivers Club but not before Steve Drevicki and his DeGre Engineering Race Team captured back-to-back championships in both Driver and Owners points.
Drevicki becomes the first driver since Andy Martin to capture back-to-back titles. Martin was the ARDC Champion in '06 & '07.
Trailing Drevicki for the 2015 title was 2013 ARDC Champion, Trevor Kobylarz and car owners, R/T Racing's, Dyke and Carey Becker. Ryan Greth, Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. and Brett Arndt rounded out the top five in driver points. With three different drivers capturing wins in Mike Heffner's Leland.com No. 27, Heffner finished third in owner points followed by Wayne Lesher and Bruce Buckwalter, Sr. PJ Gargiulo, Brett Wanner, Jim Radney, Shawn Jackson and Nick Wean finished sixth through tenth in driver points while car owners Scott Arndt, JHG Racing, Marilyn Wanner, Jim Radney and Bill Jackson captured the comparable positions in the owner's competition.
Ryan Greth and Tim Buckwalter led all ARDC competitors with three wins each while Steve Buckwalter and Brenden Bright each captured a pair of feature victories. Danny Stratton, Brett Wanner, PJ Gargiulo, Jim Radney, Bruce Buckwalter, Jr. and Drevicki picked up single wins during the season.
While it is still early for many tracks to be announcing dates for next season, ARDC is well on their way to completing their plans for the new year.
The 2016 season will open at the Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway (LANCO) on Saturday April 2nd. ARDC will spend the Fourth of July weekend at Linda's Speedway on Friday and then return to LANCO on Saturday, July 1st and 2nd. ARDC will join USAC's Eastern Storm on June 12th at the Susquehanna Speedway Park.
Plans are also under way for the return of the USAC Midgets for another round of co-sanctioned events with ARDC. Rico Abreu captured the wins and the hearts of the fans in the East when he made his first visit to Path Valley and Lincoln Speedways.
ARDC will host its annual meeting on Sunday, November 8th at the Topton Legion at 10:30am. All interested parties are welcome.
2016 ARDC SCHEDULE
25 – Linda’s Open Practice
2 – LANCO (Season Opener)
16 – Susquehanna Speedway
22 – Linda’s Speedway
30 – Susquehanna Speedway
6 – Linda’s speedway
13 – Big Diamond Speedway
21 – Susquehanna Speedway
May 31 – June 5 USAC Midget Week (no races)
10 – Willamsgrove Speedway (with USAC Silver Crown)
12 – Susquehanna Speedway (with USAC Eastern Storm)
1 – Linda’s Speedway
2 – LANCO
29 – Big Diamond Raceway
30-31 – Susquehanna Speedway (York County Nationals)
14 – * Susquehanna Speedway – ARDC/USAC Pa. Midget Week
15 – * Path Valley Speedway – ARDC/USAC Pa. Midget Week
16 – * TBA – ARDC/USAC Pa. Midget Week
17 – * Lincoln Speedway – ARDC/USAC Pa. Midget Week
19 – Linda’s Speedway – ARDC midget week finale
27 – Susquehanna Speedway
9 – Linda’s Speedway
17– Susquehanna Speedway
24 – No Racing USAC 4 Crown
30 – Linda’s Speedway
*Co-Sanction with USAC