USAC
 

 

 

KEVIN THOMAS, JR. GETS MIDGET RIDE FOR SUNDAY'S "LEFFLER MEMORIAL"

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Wayne City, Illinois........
.Kevin Thomas, Jr., who's enjoyed a highly successful USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car season, will make his return behind the wheel of a midget in this Sunday's fifth annual "Jason Leffler Memorial" at Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Illinois.

The Cullman, Alabama driver will compete in the event co-sanctioned by USAC and POWRi in a car fielded by Austin Brown. It was in this same car that Thomas made his only two series starts of 2017, driving to a pair of top-five finishes in consecutive nights at the "Kokomo Grand Prix" at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway in April: a 4th and a 5th.

The 2014 USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year has two career USAC National Midget feature wins, both coming in 2015, at Plymouth (Ind.) Speedway and Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kansas on his way to a third-place finish in points. In his most recent "Leffler Memorial" start in 2015, Thomas finished 10th.

Thomas has been a standout on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car trail this season, scoring five wins, including last Saturday's "Tony Hulman/Don Smith Classic" at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track.

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$20,000 ON THE LINE AT SUNDAY'S "LEFFLER MEMORIAL" IN WAYNE CITY

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Wayne City, Illinois.......
..In the late 1990s, Jason Leffler made tracks big and small his personal playground as he raced to three consecutive USAC National Midget titles. Though Leffler may have been small in stature, his legacy in the sport of midget racing remains that of a giant.

One look at the one-eighth-mile dirt oval of Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Illinois gives the impression of diminutive. But that's just a front for the spectacular wheel-banging, ultra-competitive style that has become the norm on this southern Illinois soil nestled between farmland during this harvest season.

This Sunday, we race in Leffler's name with the fifth running of the "Jason Leffler Memorial." Like Jason, don't underestimate size. Small cars on a small track will bring out the big hearts and the big right feet when there's big money on the line this Sunday, October 22 with $20,000 big ones going to the one with the biggest will to win.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon is the defending winner at Wayne City, leading the final 33 laps to capture an emotional victory - the first for car owner Frank Manafort and a meaningful win for USAC Hall of Fame crew chief and car builder Bob East who guided Jason Leffler to USAC National Midget titles in 1997-98-99 and a Silver Crown championship in 1998.

Clauson/Marshall Racing made its debut in the event a season ago. This year, they've taken on a full-assault of the series championship with five wins and it's three-driver arsenal of Shane Golobic, Tyler Courtney and Justin Grant all reside in the top-six of the standings.

The Clauson name has been victorious at the "Leffler Memorial" before when, in 2015, Bryan Clauson outdueled Rico Abreu in a memorable finish that we won't soon forget.

Almost astonishingly, this is one of the few races that the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team has not tamed yet, though they have finished as the runner-up three years in a row with drivers Christopher Bell, Rico and Tanner Thorson.

KKM's top-pilot this season has been Spencer Bayston of Lebanon, Indiana who holds a 66-point lead over Bacon coming into Sunday's race, which serves as the final event in the Midwest before the series heads west to Cali for season-enders at Bakersfield and Ventura in November.

The "Leffler Memorial" also holds a unique place on the racing calendar in that it brings out drivers who normally don't compete with the series during the outdoor season. 2013 World of Outlaws Sprint Car champ Daryn Pittman of Owasso, Oklahoma won the race in 2014 and finished fourth in 2015. He will be a contender Sunday along with the likes of fellow sprint car standouts making rare midget appearances: San Jose, California's Thomas Meseraull in the Amati Racing No. 66 and recent "Tony Hulman/Don Smith Classic" victor Kevin Thomas, Jr. of Cullman, Alabama at the wheel of Austin Brown's No. 7B, among many others.

The USAC/POWRi co-sanctioned event also features a format dissimilar to the majority of USAC events with no qualifying, but instead utilizing qualifier races and heats seeding the A-Main starting field.

Big names have missed the field in past years and nothing is a given at Wayne City. Drivers are going to have get up on the wheel, stand on the gas and put it in the show on these tight confines, which more than certainly will be a show for the fans in itself.

The "Jason Leffler Memorial" begins with pits opening at 11am, front gates opening at 3pm, drivers meeting at 3:30pm and cars on track at 4pm. Adult general admission tickets are $15. Children 12 and under are free with paid adult. Pit passes are $35.

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2017 points
National
Sept. 15
1. Justin Grant 1732
2. Chris Windom 1650
3. Tyler Courtney 1564
4. Chad Boespflug 1552
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. 1519
6. Chase Stockon 1482
7. C.J. Leary 1339
8. Brady Bacon 1302
9. R. Ballou 1217
10. J. Andretti 1145

National Midgets
Aug. 17
1. Spencer Bayston 1293
2. Brady Bacon  1233
3. Shane Golobic 1219
4. Tanner Thorson 1198
5. Tyler Courtney 1171
6. Justin Grant 1167
7. Chad Boat 1032
8. Holly Shelton 933
9. Tanner Carrick 857
10. Jerry Coons Jr. 808

Silver Crown
Sept. 3
1. Kody Swanson  624
2. Jerry Coons Jr. 519
3. Chris Windom  458
4. Justin Grant 415
5. David Byrne 387
6. Aaron Pierce  380
7. Bobby Santos  350
8. Joss Moffatt 269
9. Joe Liguori  258
10. Damion Gardner 248

USAC/CRA
Sept. 9
1. Damion Gardner 1135
2. Brody Roa 1062
3. Jake Swanson 1049
4. Mike Spencer 869
5. Austin Williams 801
6. Cody Williams 731
7. Logan Williams 675
8. Max Adams  623
9. Chris Gansen  611
10. Matt McCarthy 524

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