York Haven, PA........Alex Bright of Royersford, Pa. scored a thrilling last-lap victory in Saturday night's 20-lap USAC Eastern Midget race at BAPS Motor Speedway, passing Adam Pierson on the final lap for the win. Pierson took second ahead of Tommy Kunsman Jr., Ryan Wilson and Shawn Jackson. The series continues May 18 at Pottsville, Pa.

FEATURE: (20 laps) 1. Alex Bright, 2. Adam Pierson, 3. Tommy Kunsman Jr., 4. Ryan Wilson, 5. Shawn Jackson, 6. Mark Lowery, 7. Mike Myers, 8. Johnny Smith, 9. Steve Craig, 10. Andrew Layser, 11. Ryan Greth, 12. Reed Salony, 13. Josh Heckman, 14. Brett Conkling. NT
**Miller, Smith and Nardelli all flipped during the first heat. Salony flipped during the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-19 Pierson, Lap 20 Bright.

NEW USAC EASTERN MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Kunsman-267, 2-Jackson-238, 3-Meyers-210, 4-Layser-202, 5-Miller-188, 6-Greth-185, 7-Nardelli-181, 8-Pierson-166, 9-Bright-140, 10-Daniel Robinson-122.

NEXT USAC EASTERN MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: May 18 - Pottsville, PA - Big Diamond Speedway - "Red, White & Blue Autos Night"



Perris, CA........Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif. grabbed Saturday night's 30-lap "Sokola Classic" AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car race at Perris Auto Speedway. He got by Jake Swanson on lap 16 and led the final half of the race to beat fast qualifier Brody Roa, Swanson, Danny Faria Jr. and Charles Davis Jr. Danny Sheridan led the first three laps of the race but flipped on lap four.

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Brody Roa, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Danny Faria Jr., 5. Charles Davis Jr., 6. Max Adams, 7. R.J. Johnson, 8. Tye Mihocko, 9. Matt Stewart, 10. Chris Gansen, 11. Matt Rossi, 12. Cody Williams, 13. Logan Williams, 14. A.J. Bender, 15. Tommy Malcolm, 16. Austin Williams, 17. Jason McDougal, 18. Joel Rayborne, 19. Randy Waitman, 20. Cal Smith, 21. Trent Williams, 22. Danny Sheridan, 23. Matt McCarthy. NT
**Sheridan flipped on lap 4 of the feature. A.Williams, McDougal, Malcolm, and Bender flipped on lap 19 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Sheridan, Laps 4-14 Gardner, Lap 15 Swanson, Laps 16-30 Gardner

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Gardner-237, 2-Roa-221, 3-Swanson-208, 4-Johnson-164, 5-C.Williams-154, 6-Davis-133, 7-L.Williams-132, 8-Bender-128, 9-Rossi-126, 10-.Williams-121.




Montpelier, Indiana.........Montpelier Motor Speedway officials have made the decision to cancel this Saturday's USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship event due to saturated grounds, including standing water in the parking lot and pit area, plus unseasonably cool temperatures over the last few days and nights.

The Montpelier race was to have been the Midwest opener for the series, which now focuses on next weekend's Indiana doubleheader, Friday, April 27 at Bloomington Speedway and Saturday, April 28 at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt.  Additionally, USAC's big weekend concludes with the USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series dirt opener Sunday, April 29 at the Terre Haute Action Track.



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Montpelier, Indiana.........It took six decades for the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars to make their Montpelier Motor Speedway debut.  Now, after two successful events in 2016 and 2017 and, following an unforgettable tilt just less than seven months ago, the waiting is over and the anticipations is on as the series makes its return trip to the quarter-mile dirt oval this Saturday, April 21.

In that event last fall, Greenfield, Indiana's C.J. Leary admitted he was content to run third late in the going.  However, after a late-race red flag, Leary's newfound spirit saw him split between heavy-hitters Chris Windom and Kevin Thomas, Jr. on the back straightaway of the final lap to emerge with a stunning victory.

The two pilots Leary defeated on the unforgettable last-lap are the defending series champ and the driver who has risen to the top of the standings during this early season.  Windom, of Canton, Ill, the 2017 series champ, finished third in last year's event and, last Friday, won an unsanctioned sprint race at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway.

Windom trails the standings by eight behind Cullman, Alabama's Kevin Thomas, Jr.  Consistency through the first three events has elevated Thomas to the lead by virtue of 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishes.  The winningest driver in the series from a year ago looks to get the proverbial rolling this Saturday at Montpelier with the Hoffman/Dynamics, Inc. No. 69, the same team that won the series debut at the track in 2016 with driver Brady Bacon.

Bacon, of Broken Arrow, Okla., set fast time and captured the feature two years ago on his way to a title season.  The two-time USAC Sprint champ recently underwent a change of scenery in the sprint car where he will now take the reins of his own No. 99 after competing in the first three events at Ocala in February for the Dooling/Hayward Motorsports team.

The winningest competitor in USAC thus far in 2018 is Tyler Courtney.  The Indianapolis driver won two of those three previously-mentioned Sprint Car contests at Ocala and, just last Friday, picked up the win in a USAC National Midget at the "Kokomo Grand Prix."  His lone sprint car appearance at Montpelier netted him a sixth-place finish in 2017, but the track does happen to be the home of his first career USAC National Midget feature win in June of 2017.

Though the records only encompass two events over the last two seasons, no driver has been as consistent as USAC Triple Crown champ Dave Darland.  The Lincoln, Indiana native is the only driver to lead feature laps and finish in the top-five of both Montpelier USAC Sprint appearances.  In 2016, Darland led the first 11 laps before finishing third.  In 2017, he set a new one-lap track record in qualifying, then led two on his way to a fourth-place result.

Fort Branch, Indiana driver Chase Stockon (7th in points) opened up the season with a victory on the opening night of "Winter Dirt Games" in Ocala, Fla.  He finished fifth at Montpelier in 2016.  Princeton, Indiana's Kyle Cummins, a runner-up finisher at Montpelier in 2016, lies sixth in points.  Robert Ballou of Rocklin, Calif. (8th in points) collected a fifth-place finish a season ago.  Californians Chad Boespflug of Hanford (4th in points) and Ione's Justin Grant (9th in points) were victorious in heat race events at Montpelier in 2017.

The timetable for events this Saturday at Montpelier are slightly different than the norm.  The front gates open at 3pm.  Cars are on track at 5pm.  General admission tickets are $20.  Kids (12 & Under) are free with a paid adult.  Pit passes are $30 each.



The 2018 USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series debuts tomorrow night (Wednesday) at Delaware International Speedway in Delmar, Del.

The first of 10 series races will be followed by events at seven other venues, with Delaware International and Big Diamond Speedway in Pottsville, Pa. hosting two races each. Other venues are Accord (N.Y.) Speedway, Bedford (Pa.) Speedway, New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway, Bridgeport Speedway in Swedesboro, N.J., Path Valley Speedway Park in Spring Run, Pa. and Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway, which hosts the closer August 25.

It's been nearly a half-century since USAC competed in the "First State," A.J. Foyt captured stock car victories at Dover in 1969 and 1970 and Art Pollard won a National Championship race at Dover in 1969.

Ryan Greth, who won USAC's Eastern Midget crown last year, is one of the drivers expected to compete in this year's Eastern Sprint Car series. Others include Chandler Leiby, who competed in USAC's "Eastern Storm" feature last year at Bechtelsville, Pa., plus Trey Hivner, Kyle Lick and Steve Wilbur, who also participated in last year's "Eastern Storm."


Casa Grande, CA........Charles Davis Jr. of Buckeye, Ariz. scored a spectacular last-lap victory in Saturday night's 30-lap "Cotton Classic" USAC Southwest Sprint race at Central Arizona Speedway. Davis led the first 25 laps, then passed Tye Mihocko on the final lap for the win over Mihocko, Jason McDougal, Josh Pelkey and Chris Bonneau/ The series continues April 28 at Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley, Ariz.
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Charles Davis Jr., 2. Tye Mihocko, 3. Jason McDougal, 4. Josh Pelkey, 5. Chris Bonneau, 6. Mike Martin, 7. Matt Lundy, 8. Ronnie Clark, 9. Dennis Gile, 10. Michael Curtis, 11. Kyle Shipley, 12. Daylin Perreira, 13. Asa Kesterson, 14. Tyler Adams, 15. Tyler Most, 16. Larry Kesterson, 17. Lealand Fuller, 18. Wayne Siddle. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Davis, Laps 26-29 Mihocko, Lap 30 Davis.
HARD CHARGER: Chris Bonneau (11th to 5th)
NEW USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1.Davis-305, 2-Mihocko-273, 3-R.J. Johnson-240, 4-Martin-236, 5-Curtis-234, 6-Lundy-209, 7-Pelkey-200, 8-Gile-196, 9-Adams-145, 10-Stevie Sussex-123.
NEXT USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR RACE: April 28 - San Tan Valley, Arizona -Arizona Speedway



Tulare, CA........Austin Liggett of Tracy, Calif. nearly scored a "clean sweep" of Saturday's USAC Sprint/Midget doubleheader at Thunderbowl Raceway. He won the 30-lap AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint race after finishing second to Alex Schutte in the 25-lap USAC Western Midget feature. In the USAC/CRA main he led the final 16 laps after passing Damion Gardner on lap 15. Fast Qualifier Richard Vander Weerd took second ahead of Brody Roa, Gardner and Jake Swanson.

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Austin Liggett, 2. Richard Vander Weerd, 3. Brody Roa, 4. Damion Gardner, 5. Jake Swanson, 6. Cody Williams, 7. Max Adams, 8. A.J. Bender, 9. Matt Rossi, 10. Logan Williams, 11. Ryan Bernal, 12. Matt McCarthy, 13. R.J. Johnson, 14. Chris Gansen, 15. Jeremy Ellertson, 16. Danny Faria Jr., 17. Austin Williams, 18. Jace Vander Weerd, 19. Tommy Malcolm, 20. Gary Paulson. NT


**Swanson flipped during qualifications. Paulson flipped on lap 17 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Gardner, Laps 2-8 Liggett, Laps 9-14 Gardner, Laps 15-30 Liggett.

NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT POINTS: 1-Gardner-154, 2-Roa-141, 3-Swanson-136, 4-Johnson-112, 5-C.Williams-107, 6-A.Williams-89, 7-L.Williams-87, 8-Bender-87, 9-Rossi-81, 10-McCarthy-75.

NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT RACE: April 21- Perris (CA) Auto Speedway - "Sokola Shootout"



Tulare, CA........Alex Schutte of Redding, Calif. won Saturday night's 25-lap USAC Light Up the World Beverages/CBD Living Water Midget feature at the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway. He passed Ryan Bernal on lap nine and led the rest of the way for the win, beating Austin Liggett, Cory Elliott, Shannon McQueen and Robert Dalby to the finish line.

FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Alex Schutte, 2. Austin Liggett, 3. Cory Elliott, 4. Shannon McQueen, 5. Robert Dalby, 6. Ronnie Gardner, 7. Frankie Guerrini, 8. Clayton Ruston, 9. Marvin Mitchell, 10. Dylan Ito, 11. C.J. Sarna, 12. Maria Cofer, 13. Ron Hazelton, 14. Matt Mitchell, 15. Robby Josett, 16. Ryan Bernal, 17. Bryan Drollinger, 18. Kyle Beilman, 19. David Prickett, 20. Michael Faccinto. NT


**Faccinto flipped during qualifications. Drollinger flipped on lap 4 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Bernal, Laps 9-25 Schutte

NEW USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET PRESENTED BY CBD LIVING WATER POINTS: 1-Schutte-79, 2-McQueen-74, 3-Elliott-72, 4-Liggett-71, 5-Dalby-65, 6-Gardner-60, 7-Guerrini-60, 8-Ruston-57, 9-Marvin Mitchell-46, 10-Sarna-46.




Hanford, CA........Brody Roa of Garden Grove, Calif. won Saturday night's 30-lap USAC West Coast Sprint race at Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds. Fast qualifier Richard Vander Weerd fimished second ahead of Jake Swanson, Jace Vander Weerd and Ryan Timmons. Steve Hix led the first three laps, Swanson led the next 20 and Roa led the last seven after a lap-24 restart following a flip by Danny Faria Jr.

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Brody Roa, 2. Richard Vander Weerd, 3. Jake Swanson, 4. Jace Vander Weerd, 5. Ryan Timmons, 6. Steve Hix, 7. Tristan Guardino, 8. Shannon McQueen, 9. Koen Shaw, 10. Britton Bock, 11. Brandon Wiley, 12. Austin Liggett, 13. Trent Carter, 14. Hobie Conway, 15. Kevin Barnes, 16. Kyle Edwards, 17. Danny Faria Jr., 18. Brent Owens, 19. Austin Ervine, 20. Ryan Stolz. NT
**Faria flipped on lap 23 of the feature.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-3 Hix, Laps 4-23 Swanson, Laps 24-30 Roa.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE: April 28 – Santa Maria (CA) Raceway


Jonestown, PA........Tommy Kunsman Jr. of Bethlehem, Pa. led all 25 laps of Friday night's 2018 "Groundbreaker" opener for the USAC Eastern Midgets at Linda's Speedway. Kunsman was trailed to the checkered flag by Kenny Miller, Shawn Jackson, Daniel Robinson and Lee Nardelli. Saturday's race at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway has been cancelled. The series resumes April 21 at BAPS Motor Speedway in Newmanstown, Pa.
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Tommy Kunsman Jr., 2. Kenny Miller, 3. Shawn Jackson, 4. Daniel Robinson, 5. Lee Nardelli, 6. Mike Meyers, 7. Andrew Layser, 8. Ryan Greth. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-25 Kunsman.
NEW USAC EASTERN MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Kunsman-140, 2-Miller-130, 3-Jackson-124, 4-Robinson-122, 5-Nardelli-115, 6-Meyers-108, 7-Layser-107, 8-Greth-105, 9-Pierson-34.
NEXT USAC EASTERN MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: April 21 - York Haven, PA - BAPS Motor Speedway (April 7 race at Newmanstown, PA cancelled)



Newmanstown, PA -  A pair of big races within easy driving distance of one another will kick off the 2018 season for the USAC Eastern Midgets this weekend, April 6 & 7, and the two most recent champions of the division will lead the assault in the action-packed doubleheader.

Friday, April 6, the 2018 Groundbreaker event will jump start the new year for the mighty Midgets at Linda's Speedway in Jonestown, Pa. Joining the ground-pounding Midgets will be the wingless 600 and the winged 270 Sprints. Gates will open at 5:30 and race time is set for 7:30. Last season, rain outs plagued the speedway just about every time the Midgets were on the schedule, with just one race, the last one of the year for the USAC Eastern Midgets, getting into the books at the quarter-mile. That event was a dandy, though, as Alex Bright authored a last lap pass of his teammate, Andrew Layser, to score the win by mere inches when the duo crossed the finish line.

With his top ten finish in that final race at Linda's, Ryan Greth clinched his first USAC Eastern Midget point championship. Both Greth and Bright (the 2016 champion) will be in the field this Friday at Linda's and on Saturday, April 7, as the clay-tossing Midgets take their broadsliding brand of motorsports mayhem to Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in Newmanstown, Pa. as the speedway presents its 2018 No Wing Spring Fling.

Back in 2015, New Cumberland, Pa.'s Greth captured the very first Midget race ever run at Clyde Martin. There have been six Midget events since (four Eastern Midget and two USAC National Midget races), and Greth is still looking for his second triumph at the Clyde. Collegeville, Pa.'s Alex Bright has annexed the victories in all four stand-alone Eastern Midget races, while Tanner Thorson has emerged victorious in both of the National Midget Championship events. Anticipation for this event is high as fans and competitors alike yearn to see if this will be the race when someone other than Bright is holding the checkered flag at the end of the evening. Greth has come close to dethroning "the Phenom" a few times and he's looking for a strong start to defend his 2017 point title.

Joining the USAC Eastern Midgets on Saturday at Clyde Martin will be the wingless 600 and wingless 270 Sprints, with a 6:00 p.m. starting time. Strong fields are expected in both the wingless 600's and 270's as Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway constantly provides thrill-a-minute racing for wingless warriors in those two divisions.

It will be a busy day at the Clyde on Saturday, with the speedway's five weekly classes going through pre-season car inspection at the track beginning at 9:00 a.m. Practice for Lanco members who compete in the 600cc, 270cc, Sportsman, 125cc, and 250cc Four-Stroke classes will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The pits will then be cleared before gates re-open to race teams competing in that night's No Wing Spring Fling.

The USAC Eastern Midgets look forward to a big season beginning with this weekend's doubleheader at Linda's and the Clyde. Greth notched his first championship in '17, scoring a single feature win and lots of top five and top ten efforts. He returns to defend his title aboard the WSL Inc., Letter Works Sign Company Spike/Stanton No. 4.

Bright, who won three times and finished second in the standings last year, is armed with a new Elite Chassis powered by a Stanton SR-11 engine. He is aiming for his second point crown in the past three seasons.

The division's Rookie of the Year in 2017, Kenny Miller III from Birdsboro, Pa., is looking to improve on his impressive fourth place finish in points. He registered just one top five last season - a third place effort at Clyde Martin - and is searching for his initial Midget triumph as he steers a Spike/ Esslinger No. 23m.

2017 was a break-through year for New England's Adam Pierson, who often makes the long trek from his home to run with the USAC Eastern Midgets. Pierson engineered his first two victories with the club and wound up third in points. He will do battle in a Spike/ Esslinger combination in 2018.

Others expected to compete this weekend include Josh Heckman, Andrew Layser, Shawn Jackson, Christopher Dyson, and newcomer Lee Nardelli.

Nardelli purchased the car driven several times by Kyle Spence, and will make his Midget debut at Linda's on Friday night. Nardelli is a multi-time 600 Sprint champion at Bridgeport's Spirit Auto Center Speedway and has numerous feature wins in that class. The car is a proven commodity, as Spence recorded some impressive drives with it, so Nardelli should be a contender right out of the gate.



Bakersfield, CA... Saturday night's USAC Western States Midgets event at Bakersfield Speedway has been cancelled due to weather. The series resumes March 21 at Placerville (California) Speedway's "Placerville Short Track Outlaw Showdown."



Tulare, CA........Saturday night's USAC West Coast Sprint race at the Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway has been cancelled due to weather. The series resumes March 24 at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway.


Tiulare, CA........Ryan Bernal of Hollister, Calif. passed Austin Liggett on the white-flag lap and led the final two circuits in his Keith Ford entry to win Friday night's 30-lap USAC West Coast Sprint Car opener at  Thunderbowl Raceway. Liggett took second ahead of Danny Faria, Jr., fast qualifier Richard Vander Weerd and Jace Vander Weerd. The series continues Saturday night at Tulare.
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Ryan Bernal, 2. Austin Liggett, 3. Danny Faria Jr., 4. Richard Vander Weerd, 5. Jace Vander Weerd, 6. Koen Shaw, 7. Brandon Wiley, 8. Shannon McQueen, 9. Britton Bock, 10. Steve Hix, 11. Tristan Guardino, 12. Ryan Timmons, 13. Ryan Stolz, 14. Austin Ervine, 15. Johnathon Henry. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Liggett, Laps 29-30 Bernal
NEW USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Bernal-80, 2-Liggett-78, 3-R.Vander Weerd-75, 4-Faria-74, 5-J.Vander Weerd-67, 6-Shaw-60, 7-Wiley-56, 8-McQueen-54, 9-Guardino-50, 10-Bock-48.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR RACE: March 10 - Tulare, California - Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway


Peoria AZ........Defending USAC AMSOIL CRA Sprint Car Champion Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif. piloted the Mark Alexander entry to victory in Friday night's 30-lap "Spring Showcase" series opener at Canyon Speedway Park.

He led the final 22 laps after passing Jake Swanson on lap nine. Swanson finished second ahead of USAC Southwest Sprint Car Champ R.J. Johnson, Brody Roa and fast qualifier Chad Boespflug. The series returns to Canyon for Saturday night's events.
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Damion Gardner, 2. Jake Swanson, 3. R.J. Johnson, 4. Brody Roa, 5. Chad Boespflug, 6. Charles Davis Jr., 7. Austin Williams, 8. Stevie Sussex, 9. Zack Madrid, 10. Isaac Chapple, 11. Cody Williams, 12. Mike Martin, 13. Tommy Malcolm, 14. Tye Mihocko, 15. Logan Williams, 16. A.J. Bender, 17. Matt McCarthy, 18. Matt Rossi, 19. Chris Bonneau, 20. Jonas Reynolds, 21. Chris Gansen, 22. Matt Lundy, 23. Asa Kesterson. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Swanson, Laps 9-30 Gardner.
NEW AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Gardner-82, 2-Swanson-74, 3-Johnson-71, 4-Boespflug-69, 5-Davis- 67, 6-Roa-66, 7-Sussex-58, 8-A. Williams-55, 9-Madrid-54, 10-Chapple-49.
NEXT AMSOIL USAC/CRA SPRINT CAR RACE: March 10 - Peoria, Arizona - Canyon Speedway Park - "Spring Showcase"



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois.........Unprecedented is a word not to be used lightly, but with a new title sponsor and a plethora of new teams and talented drivers joining the fray, the 2018 USAC National Midget season is shaping up to be something that these eyes haven't seen.

At press time, an impressive 19 teams intend to compete on a full-time basis with the series this year, trouncing last year's 11 who took on the full schedule.

Another unprecedented part of the equation is Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian's team of septuplets. Returnees include 2017 series champion Spencer Bayston of Lebanon, Ind., 2017 Rookie of the Year Tanner Carrick (Lincoln, Calif.), plus returnees Ryan Robinson (Foresthill, Calif.) and Holly Shelton (Sacramento, Calif.), although she has previously announced that she will miss this Saturday's season opener at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin with a shoulder injury. Newcomers to the team include the experienced Tucker Klaasmeyer (Paola, Kan.) as well as Rookie of the Year contenders Sam Johnson (St. Peters, Mo.) and 2017 POWRi Midget champ Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.).

Clauson/Marshall Racing burst onto the scene last year by winning the season opener and putting all three of its full-time drivers in the top-six of the standings. Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) led CMR with three wins in 2017, while Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) won two for the team a year ago and returns sporting a new number, taking over the car driven to second in the standings by Shane Golobic. In his place, newcomer Zeb Wise (Angola, Ind.) joins the team in pursuit of Rookie of the Year honors.

USAC Triple Crown champion Jerry Coons, Jr. and current USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader Kevin Thomas, Jr. occupy the two seats of a potent Petry/Goff Motorsports lineup for 2018. Coons, the 2006 and 2007 series titlist out of Tucson, Ariz. is back for his second season in the No. 25 following a partial USAC schedule last year. Cullman, Alabama's Thomas, meanwhile, is back in a midget full-time for the first time since 2015 when he captured two USAC victories. Thomas got off to a hot start in 2018, sweeping both nights of POWRi's stop in Ocala, Fla. in February.

Tucker/Boat Motorsports has added a second car to its stable alongside Chad Boat (Phoenix, Ariz.), a winner of six series races for the team over the past two seasons. Stillwater, Oklahoma's Zane Hendricks, a micro sprint racing veteran and relative newcomer to midgets, joins TBM for a full-time run in his Rookie USAC campaign.

Crew chief Rusty Kunz will have wrench two different rides this year with grandson Brayton Lynch (Springfield, Ill.) returning for his sophomore season in the RKR No. 1K. Joe Dooling's No. 63 will run the full schedule with a pair of well-known gassers - 2016 USAC National Midget champion Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) and Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) - splitting duties throughout the season.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon is a two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ, but he and Frank Manafort Racing have also been in contention for a USAC National Midget title in each of the previous two years with four wins and a pair of third-place finishes in the standings in 2016 and 2017.

Tyler Thomas has been a regular on the circuit for several seasons now, but the Collinsville, Okla. driver is ready to take next step as he and the family-owned team eye their first career series win and a full-season run at a title.  Fellow Oklahoman Matt Moore and Hergott Racing Development are newcomers to the scene as they make their initial foray to the series in a car that pays homage to famed "Nine" cars of year's past.

The 21-race championship schedule begins with the "Shamrock Classic" this Saturday, March 10 on the 1/6-mile dirt oval inside the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin. Forty-eight midgets have entered the third annual event which also features micro sprints.



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois.........Sophomore sensation or sophomore slump are the two avenues that a driver can take after a successful Rookie campaign.  For as many success stories as there are in a driver's second year of USAC P1 Insurance National Midget competition, there are many who weren't able to break into victory lane.

Lincoln, California's Tanner Carrick, the 2017 series Rookie of the Year, aims to be the sensation in 2018 when the season begins this Saturday, March 10 at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin.

Since the inception of the USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year award in 1969, there have been 14 drivers who have earned a victory in the year following their recognition as the top first year driver.  Drivers such as Tommy Astone (1973), Bobby East (2002) and Bryan Clauson (2007) have earned three in their sophomore year, Billy Engelhart (1970), Larry Patton (1976) and Kevin Thomas, Jr. (2015) with two apiece and Russ Gamester (1985), Darren Hagen (2006) and Spencer Bayston (2016) with one each.

However, there've been a few others who've reached the top of their game in that second season.  Jeff Gordon racked up an incredible nine wins and the series title in the Rollie Helmling-owned, Diet Pepsi-sponsored No. 4 in 1990, which launched him to super stardom.  Two years later, in 1992, Doug Kalitta earned four wins in that second year, which preceded a USAC National Sprint Car title in 1994 and, eventually, a long successful career as a Top Fuel Dragster competitor in the NHRA.

Perhaps more telling is Carrick's team, the Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian outfit, that has been the machine that has produced several of the best seasons period, let alone second seasons, in recent memory.

Kyle Larson was a standout right from the start in his Rookie campaign in 2011, then answered the bell in his second verse with another standout year in 2012 that produced six victories.  In the ensuing years, Rico Abreu and Christopher Bell's second years were two of the most successful of all-time.  Abreu broke through for his first victory midway through 2013 and finished the year with four wins.  Christopher Bell's Rookie year was simply spectacular, becoming the second driver (Danny Caruthers in 1971) to take both the championship as well as RoY honors in one fell swoop in 2013.  A year later, Bell responded with a seven-win campaign.

It's those recent examples that set the template for expectations of success.  This year is by no means a make-or-break year for a second-year driver like Carrick, but it is a good indicator of future successes.  However, several Rookie of the Year winners spent their early years cutting their teeth, getting the necessary experience to compete with such talent for multiple years before breaking through for their first prior to becoming a mainstay of success in the series, namely Lonnie Caruthers, Brian Gerster, Ryan Newman, Michael Lewis, A.J. Fike, Aaron Fike, Chad Boat and Zach Daum.

Keep in mind, Carrick just recently turned 16-years old!  Right now, making strides in all areas of the game in year two is equally as important as anything else.  A ninth-place finish in points after starting 22 of 23 features in 2017, nine top-tens, a top-five run at Susquehanna Speedway (now BAPS Motor Speedway) and a quick time, Carrick is poised to set forth on a path that will elevate him to be one of the top contenders on the circuit.

In one of, if not the largest and deepest fields of talent in series history, the toughest competition may come from his own teammates, surrounded by six others striving to reach the same goals as he: defending series champ Spencer Bayston, returnees Ryan Robinson and Holly Shelton (who will miss the opener at Du Quoin following shoulder surgery), plus newcomers Tucker Klaasmeyer, Logan Seavey and Sam Johnson.

Season two will be a true test of abilities, not only for Carrick, but for the entire field.  Judging by the equipment, the key people surrounding him, and recent history, expect Carrick to step his game up in 2018 and maybe even knock down a win or two.

Carrick joins an entry list of 48 Midgets featuring the biggest names in short track, open wheel racing.



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois.........The field for the "Shamrock Classic" is set with 48 USAC P1 Insurance National Midget teams set to do battle this Saturday, March 10 at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin.

The state of Indiana leads the way with 11 driver representatives while seven apiece come from Oklahoma and six from Missouri.  Five arrive from California and Illinois while two each from Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Texas have entered the third annual event on the 1/6-mile, indoor dirt oval.  Alabama, Tennessee and Wyoming have one lone driver carrying the flag for their respective state.

Lebanon, Indiana's Spencer Bayston has an opportunity to join an exclusive list that only seven individuals have achieved in their career, by capturing the USAC National Midget title, then following it up with a victory in the season-opener in the following season. Fellow Lebanon native Mel Kenyon was the first to do so back in 1967-68, followed by Jimmy Caruthers (1970-71), Rich Vogler (1983-84), Russ Gamester (1989-90), Jason Leffler (1998-99), J.J. Yeley (2003-04) and Bryan Clauson (2010-11).

Bayston is part of a Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian stable that brings seven drivers, including Californians Ryan Robinson (Foresthill), Tanner Carrick (Lincoln), Logan Seavey (Sutter), Tucker Klaasmeyer of Paola, Kans., Sam Johnson, of St. Peters, Mo. and Harli White of Lindsay, Okla., who is substituting for Holly Shelton while she recovers from a shoulder injury.

Only six drivers in USAC National Midget history have won the season opener and gone on to win the season championship in the same year: Kenyon (1968), Vogler (1978), Steve Lotshaw (1979), Leffler (1999), Clauson (2011) and Rico Abreu (2014). None of those season-opening victories occurred in the state of Illinois. However, three of them have come indoors.

Justin Grant made history last year at the "Shamrock Classic" when he became the first driver in USAC history to capture season-opening victories in both the National Sprint and National Midget divisions in the same year. This Saturday, an opportunity lies ahead for the Ione, California driver to become the sixth driver to win USAC National Midget season-opening features in consecutive years, joining Vogler (1984-85), Kenny Irwin, Jr. (1992-93), Tony Stewart (1997-98), J.J. Yeley (2004-05), Brad Sweet (2009-10).

Grant's Clauson/Marshall Racing team has won four of the five USAC-sanctioned Midget events at the Southern Illinois Center dating to 2015, including the only two "Shamrock Classic" that have been held. He and teammate Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) as well as USAC Rookie of the Year candidate Zeb Wise of Angola, Ind. form a strong three-car Clauson/Marshall Racing lineup.

USAC National Sprint Car point leader Kevin Thomas, Jr. of Cullman, Ala. And USAC Triple Crown champ Jerry Coons, Jr. make up a stout two-car team for Petry/Goff Motorsports. Mitchell, Indiana's Chase Briscoe, the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year, is entered to drive his own No. 5 along with standouts Thomas Meseraull of San Jose, Calif. (Joe Dooling No. 63) and Collinsville, Oklahoma's Tyler Thomas (Tyler Thomas No. 91T).

Two-time USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Champion Brady Bacon and FMR Racing have teamed up for another go at a title run. Chad Boat, winner of six career USAC National Midget races, has entered the event as one of two drivers in the Tucker/Boat Motorsports stable along with series Rookie of the Year contender Zane Hendricks of Stillwater, Okla. Greenfield, Indiana's C.J. Leary intends to make a rare midget start for Gray Auto, for who he made a pair of starts with back in 2015.

Billy Wease of Noblesville, Indiana has found big success in his midget racing career, winning the "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway in 2006. Additionally, he's won a USAC Midget race indoors at the Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum in 2007. Both experiences bode well for the veteran driver as he pilots the Amanda Wease No. 12.

Wayne Lesher has entered his No. 4 for 2017 ARDC Midget champion Ryan Greth of Newport, Pa. Meanwhile, 2016 Bloomington Speedway "Indiana Sprint Week" feature winner Brent Beauchamp has entered his own familiar No. 11.

The $3900-to-win USAC Midget purse honors the memory of Bryan Clauson's success in car No. 39 at the Southern Illinois Center over the years. The additional $900 added to the winner's share is courtesy of Stenhouse Jr. Racing. Factory Canopies has also come aboard to pledge their support to the event.

In addition, micro sprints are on the card with a $750-to-win prize. The format will utilize passing points to lock 12 drivers into the night's feature through the heat races, with four more from each B-Main to lock in the 20-car lineup.



Perris, CA........The 2018 USAC AMSOIL CRA Sprint opener at Perris Auto Speedway, originally scheduled Saturday night, has been cancelled due to inclement weather forecasts. The USAC AMSOIL CRA Sprint Cars now open the season March 9-10 with the "Spring Showcase" at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Ariz.


Las Vegas, NV........Justin Grant of Ione, Calif. completed a "clean sweep" of the 7th FVP Showdown for USAC West Coast and Sands Chevrolet Southwest Sprint Cars at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Thursday night's 25-lap feature victory.

Wednesday's winner started sixth in Thursday's race but ran down early leaders Brady Short and Brady Bacon to grab the lead on lap four in Bill Michael's #77M Kodiak Products/Beal's Auto Body Sherman/Ford. He proceeded to lead the final 22 laps to beat Brody Roa, Tyler Courtney and Bacon, who waged a race-long battle for the runner-up spot. Stevie Sussex rounded out the top-five at the checkered flag.
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Brody Roa, 3. Tyler Courtney, 4. Brady Bacon, 5. Stevie Sussex, 6. Brady Short, 7. Colby Copeland, 8. Colton Hardy, 9. Charles Davis Jr., 10. Jake Swanson, 11. Landon Cling, 12. Tye Mihocko, 13. Kevin Thomas Jr., 14. Tanner Carrick, 15. Michael Fanelli, 16. Koen Shaw, 17. Johnnie Butler, 18. Austin Ervine, 19. Larry Kesterson, 20. Dennis Gile, 21. Dalton Hill, 22. Ryan Stolz. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Short, Lap 3 Bacon, Laps 4-25 Grant.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: March 9 - Tulare, California - Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway


Las Vegas, NV........Justin Grant of Ione, Calif. led all 25 laps to win Wednesday night's USAC West Coast/Sands Chevrolet Southwest Sprint feature at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Grant passed pole starter Kevin Thomas Jr. in turn three and built a 2.5-second lead by halfway in his Michaels Special. Thomas broke on lap four and runnerup Brody Roa lost a tire on lap five. Grant had built an eight-second lead by lap 21 then the second of two feature red flags flew for a flip by Michael Curtis. He resumed his lead on the restart and finished with a comfortable lead over second-place finished Dennis Gile.
Brady Bacon took third at the checkered flag ahead of Dalton Hill and Tyler Courtney.
"The car was amazing, a real rocket ship," said Grant in victory lane. "I really didn't even have to hustle it. I knew it was a good car and was looking forward to running it long before I got here."
Brandon Halverson brought the first feature red when he flipped on lap two. Stevie Sussex was second before he pulled off the track on the restart on lap 22.
The "Shootout" continues with night two Thursday at Las Vegas.
 FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Justin Grant, 2. Dennis Gile, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Dalton Hill, 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Jake Swanson, 7. Charles Davis Jr., 8. Brady Short, 9. Tye Mihocko, 10. Landon Cling, 11. Colton Hardy, 12 Koen Shaw, 13. Michael Fanelli, 14. Ryan Stoltz, 15. Johnnie Butler, 16. Stevie Sussex, 17. Austin Ervine, 18. Michael Curtis, 19. Brody Roa, 20. Kevin Thomas Jr., 21. Tanner Carrick, 22. Brandon Halverson, 23. Colby Copeland, 24. Larry Kesterson. NT
**Kesterson flipped during the second heat. Halverson flipped on lap 2 of the feature. Curtis flips on lap 22 of the feature.
NEXT USAC WEST COAST/SANDS CHEVROLET SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE: March 1 - Las Vegas, Nevada - The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway - 7th "FVP Showdown"



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois.........The "Shamrock Classic" entry list continues to climb for the 2018 USAC P1 Insurance Midget National Championship season opener on Saturday, March 10 at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin.

Two-time USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Champion Brady Bacon and FMR Racing have teamed up for another go at a title run.  The last two years, the Broken Arrow, Okla. driver has twice finished in the third position in the final USAC National Midget standings.

Chad Boat, winner of six career USAC National Midget races, has entered the event as one of two drivers in the Tucker/Boat Motorsports stable along with series Rookie of the Year contender Zane Hendricks of Stillwater, Okla.  Boat, of Phoenix, Ariz., led 34 laps en route to a fourth-place finish in the series most recent visit to the Southern Illinois Center last December.

Greenfield, Indiana's C.J. Leary had a breakout year in USAC's National Sprint Car series last year with five victories.  At the Southern Illinois Center, he intends to make a rare midget start for Gray Auto, for who he made a pair of starts with back in 2015.

Billy Wease of Noblesville, Indiana has found big success in his midget racing career, winning the "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway in 2006.  Additionally, he's won a USAC Midget race indoors at the Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum in 2007.  Both experiences bode well for the veteran driver as he pilots the Amanda Wease No. 12.

Previously announced entries include the two past Southern Illinois Center winners, and teammates, Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) and Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) as well as USAC Rookie of the Year candidate Zeb Wise of Angola, Ind. to form a formidable three-car Clauson/Marshall Racing lineup.

Current USAC National Sprint Car point leader Kevin Thomas, Jr. of Cullman, Ala. And USAC Triple Crown champ Jerry Coons, Jr. make up a stout two-car team for Petry/Goff Motorsports.  Mitchell, Indiana's Chase Briscoe, the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year, is entered to drive his own No. 5 along with standouts Thomas Meseraull of San Jose, Calif. (Dooling-Hayward/RCR No. 63) and Collinsville, Oklahoma's Tyler Thomas (Tyler Thomas No. 91T).

The $3900-to-win USAC Midget purse honors the memory of Bryan Clauson's success in car No. 39 at the Southern Illinois Center over the years.  The additional $900 added to the winner's share is courtesy of Stenhouse Jr. Racing.  Factory Canopies has also come aboard to pledge their support to the event.

In addition, micro sprints are on the card with a $700-to-win, $3000 total feature purse.  The format will utilize passing points to lock 12 drivers into the night's feature through the heat races, with four more from each B-Main to lock in the 20-car lineup.



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ocala, Florida.........In the spirit of the Winter Olympic games, Tyler Courtney's performance on Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park could only be described as flawless - even coming from the Russian judge.

No, you won't find any triple axels or double lutzes in his 30-lap performance, but you will find the precise execution of a race where nary a single wheel was turned wrong lap-after-lap on his way to a commanding USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship feature win, his second in as many nights at "Winter Dirt Games" in his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing/Priority Aviation - Competition Suspension, Inc./Spike/Rider Chevy.

"I think it handled even better tonight," Courtney revealed.  "We were able to go pretty much anywhere I put it.  Hats off to Tim (Clauson) and the guys.  They've worked their tails off since the week after the Chili Bowl leading up to this.  This is the least I can do to repay those guys for the hours and the blood, sweat and tears that go into this.  This is a really a good way to start off the year.  Obviously, it's early, so you can't really worry about points, but it definitely puts us in a good spot heading into Lawrenceburg."

From the drop of the green, pole sitter Courtney checked out, last seen headed northbound on I-75 out of Ocala carrying the winner's check under his arm.  Only Chris Windom was able to present a brief challenge in the early stages of the event before falling back into line.

Windom, the defending series champ, charged from fifth to second on the opening lap past a stout group that included C.J. Leary, Chad Boespflug and Dave Darland.  Yet, by midway, Courtney had ridden the cushion to more than a half-straightaway lead over Windom, who could never get close enough to present a challenge to Courtney in a race that went caution-free for the final 27 laps following a lap three caution for the stoppage of Garrett Aitken.

"I knew on that one and only restart, I could hear a guy behind me, so I kind of picked it up a little bit to see if I could either gain or lose the motor sound in my ear," Courtney explained.  "It kept getting quieter and quieter, so I knew I had to be doing something right.  I just kept chugging away and hitting my marks as I searched to see if the track was changing or not.  We were able to work through lapped traffic nicely.  When they got the move over flag, they either held their ground or moved once and didn't move again.  It makes it a lot easier when the lapped cars are good like that.  You try not to worry about the guys behind you, you try to worry about your own race, but it's nice when you come in and they say you had a pretty big lead."

When all was said and done, Courtney wrapped up a dominating 2.5 second victory over Windom, Boespflug, Kevin Thomas, Jr. and Darland to become the first driver to win back-to-back USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car features this early in the season since Tracy Hines in 2013.

"Winter Dirt Games" is unique in that it is almost like a mini-season within a season.  It's a three-race excursion separated on its own island on the schedule in the month of February, preceding the bulk of the season which typically gets underway in late March, early April.  In this case, it's a full six weeks until the next series event, March 31 at Indiana's Lawrenceburg Speedway.

There may not be much, mechanically-speaking, that a team can take away from what they learned at a uniquely-shaped venue such as the 3/8-mile D-shaped track at Bubba Raceway Park and apply it to the high-banks of Lawrenceburg, but there are certain aspects of it that a driver and crew can learn from each other that will benefit them when the season gets in full swing despite the substantial time off over the next month-and-a-half.  After a relatively rough showing, and an 11th place finish in Thursday night's season opener, Courtney and CMNR found something amongst themselves.

"Don't give up," Courtney noted.  "We had a semi-frustrating night the first time out, we just put our nose to the ground and kept digging.  I think it obviously proved that if you stay focused on your goals, you can achieve them."

"You have to stay humble and keep plugging away," Courtney continued.  "I know these guys are going to go back to the shop and get her all maintenanced up and go through everything, just like we're restarting the season again.  Luckily, for me, I get to go to Vegas and get to run for Mike Phulps and his 360 team here in the next week or so, so I get to stay fresh, then I get to hop into the midget at Du Quoin (on March 10).  As a team, we really don't have a whole lot of downtime here.  It makes things a little easier, but anytime you can stay in a racecar, it's beneficial to driving.  The more laps you get, the better you're going to get."

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (1), 2. Chris Windom (5), 3. Chad Boespflug (2), 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (6), 5. Dave Darland (3), 6. C.J. Leary (4), 7. Robert Ballou (9), 8. Carson Short (11), 9. Justin Grant (8), 10. Brady Bacon (12), 11. Logan Seavey (7), 12. Chase Stockon (15), 13. Kyle Cummins (10), 14. Jarett Andretti (14), 15. Nick Bilbee (16), 16. Kody Swanson (17), 17. Timmy Buckwalter (18), 18. Isaac Chapple (13), 19. Mario Clouser (22), 20. Garrett Aitken (19), 21. Brandon Mattox (20), 22. Landon Simon (21). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Courtney.

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Thomas-227, 2-Windom-219, 3-Courtney-209, 4-Boespflug-182, 5-Leary-179, 6-Cummins-172, 7-Stockon-170, 8-Ballou-170, 9-Grant-168, 10-Short-164.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: March 31 - Lawrenceburg, Indiana - Lawrenceburg Speedway



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ocala, Florida.........The evolution of Tyler Courtney's USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car career has progressed by leaps and bounds over the past few seasons.  In 2016, he broke into the win column for the first time.  In 2017, he had a career-high five series wins.  For 2018, the next logical step would be to contend for a series title.

Although the season is admittedly early, Courtney took a big leap toward that goal after a dominating performance Friday on night two of "Winter Dirt Games 9" at Bubba Raceway Park as he drove to the front on lap three and led the remaining 28 laps to score his first victory for the team in their new sprinter.

Ocala has been a battleground that has proven to be a thorn in Courtney's side throughout his career.  Four of his five starts at the 3/8-mile D-shaped track coming into Friday had resulted in finishes of 11th or worse.  After a rough start a year ago and an equally tumultuous beginning on Thursday night, the Indianapolis, Indiana native licked his war wounds and arrived in a new frame of mind, a trait he said he didn't possess at this point last season.

"If I was in this position a year ago, I probably would've struggled again tonight," Courtney admits.  "I took last year and learned how to handle myself from one night to the next, especially on a long trip like this.  You just have to take last night and put it behind you and reset and give your team your best effort because you know they're going to give you their best effort every night.  This is a really good way to start off the trip and year, especially since last year I think I came out either 14th or 15th in points.  That makes the road to hoe a long one.  This is really cool to start this way with a new team.  There's always question marks, but I think we kind of threw those away tonight and, hopefully, made a statement that we're here to be a contender all year."

In 2017, Courtney's performance was clicking at a steady beat with TOPP Motorsports as he posted the best numbers of his career across the board.  During the offseason, however, Courtney made the bold jump to Clauson-Marshall-Newman Racing full-time, the same team he competes with on the USAC Midget National Championship trail.  For most, it takes more than a moment to jell properly with the team and its operations, but Courtney has a familiarity with these particular surroundings as a driver that is second to none, making the adaptation to each other in just the snap of a finger.

"Tim (Clauson) has been a huge part of my career since I started in sprint cars and midgets," Courtney said.  "Tim and I have such a close relationship with our head guy, and my roommate, Rizzy (Tyler Ransbottom).  We're one big family here, so it's really special, especially to bring out a throwback car that Rizzy and Tim and everyone got to be a part of.  Having a family atmosphere like this makes a transition like switching from a team that you ran with for two years a lot easier.  The trust and the confidence level is there because I ran with them in the midgets last year, and I think we proved that tonight.

Indeed, they proved that, and it didn't take very long.  As C.J. Leary and Kevin Thomas, Jr. tussled for position up front for the first two circuits, fourth-starting Courtney was precise, motoring to the outside of Thomas in turn two on lap three for second, then splitting between he and Leary to his outside as he dove to the bottom in turn three to snare the lead.

The sense of urgency was palpable in Courtney's mind and he knew he needed to take advantage of the space on the track afforded to him before it was discovered by Leary and/or Thomas.

"I knew I needed to get there," Courtney obliges.  "I was running that next groove up from where they were and it stuck.  I knew it was only a matter of time before they got there too.  So, I knew I needed to get by them and get going.  Luckily, I was able to get that done in one lap and didn't have to mess around too long.  Once you get out front, you can maintain your own pace and run your own race instead of having to chase them and push your stuff.  This place is pretty abrasive on tires, so to be able to get out and feel comfortable and manage my stuff, it's a huge advantage compared to those guys."

Seemingly nothing could slow Courtney's pace despite multiple cautions in the first half of the 30-lapper.  Courtney simply walked away each time, spurting out to a half-straightaway lead by the eighth lap as he rode the lip up front.

An inadvertent yellow closed up things at the midway point when fifth-running Carson Short made a miraculous save to somehow avoid crunching the tail tank against the outside concrete.  Short was repositioned to eighth in the order, the position he was in when the yellow flag was thrown.

That, in turn, erased Courtney's substantial advantage.  On the lap 16 restart, an under-the-weather Leary managed to hang with Courtney for the ensuing two laps, but, gradually, Courtney and his CMNR ride proved to be too much for anybody else to handle on this night.

The only flip during the feature event came on lap 19 when Chris Windom and pole sitter Jarett Andretti made wheel-to-wheel contact while battling for the fourth position.  Andretti got the worst end of the deal after hopping Windom's right rear and careening hard into the backstretch wall before flipping over.  Andretti was uninjured.  Windom continued.

On the ensuing restart, Courtney took the tried and true line on the cushion to distance himself from Leary.  Nearing the final lap, Courtney's biggest challenge was a bevy of lapped traffic that included Isaac Chapple, Kent Schmidt and Brandon Mattox who ran high, low and middle as they battled for their own positions.  Fortunately, for Courtney, he was able to part the sea of machinery and cut through the gridlock without a hindrance to his interval between he and second-place Leary as he raced to a 1.791-second victory over Leary, Thomas, Windom and fast qualifier Kyle Cummins.

As opposed to last year, the start of Courtney's 2018 season has been golden.  A title is quite far off in the grand scheme of things, but getting out of the gate in such a positive manner not only provides points toward that goal, but boosts team morale and confidence to the point where running successfully comes second nature.

"Winning races is the reason we race, but there's the big picture at the end and that's a championship," Courtney said without missing a beat.  "Not having to play catchup makes life a little easier, but you can't just take three nights like this and think you're good for the rest of the year.  You have to finish this trip out strong and keep doing what you're doing.  It's 40-plus nights of grueling, intense racing and this is probably the deepest field we've had in many years.  It's going to be a fun season!"


USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: February 16, 2018 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park

FEATURE: (30 laps): 1. Tyler Courtney, 2. C.J. Leary, 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 4. Chris Windom, 5. Kyle Cummins, 6. Dave Darland, 7. Carson Short, 8. Chad Boespflug, 9. Brady Bacon, 10. Chase Stockon, 11. Justin Grant, 12. Mario Clouser, 13. Robert Ballou, 14. Timmy Buckwalter, 15. Nick Bilbee, 16. Logan Seavey, 17. Kody Swanson, 18. Landon Simon, 19. Kent Schmidt, 20. Isaac Chapple, 21. Brandon Mattox, 22. Jarett Andretti, 23. Garrett Aitken. NT


**Clem flipped during the first heat. Andretti flipped on lap 19 of the feature.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Leary, Laps 3-30 Courtney.

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Thomas-153, 2-Windom-142, 3-Courtney-131, 4-Cummins-128, 5-Stockon-125, 6-Grant-117, 7-Leary-115, 8-Boespflug-113, 9-Ballou-110, 10-Short-108.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: Feb. 17 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games 9"



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ocala, Florida.........Strong finishes lead to strong beginnings in the case of Chase Stockon.

After finishing last season with two USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National victories in the final four races, the 29-year-old Fort Branch, Indiana racer has seemingly carried the momentum gracefully into the new year, winning the season opener for the series Thursday on night one of "Winter Dirt Games 9" at Bubba Raceway Park.

When the proverbial ball gets rolling downhill, the last thing you'd think you want to do is change it up, but Stockon felt he had to stay ahead of the game rather than play it safe and stand pat. Now what's old is new and what's new is working splendidly for Stockon and his 32 TBI Racing/Superior Tank & Trailer - Angle Buildings/DRC/Fisher Chevy.

"A lot is different from last year," Stockon confided. "We struggled so badly through the middle part of last year, we went through everything. We went through old notes and found something we thought we were missing out on. We went back to our shock setup that we ran five or six years ago and that seemed to work really well for us. It seems like the tires have been changing for us a little bit. We were pretty quick out of the gate when we switched to this tire. Again, we went back to our old notes on those and stuck with it."

"We ended this thing last year with two wins and, throughout the offseason, we knew we didn't want to change a dang thing," Stockon continued. "Joe (Devin) from DRC built us two new cars and they're just as good as the one we ended last season with. Whenever you get things rolling and you've got a car you like, you don't want to get rid of it, but it was time to start fresh and I think we've got good pieces this year."

At the drop of the green, Stockon raced around the outside of pole sitter Dave Darland to take the early advantage as a mad scramble ensued for the runner-up position between Darland and second row combatants Carson Short and Justin Grant.

Seven cautions disrupted the first half of the 30-lapper and hindered Darland's approach to the front. Patience was a virtue for Darland who, on multiple occasions in the early going, appeared he had the chops to possibly become the eventual successor to the point from as he relentlessly hounded Stockon, captaining his way to within a whisker of Stockon when the yellow flag flew for a pair of spins of laps eight and 11.

When racing ultimately resumed, Darland's impressive bid for his first series win since 2016 came to an abrupt conclusion when his car slowed suddenly exiting turn two on lap 13 to bring out the yellow flag. He would not restart.

Just before halfway, the surface of the 3/8-mile D-shaped oval began to change. Stockon quickly took note and adapted to the new terrain.

"The first part of the race, I was running the top in (turns) one and two and kind off diamonding off (turns) three and four," Stockon recalled. "I felt pretty decent there and I could see Dave (Darland) kept putting his nose underneath me. I kind of knew the bottom was pretty good there, especially with Dave down there. He likes to run the top, so when he was getting good runs on me like that, I kind of knew something was happening."

A new contender to dethrone Stockon emerged in the early portion of the second half in the form of Justin Grant, winner of last year's opener in Ocala. Grant ducked underneath Stockon on multiple occasions, but was unable to make the pass stick as the front two separated themselves from the rest of the pack.

With six to go, Kevin Thomas, Jr. emerged at the forefront in his debut in the famed Dynamics, Inc. machine, applying pressure to Stockon for the race lead. The ever-changing track surface required such precision that a single misstep could prove costly for Stockon. You can increase the pressure ten-fold when someone who has been as red-hot as Thomas is closing in on you. Thomas was the winner of a pair of POWRi Midget races less than a week ago at the very same track.

"We kept having so many yellows there at the start of the race, (my crew) was giving me a few pointers on where we needed to maneuver," Stockon explained. "When we had the long green flag run in the middle part of the race, I felt my exit speed slowing up so much that, on that last restart, I decided to move back up to the top and see if I could keep my momentum built up to stay out front. I kind of noticed there, with probably five or six laps to go, it was taking rubber in the middle through the exit of (turn) four. I kind of found that and, luckily, had enough momentum once KT got to me to get back down to the bottom and get down in the rubber in (turns) one and two. The track conditions changing from slimy/greasy at the beginning to what it ended up being was kind of unique. When you lead the whole race like that, you feel like a sitting duck out there and don't really know where to go. Luckily, everything went our way tonight."

"He doesn't make many mistakes," Stockon said of Thomas. "He was back there where he could kind of maneuver and knew where the track was changing at and where to be. When it took rubber and I finally moved down there, you didn't really want to cheat it too much and be in the slick and have a guy drive around on the top or bottom. I tried to pay attention to where the sheen was on the racetrack and put the right rear where it needed to be."

Thomas threw the kitchen sink at Stockon, but coming to the white flag, drifted slightly high on the entry into turn one and, on the final lap, lost momentum in turn two as Stockon battened the hatches to tie board up the number one spot and take his first "Winter Dirt Games" victory in 20 tries, winning by a half-second over Thomas, Chris Windom, Grant and Robert Ballou.

"Winter Dirt Games" has been a strong suit for Stockon over the years with 11 top-five finishes in 20 starts. In fact, his 8.05 average finishing position was the best of any active driver without a "Winter Dirt Games" win coming into Thursday's event.

"I'm just a late bloomer I guess," Stockon said with a laugh. "We've always been pretty strong down here. I don't really know why. I like this racetrack. It's different. I wouldn't say we do anything completely out of the norm down here. I don't know if it just suits my style, diamonding off and exiting straight. But I really like this place and, before I came down here, I told my wife that we've won at least one race in almost every state that we run regularly in non-wing sprint cars. Florida was one of those states we'd yet to do it, so I know she's definitely happy back home right now."


USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: February 15, 2018 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games 9"

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Chase Stockon, 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 3. Chris Windom, 4. Justin Grant, 5. Robert Ballou, 6. Kyle Cummins, 7. Isaac Chapple, 8. Chad Boespflug, 9. Logan Seavey, 10. Nick Bilbee, 11. Tyler Courtney, 12. Kody Swanson, 13. Brady Bacon, 14. Carson Short, 15. C.J. Leary, 16. Tyler Clem, 17. Jarett Andretti, 18. Landon Simon, 19. Garrett Aitken, 20. Dave Darland, 21. Kent Schmidt, 22. Timmy Buckwalter. NT


**Clouser flipped during the first heat.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Stockon.

NEW USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Thomas-80, 2-Stockon-78, 3-Windom-75, 4-Grant-71, 5-Ballou-65, 6-Cummins-58, 7-Chapple-57, 8-Boespflug-57, 9-Seavey-51, 10-Courtney-49.

NEXT USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: Feb. 16-17 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games 9"



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ocala, Florida.........Reigning USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Champion Chris Windom led all 30 drivers on practice night of "Winter Dirt Games 9" by recording the fastest lap of the night at Bubba Raceway Park.

Windom, of Canton, Illinois, put his Baldwin Brothers Racing machine right at the top of the leaderboard with an unofficial lap of 13.601, which was under the existing one-lap track record of 13.683, set by Justin Grant during qualifying one year ago. Windom was followed by Dave Darland (13.671), Kevin Thomas, Jr. (13.700), Justin Grant (13.784) and Jarett Andretti (13.817) in the open practice.

Also of note, in the numerical oddity department, four drivers: Nick Bilbee (10th), Timmy Buckwalter (11th), Isaac Chapple (12th) and Mario Clouser (13th) all recorded identical times of 14.013 around the 3/8-mile D-shaped oval.

USAC AMSOIL SPRINT CAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PRACTICE RESULTS: February 14, 2018 - Ocala, Florida - Bubba Raceway Park - "Winter Dirt Games 9"

PRACTICE TIMES: 1. Chris Windom, 5, Baldwin-13.601; 2. Dave Darland, 36D, Goodnight-13.671; 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 69, Dynamics-13.700; 4. Justin Grant, 4, TOPP-13.784; 5. Jarett Andretti, 18, Andretti-13.817; 6. Chase Stockon, 32, 32 TBI-13.858; 7. Tyler Courtney, 7BC, Clauson Marshall Newman-13.864; 8. Kyle Cummins, 3c, EZR/Cummins-13.942; 9. Tyler Clem, 14c, Clem/TSR-13.973; 10. Nick Bilbee, 2E, Epperson-14.013; 11. Timmy Buckwalter, 7, LNB-14.013; 12. Isaac Chapple, 52, LNR/Chapple-14.013; 13. Mario Clouser, 6, MCM-14.013; 14. Brady Bacon, 63, Dooling/Hayward-14.014; 15. Robert Ballou, 12, Ballou-14.016; 16. Landon Simon, 24, LSR-14.110; 17. C.J. Leary, 30, Leary-14.111; 18. Carson Short, 21, RCM-14.140; 19. Garrett Aitken, 32A, Aitken-14.152; 20. Kody Swanson, 3R, Rock Steady-14.221; 21. Matt Goodnight, 39, Goodnight-14.245; 22. Kent Schmidt, 5K, Schmidt-14.306; 23. Chad Boespflug, 98, NineEight-14.357; 24. Logan Seavey, 5B, Briscoe-14.503; 25. Brandon Mattox, 28, Mattox-14.583; 26. Mike Martin, 16, Martin-14.685; 27. Coleman Gulick, 14, Scorpion-14.994; 28. Johnny Petrozelle, 59, Petrozelle-15.358; 29. Robert Bell, 71, Bell-16.219; 30. Slater Helt, 22s, Helt-NT


By Lance Jennings
FEBRUARY 15, 2018... Officials with the AMSOIL USAC/CRA and USAC West Coast Sprint Car Series have issued a list of approved mufflers for competition in 2018. The mufflers have been tested and will help meet the sound levels required at the racetracks on the schedule.
The Flowmaster "Suitcase" 53545-10 is legal for every racetrack and event on the USAC/CRA schedule. The "Suitcase" is the only muffler allowed at Petaluma and Watsonville, while recommended/preferred at Chico's Silver Dollar Speedway.
For USAC West Coast, the new muffler rule will go into effect by the March 9th event at Tulare's Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway.
For USAC/CRA, the new muffler rule will go into effect by the April 14th race at Tulare's Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway.
The approved mufflers (with part numbers) are:
EXTREME: 6014-3535, 3615-3535
SCHOENFELD: 14272535, 14272735-78
FLOWMASTER: 53545-10, 13516100, 13516101
B&B: FRAC-0375S
The USAC West Coast and SouthWest Sprint Cars will clash at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Las Vegas, Nevada) on February 28th and March 1st. The non-point "Outlaw Showdown" will pay $3,000-to-win each night. MUFFLERS ARE NOT REQUIRED AT LAS VEGAS.
The AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will battle at Perris Auto Speedway (Perris, California) on March 3rd at the annual "So Cal Showdown."



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Ocala, Florida.........Five past "Winter Dirt Games" feature winners have entered the 2018 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship season openers Feb. 15-16-17 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida.

The ninth edition of the three-race series in the heart of Florida has had 11 different winning drivers in its 22-race history.  The winner of the opener at the most recent trip by the series to Ocala was Ione, California's Justin Grant.  The 2018 series runner-up finds himself in new digs this year as the driver of the TOPP Motorsports No. 4.

In an offseason chock-full of ride swapping, Kevin Thomas, Jr., a 2015 "Winter Dirt Games" feature winner, has added the Hoffman Auto Racing/Dynamics, Inc. colors and the No. 69 to his arsenal for 2018.  The Cullman, Alabama driver led the series with six points wins last season, including the season finale "Oval Nationals" at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway in November.

Dave Darland, the winningest driver in the history of the series, has gone back to the future for 2018 as he will pilot a car for Gene Goodnight with an oh-so-familiar number that was the Lincoln, Indiana driver's calling card early in his racing career.  Darland will take the wheel of the No. 36D for a full-season campaign beginning at Ocala where he was victorious in 2015.

Robert Ballou, the 2015 series champ, is the winningest active driver of "Winter Dirt Games" with three scores between 2015 and 2016.  The Rocklin, California veteran driver returns for a full championship assault in his own No. 12 after missing the first portion of last season's campaign while recovering from injuries.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon is twice a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ and twice a "Winter Dirt Games" feature winner.  He raced to a pair of top-fives and was the "hard charger" on both nights of last year's event and returns in the Dooling/Hayward Motorsports No. 63 that now adds support from NASCAR champion car owner Richard Childress.

Chris Windom of Canton, Illinois and the Baldwin Brothers Racing No. 5 come into the season as the defending series champs, yet lady luck hasn't been on Windom's side all that much when it comes to racing in Florida.  He's the only driver to start all 22 "Winter Dirt Games" shows since 2010, but has only found the top-ten on 10 of those occasions.  With that said, two of those top-tens have been runner-ups and, following a strong run last year at Ocala, the team will not lack for confidence.

Three-time USAC Silver Crown champion Kody Swanson has dominated the big cars over the past handful of seasons, but is still seeking to make his mark in USAC Sprint Car competition on the dirt.  His machinery for Florida is potent as he has aligned with the Rock Steady Racing No. 3R team that Kyle Cummins has driven for in recent years when he posted three top-three finishes at Ocala in 2016.

Five additional winners on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car trail in 2017 aim to make their debut visit to Bubba Raceway Park victory lane this time around.

Kyle Cummins of Princeton, Indiana has four top-five finishes in Ocala, including a runner-up finish at the 2016 opener.  This year marks a new chapter for the three-time USAC National Sprint Car feature winner as he heads back to his own No. 3c along with Eberhardt/Zirzow Racing.

Tyler Courtney had a breakout 2017 season with five series wins, but the Indianapolis, Indiana driver had made the jump to Clauson/Marshall/Newman Racing's new sprint car outfit for the full season this year.  Courtney racked up a second-place finish at Ocala in his Rookie season back in 2013.

Chad Boespflug, a Bloomington winner in April of last year, has made the change back to his own No. 98, which he drove to a total of six USAC-sanctioned Sprint Car victories in his unforgettable 2016 season.  The driver, who hails from Hanford, California, snagged a second and a fourth at Ocala a year ago.

Greenfield, Indiana's C.J. Leary (Leary Racing No. 30) and Fort Branch, Indiana's Chase Stockon (32 TBI Racing No. 32) have each been at this game for a while, but haven't yet taken the checkered flag first at Ocala.  Leary finished in the top-five in last year's Ocala opener while Stockon has tallied up an incomparable 15-straight top-tens in "Winter Dirt Games" competition since 2013.

Carson Short has routinely been fast in his family-owned No. 21 in Florida.  A third-place finish in last season's Ocala opener was negated after missing the scales following the checkered flag.  The Marion, Illinois driver followed it up a night later by setting fast time in qualifying.  Short has shown the speed and is more than capable of conquering the competition once again as he did during his lone series victory in "Indiana Sprint Week" at Haubstadt, Indiana in 2016.

"Winter Dirt Games" entries across the board include past USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Rookies of the Year: Binghamton, New York's Coleman Gulick (2011), Mooresville, North Carolina's Jarett Andretti (2014) and Willow Branch, Indiana's Isaac Chapple (2016).

A solid crop of 2018 USAC Sprint Car Rookies going to Ocala include Sutter, California's Logan Seavey (Chase Briscoe Motorsports #5B), Owensville, Indiana's Kent Schmidt (Kent Schmidt #5K), Auburn, Illinois' Mario Clouser (Mario Clouser Motorsports #6), Pottstown, Pennsylvania's Tim Buckwalter (LNB Motorsports #7), St. Petersburg, Florida's Tyler Clem (Bubba Clem #14c), Paris, Illinois' Garrett Aitken (Garrett Aitken #32A) and Denton, North Carolina's Johnny Petrozelle (Petrozelle Autosport #59).

Veterans looking to break through in the series' lone visit to Sunshine State include Indianapolis, Indiana's Nick Bilbee (Epperson Racing #2E), Tipp City, Ohio's Landon Simon (Landon Simon Racing #24), Terre Haute, Indiana's Brandon Mattox (Mattox Racing #28), Winchester, Indiana's Matt Goodnight (Gene Goodnight #39) and Robert Bell (Robert Bell Motorsports #71).



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Over the course of the past several decades, Hoffman Auto Racing/Dynamics, Inc. has been synonymous with USAC Sprint Car success.

Likewise, over these past two seasons, no driver has won more traditional sprint car features than Kevin Thomas, Jr.

When the announcement came down in late 2017 that these two success stories would illustrate a new chapter in the coming year by combining resources, it made complete sense.  Thomas' car will be dressed in the storied No. 69 that the Hoffman family has utilized in 93 of its 101 USAC-sanctioned Sprint Car victories.

However, Thomas' team maintains the structure that led himself and the No. 9K to a series-leading six USAC National Sprint Car points wins last year with returning crew members Davey Jones and Brad Alexander, and now the additions of Hoffman Auto Racing staples Richard Hoffman and Tim Waechter.  The last time the car hit the track with KTJ, the cork was popped on the champagne in victory lane - something that the Cullman, Alabama driver aims to make a regular occurrence in 2018.

"It's the same chassis and the same engines, literally the same everything," Thomas reiterated.  "Once I got back from California (last November), we stripped everything down.  Then, we built one car back up and had one car already built that we didn't have to use and changed a few little things on it.  We threw some white bodies and some bright vinyl on them and Mean Green on the side and we're going to roll them back into the trailer (for the season openers) the way we finished last year."

"We've got the same crew with Davey and Brad back and my wife, Whitney, who keeps everything running with all the paperwork, T-shirt sales, arranging flights and sponsors," Thomas continued.  With the addition of Richard and Tim, I think it'll be a good combination.  Along with that, they expect results and it does bring a little bit of stress, but you must to be mentally prepared for that going in and know that they expect to win races as much as you expect to win races."

Seemingly, the only noticeable differences are the skin of the car with black, red and white giving way to green, orange and white.  Based on last year, on paper, this seems like a surefire bet to contend for a title.  As most know, it takes several factors to be a front runner from the start in the southeast in February until they cross the finish line in November out west, including good fortune.  But Thomas and the Hoffmans have proved time and time again, separately, they've got what it takes to accomplish the task at hand in terms of victories.  But the Hoffman's championship pedigree may prove to be the ingredient that is the ultimate recipe for success in 2018.

"Considering where I started, whether it's people doubting me or whether it's me doubting myself, from winning all those races last year to now being in the Hoffman car, is really cool," Thomas contends.  "Everybody who's ever done anything in a sprint car has driven for Hoffman.  To put your name on that list is a really cool honor.  I'm blessed to be in the position that I'm in to where they wanted to come on board with us."

"It's just a lot a history behind everything that they do," Thomas praised.  "When (Richard and Tim) come to the shop in Brownsburg, (Ind.), it's just cool to have them there.  When you put the colors on the racecar, which are quite brighter than what I'm used to, it's humbling to look at these cars and see what's on the side of them with Hoffman, Mean Green and Jonathan Byrd's.  I'm just glad I'm along for the ride!"

Though Thomas has won numerous times as he's climbed up the charts of USAC's National Sprint Car win list (now 27th all-time with 18 wins), he's yet to claim a title.  He finished fifth in sprint points in 2013 and third in midget points in 2015.  However, it was 2017 when Thomas emerged as a true title contender with a valiant effort toward a first USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car championship despite missing the first two races of the campaign.  He quickly made up for lost time and only finished a mere 58 points out of the lead.

This year, the full slate lies ahead of Thomas.  The Hoffmans have gotten there 11 times since 1989 with drivers Rich Vogler, Steve Butler, Robbie Stanley, Dave Darland, Tracy Hines, Jerry Coons, Jr. and Brady Bacon.  It's an illustrious list of drivers that Thomas could join, but, as a driver who admits to not enjoying running for points, a complete season of performances he displayed last year will surely put him in contention.

"Whenever you're racing for points or going for any kind of championship like that, it's a little stressful," Thomas maintains.  "During the winter, you must build all the spares for the whole year to make it easy on you, so you can focus on driving.  I don't necessarily enjoy running for points because it's always a thought process on the racetrack instead of just going out there and racing."

"I've run for sprint car and midget titles before and I've made mistakes," Thomas admits.  "I've learned from them and I've stressed myself out before.  Every time I get on the racetrack, if I qualify eighth, I'll get mad because I didn't get my qualifying points instead of just going out there and having a good time and racing as well as I can to take the pressure off myself.  You can basically make yourself mentally implode whether (the season) starts out good and ends up bad or it starts off bad and ends up good.  There's a fine line right there."

Thomas and Dynamics, Inc. return to USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car action Feb. 15-16-17, 2018 for "Winter Dirt Games IX" at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida.  An open practice begins the festivities Feb. 14 on the 3/8-mile D-Shaped dirt track in the Sunshine State.

"I think with our team being the same as it was last year, with Hoffman Auto Racing and Mean Green coming on board, it's just kind of adding fuel to the fire," Thomas said.  "It does create a little bit of a safety barrier for me financially, but, with us keeping the team chemistry the same, it will be fun.  It's obviously a lot of stress, but the way I'm mentally wired, I stress all the time because I hate losing.  I expect myself to win."



By Richie Murray - USAC Media

Chad Boespflug's 2017 season began with an extreme dose of optimism.  Coming off a career year in 2016 in which he won six USAC-sanctioned features, Boespflug combined his team's resources with those of the previous year's championship winning entry, and winningest team in the history of the series, the legendary Hoffman/Dynamics, Inc. No. 69.

After a seemingly strong start which included an instant classic triumph on the red clay of Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway last April, success became harder to find as the combination found more valleys than peaks on its way through a trying season.

Like barbecue and ice cream - both great in their own right - sometimes the mixture of two entities at the top of their game just doesn't jell.  And for the 2018 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car season, the two have decided to part ways.

For Hanford, California's Boespflug, call 2018 the year of getting back to the basics.  Call it a year of rejuvenation.  For one, Boespflug's ride has been renumbered to 98, the same numerals he sported in his magical 2016 season.  With plans to attack the full USAC schedule once again this season, the 29-year-old driver is aiming to return to that form.

"This year, we're going to have fun," Boespflug point blanked.  "Last year was honestly the most non-fun year I've had in racing.  I'm going back to what we did in 2016 and we're just going to have fun and race.  No pressure, but obviously, without having any major sponsors, we must make every night count as far as being able to go onto the next night.  I'll be working on the cars every night throughout the week and taking care of it all on my own.  There's no plans for a crew chief or anything like that right now.  We're going to take it one night at a time and just have fun again."

Obviously, winning is the remedy that cures all of a racer's ails, at least most of the time.  Boespflug reached the pinnacle a total of seven times in a 41-race span in USAC-sanctioned Sprint Car races between 2016 and early 2017, but is currently under a 34-race winless spell.  Sometimes, though, the pressure one is applied from within in certain situations to perform up to an expected standard.  When that occurs, the fun factor can dissipate in a single heartbeat.

"The fun part of racing is not being under a lot of pressure," Boespflug said.  "I did this deal on my own in 2016, and last year was pretty much on my own as well, but under completely different circumstances.  The workload was the same in both years, but I guess you could call it pressure and the significance of everything that was going on that added to the pressure of performing and making sure everything was right.  You carry on a corporate sponsor, then everyone thinks you get everything handed to you and it's not that way at all.  This year, it will be operated the same, but under a different format in a sense, but everything is the same more or less.  I don't really have an answer as to why last year wasn't fun.  I always try to make it as fun as possible, but it just didn't work out."

Right now, Boespflug is in the midst of wrapping the body of his Maxim/Claxton-powered sprinter with new vinyl to get ready for the season-openers at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida for "Winter Dirt Games IX" on Feb. 15-16-17.  The preparation for a USAC Sprint Car operation to tackle the full schedule does not simply start a week before the car is rolled off the trailer for the first race.  It basically started at the end of last year.  With a full-time job and a full-time race team to tend to, Boespflug has to be on the proverbial ball in order to not get caught behind.

"When I got home from out west (last November), I took a week off, then started tearing the cars apart, cleaning parts, getting things prepped, calling sponsors and getting all the pieces back together again for the next season," Boespflug explained.  "It's a lot to do.  Throughout the year, I tried to get as much done in the offseason, so I didn't have as much work to do during the season.  It's a little less hectic Monday through Friday than it is during the race season to keep up with everything.  Doing that stuff at night, plus working a full-time job from 7am to 5pm, there's not enough time to do it all, but that's why you've got to start early."

Start early, indeed.  Boespflug intends to begin the early part of the season just as he did last year when he was second in series points a quarter of the way through the schedule before slipping back to sixth by season's end.

"We go out there to race and run as good as possible, but some nights you do and some nights you don't," Boespflug acknowledged.  "Last year, we started out great, then fell off.  Justin Grant started out great, then fell off too.  Chris Windom started out rough and got stronger as the year went on and won the championship.  Sometimes that's the way the cookie crumbles.  It's all about jelling with your team and being able to keep everything together.  It's a juggling act.  I'm not just a show-up-and-drive type of driver.  I work on the cars, assemble the team and keep everything together to compete and perform and somehow manage everything under one hat.  It's a lot to carry for sure."

Boespflug returns to USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car action Feb. 15-16-17, 2018 for "Winter Dirt Games IX" at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida.  An open practice begins the festivities Feb. 14 on the 3/8-mile D-Shaped dirt track in the Sunshine State.



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion Brady Bacon and past USAC Silver Crown Rookie of the Year Kyle Hamilton will split duties during the 2018 USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series season for Terry Klatt Enterprises and USAC Hall of Fame crew chief Bob East.

Bacon, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, will compete in all five of the dirt races on the schedule at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track on Apr. 29, the Indiana State Fairgrounds on May 24, the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Aug. 18, the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds on Sep. 2 and Eldora Speedway on Sep. 22.

The 2014 and 2016 USAC National Sprint Car titlist, Bacon possesses 19 career USAC Sprint wins and six in the midgets, including five over the past two seasons, both of which had East turning the wrenches.

Bacon moves over to the Klatt team following the dissolvement of Paul Martens' team, which Bacon had piloted over the past three seasons to 11 top-ten finishes in 14 starts.  Coming into the season still seeking his first series win, a team with Bacon and East could prove to be a more than formidable pairing to break into victory lane.

"I am extremely excited to get the opportunity to drive for Terry Klatt and Bob East in the dirt Silver Crown races this year.  The room for error is so small in the series and it will be a huge asset working with Bob who has as much experience and success as anybody."

Meanwhile, the pavement side of the schedule will be contested by Danville, Indiana's Kyle Hamilton.  The Purdue University graduate and car salesman by trade will take the reins of the Klatt No. 6 on the six pavement races at ISM Raceway (Phoenix) on Apr. 7, Ohio's Toledo Speedway on May 4, Lucas Oil Raceway (Brownsburg, Ind.) on May 25 & Sep. 8, Madison (Wisc.) International Speedway on Jun. 29 and Salem (Ind.) Speedway on Aug. 11.

Hamilton was the 2012 Silver Crown Rookie of the Year and, just last May, captured the victory in the coveted Payless "Little 500" at Anderson Speedway for Klatt and East.

"I've worked with several teams over the years, but there's few out there who are straight to the point and you know are going to give you no-nonsense answers.  Bob (East) is definitely one of them," Hamilton said.  "You show up, you do your job, they do their job and you leave.  It's very cut and dry and very simple.  Bob tells you what he sees, and you tell him what you feel.  He makes the change and you go out and try to win.  It's pretty easy for me and it makes me feel more relaxed and confident at the track."

The highly-accomplished Hamilton has been out of the Silver Crown game since sitting on the front at Iowa Speedway in 2015, but he relishes the opportunity that has after being out of the game for nearly three years.

"I feel like I've proven myself in other forms of pavement racing, but Silver Crown is something I don't really have much to show for," Hamilton conceded.  "It's a really big opportunity getting to be in a car I know is going to be competitive right off the bat.  I want to prove to everybody that I'm a good pavement driver and the stuff I've done in midgets and sprint cars wasn't a fluke."

Splitting roles between dirt and pavement provides East with one specific goal by putting each driver in the best position to succeed.  That's winning races, which East has done quite a bit of in his racing career.

"Kyle's run for me the last three years in the Little 500 and has done a really good job," East acknowledged.  "I feel like he deserves a chance with the Silver Crown car.  I've worked with Brady for two years now in the midget and have worked together with the sprint car, so it's just a natural progression."



Damion Gardner in USAC/CRA Action in 2017/ Photo Tear-Off Havens

By Lance Jennings
DECEMBER 26, 2017... Heading to their fifteenth campaign, the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series will feature twenty-six events at eleven racetracks in 2018. Starting with the March 3rd "So Cal Showdown" and closing with the November 10th "Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction" at Perris, the traditional 410s are poised for another competitive season. The popular "5th Annual California Sprint Week" remains a highlight on the calendar with six races in eight nights at five speedways.

Located on the Lake Perris Fairgrounds, Perris Auto Speedway will host ten races on the schedule. Promoted by Don Kazarian, "America's Premier Dirt Track" continues to showcase events like the "So Cal Showdown" with the World of Outlaws on March 3rd and the "Sokola Shootout" on April 21st. The "Salute to Indy" on May 26th, the August 18th "California Racers Hall of Fame Night," and the "Glenn Howard Classic" on September 22nd are "must see events." Starting November 8th, the AMSOIL USAC/CRA and USAC National Sprints will clash for three nights at the prestigious "23rd Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction." Last season, "The Demon" Damion Gardner and R.J. Johnson tied with three "home track" wins and other victories were claimed by Richard Vander Weerd, Justin Grant, Chase Stockon, Brody Roa, and Kevin Thomas Jr. By adding his name to the Oval Nationals winner's list, Thomas earned $25,000 for his efforts. Perris Auto Speedway is located at 18700 Lake Perris Drive in Perris, California and for more information, visit or call 951.940.0134.

Canyon Speedway Park returns to the AMSOIL USAC/CRA calendar with the 2-day "Spring Showcase" starting on March 9th. Promoted by Doug Gabbard, the Peoria, Arizona oval last featured the non-winged 410s on October 1, 2016 and R.J. Johnson took the checkered flags. Canyon Speedway Park is located at 9777 West Carefree Highway and for more details, visit or call 602.258.RACE (7223).

The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare will host USAC/CRA Sprint Cars on April 14th along the USAC Western States Midgets. Promoted by Steve Faria, last April's event at the lightning fast 1/3-mile oval was rained out. The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the Tulare County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare, California. For more information, visit or call 559.688.0909.

Located at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, Jim Naylor's Ventura Raceway will feature the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars on May 7th. Last season, five-time champion Mike Spencer raced to the 38th series win of his career at "The Best Little Dirt Track in America." Ventura Raceway is located at 10 West Harbor Boulevard in Ventura, California and for more details, visit or call 805.648.RACE.

The popular Santa Maria Raceway will host two nights on the schedule. The traditional 410 sprints will headline the action at the July 7th "Doug Fort Memorial" and August 4th. Max Adams earned his first series win last July and Brody Roa topped the August main event. Santa Maria Raceway is located 1/4-mile north of the 101/166 interchange at 1900 Hutton Road in Nipomo, California and for more information, visit or call 805.922.2232.

The scenic Calistoga Speedway will open the "5th Annual California Sprint Week" on September 1st with two nights of action. Promoted by Tommy Hunt and HMC Promotions, "11th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic" will also feature the USAC Western States Midgets, vintage cars, an autograph session, auctions, wine tasting, and more. Last season, Kevin Thomas Jr. and Rico Abreu took the checkered flags at the Napa County Fairgrounds. Calistoga Speedway is located at 1435 North Oak Street in Calistoga, California and for more information, visit, or call 916.773.7225.

On Monday, September 3rd, Petaluma Speedway will host the third round of "California Sprint Week." Promoted by Rick Faeth, "The Fastest 3/8-mile Dirt Oval in Northern California" has become a popular stop on the schedule. Last season, Indiana's "Sunshine" Tyler Courtney added his name to the record books at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. Petaluma Speedway is located at 100 Fairgrounds Drive in Petaluma, California and for more details, visit or call 707.763.7223.

On Thursday, September 6th, the USAC/CRA Sprint Cars are back at Chico's Silver Dollar Speedway. Promoted by Dennis Gage, the fourth round of "California Sprint Week" is held during the "Gold Cup Race of Champions." Last September, "The Demon" Damion Gardner" scored his fourth win of the season on his way to his sixth championship. Silver Dollar Speedway is located at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds at 2357 Fair Street in Chico, California and for more information, visit or call 530.350.7275.

Watsonville's Ocean Speedway will host the fifth round of "California Sprint Week" on Friday, September 7th. Promoted by John Prentice, the 1/4-mile oval at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds is a fan favorite. Last year, Kevin Thomas Jr. earned a hard fought victory for his second "Sprint Week" win. Ocean Speedway is located at 2601 E. Lake Avenue in Watsonville, California and for more details, visit or call 855.410.7223.

The USAC/CRA Sprint Cars will invade the Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds in Hanford on September 8th. Promoted by Bubby Morse, the 3/8-mile Central Valley oval will host the sixth and final round of "California Sprint Week." Last September, Alabama's Kevin Thomas Jr. won the 30-lap feature and Damion Gardner earned his third "Sprint Week" crown. Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds is located at 801 South 10th Avenue in Hanford, California and for more information, visit or call 559.651.1990.

Arizona Speedway in San Tan Valley, Arizona will host four nights on the 2018 schedule. Promoted by Jonah Trussel, the 2-day "Hall of Fame Classic" will begin on October 28th. The USAC National co-sanctioned "51st Annual Western World Championships" will also feature the Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars. Last year, Thomas Meseraull and Chase Stockon raced to victory at the fast 1/3-mile oval. Arizona Speedway is located at 47800 N. Ironwood Road in San Tan Valley, Arizona and for more details, visit or call 480.926.6688.

2004-Rip Williams, 2005-Damion Gardner, 2006-Cory Kruseman, 2007-Tony Jones, 2008-Mike Spencer, 2009-Mike Spencer, 2010-Mike Spencer, 2011-Mike Spencer, 2012-Mike Spencer, 2013-Damion Gardner, 2014-Damion Gardner, 2015-Damion Gardner, 2016-Damion Gardner, 2017-Damion Gardner.
2014-Damion Gardner, 2015-Ryan Bernal, 2016-Damion Gardner, 2017-Damion Gardner.
5-Damion Gardner, 4-Kevin Thomas Jr., 3-R.J. Johnson, 2-Brody Roa, 2-Chase Stockon, 1-Rico Abreu, 1-Max Adams, 1-Tyler Courtney, 1-Justin Grant, 1-Thomas Meseraull, 1-Mike Spencer, 1-Richard Vander Weerd.
January 26: Orleans Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas, NV (Bowling Tournament / 8pm)
January 27: Orleans Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas, NV (USAC Western Awards Banquet / 12pm)
March 3: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (So-Cal Showdown)
March 9: Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ (Spring Showcase)
March 10: Canyon Speedway Park - Peoria, AZ (Spring Showcase)
April 14: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway - Tulare, CA
April 21: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Sokola Shootout)
May 5: Ventura Raceway - Ventura, CA
May 26: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Salute to Indy)
June 23: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA
July 7: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA (Doug Fort Memorial)
August 4: Santa Maria Raceway - Santa Maria, CA
August 18: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (California Racers Hall of Fame Night)
September 1: Calistoga Speedway - Calistoga, CA (Louie Vermeil Classic / California Sprint Week)
September 2: Calistoga Speedway - Calistoga, CA (Louie Vermeil Classic / California Sprint Week)
September 3: Petaluma Speedway - Petaluma CA (California Sprint Week)
September 6: Silver Dollar Speedway - Chico, CA (Gold Cup Race of Champions / California Sprint Week)
September 7: Ocean Speedway - Watsonville, CA (California Sprint Week)
September 8: Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds - Hanford, CA (California Sprint Week)
September 22: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Glenn Howard Classic)
September 28: Arizona Speedway - San Tan Valley, AZ (Hall of Fame Classic)
September 29: Arizona Speedway - San Tan Valley, AZ (Hall of Fame Classic)
October 20: Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA
November 2: *Arizona Speedway - San Tan Valley, AZ (Western World Championships)
November 3: *Arizona Speedway - San Tan Valley, AZ (Western World Championships)
November 8: *Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction)
November 9: *Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction)
November 10: *Perris Auto Speedway - Perris, CA (Budweiser Oval Nationals presented by All Coast Construction)
* = Co-Sanctioned Event with AMSOIL USAC National Sprints.
This schedule is subject to change.


Light Up The World Beverages USAC Western States Midget Series
By Lance Jennings
DECEMBER 21, 2017... Entering their 36th official season, the Light Up The World Beverages USAC Western States Midgets are poised for fifteen races at seven racetracks. Starting March 17th at Bakersfield, the "mighty midgets" will close out the schedule with Ventura's "78th Running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix" on November 22nd.
Promoted by Scott Schweitzer, Bakersfield Speedway will host three dates on the calendar. The March 17th season opener will be co-sanctioned with the Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA). The Western States Midgets will return on June 16th and the "November Classic" with the USAC National Midgets on November 17th. Last year, Ronnie Gardner (twice) and Brady Bacon claimed victories at "The West's Fastest 1/3-Mile High Banked Clay Oval." Bakersfield Speedway is located at 5001 North Chester Extension in Bakersfield, California and for more information, visit or call 661.393.3373.
Located at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, Placerville Speedway has one race on the schedule. Promoted by Scott Russell and Kami Arnold, the 1/4-mile oval is hosting the Wednesday, March 24th "Placerville Short Track Outlaw Showdown" along with the World of Outlaw Sprint Cars. Last season, Shane Golobic outdueled Ronnie Gardner and Alex Schutte to take the Placerville checkered flags. Placerville Speedway is located at 100 Placerville Drive in Placerville, California and for more details, visit or call 530.344.7592.
The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare will host the "mighty midgets" on April 14th. Promoted by Steve Faria, the lightning fast 1/3-mile oval will also showcase the USAC/CRA 410 Sprint Cars. The highly anticipated race at the Tulare County Fairgrounds was rained out last year and this will be a "must see" event for race fans in the Central Valley. The Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway is located at the corner of Bardsley and K Streets in Tulare, California and for more information, visit or call 559.688.0909.
Santa Maria Raceway will host three nights on the schedule. The USAC Western States Midgets will battle at "The West's Best Short Track" on April 28th, August 11th's "Bud Stanfield Memorial," and October 6th. Last August, Cory Elliott added his name to the winner's list at the Central Coast 1/3-mile clay oval. As a bonus, the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars will join the card for all three shows in 2018. Santa Maria Raceway is located 1/4-mile north of the 101/166 interchange at 1900 Hutton Road in Nipomo, California and for more information, visit or call 805.922.2232.
Located at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura Raceway has four events on the schedule. Promoted by Jim Naylor, "The Best Little Dirt Track in America" will host the June 30th, September 15th, October 27th, and November 22nd events. Co-sanctioned with the USAC National Midgets, November's "78th Running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix" will also feature the USAC West Coast Sprint Cars. Last year, Ronnie Gardner, Chad Boat, Carson Macedo, and Christopher Bell won at the seaside 1/5-mile oval. Ventura Raceway is located at 10 West Harbor Boulevard in Ventura, California and for more details, visit or call 805.648.RACE.
Petaluma Speedway will host the BCRA co-sanctioned "Jack London Hall of Fame Picnic Event" on July 21st. Promoted by Rick Faeth, "The Fastest 3/8-mile Dirt Oval in Northern California" has become a popular stop and Michael Faccinto scored last season's victory at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. Petaluma Speedway is located at 100 Fairgrounds Drive in Petaluma, California and for more information, visit or call 707.763.7223.
The scenic Calistoga Speedway will showcase two nights of action, starting on September 1st. Promoted by Tommy Hunt and HMC Promotions, the two-day "11th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic" will also feature the USAC/CRA 410 Sprints, vintage cars, an autograph session, wine tasting, and more. Last year, Tanner Thorson and Rico Abreu earned $10,000 victories at the Napa County Fairgrounds. Calistoga Speedway is located at 1435 North Oak Street in Calistoga, California and for more information, visit, or call 916.773.7225.
January 26: Orleans Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas, NV (Bowling Tournament / 8pm)
January 27: Orleans Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas, NV (USAC Western Awards Banquet / 12pm)
March 17: *Bakersfield Speedway – Bakersfield, CA
March 21: Placerville Speedway – Placerville, CA (Placerville Short Track Outlaw Showdown)
April 14: Merle Stone Chevrolet Thunderbowl Raceway – Tulare, CA
April 28: Santa Maria Raceway – Santa Maria, CA
June 16: Bakersfield Speedway – Bakersfield, CA
June 30: Ventura Raceway – Ventura, CA
July 21: *Petaluma Speedway – Petaluma, CA (Jack London Hall of Fame Picnic Event)
August 11: Santa Maria Raceway – Santa Maria, CA (Bud Stanfield Memorial)
September 1: Calistoga Speedway – Calistoga, CA (Louie Vermeil Classic)
September 2: Calistoga Speedway – Calistoga, CA (Louie Vermeil Classic)
September 15: Ventura Raceway – Ventura, CA
October 6: Santa Maria Raceway – Santa Maria, CA
October 27: Ventura Raceway – Ventura, CA
November 17: #Bakersfield Speedway – Bakersfield, CA (November Classic)
November 22: #Ventura Raceway – Ventura, CA (Turkey Night Grand Prix)
* = Co-Sanctioned Event with BCRA Midgets.
# = Co-Sanctioned Event with USAC National Midgets.
This schedule is subject to change.


By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois.........Christopher Bell celebrated his 23rd birthday in grand style Saturday night at the Southern Illinois Center after taking the lead with four laps remaining to win the third annual "Junior Knepper 55" USAC Midget Special event at the indoor, one-sixth-mile dirt oval in Du Quoin.

Rarely has the 2013 USAC National Midget champion from Norman, Oklahoma not been at the top of his game when he's behind the wheel of a midget, but 2017 saw him take it up another notch with 10 wins in just 13 Midget starts, an incomparable 77% average.

After wrapping up a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title, Bell has been two-for-two, concluding USAC's National Midget points season in November with his second career "Turkey Night Grand Prix" victory at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway and following it up by delivering his team their first victory at the Southern Illinois Center.

"To be able to win the last race of the year like that is pretty cool," Bell said.  "I've been pretty close and really fast here in the past, but I just haven't been able to win.  The team's always been really good here too, but finally, it all came together tonight."

Bell would start third in the feature behind a front row occupied by Trey Marcham and Chad Boat.  As Marcham rode near the mountainous berm on the bottom, Boat and Bell swarmed high and low a car length behind.  The high line eventually paid off for Boat as he rode the rim to the lead around Marcham off the fourth turn on lap 18.

Bell taste-tested the high side as well to make his way around Marcham between turns three and four a lap later.  Once he did, Zeb Wise snookered both on the bottom to go from fourth to second.  Meanwhile, Boat opened up a two-plus second lead before a Shane Golobic spin put things at ease momentarily.

"At the beginning of the race, I was really good, but was kind of biding my time," Bell recalls.  "Once Chad got the lead, I was really struggling.  (Justin) Grant got by me, then Zeb got by me.  I was just trying to figure out what I could do to make something happen.  I remember Bryan (Clauson) was always really good at sliding himself here.  That was something I started doing and I'm like, 'man, I'm making up time here' and that seemed to be the key."

Early in the second half of the 55-lapper, new second-place runner put the chase on Boat through lapped traffic.  As lappers Justin Peck and Tyler Nelson swapped sliders, Boat took matters into his own hands and dove under Nelson in turn three on lap 41 to gain the slightest bit of a separation.  Moments later, disaster nearly struck Boat as Shane Cottle spun right in front him between turns three and four.  Boat took evasive action and avoided any carnage.

On the restart with 13 laps to go, Boat and Grant lined up nose-to-tail with the lapped car of Nelson as a buffer between third-running Bell.  Bell instantly went to work with a turn three slider on Grant for second on lap 44.  Grant vetoed that notion and slid past Bell in turn one to retake second.  Bell put the tussle to rest in turn three as he dove to the bottom and snared the runner-up position from the March Du Quoin winner.

While Bell was attacking, Tyler Courtney was hustling.  Courtney had entered the top-three with seven to go after starting shotgun on the field via promoter's option.  Things got interesting when one wondered what was in store with Bell and Courtney next to each other after multiple on-track excursions between the two in their qualifying race earlier in the night.

Yet, with five to go, before Courtney was close enough to make a move, the 2017 USAC Most Improved Driver and 2016 "Knepper 55" winner looped his ride in turn one on the cushion, erasing one of the hardest charges witnessed all season.

On the lap 51 restart, Boat went back to the top lane as Bell tucked in on the low line.  By the time the two hit the start/finish line at the completion of the lap, the two were in a dead-heat, Polaroid moment with Boat credited as the leader by the narrowest of margins.  But Boat's lead wasn't long for this world as Bell roped him in and lassoed the spot for good exiting turn two as Briscoe ducked underneath for second after starting 19th!

"I was pretty much determined to go where he wasn't," Bell surmised.  "He was kind of a sitting duck out there.  This place, once it gets so far around the top, you can make up time there whenever you can get your momentum built up, but you're so vulnerable, especially on restarts.  The door is wide open and it's so easy to throw a slider here.  Whenever he opened up the inside like that, I knew I had to take advantage of it."

The duel was now on between the two dirt track stars who stood out in NASCAR's Truck Series this season with the champ (Bell) battling the Rookie of the Year (Briscoe) for Southern Illinois racing supremacy on this night.  With two to go, though, Shane Cottle's loose left rear wheel jettisoned toward the turn four wall, necessitating a yellow and setting up one final restart.  The position at the front of the field that Boat once found himself in as a "sitting duck" was now occupied by Bell.

"A little bit, but I was in that situation behind Chad too," Bell explains.  "I was able to use that and learn from it to know how to be better for the next restarts.  It was all up to me to protect the bottom.  Whenever I saw Briscoe was behind me, I knew that he was going to run the bottom.  At that point in time, I knew I just had to protect."

On the ensuing green, Briscoe was ruled to be out of line, the penalty of which is being docked one spot.  That returned Boat to second and relegated Briscoe back to third.  When racing resumed, Briscoe quickly got back by Boat, yet Bell remained just out of reach.  Bell went the distance, leading the final four laps for a .295 second victory over Briscoe, Shane Golobic (from 20th after spinning at the halfway point), Boat and Grant.

Bell's had midget seasons of glory in the past, including a pair of seven-win campaigns in 2013 and 2014, but this year was simply phenomenal with five wins in eight USAC Midget starts, plus 10 out of 13 across all his combined midget starts.  It's a success he attributes to the miles he's trekked in stock cars and trucks that he's been able to translate to his time in the driver's seat of a midget.

"Going to NASCAR has made me a better racecar driver just because it's taught me things I didn't learn here on the dirt," Bell said.  "That's something I've been able to find that when you run these really long races, you learn that you don't have to lead lap five.  You don't have to lead lap 10.  You only have to lead the last lap.  That's something I've really tried to apply in midget racing and it seems to have worked."

FEATURE: (55 laps) 1. Christopher Bell, 2. Chase Briscoe, 3. Shane Golobic, 4. Chad Boat, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Dillon Welch, 7. Tanner Berryhill, 8. Parker Price-Miller, 9. Tanner Carrick, 10. Tyler Courtney, 11. Tony Bruce Jr., 12. Daniel Robinson, 13. Tim Crawley, 14. Zeb Wise, 15. Trey Marcham, 16. Tyler Nelson, 17. Shane Cottle, 18. Justin Peck, 19. Tony Roney, 20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 21. Jake Neuman. NT
**Christensen flipped during the fifth heat. Urish flipped during the sixth heat. Black flipped during the first B Main.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-17 Marcham, Laps 18-51 Boat, Laps 52-55 Bell.


By Dub Publications & Media

Petry Motorsports is pleased to announce that Kevin Thomas Jr. will come on board to pilot the No.15, and make a run for a USAC P1 Insurance Midget National Championship. Thomas Jr., has previously driven for the team at the 77th running of the "Turkey Night Grand Prix, at Ventura, Raceway.

"It's really cool to be able to jump back in a midget," explained Thomas. "I didn't know that a Turkey Night ride would turn into a full-time deal, but I'm thankful Scott (Petry) and the whole team are behind me. They're a great group of guys and I'm looking forward to see what we can make happen this season."

Thomas is scheduled to run the entire USAC National Midget season aboard the Petry Motorsports/Spike Chassis/Toyota No.15. Teammate and veteran driver, Jerry Coons Jr., is slated to run a full season as well aboard the No.25, as he and Thomas will both be vying for a midget title.

"We're excited to have Kevin on board," commented Scott Petry, owner. "He is intense, serious about winning, and a pleasure to be around. We didn't have the best finish at Turkey Night, but we definitely figured out a few things. We're looking forward to a successful 2018 season and are ready to get back to racing."

Thomas and Petry Motorsports will kick off their season with the USAC National Midgets in March at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Illinois. The 2014 USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year has previously driven midgets for Keith Kunz Motorsports, Austin Brown Racing, and others. Thomas finished third in national points standings during his last full season of midget action in 2015.



By Richie Murray - USAC Media

National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Dave Darland has joined Matt and Gene Goodnight's Hartford City, Indiana-based team for a full run at the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car schedule in 2018.

Darland, USAC's winningest USAC National Sprint Car driver of all-time with 59 victories, will sport No. 36D, a number that has ridden along with Darland to numerous titles and victories, including his very first USAC win at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track in 1993.

The Lincoln, Indiana driver is one of just six drivers who owns titles in all three USAC National divisions, including Silver Crown (1997), Sprint Car (1999) and Midget (2001 & 2002).  He will pilot a second Goodnight-owned entry with Scott Benic on the wrenches.  Darland and Benic teamed up for six USAC National Sprint Car victories in 2008 and 2009.

In 2010, Darland drove for the Goodnight family for much of the USAC Sprint schedule, picking up a win in the Indiana Sprint Week opener at Lawrenceburg Speedway.  In three starts with Goodnight in 2017, Darland was ProSource Fast Qualifier in all three and had finishes of fourth at Montpelier (Ind.) Motor Speedway and fifth at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track.  At the "Fall Nationals" in Lawrenceburg, Ind., he was in contention for the lead when mechanical trouble sidelined him.

In addition to the full USAC schedule, Darland will be competing in select local events around the Midwest in Goodnight's Maxim chassis with a Claxton engine.  Darland will make his season debut in the car in the USAC season-opening "Winter Dirt Games" on February 15-16-17 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida.



By Richie Murray - USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois.........Clauson Marshall Racing, Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports and Tucker/Boat Motorsports have all filed their entries for the Saturday, December 16 "Junior Knepper 55" USAC Midget "Special Event" indoors at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin.

CMR has entered six cars for the event, including the driver who won the very first "Knepper 55" in 2015, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. of Olive Branch, Mississippi.  Stenhouse won twice, at Talladega Speedway and Daytona International Speedway, on the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup circuit in 2017 and is one of just eight drivers to win a NASCAR Cup, USAC Silver Crown, USAC AMSOIL National Sprint and USAC National Midget race in his career, joining Mario Andretti, A. J. Foyt, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Larson, Ryan Newman, Ken Schrader, and Tony Stewart.

His teammates include 2017 USAC Most Improved Driver and 2016 "Knepper 55" winner Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis, Indiana, plus Ione, California's Justin Grant, the winner of the most recent race at the Southern Illinois Center, March's "Shamrock Classic," and Shane Golobic of Fremont, California, winner of the Shamrock Classic in 2016.

In fact, CMR's head wrenches Tim Clauson and Tyler Ransbottom were a part of the winning team in all four of USAC's appearances at the Southern Illinois Center.  Joining those previous winners for the upcoming race are 2017 Don Basile "Turkey Night Grand Prix" Rookie of the Race Zeb Wise of Angola, Indiana as well as King of the West/NARC standout Gio Scelzi of Fresno, California.

Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports has entered three cars for the "Knepper 55."  Two of which will be driven by a pair of drivers who own three of the last five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships.

Norman, Oklahoma's Christopher Bell needs no introduction to midget racing fans.  The 2013 USAC National Midget champ recently wrapped up the NASCAR Truck title, then proceeded to travel to Ventura, California to win the "Turkey Night Grand Prix."  On the other hand, Matt Crafton of Tulare, California has made over 400 starts in the NASCAR Truck Series, but the "Knepper 55" will mark the two-time NASCAR Truck champ's initial midget start.  Lincoln, California's Tanner Carrick rounds out the team's driver lineup.  Carrick was honored last Friday as the USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year.

Phoenix, Arizona' Chad Boat, a three-time winner on the USAC National Midget trail in 2017, will partner up with Bixby, Oklahoma's Tanner Berryhill on a two-car Tucker-Boat Motorsports team.

The Knepper family is once again sponsoring FREE entry for competitors to enter their midgets for the Saturday, December 16th "Junior Knepper 55" USAC Special Event at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Illinois.

After visiting, use the coupon code "KNEPPER" to enter your car for the race at no charge.  The offer expires Sunday, December 10th, 2017.  The complete pre-entry list for the event will be published the following day, Monday, December 11th.

Additionally, tickets are now on sale for the 3rd annual "Junior Knepper 55" at  The race will serve as the final event of the 2017 USAC racing season.  Adult general admission tickets are available for just $18 in advance compared to the $20 price at the gate on race day.

Furthermore, on, you may order your "Junior Knepper 55" event t-shirt now for just $25.  Sizes small through 4XL are available, but make sure to get yours soon while supplies last.

The event carries no points toward the USAC National Midget season championship, but has quickly become one of the most coveted races to win on the series calendar, annually boasting a large car count and a star-studded field to boot.

The 55-lap event honors the memory of one of USAC's most accomplished car owners - Walter "Junior" Knepper of Belleville, Illinois - whose famed yellow number 55 midgets and sprint cars raced to 58 career USAC feature victories, including 34 in Sprints and 24 in Midgets, with drivers Bob Wente, Tom Bigelow, Mel Kenyon, George Snider, Dana Carter, Rich Vogler and his son Steve Knepper.

Nick Knepper, grandson of Junior and son of 13-time USAC National Midget winner Steve Knepper, will promote the event along with Derek LeMaster.

Cars are scheduled to hit the track at 4pm (Central).  A format utilizing passing points will be used to seed the feature lineups.
0 KEVIN WOODY, JR./Victor, NY (Buckwalter Motorsports)
0B MIKE McSPARIN/Stonefort, IL (Mike McSparin)
1cc CLAYTON CHRISTENSEN/Spencer, IA (Jody Rosenboom Racing)
1ST SHANE COTTLE/Kokomo, IN (Daryl Saucier/Shane Hmiel)
1T TONY RONEY/Herculaneum, MO (Tony Roney)
3 ALEX WATSON/Columbus, OH (3W Racing)
3B AUSTIN BLAIR/St. Louis, MO (Jim Neuman)
3N JAKE NEUMAN/New Berlin, IL (Jim Neuman)
3s BRIAN SHIRLEY/Chatham, IL (Jim Neuman)
5 CHASE BRISCOE/Mitchell, IN (Chase Briscoe Racing)
5c COLTEN COTTLE/Kansas, IL (Rick Cottle)
5x DANNY FRYE/St. Charles, MO (Danny Frye Motorsports)
6D DON DAWSON II/Indianola, IA (Don Dawson II)
7 GIO SCELZI/Fresno, CA (Clauson Marshall Racing)
7BC TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN (Clauson Marshall Racing)
7JR J.D. BLACK/Grain Valley, MO (J.D. Black)
7K JUSTIN PECK/Monrovia, IN (Kenny & Reva Irwin)
9JR DEREK HAGAR/Marion, AR (Hagar/Proctor Racing)
9K KYLE SCHUETT/Philo, IL (Schuett Racing)
11 BRENT BEAUCHAMP/Fairland, IN (Brent Beauchamp)
12w BILLY WEASE/Noblesville, IN (Amanda Wease)
14R JODY ROSENBOOM/Rock Rapids, IA (Jody Rosenboom Racing)
15m SHANE MORGAN/Morton, IL (Morgan Motorsports)
15s JIM PICARDI/Mapleton, IL (Morgan Motorsports)
17B TANNER BERRYHILL/Bixby, OK (Tucker/Boat Motorsports)
17BC RICKY STENHOUSE, JR./Olive Branch, MS (Clauson Marshall Racing)
17w SHANE GOLOBIC/Fremont, CA (Clauson Marshall Racing/Matt Wood)
18 TONY BRUCE, JR./Liberal, KS (Tony Bruce, Jr.)
21 CHRISTOPHER BELL/Norman, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
23LL LEE LENGEL/Wellsville, KS (Lee Lengel)
25p DYLAN PETERSON/Sioux Falls, SD (Vance Peterson)
25s ALEX SCHRIEVER/Sioux Falls, SD (Vance Peterson)
29 JOEY MOUGHAN/Springfield, IL (Tom Casson)
32 TREY MARCHAM/Newcastle, OK (Trey Marcham)
32x NICK HAMILTON/Danville, IN (Nick Hamilton)
D33 JACOB PATTON/Bethalto, IL (Jeff & Jill Davis)
35 TYLER ROBBINS/Bethalto, IL (Tyler Robbins)
39 ZEB WISE/Angola, IN (Clauson Marshall Racing)
39BC JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (Clauson Marshall Racing)
41 HOWARD MOORE/Memphis, TN (Chris Chappue)
50 DANIEL ADLER/St. Louis, MO (Adler Motorsports)
55D NICK DRAKE/Sherrills Ford, NC (Troy Cline)
56x MARK CHISHOLM/Cheyenne, WY (Fifty6x Race Team)
57D DANIEL ROBINSON/Ewing, IL (McCreery Motorsports)
66 TBA (Amati Racing)
67 MATT CRAFTON/Tulare, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71K TANNER CARRICK/Lincoln, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
77u CHRIS URISH/Elkhart, IL (Tom Casson)
84 CHAD BOAT/Phoenix, AZ (Tucker/Boat Motorsports)
88 TERRY BABB/Harristown, IL (Terry Babb)
91 TYLER NELSON/Kansas City, KS (Harris Racing)
93K RILEY KREISEL/Warsaw, MO (DKR Motorsports)
95 CHRIS ANDREWS/Tulsa, OK (Miller Racing)


USAC National driving champions Kody Swanson, Chris Windom and Spencer Bayston shared the spotlight along with other 2017 USAC champions and special award recipients at Friday night's 62nd USAC "Night of Champions" celebration at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis, Ind.

Swanson, of Kingsburg, CA, Windom, of Canton, IL and Bayston, of Lebanon, IN, earned National championships. Swanson was a third-time Silver Crown titlist, Windom a first-time AMSOIL Sprint Car king and Bayston a first-time National Midget champ.

Justin Grant of Ione, CA secured the $5,000 Mike Curb "Super License" in memory of Bryan Clauson and the $2,500 ProSource "Fast Time" Award. The former was for scoring the most National points combined in the three series, while the latter was for posting the most National fast qualifying efforts during the campaign.

Car owner National champions for 2017 included DePalma Motorsports of Lima, OH (Silver Crown), the Baldwin Brothers of West Lafayette, IN (Sprint) and Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports of Columbus, IN (Midget).

Emcees Pat Sullivan, Dillon Welch and Butch Lamb orchestrated the presentations, which included driver and car entrant champions, Rookies of the Year, Most Improved Drivers and special award recipients.

Among items presented to the 2017 champions were championship rings from Josten's, trophies, plaques, Hoosier jackets, medallions, distinctive art canvases and remote-control TRAXXAS trucks.

Sprint Car driving champions in addition to the aforementioned include Damion Gardner of Concord, CA (AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprints); Jake Swanson of Anaheim, CA (West Coast Sprints) and R.J. Johnson of Phoenix, AZ (Southwest Sprints).

Other 2017 champions included Ronnie Gardner of Riverside, Calif. (Light up the World Beverages Western States Midget); Ryan Greth of Newport, PA USAC/ARDC Midget).

Kody Swanson received the Jason Leffler Award, in recognition of his intense appreciation of the sport's history reflected in his professionalism and outstanding representation as an ambassador of the United States Auto Club, exhibiting the same standard of ideals upheld by the late Jason Leffler during his USAC racing career.
USAC's 2016 National "Race Organizer of the Year" award was presented to Dave and Kim Rudisell of Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.

Joss Mofatt of Columbus, IN earned the 2017 USAC Silver Crown "Rookie of the Year" honor. Stevie Sussex of Tempe, AZ was honored as the AMSOIL National Sprint Car "Rookie of the Year" and the Bob Stroud Memorial National Midget "Rookie of the Year" Award for the National Midget Series went to Tanner Carrick of Lincoln, CA.

Tyler Courtney of Indianapolis, IN was named USAC's "Most Improved" National Driver of 2017.

USAC's 2017 "Chief Mechanic of the Year" award went to Derek Claxton, who orchestrated Windom's drive to the AMSOIL National Sprint Car title.

Second and third-place drivers and car entrants in USAC's National racing series also received their year-end recognition and awards.



INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 8, 2017) - Dooling Hayward Motorsports has agreed to a partnership with Richard Childress Racing (RCR), one of NASCAR's most storied organizations and winner of over 200 races and 17 championships, effective immediately. RCR is based in Welcome, North Carolina and is scheduled to field cars in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2018; its 49th season as a race team.

It all began in 1970 for the No. 63 when it came into existence with the United States Auto Club (USAC).  Joe Dooling Sr., known as "Papa Joe" was awarded the No. 63 in which he took famed driver Lloyd Ruby to the Astros Grand Prix.  Since 1970 there have been many great drivers that have shared the seat of No. 63.

In 2001 Papa Joe passed the racing torch over to his son, Joe Dooling Jr.  That year Joe hired Ed Carpenter who went on to earn the Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car Rookie of the Year honors.

In 2014 Joe Dooling Jr. joined forces with Brodie Hayward to create Dooling Hayward Motorsports. Throughout their partnership along with the No. 63's impressive list of victories, they've earned the win to one of the largest unique grassroots events in history the Chili Bowl Nationals in 2014.

"Grassroots racing has been in my blood for many years now," said Brodie Hayward, vice president of Dooling Hayward Motorsports. "Since my wife Sarah and I partnered with the Dooling's No. 63 team several years ago, we have worked hard to advance the unshakable foundation of this team built by Papa Joe and Joe Jr."

"The opportunity to align with Richard Childress Racing came about and it was a perfect opportunity for us to grow as a race team. RCR is a world-class organization with great resources and personnel. To integrate two legendary teams in the No. 63 and the multiple teams of RCR is organic. This opportunity can provide a clear path to develop young drivers into NASCAR with an already legendary well-established team." Hayward said.

"This is an exciting path to expose and expand awareness to our grassroots motorsports program along with tempting audiences from USAC and NASCAR to further viewership and support for both sports. Whether it's on dirt or asphalt it will be exciting to see RCR colors united with Dooling Hayward Motorsports in this upcoming season and beyond." Hayward said.

"We are very grateful for the opportunity to compete in the 2018 Sprint Car and Midget season coupled with growing as a team," said Joe Dooling Jr., President of Dooling Hayward Motorsports. "Our relationship with Richard Childress Racing will travel well beyond our alliance. We have many of the same ideals that fit our vision to allow our continued success."

"It's important for our race team to align with a grassroots racing organization like Dooling Hayward Motorsports and develop young drivers and crew members," said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR. "This partnership will be a great opportunity to continue our developmental program and invest in a race team that are proven winners."



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Indianapolis, Indiana.........Clauson/Marshall Racing, with the addition of NASCAR driver and USAC champion Ryan Newman to the team ownership role, will field veteran driver Tyler Courtney full-time on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car trail in 2018.

Tyler Courtney, USAC's Most Improved driver in 2017, moves over to the CMNR ride following a successful two-year run with TOPP Motorsports in which they teamed up for six USAC National Sprint Car feature wins.  Meanwhile, this past season, CMR was the home for Courtney's first three career USAC National Midget victories.  For 2018, CMR's home is where Courtney's heart lies in the sprint car as well.

"It's an opportunity I felt like I couldn't pass up with the people who are going to be involved," Courtney said.  "I don't want to have any regrets ten years down the road for not doing it.  I talked to a lot of people who helped me make this decision.  They all said to go with my heart.  My heart is staying right here at Clauson/Marshall/Newman Racing."

Newman, meanwhile, returns to his roots as he joins Courtney and team for the run at a USAC title.

"Both Tim (Clauson) and Richard (Marshall) gave me the opportunity to be involved with something that I've thought about for a while," Newman said.  "I wanted to do this at the right place at the right time.  It's a no brainer for me to be a part of something that I think will be great.  This was a path in my career that made a difference.  It was several rungs on the ladder that made a difference, being a part of USAC Midget, Sprint car and Silver Crown racing.  It's an honor to be a part of what they're putting together."

The prospect of having not only the Clauson/Marshall Racing team on your side, but that of 1999 USAC Silver Crown champion and 2008 Daytona 500 winner Newman, has Courtney elated.

"It's pretty dang cool," Courtney exclaimed.  "The fact that Ryan wants to come back and support a USAC team is really special.  The fact they wanted to do this with a kid like me is even cooler.  I get to work with Tim, who's been a part of my career basically since it started.  It's such a big comfort level over here.  They've got everything to go for a championship."

Newman has maintained a presence in USAC racing throughout his NASCAR career, which includes 18 victories and 51 poles at the Cup level.  He annually competes in the Silver Crown series each year and keeps a keen eye on the schedule/results and maintains friendships with several USAC drivers.

"I think it's some of the best racing there is in the world," Newman assures.  "It was what I was born and raised in.  With their horsepower-to-weight ratio, big tires, tacky racetracks, wheel stands and methanol, you name it, it's pretty spectacular if you like racing."

Clauson Marshall Racing made its initial on-track appearance late in 2016 and has instantly become a force on the USAC National Midget trail, picking up five wins in 2017.  However, in addition to the midget program, team owner Tim Clauson desired an eventual expansion of the team to USAC's AMSOIL National Sprint Car series.

"Ever since Bryan and I won the 2012 USAC Sprint Car Championship, I have had a passion to get back to chasing another title," team owner Tim Clauson said.  "Richard and I had discussed the prospect and I think we both knew at some point it would be a part of Clauson/Marshall Racing, but we both thought we were a few years away. Building a championship team takes a lot of moving pieces and, when Ryan expressed interest in being involved, it accelerated the conversation and the pieces started to fall into place.  The key piece to the puzzle was making sure we had the driver we wanted and, when Tyler Courtney became available, it became inevitable that we would put something together."

"Having Ryan Newman involved in our program is both exciting and humbling as is his history in not only USAC, but motorsports as a whole," Clauson continued.  "It is something I feel we will all be able to lean on as we continue to build CMR.  As proud as I am of this partnership, I am also proud that Ryan wants to be involved and support the USAC series which we all feel has the best on-track product in motorsports.  While it will be a busy next two months getting ready for Florida, we are excited to add another top, quality ride to the USAC Sprint Car series."

Prior to Bryan's passing, Marshall and Tim Clauson put together a three-year plan to take Bryan Clauson, Inc. to another level.  But, as Marshall stated, Bryan would want us to race on and that they did.  After blasting through that three-year plan in one year, Marshall, and Newman, made the decision to go USAC Sprint Car racing with CMR.

"Ryan's a great friend," Marshall begins.  "We were talking a couple times last month over dinner how cool it would be to go USAC racing.  I thought it would be really cool.  I talked to Ryan quite a bit and he's very passionate.  He said he wanted to support the sport and be involved again.  Tim, Ryan and I put our heads together and here we are.  Game on!"

Clauson/Marshall/Newman Racing's debut with the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car series begins February 15-16-17 with "Winter Dirt Games" at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida.



By Richie Murray - USAC Media

Indianapolis, Indiana.........A helping of six pavement and five dirt races make up a balanced USAC Silver Crown Champ Car Series schedule for the 2018 season, which marks the series' return to the state of Wisconsin for the first time since 2011.

The Silver Crown cars will make their debut appearance on the half-mile, paved Madison International Speedway on June 29 for the "Cheesemakers 100."  While it's the big cars' first go at the Oregon, Wisconsin joint, USAC's National Sprint and Midget series did make a visit to the track in 1997 when Dave Steele (Sprint) and Jimmy McCune (Midget) captured their respective ends of the doubleheader.  Bobby East won Silver Crown's last race in the Badger State at the Milwaukee Mile six years ago.

Madison is the lone addition to a schedule that features the most pavement races on the series' card since 2007.  Of those six paved races, the largest in terms of size on the schedule is the season-opening "Phoenix Copper Cup" April 7 on Arizona's one-mile ISM Raceway (formerly known as Phoenix International Raceway).  May brings two more to the hardtop on the 4th at Ohio's Toledo Speedway for the "Rollie Beale Classic" and to Brownsburg, Indiana and Lucas Oil Raceway for the "Carb Night Classic" on the 25th.  The prestigious "Joe James-Pat O'Connor Memorial," a race with origins that date to 1953, is back on the high banks of Salem (Ind.) Speedway on August 11.  Lucas Oil Raceway's "Rich Vogler Classic" closes out the pavement set of the season on September 8.

The dirt schedule is solidified with a lineup of some of the most legendary and historic racetracks in the sport.  The "Sumar Classic" comes to the half-mile Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track on April 29.  The 63rd running of the "Hoosier Hundred" on May 24 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds precedes the following night's pavement stop at Lucas Oil Raceway, marking just the fifth occurrence of dirt and pavement Silver Crown races taking place within a 24-hour span.

Deep fried corn dogs and elephant ears signal the State Fair season to some, but to race fans, it means Silver Crown racing on two of the most-storied one-mile dirt ovals in the history of auto racing.  First up is the "Bettenhausen 100" at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield where racing's daredevils have competed for over a century.  Two weeks later, on Labor Day weekend September 2, the call of the "Magic Mile" beckons for the "Ted Horn 100" on the scenic Du Quoin State Fairgrounds mile.

On 14 occasions, Ohio's Eldora Speedway has served in its role as the Silver Crown season-ender.  The 2018 season will carry on that tradition with the 37th running of the "4-Crown Nationals" on September 22, which provides the only opportunity for fans to witness all three of USAC's national divisions, plus the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions, at one event.
Apr 7: **(P) ISM Raceway (Phoenix, AZ)
Apr 29: (D) Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
May 4: (P) Toledo Speedway (Toledo, OH)
May 24: (D) Indiana State Fairgrounds (Indianapolis, IN)
May 25: (P) Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Brownsburg, IN)
Jun 29: (P) Madison International Speedway (Oregon, WI)
Aug 11: (P) Salem Speedway Fueled by the Hoosier Lottery (Salem, IN)
Aug 18: **(D) Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, IL)
Sep 2: (D) Du Quoin State Fairgrounds (Du Quoin, IL)
Sep 8: (P) Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis (Brownsburg, IN)
Sep 22: (D) Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
** represents a daytime event.
(D) represents an event at a dirt track.
(P) represents an event at a pavement track.



By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Indianapolis, Indiana.........A brand new title sponsor and a pair of new venues amongst a slate of popular series mainstays bring an invigorated USAC National Midget scene in 2018 with 23 events, 21 venues and nine states occupying the USAC P1 Insurance Midget National Championship schedule.

The series has partnered with an innovative technology launching in January 2018 that rewards good drivers with great rates for car insurance, which will go hand-in-hand with benefits to the series and racers as a whole.

"P1 is the first insurance company to rate your driving skills on how you drive using smart phone technology," USAC CEO Kevin Miller explained.  "P1 rewards great drivers and also rewards our great drivers at USAC with incentives that will enhance purses and point funds in addition to contributing to individual driver sponsorships based on activations within their app.  USAC will be promoting P1 throughout the year to a vast fan and competitor base to increase activation.  This program has the ability to dramatically impact the direction of USAC circle track dirt racing."

After a memorable 2017 season in which the deepest field of full-time competitors in years took part in countless memorable moments from the east to the west, race-after-race, the stage is set for another year of constant thrills.  Those points include two venues serving as the host of USAC Midget racing for the first time.

Meeker, Oklahoma's Red Dirt Raceway begins a five-race, four-state central states invasion in mid-July at "Tuesday Night Thunder" on the 10th.  The race will be the first USAC National Midget event held in the state of Oklahoma since an Oklahoma City Sports Arena doubleheader in February of 1975 won by John Batts and Sleepy Tripp.

Red Dirt is followed up by the annual "Chad McDaniel Memorial" at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kansas on July 11.  After a night off, the Midgets double-hit Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Nebraska for two consecutive nights at the 1/5-mile oval.  Missouri's Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex rounds out the busy week with its initial appearance on the schedule and the first race for the series in the "Show Me State" since 2006.

The remainder of the schedule holds steady with familiar and popular stops along the tour.  The season opens indoors under the roof of the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin for the "Shamrock Classic" on March 10.  April's docket brings on the "Kokomo Grand Prix" at Indiana's Kokomo Speedway on April 13 and 14.

The 14th edition of the six-race "Indiana Midget Week" series starts off at Montpelier Motor Speedway on May 29, followed by five successive events at Gas City I-69 Speedway (May 30), Lincoln Park Speedway (May 31), Bloomington Speedway (June 1), Lawrenceburg Speedway (June 2) and Kokomo Speedway (June 3).

Concurrent with the turning of the calendar to August is the start of Pennsylvania Midget Week which begins August 1 at Path Valley Speedway Park with subsequent stops at Linda's Speedway (August 2), Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway (August 3) and BAPS Motor Speedway - formerly known as Susquehanna - on August 4.

The USAC Midgets' 37th annual run at the "4-Crown Nationals" at Rossburg, Ohio's Eldora Speedway finishes out the Midwest part of the schedule on September 22.

"Go west," USAC Midget teams say in the month of November when the travel guide shows the next stop as the "November Classic" on the 17th at California's Bakersfield Speedway for the penultimate round of points-paying races.  The conclusion of the 2018 points season takes place at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway on Thanksgiving night, November 22, for one of the most legendary races in dirt track racing, the 78th running of the "Turkey Night Grand Prix."

The now traditional late-season 55-lap romp at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, named in honor of the late USAC car owner Junior Knepper, is slated for December 14.  Meanwhile, the date and venue for the "Jason Leffler Memorial" is still to be determined.
Mar 10: Southern Illinois Center (Du Quoin, IL)
Apr 13: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Apr 14: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
May 29: (i) Montpelier Motor Speedway (Montpelier, IN)
May 30: (i) Gas City I-69 Speedway (Gas City, IN)
May 31: (i) Lincoln Park Speedway (Putnamville, IN)
Jun 1: (i) Bloomington Speedway (Bloomington, IN)
Jun 2: (i) Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Jun 3: (i) Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Jul 10: Red Dirt Raceway (Meeker, OK)
Jul 11: Solomon Valley Raceway (Beloit, KS)
Jul 13: Jefferson County Speedway (Fairbury, NE)                                            
Jul 14: Jefferson County Speedway (Fairbury, NE)
Jul 15: Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex (Sweet Springs, MO)
Aug 1: (P) Path Valley Speedway Park (Spring Run, PA)
Aug 2: (P) Linda's Speedway (Jonestown, PA)
Aug 3: (P) Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway (Newmanstown, PA)
Aug 4: (P) BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Sep 22: Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Nov 17: (W) Bakersfield Speedway (Bakersfield, CA)
Nov 22: (W) Ventura Raceway (Ventura, CA)
Dec 14: (SE) Southern Illinois Center (Du Quoin, IL)
TBA: "Jason Leffler Memorial"
(i) represents an Indiana Midget Week event.
(P) represents a Pennsylvania Midget Week event.
(W) represents an event with the USAC Light Up the World Beverages Western States Midgets.
(SE) represents a non-points special event.



By Richie Murray - USAC Media

Indianapolis, Indiana.........Following a year of renaissance with a new breed of drivers ascending to the top of the standings, the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship reloads for a 2018 schedule that includes 45 events between the months of February and November.

Leading off the schedule once again for the ninth-straight season is "Winter Dirt Games" at Ocala, Florida's Bubba Raceway Park on February 15-16-17.  The wintertime defroster begins a season that carries with it a number of tried and true tour staples including Eastern Storm and Indiana Sprint Week.

Eastern Storm expands to six races for the first time with annual Pennsylvania dates at Grandview (June 14), Williams Grove (June 15), Port Royal (June 16) and BAPS Motor Speedway (June 17).  Furthermore, for the initial time, three different states will be represented in Eastern Storm with the 12th edition entering first-time USAC venues in New Jersey's Bridgeport Speedway on June 18 and New York's Weedsport Speedway on June 19.

The 31st running of Indiana Sprint Week begins July 20 at a yet-to-be-announced venue, followed by six more events throughout the Hoosier state as the trail hits midsummer: Kokomo (July 21), Lawrenceburg (July 22), Terre Haute (July 25), Lincoln Park (July 26), Bloomington (July 27) and Tri-State (July 28).

A slew of benchmark Indiana tracks dot the landscape throughout the season in addition to its July "Indiana Sprint Week" slots.  Kokomo Speedway's non-points, special event #GYATK Night on August 22 leads into three nights of "Sprint Car Smackdown" on August 23-24-25.  The famed Terre Haute Action Track welcomes the series to the fast and racy Wabash Valley Fairgrounds dirt oval for the 48th running of the "Tony Hulman Classic" on May 23, the "Jim Hurtubise Classic" on September 14 and the newly-christened "Wabash Clash" on October 12.

Lawrenceburg opens the Midwest portion of the season with its traditional Springtime welcome on March 31 and closes out the month of September with the "Fall Nationals" on September 29.  Bloomington's April 27 race begins the first doubleheader USAC Sprint weekend of the season, followed by Tri-State Speedway's "Spring Showdown" on April 28 in Haubstadt, Indiana and co-sanctioned by the Midwest Sprint Car Series.  USAC and MSCS collaborate once again at Tri-State on September 15th's "Haubstadt Hustler."  Just prior to "Indiana Sprint Week," competitors tackle their last tune-up before the commencing of "Indiana Sprint Week" in the Bill Gardner Sprintacular on July 6.

Two additions to the schedule over the past couple seasons, Montpelier Motor Speedway and Plymouth Speedway, serve up an enticing dose of USAC Sprint Car action on April 21 and May 5, respectively.

The famed half-mile Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio will host three USAC Sprint Car appearances in 2018 with two consecutive nights at #LetsRaceTwo with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars on May 11-12 and the 37th "4-Crown Nationals" on September 22.

Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois returns to the USAC Sprint Car fold for the first time since 2006 on May 18.  Just across the Mississippi River one night later on May 19, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Pevely, Missouri is back as a first-time USAC venue after last year's wash out.

The series ventures to the Cornhusker state on June 8 for its second stop in as many years at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Nebraska on June 8 before heading to the legendary Knoxville Raceway in Iowa on June 9.  Making its return for the first time in 12 years is Lake Ozark Speedway in Eldon, Missouri on October 5, which kicks off a double-header weekend in the Heartland that concludes with a trip to the half-mile Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas on October 6.

As the frigid temps converge on much of the country in the month of November, the series migrates west for warmer climes as well as two of the most-renowned races in the country: the 51st "Western World Championships" at Arizona Speedway on November 2-3 and the 23rd annual "Oval Nationals" on November 8-9-10 at Perris Auto Speedway in southern California.
Feb 15: Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, FL)
Feb 16: Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, FL)
Feb 17: Bubba Raceway Park (Ocala, FL)
Mar 31: Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Apr 21: Montpelier Motor Speedway (Montpelier, IN)
Apr 27: Bloomington Speedway (Bloomington, IN)
Apr 28: (M) Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)
May 5: Plymouth Speedway (Plymouth, IN)
May 11: Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
May 12: Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
May 18: Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
May 19: Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
May 23: Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Jun 8: I-80 Speedway (Greenwood, NE)
Jun 9: Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Jun 14: (E) Grandview Speedway (Bechtelsville, PA)
Jun 15: (E) Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Jun 16: (E) Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Jun 17: (E) BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Jun 18: (E) Bridgeport Speedway (Swedesboro, NJ)
Jun 19: (E) Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)
Jul 6: Lincoln Park Speedway (Putnamville, IN)
Jul 20: (i) 31st Indiana Sprint Week Opener         
Jul 21: (i) Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Jul 22: (i) Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Jul 25: (i) Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Jul 26: (i) Lincoln Park Speedway (Putnamville, IN)
Jul 27: (i) Bloomington Speedway (Bloomington, IN)
Jul 28: (i) Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)
Aug 22: (SE) Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Aug 23: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Aug 24: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Aug 25: Kokomo Speedway (Kokomo, IN)
Sep 14: Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Sep 15: (M) Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)
Sep 22: Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Sep 29: Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)
Oct 5: Lake Ozark Speedway (Eldon, MO)
Oct 6: Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Oct 12: Terre Haute Action Track (Terre Haute, IN)
Nov 2: (C) Arizona Speedway (San Tan Valley, AZ)
Nov 3: (C) Arizona Speedway (San Tan Valley, AZ)
Nov 8: (C) Perris Auto Speedway (Perris, CA)
Nov 9: (C) Perris Auto Speedway (Perris, CA)
Nov 10: (C) Perris Auto Speedway (Perris, CA)
(M) represents an event co-sanctioned by the Midwest Sprint Car Series.
(E) represents an Eastern Storm event.
(i) represents an Indiana Sprint Week event.
(SE) represents a non-points special event.
(C) represents an event with the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Cars


























2018 points
Feb. 18
1. Kevin Thomas 227
2. Chris Windom 219
3. Tyler Courtney 209
4. Chad Boespflug 182
5. C.J. Leary 179
6. Klye Cummins 172
7. Chase Stockon 170
8. Robert Ballou 170
9. Justin Grant 168
10. Brady Short 164

National Midgets
1. Spencer Bayston 1472
2. Shane Golobic 1416
3. Brady Bacon    1413
4. Tanner Thorson 1392
5. Justin Grant 1316
6. Tyler Courtney 1290
7. Chad Boat 1154
8. Holly Shelton 1055
9. Tanner Carrick 995
10. Jerry Coons Jr. 849

Silver Crown
1. Kody Swanson  650
2. Jerry Coons Jr. 562
3. Chris Windom  525
4. Justin Grant 470
5. David Byrne  436
6. Aaron Pierce 402
7. Bobby Santos  350
8. Joss Moffatt 302
9. Joe Liguori  295
10. Damion Gardner 248

1. Damion Gardner 1547
2. Brady Roa 1475
3. Jake Swanson 1376
4. Mike Spencer 1212
5. A. Williams 1058
6. C. Williams 960
7. L. Williams 874
8. Max Adams 799
9. Chris Gansen 768
10. Thomas 756

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