By Dick Jordan
This weekend’s inaugural USAC/Powri “Kokomo Grand Prix” at the Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway is expected to generate a battle for the early USAC National Dirt Midget point lead. The 3/8-mile dirt oval hosts complete racing programs Friday and Saturday which also feature the USAC Midwest Ignite Midgets and Powri 600cc Outlaw Micro Series.
The events kick off the 2013 USAC National Midget Dirt campaign after the USAC National Pavement campaign opened at New Smyrna Beach, Fla. in February.
Defending USAC National Midget Champion Darren Hagen of Riverside, Calif. finished sixth in last year’s Indiana Midget Week feature at Kokomo and faces a formidable field at Kokomo which will include 2012 Powri Midget Champ Andrew Felker.
Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind. will seek his 10th and 11th USAC feature event victories on the season in the Kokomo races. His nine wins so far are two months ahead of J.J. Yeley’s record of nine wins in 2003, which he achieved in June on his way to an all-time USAC victory record of 24 for the year. Clauson returns this year to the familiar #39 Tucker/BCI/Curb Agajanian entry.
A 30-lap feature will complete Friday night’s program, while a 40-lapper is on tap Saturday.
USAC Midget racing at the Kokomo oval, which underwent reconfiguration several years ago, dates back to USAC’s debut season with Forrest Parker winning a 100-lapper in 1956. A total of 69 USAC Midget races have been conducted there with Rich Vogler scoring seven wins and Mel Kenyon six.
Dave Darland, who trails Tracy Hines by just three wins in their battle for the all-time USAC lead in terms of “active” drivers, owns the Kokomo Midget track record of 13.149 second, set in 2010.