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National Driving Midget Stars Set to Tackle Locals at Calistoga


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By Troy Hennig

ROSEVILLE, CA – (August 17, 2016)…Current USAC Midget National driving point leader Spencer Bayston, of Lebanon, IN, leads a full stable of Keith Kunz / Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Midgets into the 9th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic at Calistoga Speedway.  Joining the 17-year-old sensation are teammates Tanner Thorson of Minden, NV, Carson Macedo of Lemoore, CA, Ryan Robinson of Forest Hill, CA and Holly Shelton of Sacramento, CA.


Not to be outdone, a plethora of local California drivers challenging the National stars including three-time USAC Western States Midget Champion Ronnie Gardner of Corona, CA and Michael Faccinto of Hanford, CA.


The 9th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic is scheduled to take place September 3rd and 4th at the Napa Valley Fairgrounds in Calistoga.  The scenic half-mile dirt oval race track will host numerous USAC Western Midget competitors all contending to win the staggering $10,000 offered to each night’s main event winner.


There is no denying that Keith Kunz Motorsports is the best in the Midget business.  His cars have won the last seven midget races in a row held at Calistoga Speedway including last year’s clean sweep of the weekend by Rico Abreu.  However, of his current five young stars, none has won a Midget race at Calistoga Speedway.  Bayston has earned one win this year along the USAC National Midget tour.  His consistency has led him to the top of the points.  Thorson leads the team with three USAC wins this season.  According to Thorson’s own personal website, he list Calistoga Speedway as his favorite track.  Macedo, the 2015 King of the West sprint car champion, might have the most laps around Calistoga but they took place in a winged sprint car.  Youngsters Robinson and Shelton will make their maiden voyage at Calistoga during the Louie Vermeil Classic.


Shelton might be the most intriguing driver of the weekend.  She was born and raised in nearby Sacramento.  Shelton, the daughter of veteran sprint car mechanic Larry Shelton, honed her driving skills in the Outlaw Kart ranks at Cycleland Speedway near Chico, CA.  Over the winter she was hand-picked by Toyota Racing Development and given the opportunity to learn from Kunz as she continues her motorsports aspirations.

Joining Shelton is a good mix of other talented female midget drivers.  Teenager Courtney Crone of Corona, CA, gained National recognition in 2015 when she won a sprint car race at Perris Auto Speedway and her first Ford Focus Midget main event at Ventura Raceway.  She has raced everything from quarter-midgets to speedway bikes and is currently tied with Tyler Dolacki for seventh place in points.  Sitting sixth in points and a true veteran of this sport is Atascadero’s Randi Pankratz.  The daughter of champion Midget driver Wally Pankratz, she continues her charge as one of the best West Coast midget drivers.  Another talented female driver racing at the Louie Vermeil is Maria Cofer of Macdoel, CA.  Cofer, like Shelton, has been a staple of the Outlaw Kart racing on dirt that has helped pave her way into Midget racing.


Tickets and information for the Louie Vermeil Classic can be purchased by calling 916-773-7223.  Please follow us on Facebook at Louie Vermeil Classic – Calistoga Speedway and Twitter @CalistogaSpeed.  Website information can be found at