By Dick Jordan
The opening event in the 2011 USAC D1 (Division One) Midget Series occurs this Saturday at Montpelier (Ind.) Motor Speedway. It debuts a new series name for a series with plenty of history.
USAC’s Regional Midget Series dates back to 1981 when Mack McClellan became the inaugural champion. He would go on to win two more titles, but in 1994 Michael Lang scored the first of his five championships and Lang now tops the all-time list of winners with 54 career victories. Lang won four consecutive titles from 1994-1997 and added the 1999 crown.
Other Regional champs have included names like John Andretti, Rich Vogler, Tom Bigelow, Mel Kenyon, Brad Kuhn and last year Dalton Armstrong. Even lady driver Sondi Eden etched her name in the record books, winning the 2004 title.
Dubbed as “Exciting” Montpelier Motor Speedway, the quarter-mile dirt oval hosts five separate USAC “tripleheaders” in 2011. Following Saturday’s program, the USAC D1 Midgets, Midwest Ford Focus Midgets and Midwest Focus Young Guns return on June 25, August 13, September 10 and October 1.
Seven different drivers tasted victory in last year’s series, now titled D1. The championship was hotly-contested, with Armstrong topping runner-up Dillon Welch by just 45 points at season’s end.