DU QUOIN, Ill. (Dec. 13, 2011)—Seven-time USAC National champion Levi Jones will try to build on his successful partnership with Midget car owner Shane Hmiel in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series’ second annual Battle at the Center on Saturday (Dec. 17) at the Mini Magic Mile at the Southern Illinois Center.
Jones won the Gold Crown Midget Nationals at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Ill., in October in his second start for Hmiel, a former NASCAR and USAC race-winning driver who was paralyzed from the waist down in a crash in October, 2010, and made a return to racing with his team last summer.
Jones set a USAC record with his fifth Sprint Car National Championship this year, breaking the record of four he had shared with Steve Butler. Jones had three feature victories in 2011. He’s won three consecutive titles for Tony Stewart Racing and also won in 2007 for Stewart. A former basketball star at East Richmond High in Olney, Ill., who lives in Swansea, Ill., Jones won his first Sprint Car title for Benic Enterprises in 2005.
Jones also has won four USAC National championships the past two years. He’s driven to back-to-back crowns in USAC’s Silver Crown division.With seven titles, he’s tied for second on USAC’s all-time list with Rich Vogler and Mel Kenyon. A.J. Foyt is first with 10.
Sprint Car star Hunter Schurenburg of Sikeston, Mo., will also be competing in the Battle at the Center. He had four victories and finished fourth in the points in USAC’s Sprint Car National championship this season.
The POWRi-sanctioned and –organized non-points event has attracted an all-star cast of drivers that includes three-time POWRi National Midget champion Brad Loyet and two-time USAC Midget and overall National Champion Bryan Clauson. It will pay $5,000 to win.
The one-day Battle at the Center will feature a 40-lap main event on the 1/5th-mile indoor track at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. Gates open at 3 p.m. and hot laps begin at 5 p.m. with racing immediately following. General admission tickets are $20 and children 12-and-under are free.
The event is being taped by NEWAVE Productions for delayed broadcast on SPEED Channel LUCAS Oil on the Edge.
Casey Shuman won the inaugural running of the Battle at the Center, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. taking second and Dave Darland third.
Entries for POWRi’s Lucas Oil National Midget Series 2nd Battle at the Center (as of Dec. 13): Levi Jones, Swansea, Ill., Hunter Schurenburg, Sikeston, Mo., Danny Smith, Decatur, Ill., Joey Moughan, Springfield, Ill., Mike Goodman, Broken Arrow, Okla., Ryan Pace, Brownsburg, Ind., Tony Roney, Herculaneum, Mo., Donald McIntosh, Dawsonville, Ga., Tyler Milwood, Kingston, Ga., Brad Loyet, Sunset Hills, Mo., Mario Clouser, Auburn, Ill., Andrew Felker, Carl Junction, Mo., Daniel Robinson, Mt. Vernon, Ill., Shane Cockrum, Benton, Ill., Andee Beierle, Bismark, N.D., Michael J. Koontz, Bloomington, Ind., Trevor Kobylarz, Birdsboro, Pa., Danny Stratton, Indianapolis, Jonathan Halford, Tulsa, Okla., Andy Houston, Roseville, Ill., Colten Cottle, Kansas, Ill., Zach Daum, Pocohontas, Ill., Danny Frye III, St. Charles, Ill., David Gough, Machnesney, Ill., Tyler Courtney, Indianapolis, Austin Brown, Millstadt, Ill., Chett Gehrke, Broken Arrow, Okla., Brett Anderson, Belleville, Ill., Tim Siner, Dupo, Ill., John Campbell, Belleville, Ill., Steve Stroud, St. Charles, Mo., Christopher Bell, Norman, Okla., Tim Lynch, Columbus, Ind., David Budres, Beloit, Wis., Stephen Arnold, Seymour, Ind., Kyle Neal, Ewing, Ill., Jake Blackhurst, Mapleton, Ill., Bryan Clauson, Noblesville, Ind., Isaac Chapple, Wilkinson, Ind., Taylor Ferns, Shelby Township, Mich., Kara King, Vienna, Ill., Tyler Thomas, Collinsville, Okla., Rick King, Vienna, Ill., Dereck King, Vienna, Ill., Darren Kingston, Vandalia, Ill.
For more information on POWRi Racing, go to www.POWRi.com.