By Richie Murray
Kokomo, Indiana (June 13, 2020)………The wait has been agonizing. After all, it’s been more than 14 months since we last were witnesses to USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget racing at Kokomo Speedway.
But the wait is about to come to an end with the 2020 Indiana Midget Week finale set for Sunday night, June 21 at the quarter-mile dirt oval.
The last Kokomo USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget event in April of 2019 had everything you could ask for in an event. Drama, spectacular racing and a last lap, last corner pass to decide the outcome between two of USAC’s brightest stars.
The drama part of it unfolded following an incident on the final lap of the Kokomo Sprint Car race that preceded the Midget feature. Justin Grant got the best of Kevin Thomas Jr. in the sprint tilt, picking up the victory following a last-lap, side-by-side battle that wound up with Thomas on his head before he made a beeline to the opposite end of the track to confront Grant.
As luck would have it, a look at the starting lineup for the midget feature showed the same two starting side-by-side in the second row, setting the stage for round two of the duel which would once again come down to the final lap, but this time with the outcome the mirror opposite.
Thomas, the 2016 Kokomo Sprint Car track champ, ran down Grant late in the going and, on the final corner of the final lap, reversed his fortunes with redemption, nipping Grant by half a front wheel at the stripe – or 0.015 seconds to be precise, in the closest series finish of the 2019 season.
Those two return on Sunday, June 21 to Kokomo with Thomas (Cullman, Ala.) looking to get back on the right track with a new chassis in hand for Indiana Midget Week, while Grant (Ione, Calif.) enters as the hottest driver in all of USAC after winning the most recent USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget race in May at Port City Raceway in Tulsa, Okla. as well as victories in the two most recent USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car features last weekend.
Thomas, in fact, owns two USAC National Midget feature wins at Kokomo, also capturing the latest Indiana Midget Week round at the track in 2018. The 2019 IMW event at Kokomo was rained out.
Defending USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champion Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Thomas have divvied up series wins at Kokomo over the past two seasons with Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) winning in the spring of 2018 and 2019.
Thomas, Grant and Courtney have all won in USAC Sprint Car competition at Kokomo with Thomas taking a total of five victories. That’s including two non-points special events. Courtney has won four USAC Sprint contests over the past three years and Grant, the 2017 and 2019 Kokomo Sprint track champion, has won in each of the past two years, the 2018 Smackdown as well as the non-points special event #GYATK Night last August.
Courtney and Thomas are among the five previous Kokomo USAC National Midget feature winners in the June 21 lineup, along with St. Helena, California’s Rico Abreu (twice in 2014 and once in 2016), Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon (2006 & twice in 2017) and Elk Grove, California’s Kyle Larson (2012).
For Bacon, the 2006 victory was the first of his USAC career at the age of 16. Rich Vogler leads all drivers with seven USAC National Midget wins at Kokomo in his legendary career.
Five other drivers who’ve experienced the taste of USAC National Sprint Car victory at Kokomo Speedway are aiming to reach victory lane for the first time in a USAC National Midget there, including Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.), the winningest driver in the history of the track and a four-time sprint car track champ in 1987-91-93-94 who has yet to win a National Midget race at Kokomo, but has won regionally behind the wheel of a midget.
That’s similar to Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.), the 2010 and 2018 sprint track champion at Kokomo who won a USAC Regional Midget race at Kokomo in 2016 but hasn’t yet broken through for a National Midget score there where’s he won four times in USAC Sprints, including one non-points special event.
Three others, Thomas Meseraull (2017-18-19), Kyle Cummins (2016) and 2018 USAC National Midget champion Logan Seavey (2019), have all won USAC Sprint Car races at Kokomo but are searching for a first USAC National Midget win at Kokomo.
The race marks the 81st visit by the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets to Kokomo Speedway since USAC’s debut season in 1956, a race won by Forrest Parker. Kokomo Speedway is the only track from the 1956 USAC National Midget schedule that remains on the 2020 event calendar.
That Sunday at Kokomo, and every night throughout Indiana Midget Week, local sprint car racing will be a part of the festivities. At Kokomo, the grandstands open at 3pm ET and hot laps at 6pm.
Tickets for Indiana Midget Week at Kokomo are selling fast and are only available online at www.usactickets.com. General admission tickets for adults are $25 with kids age 12 and under free. Pit passes are $30 for all ages.
First up on the 2020 Indiana Midget Week trail is the 3/8-mile of Paragon Speedway, located just a little less than an hour southwest of Indianapolis, which will make its debut on the Indiana Midget Week schedule by hosting its first USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget race since 1985 and its first USAC-sanctioned race of any kind since 1998.
Following the opener at Paragon, on Wednesday, June 17, the series travels northbound to the quarter-mile Gas City I-69 Speedway, whose origins with the IMW series date to the inaugural year in 2005. Next, on Thursday, June 18 and Friday, June 19, Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville joins the IMW docket for the 11th straight year, and for the first time, on back-to-back nights.
The 3/8-mile Lawrenceburg Speedway, which hosted the very first IMW event in 2005, serves as the penultimate race of the mini-series on Saturday, June 20. The 2020 IMW finale at Kokomo Speedway comes to the quarter mile venue on Sunday, June 21.
All Indiana Midget Week events will follow state guidelines, limiting seating capacity to 50 percent at all venues. Tickets are expected to sell fast and will only be available online at www.usactickets.com while they last.
There, you will be provided the option to upgrade to a pit pass. You will also have the option to purchase tickets for the full week of Indiana Midget Week events.
On the screen, there will also be a space to reserve children’s tickets. All children’s ticket prices will be based on each track’s policies. Children’s tickets will count toward the capacity level and we can keep track of all the numbers to stay within the 50 percent capacity guideline.
There’s also an option to order an Indiana Midget Week shirt that you can pick up at one of the Indiana Midget Week events you are attending.
All nights of the IMW, along with all USAC National events in 2020, will be live on FloRacing.
JUNE 21 KOKOMO INDIANA MIDGET WEEK ENTRY LIST: (45 CARS)
08 NOAH GASS/Mounds, OK (Dave Mac Motorsports)
2 RYAN HALL/Midlothian, TX (Mark Bush)
2D MATT SHERRELL/Owasso, OK (Dan & Patricia Harris)
2ND DAVE DARLAND/Lincoln, IN (Dan & Patricia Harris)
3G KYLE CUMMINS/Princeton, IN (Jack Yeley)
3N JAKE NEUMAN/New Berlin, IL (Jim Neuman)
4 ROBERT DALBY/Anaheim, CA (Robert Dalby Motorsports)
4A JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (RAMS Racing)
4B BRADY BACON/Broken Arrow, OK (Klatt Enterprises)
5 KEVIN THOMAS JR./Cullman, AL (Petry Motorsports)
5D ZACH DAUM/Pocahontas, IL (Daum Motorsports)
7BC TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN (Clauson-Marshall Racing)
7m BRODY ROA/Garden Grove, CA (Iron Dome-Moonshine Motorsports)
7R RONNIE GARDNER/Corona, CA (Iron Dome-Moonshine Motorsports)
7x THOMAS MESERAULL/San Jose, CA (Response Management Services)
9 DAISON PURSLEY/Locust Grove, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
15 CARSON GARRETT/Littleton, CO (Broc Garrett)
17w SHANE GOLOBIC/Fremont, CA (Matt Wood Racing)
19 TANNER THORSON/Minden, NV (Hayward Motorsports)
19A HAYDEN REINBOLD/Gilbert, AZ (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
19AZ LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
19m ETHAN MITCHELL/Mooresville, NC (Bundy Built Motorsports)
21 CARSON MACEDO/Lemoore, CA (Tarlton Motorsports)
21D JUSTIN DICKERSON/Pittsboro, IN (Mike Dickerson)
25 CHASE JOHNSON/Penngrove, CA (Tom Malloy)
25B STEVE BUCKWALTER/Royersford, PA (Brian Buckwalter)
28 ACE McCARTHY/Tahlequah, OK (Dave Mac Motorsports)
35 TANNER CARRICK/Lincoln, CA (Petry Motorsports)
39BC COLE BODINE/Rossville, IN (Clauson-Marshall Racing)
41 OLIVER AKARD/Fort Myers, FL (Dan & Shellie Akard)
46 RUSS GAMESTER/Peru, IN (Gamester Racing)
57 MARIA COFER/Macdoel, CA (Johnny Cofer)
67 BUDDY KOFOID/Penngrove, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
67K RICO ABREU/St. Helena, CA (Keith Kunz-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71 KAYLEE BRYSON/Muskogee, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71K CANNON McINTOSH/Bixby, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
73 DYLAN ITO/Ventura, CA (Josh Ford Motorsports)
73T JAKE SWANSON/Anaheim, CA (Josh Ford Motorsports)
82 ANDREW LAYSER/Collegeville, PA (Tucker-Boat Motorsports)
84 GIO SCELZI/Fresno, CA (Tucker-Boat Motorsports)
86 KYLE LARSON/Elk Grove, CA (Tucker-Boat Motorsports)
88 TYLER NELSON/Olathe, KS (Tyler Nelson)
89 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL (Tucker-Boat Motorsports)
97 ZEB WISE/Angola, IN (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
98 CLINTON BOYLES/Greenwood, MO (Response Management Services)
2018 KOKOMO INDIANA MIDGET WEEK FEATURE RESULTS
(Starting position in parentheses)
1. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (1), 2. Spencer Bayston (3), 3. Logan Seavey (9), 4. Jason McDougal (4), 5. Tyler Thomas (10), 6. Brady Bacon (13), 7. Zeb Wise (5), 8. Tucker Klaasmeyer (11), 9. Chad Boat (22), 10. Holly Shelton (14), 11. Sam Johnson (8), 12. Jerry Coons, Jr. (16), 13. Justin Grant (15), 14. Alex Bright (17), 15. Tyler Courtney (2), 16. Ryan Robinson (6), 17. Chase Jones (19), 18. Tanner Thorson (7), 19. Brayton Lynch (20), 20. Tyler Nelson (21), 21. Justin Dickerson (18), 22. Tanner Carrick (12). NT
KOKOMO USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS:
3-Rico Abreu, Brady Bacon, Bryan Clauson, Jimmy Davies & Bob Wente
2-Chuck Arnold, Tyler Courtney, Bobby Grim, Page Jones, Mike McGreevy, Ken Schrader, Bob Tattersall & Kevin Thomas Jr.
1-Tommy Astone, Spencer Bayston, Christopher Bell, Tom Bigelow, Bud Bogard, Frank Burany, Pancho Carter, Danny Caruthers, Jimmy Caruthers, Tommy Copp, Rex Easton, Tony Elliott, Billy Engelhart, Gene Force, Darren Hagen, Gene Hartley, Jack Hewitt, Tracy Hines, Brad Kuhn, Lee Kunzman, Kyle Larson, Critter Malone, Don Meacham, Jerry Nuckles, Forrest Parker, Michael Pickens, Ron Shuman, Graham Standring, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Mike Streicher, Dave Strickland, Len Sutton, Shorty Templeman, Sleepy Tripp, Jerry Weeks & J.J. Yeley
KOKOMO USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINNERS:
1956: Forrest Parker (7/28)
1957: Len Sutton (6/23) & Rex Easton (8/17)
1958: Frank Burany (5/24)
1959: Gene Force (5/29) & Shorty Templeman (7/12)
1960: Jimmy Davies (5/29), Bod Bogard (6/25), Gene Hartley (7/24) & Bob Wente (8/13)
1961: Jimmy Davies (5/29) & Jimmy Davies (7/30)
1962: Tommy Copp (6/30) & Bob Tattersall (7/29)
1964: Bob Wente (7/11)
1965: Mel Kenyon (5/30), Bobby Grim (6/26) & Bobby Grim (7/24)
1966: Chuck Arnold (5/29) & Bob Tattersall (8/27)
1967: Mike McGreevy (5/29), Chuck Arnold (6/17) & Mike McGreevy (7/22)
1968: Bob Wente (6/30) & Don Meacham (7/21)
1969: Lee Kunzman (5/31)
1970: Dave Strickland (5/30) & Tom Bigelow (8/1)
1971: Danny Caruthers (7/16) & Jimmy Caruthers (8/7)
1972: Pancho Carter (8/26)
1973: Billy Engelhart (7/14)
1975: Sleepy Tripp (7/9)
1976: Tommy Astone (7/7)
1977: Mel Kenyon (7/13)
1978: Ron Shuman (8/23) & Jerry Weeks (8/23)
1979: Mel Kenyon (6/14) & Mel Kenyon (7/11)
1980: Rich Vogler (6/11) & Rich Vogler (7/10)
1981: Rich Vogler (6/10) & Ken Schrader (7/8)
1982: Ken Schrader (6/10) & Mel Kenyon (7/7)
1983: Rich Vogler (6/8) & Rich Vogler (7/13)
1984: Jerry Nuckles (6/6)
1985: Rich Vogler (6/29)
1987: Mel Kenyon (6/24)
1988: Mike Streicher (6/22) & Rich Vogler (8/17)
1990: Graham Standring (8/8)
1991: Jack Hewitt (8/7)
1992: Page Jones (8/19)
1993: Critter Malone (8/11)
1994: Page Jones (7/27)
1995: Tony Elliott (8/23)
2000: Tracy Hines (8/27)
2003: J.J. Yeley (6/15)
2006: Brady Bacon (8/20)
2007: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (8/12)
2008: Bryan Clauson (8/10)
2009: Bryan Clauson (6/14)
2010: Brad Kuhn (6/20)
2011: Michael Pickens (6/12)
2012: Kyle Larson (6/17)
2013: Christopher Bell (6/16)
2014: Rico Abreu (4/11), Rico Abreu (4/12) & Bryan Clauson (6/15)
2015: Darren Hagen (4/11)
2016: Rico Abreu (6/5)
2017: Brady Bacon (4/8), Brady Bacon (4/9) & Spencer Bayston (6/11)
2018: Tyler Courtney (4/13) & Kevin Thomas Jr. (6/3)
2019: Tyler Courtney (4/5) & Kevin Thomas Jr. (4/6)
2020 INDIANA MIDGET WEEK SCHEDULE
Tue., June 16: Paragon Speedway – Paragon, Indiana
Wed., June 17: Gas City I-69 Speedway – Gas City, Indiana
Thu., June 18: Lincoln Park Speedway – Putnamville, Indiana
Fri., June 19: Lincoln Park Speedway – Putnamville, Indiana
Sat., June 20: Lawrenceburg Speedway – Lawrenceburg, Indiana
Sun., June 21: Kokomo Speedway – Kokomo, Indiana