By Richie Murray
Caney, Kansas (July 14, 2020)………Seventy-eight previous USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget races have been held in the state of Kansas over the past six-plus decades, but none at Caney Valley Speedway in Caney, Kans. where the series sets their compasses toward for the first time on Sunday night, July 19.
Previous series stops in the Sunflower state include 81 Speedway, the Belleville High Banks, Lakeside Speedway, Thomas County Speedway, Heartland Park, Dodge City Raceway Park and Solomon Valley Raceway, but the series’ debut takes the competitors on a trip to its second “first-time” track of the 2020 season.
Since 2010, there’ve been 28 occasions in which the series has visited a track for the first time in USAC National Midget history. No one owns more of those wins at those venues over that span than Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.), who won the most recent track debut at Oklahoma’s Port City Raceway in May 2020. He also won first-time series visits at the Illinois State Multi-Purpose Arena in 2017 and at Florida’s Bubba Raceway Park in 2019.
As a driver, Chad Boat has won twice at first-time tracks, making him a quick study whose wealth of knowledge has helped him propel his two full-time drivers to success this year from the ownership role. Point leader Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) previously won a 2015 Silver Crown event in Kansas at the Belleville High Banks, plus 2019 series Rookie of the Year Andrew Layser has earned his first career podium finish with the series early this year.
Twice a winner at first-time venues is Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) who won at West Memphis, Ark. and Pennsylvania’s Lanco CMMS in 2016 en route to his championship season. Sweet Springs, Mo. was a first-time host in 2018, won in late-race fashion by Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.).
Lest we mention that Courtney, Thorson and Seavey each won at first-time venues in the same season they won their USAC National Midget championships. Quickly figuring out the track and being prepared for anything at any time whether it’s been seen or raced on before is essential to finding your name at the top of the leaderboard when the season is final.
In the state of Kansas alone, Bryan Clauson has the most series wins with seven, including the final victory of his great career in August of 2016. Jerry Coons Jr. is just one win behind Clauson with six, five of which were earned on the Belleville High Banks with another coming at 81 Speedway in Park City.
Boat, mentioned above, has three Kansas USAC National Midget wins of his own doing, all occurring at Belleville in succession between 2016-17, while his driver, Windom, has won in two different states this year. Thorson, meanwhile, has won his three races in three different states this year: Florida, Illinois and Indiana.
Top Rookie Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) won in POWRi competition just last week in Humboldt, Kans. with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammates Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.) and Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) running second and third.
Another from the KKM stable, Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) is fifth in the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget standings. Over the recent Independence Day weekend, he won and finished 2nd in a pair of POWRi West races at Airport Raceway in Garden City, Kans.
Robert Dalby (Anaheim, Calif.), the reigning USAC Western States Midget champion, finished 3rd in each of those feature races at Airport.
Collinsville, Oklahoma’s Tyler Thomas, 24th in USAC points, won a POWRi West feature at Caney Valley in late 2017.
At Caney Valley, general admission tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and free for kids 12 and under. Pit passes are $35 apiece. Advance tickets are on sale at www.myracepass.com. Pits open at 3pm CT, grandstands at 4pm and hot laps at 6:30pm with racing to follow. The NOW600 Non-Wing Micros will also be in action.
The event is part of blockbuster stretch of four USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget races in a five-day span across three states: July 17-18 at Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Neb., July 19 at Caney Valley Speedway in Caney, Kans. and July 21 at Red Dirt Raceway in Meeker, Okla. All four of these events can be seen LIVE exclusively on FloRacing.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-738, 2-Buddy Kofoid-674, 3-Tyler Courtney-667, 4-Tanner Thorson-664, 5-Cannon McIntosh-580, 6-Tanner Carrick-545, 7-Justin Grant-489, 8-Cole Bodine-462, 9-Daison Pursley-455, 10-Kevin Thomas Jr.-441.
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS IN KANSAS:
6-Dave Darland & Jerry Coons, Jr.
4-Jay Drakell & Josh Wise
3-Chad Boat, Christopher Bell, Jason Leffler, Kasey Kahne & Rico Abreu
2-A.J. Fike, Bobby Olivero, J.J. Yeley, Kevin Thomas, Jr., Russ Gamester & Tony Stewart
1-Billy Boat, Bob Tattersall, Bobby Grim, Brad Sweet, Jeff Heywood, Johnny Parsons, Kyle Larson, Mel Kenyon, Mike Gregg, Ricky Shelton, Robby Flock, Ryan Scott, Sleepy Tripp, Spencer Bayston, Steve Knepper, Stevie Reeves, Tony Elliott, Tracy Hines & Zach Daum