By Richie Murray
Kokomo, Indiana (September 21, 2020)………Kokomo’s heritage of USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget racing dates back to the origins of the series in 1956 with the likes of Rich Vogler, Mel Kenyon, Bryan Clauson, Jimmy Davies and Bob Wente gracing victory lane with the presence over the past six-and-a-half decades.
However, none of those previous 81 events at the quarter-mile dirt oval have ever been part of a USAC National doubleheader evening like this – one with the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars, which is presented this Saturday night, September 26, on the second and final night of the Indiana Donor Network Driven2SaveLives Double Double.
Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) assumes a new role this weekend as the new pilot of the Hayward Motorsports No. 19. It was this car that was sitting in victory lane at Kokomo in June after Tanner Thorson won with a late race pass. However, with Thorson and Hayward recently parting ways, Bacon has now taken the seat of the car that resides 4th in the series’ owner points.
Bacon himself is no stranger to winning at Kokomo in a Midget. In fact, his first career USAC National win came at Kokomo as a 16-year-old in 2006. He’s won twice since then at Kokomo, including a two-night sweep of the 2017 Kokomo Grand Prix. Additionally, it was he who picked up the Kokomo Sprint Car track championship in 2020, by one single point.
Another established multi-time USAC National Midget winner at Kokomo is Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.), a victor in both 2018 and 2019 with the series. Courtney also has won five USAC National Sprint features at Kokomo, most recently during the Sprint Car Smackdown IX finale in late August. He led the first 18 circuits of June’s Indiana Midget Week feature before flipping on a restart while leading.
USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget point leader Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) led nine laps late in the going during Indiana Midget Week in June, ultimately finishing 3rd. The two-time Kokomo Sprint Car track champion in 2010 & 2018 and three-time USAC Sprint winner at Kokomo, has won a USAC-sanctioned midget race at Kokomo once in his career, of the Regional variety, late in the 2016 season. He was also victorious during the Sprint Car portion of Indiana Midget Week in June.
Like Windom, Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) has etched his name into the books as twice a Sprint Car champ at Kokomo in 2017 and 2019. Grant has won on numerous occasions in the Sprint Car at Kokomo, including one victory on the final night of the 2018 edition of Smackdown, but a first USAC National Midget win at the track remains elusive for May’s Port City Raceway winner.
Third in the overall standings, and the top Rookie, Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.), had an up-and-down first Midget appearance at Kokomo in June that ultimately led to him earning hard charger honors following a blitz through the field from his 22nd starting position to 10th at the checkered. He’s a recent first-time winner with the series in his latest outing at Sweet Springs, Mo. on September 5. Also, of note, in his three USAC Sprint appearances at Kokomo in late August, he finished in the top-five of all three.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) made an early impression in his first career USAC Midget start at Kokomo in 2018, pocketing a 3rd place result. Since then, he’s become a USAC National Midget champion, which also came in 2018, and is now a multi-time winner on the USAC National Sprint trail, in which his first win with that series came right at Kokomo.
Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) has made just a handful of USAC National Midget starts in 2020, but the best of the bushel came at Kokomo in June where he scored a 5th. In his last three Kokomo appearances, all in a Sprint Car, the 2019 HARF Driver of the Year has finished no worse than 2nd with two of those resulting in victories during August’s “Smackdown.”
Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) won his heat and finished 9th during Indiana Midget Week in June. He’s won with USAC at Kokomo in three consecutive years in 2017-18-19, all in Sprint Car competition. Only Tyler Courtney has a longer streak, which was extended to four years in August.
Meseraull’s RMS Racing teammate, Clinton Boyles (Greenwood, Mo.) earned his best career USAC Midget finish at Kokomo in June with a 4th. Boyles also is the possessor of a local Sprint Car feature event triumph at Kokomo back on Independence Day weekend of this year.
Several other front runners are looking for prime results at Kokomo include Sept. 4 Sweet Springs winner Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) who’s 5th in the standings; Tanner Carrick (Lincoln, Calif.), 6th in points; plus 7th place Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.), June’s semi-feature winner Cole Bodine (Rossville, Ind., 8th in the rundown; and Andrew Layser (Collegeville, Pa.), the top Rookie competitor during the 2019 season, along with 2019 USAC Western States Midget champ Robert Dalby (Anaheim, Calif.) and Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.) as well as talented Rookies Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) and USAC West Coast Sprint Car and Western States Midget winner Chase Johnson (Penngrove, Calif.).
There are no limits on the number of entries for the event. Pit gates and spectator gates open Saturday for Kokomo at 3pm ET with hot laps at 6pm. Adult general admission tickets are $25 for adults and free for kids age 12 and under. Pit passes are $35 apiece. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.usactickets.com as well as at the gate on raceday.
Both nights of this weekend’s Double Double can be watched LIVE on FloRacing at
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-1,268, 2-Tyler Courtney-1,234, 3-Buddy Kofoid-1,167, 4-Tanner Thorson-1,163, 5-Cannon McIntosh-1,069, 6-Tanner Carrick-956, 7-Daison Pursley-901, 8-Cole Bodine-779, 9-Andrew Layser-764, 10-Justin Grant-680.
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, Tanner Thorson, 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: Tanner Thorson (6/21)