By Richie Murray
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (January 29, 2021)………USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets will return to the famed Angell Park Speedway on Sunday night, September 5, for the Pepsi Nationals, with a rain date (if needed) for the following evening on Monday, September 6.
SLS Promotions and Hans Lein have recently teamed up with the Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department to operate the 1/3-mile dirt oval in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Lein was a longtime midget racer and midget car owner at Angell Park, and his love for the track runs deep. He grew up watching his father, 1971 Badger Midget champ Lars Lein, win regularly in the 1960s and 1970s prior to beginning his own racing career.
“I’ve always loved Angell Park Speedway and am really excited for this opportunity,” Lein said. “We want to bring back the friendship and camaraderie that helped make the track what it was and show that to a new generation. When the gates are open, we want people to know they are welcome and that the track is the place to be on a Sunday night.”
SLS Promotions’ Larry Hillerud echoed those sentiments, himself a former midget driver with USAC and Badger at Angell Park from the 1970s through the 1990s and is thrilled to bring USAC Midgets back to the track, with a group that involves himself, SLS’ Scott Boyd, Lein and Badger Midget Auto Racing Association President, Quinn McCabe.
“It’s one of those places that, wherever you go in the country, it’s still the best place you ever raced,” Hillerud said. “It was such a family atmosphere back then with big car counts. To go up there on a Sunday night and run good in the feature was like going to Indianapolis. It was quite a deal, but got lost for a few years, and the last three four years, they’ve been trying to get it going again. We had an opportunity to get involved in it, and I think all of us got that nostalgic feeling to make it the way it used to be. We’re sure going to give it a try. We’ve got a lot of great people involved and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
It’s been six years since the series last made a visit to Angell Park, a thriller won by Rico Abreu on the final corner on the last lap. The track has hosted 46 previous USAC National Midget events since Larry Rice’s victory in 1970 and can count many of the greatest individuals in the history of the sport among those who’ve won there, a list which includes 16 USAC National champions: Abreu, Rice, Bryan Clauson, Kevin Olson, Brad Kuhn, Christopher Bell, Bobby Olivero, Jeff Gordon, Jerry Coons Jr., Josh Wise, Levi Jones, Pancho Carter, Rich Vogler, Stevie Reeves, Tom Bigelow and Tracy Hines.
Bryan Clauson owns the most USAC National Midget victories at Angell Park with six, while additional multi-time winners include Kevin Olson (5), Brad Kuhn (3), Christopher Bell (3), Larry Rice (2) and Rico Abreu (2).
Angell Park’s tradition of racing dates back to 1939 while the Pepsi Nationals’ origins go back to 1982, won by Billy Engelhart. The total payout and additional details will be announced at a later date.