By Richie Murray
Tulsa, Oklahoma (April 5, 2021)………Port City Raceway has a nice, warm, welcoming feel to it for the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets for a multitude of reasons, many of which will be ever present when the series returns for the 2nd running of the Werco Manufacturing T-Town Midget Showdown presented by the Rayce Rudeen Foundation on April 9-10.
The series’ inaugural and most recent foray to the Tulsa, Oklahoma track came in May 2020 in the wake of the pandemic, which at the time, marked the return to racing after a lengthy and unplanned hiatus, which ultimate produced a much-needed taste of USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget racing on the 1/8-mile dirt bullring, and proved to be one of the ultimate highlights of the entire season.
In 2021, the appetite is just as strong to head back to Port City after a break in the series’ schedule of exactly two months and one day will come to a close when the series hits the track for the first time since February in Ocala, Fla. An open practice begins the festivities at Port City on Thursday, April 8, from 6-9pm CDT.
Thus far, 41 drivers and cars are pre-entered for the Elite Racing Promotions event, headed by Brady Bacon and wife Xia Xianna, will feature over $43,000 in purse money and bonuses throughout the two nights of racing at Port City with FK Indy ($1,001) and Priority Aviation/Marshall Family ($1,000) upping the winner’s share to $7,001 for the Saturday night, April 10, 50-lap feature event. Dahmer Powertrain, Inc. has also increased the minimum payout for all midget feature starters to $500 on Saturday.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) comes in as the most recent feature winner with the USAC Midget at Port City, winning the finale of the 2020 T-Town Midget Showdown after leading the final 28 laps, 29 total, to score the victory. On the opening night, the reigning USAC Silver Crown champ won his heat and finished 7th.
Season opening Ocala, Fla. winner and current series point leader Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) finished 11th and 8th in each of the two nights of “T-Town” in 2020, winning his heat on the second night. His 3rd place run with POWRi on March 28 of this year has been his best run thus far at the track.
Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.), fourth in USAC’s National Midget standings, was victorious in the series’ most recent feature event at Ocala on Feb. 8. A little more than 10 months prior at Port City, he took 13th in the T-Town opener and elevated to 7th on night two.
Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) is equal to Kofoid at the top of the series standings after two events but is officially second coming into the weekend due to the win tiebreaker. The career USAC Triple Crown champ was the only driver to lead laps on both nights of T-Town in 2020 while also finishing on the “podium” both times, taking 3rd on night one after leading 20 and 2nd on night two after pacing the field for 10 more.
Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) owns the USAC one-lap track record at Port City of 9.398 on night two of T-Town in 2020, which was the first Fatheadz fast qualifying lap under 10 seconds in USAC National Midget racing since John Andretti did so at the Toronto SkyDome in 1993. McIntosh took 5th and won his heat on night one a year ago, and recently finished fifth in March’s Turnpike Challenge at the track. He won that race in 2020, and was also the winner of last Saturday’s USAC Midget non-points special event, the Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Hometown Challenge, at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark.
Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) won the opener of the Stenhouse Challenge in West Memphis last Friday. He’s finished inside the top-five in both his USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget starts this season and finished a best of 9th on night two of T-Town one year ago. He took a 4th place result late in 2020 at Port City with POWRi.
A year ago at T-Town, Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports made its debut as a USAC National Midget team. This weekend will mark another debut for the Arizona-based operation with 2016 series champion Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) making his first drive in the team’s midget after being in the seat of the team’s sprint car for nine USAC starts over the past two years. Thorson was 4th and 10th at T-Town in 2020, and captured runner-up finishes at the track’s Turnpike Challenge in both 2016 and 2020. Thorson was victorious in the most recent USAC Midget race held in Oklahoma, winning at Meeker’s Red Dirt Raceway last July.
Reinbold-Underwood finished 2nd in their first outing at T-Town a year ago, at the time driven by Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) from the 19th starting spot to a runner-up finish, which earned him KSE Racing Products Hard Charger honors for the evening. Seavey, the 2018 USAC National Midget champ who now drives for Tom Malloy, went forward again on T-Town night two in 2020, racing from 16th to 5th. Seavey won at Port City in 2020 during POWRI’s Donnie Ray Crawford Sooner State 55.
Oklahoman Tyler Thomas (Collinsville, Okla.) finished 10th and 11th during the 2020 T-Town and was 10th again with POWRi at Port City in March. The 2018 Jason Leffler Memorial winner at Wayne City, Ill. earned a best midget finish of 4th at Port City during the Turnpike Challenge of 2016.
Night two opening lap leader Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) is one of 19 drivers to start both T-Town features in 2020, along with Grant, Kofoid, McIntosh, Meseraull, Pursley, Seavey, Thomas, Thorson Windom and Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.), as well as March 28th’s Turnpike Challenge winner Jake Neuman (New Berlin, Ill.), 2019 Port City Turnpike Challenge winner Jonathan Beason (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and 2020 7th place Turnpike Challenge finisher Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.), along with this year’s non pre-entered drivers Cole Bodine, Clinton Boyles, Tanner Carrick, Tyler Courtney, Andrew Layser and Jesse Love.
Four more drivers made a feature start on just one of the two nights of T-Town in 2020 and return this year. Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) and Emilio Hoover (Broken Arrow, Okla.) each made their USAC debuts at Port City in 2020. Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) was a micro sprint standout at Port City. Ace McCarthy (Tahlequah, Okla.) is one of 15 Oklahoma drivers on this weekend’s pre-entry list.
The list of T-Town Midget Showdown first-timers includes a handful-plus who do have previous midget experience at Port City, including Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.) a 9th place finisher with POWRi in March and a 5th place finisher in the 2020 Sooner State 55. Meanwhile, Joe B. Miller (Millersville, Mo.) raced to an 8th place result in the 2020 Sooner State 55.
St. Peters, Missouri’s Sam Johnson (12th), Lubbock, Texas’ Brenham Crouch (16th), Lincoln, Nebraska’s Trey Gropp (20th), Kennedale, Texas’ Kyle Jones (21st) and Coweta, Oklahoma’s Chance Morton (24th) each participated in March’s Turnpike Challenge at Port City.
Nine-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature winner Kyle Cummins will make his Port City debut with the USAC Midgets as will Derek Hagar (Marion, Ark.), Jesse Colwell (Red Bluff, Calif.) and 2021 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Rookie of the Year contenders Chase Randall (Waco, Texas) and Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.).
NASCAR Cup and Truck Series veteran Tanner Berryhill (Bixby, Okla.) will make his T-Town debut, as will 2020 USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midget titlist Jacob Denney (Galloway, Ohio), USAC Midget veterans Kade Morton (Coweta, Okla.), Casey Hicks (Westwood, Kan.) and Oliver Akard (Fort Myers, Fla.), in addition to Brian Carber (Pipersville, Pa.), attempting to make his first USAC feature start, as well as Kevin Brewer (Owasso, Okla.), Cade Cowles (Bixby, Okla.), Kyle Wilson (Jenks, Okla.), Alex Sewell (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Glenn Bratti (Springdale, Ark.).
Drivers and teams can pre-enter for the event now at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2021-t-town-entry. Doing so gets you all set up for the two race days and you must pre-enter to guarantee yourself a spot in the main pit area for the weekend.
The Saturday event is the second of two consecutive nights for the series at the 1/8-mile dirt track, which features two complete shows on both Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10, with hot laps, qualifying and heat races, followed by the C, B and A-Main features. Friday night’s 30-lap feature event will pay $3,000 to the winner.
Tyler Courtney was victorious in last year’s inaugural series event at Port City while Justin Grant won the Saturday night finale.
Only 14 previous USAC National Midget events have been held in the state of Oklahoma, five of which have been held in the past three seasons. Bob Wente, the 1963 series champion, is the lone multi-time winner in Oklahoma with two. Christopher Bell, Jimmy Caruthers, Jimmy Davies, John Batts, Justin Grant, Lloyd Ruby, Logan Seavey, Roger West, Sleepy Tripp, Steve Cannon, Tanner Thorson and Tyler Courtney have each won once in the Sooner State with the series.
Seven different Oklahoma venues have hosted USAC National Midget events, including Taft Stadium (Taft), which hosted twice, as well as the first in 1957, won by Lloyd Ruby. Red Dirt Raceway in Meeker has welcomed the series in each of the past three years. The Oklahoma City Fairgrounds have hosted twice as has Enid Speedway (Enid), the Oklahoma City Sports Arena and Port City. Lawton Speedway has been a stop on the series schedule once.
Thursday’s open practice at Port City runs from 6-9pm CDT. Grandstand admission on practice night is free while pit passes are $20 apiece.
Both nights, the pits open at 2pm CDT, with the grandstands opening at 5pm and hot laps at 6:30 with qualifying and racing immediately following.
For Friday, adult advance general admission tickets are $25. On race day, the tickets are $30 with children ages 6-12 $10 and kids ages 5 and under free.
On Saturday’s racing events, adult advance general admission tickets are $30. On race day, the tickets are $35 with children ages 6-12 $10 and kids ages 5 and under free.
T-Town Midget Showdown tickets can be purchased at: https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2021-t-town-midget-showdown. Pit passes can be purchased now at: www.TracPass.com.
Both nights of racing action can be viewed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3dgONXz.
PORT CITY RACEWAY USAC NATIONAL MIDGET TRACK RECORDS:
1 Lap: 5/23/2020 – Cannon McIntosh – 9.398 – 47.883 mph
10 Laps: 5/22/2020 – Kevin Thomas Jr. – 1:38.966 – 45.470 mph
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS IN OKLAHOMA:
1-Christopher Bell, Jimmy Caruthers, Jimmy Davies, John Batts, Justin Grant, Lloyd Ruby, Logan Seavey, Roger West, Sleepy Tripp, Steve Cannon, Tanner Thorson & Tyler Courtney
PRE-ENTRIES FOR THE T-TOWN MIDGET SHOWDOWN
(41 drivers as of April 5, 2021)
00 ACE McCARTHY/Tahlequah, OK
01 BRYANT WIEDEMAN/Colby, KS
05 KYLE WILSON/Jenks, OK
08 CANNON McINTOSH/Bixby, OK
2J JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA
3G KYLE CUMMINS/Princeton, IN
3N JAKE NEUMAN/New Berlin, IL
4 JASON McDOUGAL/Broken Arrow, OK
5 KEVIN THOMAS JR./Cullman, AL
5H CASEY HICKS/Westwood, KS
7MF CHANCE MORTON/Coweta, OK
7u KYLE JONES/Kennedale, TX
7x THOMAS MESERAULL/San Jose, CA
8 ALEX SEWELL/Broken Arrow, OK
8J JONATHAN BEASON/Broken Arrow, OK
8m KADE MORTON/Coweta, OK
9JR DEREK HAGAR/Marion, AR
14H JESSE COLWELL/Red Bluff, CA
15 EMERSON AXSOM/Franklin, IN
17 TANNER BERRYHILL/Bixby, OK
19 BRIAN CARBER/Pipersville, PA
19A CHASE RANDALL/Waco, TX
19AZ HAYDEN REINBOLD/Gilbert, AZ
19m ETHAN MITCHELL/Mooresville, NC
19T TANNER THORSON/Minden, NV
21K EMILIO HOOVER/Broken Arrow, OK
21KS TREY GROPP/Lincoln, NE
24T GLENN BRATTI/Springdale, AR
25 LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA
35 JACOB DENNEY/Galloway, OH
41 OLIVER AKARD/Fort Myers, FL
47K KEVIN BREWER/Owasso, OK
49 JOE B. MILLER/Millersville, MO
67 BUDDY KOFOID/Penngrove, CA
70 CADE COWLES/Bixby, OK
71 KAYLEE BRYSON/Muskogee, OK
71K DAISON PURSLEY/Locust Grove, OK
72 SAM JOHNSON/St. Peters, MO
89 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL
91T TYLER THOMAS/Collinsville, OK
97 BRENHAM CROUCH/Lubbock, TX
PAST PORT CITY USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK NATIONAL MIDGET FEATURE RESULTS:
MAY 22, 2020 FEATURE: (40 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (6), 2. Logan Seavey (19), 3. Chris Windom (2), 4. Tanner Thorson (3), 5. Cannon McIntosh (9), 6. Andrew Layser (13), 7. Justin Grant (10), 8. Cole Bodine (1), 9. Tanner Carrick (22), 10. Tyler Thomas (17), 11. Buddy Kofoid (4), 12. Kevin Thomas Jr. (8), 13. Thomas Meseraull (5), 14. Dave Darland (15), 15. Jonathan Beason (20), 16. Kaylee Bryson (23), 17. Hank Davis (18), 18. Jake Neuman (24), 19. Daison Pursley (12), 20. Emerson Axsom (14), 21. Jesse Love (11), 22. Ethan Mitchell (16), 23. Clinton Boyles (7), 24. Ace McCarthy (21). NT
MAY 23, 2020 FEATURE: (40 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Justin Grant (3), 2. Chris Windom (2), 3. Tyler Courtney (8), 4. Cole Bodine (7), 5. Logan Seavey (16), 6. Andrew Layser (21), 7. Thomas Meseraull (6), 8. Buddy Kofoid (10), 9. Daison Pursley (4), 10. Tanner Thorson (15), 11. Tyler Thomas (12), 12. Tanner Carrick (23), 13. Jason McDougal (5), 14. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1), 15. Robert Dalby (14), 16. Trey Marcham (22), 17. Emilio Hoover (24), 18. Cannon McIntosh (11), 19. Clinton Boyles (9), 20. Kaylee Bryson (19), 21. Presley Truedson (17), 22. Ethan Mitchell (18), 23. Jesse Love (13), 24. Jonathan Beason (20). NT