By Richie Murray
Sweet Springs, Missouri (May 11, 2021)………There are many adjectives you can toss out to describe the type of racing USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets produce at Missouri’s Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex entering this Friday and Saturday’s, May 14-15, John Hinck Championship.
However, just a look at the lap leader summary and the margin of victory for each year from 2018-2020 will provide you with nearly all the information you’ll need to gather your conclusion for the anticipated excitement of Friday’s $4,000-to-win and Saturday’s $6,000 winner’s share feature events.
Sweet Springs is wild. It’s unpredictable. It’s good to the last drop.
Those are the adjectives, but now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
In the series’ inaugural run at Sweet Springs in 2018, Logan Seavey made the winning pass on Cole Bodine with just four laps remaining. In 2019’s return, Tanner Carrick made it to the front with just three laps remaining in a topsy-turvy finish. On night one of 2020, Cannon McIntosh tracked down Chris Windom on the final lap to win the race by a nose, the closest finish of the entire 2020 USAC season at 0.056 seconds.
On night two at Sweet Springs in 2020, Buddy Kofoid endured a ferocious charge from McIntosh three-quarters of the race in, then had to hold off the then-reigning champ Tyler Courtney to score the win, which as it turned out, was the 6th closest finish of the year 0.180 seconds.
In fact, Sweet Springs was the only track to have multiple races within the top-six closest USAC finishes of 2020.
Three past Sweet Springs USAC Midget winners are on board for this weekend’s events: the first, Logan Seavey and the two most recent, Cannon McIntosh and Buddy Kofoid.
All three of those drivers, along with Tanner Carrick in 2019, have one thing in common – they all drove and won at Sweet Springs for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, giving the venerable team an undefeated 4-0 record at the 1/6-mile dirt oval entering the weekend.
Current series point leader, Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.), found redemption in his Sweet Springs debut in 2020. In the night one opener, Kofoid’s race was over just a half-lap in after he and Justin Grant went for mighty flip down the back straightaway, ending both driver’s evenings. Kofoid returned the following night to lead the final 12 laps en route to scoring his long-awaited first career series win.
Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.) made headlines in 2020 with her first career Fatheadz Fast Qualifying time with the series at Sweet Springs for KKM/Curb-Agajanian. By doing so, she became just the fifth female to accomplish the feat in the 66-year history of the USAC National Midget division. Her best Sweet Springs result came with a 10th in 2020.
Eying first career Sweet Springs USAC National Midget starts are leading series Rookie of the Year contenders Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.) and Brenham Crouch (Lubbock, Texas) as well as Jonathan Shafer (Ashland, Ohio), all of whom make up half of Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports’ six-car lineup for the weekend.
Shafer, aiming to make his first-ever USAC National Midget feature start, finished 3rd with the USAC Midwest Regional Midgets at Circus City Speedway in Peru, Ind. during August of 2020.
Seavey (Sutter, Calif.), the 2018 USAC National Midget champ, now driving Tom Malloy’s No. 25, was the fastest qualifier and feature winner in the inaugural Sweet Springs race back during his championship season.
Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.) was the lone driver to lead both nights at Sweet Springs in 2020. He led just one, the final one, on night one, then led 14 and was in a position to win before being involved in a late incident while battling for the lead with Kofoid, ultimately dropping McIntosh back to 12th at the checkered. He’ll pilot the family owned Dave Mac Motorsports No. 08 throughout the weekend.
Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) will drive for Terry and Kelly Hinck’s TKH Motorsports team this weekend at Sweet Springs. Terry and Kelly are the sons of the race’s namesake, John Hinck. Bacon last competed in the event in 2019, also for Hinck. That same night, Bacon picked up the accompanying micro sprint feature at Sweet Springs for TKH. Bacon finished a best of 4th in the midget at Sweet Springs in 2018.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) holds the 10-lap USAC National Midget track record at Sweet Springs with a 2:03.358, set on night one in 2020. His best feature results came in a 9th place performance in 2018.
Reigning series champion Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) enters as the most recent feature winner on the tour, at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway on May 1. Windom was the fastest qualifier at Sweet Springs in 2019 and has been on the “podium” in all three of his starts there, finishing 3rd in 2019 and again on night two in 2020. His runner-up result on night one of 2020 came in bitter fashion after being passed on the outside by Cannon McIntosh on the final corner.
Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) has finished inside the top-ten in both of his Sweet Springs starts, finishing 5th and 9th on back-to-back nights in 2020. Meseraull, an early season winner in Ocala, Fla., recently won a USAC Midwest Regional Midget feature last Friday at Indiana’s Gas City I-69 Speedway, on his birthday, in fact.
Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) did likewise at Sweet Springs. His two top-ten results at Sweet Springs in 2020 came in consecutive 6th place finishes. Edging closer to his first career USAC National win, Pursley hopes to join Carrick and Kofoid as the third driver to earn his first career USAC National Midget win at Sweet Springs.
Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.), a series winner at Port City in April, has made three starts at Sweet Springs. The 2016 USAC National Midget champ’s two most recent runs have been his two best, a 4th on night one and a 10th on night two in 2020.
Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.) has made three Sweet Springs starts with a 17th as his best on night two of 2020. His last two starts in April resulted in back-to-back top-tens, a career-best 3rd at Port City and an 8th in the opener at the Kokomo Grand Prix.
Clinton Boyles and Joe Boyles (Greenwood, Mo.) are the only father-son duo who will compete in this weekend’s events. Clinton, a 2016 POWRi WAR Sprint Car champ and 2018 Gas City Sprint Car track champ, led the opening lap on night one at Sweet Springs in 2020, but a mechanical problem dropped him out early. His best Sweet Springs result came a night later with an 8th.
Joe Boyles, meanwhile, is a three-time Southern Midget Racing Series champion in his own right, and finished 13th during his sole Sweet Springs USAC start in 2019.
Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) is back in the Robert Dalby Motorsports No. 4, this weekend. McDougal finished a best of 4th in 2019 while Dalby finished 8th behind the wheel on night one in 2020.
Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) returns to Sweet Springs after two previous starts, which resulted in a best finish of 6th in 2019.
Missouri’s Sam Johnson (St. Peters, Mo.) won his heat race in 2019 and earned a best feature result of 12th in 2018.
Kokomo Grand Prix’s 2020 opening night winner Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) made two starts at Sweet Springs in 2020, finishing 13th and 15th on night one and two, respectively.
Chad Winfrey (Gladstone, Mo.) returns to Sweet Springs after collecting an 18th in 2019 while Trey Gropp (Lincoln, Neb.) made single start, on night two of 2020, taking 20th.
Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports Rookies Chase Randall (Waco, Texas) and Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.) are each planning on making their first Sweet Springs USAC feature starts as are Joe B. Miller (Millersville, Mo.), twice a top-ten finisher with the series in April at Port City, as well as Trevor Howard (Overland Park, Kans.), Branigan Roark (Columbia, Mo.) and Kameron Key (Warrensburg, Mo.).
General admission tickets for both nights at Sweet Springs are $20 with children age 12 and under free. On Friday, USAC member pit passes are $25 with non-members $30. On Saturday, USAC member pit passes are $30 with non-members $35. Advance event tickets are on sale now at www.TracPass.com and will also be available at the gate on both race days.
The event will also feature the Non-Wing Outlaw Micro Sprints, paying $450 to win on Friday and $1,000 to win on Saturday.
On Friday, the pits will be swept at 3:30pm CDT with front gates opening at 5pm and hot laps at 7pm.
On Saturday, the pits will be swept at 3pm CDT with front gates opening at 4pm and hot laps at 6pm.
Both nights of the John Hinck Championship at Sweet Springs will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3dgONXz.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-436, 2-Chris Windom-416, 3-Justin Grant-410, 4-Tanner Thorson-409, 5-Thomas Meseraull-392, 6-Emerson Axsom-378, 7-Daison Pursley-315, 8-Cannon McIntosh-312, 9-Jason McDougal-304, 10-Logan Seavey-296.
TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL MIDGETS AT SWEET SPRINGS:
1 Lap – 9/4/2020 – Tyler Courtney – 11.863 – 50.577 mph
10 Laps – 9/4/2020 – Justin Grant – 2:03.358 – 48.639 mph
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS AT SWEET SPRINGS MOTORSPORTS COMPLEX:
1-Tanner Carrick, Buddy Kofoid, Cannon McIntosh & Logan Seavey
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINNERS AT SWEET SPRINGS MOTORSPORTS COMPLEX:
2018: Logan Seavey (7/15)
2019: Tanner Carrick (7/14)
2020: Cannon McIntosh (9/4) & Buddy Kofoid (9/5)
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS IN MISSOURI:
3-Mike McGreevy, Henry Pens & Bob Wente
2-Danny Frye, Arnie Knepper, Steve Knepper, Bob Tattersall & Rich Vogler
1-Steve Cannon, Tanner Carrick, Bill Chennault, Jerry Coons Jr., Tommy Copp, Jimmy Davies, Jay Drake, Rex Easton, A.J. Foyt, Steve Gennetten, Buddy Kofoid, Jason Leffler, Jerry McClung, Cannon McIntosh, Andy Michner, J.R. Miller, Richard Powell, Stevie Reeves, Logan Seavey, Dave Strickland, Joe Walter & Terry Wente
PAST FEATURE RESULTS FOR USAC NATIONAL MIDGETS AT SWEET SPRINGS:
2018 FEATURE: (40 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Logan Seavey (7), 2. Cole Bodine (1), 3. Ryan Robinson (5), 4. Brady Bacon (4), 5. Tyler Courtney (3), 6. Christopher Bell (14), 7. Spencer Bayston (21), 8. Tanner Carrick (2), 9. Justin Grant (12), 10. Chad Boat (11), 11. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (10), 12. Sam Johnson (13), 13. Zach Daum (19), 14. Jerry Coons, Jr. (22), 15. Brayton Lynch (24), 16. Tucker Klaasmeyer (8), 17. Holly Shelton (23), 18. Riley Kreisel (9), 19. Tyler Thomas (20), 20. Zane Hendricks (15), 21. Kyle Craker (18), 22. Jake Neuman (17), 23. Karter Sarff (16), 24. Jason McDougal (6). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-4 Bodine, Laps 5-12 Carrick, Laps 13-36 Bodine, Laps 37-40 Seavey.
2019 FEATURE: (40 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Tanner Carrick (5), 2. Zeb Wise (9), 3. Chris Windom (7), 4. Jason McDougal (4), 5. Chad Boat (15), 6. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (8), 7. Jerry Coons, Jr. (16), 8. Daniel Robinson (23), 9. Tucker Klaasmeyer (11), 10. Andrew Layser (2), 11. Cole Bodine (17), 12. Tyler Courtney (3), 13. Joe Boyles (20), 14. Chad Frewaldt (21), 15. Casey Hicks (22), 16. Logan Seavey (1), 17. Brady Bacon (12), 18. Chad Winfrey (18), 19. Clinton Boyles (14), 20. Ethan Mitchell (13), 21. Sam Johnson (10), 22. Curtis Spicer (19), 23. Tanner Thorson (6). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-2 Andrew Layser, Laps 3-37 Tyler Courtney, Laps 38-40 Tanner Carrick.
2020 NIGHT #1 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Cannon McIntosh (13), 2. Chris Windom (7), 3. Tyler Courtney (10), 4. Tanner Thorson (11), 5. Thomas Meseraull (5), 6. Daison Pursley (12), 7. Andrew Felker (17), 8. Robert Dalby (8), 9. Tanner Carrick (3), 10. Kaylee Bryson (14), 11. Spencer Bayston (4), 12. Andrew Layser (21), 13. Emerson Axsom (1), 14. Ace McCarthy (20), 15. Trey Marcham (22), 16. Noah Gass (19), 17. Jesse Love (15), 18. Cole Bodine (18), 19. Ethan Mitchell (23), 20. Chase Johnson (16), 21. Clinton Boyles (2), 22. Buddy Kofoid (6), 23. Justin Grant (9). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Clinton Boyles, Laps 2-16 Tanner Carrick, Laps 17-29 Chris Windom, Lap 30 Cannon McIntosh.
2020 NIGHT #2 FEATURE: (40 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Buddy Kofoid (7), 2. Tyler Courtney (2), 3. Chris Windom (6), 4. Tanner Carrick (11), 5. Spencer Bayston (8), 6. Daison Pursley (4), 7. Andrew Layser (19), 8. Clinton Boyles (3), 9. Thomas Meseraull (16), 10. Tanner Thorson (23), 11. Jesse Love (13), 12. Cannon McIntosh (5), 13. Trey Marcham (14), 14. Chase Johnson (9), 15. Emerson Axsom (15), 16. Kaylee Bryson (10), 17. Ethan Mitchell (24), 18. Noah Gass (18), 19. Justin Grant (1), 20. Trey Gropp (22), 21. Cole Bodine (17), 22. Ace McCarthy (21), 23. Andrew Felker (20), 24. Robert Dalby (12). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-14 Tyler Courtney, Laps 15-28 Cannon McIntosh, Laps 29-40 Buddy Kofoid.