By Richie Murray
Fairbury, Nebraska (July 14, 2021)………”Fairbury” is the rallying chant synonymous with mid-summer for the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship for the past half-decade, and the 2021 edition at Fairbury, Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway is primed to be bigger and better than ever.
That applies to the driver’s wallets as well for the Riverside Chevrolet Midwest Midget Championship presented by Westin Packaged Meats and Schmidt’s Sanitation, co-sanctioned by USAC and the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association for the Friday and Saturday night, July 16-17 event.
Friday night’s purse has been elevated to $4,000-to-win for the 30-lapper while Saturday night’s purse for the 40-lap feature will pay an event record $10,000 winner’s share and $500 to start and in excess of $40,000 in total prize money.
The Midwest Midget Championship officially begins on Thursday night, July 15 with practice from 5-7pm CDT followed by a shrimp boil and barbecue to follow, which is open to all race teams, crews and fans at the campground north of the track with a free concert in the beer garden following each night of racing action as well.
In the opener of last year’s Midwest Midget Championship, Chris Windom withstood Buddy Kofoid’s repeated, relentless challenges down the stretch, including during a hellacious final four lap trophy dash to the finish.
In a 30-lap feature that was stop-and-start throughout, with a number of cautions and a pair of red flags impeding the proceedings, Windom worked his way to the lead just prior to midway after pole sitter Ethan Mitchell led the first four laps of his USAC career while Cannon McIntosh controlled the front of the pack from lap five until Windom worked his way by on the 12th circuit just following a restart.
As Windom began to track down traffic that was running three and four-wide at times, Kofoid was right on his trail, closing to within a couple car lengths of Windom with four laps remaining. After a caution, Kofoid was setting up his next move that he ultimately made with two laps remaining, sliding by Windom entering the first turn with little room to spare. Windom made contact with the rear bumper of Kofoid, elevating all four wheels off the racing surface.
Once Windom landed on all fours, he took off straight for the bottom of turn three as Daison Pursley stuck a nose in to the battle to briefly make it three-wide on the back straightaway. Windom got to the bottom first, exited off turn four and, as he sped underneath the white flag, attempted to jet back to the bottom of turn one, resulting in contact between Kofoid’s front chrome and Windom’s rear bumper.
That move slowed up Windom’s momentum off turn two, but Kofoid was only able to get half a car length under Windom as Windom made a beeline back to the bottom of turn three, forcing Kofoid and Pursley to try high as a last ditch effort, to no avail, as Windom sprinted to the checkered flag by two car lengths over Kofoid.
In 2020, Windom became the second driver in as many years to win a race at Jefferson County, then go on to capture the USAC National Midget championship. Tyler Courtney did the same in 2019. In addition to his victory, Windom (Canton, Ill.) has also finished inside the top-ten at Jefferson County in 2019 (3rd & 9th) and 2020 (4th).
Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) won the opening night at Jeff. Co. in 2019, which was his first career USAC National Midget feature victory. This weekend, McDougal will compete for Hastings, Neb. based Klatt Enterprises, and has also earned a 6th there on the second in 2019 and a 7th in 2018.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) has seen both ends of the spectrum at Jefferson County, finishing dead last in his first run in 2017 and followed it up with a victory in 2018, leading all 40 laps along the way.
Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) led the final 16 circuits in capturing a 2017 triumph at Jefferson County. A 3rd place result on the final night in 2020 came after setting quick time during qualifying on the opening night. The 2016 series champion also took an 8th in 2019 and a 10th in 2016.
Tyler Thomas (Collinsville, Okla.) has come to picking up a victory at Jefferson County, finishing inside the top-five on four occasions. In 2016, the past Jason Leffler Memorial victory finished as the runner-up in the series’ debut at the track. In 2017, Thomas led the initial 24 laps and collected a 3rd place result in addition to a 4th in 2020 and a 5th in 2019 to go along with a 6th in 2019 and an 8th in 2018.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) owns the one-lap Jefferson County Speedway USAC National Midget track record of 10.685 sec., set in 2019. In fact, the 2018 series champ has been the fastest qualifier on three occasions at the track, first in 2018 and twice in 2019, and finished 2nd in 2018 and 3rd in 2019, added with a 7th in 2019.
Jerry Coons Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) has finished in the top-ten in all six of his USAC National Midget starts at Jefferson County since 2017 with a best of 4th and 5th in 2019. The USAC Triple Crown champion also scored a 6th in 2018, 7th in 2020, 8th in 2017 (after starting 14th) and 10th in 2020.
Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) has won a USAC National feature before in Nebraska, albeit in a sprint car in 2018 at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb. At Jefferson County, Thomas has finished on the podium twice, leading four laps and finishing 2nd in 2019, one year after finishing 3rd in 2018.
Current series point leader Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) was in contention for the win all the way to the finish line on the opening night in 2020 with 2nd on night one and a 5th in 2020. Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) charged from 9th to 2nd and led two laps late, just three laps from the checkered, in a runner-up result in 2020, one night after an 8th in his debut at the track.
Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) tallied a pair of notable performances in his first two rounds at Jefferson County in 2020, with a 3rd and 6th place results on each night. Cannon McIntosh collected a quick time award in 2020 before snagging 5th and 8th place finishes throughout the weekend.
Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.) collected a solid 6th place result in 2020 as did Sam Johnson (St. Peters, Mo.), who was 9th on both nights in 2020, earning hard chargers on the opening night after starting 19th, while also putting his name in the record by books by setting a new 12-lap standard for USAC National Midgets at the venue, a 2:24.855 during the semi-feature.
Returning to the lineup this weekend at Jefferson County are 11-time Rocky Mountain Midget champ, Thornton, Colorado’s Keith Rauch (13th in 2016), a one-time USAC National Midget winner back in 1990 at Imperial Valley Raceway in El Centro, Calif. Furthermore, 2012 USAC Western States Midget champ, Bakersfield, California’s Shannon McQueen (13th in 2019) and Nebraska’s own, Lincoln’s Trey Gropp (20th in 2020).
Rocky Mountain contingent, Aurora, Colorado’s Lance Bennett (14th in 2016); Green River, Wyoming’s Zac Taylor (16th in 2020); Brighton, Colorado’s Tony Rossi (18th in 2020); and Parker, Colorado’s Blaze Bennett (21st in 2018) are among those scheduled to be on hand, just to name a few.
Seeing Jefferson County Speedway for the first-time are two-time 2021 series winner Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.), along with fellow Rookies Brenham Crouch (Lubbock, Texas), Chase Randall (Waco, Texas) and Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.), Brett Becker (Odessa, Texas), along with New Zealanders Hayden Williams and Travis Buckley, three-time POWRi Midget titlist Zach Daum (Pocahontas, Ill.) and 2017 USAC Gulf Coast SpeeD2 Midget champion Kyle Jones (Kennedale, Texas).
Winged sprint car veteran Jake Bubak (Arvada, Colo.) will take on Jefferson County for the first-time ever as will 15-year-old Blake Spicer (Phillipsburg, Kan.), who’ll get his introduction to USAC National Midget racing throughout Mid-America Midget Week.
Twenty-eight previous USAC National Midget races have been held in the state of Nebraska. USAC Triple Crown champion Tracy Hines has the most victories of any driver in the
state with three. Wilke-Pak Racers has won the most of any team in the state with five.
General admission tickets to the event are just $20 for adults on Friday night and $25 on Saturday with High School students and younger just $5 each night. Reserved seating is $25 per night (available in two-day packages only) and are available online at www.jeffersoncountyspeedway.com under the “Buy Tickets” tab.
Unlimited general admission tickets will be sold day of show beginning at 5pm CDT with reserved seating only presale as described above. All-access pit passes will be unlimited and available at the pit gate on day of show only.
Gates open at 5pm CDT with qualifying at 6:30pm and racing at 7pm with a free concert each night after the races at the beer garden.
Camping with electric and water hookups is available just a few hundred feet from the track by reserving online at www.jeffersoncountyspeedway.com under the “Buy Tickets” tab. Additional camping and area information is available at https://www.visitoregontrail.org/ or http://fairburychamber.org/.
For more information, follow the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MidwestMidgetChampionship or call 405-823-8095.
Both nights of the Midwest Midget Championship from Jefferson County Speedway will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/3dgONXz.
Mid-America Midget Week features four USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship races in three different Great Plains states during a five night span July 13-17. It all begins on July 13 date at Meeker, Oklahoma’s Red Dirt Raceway; followed by a date on Wednesday, July 14 at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kansas; then concludes with two nights at Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Neb. on July 16 and on July 17, with the finale paying $10,000 to the winner.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-941, 2-Chris Windom-894, 3-Emerson Axsom-852, 4-Justin Grant-820, 5-Tanner Thorson-814, 6-Thomas Meseraull-802, 7-Daison Pursley-798, 8-Logan Seavey-781, 9-Kevin Thomas Jr.-732, 10-Jason McDougal-693.
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS IN NEBRASKA:
2-Kasey Kahne, Steve Cannon & Tyler Courtney
1-Bobby Olivero, Chad Boat, Chris Windom, Danny Stratton, Dave Darland, Dave Strickland Jr., Davey Ray, Dean Billings, Jason Leffler, Jason McDougal, Jeff Gordon, Justin Grant, Page Jones, Ricky Shelton, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Robby Flock, Sleepy Tripp, Tanner Thorson & Tony Elliott
JEFFERSON COUNTY SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS:
1-Chad Boat, Justin Grant, Jason McDougal, Tanner Thorson & Chris Windom
JEFFERSON COUNTY SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINNERS:
2016: Chad Boat (8/2)
2017: Tanner Thorson (8/1)
2018: Justin Grant (7/14)
2019: Jason McDougal (7/12) & Tyler Courtney (7/13)
2020: Chris Windom (7/17) & Tyler Courtney (7/18)
TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL MIDGETS AT JEFFERSON COUNTY SPEEDWAY:
1 Lap – 7/12/2019 – Logan Seavey – 10.685 – 67.384 mph
10 Laps – 7/12/2019 – Tanner Carrick – 1:56.27 – 61.925 mph
12 Laps – 7/17/2020 – Sam Johnson – 2:24.855 – 59.646 mph
PAST RESULTS FOR USAC NATIONAL MIDGETS AT JEFFERSON COUNTY SPEEDWAY:
2016 FEATURE: (35 laps) 1. Chad Boat, 2. Tyler Thomas, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Bryan Clauson, 5. Spencer Bayston, 6. Carson Macedo, 7. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 8. Holly Shelton, 9. Ryan Robinson, 10. Tanner Thorson, 11. Brayton Lynch, 12. Chett Gehrke, 13. Keith Rauch, 14. Lance Bennett, 15. Bob Harr, 16. John Klabunde, 17. Dustin Weland, 18. Terry Goodwin, 19. Ryan Greth, 20. Dave Darland, 21. Anton Hernandez, 22. Jeff Stasa. NT
2017 FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Brady Bacon, 3. Tyler Thomas, 4. Shane Golobic, 5. Christopher Bell, 6. Spencer Bayston, 7. Tyler Courtney, 8. Jerry Coons, Jr., 9. Ryan Robinson, 10. Tucker Klaasmeyer, 11. Chad Boat, 12. Holly Shelton, 13. Tanner Carrick, 14. Joe B. Miller, 15. Clinton Boyles, 16. Brayton Lynch, 17. Chett Gehrke, 18. Paul Babich, 19. Jeff Stasa, 20. John Klabunde, 21. Tyler Nelson, 22. Justin Grant. NT
2018 FEATURE: (40 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Justin Grant (2), 2. Logan Seavey (6), 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (4), 4. Tanner Carrick (3), 5. Brady Bacon (10), 6. Jerry Coons, Jr. (7), 7. Jason McDougal (9), 8. Tyler Thomas (11), 9. Spencer Bayston (5), 10. Kyle Craker (15), 11. Cole Bodine (16), 12. Chad Boat (8), 13. Brayton Lynch (12), 14. Sam Johnson (14), 15. Tyler Courtney (1), 16. Maria Cofer (17), 17. Dustin Weland (19), 18. Glenn Waterland (20), 19. Lance Bennett (18), 20. Zane Hendricks (13), 21. Blaze Bennett (21), 22. Curtis Spicer (22). NT
2019 NIGHT #1 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Jason McDougal (4), 2. Tyler Courtney (12), 3. Chris Windom (3), 4. Chad Boat (9), 5. Jerry Coons, Jr. (10), 6. Tyler Thomas (14), 7. Logan Seavey (6), 8. Andrew Layser (7), 9. Zeb Wise (11), 10. Robert Dalby (2), 11. Brady Bacon (16), 12. Tanner Carrick (13), 13. Tanner Thorson (1), 14. Ethan Mitchell (18), 15. Sam Johnson (15), 16. Shannon McQueen (17), 17. Lance Bennett (19), 18. Curtis Spicer (22), 19. Olivia Bennett (20), 20. Tucker Klaasmeyer (8), 21. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (5), 22. Tyler Seavey (23), 23. A.J. Valim (21). NT
2019 NIGHT #2 FEATURE: (40 laps, starting position in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (1), 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr. (2), 3. Logan Seavey (6), 4. Jerry Coons, Jr. (4), 5. Tyler Thomas (11), 6. Jason McDougal (8), 7. Tanner Carrick (7), 8. Tanner Thorson (3), 9. Chris Windom (9), 10. Tucker Klaasmeyer (10), 11. Zeb Wise (15), 12. Chad Boat (5), 13. Shannon McQueen (13), 14. Andrew Layser (18), 15. Sam Johnson (16), 16. Ethan Mitchell (12), 17. Curtis Spicer (22), 18. Brady Bacon (14), 19. Robert Dalby (17), 20. Lance Bennett (19), 21. Tyler Seavey (20), 22. Olivia Bennett (23), 23. A.J. Valim (21).
2020 NIGHT #1 FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Chris Windom (5), 2. Buddy Kofoid (8), 3. Daison Pursley (12), 4. Tyler Thomas (9), 5. Cannon McIntosh (4), 6. Ethan Mitchell (1), 7. Andrew Layser (15), 8. Emerson Axsom (13), 9. Sam Johnson (19), 10. Jerry Coons Jr. (3), 11. Tanner Carrick (11), 12. Tanner Thorson (6), 13. Cole Bodine (14), 14. Keith Rauch (16), 15. Chris Sheil (22), 16. Zac Taylor (21), 17. Emilio Hoover (17), 18. Tony Rossi (18), 19. Kaylee Bryson (10), 20. Carson Garrett (20), 21. Robert Dalby (2), 22. Tyler Courtney (7). NT
2020 NIGHT #2 FEATURE: (40 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tyler Courtney (1), 2. Emerson Axsom (9), 3. Tanner Thorson (4), 4. Chris Windom (3), 5. Buddy Kofoid (2), 6. Daison Pursley (11), 7. Jerry Coons Jr. (13), 8. Cannon McIntosh (6), 9. Sam Johnson (7), 10. Tanner Carrick (14), 11. Robert Dalby (18), 12. Ethan Mitchell (5), 13. Kaylee Bryson (12), 14. Andrew Layser (16), 15. Cole Bodine (8), 16. Carson Garrett (19), 17. Curtis Spicer (21), 18. Keith Rauch (20), 19. Tyler Thomas (15), 20. Trey Gropp (17), 21. Emilio Hoover (10), 22. Tony Rossi (22). NT