By Lance Jennings
MARCH 13, 2023… The USAC Western States “Mighty Midgets” will open their season this Saturday, March 18th at Bakersfield Speedway. Promoted by Scott Schweitzer, the only series visit at the historic 1/3-mile oval will also feature Hobby Stocks, American Stocks, California Lightning Sprints, and Mod Lites. Located at 5001 North Chester Extension in Bakersfield, California, the Pit Gates will open at 2:00pm, Spectator Gates will open at 4:00PM, and Racing will start at 6:00PM. For more information at “The West’s Fastest 1/3-Mile High Banked Clay Oval,” visit bakersfieldspeedway.com or call 661.393.3373.
For those that cannot be at the races, floracing.com will broadcast a live stream of the night’s action over the internet.
NOTICE TO RACERS:
– MEMBERSHIPS / TEMPORARY PERMITS: All racers MUST PURCHASE their USAC license / membership or temporary permit (TP) online PRIOR TO THE EVENT at usaclicense.com. Season memberships come with extra insurance.
– ENTRY FEE: There is an entry fee due at registration / pill pick.
– TRANSPONDERS: Transponders ARE MANDATORY and will be available to rent.
– APPROVED/LEGAL MUFFLERS: B&B: FRAC-0375-S w/side outlet, COAST FABRICATION: 300x625x17-2s, 350x625x17-2s, 400x625x17-2s, EXTREME: 3515-3030 (15″ Long 5″ round shell with 3″inlet & 3″ outlet), 3615-3030 (15″ Long 6″ round shell with 3″ inlet & 3″ outlet), 3515-3030-8 (15″ Long 5″ round shell with 3″inlet & 3″ outlet with turnout), 3615-3030-8 (15″ Long 6″ round shell with 3″ inlet & 3″ outlet with turnout), FLOWMASTER: (BCRA Approved) 13009130, 13509130, 13509135, SCHOENFELD: 14272535, 14272730-78, RODELA FAB: 2557-01 *Failure to comply with the muffler rule will risk disqualification from the event.
– ONE WAY RADIOS / RACECEIVERS: One way radios ARE MANDATORY.
– FULL CONTAINMENT SEATS: Full containment seats ARE MANDATORY.
– RULE BOOK: The USAC Western States Midget Rule Book can be found online at usacracing.com.
– California state protocol calls for competitors, crews, officials, and anyone on the grounds to practice safe social distancing, proper sanitizing, and follow local regulations regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
In addition to championship points, every event will award points for the season-long Woodland Auto Display Top Qualifier Standings and the unsponsored Passing Master Standings. Drivers that finish in the top-3 in Woodland points will take home $500-for-1st, $300-for-2nd, and $200-for-3rd. Last season, Michael Faccinto earned Top Qualifier honors and veteran driver Randi Pankratz passed the most cars in the main events.
Since July 3, 1987, Bakersfield Speedway has hosted 115 USAC Western States Midget races and P.J. Jones claimed the inaugural victory. Former champions Sleepy Tripp and Robby Flock are tied for the series lead with eight Bakersfield wins and Ricky Shelton set the track record of 12.339 on June 21, 1997. Last April, Mitchel Moles raced the #73X Keith Ford machine to victory over Matt Mitchell, A.J. Bender, Robby Josett, and Michael Faccinto.
Last season, Michael Faccinto (Hanford, California) earned his second series championship. Driving the Graunstadt Enterprises owned #14J T&T Trucking / Gary Silva Ranches Spike, Faccinto had three feature wins, three Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, seven heat race victories, eleven top-5 finishes, eleven top-10 finishes, and 86 feature laps led to his credit. Currently tied with former champions Tommy White and Jay Drake for thirteenth on the series win list, Michael will be looking to start his season with win at Bakersfield.
For the second year in a row, Brody Fuson (Bakersfield, California) ranked second in the USAC Western Midget point chase. Piloting Rusty Carlile’s #51 RacePa Motorsports/ W.E. Spike, Fuson posted two feature wins, one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, three heat race victories, eight top-5 finishes, eleven top-10 finishes, and 56 feature laps led in the campaign. Brody has four career wins and will have his sights on his first “home track” victory.
Ben Worth (Coalinga, California) placed third in the championship point chase. Racing Dean “Kiwi” Alexander’s #5K Walker Air Filtration / WFX Spike, Worth had one feature win, two heat race victories, five top-5 finishes, six top-10 finishes, and 47 feature laps led to his credit. The 2019 Rookie of the Year has three career wins and will be a favorite to watch this Saturday night.
A.J. Bender (San Diego, California) finished fourth in the point standings and earned Rookie of the Year honors. Racing the LKK Racing #1X Josh Ford Motorsports / Rod End Supply Triple X, Bender had four heat race victories, one Rod End Supply Hard Charger Award, seven top-5 finishes, and eight top-10 finishes on the season. LKK Racing has retired from racing and the California Lightning Sprint and USAC/CRA Sprint Car driver was looking for another ride.
Travis Buckley (Auckland, New Zealand) ranks fifth in the chase for the championship and second in rookie points. Driving the family owned #7NZ Buckley Systems / Esslinger Engineering Spike, Buckley recorded one heat race victory, one Rod End Supply Hard Charger Award, three top-5 finishes, ten top-10 finishes, and 18 feature laps led on the year. Travis will have his sights on his first career win at Bakersfield Speedway.
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Jake Andreotti, Blake Bower, Caden Sarale, C.J. Sarna, Randi Pankratz, Danika Jo Faccinto, Robby Josett, Jake Hodges, Zach Telford, “The Panda” Terry Nichols, Steve Paden, Racin Silva, Steve Hix, Bryan Drollinger, Jim Vanzant, Ben Covich, and more.
Bakersfield Speedway is located at 5001 North Chester Extension in Bakersfield, California. Adult General Admission Tickets are $25, Senior (65 plus) and Military Tickets are $23, Kids Tickets (6 to 12) are $15, and Children Tickets (5 and under) are FREE. For more Bakersfield event information, visit the track’s website at bakersfieldspeedway.com or call 661.393.3373.
The USAC Western States Midget Series thanks Competition Suspension Incorporated, Esslinger Engineering, Extreme Mufflers, FloRacing, Graunstadt Enterprises, Hoosier Racing Tire, Hot Head Competition Engine Heaters, Jordan Hanni Well Drilling, Rod End Supply, Saldana Racing Products, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Wireless 101, and Woodland Auto Display for their support. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, email PR Director Lance Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the USAC Western States Midget Series, visit the United States Auto Club (USAC) website at usacracing.com and the social media for USAC Racing. You can also find exclusive content on the USAC Western States Midget Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET CHAMPIONS: 1982-Jeff Heywood, 1983-Sleepy Tripp, 1984-Tommy White, 1985-Sleepy Tripp, 1986-Robby Flock, 1987-Sleepy Tripp, 1988-Sleepy Tripp, 1989-Robby Flock, 1990-Sleepy Tripp, 1991-Sleepy Tripp, 1992-Sleepy Tripp, 1993-Robby Flock, 1994-Johnny Cofer, 1995-Billy Boat, 1996-Jay Drake, 1997-Ricky Shelton, 1998-Rick Hendrix, 1999-Marc DeBeaumont, 2000-Wally Pankratz, 2001-Danny Ebberts, 2002-Robby Flock, 2003-Steve Paden, 2004-Johnny Rodriguez, 2005-Jerome Rodela, 2006-Jerome Rodela, 2007-Johnny Rodriguez, 2008-Nic Faas, 2009-Garrett Hansen, 2010-Alex Schutte, 2011-Cory Kruseman, 2012-Shannon McQueen, 2013-Ronnie Gardner, 2014- Ronnie Gardner, 2015-Ronnie Gardner, 2016-Ronnie Gardner, 2017-Ronnie Gardner, 2018-Michael Faccinto, 2019-Robert Dalby, 2020-NO AWARD, 2021-Blake Bower, 2022-Michael Faccinto.
BAKERSFIELD USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET TRACK RECORD: Ricky Shelton – 12.339 (06/21/97)
BAKERSFIELD USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET WINS: 8-Robby Flock, 8-Sleepy Tripp, 7-Billy Boat, 6-Ronnie Gardner, 5-Jay Drake, 4-Jordan Hermansader, 3-Steve Paden, 3-Ron Shuman, 3-Jimmy Sills, 3-Danny Stratton, 3-Josh Wise, 2-Hank Butcher, 2-Bob Davison, 2-Ronnie Day, 2-Michael Faccinto, 2-Garrett Hansen, 2-P.J. Jones, 2-Page Jones, 2-Trey Marcham, 2-Wally Pankratz, 2-Frank Pedregon, 2-Alex Schutte, 2-Shane Scully, 1-Brady Bacon, 1-Bobby Boone, 1-Greg Bragg, 1-Larry Brown, 1-Tyler Brown, 1-Johnny Cofer, 1-Dave Darland, 1-Michelle Decker, 1-Larry Derwin, 1-Danny Ebberts, 1-Nic Faas, 1-Terry Farrar, 1-Billy Felts Jr., 1-Josh Ford, 1-Stan Fox, 1-Damion Gardner, 1-Scott Hansen, 1-Rick Hendrix, 1-Gary Howard, 1-Chase Johnson, 1-Ryan Kaplan, 1-Kasey Kahne, 1-Buddy Kofoid, 1-Cory Kruseman, 1-Brad Kuhn, 1-Josh Lakatos, 1-Kyle Larson, 1-Jason Leffler, 1-Thomas Meseraull, 1-Mitchel Moles, 1-Troy Rutherford, 1-Logan Seavey, 1-Graham Standring, 1-Cody Swanson, 1-Brad Sweet, 1-Rich Vogler, 1-Rip Williams, 1-Ben Worth.