By Lance Jennings
JUNE 21, 2023… This Saturday, June 24th, the USAC Western States Midgets will clash at Merced Speedway. Promoted by Chris Shannon and Paul Stone, the fifth point race at the quarter-mile oval will also feature Hobby Stocks, Valley Sportsman, Dwarf Cars, and IMCA Northern SportMods. Located at the Merced County Fairgrounds at 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Merced, California, the pit gates open at 3:00pm, the spectator gates will open at 5:00pm, and racing will start at 7:00pm. For more information, visit the track’s website at mercedspeedway.net or call 209.600.8382.
For those that cannot travel to the races, floracing.com will broadcast a live stream of the night’s action.
Series Director Stephanie Odom has announced that the next three races (June 24: Merced, July 8: Placerville, and July 22: Petaluma) will pay $1,500-to-win. The Saturday, August 5th debut at Antioch Speedway will pay $1,750-to-win.
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 April 20, 2019, nine USAC Western States Midget events have been held at the Merced County Fairgrounds. Austin Liggett scored the inaugural victory and Ben Worth added his name to the winner’s list on April 15th. NASCAR’s Kyle Larson set the 1-lap qualifying record of 11.838 on November 21, 2020 and a complete series win list at Merced is at the bottom of this release.
Heading to Merced, Brody Fuson (Bakersfield, California) is the hottest driver on the circuit and leads the competition by 31-points. Racing Rusty Carlile’s #51 RacePa Motorsports / Van Meter Motorsports Spike, Fuson has won the last two main events and has also posted one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, one heat race victory, one Wireless 101 Hard Charger Award, four top-10 finishes, and 34 feature laps led on the season. Brody has six career wins and will be looking to add Merced to his resume.
Cade Lewis (Bakersfield, California) is second in the chase for the championship. Driving Dean “Kiwi” Alexander’s #5K Wireless 101 / Mobil 1 Spike, Lewis ran fourth at Ventura on June 10th after starting seventeenth. At press time, the young driver has one Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Award, one heat race victory, two Wireless 101 Hard Charger Awards, and four top-10 finishes on the year. Cade has one career win and will have his sights on scoring a victory this Saturday night.
Ben Worth (Coalinga, California) ranks third in the USAC Western States Midget point standings. Piloting the Graunstadt Enterprises’ #14J T&T Trucking / Gary Silva Ranches Spike, Worth scored sixteenth after an early exit. To date, the 2019 Rookie of the Year has one feature win, three top-10 finishes, and 31 feature laps led in the campaign. Ben has four career wins and will be looking to gain valuable points win a Merced victory.
Steve Paden (Rossmoor, California) is fourth in the championship point chase. The owner/driver of the #56 Signal Hill Construction / Maxim Crane Spike finished eighth at the Ventura County Fairgrounds on June 10th. At press time, the 2003 Champion has one heat race victory, one Wireless 101 Hard Charger Award, one High Tech Performance Lucky Pill Draw, and four top-10 finishes to his credit. Paden has eight career victories and will have his sights on returning to victory circle at Merced.
Leading rookie contender, Samuel May (Oxnard, California) ranks fifth in the point standings. Racing Steve Lambert’s #55 Employee Benefit Systems Incorporated / Josh Ford Motorsports Triple X, May scored thirteenth in the June 10th main event. To date, the young driver has posted one Wilwood Disc Brakes Lucky 13 Award and two top-10 finishes on the year. Samuel will be looking the upset the field and claim the Saturday night triumph.
While Samuel May leads the chase for Rookie of the Year honors, he is followed by David Gasper (Goleta, California), Brandon Wiley (Santa Maria, California), Garrett Twitty (Bakersfield, California), Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, California), Ben Covich (Auckland, New Zealand), Kevin Gray (Yuba City, California), and Steve Hix (Ventura, California).
Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Ron Hazelton, C.J. Sarna, Caden Sarale, Blake Bower, Randi Pankratz, “The Panda” Terry Nichols, Marvin Mitchell, and more.
Merced Speedway is located on the Merced County Fairgrounds at 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Merced, California. Adult tickets are $15, Senior and Military tickets are $10, Junior tickets (11-17) are $10, and Kids (10 & Under) are FREE. For more event information, visit the track’s website at mercedspeedway.net or call 209.600.8382.
The USAC Western States Midget Series thanks A.J. Johnson Photos, BR Motorsports, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Competition Suspension Incorporated, Ebbco Offroad, 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, Steve Lafond / Tear-Off Heaven Fotos, 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 email@example.com.
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.
2023 USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET WINS: 2-Brody Fuson, 1-Jake Andreotti, 1-Ben Worth.
MERCED USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET TRACK RECORD: Kyle Larson – 11.838 (11/21/20)
MERCED USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET WINS: 1-Ryan Bernal, 1-Robert Dalby, 1-Shane Golobic, 1-Chase Johnson, 1-Colby Johnson, 1-Austin Liggett, 1-Thomas Meseraull, 1-Tanner Thorson, 1-Ben Worth.
2023 USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET POINT STANDINGS: 1. Brody Fuson-312, 2. Cade Lewis-281, 3. Ben Worth-244, 4. Steve Paden-220, 5. Samuel May®-193, 6. Ron Hazelton-186, 7. Bryan Drollinger-168, 8. C.J. Sarna-148, 9. Robby Josett-143, 10. Caden Sarale-142, 11. Blake Bower-127, 12. David Gasper®-120, 13. A.J. Bender-113, 14. Randi Pankratz-107, 15. Brandon Wiley®-96, 16. Garrett Twitty®-94, 17. Jake Andreotti-84, 18. Mitchel Moles®-78, —. Chase Johnson-78, 20. Mike Leach Jr.-76, 21. Ryan Bernal-73, 22. Ben Covich®-70, 23. T.J. Smith-59, 24. Terry Nichols-42, 25. Kevin Gray®-39, 26. Steve Hix®-37, 27. Marvin Mitchell-25
2023 WOODLAND AUTO DISPLAY TOP QUALFIER POINTS: 1. Brody Fuson-20, 2. Cade Lewis-9, 3. Caden Sarale-8, 4. Jake Andreotti-6, -. Robby Josett-6, 6. C.J. Sarna-5, -. David Gasper®-5, 8. Ben Worth-4, -. Blake Bower-4, 10. A.J. Bender-3, –. Mitchel Moles-3, –. Chase Johnson-3, –. Randi Pankratz-3, 14. T.J. Smith-2, –. Brandon Wiley®-2, 16. Ryan Bernal-1
2023 SAMMY BAHR FEATURE POINTS: 1. Brody Fuson-265, 2. Cade Lewis-250, 3. Ben Worth-220, 4. Steve Paden-199, 5. Ron Hazelton-172, 6. Samuel May®-167, 7. Bryan Drollinger-157, 8. C.J. Sarna-130, 9. Robby Josett-125, 10. Caden Sarale-122, 11. Blake Bower-110, 12. David Gasper®-107, 13. A.J. Bender-99, 14. Randi Pankratz-93, 15. Garrett Twitty®-87, 16. Brandon Wiley®-85, 17. Jake Andreotti-70, 18. Mitchel Moles-67, —. Chase Johnson-67, 20. Ben Covich®-66, 21. Mike Leach Jr.-64, —. Ryan Bernal-64, 23. T.J. Smith-49, 24. Kevin Gray®-39, —. Terry Nichols-39, 26. Steve Hix®-33, 27. Marvin Mitchell-25.
2023 PASSING MASTER POINTS: 1. Cade Lewis-25, 2. Ron Hazelton-13, 3. Brody Fuson-12, 4. Steve Paden-7, -. David Gasper®-7, -. Robby Josett-7, 7. Jake Andreotti-4, -. Bryan Drollinger-4, -. Garrett Twitty®-4, –. C.J. Sarna-4, 11. Brandon Wiley®-3, –. Ben Covich®-3, 13. Chase Johnson-1.