It will be the second Battle of the Center, a non-points all-star-type event organized by the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series. The 27-year-old from Olive Branch, Miss., finished second at Du Quoin to Casey Shuman in 2010.
Stenhouse will drive for Bryan Clauson Racing to prepare him for the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla., held from Jan. 12-17. Stenhouse finished ninth in the championship feature in 2012, but failed to make it out of the B feature last year.
“We’re always trying to get him up here for the Battle at the Center to get him in the car and get him in the car before Tulsa (Chili Bowl) and hit the ground running,” Clauson said. “He needs to get the rust off in a midget. This year, his schedule allowed him to do it.”
Stenhouse drove sprint cars in his native Mississippi before Tony Stewart hired him in drive for his USAC teams in 2007. Stenhouse had five Honda USAC National Midget victories and to USAC National Sprint Car wins that season and it led to opportunities in stock cars in 2008. Stenhouse became NASCAR’s Nationwide champion in 2011 and 2012 with Roush Fenway Racing, which promoted him to its Sprint Cup operation the next season. Stenhouse was NASCAR’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year in 2013 and spent another full season in Cup with Roush Fenway in 2014.
Clauson, a two-time USAC National Midget and Sprint Car champion from Noblesville, Ind. , will be competing against Stenhouse at the Battle at the Center. Other entries include World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car star Joey Saldana of Brownsburg, Ind., 2014 National Midget Driver of the Year Chris Bell of Norman, Okla. and 2012 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget champion Andrew Felker of Carl Junction, Mo.
Saturday’s general admission tickets are $20 and children ages 12-and-under are free. Tickets will be sold only on the day of the event. Spectator doors open at 3:00 p.m., hot laps begin at 5 with racing immediately following. The feature will be 40 laps.
Entries as of Dec. 15 for the fifth annual Great Clips Battle at the Center presented by K & N Filters: Seth Motsinger, Stratton Briggs, Colten Cottle, Justin Peck, Matt Ponder, Sean Murphy, Lucas Schott, Anton Julian, Austin Brown, Parker Price-Miller, Patrick Bruns, Andrew Felker, Chett Gehrke, Ryan Criswell, Jody Rosenboom, Matt Westfall, Tim Siner, Duke Nalon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Robert Ballou, Joey Saldana, Justin Dickerson, Jimmy Light, Dylan Peterson, Matt Juhl, David Hair, Kyle Schuett, Payton Pierce, Spencer Bayston, Trey Marcham, Isaac Chappell, Aaron Schuck, Matt Harms, Bryan Clauson, Christopher Bell, Jacob Patton, Terry Babb, Dereck King, Tyler Thomas, Darren Kingston, Dillon Welch, Bubba Altig and David McKay.
For more information, go to www.POWRi.com.
Public relations for the Battle at the Center