By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Granite City, Illinois (May 14, 2019)………USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget racing has a heritage at Tri-City Speedway that dates back to 1961. Over the past three years now, the sight of the series on the 3/8-mile dirt oval in Granite City, Ill. has been absent, and the sound of midget racing has grown silent.
That all ends this weekend at the River Town Showdown, which brings the series back to Tri-City for two-straight nights, Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, in conjunction with the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars.
This weekend’s events will mark races number 47 and 48 for USAC’s Midget division at Tri-City. The lone driver from the current crop who’s won there in USAC Midget competition is Tucson, Arizona’s Jerry Coons, Jr., who was victorious in 2008. He’s part of a four-car Petry Motorsports contingent that carries the momentum into Tri-City as the winner of the most recent series race, in April at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway with Kevin Thomas, Jr. of Cullman, Ala., who resides second in the standings, ahead of teammates Coons (12th), Rossville, Indiana’s Cole Bodine (15th) and Tempe, Arizona’s Sterling Cling (22nd).
Tyler Courtney has been on a tear during the young USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget season, winning three times in five races, twice in Ocala, Fla. and once at Kokomo to hold down the point lead coming into the event. He’s one of three Clauson/Marshall Racing drivers currently in the top-five of the standings, along with Chris Windom of Canton, Ill. in fourth and Zeb Wise of Angola, Ind. in fifth. Fast Rookie Andrew Layser of Collegeville, Pa. lurks just outside the top-ten in 11th.
Layser is among a strong Rookie class which sees C.J. Leary of Greenfield, Ind. at the top, third overall in the standings. He’s been stout this year so far with three top-fives in four starts for FMR Racing. He led nine laps in last year’s USAC Sprint Car race at Tri-City and will be joined by two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ and seven-time USAC Midget winner Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, Okla. who returns in a second car for the team in which he won five races with between 2016-18.
Sixth through tenth in the points are separated by a mere 40 points with Tucker Klaasmeyer of Paola, Kans. at the top end of the scale, edging Phoenix, Arizona’s Chad Boat, reigning series champion and teammate Logan Seavey of Sutter, Calif., followed by a pair of more Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian drivers in Lincoln, California’s Tanner Carrick (9th) and Red Bluff, California’s Jesse Colwell (10th) rounding out the top-ten.
The most recent time the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets raced outdoors in the state of Illinois, Tyler Thomas of Collinsville, Okla. collected his long-awaited first career victory in Wayne City, Ill. He’s currently 13th in the standings ahead of a slew of Rookies in Holley Hollan of Broken Arrow, Okla. (14th), Bodine (15th), Stillwater, Oklahoma’s Zane Hendricks (16th), Mooresville, N.C.’s Karsyn Elledge (17th) and fellow Mooresville native Ethan Mitchell (19th).
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Jason McDougal is 18th, but was impressive in two starts at Kokomo, finishing 2nd and 4th.
Tanner Thorson, who earned two top-ten finishes in the first two races of the season, has won five-in-a-row at Tri-City, dating back to the “Gold Crown Midget Nationals” in 2015-16, and is the winningest USAC Midget driver in the history of the track at five. He is currently recovering from injuries suffered in a March highway accident.
Darren Hagen and Bob Tattersall each have four wins apiece. Bryan Clauson, Jeff Gordon, Tracy Hines, Mel Kenyon, Steve Knepper, Kyle Larson and Brad Sweet have two each while Rico Abreu, Christopher Bell, Merle Bettenhausen, Tom Bigelow, Pancho Carter, Jimmy Caruthers, Jerry Coons, Jr., Danny Frye, Russ Gamester, Jack Hewitt, Levi Jones, Mel Kenyon, Don Meacham, Billy Mehner, Larry Rice, Les Scott, Bob Wente, Josh Wise and J.J. Yeley each have one.
The “River Town Showdown” features complete shows for the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship and B-Mods on consecutive nights, May 17-18, on the 3/8-mile Tri-City Speedway dirt oval in Granite City, Ill.
Registration and pit gates open at 3pm (Central). Grandstands and ticket office open at 5pm. Cars on track at 6:30pm.
Adult general admission tickets are $25 while children 12 and under are FREE. Pit passes are $30 apiece for members and $35 for non-members.
Tri-City Speedway is located at 5100 Nameoki Rd, Granite City, IL 62040. You can reach the promotion team of Track Enterprises at (217) 764-3200 and Tri-City Speedway at (618) 931-7836. For more information, visit the series website at http://www.usacracing.com and the track website at http://www.tricityspeedway.net/.
Both nights of action will have live, flag-to-flag coverage on http://www.FloRacing.com. You can listen to live audio of the broadcast for free on the USAC app or follow along with live updates on https://www.facebook.com/usacracing/ and https://twitter.com/USACNation with live timing and scoring on the Race Monitor app.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Tyler Courtney-358, 2-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-354, 3-C.J. Leary-308, 4-Chris Windom-305, 5-Zeb Wise-290, 6-Tucker Klaasmeyer-274, 7-Chad Boat-273, 8-Logan Seavey-266, 9-Tanner Carrick-243, 10-Jesse Colwell-234.