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USAC’s Indoor History Goes Back to the Beginning

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Du Quoin, Illinois (February 26, 2020)………Indoor racing has always had its place within the USAC racing scene.  In fact, racing under a roof is where it all began with Gene Hartley’s National Midget victory in 1956 at Fort Wayne, Indiana’s Memorial Coliseum.

As we enter USAC’s next indoor race on Saturday, March 7, at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin featuring the NOS Energy Drink National Midgets, Rich Vogler stands head and shoulders above the rest with 10 career victories at places ranging from Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va. to the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum, the Hoosier/RCA Dome and the Ft. Wayne Memorial Coliseum where he captured half of those ten wins.

Tyler Courtney, Justin Grant, Cannon McIntosh, Thomas Meseraull and Logan Seavey are among those in recent years who’ve scored an indoor triumph, all of which have come at the Southern Illinois Center’s 1/6-mile dirt oval in recent years.

Indoor USAC Midget racing was heavily prevalent in the early years of USAC with three and four or more events being held each year on mostly concrete surfaces with tight confines that weren’t always conducive to side-by-side racing, but more of the beating and banging variety that required patience, and even more patience.

The first dirt indoor USAC race wasn’t held until the blockbuster doubleheader in 1969, the Astro Grand Prix, held at the world’s first multi-purpose, domed sports stadium, the Astrodome, in Houston, Texas.  Gary Bettenhausen and Lee Kunzman captured victories in the event which continued with second and third editions during the 1970 and 1972 seasons.

The Ft. Wayne Memorial Coliseum was one of the most prevalent venues in all of USAC Midget racing and has held more indoor USAC events, by far, than any other track with 62 races between 1956 and 1989.  That doesn’t even include the eight races at the newer Fort Wayne Coliseum Expo Center, which held a slew of events throughout the decade of the 2000s.

An array of interesting venues have provided the stage for USAC Midget racing, including NFL stadiums such as the Hoosier/RCA Dome (17 races), Astrodome (4), Seattle Kingdome (2) as well as several NBA arenas: International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Ill. (11), Cincinnati Gardens (10), Utah’s Salt Palace (2), two versions of ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. (2) and once apiece at San Francisco, Calif.’s Cow Palace, Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Mecca Arena and North Carolina’s Charlotte Coliseum.

USAC’s most recent USAC National Midget race held north of the border came in 1993 at the SkyDome, home of Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays.  Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. is one of six venues to have hosted a USAC Midget race and an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four along with the RCA/Hoosier Dome, Astrodome, Kingdome, Cow Palace and Charlotte Coliseum.

Competitors can enter the Shamrock Classic presented by Dooling Machine Products Midget at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2020-shamrock-midget-entry until Thursday, March 5th at noon eastern time.  After that deadline, entries for the midget division will increase to $100.  Early entry is highly suggested as officials prepare to set heat race lineups with a “draft,” similar to that used previously at Du Quoin’s “Junior Knepper 55” in 2018 and the 2019 “BC39” at the IMS Dirt Track.

Shamrock Classic tickets are on sale at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2020-usac-shamrock-classic with reserved seats at $25, while general admission tickets are $20 for ages 13 and up.  Children’s general admission tickets (Age 6-12) are $10. Kids 5 and under are free.  Pit passes for Saturday are $35, and those attending both days can purchase pit passes for $55.  Tickets and pit passes will be available at the door both days.

Doors open on Saturday, March 7, at 1pm Central to prepare for hot laps starting at 4pm.  More information can be found at http://www.ShamrockClassicDuQuoin.com.

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ALL-TIME USAC INDOOR FEATURE WINS (1956-2019)

(10) Rich Vogler

(9) Sleepy Tripp

(8) Gary Bettenhausen

(6) Mel Kenyon & Bob Wente

(5) Bob McLean, Tony Stewart & Chuck Weyant

(4) Steve Cannon, Russ Gamester, Gene Hartley, Jim Hettinger & Steve Lotshaw

(3) Bob Hare, Lee Kunzman, Johnny Parsons, Henry Pens & Chuck Rodee

(2) Tom Bigelow, Alan Brown, Dana Carter, Ronnie Duman, Ray Elliott, Sam Isenhower, Michael Lang, Jerry Nuckles, Kevin Olson, Ken Schrader, Les Scott, Leroy Warriner & Jerry Weeks

(1) John Batts, Christopher Bell, Kevin Besecker, Gary Byers, Pancho Carter, Jimmy Caruthers, Roy Caruthers, Rich Corson, Tyler Courtney, Dave Darland, Jimmy Davies, Larry Dickson, Kelly Drake (TQ), Billy Engelhart, Gene Force, A.J. Foyt, Todd Forbes, Mike Fedorcak, Nick Fornoro Jr., Blake Fitzpatrick, Shane Golobic, Justin Grant, Bobby Grim, Bob Hauck, Ted Hines, Blake Hollingsworth, Kenny Irwin Jr., Bill Kollman, Brad Loyet (Ford Focus), Andy Malpocker (SpeeD2), Cannon McIntosh, Thomas Meseraull, John Meyers, Ken Nichols, Kenneth Nichols, Dick Northam, Larry Patton, Danny Pens, Dick Pole, Robbie Ray (Ford Focus), Barry Reed, Stevie Reeves, Larry Rice, Johnny Roberts, Gary Schroeder (TQ), Logan Seavey, Dick St. John, Tom Steiner, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jerry Stone, Mike Streicher, Dale Swaim, Bob Tattersall, Billy Wease, Terry Wente, Chuck West, Johnny White & Tommy White

 

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USAC INDOOR FEATURE WINNERS

DATE / TRACK / LOCATION / WINNER

1/8/1956: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Gene Hartley

2/17/1956: Grand Rapids Stadium / Grand Rapids, MI / Leroy Warriner

1/6/1957: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Gene Hartley

1/13/1957: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Gene Hartley

12/29/1957: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Chuck Rodee

1/12/1958: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Chuck Rodee

1/3/1959: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Chuck Weyant

1/11/1959: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Leroy Warriner

12/27/1959: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Dale Swaim

1/3/1960: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Chuck Weyant

1/10/1960: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Johnny White

12/17/1960: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Bob Tattersall

12/30/1960: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Johnny Roberts

12/31/1960: Freedom Hall / Louisville, KY / Dick Northam

1/8/1961: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Gene Force

1/14/1961: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Bob Wente

2/4/1961: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Bob McLean

3/25/1961: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Bob Wente

11/17/1961: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH                / Chuck Weyant

11/18/1961: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Bob McLean

1/7/1962: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Bob McLean

1/13/1962: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Jimmy Davies

1/26/1962: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH / Gene Hartley

1/27/1962: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Chuck Weyant

3/24/1962: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Chuck Weyant

1/12/1963: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Ronnie Duman

3/23/1963: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Bobby Grim

11/30/1963: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH / Bob Wente

3/21/1964: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Bob McLean

3/21/1964: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Ray Elliott

1/1/1965: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH / Henry Pens

1/10/1965: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Mel Kenyon

1/31/1965: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Les Scott

3/14/1965: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH / Ronnie Duman

1/9/1966: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Chuck Rodee

1/8/1967: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Henry Pens

1/22/1967: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH / Bob Hare

1/29/1967: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Mel Kenyon

2/12/1967: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH / Mel Kenyon

1/7/1968: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Mel Kenyon

1/28/1968: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Bob McLean

12/15/1968: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH / Bob Hare

1/5/1969: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Bob Hauck

1/26/1969: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Bill Kollman

3/8/1969: Astrodome / Houston, TX / Gary Bettenhausen

3/9/1969: Astrodome / Houston, TX / Lee Kunzman

1/4/1970: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Ray Elliott

1/25/1970: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Henry Pens

3/14/1970: Astrodome / Houston, TX / A.J. Foyt

1/3/1971: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Jimmy Caruthers

1/24/1971: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Bob Hare

1/9/1972: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Lee Kunzman

1/30/1972: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Lee Kunzman

3/11/1972: Astrodome / Houston, TX / Gary Bettenhausen

1/7/1973: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Johnny Parsons

1/28/1973: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Larry Dickson

1/6/1974: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Steve Cannon

1/20/1974: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Larry Rice

2/22/1974: Cow Palace / San Francisco, CA / Mel Kenyon

3/9/1974: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Gary Byers

1/5/1975: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Gary Bettenhausen

1/19/1975: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Gary Bettenhausen

1/25/1975: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Dana Carter

2/8/1975: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Sleepy Tripp

2/14/1975: Oklahoma City Sports Arena / Oklahoma City, OK / John Batts

2/16/1975: Oklahoma City Sports Arena / Oklahoma City, OK / Sleepy Tripp

3/1/1975: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Ken Nichols

1/4/1976: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Steve Lotshaw

1/18/1976: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Gary Bettenhausen

2/7/1976: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Gary Bettenhausen

2/14/1976: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Sleepy Tripp

8/27/1976: Salt Palace / Salt Lake City, UT / Sleepy Tripp

8/28/1976: Salt Palace / Salt Lake City, UT / Larry Patton

1/2/1977: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Billy Engelhart

1/8/1977: Scope Arena / Norfolk, VA / Rich Vogler

1/16/1977: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Steve Cannon

2/12/1977: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Gary Bettenhausen

2/13/1977: Freedom Hall / Louisville, KY / Jerry Nuckles

3/4/1977: Kingdome / Seattle, WA / Jerry Stone

3/12/1977: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Sleepy Tripp

10/22/1977: Kingdome / Seattle, WA / Pancho Carter

1/15/1978: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Rich Vogler

2/11/1978: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Steve Cannon

2/11/1978: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Tom Steiner

2/12/1978: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Rich Vogler

1/7/1979: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Steve Lotshaw

1/14/1979: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH / Les Scott

1/28/1979: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Bob Wente

2/10/1979: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Jerry Weeks

2/10/1979: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Bob Wente

2/11/1979: State Fairgrounds Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Jerry Weeks

2/25/1979: Cincinnati Gardens / Cincinnati, OH / Gary Bettenhausen

1/6/1980: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Terry Wente

1/27/1980: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Steve Lotshaw

1/4/1981: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Steve Cannon

1/25/1981: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Bob Wente

1/3/1982: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Dick Pole

1/17/1982: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Alan Brown

1/2/1983: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Todd Forbes

1/16/1983: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Mike Fedorcak

1/23/1983: Hara Arena / Dayton, OH / Dana Carter

3/5/1983: Prairie Capital Convention Center / Springfield, IL / Jerry Nuckles

1/8/1984: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Rich Vogler

1/22/1984: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Rich Vogler

3/10/1984: Prairie Capital Convention Center / Springfield, IL / Alan Brown

1/6/1985: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Rich Vogler

1/19/1985: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Rich Vogler

1/27/1985: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Rich Vogler

1/4/1986: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Nick Fornoro Jr.

1/19/1986: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Johnny Parsons

3/29/1986: Prairie Capital Convention Center / Springfield, IL / Blake Hollingsworth

12/6/1986: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Rich Vogler

12/13/1986: Rosemont Horizon / Chicago, IL / Ken Schrader

1/4/1987: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Tom Bigelow

1/10/1987: Metro Centre / Rockford, IL / Kevin Olson

1/18/1987: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Barry Reed

2/15/1987: Selland Arena / Fresno, CA / Chuck West

12/5/1987: Peoria Civic Center / Peoria, IL / Steve Lotshaw

1/3/1988: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Sam Isenhower

1/17/1988: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Sam Isenhower

1/23/1988: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Roy Caruthers

1/24/1988: Nashville Auditorium / Nashville, TN / Ken Schrader

2/14/1988: Selland Arena / Fresno, CA / Gary Schroeder (TQ)

2/14/1988: Selland Arena / Fresno, CA / Johnny Parsons

2/27/1988: Arco Arena / Sacramento, CA / Gary Schroeder (TQ)

2/27/1988: Arco Arena / Sacramento, CA / Sleepy Tripp

3/12/1988: Reno Livestock Events Center / Reno, NV / Kelly Drake (TQ)

3/12/1988: Reno Livestock Events Center / Reno, NV / Sleepy Tripp

3/19/1988: Rosemont Horizon / Chicago, IL / Danny Pens

12/3/1988: Peoria Civic Center / Peoria, IL / Mel Kenyon

12/10/1988: Rosemont Horizon / Chicago, IL / Kevin Olson

1/8/1989: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Russ Gamester

1/22/1989: Memorial Coliseum / Fort Wayne, IN / Tom Bigelow

1/28/1989: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Rich Vogler

2/25/1989: New Arco Arena / Sacramento, CA / Tommy White

1/6/1990: Chicago Amphitheater / Chicago, IL / Russ Gamester

1/20/1990: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Mike Streicher

1/27/1990: Mecca Arena / Milwaukee, WI / John Meyers

2/10/1990: Livestock Events Center / Reno, NV / Sleepy Tripp

2/24/1990: New Arco Arena / Sacramento, CA / Sleepy Tripp

12/22/1990: Charlotte Coliseum / Charlotte, NC / Jim Hettinger

1/5/1991: Rosemont Horizon / Chicago, IL / Michael Lang

1/19/1991: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Ted Hines

1/25/1992: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Russ Gamester

1/16/1993: SkyDome / Toronto, Canada / Kenny Irwin Jr.

1/30/1993: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Kenneth Nichols

1/29/1994: Hoosier Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Jim Hettinger

1/28/1995: RCA Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Stevie Reeves

1/20/1996: RCA Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Michael Lang

4/6/1996: Pepsi Coliseum / Indianapolis, IN / Dick St. John

1/18/1997: RCA Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Russ Gamester

1/17/1998: RCA Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Jim Hettinger

1/30/1999: RCA Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Kevin Besecker

3/11/2000: RCA Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Johnny Parsons

3/10/2001: RCA Dome / Indianapolis, IN / Jim Hettinger

12/29/2004: Expo Center / Fort Wayne, IN / Tony Stewart

12/30/2004: Expo Center / Fort Wayne, IN / Dave Darland

1/16/2005: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Robbie Ray (Ford Focus)

2/19/2005: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Brad Loyet (Ford Focus)

12/29/2005: Expo Center / Fort Wayne, IN / Rich Corson

12/30/2005: Expo Center / Fort Wayne, IN / Tony Stewart

12/29/2006: Expo Center / Fort Wayne, IN / Tony Stewart

12/30/2006: Expo Center / Fort Wayne, IN / Tony Stewart

1/20/2007: State Fairgrounds Expo Center / Columbus, OH / Blake Fitzpatrick

12/28/2007: Expo Center / Fort Wayne, IN / Billy Wease

12/29/2007: Expo Center / Fort Wayne, IN / Tony Stewart

12/19/2015: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

3/19/2016: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Shane Golobic

12/17/2016: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Tyler Courtney

2/18/2017: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Andy Malpocker (SpeeD2)

3/18/2017: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Justin Grant

12/16/2017: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Christopher Bell

3/10/2018: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Logan Seavey

12/15/2018: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Thomas Meseraull

3/9/2019: Southern Illinois Center / Du Quoin, IL / Cannon McIntosh

 

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SUMMARY OF TRACKS (29 Tracks, 175 Races)

 

(62) Memorial Coliseum (Ft. Wayne, IN)

 

(17) Hoosier/RCA Dome (Indianapolis, IN)

 

(15) Indiana State Fairgrounds/Pepsi Coliseum (Indianapolis, IN)

 

(11) Chicago Amphitheater (Chicago, IL)

 

(11) Southern Illinois Center (Du Quoin, IL)

 

(10) Cincinnati Gardens (Cincinnati, OH)

 

(8) Fort Wayne Coliseum Expo Center (Ft. Wayne, IN)

 

(4) Rosemont Horizon (Chicago, IL)

 

(4) Astrodome (Houston, TX)

 

(3) Prairie Capital Convention Center (Springfield, IL)

 

(3) Selland Arena (Fresno, CA)

 

(3) Livestock Events Center (Reno, NV)

 

(2) Freedom Hall (Louisville, KY)

 

(2) Salt Palace (Salt Lake City, UT)

 

(2) Peoria Civic Center (Peoria, IL)

 

(2) ARCO Arena (Sacramento, CA)

 

(2) Kingdome (Seattle, WA)

 

(2) Oklahoma City Sports Arena (Oklahoma City, OK)

 

(2) New ARCO Arena (Sacramento, CA)

 

(1) Grand Rapids Stadium (Grand Rapids, MI)

 

(1) Cow Palace (San Francisco, CA)

 

(1) Scope Arena (Norfolk, VA)

 

(1) Hara Arena (Dayton, OH)

 

(1) Metro Center (Rockford, IL)

 

(1) Nashville Auditorium (Nashville, TN)

 

(1) Mecca Arena (Milwaukee, WI)

 

(1) Charlotte Coliseum (Charlotte, NC)

 

(1) SkyDome (Toronto, ON)

 

(1) Ohio State Fairgrounds Expo Center (Columbus, OH)

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