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26 Rookie of the Race Contenders Prepare for Turkey Night 2023




By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Ventura, California (November 23, 2023)………The ARP Turkey Night Grand Prix Presented by the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame annually presents the Don Basile Rookie of the Race Award, honoring the top performance by a first-time feature starter in the 98-lap classic each year.

This year’s crop of 26 Turkey Night Rookies arrive to stake their claim and make their initial mark on the great race featuring USAC’s NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship, which will take place for the 82nd time this Saturday night, November 25, at California’s Ventura Raceway.

No Rookie has won the race since Warren Mockler’s last lap heroics in 1986. Jake Andreotti topped the field of Turkey Night debut starters in the 2022 race, finishing a solid fourth.

Nearly half of this year’s 53-car field is among the abundance of Rookie of the Race contenders.  In this year’s group are newly crowned USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year for 2023, Gavin Miller (Allentown, Pa.), plus 2023 ARCA Menards Stock Car champion Jesse Love (Menlo Park, Calif.) and 2023 NARC Sprint Car titlist Corey Day (Clovis, Calif.).

Xtreme Outlaw Midget winner Chase McDermand (Springfield, Ill.) will make the trip out west as will 2016 USAC CRA Sprint Car Rookie of the Year Max Adams (Loomis, Calif.) and Ricky Lewis (Camarillo, Calif.) who stands as the winningest sprint car driver in the United States for 2023 with 18 feature victories.

Blake Bower (Brentwood, Calif.), the 2021 USAC Western States Midget champ will take his shot at cracking the Turkey Night field for the first time as will 2022 USAC West Coast Sprint Car king Ryan Timmons (Pleasant Hill, Calif.).

Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.), one of the most improved drivers on the tour, will shoot for his first Turkey Night start along with Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association winner Jake Bubak (Arvada, Colo.). New Zealand’s Peter Hunnibell (Auckland, N.Z.) is the lone international representative in the event.

The award, named in memory of track owner, promoter and 1999 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee Don Basile, made its debut in 1998 with Kasey Kahne the first recipient.

Over the years, the Don Basile Rookie of the Race honors at Turkey Night have been awarded to some of the most talented young racers in America. A glance at the list reveals some of the top names from the sport over the past two decades, including one race winner – Kyle Larson (2011) – and five others who’ll be in this year’s field.

Furthermore, there are a talented bunch of past Rookies who’ll all be in the hunt for a first Turkey Night win this Saturday night, including, Carson Macedo (2016), Cannon McIntosh (2019), Mitchel Moles (2021) and Andreotti (2022).


Automotive Racing Products is the title sponsor of the $10,000-to-win, 82nd running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix for the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship at Ventura Raceway on Saturday night, November 25.

Serving as grand marshals for the event are USAC Hall of Famers and Turkey Night Grand Prix winners Chuck Gurney and Steve Lewis.

Midget practice, plus USAC West Coast Sprint Car heat races, qualifiers and dash will take place on Friday, November 24 with the sprint car semi-feature and feature events, and the 98-lap USAC Midget season finale taking place on Saturday, November 25.

On Friday and Saturday, the pits open at 11am Pacific with the drivers meeting at 2:45pm, the grandstands opening at 3pm and cars on track at 3:15pm.

Friday’s tickets are $22 for adult general admission, $18 for Senior/Military/Students and free for children under 12. Pit passes are $45 apiece for members and $50 for non-members.

On Saturday, all tickets that are not reserved are $35. Reserved seats are $45 for ages 13 and older and $25 for ages 12 and under. Pit passes are $40 for members and $50 for non-members on Saturday. Pit passes are $45 for members and $50 for non-members on Saturday.

Race tickets are available now at



1p ®TERRY NICHOLS/Delano, CA (Nichols-Peckfelder Motorsports)

3v ®JIM VANZANT/Prescott, AZ (Jim & Bonnie Vanzant)

4 ®COREY DAY/Clovis, CA (Willie Kahne)

5v ®RYAN TIMMONS/Pleasant Hill, CA (Dean Alexander)

6A ®RICKY LEWIS/Camarillo, CA (Cruz Pedregon)

8w ®CHASE McDERMAND/Springfield, IL (Josh Ford Motorsports)

9 ®BLAKE BOWER/Brentwood, CA (Tony Boscacci)

14J ®BRADEN CHIARAMONTE/El Cajon, CA (Graunstadt Enterprises-Streeter Racing)

15 ®MAX ADAMS/Loomis, CA (Dennis Hart)

19AZ ®HAYDEN REINBOLD/Gilbert, AZ (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)

21K ®GAGE RUCKER/Truxton, MO (Kruseman Enterprises)

27 ®JAKE BUBAK/Arvada, CO (Bourke Motorsports)

31B ®KYLE BEILMAN/Los Angeles, CA (Beilman Motorsports)

32 ®CADEN SARALE/Stockton, CA (Caden Sarale)

35H ®A.J. HERNANDEZ/Phoenix, AZ (MF Motorsports)

35K ®JOEY KLEMISH/Cortez, CO (MF Motorsports)

50 ®DANE CULVER/Riverside, CA (Knuckles Up Racing)

55 ®COLE WAKIM/Simi Valley, CA (Steve Lambert)

65NZ ®PETER HUNNIBELL/Auckland, NZ (Ben Covich)

71D ®BRYAN DROLLINGER/San Pedro, CA (Drollinger Bros.)

71E ®MARIAH EDE/Fresno, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)

71K ®KALE DRAKE/Collinsville, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)

73 ®DAVID GASPER/Goleta, CA (Josh Ford Motorsports)

78 ®MARVIN MITCHELL/Madera, CA (Marvin Mitchell)

84 ®JESSE LOVE/Menlo Park, CA (CB Industries)

97 ®GAVIN MILLER/Allentown, PA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)

® represents a Don Basile Rookie of the Race Contender


1998: Kasey Kahne – Finished 5th

1999: Dave Steele – Finished 5th

2000: Aaron Pollock – Finished 7th

2001: Bobby East – Finished 10th

2002: Jerome Rodela – Finished 9th

2003: Ryan Durst – Finished 10th

2004: Brad Loyet – Finished 9th

2005: Kevin Swindell – Finished 11th

2006: Kody Swanson – Finished 2nd

2007: Mike Murgoitio – Finished 4th

2008: Nic Faas – Finished 13th

2009: Levi Roberts – Finished 2nd

2010: Dalton Armstrong – Finished 3rd

2011: Kyle Larson – Finished 4th

2012: Ryan Bernal – Finished 3rd

2013: Tanner Thorson – Finished 10th

2014: Isaac Chapple – Finished 13th

2015: Robert Dalby – Finished 14th

2016: Carson Macedo – Finished 3rd

2017: Zeb Wise – Finished 5th

2018: Jason McDougal – Finished 8th

2019: Cannon McIntosh – Finished 2nd

2020: No Race

2021: Mitchel Moles – Finished 3rd

2022: Jake Andreotti – Finished 4th