By: Richie Murray – USAC Media
Speedway, Indiana (June 1, 2023)………A true test of driver and machine. That’s USAC Indiana Midget Week in a nutshell.
The 19th annual edition of USAC Indiana Midget Week on June 4-11 brings together the best USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship drivers and teams in the nation for their most rigorous exam of the season across the Hoosier State.
Sunday night, June 4, brings the action to Haubstadt’s Tri-State Speedway. One night later, on Monday, June 5, it’s onto Circle City Raceway in Indianapolis. One “off” night awaits on Tuesday, June 6.
IMW resumes for the final five starting Wednesday, June 7, at Gas City I-69 Speedway followed by Thursday, June 8, at Putnamville’s Lincoln Park Speedway. Friday starts the weekend on June 9 at Bloomington Speedway with the penultimate round set for Lawrenceburg Speedway on Saturday, June 10, and the finale at Kokomo Speedway on Sunday, June 11.
Seven dirt tracks. Seven venues. Seven events. Eight nights. Six storylines. Here they are.
DENNEY – THE ALL-AMERICAN
It's been 32 seasons since an Ohio native last led the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship standings. That was Findlay’s Mike Streicher in 1991 as he went on to capture his first and only series title later that same year.
Jacob Denney (Galloway, Ohio) holds that distinction at the moment after capturing a victory in the most recent round of the season on May 21 at Missouri’s Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, and now brings a seven-point edge into USAC Indiana Midget Week.
IMW was where Denney burst onto the national scene in 2022, winning the round at Lincoln Park and finishing third in the overall miniseries standings.
Denney’s early season momentum is something he’d prefer to keep rolling throughout Indiana Midget Week. On seven occasions, the IMW champion has gone on to win the USAC National Midget title later that same season: Jerry Coons Jr. (2007), Bryan Clauson (2011), Darren Hagen (2012), Christopher Bell (2013), Rico Abreu (2014) and in each of the last two seasons with Buddy Kofoid (2021-22).
JADE & TAYLOR
Perhaps we’ve never been closer to having a woman win her first career USAC National Midget feature than we are right now.
Jade Avedisian and Taylor Reimer have both earned best career USAC finishes this season inside the top-four. In the month of May, Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.) scored a second on the Belleville (Kan.) Short Track while Reimer (Bixby, Okla.) notched a fourth at Sweet Springs.
Women made great deal of history during the 2022 edition of Indiana Midget Week. Both Avedisian and Reimer were front and center of an unprecedented occurrence when the four fastest qualifiers were all women, along with Kaylee Bryson and Mariah Ede. Avedisian was quickest among the group and currently resides third in the series standings after briefly leading a few weeks ago.
The best finish by a woman during Indiana Midget Week belongs to Holly Shelton who finished third in 2017 at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway.
NEW YEAR, NEW CHAMP
Buddy Kofoid has owned USAC Indiana Midget Week over the last two seasons in 2021-22. However, his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team only has plans to run him in the first four events of this year’s USAC Indiana Midget Week series at Tri-State, Circle City, Gas City and Lincoln Park, which practically takes him out of contention to retain his throne.
This year’s IMW field will feature at least two past champions: Logan Seavey (2019) and Jerry Coons Jr. (2007), both of whom are also USAC National Midget champions as well.
Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) will attempt to repeat his title performance from four years earlier. So far, his highwater mark this year with Abacus Racing No. 57 has been a sixth at Belleville and a fast qualifying time at Sweet Springs.
That opens the door for many possibilities of a brand new, first-time USAC Indiana Midget Week champ. Just in the top-10 of the current standings alone, you have Jacob Denney, Daison Pursley, Jade Avedisian, Bryant Wiedeman, Thomas Meseraull, Justin Grant, Ryan Timms, Jake Andreotti and Chase McDermand, plus 2022 Kokomo Indiana Midget Week feature winner Cannon McIntosh and Kevin Thomas Jr., who’s secured a ride with Mounce-Stout Motorsports for the week. All of these wheelers are prepared to ascend to the top.
MIDGET WEEK, BIG BREAKTHROUGH
One year ago, Jacob Denney became a first-time USAC National Midget winner during Indiana Midget Week, scoring with a late-race pass at Lincoln Park.
In fact, a first-time USAC winner has emerged on three occasions over the last two editions of IMW in 2021-22. Back in 2021, it was Kyle Cummins (Tri-State) and Corey Day (Circle City) who struck their first during the hectic week.
In fact, 13 drivers since the inaugural running of Indiana Midget Week in 2005 have captured their first USAC National Midget scores during the week.
That group includes Johnny Rodriguez (Terre Haute 2005), Shane Cottle (Gas City 2006), Brady Bacon (Kokomo 2006), Steve Buckwalter (Gas City 2010), Kyle Larson (Bloomington 2011), Christopher Bell (Lincoln Park 2013), Tanner Thorson (Gas City 2015), Spencer Bayston (Gas City 2016), Tyler Courtney (2017), Chris Windom (Lawrenceburg 2019), Kyle Cummins (Tri-State 2021), Corey Day (Circle City 2021) and Jacob Denney (Lincoln Park 2022).
That leaves the door open for several individuals to pounce on a first career USAC National Midget win during this coming week. Just among the top-ten, that includes Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.), Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.), Jake Andreotti (Castro Valley, Calif.) and Chase McDermand (Springfield, Ill.), plus Chance Crum (Snohomish, Wash.) who finished as the runner-up in 2022 at Bloomington.
The top-two USAC National Midget Rookies are set to also make their first foray into Indiana Midget Week. Both of whom have displayed moments of brilliance thus far this year with the series.
The difficult part of the Indiana Midget Week tour for most Rookies is visiting all seven tracks for first time in their careers. However, both Jake Andreotti and Gavin Miller looked the part with successful performances in their first visits to the Belleville Short Track back in May.
Andreotti led a lap and finished as the runner-up on the opening night of this season at Belleville. Miller, meanwhile, made a charge from the tail of the field to transfer in a big semi-feature lineup at Belleville before going on to finish 10th in the main event. He followed up with a ninth at Sweet Springs.
Both may be series Rookies, however, they both are employed by veteran teams who always have their act together for an Indiana Midget Week title run. Andreotti’s Tom Malloy owned team has a single IMW win in 2021 with Logan Seavey at Lawrenceburg. Miller’s Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team has won a record 29 IMW events dating back to 2005.
Also, plug in current ARCA Menards Series stock car point leader Jesse Love, who last appeared in a USAC National Midget event in 2020. He’ll run his first Indiana Midget Week for CB Industries, who captured the IMW title in 2020 with Kyle Larson at the wheel.
IT’S THE BUSIEST TIME OF THE YEAR
No stretch of USAC National Midget racing is busier than what Indiana Midget Week provides with seven events across an eight-night span.
It’s a true test of will, toughness and determination. It’s all about overcoming obstacles night-in and night-out and shaking off the seemingly endless hurdles that arise on-track and off.
USAC Indiana Midget Week is grueling; it’s hot; it’s muggy. How one responds to these challenges will tell the tale and signify the difference between wishing the week was over and wishing the week never ends.
But this is why we do it. If it was easy, anybody could do it. But that’s precisely why an Indiana Midget Week championship means something.
The list of USAC Indiana Midget Week champions is a who’s who list of the discipline: Shane Cottle, Jerry Coons Jr., Tracy Hines, Bryan Clauson, Brad Kuhn, Darren Hagen, Christopher Bell, Rico Abreu, Shane Golobic, Spencer Bayston, Logan Seavey, Kyle Larson and Buddy Kofoid.
For the driver and team who achieves that honor this year and joins this list, it’ll forever be one that is cherished. For it is a crowning accomplishment that is well-earned.
For more information on each event, visit the “Schedule/Results” tab on www.usacracing.com, then click on “Midgets” and “National.” From there, click on “Event Info” next to the corresponding event on the schedule.
The entire week of events can be watched LIVE on FloRacing at https://flosports.link/3ZjeooQ.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Jacob Denney-201, 2-Daison Pursley-194, 3-Jade Avedisian-182, 4-Bryant Wiedeman-168, 5-Thomas Meseraull-167, 6-Justin Grant-160, 7-Ryan Timms-154, 8-Logan Seavey-151, 9-Jake Andreotti-141, 10-Chase McDermand-134.
ALL-TIME USAC INDIANA MIDGET WEEK CHAMPIONS
2005: Shane Cottle
2006: Shane Cottle
2007: Jerry Coons Jr.
2008: Tracy Hines
2009: Bryan Clauson
2010: Tracy Hines & Brad Kuhn
2011: Bryan Clauson
2012: Darren Hagen
2013: Christopher Bell
2014: Rico Abreu
2015: Rico Abreu
2016: Bryan Clauson
2017: Shane Golobic
2018: Spencer Bayston
2019: Logan Seavey
2020: Kyle Larson
2021: Buddy Kofoid
2022: Buddy Kofoid
ALL-TIME USAC INDIANA MIDGET WEEK FEATURE WINS: (2005-2022)
9-Bryan Clauson & Kyle Larson
5-Christopher Bell & Tanner Thorson
3-Spencer Bayston, Shane Cottle, Tyler Courtney, Darren Hagen, Buddy Kofoid, Brad Kuhn, Thomas Meseraull, Michael Pickens & Chris Windom
2-Jerry Coons Jr., Davey Ray, Logan Seavey, Brad Sweet
1-Brady Bacon, Chad Boat, Steve Buckwalter, Kyle Cummins, Dave Darland, Zach Daum, Corey Day, Jacob Denney, Jay Drake, Justin Grant, Tracy Hines, Levi Jones, Cannon McIntosh, Johnny Rodriguez, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Swindell & Kevin Thomas Jr.