FIRST-TIME WINNERS MAKE MARK
ON 2019 USAC MIDGET SEASON
By: Richie Murray - USAC Media
Speedway, Indiana (October 16, 2019).........Everybody has to start somewhere. The same rings true for everybody who's ever won a USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget feature. They've all earned that first win somewhere, some place.
Entering this weekend's double-dip over a three-night span, this season has already produced four first-time winners with the series, the most in any single year since 2008: Cannon McIntosh (Southern Illinois Center), Chris Windom (Lawrenceburg), Jason McDougal (Jefferson County) and Tanner Carrick (Sweet Springs).
This Thursday, the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets enter the 1/8-mile bullring of Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Ill. for the 6th running of the Jason Leffler Memorial, a race which was won by a first-time winner in Tyler Thomas (Collinsville, Okla.) in 2018.
The namesake of the event, Leffler, was the winner of the second-ever race held at the "new" 16th Street Speedway, which was constructed inside the former Bush Stadium, home of AAA Baseball's Indianapolis Indians. That night in May of 1997 served as Leffler's first career series win, which was also the first for car owner Pete Willoughby, a team which has thrived since that night more than two decades ago, a team now known as Keith Kunz Motorsports.
Leffler's black No. 71 from his 1997 championship season remains relatively cosmetically unchanged from the cars campaigned by the team to this day for series Rookie Jesse Colwell (Red Bluff, Calif.), who is on the lookout for his first series win. The team's No. 71, with a K, was victorious this year with another first-time USAC winner, Tanner Carrick (Lincoln, Calif.) at Missouri's Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex.
Windom (Canton, Ill.) joined an interesting and exclusive club of drivers who've won a USAC National Sprint Championship prior to winning their first career USAC National Midget feature race, along with Greg Leffler and Levi Jones.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, the series heads across the border over to Haubstadt, Indiana's Tri-State Speedway for 10th ever appearance by the mighty midgets of USAC. Three of the first nine of those events have produced first-time USAC National Midget feature winners: New Zealand's Barry Butterworth (1979), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (2007) and Zach Daum (2011).
Many contenders lie in wait for their turn to live out their aspirations of joining the list of USAC National Midget winners. Among them are USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.), Tucker Klaasmeyer (Paola, Kans.), Andrew Layser (Collegeville, Pa.), Jesse Colwell (Red Bluff, Calif.), Karsyn Elledge (Mooresville, N.C.), Holley Hollan (Broken Arrow, Okla.), Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.) and yes, 2013 World of Outlaws champ Daryn Pittman (Owasso, Okla.), who'll make his annual appearance at Thursday's Leffler Memorial.
On Thursday at Wayne City, pits open at 4pm Central, grandstands at 5pm, drivers meeting at 6pm and hot laps at 6:30pm. Adult general admission tickets are $20, age 12 and under are free. Pit passes are $35 apiece. Along with the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship are Non-Wing 600 Outlaws, Non-Wing Restrictors & Non-Wing Jr. Sprints.
Saturday's Harvest Cup at Tri-State will also feature the Brandeis Midwest Sprint Car Series and MMSA Mini Sprints. Pits open at 2:30pm central, grandstands at 3:30pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and hot laps at 5pm. Adult general admission tickets are $25, students are $20 and age 12 and under are free. Pit passes are $30 apiece.
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