|#25m Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) & #19m Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.)
(David Nearpass Photo)
HARVEST CUP USAC MIDGET PREVIEW: OCT. 10, 2020
By: Richie Murray - USAC Media
Haubstadt, Indiana (October 5, 2020).........Ten previous visits by the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets to Haubstadt, Indiana's Tri-State Speedway have resulted in 10 different winners across a half-century of series' events at the southwestern Indiana quarter-mile dirt oval, and where the series will visit for the 11th time this Saturday night, October 10, for Harvest Cup.
Last year, the battle for the Harvest Cup midget victory came down to two friends, Jason McDougal and Kevin Thomas, Jr. McDougal has served the bulk of these past few months as Thomas' crew chief on his sprint car. On the racetrack, though, each have maintained their competitive fire and desire, giving no quarter in pursuit of triumph.
Even friends have their battles every now and again. Especially when you're among that special breed of individual who climbs behind the wheel of a racecar and is driven to succeed at the highest level.
Nowhere was that more evident than the October 2019 midget race at Tri-State where the stage allowed the two to slug it out during the 30-lap main event, exchanging the lead seemingly every single lap on both ends of the track, delivering slider after slider until the final bell tolled.
In all, the baton for the lead was passed between Thomas, McDougal Logan Seavey and Thomas Meseraull, officially speaking, six times at the line, but a whopping 26 times unofficially in the first 20 laps, until McDougal emerged with the lead for good 10 laps from the finish to score his second career series win.
Two of the 10 past Tri-State USAC Midget winners are expected to compete in this Saturday night's event, including McDougal and Brady Bacon, both natives of Broken Arrow, Okla. Bacon, the recently crowned three-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champion, won the Hut 100 at TSS in 2012 and was 9th back in 2007. Bacon has been victorious in a USAC Sprint race at TSS as well, winning in the Sprint of 2015.
Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) is a five-time USAC Sprint winner at TSS between 2013 and 2018. He finished 2nd to McDougal in last year's race, leading twice for a total of eight laps. He's back in the seat of the Petry Motorsports No. 5 for Saturday night, with whom he finished as the runner-up in 2019 at TSS.
Along with Thomas, Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.) is the other five-time TSS USAC Sprint winner who is expected to compete this Saturday. Cummins finished a career-best 3rd in last year's Midget race at TSS. The five-time Midwest Sprint Car Series champion owns four sprint car wins alone at TSS in 2020.
Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) leads the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget standings by eight points over Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) entering Saturday. Windom was 11th in 2019 but finished 2nd in the 100-lap USAC Midget feature at TSS in 2012. The 2016 USAC Silver Crown and 2017 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ is a winner at Tri-State in a sprint car, winning in the spring of 2017. Courtney, the 2018 USAC Sprint and 2019 USAC Midget titlist, was 4th in the 2019 TSS midget feature.
In four previous Tri-State midget races, Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) has finished 10th in 2010, 3rd in 2011, 12th in 2012 and 8th in 2019. His eighth from a year ago is not indicative of how good he was up front and the show he put on for much of the 30-lap event, leading three laps between laps 18 and 20. On the 21st circuit, while battling for the lead, he and McDougal occupied the same piece of real estate at the same moment at the top of turn four when the two tangled, sending Meseraull backwards into the outside wall.
Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) led the first seven laps of the 2019 USAC Midget go at TSS, and finished 6th in the final rundown. The 2018 USAC National Midget champ was superb in his USAC Sprint Car debut at Tri-State in the spring of 2018, qualifying 2nd and finishing 3rd. This past August, during the Indiana Sprint Week finale at TSS, Seavey set fast time.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) earned KSE Racing Products hard charger honors in the 2019 TSS USAC Midget feature, ripping through the field to finish 5th after starting 16th in the RAMS Racing No. 4A, which he returns to the seat of this Saturday night. Grant was the fastest qualifier twice in 2019 at TSS in USAC Sprint competition, and this year, was a 5th place finisher in June and 6th in September.
Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) made an impressive charge himself in last year's USAC Midget A-Main at TSS, starting 17th and finishing 9th. The 2016 USAC National Midget champion, 3rd in points, who also won the semi-feature at TSS last year, has won four times with the series this season. However, he recently joined Tom Malloy's team with whom he collected a pair of top-fives in his first two outings with at Gas City and Kokomo to end September.
Two-time USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champion Jerry Coons, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) was the fastest qualifier for the 2012 Hut 100 at Tri-State Speedway. He led 82 of the 100 laps and was in front on the white flag lap when a suspension piece on the left-rear went awry, relegating him to 6th at the finish. He's been strong in his USAC Midget career at Tri-State with a 5th in 2007, 2nd in 2010 and 5th in 2011. He won his heat race and finished 13th in 2019.
Robert Dalby (Anaheim, Calif.), the 2019 USAC Western States Midget champ, ventured to TSS for a debut midget run last Fall. An impressive qualifying run of 4th was followed by a 14th place finish in the feature. Andrew Layser (Collegeville, Pa.), the top Rookie on last year's USAC Midget trail, was 15th in his first TSS visit.
Carson Garrett (Littleton, Colo.) and Sam Johnson (St. Peters, Mo.) were in the field for the 2019 TSS USAC Midget show but missed the transfer to the feature event. Those two remain on the prowl for a first career start at TSS along with a number of other gunslingers. Both Chase Johnson (Penngrove, Calif.) and Clinton Boyles (Greenwood, Mo.) have made USAC National Sprint feature starts in 2020 at TSS, but not yet behind the wheel of a midget.
Four drivers occupying slots inside the top-ten of the USAC National Midget point standings are ready to take on TSS for the first time this Saturday: 4th in points, Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.); 5th in points, Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.); 7th in points, Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.); and 8th in points, Cole Bodine (Rossville, Ind.).
Other first-time TSS hopefuls this Saturday are Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.), a three-time top-five finisher in his first year with the National series, and twice a USAC Midwest Regional Midget winner in 2020. Chase McDermand (Riverton, Ill.) captured a USAC Midwest Regional Midget victory last Saturday night at Circus City Speedway in Peru, Ind.
Aiden Purdue (Clinton, Ill.) missed the transfer by just one spot in the semi-feature this past March at the Shamrock Classic, but the micro sprint vet aims to make his first USAC start this weekend. In April of this year, Purdue won a USAC iRacing Challenge feature at the virtual Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway. Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.) will make his first TSS appearance this Saturday and is a one-time fast qualifier with the series.
Also a USAC National Midget fast qualifier is Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.), one of six drivers in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports stable for TSS, along with Kofoid, McIntosh, Pursley, Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kans.) and Brenham Crouch (Lubbock, Texas), all six of whom will be making their midget racing debuts at TSS.
TSS debuts also come from Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.), Gage Rucker (Bellflower, Mo.), Noah Gass (Mounds, Okla.), Trey Gropp (Lincoln. Neb.), Chase Randall (Waco, Texas) and Riley Kreisel (Warsaw, Mo.), a winner on the USAC Midwest Wingless Racing Association Sprint Car tour, a 2016 POWRi Allstar Midget champion as well as the 2018 and 2019 POWRi WAR Sprint League champion who currently leads the series points once again.
On Saturday at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., Harvest Cup will feature the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship along with MSCS Sprint Cars and MMSA Mini Sprints on the card. Pits open at 2:30pm Central, grandstands at 3:30pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and hot laps at 5:30pm. Adult general admission tickets are $25, students (age 13-18) are $20 and age 12 and under are free. Pit passes are $30 apiece.
It's all part of a doubleheader weekend for the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship. The preceding night, on Friday at Wayne City, the 7th running of the Jason Leffler Memorial will also have the Non-Wing 600 Outlaws, Non-Wing Restrictors & Non-Wing Jr. Sprints on hand. Pits open at 3:30pm Central, grandstands at 5pm, drivers meeting at 5:30pm and hot laps at 6:30pm. General admission tickets are $25 with ages 12 and under are free. Pit passes are $40 apiece and $20 for age 10 and under.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-1,398, 2-Tyler Courtney-1,390, 3-Tanner Thorson-1,301, 4-Buddy Kofoid-1,292, 5-Cannon McIntosh-1,211, 6-Tanner Carrick-1,041, 7-Daison Pursley-1,005, 8-Cole Bodine-848, 9-Andrew Layser-844, 10-Justin Grant-793.
TRI-STATE SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS:
1-Brady Bacon, Barry Butterworth, Lonnie Caruthers, Bryan Clauson, Zach Daum, Jason McDougal, Mike McGreevy, Johnny Parsons, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. & Sleepy Tripp
TRI-STATE SPEEDWAY USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINNERS:
1969: Mike McGreevy (6/27)
1978: Sleepy Tripp (5/5)
1979: Johnny Parsons (6/15) & Barry Butterworth (8/24)
1980: Lonnie Caruthers (5/2)
2007: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (5/12)
2010: Bryan Clauson (5/8)
2011: Zach Daum (5/21)
2012: Brady Bacon (6/2)
2019: Jason McDougal (10/19)