FIRST-TIME USAC MIDGET WINNERS
THAT COULD EMERGE IN 2020
By: Richie Murray - USAC Media
Speedway, Indiana (February 5, 2020).........The past season with the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets proved to be the most balanced in terms of the variety of winners throughout the season. A total of 14 drivers reached victory lane with the series in 2019, five of which were first-time winners, the most since 2008.
That crew consisted of Cannon McIntosh, Chris Windom, Jason McDougal, Tanner Carrick and Gio Scelzi, a solid mix of talent both new to the series like McIntosh and Scelzi as well as those who've attained extensive experience under their belt like Windom.
That begs the question of who's next to knock down a first career win with the series. There's plenty who are capable, many of whom will be in action in this weekend's series season openers February 7-8 at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. for Winter Dirt Games XI.
Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports two teenage series Rookies arrive to the series with a winning pedigree. Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) was the 2019 Fremont Speedway Sprint Car track champion while teammate Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) captured the 2017 USAC Micro Sprint title.
Both made four USAC National Midget starts at the conclusion of the 2019 season and progressively made strides, Kofoid earning 6th at the Turkey Night Grand Prix in Ventura, Calif. while Pursley bagged a pair of heat race wins at the speedy Arizona Speedway in his first two series appearances.
Andrew Layser finished within the top-ten on eight occasions in 24 starts during 2019 en route to series Rookie of the Year honors, with best finishes of 7th twice, both coming in his home state of Pennsylvania at Action Track USA and Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Robert Dalby (Anaheim, Calif.) enters the National scene full-time in 2020 as the reigning USAC Western States Midget champion with three wins to his credit. He was the best of the full-time western contingent last season, making eight feature starts with the National Midgets in experiencing several venues for the first time, topping it with a top-ten run at Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Neb.
In his first year with the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets in 2019, Jesse Colwell (Red Bluff, Calif.) saw vast improvement the more experience he gained throughout the course of a season. He captured the POWRi Midget crown and earned his first two career top-five finishes with USAC in the final four races, a 3rd at Placerville, Calif. and a 5th at Bakersfield, Calif.
In a limited schedule as a sub for the injured Zeb Wise in 2018, Cole Bodine (Rossville, Ind.) made the most of the opportunity and nearly scored a victory in his first week as a midget driver, leading a race-high 28 laps of the 40-lap feature and took 2nd after being passed by Logan Seavey with only four laps remaining at Sweet Springs, Mo. Bodine returns to the same Clauson/Marshall Racing team he raced for in 2018, the same team that earned a series-best 13 feature wins in 2019.
Furthermore, Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.) set fast qualifying time and finished 5th at Bloomington Speedway during Indiana Midget Week in 2019. Chase Jones (Greenwood, Ind.) earned a USAC Regional Midget series victory at Bloomington. Noah Gass (Mounds, Okla.) showed impressive speed in just a handful of USAC appearances one year ago.
Perhaps there's even someone who you don't expect who'll jump to the forefront and become the next to find victory with the series. In racing, there's always things you expect to see that wind up coming to fruition while, other times, the unexpected is the aspect that's expected. That's the beauty of it all, and we're eager to find out who that may be with the beginning of the new season.
This Friday night, February 7, the drivers meeting begins at 6pm Eastern with cars getting on track at 6:30pm. The action gets underway an hour earlier on Saturday night, February 8, with the drivers meeting set for 5pm and cars on track at 5:30pm.
General admission tickets both nights for adults are $25 and $20 for kids age 11-15. Pit passes are $35 apiece. You can watch all the action live on www.FloRacing.com or listen to free audio of the broadcast on the USAC app or on your desktop or laptop at http://mixlr.com/usac-official/. You may also follow along with live timing from the event on the USAC app.
A practice night for the midgets opens the Winter Dirt Games XI festivities on Thursday, February 6, from 6-9pm at Bubba Raceway Park. Grandstand tickets are free while pit passes are $20 apiece. The Sunoco Southern Fuels Gladiators will also be on the event card with the midgets all three nights.
USAC NATIONAL MIDGET FIRST-TIME WINNERS BY YEAR:
1956: (26) Shorty Templeman, Jack Turner, Eddie Sachs, Gays Biro, Gene Force, Johnnie Tolan, Andy Linden, Chuck Rodee, Gene Hartley, George Amick, Jimmy Davies, Jimmy Knight, Leroy Warriner, Rex Easton, Tony Bettenhausen, Al Alpern, Al Herman, Bud Clemons, Chuck Weyant, Earl Motter, Edgar Elder, Forrest Parker, Jimmy Reece, Johnnie Parsons, Mel McGaughy & Rodger Ward
1957: (12) Billy Garrett, Johnny Boyd, Len Sutton, A.J. Foyt, Danny Oakes, Frank Burany, Bill Chennault, Bob Tattersall, Don Branson, Hank Nykaza, Lloyd Ruby & Norm Hall
1958: (10) Bill Homeier, Bob Wente, Eddie Johnson, Joe Garson, Jim Packard, Johnny Moorhouse, Johnny Roberts, Mauri Wilson, Russ Congdon & Tony Bonadies
1959: (11) Cliff Spalding, Davey Moses, Tommy Copp, Bob McLean, Bob Veith, Dale Swaim, Don Boorse, Jiggs Peters, Johnny Baldwin, Larry McCloskey & Van Johnson
1960: (8) Billy Cantrell, Billy Wood, Bobby Grim, Bud Bogard, Buddy Rackley, Dick Northam, Johnny White & Potsy Goacher
1961: (8) Allen Crowe, Parnelli Jones, Porky Rachwitz, Arnie Knepper, Bobby Marshman, Danny Frye, Joe Walter & Verne Harriman
1962: (8) Roger McCluskey, Mel Kenyon, Ronnie Duman, Dwight Brown, Harry Beck, Jim McElreath, Johnny Riva & Russ Moynagh
1963: (8) Bobby Unser, Don Horvath, Allen Heath, Bob Harkey, Chuck Hulse, Dean Holden, Elmer George & Mike McGreevy
1964: (5) Ray Elliott, Don Meacham, Bob Hogle, George Snider & Lowell Sachs
1965: (6) Les Scott, Dick Atkins, George Benson, Henry Pens, Ned Spath & Sonny Ates
1966: (9) Chuck Arnold, Billy Vukovich, Billy Mehner, Cotton Farmer, Larry Dickson, Dave Strickland, Frank Secrist, Mario Andretti & Tom Sellberg
1967: (7) Gary Bettenhausen, Bob Hare, Bob Hauck, Bob Richards, Dutch Schaefer, Gene Roehl & Jimmy Caruthers
1968: (10) Sam Sessions, Tom Bigelow, Burt Foland, Gene Pastor, Jigger Sirois, Lee Kunzman, Merle Bettenhausen, Paul Bates, Roger West & Steve Troxell
1969: (7) Don Vogler, Billy Engelhart, Bill Kollman, Bruce Walkup, Hank Butcher, Larry Cannon & Larry Rice
1970: (3) Jerry McClung, Mel Cornett & Johnny Parsons
1971: (7) Danny Caruthers, Gary Ponzini, John Batts, Eddie Jackson, Jim McClean, Jimmy Kirk & Steve Cannon
1972: (8) Pancho Carter, Rich Vogler, Rick Goudy, Danny O'Neill, J.P. Standley, Joe Saldana, Sam Sauer & Tony Simon
1973: (7) Bobby Olivero, Billy Shuman, Tommy Astone, Chuck Gurney, Jim Beckley, Leo Tucker & Mike Gregg
1974: (4) Danny McKnight, Gary Byers, Richard Powell & Sleepy Tripp
1975: (3) Dana Carter, Ken Nichols & Larry Patton
1976: (6) Jan Opperman, Bruce Robey, Bubby Jones, Buddy Taylor, Steve Lotshaw & Tom Steiner
1977: (6) Buddy Irwin, Gary Patterson, Jerry Nuckles, Jerry Stone, Ron Shuman & Roy Cook, Jr.
1978: (3) Jeff Heywood, Jerry Weeks & Billy Cassella
1979: (4) Lonnie Caruthers, Barry Butterworth, Jeff Nuckles & Stan Fox
1980: (4) Ken Schrader, Dave Ray, Mack McClellan & Terry Wente
1981: (3) Warren Mockler, Dave Strickland, Jr. & Gene Gennetten
1982: (4) Alan Brown, Dick Pole, Doug Wolfgang & Greg Leffler
1983: (6) Kevin Olson, Jim Hines, Mike Fedorcak, Nick Fornoro, Jr., Todd Forbes & Tommy White
1984: (2) Bob Cicconi & Rick Hood
1985: (6) Bruce Field, Barry Reed, Brent Kaeding, Drew Fornoro, John Andretti & Russ Gamester
1986: (5) Blake Hollingsworth, John Heydenreich, Kevin Doty, Kevin Koch & Sam Isenhower
1987: (6) Steve Knepper, Dan Boorse, Jack Hewitt, Lee Smith, Mike Appio & Stevie Reeves
1988: (7) Jack Calabrase, Jim Keeker, Danny Pens, Dean Billings, J.R. Miller, Mike Streicher & P.J. Jones
1989: (6) Robby Flock, Don Schilling, Jeff Gordon, Richard Myhre, Steve Gennetten & Terry Farrar
1990: (4) Graham Standring, Jim Hettinger, John Meyers & Keith Rauch
1991: (6) Page Jones, Donnie Beechler, Johnny Cofer, Michael Lang, Tony Elliott & Wally Pankratz
1992: (6) Doug Kalitta, Kenneth Nichols, Dan Drinan, Kenny Irwin, Jr., Eric Wilkins & Joe Gaerte
1993: (7) Andy Michner, Critter Malone, Jimmy Sills, Mike Bliss, Randy Tolsma, Tony Stewart & Tyce Carlson
1994: (3) Brian Gerster, Jordan Hermansader & Ted Hines
1995: (2) Billy Boat & Jack Runyon
1996: (4) Tracy Hines, Jay Drake, Jerry Coons, Jr. & Randy Koch
1997: (4) Jason Leffler, Ryan Newman, Dave Darland & Jimmy McCune
1998: (2) Ricky Shelton & Dave Steele
1999: (3) Ed Carpenter, J.J. Yeley & Ron Smoker
2000: (4) Kasey Kahne, Aaron Pollock, Dane Carter & Michael Lewis
2001: (2) Bobby East & A.J. Fike
2002: (4) Aaron Fike, Mike Hess, Ryan Scott & Teddy Beach
2003: (1) Josh Wise
2004: (5) Davey Ray, Billy Wease, David Gough, Ron Gregory & Travis Miniea
2005: (5) Brad Kuhn, Bryan Clauson, Danny Stratton, Johnny Rodriguez & Scott Hatton
2006: (7) Bobby Santos, Brady Bacon, Bud Kaeding, Darren Hagen, Kevin Swindell, Ryan Durst & Shane Cottle
2007: (4) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Cory Kruseman, Levi Jones & Michael Pickens
2008: (6) Brad Sweet, Cole Whitt, Bradley Galedrige, Brian Olson, Chuck Gurney, Jr. & Kody Swanson
2009: (1) Caleb Armstrong
2010: (3) Shane Hmiel, Steve Buckwalter & Tanner Swanson
2011: (2) Kyle Larson & Zach Daum
2012: (1) Kyle Hamilton
2013: (2) Christopher Bell & Rico Abreu
2014: (0) None
2015: (2) Tanner Thorson & Kevin Thomas, Jr.
2016: (3) Chad Boat, Shane Golobic & Spencer Bayston
2017: (2) Tyler Courtney & Justin Grant
2018: (3) Logan Seavey, Tyler Thomas & Zeb Wise
2019: (5) Cannon McIntosh, Chris Windom, Jason McDougal, Tanner Carrick & Gio Scelzi
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