INDIANAPOLIS – For the past six decades, the USAC Midgets have been coming to the Kokomo Speedway. The 1/4-mile dirt track just north of Indianapolis is the only venue from USAC’s initial National Midget season of 1956 that remains on the series’ calendar to this day.
On Friday, the 74th ever Midget race at Kokomo will occur, with Saturday being the 75th event. It’s a doubleheader weekend at the Kokomo Speedway as this weekend is the first two races where the national midgets have been outdoors.
The previous races this year were all indoor races.
Justin Grant captured his first career USAC National Midget victory indoors at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin in March, making history by becoming the first to win the USAC National Sprint and National Midget openers in the same season.
Grant will have to contend with a number of racers who are eager to put their stamp on the early part of the 2017 season. His CMR teammate, Shane Golobic, finished right behind him at Du Quoin. Arizona’s Jerry Coons, Jr. and Indiana’s Dave Darland are two of the most decorated drivers in the history of the United States Auto Club and both know their way around Kokomo in any type of car they get behind the wheel of.
Defending series champion Tanner Thorson got off to a rough start in Du Quoin with a 21st place result, but hopes to rebound at Kokomo along with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammates Spencer Bayston and a trio of first-time win-seekers Ryan Robinson, Holly Shelton and series rookie Tanner Carrick.
Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon got his first career USAC National Midget win at Kokomo way back in 2006 while Arizona’s Chad Boat led much of the series’ most recent appearance at the track in June of 2016.
In that 2016 race, Rico Abreu’s late-race magic included sliding teammate Christopher Bell for third simultaneously as second-running Spencer Bayston got sideways between turns three and four. Abreu banged wheels with Bayston, ricocheting in front of Bayston and into second-place with ten laps to go.
A yellow for debris in turns three and four closed the gap between first and second, providing Abreu a lifeline and a chance by placing him right on Boat’s tail tank for the restart. At the drop of the green, Abreu rode the razor’s edge up against the wall as Boat matriculated the middle groove. Abreu continued to grind and grind as he pressured Boat, ultimately pulling alongside Boat in a drag race that resulted in a near dead-heat at the start/finish line on lap 22.
Abreu was seemingly shot out of a cannon each time at the exit of turns two and four, distancing himself from Boat in the waning laps to take the victory ahead of Bayston and Boat. Meanwhile, Bryan Clauson was crowned “Indiana Midget Week” champion for his performance throughout the five-race mini-series.
ProSource qualifying for Friday night’s program begins at 6:30pm with racing set for 7:30pm. On Saturday night, the action gets underway a half-hour earlier with qualifying at 6pm and racing at 7pm. Pit and spectator gates open both days at 3pm.
Adult general admission is just $20 for both nights of racing that feature USAC National Midgets and Kokomo Sprint Cars. Kids 10 and Under are FREE with Paid Adult. Pit passes are $35
Fans worldwide who are unable to make it to Kokomo Speedway in-person this Friday and Saturday can witness the “Kokomo Grand Prix” LIVE on http://www.SpeedShiftTV.com/. And the following day, you can catch the race on-demand at http://www.Loudpedal.TV/.