BOAT, COONS, DARLAND, EAST, FIKE, HATTON, HINES & JONES ENTER SEVENTH KNOXVILLE MIDGET NATIONALS ON JUNE 20-21
KNOXVILLE, IOWA (April 19, 2008) - Possibly one of the most talent-laden midget car fields of the season will occur June 20-21 for the seventh annual Knoxville Midget Nationals, which will again be sanctioned by the United States Auto Club (USAC), Badger Midget Auto Racing Association (BMARA), POWRi, and the Southern Midget Racing Series (SMRS). To date, sixteen entries have been received from drivers in six states, including such up-and-coming and veteran stars as Chad Boat, Jerry Coons (Jr.), Dave Darland, Bobby East, Aaron Fike, Scott Hatton, Tracy Hines and Levi Jones. Entry forms are available on www.knoxvilleraceway.com under "Entry Forms".
The two-day Knoxville Midget Nationals is one of the marquee events on USAC's 2008 MOPAR National Midget Car Series schedule. An open track practice for midget cars is slated at Knoxville Raceway on Thursday, June 19. The Friday night King Doodlebug Classic is 20 laps and will pay $1,650 to win from a total purse of $11,845. Past winners of the King Doodlebug Classic are Darren Hagen (Riverside, CA; 2007), Jerry Coons, Jr. (Tucson, AZ; 2004, '06), Danny Stratton (Fontana, CA; 2005), and Craig Carey (Riverton, IL; 2003). Joining the midget cars that night will be the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour (ASCoT) winged 360-cubic-inch sprint cars, led by Gary Wright, Jason Johnson, Travis Rilat, Wayne Johnson and others.
The Saturday night Knoxville Midget Nationals is 25 laps and will pay $3,350 to win from a total purse of $21,785. Past winners of the Knoxville Midget Nationals are 2007 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Olive Branch, MS; 2007), Brandon "Bud" Kaeding (Campbell, CA; 2006), Mother Nature (2005), Jerry Coons Jr. (Tucson, AZ; 2004), Chad DeSelle (Sun Prairie, WI; 2003), and Mike Hess (Petersburg, IL; 2002). Joining the midget cars that night will be the Knoxville Championship Cup Series winged 410-cubic-inch sprint cars, including Brian Brown, Billy Alley, A.J. "Skip" Jackson, Brooke Tatnell, Justin Henderson, Dion Hindi and others.
The non-winged, open-wheeled midget car racing events at Knoxville again coincide with the Saturday-Sunday, June 21-22, appearance of the Indy Racing League (IRL) IndyCar Series events at the Iowa Speedway in nearby Newton. Historically in America, Indy Car racers came from the ranks of successful midget car and sprint car drivers. The Sunday afternoon Iowa Corn Indy 250 is a perfect conclusion to the Knoxville Midget Nationals weekend of dirt track midget and sprint car racing.
According to National Speed Sport News editor emeritus Chris Economaki, the term "doodlebug" was created by the "big car" gentry in the late 1930's for the increasingly-popular "midget" car. Walter E. Bull, who founded the Illustrated Speedway News, then started a contest to crown "King Doodlebug". According to National Sprint Car Museum board members Larry Ball, Jr., and Bill Hill, the following six drivers were all crowned King Doodlebug: Cletus "Cowboy" O'Rourke (1938), Bill Holmes (1939), Al Bonnell (1946), Ed "Dutch" Schaefer (1947), Bill Schindler (1948), and Ralph Pratt (1949). The title was revived in 2003 at Knoxville Raceway as part of that year's Knoxville Midget Nationals.
Those seeking more information on the Knoxville Midget Nationals are urged to visit the legendary half-mile dirt track's web site at www.knoxvilleraceway.com.