Indiana Midget Week preview

INDIANA MIDGET WEEK OPENS WEDNESDAY AT GAS CITY; NORTH VERNON ADDED TO 2009 CALENDAR (THURSDAY) Indiana Midget Week 5 opens next Wednesday night at the Gas City (Ind.) I-69 Speedway and the five-race series is expected to attract stellar fields...

INDIANA MIDGET WEEK OPENS WEDNESDAY AT GAS CITY; NORTH VERNON ADDED TO 2009 CALENDAR (THURSDAY)

Indiana Midget Week 5 opens next Wednesday night at the Gas City (Ind.) I-69 Speedway and the five-race series is expected to attract stellar fields and fans from across the country. New to this year's Indiana Midget Week calendar is the first-ever appearance at Twin Cities Raceway Park in North Vernon, Ind. (Thursday (June 11) and return visits to tracks at Lawrenceburg, Kokomo and Bloomington.

Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. is the defending champion of Indiana Midget Week and is sixth in the current USAC Mopar National Midget standings in his Tony Stewart Racing entry. Shane Cottle won the first two Indiana Midget Week titles and Jerry Coons Jr. was the 2007 champion.

Darren Hagen of Riverside, Calif. is atop the point standings entering the five-race series but his perch is precarious and these five races will be critical in shaping the battle for the National Championship, which concludes in November. Coons is only seven points behind Hagen, while Bobby East is only 16 back. Brad Kuhn and Brad Sweet are also within one-race striking distance as well.

The battle for the 2009 National Championship is one of the most intense in recent series history, with nine drivers packed within a 100-point range. Trailing sixth-ranking Hines in the title hunt are Kevin Swindell, defending champ Cole Whitt and Chad Boat. Hines' teammate Levi Jones rounds out the "top-10" in the standings.

Eleven different drivers have tasted victory in the previous 13 Indiana Midget Week races. Only Cottle and Davey Ray have been able to post a repeat win, testifying to the intense competition this series generates.

Despite winning the 2008 title, Hines has never won in Indiana Midget Week competition. That could change when the 2009 version opens next week.

The series competes at Gas City Wednesday, North Vernon Thursday, then travels to Bloomington Speedway Friday (June 12) and Lawrenceburg Speedway Saturday (June 13) before concluding at Kokomo Speedway on Flag Day, Sunday night (June 14).

Feature winners in last year's Indiana Midget Week races were Kuhn (Gas City), Ray (Bloomington), Sweet (Lawrenceburg) and Bryan Clauson (Kokomo).

-credit: --USAC--

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Kevin Swindell , Brad Kuhn , Tracy Hines , Bobby East , Levi Jones , Davey Ray , Shane Cottle , Bryan Clauson , Darren Hagen , Cole Whitt , Brad Sweet , Chad Boat , Jerry Coons Jr.