Knoxville preview

7TH "KNOXVILLE MIDGET NATIONALS" FRI.-SAT. IN IOWA This weekend's 7th Annual Pepsi "Knoxville Midget Nationals" presented by Iowa Telecom at Knoxville (Ia.) Raceway showcases the nation's finest Midget racing talent in two...

7TH "KNOXVILLE MIDGET NATIONALS" FRI.-SAT. IN IOWA

This weekend's 7th Annual Pepsi "Knoxville Midget Nationals" presented by Iowa Telecom at Knoxville (Ia.) Raceway showcases the nation's finest Midget racing talent in two nights of extreme competition on one of America's most storied 1/2-mile dirt ovals.

Friday night offers the "King Doodlebug Classic" and the "Knoxville Midget Nationals" finale unfolds on Saturday night, with participants from USAC's Mopar National Midget Series, BMARA, POWRi and SMRS competing for more than $33,000 in prize money.

A 20-lap feature event is slated Friday and Saturday's finale is 25 laps. A total of 165 laps of racing are on tap, with the top six finishers from Friday's "King Doodlebug Classic" transferring directly to Saturday's "Knoxville Midget Nationals" main event.

Darren Hagen and Ricky Stenhouse emerged victorious last year, Hagen taking the Friday race and Stenhouse winning the Saturday night feature. Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. will lead the Mopar USAC National Midget Series into the Knoxville weekend, three points ahead of Bobby East in the latest standings. In addition to Hagen, former winners of the "King Doodlebug Classic" are two-time USAC National Midget Champ Jerry Coons Jr. Danny Stratton and Craig Carey. Former "Knoxville Midget Nationals" winners in addition to Stenhouse are Bud Kaeding, Coons, Chad DeSelle and Mike Hess.

The Knoxville events coincide with this weekend's Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer Seeds Indy Car Series event at nearby Iowa Speedway in Newton.

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 past 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.

-credit: usac

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Series USAC
Drivers Tracy Hines , Bud Kaeding , Bobby East , Bill Hill , Darren Hagen , Danny Stratton , Jerry Coons Jr.