USAC TO SANCTION PEPSI/MT. DEW KNOXVILLE MIDGET NATIONALS INDIANAPOLIS -- USAC will return to the famed Knoxville Raceway half-mile in Iowa in 2006 for two nights of National Midget Car Series competition during the track's 17th annual National...
USAC TO SANCTION PEPSI/MT. DEW KNOXVILLE MIDGET NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS -- USAC will return to the famed Knoxville Raceway half-mile in Iowa in 2006 for two nights of National Midget Car Series competition during the track's 17th annual National Sprint Car Hall of Fame induction weekend.
The fifth annual "Pepsi/Mountain Dew Knoxville Midget Nationals" is scheduled for June 2-3, with the 20-lap "King Doodlebug Classic" headlining Friday's preliminary night activities. The 25-lap "Nationals" event is set for Saturday. Both races will award USAC National points, the first USAC National Midget points races at Knoxville since 1969.
"When you look at USAC's National Midget Car Series champions over the last fifteen years, you see names like Jeff Gordon (1990), Tony Stewart (1994, ' 95), the late Kenny Irwin Jr. (1996), Jason Leffler (1997, '98, '99), Kasey Kahne (2000) and J.J. Yeley (2003)," said Ralph Capitani, Knoxville's director of racing. "Clearly this series is a top rung on the ladder to NASCAR stock car racing. The addition of the prestigious USAC brand to this lucrative $33,000 two-day event fits perfectly into Knoxville Raceway's strategy of offering reasonably-priced national championship events at a world-class venue."
The event, which began in 2002, has been sanctioned by a number of groups over the past four years, including the Badger Midget Auto Racing Assocation, Gateway, the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association, the Midwest Auto Racing Association and the American Racing Drivers Club. All of the aforementioned groups are invited to showcase the 2006 event on their schedules.
"We are very excited that USAC will be returning to the Marion County Fairgrounds in 2006 with their National Midget Series after an absence of over 36 years," Capitani said. "At the same time, we are very appreciative of the efforts of the Badger, Gateway, Rocky Mountain, Midwest and American Racing Drivers clubs and teams over the past four seasons, and hope they will continue to support this truly 'national championship' event."
Added Rollie Helmling, USAC's President and CEO: "The United States Auto Club is honored to be asked to become part of this great Midget race and racing weekend at Knoxville Raceway. The addition of the USAC National Midget Car Series to the event will bring virtually all the nation's best Midget drivers to Knoxville. We look forward to working with other Midget sanctioning bodies to bring the Knoxville fans the 'Best of the Best' in Midget Racing. The USAC National Midget Car Series includes the nation's premier Midget racing events such as the 'Copper World Classic,' the 'Belleville Midget Nationals,' the 'Night Before the 500,' the 'Hut Hundred, ' and the 'Turkey Night Grand Prix,' and we look forward to including the 'Pepsi/Mountain Dew Knoxville Midget Nationals' into this prestigious group of events."
Former winners of the Saturday night feature include 2002 "Hut Hundred" winner Mike Hess (2002), Chad DeSelle (2003) and defending "Belleville Midget Nationals" champion Jerry Coons Jr. (2004). This year's main event was rained out. Danny Stratton won the 2005 "King Doodlebug Classic."
The Weld Racing Silver Crown Series was the last USAC division to compete at Knoxville in 2001. The Silver Crown Series will return to the Hawkeye State next season -- along with the USAC National Sprint Car Series -- Sept. 16 at the 7/8-mile paved Iowa Speedway in nearby Newton.
Multiple-time "Knoxville Nationals" winner Doug Wolfgang won USAC's last National Midget Car Series dirt race in Iowa in 1982 at Des Moines.