Kruseman guaranteed starter for King Doodlebug

Kruseman Guaranteed Starter For June 4 "King Doodlebug" KNOXVILLE, IOWA (February 21, 2004) - 2004 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals winner Cory Kruseman of California earned himself a guaranteed starting position in this year's ...

Kruseman Guaranteed Starter For June 4 "King Doodlebug"

KNOXVILLE, IOWA (February 21, 2004) - 2004 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals winner Cory Kruseman of California earned himself a guaranteed starting position in this year's $1,000-to-win Pepsi/Mt. Dew "King Doodlebug" Invitational on Friday, June 4, at Knoxville Raceway by virtue of his exciting win in the Tulsa, Okla., Expo Center last month. The former National Non-Winged Sprint Car Poll "Driver of the Year" joins other guaranteed starters Davey Ray of Iowa, Steve Knepper of Illinois, Kenny Lewis of Colorado, Ray Bull, Jr., of Pennsylvania, Josh Wise of California, Chad DeSelle of Wisconsin, Aaron Fike of Illinois, J.J. Yeley of Arizona and Bobby East of Indiana.

Ray earned his guaranteed starting spot as the 2003 Badger Midget Auto Racing Association (BMARA) champion, while Knepper did likewise as 2003 Midwest Auto Racing Association (MARA) champion). The same can be said for 2003 champions Kenny Lewis of the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association (RMMRA) and Ray Bull, Jr., of the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC).

DeSelle garnered his spot in the 15-car, 15-lap "King Doodlebug" Invitational as defending champion of the Pepsi/Mt. Dew Knoxville Midget Championship. Other major race winners were Wise in the 2003 Belleville Midget Nationals, Ray in the Sun Prairie Fireman's Nationals, and Kruseman in the Chili Bowl. Aaron Fike was runner-up to Ray at Sun Prairie and will earn his spot from that finish. The final two guaranteed starters will go to the top unqualified drivers from the 2003 National Midget Driver of the Year rankings, which was also taken out by Fike. Thus, Yeley and East will be guaranteed starters.

Five other drivers will gain "King Doodlebug" starter status by virtue of their heat race wins on Friday, June 4. MARA regular Craig Carey of Springfield, Illinois, is the defending "King Doodlebug" titlist. 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 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).

In addition to the Pepsi/Mt. Dew Knoxville Midget Championship on June 4-5 at the Knoxville Raceway, it will also be the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame induction weekend on the Marion County Fairgrounds. The Hoosier Tire Midwest Masters Classic 360-cubic-inch sprint car race will be held on Friday night for drivers age fifty and over, and the Kin Folks-sponsored 410 c.i. sprint car division will be in action on Saturday evening with the 30-car Pepsi/Mt. Dew Knoxville Midget Championship race. The fifteen annual NSCHoF induction banquet will be held on Saturday afternoon on the fairgrounds.

Those seeking further information on the Pepsi/Mt. Dew Knoxville Midget Championship are urged to visit Knoxville's web-site, www.knoxvilleraceway.com. Those with more information on the "King Doodlebug" history are urged to contact the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum at sprintcarhof@sprintcarhof.com.

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Series Midget
Drivers J.J. Yeley , Aaron Fike , Cory Kruseman , Bobby East , Bill Hill , Josh Wise , Davey Ray , Steve Knepper , Chad DeSelle , Ray Bull