FF: DuQuoin to host 2005 indoor championship

DuQuoin To Host Indoor Focus Championship The USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series will compete indoors for the first time in its four-year history as the premiere event in January and February 2005 at America's newest indoor racing ...

DuQuoin To Host Indoor Focus Championship

The USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series will compete indoors for the first time in its four-year history as the premiere event in January and February 2005 at America's newest indoor racing facility in DuQuoin, Ill., it was announced Tuesday.

The $13 million Southern Illinois Center, located just southwest of the first turn of the Magic Mile at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, will host 40-lap features Jan. 16 and Feb. 19 on a 1/6-mile dirt oval, which will be part of a two-race Southern Illinois Center USAC Focus Indoor Championship. Points will not be afforded toward any of USAC's existing division championships. Tom Via and Wide Open Motorsports will promote the races, which will run in conjunction with micro-sprints.

"This is neat," said Eric Bunn, USAC's National Ford Focus Midget series coordinator. "This building is one of the most important buildings for open-wheel racing in a long time because it was built with auto racing in mind. The state of Illinois should be proud of this facility and its achievement."

Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. and Brad Loyet of St. Louis, Mo. logged nearly 150 laps in tests Tuesday in the Focus midgets at the track, which has already featured motorcycle racing. Loyet also tested a micro-sprint.

"It should be really fast," said the 17-year-old Loyet, who finished fourth in the 2004 Midwest Ford Focus Midget Car Series point standings. "We worked the bottom and it was really fast. I'm looking forward to racing here."

Darland, who tested a car owned by 3-K Racing, said fans should expect an action-packed event on both occasions.

"It's got a lot of potential," said the two-time USAC National Midget Car Series champion. "It still needs to be packed a little tighter, but they've got some time to do that. It's a good-shaped track, and fans should be very happy to see it.

"It's definitely a step in the right direction as far as bringing midgets indoors more. It will be very exciting for the Ford Focus midgets, and the drivers should enjoy it."

USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series racing began in 2002 in California and expanded to the Midwest in 2003. Virginia and the Carolinas, as well as the Indianapolis Speedrome, launched series in 2004, while four new regions Northwest, Northeast, Oklahoma and Florida are set to debut in 2005.

Ticket prices will be announced when finalized.

--USAC

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Series USAC
Drivers Dave Darland , Brad Loyet