In a sense, this weekend marks a new beginning to the 2020 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget race season.
A layoff of more than two-and-a-half months amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has drivers and teams eager shake off the cobwebs and get back on the saddle as Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Port City Raceway awaits the debut of the series to the 1/8-mile this weekend, starting with open practice on Thursday, May 21, followed by full racing programs Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23 for the inaugural Werco Manufacturing T-Town Midget Showdown presented by B & H Contractors.
Though it will have been 76 days since the most recent race, Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) comes in on a hot streak, winning two of the first three events, the first in February at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Fla. and the most recent, in March, at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin.
The only other driver to reach victory lane besides Thorson through the first three events is Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.), whose debut with Tucker-Boat Motorsports has been exceptional to date with three top-threes in as many starts and a win on the second night at Ocala in February. He leads the points entering Port City.
The defending champ, Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) resides just six points back of Windom after finishes of 4th, 2nd and 20th through the three events thus far, just ahead of Cullman, Alabama’s Kevin Thomas Jr. in third, who’s tallied finishes of 7th, 4th and 11th thus far.
The top series Rookie thus far has been Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) with results of 3rd, 6th and 7th in his first three outings as a full-time driver, ahead of fellow Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports teammates, Cannon McIntosh of Bixby, Oklahoma, who was a standout in the micro sprints at Port City and twice a top-five finisher in Ocala this past February. Series Rookie Daison Pursley (Locust Grove, Okla.) has been solid with three top-tens in three starts, one of just three drivers to do that in 2020 along with Windom and Kofoid.
Last year’s series Rookie of the Year, Andrew Layser (Collegeville, Pa.), is one race removed from his best career USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget finish, a 3rd at Ocala on the second night of Winter Dirt Games. Tanner Carrick (Lincoln, Calif.) and Cole Bodine (Rossville, Ind.) are the only two drivers to improve their finishing position in each of the three events run thus far. Carrick – 11th, 10th & 8th and Bodine – 21st, 11th & 6th, which was his best run in two years since rejoining Clauson-Marshall Racing this year.
The last time USAC Midgets visited Oklahoma, Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) was the victor at Red Dirt Raceway in Meeker in July of 2019. The 2018 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champion finished 12th in each of his two starts this year in Ocala and is making his midget debut for Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports for whom he drives full-time with on the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car trail.
The Arizona-based team will also have Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.) making his USAC debut at Port City, one of three drivers making their first USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget appearance, along with KKM’s Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.), a Port City Micro veteran as well as Jesse Love Jr. (Menlo Park, Calif.), a six-time USAC Western HPD Midget champion between 2015 and 2017.
Also in the field for Port City are 2018 Jason Leffler Memorial winner and March Southern Illinois Center 2nd place finisher Tyler Thomas (Collinsville, Okla.), 4-time USAC Midget winner Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.), 2019 USAC Western States Midget champ Robert Dalby (Anaheim, Calif.), a career-best 4th place finisher at the Southern Illinois Center, plus Jesse Colwell (Red Bluff, Calif.), aiming for his third season start, Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.) his second, as well as Southern Illinois Center feature starters Ace McCarthy (Tahlequah, Okla.) (13th) and Trey Gropp (Lincoln, Neb.) (21st), and first-time 2020 starting hopefuls Gage Rucker (Bellflower, Mo.) and Tyler Nelson (Olathe, Kans.).
Making their 2020 USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget season debuts are 2001-02 champion and 30-time series winner Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.), two-time USAC Midget Special event winner Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.), Oklahoma frontrunners Blake Hahn (Sapulpa, Okla.) and Jonathan Beason (Broken Arrow, Okla.), plus USAC Midget veterans Clinton Boyles (Greenwood, Mo.), David Budres (Beloit, Wisc.), Curtis Spicer (Marysville, Kans.), Presley Truedson (Kennedy, Minn.) and more local Sooner State talent in Emilio Hoover (Broken Arrow, Okla.), Matt Sherrell (Owasso, Okla.), Noah Gass (Mounds, Okla.), Hank Davis (Sand Springs, Okla.) and Matt Moore (Bethany, Okla.).
The festivities kick off the day before the racing starts, on Thursday, May 21, at Port City with a practice session for all Midget and Micro Sprint entries from 6-9pm Central. Pit gates open at 4pm. The cost is $20 admission.
Both nights at Port City will include full series points-paying events with a complete program each night that culminates with a feature event. Cars hit the track each night for practice at 6:30pm central.
USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Chris Windom-202, 2-Tyler Courtney-196, 3-Kevin Thomas Jr. -188, 4-Buddy Kofoid-187, 5-Tanner Thorson-182, 6-Cannon McIntosh-178, 7-Andrew Layser-167, 8-Daison Pursley-158, 9-Tanner Carrick-149, 10-Cole Bodine-130
T-TOWN MIDGET SHOWDOWN ENTRY LIST
(As of May 19, 2020)
00 TREY GROPP/Lincoln, NE (Mounce Motorsports)
2ND DAVE DARLAND/Lincoln, IN (Dan Harris)
4 ROBERT DALBY/Anaheim, CA (Robert Dalby Motorsports)
4A JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (RAMS Racing)
4s CURTIS SPICER/Marysville, KS (Spicer Racecraft)
5 KEVIN THOMAS JR./Cullman, AL (Petry Motorsports)
5D ZACH DAUM/Pocahontas, IL (Daum Motorsports)
7BC TYLER COURTNEY/Indianapolis, IN (Clauson-Marshall Racing)
7JR J.D. BLACK/Grain Valley, MO (SevenJR Motorsports)
7x THOMAS MESERAULL/San Jose, CA (RMS)
8 JONATHAN BEASON/Broken Arrow, OK (Hard Eight Racing)
9 DAISON PURSLEY/Locust Grove, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
9H EMILIO HOOVER/Broken Arrow, OK (Steve Reynolds)
9x TBA (Mounce Motorsports)
10J MATT SHERRELL/Owasso, OK (Hunt Brothers Racing)
19 TANNER THORSON/Minden, NV (Hayward Motorsports)
19A HAYDEN REINBOLD/Gilbert, AZ (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
19AZ LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)
19G GAGE RUCKER/Bellflower, MO (Hayward Motorsports)
19m ETHAN MITCHELL/Mooresville, N.C. (Bundy Built Motorsports)
20G NOAH GASS/Mounds, OK (Randy Gass)
21KS JESSE COLWELL/Red Bluff, CA (Steve Reynolds)
28 ACE MCCARTHY/Tahlequah, OK (Dave Mac Motorsports)
31 DAVID BUDRES/Beloit, WI (Manic Racing)
32T TREY MARCHAM/Oklahoma City, OK (Trey Marcham)
35 TANNER CARRICK/Lincoln, CA (Petry Motorsports)
39BC COLE BODINE/Rossville, IN (Clauson-Marshall Racing)
42 HANK DAVIS/Sand Springs, OK (Dean Franklin)
52 BLAKE HAHN/Sapulpa, OK (Blake Hahn)
67 BUDDY KOFOID/Penngrove, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71 KAYLEE BRYSON/Muskogee, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71K CANNON McINTOSH/Bixby, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
71x PRESLEY TRUEDSON/Kennedy, MN (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
82 ANDREW LAYSER/Collegeville, PA (Tucker-Boat Motorsports)
85 MATT MOORE/Bethany, OK (Central Motor Sports)
88 TYLER NELSON/Olathe, KS (Tyler Nelson)
89 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL (Tucker-Boat Motorsports)
91T TYLER THOMAS/Collinsville, OK (Brian Thomas)
97 JESSE LOVE JR./Menlo Park, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)
98 CLINTON BOYLES/Greenwood, MO (RMS)