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The Sooner State of Oklahoma hasn’t been the most oft-visited part of the country for the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets over the past six decades of the club’s history, but the interrupted 2020 season gets back going in the state with the series debut at Port City Raceway in Tulsa on May 22-23 for the Werco Manufacturing T-Town Showdown presented by B & H Contractors.
Just barely more than a couple handful of USAC National Midget races have been held in the state. However, the trips to Oklahoma have become more frequent in recent years with a pair of visits in each of the last two seasons to Red Dirt Raceway in Meeker.
But the first? Well, it came all the way back in 1957 when “Hard Luck” Lloyd Ruby, known as such due to his prolonged misfortune at the Indianapolis 500 despite being in contention to win a number of times. However, the supremely talented Texan was all smiles in winning the first of his two career USAC National Midget races in the first visit by the series to Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City, a racetrack that was constructed around a football field.
By 1962, Jimmy Davies had the past two USAC National Midget titles in his back pocket and was en route to a third consecutive when he scored the victory at Taft Stadium in May of that year.
The first of Jimmy Caruthers’ seven victories during his 1970 USAC National Midget championship season came at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds, his second career win with the series.
Roger West earned his fourth career USAC National Midget driving victory, and first for future USAC Silver Crown owner champion car owner George Middleton. That came in 1970 at Lawton Speedway.
Bob Wente became the first to reach 60 USAC National Midget feature victories near the end of the 1969 season, in October at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds half-mile dirt oval. Five years later, he won his first in a car entered by himself, win number 65 and his first in nearly three years at Enid Speedway. One month later, short track master Steve Cannon was the victor at the Fairgrounds.
In early 1975, a pair of USAC Midget races took place indoors over a weekend at the Oklahoma City Sports Arena, with John Batts notching the final of his three career victories with the series while Sleepy Tripp won the closer, his third career series win and the second that came indoors during the early part of the season that led to the series title, which he’d repeat again in 1976.
In 2018’s Red Dirt Raceway series debut, Oklahoman Christopher Bell drove Keith Kunz’s machine to victory lane for the 100th time with the series at Tuesday Night Thunder. In the 2019 meet at Red Dirt, 2018 USAC National Midget champ Logan Seavey led the final seven laps in a 30-lap race that witnessed seven lead changes and six different leaders.
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 at 6:30pm central. A practice night on Thursday, May 21, will precede the event.
Watch highlights from the most recent USAC National Midget visit to Oklahoma in 2019:
OKLAHOMA USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINNERS:
1957: Lloyd Ruby, USAC Midget at Taft Stadium – Oklahoma City, Okla.
1962: Jimmy Davies, USAC Midget at Taft Stadium – Oklahoma City, Okla.
1969: Bob Wente, USAC Midget at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds – Oklahoma City, Okla.
1970: Jimmy Caruthers, USAC Midget at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds – Oklahoma City, Okla.
1970: Roger West, USAC Midget at Lawton Speedway – Lawton, Okla.
1974: Bob Wente, USAC Midget at Enid Speedway – Enid, Okla.
1974: Steve Cannon, USAC Midget at Enid Speedway – Enid, Okla.
1975: John Batts, USAC Midget at the Oklahoma City Sports Arena – Oklahoma City, Okla.
1975: Sleepy Tripp, USAC Midget at the Oklahoma City Sports Arena – Oklahoma City, Okla.
2018: Christopher Bell, USAC Midget at Red Dirt Raceway – Meeker, Okla.
2019: Logan Seavey, USAC Midget at Red Dirt Raceway – Meeker, Okla.