Oklahoma has produced some of the top talent with USAC’s National series, especially throughout the decade of the 2010s, bringing championships, race wins in all three series, Rookie of the Year awards and a plethora of hardware. Presenting in no particular order, here are some of the most successful USAC drivers of all-time from the Sooner State.
Jackie Howerton, a Sprint regular from Tulsa, stunned the Indiana State Fairgrounds patrons with his smooth driving style as he outdueled Viceroy teammates Al Unser and Mario Andretti in one of the all-time great finishes in Hoosier Hundred history back in 1974. Howerton was also a victor once with the USAC National Sprint Cars as well in June of 1976 at Eldora Speedway.
Watch clips from Jackie Howerton's surprise Hoosier Hundred victory in 1974:
USAC’s first Oklahoma-born National Midget champion was a top-line talent seemingly right out of the box when he joined the series full-time for the 2013 season, winning seven races while becoming the first Rookie to win the series driving title in over four decades. Since then, the Norman native has racked up 23 total series wins along with a Silver Crown score en route to becoming a full-time driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series.
Highlights of Christopher Bell's win at Red Dirt in 2018:
The first USAC National Sprint Car champion representative from Oklahoma came along the year after Bell’s Midget championship, winning the first of his two series titles in 2014 then again in 2016. The Broken Arrow talent is USAC’s winningest Oklahoma National driver with 31 career Sprint victories, 8 Midget scores and 2 Silver Crown wins. His 333 USAC Sprint starts currently rank within the top-ten all-time.
See highlights from Brady's most recent USAC National Sprint Car win at Ocala:
McDougal, out of Broken Arrow, burst onto the USAC scene in 2018 and was immediately one of the most exciting drivers on the circuit where he scored a pair of National Sprint wins at I-55 Raceway in Missouri and Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey, along with two Midget triumphs at Nebraska’s Jefferson County Speedway and Indiana’s Tri-State Speedway.
Watch Jason McDougal's win at I-55 in 2018:
Mooreland, Oklahoma’s Troy Ruttman’s career spanned through the latter years of AAA and into the early years of USAC. AAA, the precursor to USAC, was where Ruttman won three AAA Sprint Car titles in the forthcoming years and captured the 1952 Indianapolis 500 victory and still stands as the youngest driver to win the race at 22 years old. In the initial season of USAC, his versatility also earned him the 1956 Short Track Stock Car driving championship.
Cannon McIntosh demonstrated grace under fire quite literally in the 2019 Shamrock Classic USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget feature at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin. A fuel leak during hot laps ignited the Bixby, Oklahoma driver’s ride, giving the 16-year-old driver a scare. Using a borrowed firesuit from Grady Chandler, McIntosh raced to his first career series victory in just his second series start, re-passing defending series champion Logan Seavey late in the going to claim the win.
Watch highlights of Cannon's first USAC National Midget triumph at the 2019 Shamrock Classic:
For much of the decade of the 2010s, Tyler Thomas waited patiently for his turn at USAC glory. There were the heartaches and the struggles, but the fire never waned inside the Collinsville, Oklahoma driver. His turn finally arrived in October 2018 as he captured his first career USAC National Midget feature win at the Jason Leffler Memorial at Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Illinois. The triumph came just shy of two months following his first career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car win at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway in August. By doing so, he became the first driver to win both his first career USAC National Sprint Car and USAC National Midget features in the same season since Kyle Larson in 2011.
Watch Tyler's first career USAC National Midget Win at Wayne City in 2018:
The T-Town Showdown 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.
T-Town Midget Showdown tickets are now on sale at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/2020-t-town-midget-showdown.
Both nights of USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget racing at Port City on Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23 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.
Both nights of the T-Town Midget Showdown at Port City will be shown live on FloRacing.