By RICHIE MURRAY
DU QUOIN, IL – Thomas Meseraull has been tabbed as the driver of the Amati Racing No. 66 for this Saturday’s “Junior Knepper 55” USAC Midget Special Event at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin.
Meseraull and Amati have paired up in the past for four USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature victories in 2015 and 2016. In the 2016 “Knepper 55,” the San Jose, California posted an eighth place finish for the Amati team.
“We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with T-Mez once again,” Amati Racing stated in a post on its Facebook page. “We hope that we can carry over the success we had on the USAC sprint car tour in 2015-2016 into the opener of the indoor midget racing season.”
While Meseraull’s prowess in recent years has been in the seat of a sprint car with seven career USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car wins, Meseraull has a collection of midget racing successes in the past, including a second-place finish at Du Quoin’s indoor midget race in 2011.
Additionally, he won a USAC Midget non-points special event at California’s Irwindale Speedway in 2004, plus three career USAC Western States Midget victories and a Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) title in 2004.
Meseraull has joined a “Knepper 55” field that anticipates at least 58 entries for the Saturday, December 16th indoor dirt midget race with a driver lineup that includes past Du Quoin Midget winners Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (Olive Branch, Miss.), Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) and Shane Golobic (Fremont, Calif.).
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champions Christopher Bell (Norman, Okla.) and Matt Crafton (Tulare, Calif.) are set for action on the 1/6-mile bullring along with 2017 NASCAR Truck Series Rookie of the Year Chase Briscoe (Mitchell, Ind.), two-time Indiana Midget Week champ Shane Cottle, 2016 “Belleville Midget Nationals” winner Chad Boat (Phoenix, Ariz.) and 2006 “Turkey Night Grand Prix” winner Billy Wease.
Past feature midget race winners at Du Quoin in the month of December include Casey Shuman (2010), Bryan Clauson (2011), Tony Stewart (2012), Joey Saldana (2014), Stenhouse (2015) and Courtney (2016).
Fans can purchase their tickets and souvenir t-shirts for the third running of the “Knepper 55” at http://www.usactickets.com/.
The 55-lap event honors the memory of one of USAC’s most accomplished car owners – Walter “Junior” Knepper of Belleville, Illinois – whose famed yellow number 55 midgets and sprint cars raced to 58 career USAC feature victories, including 34 in Sprints and 24 in Midgets, with drivers Bob Wente, Tom Bigelow, Mel Kenyon, George Snider, Dana Carter, Rich Vogler and his son Steve Knepper.
Nick Knepper, grandson of Junior and son of 13-time USAC National Midget winner Steve Knepper, will promote the event along with Derek LeMaster.
Cars are scheduled to hit the track at 4pm (Central). Pits open at 10am and spectator gates open at 3pm. A format utilizing passing points will be used to seed the feature lineups.