Du QUOIN, IL – USAC Triple Crown champ Dave Darland, “Belleville Midget Nationals” winner Chad Boat and Chili Bowl Prelim Night winner Alex Bright have entered the fray for the USAC National Midget season-opening “Shamrock Classic” at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin on Saturday, March 18.
Darland is one of just six drivers to have claimed titles in USAC’s National Midget, National Sprint and Silver Crown divisions during his career. The Lincoln, Indiana veteran will be in the seat of Gray Racing No. 11 in which he aims to find victory lane in the series for the first time in three seasons. During his illustrious career in which he has amassed more than 100 USAC victories, 30 of those came in a USAC National Midget event, ranking him 11th all-time.
Boat picked up his first three career USAC National Midget victories in 2016, all within the span of a week in early August. The first of which came at the bullring of Jefferson County Speedway in Fairbury, Neb. before sweeping both nights at Belleville to close out the weekend. The Phoenix, Ariz. driver is a two-time Rookie of the Year in both the USAC National Midget and National Sprint divisions and is the son of 1995 USAC Western States Midget champ and 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Billy Boat.
Collegeville, Pennsylvania’s Bright is renowned for his success in a midget on a resume that is highlighted by a 2016 ARDC title as well as a preliminary night feature win at the “Chili Bowl Midget Nationals” in Tulsa, Oklahoma in January of 2016. Bright has made 40 career USAC National Midget feature starts, including a second-place finish at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway in 2012, but is still seeking his first trip to victory lane.
Additionally, defending USAC National Midget champion Tanner Thorson leads a five-car Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian stable into Du Quoin that includes Spencer Bayston, Holly Shelton, Ryan Robinson and Tanner Carrick.
Christopher Bell, a USAC National Midget champion for KKM in 2013, will pilot the No. 21. The versatile Norman, Oklahoma native recently won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tucson, Arizona’s Jerry Coons, Jr. is one of just six drivers part of the exclusive USAC Triple Crown Club. A pair of first-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature winners from 2016 have signed up to rumble at Du Quoin. Brent Beauchamp of Fairland, Ind., is entered in his own No. 11 while Kyle Cummins of Princeton, Ind. intends to make his USAC National Midget debut.
St. Charles, Missouri’s Andy Malpocker knows the 1/6-mile indoor dirt track in Du Quoin well. Just two weeks ago, Malpocker captured a USAC Speed2 IMRA/Midwest Thunder Midget feature victory at the track during the “Open Wheel Extravaganza” at the Southern Illinois Center.
A handful of flyin’ Illini have mailed in their entries including 2015 Indy Invitational winner Kyle Schuett of Philo as well as Tim Siner (Dupo), Daniel Robinson (Ewing), Brayton Lynch (Springfield), Jake Neuman (New Berlin), Korey Weyant (Springfield) and Terry Babb (Decatur).
Entries continue to pour in for the $3900-to-win USAC Midget National Championship season opener which brings the series indoors for its only points race of the season. Last year’s “Shamrock” brought 54 midgets to battle it out for the “Pot of Gold” trophy and many additional entries are expected to be filed within the next couple weeks leading up to raceday.
Free entry is available for all “Shamrock Classic” competitors courtesy of R.E. Griesemer at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/shamrock-classic-at-du-quoin-entry. Use the code regriesemer. The deadline for pre-entry is Monday, March 13. Entries filed after March 13 are $40.
Reserved seats are $25.00 for the highly-anticipated event while adult general admission tickets are $20.00; kids 6-12 are $10.00 and kids 5 years-old and under are FREE! Pit passes are $35.00. The purchase of a reserved seat provides you a free pit pass! Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.usactickets.com/.
Among the companies offering prizes and bonuses for winning the 50-lap midget feature are Simpson Race Products, who will award a brand-new helmet to the victor. Cold Hard Art has created a “Pot of Gold” trophy that will be presented to the winning driver and team in victory lane.
Drivers on the move will have the opportunity to cash in on the bonuses being served up. The “Wheelman of the Race” will earn a Max Papis Innovations (MPI) steering wheel for his or her efforts. The driver advancing the most positions during the “Shamrock Classic” will earn “Hard Charger” honors courtesy of Elliott’s Custom Trailers.
Furthermore, the third-place finisher in each heat race will receive a prize from FK Shocks. Ben Hodgin has thrown in $100 to the driver who leads lap 39 of the feature.
Additional companies offering prize packs include Competition Suspension, Inc., Allstar Performance, AFCO, Indy Race Parts, DMI, Wilwood, Walker Performance Filters, Keizer Wheels, Speedway Motors, Schoenfeld, Arizona Sport Shirts and EarEVERYTHING, Inc.
The timetable of events at the Southern Illinois Center for the “Shamrock Classic” begins with participant parking on March 17 (Friday) from 4-7 pm. Saturday’s race-day schedule begins with pits opening at 8 am, followed by a “pit sweep” at noon. Spectator gates open at 1 pm. A public drivers’ meeting open to all race fans starts at 3:30 pm. Hot laps get under way at 4 pm with racing set for 5:30pm.
Fans who are unable to attend the event in-person can view the race LIVE on http://www.speedshifttv.com/.
40 MIDGETS ENTERED
FOR THE “SHAMROCK CLASSIC” AS OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8
1K Brayton Lynch – Springfield, IL
1T Tony Roney – Herculaneum, MO
3N Jake Neuman – New Berlin, IL
5 Kyle Cummins – Princeton, IN
7 Gage Walker – Fairland, IN
7BC Tyler Courtney – Indianapolis, IN
7K Justin Peck – Monrovia, IN
9 Korey Weyant – Springfield, IL
9JR Derek Hagar – Marion, AR
9K Kyle Schuett – Philo, IL
11 Dave Darland – Lincoln, IN
11B Brent Beauchamp – Fairland, IN
15 Tim Siner – Dupo, IL
15F Cole Fehr – Coatesville, IN
17w Shane Golobic – Fremont, CA
21 Christopher Bell – Norman, OK
22 Andy Malpocker – St. Charles, MO
25 Jerry Coons, Jr. – Tucson, AZ
28 Kory Schudy – Springfield, MO
29 David Hair – Indianapolis, IN
31 David Budres – Beloit, WI
39BC Justin Grant – Ione, CA
50 Tony DiMattia – Malvern, PA
50A Daniel Adler – St. Louis, MO
57D Daniel Robinson – Ewing, IL
67 Tanner Thorson – Minden, NV
67K Holly Shelton – Gold River, CA
68 Kyle O’Gara – Indianapolis, IN
71 Ryan Robinson – Foresthill, CA
71B Robert Bell – Colfax, IA
71K Tanner Carrick – Sacramento, CA
75 Lee Dakus – Edmonton, ALB, CAN
76M Brady Bacon – Broken Arrow, OK
77 Alex Bright – Collegeville, PA
84 Chad Boat – Phoenix, AZ
88 Terry Babb – Harristown, IL
91 Tyler Nelson – Kansas City, KS
91A Chris Andrews – Sandusky, OH
91T Tyler Thomas – Catoosa, OK
97 Spencer Bayston – Lebanon, IN