Much like the famous quote attributed to Mark Twain, ‘The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’, the United States Auto Club is rebuilding its HPD Midwest Midget Thunder series sponsored by Honda for the 2015 race season. After an abbreviated year in 2014 to address the introduction of the Honda powerplants, USAC is planning a schedule of dirt and asphalt races in 2015, with a goal of expanding on the previous focus as a developmental series to involve more grass roots racers seeking a cost effective formula for midget racing.
According to HPD series coordinator Eric Rankine, USAC is continuing to work with track promoters in the Midwest to schedule a mix of dirt and asphalt races for the 2015 season, coordinating two race weekends where possible to maximize racing opportunities while minimizing travel expenses. Thus far, confirmed dates include Toledo (with USAC Silver Crown, May 1st)/Shady Bowl (asphalt, May 2nd), Limaland/Waynesfield (dirt, July 24th & 25th), Jackson/Atomic (dirt, Aug 28th & 29th). The HPD series also has dates confirmed at Columbus Motor Speedway (asphalt, 4/25), Plymouth Speedway (dirt, 8/8), Hickory Speedway (NC. Asphalt 11/21) and second dates at Waynesfield (6/5), and Shady Bowl (9/5). Unfortunately the closure of Kil Kare Speedway eliminated the opportunity for additional races to partner with the Columbus and Shady Bowl dates.
The series will be open to competitors with HPD legal Honda and Focus engines (the Hondas, which are currently available for purchase from USAC, will be required to run restrictors for the 2015 season). Rankine indicates USAC is committed to stringent enforcement of rules for 2015, and will work closely with competitors to seal and inspect cars in order to meet the objective of low cost, competitive midget racing.
In order to provide full fields to promoters and competitors, USAC has elected to partner with area mini sprint/lightning sprint associations to co-sanction the dirt series races. Per Rankine, “Montpelier Speedway’s midget series has demonstrated that the HPD legal cars and mini sprints have very comparable performance. We have three very strong mini sprint associations in the Midwest, which primarily run winged races. The USAC HPD Midwest Midget Thunder series will benefit them by allowing their members to run non-winged at some premier speedways. This approach also benefits USAC members by giving them assurance that they can purchase a HPD legal car and have ample opportunities to race throughout the season. By co-sanctioning the races, each club will maintain enforcement of their own rules, including membership and point championships.
Negotiations are ongoing to finalize purse structures and points’ funds, however several tracks including Waynesfield, Limaland and Atomic have committed to a $500 to win, $100 to start payout.
Please contact Eric Rankine at 317-771-6596 or email@example.com for additional information on the series or the Honda HPD powerplants.
USAC HPD Midwest Midget Thunder Series
April 25 Columbus Motor Speedway (A) (co-sanctioned with USAC HPD East Series)
May 1 Toledo Speedway (A)
May 2 Shady Bowl Speedway (A)
June 6 Waynesfield Raceway Park (D) (co-sanctioned with American Mini Sprint Association)
July 24 Limaland Motorsports Park (D) (co-sanctioned with American Mini Sprint Association)
July 25 Waynesfield Race Way Park (D) (co-sanctioned with American Mini Sprint Association)
Aug 8 Plymouth Speedway (D) (co-sanctioned with Midwest Mini Sprint Association)
Aug 28 Jackson Raceway Park (D) (co-sanctioned with Southern Ohio Lightning Sprint Association)
Aug 29 Atomic Speedway (D) (co-sanctioned with Southern Ohio Lightning Mini Sprint Association)
Sept 5 Shady Bowl Speedway (A)
Nov 21 Hickory Speedway (A) (co-sanctioned with USAC HPD East Series)