Monday, 30 May 2016


Kyle Larson at Gas City I-69 Speedway in 2011. Kyle Larson at Gas City I-69 Speedway in 2011.


Three former USAC stars are returning to their roots for this week’s 12th annual “Indiana Midget Week” series presented by Jonathan Byrd's Hospitality & Restaurant Group.

Current NASCAR Sprint Cup competitor Kyle Larson of Elk Grove, California, makes his comeback to the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports stable in the seat of the number 1K for the first two races of “Indiana Midget Week” on Tuesday at Montpelier Motor Speedway and Wednesday’s show at Gas City I-69 Speedway.

Among Larson’s 12 career USAC National Midget victories are three “Indiana Midget Week” wins.  In 2011, Larson won the IMW round at Bloomington Speedway, which also served as his first career USAC triumph.  He then won again in IMW at the Kokomo Speedway in 2012, with his most recent coming in 2013 at Gas City.

2014 USAC National Midget titlist and 2014/2015 “Indiana Midget Week” champion, Rico Abreu of St. Helena, California, takes advantage of an off-weekend from his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series duties and will compete in all six races of IMW in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports number 97K!

Norman, Oklahoma’s Christopher Bell also takes a break from his NASCAR Truck Series schedule to take on three “Indiana Midget Week” races in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports number 71w.  Bell, the 2013 USAC National Midget champ, plans to hit the first two races at Montpelier and Gas City along with Friday’s event at Bloomington, the sight of two of his four career IMW victories.

Those three along with other series stars hope to join the list of “Indiana Midget Week” champions starting Tuesday at Montpelier.  Fremont, California’s Shane Golobic leads the USAC National Midget points after winning the season opening race in March at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin, Ill. 

In the current standings, series rookie Golobic leads 2005 and 2006 IMW champ Shane Cottle, Brady Bacon, Spencer Bayston, Tanner Thorson, David Budres, Zach Daum, Anton Hernandez, Chad Boat, and Tyler Thomas as well as former USAC National Midget champion Dave Darland and “Indiana Midget Week” champs Jerry Coons, Jr. (2007) and Bryan Clauson (2009 & 2011).

Competitors are chasing after the $1000 Jonathan Byrd's "Indiana Midget Week Championship" bonus awarded to the driver who accumulates the most points during the six straight nights of racing that gets underway Tuesday, May 31 at Montpelier Motor Speedway before hitting Gas City I-69 Speedway on Wednesday, June 1, Putnamville’s Lincoln Park Speedway on Thursday, June 2, Bloomington Speedway on Friday, June 3, Lawrenceburg Speedway on Saturday, June 4, concluding on Sunday, June 5 at Kokomo Speedway.

Saturday night's visit to Lawrenceburg also marks the debut of the inaugural Jonathan Byrd's "Indy Challenge," which includes seven USAC Midget races in 2016, which affords unprecedented career opportunities to USAC participants and opens the avenue to compete at the “Greatest Race Course in the World” – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Indianapolis brothers David and Jonathan Byrd have constructed a unique format for their “challenge” which finds seven races in USAC’s National and Western Midget series serving as the stepping stone to the ultimate prize.

Five wins would earn that driver a seat in the 2017 Freedom 100 Indy Lights race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Six victories would secure a seat for the full roster of oval races on the 2017 Indy Lights schedule, while a sweep of all seven USAC events would earn the driver the 2017 Indy Lights oval races mentioned, as well as propel the winner to a ride in the 2018 Indianapolis 500.

Included are seven premier races on USAC’s 2016 calendar, starting with the June 4 Indiana Midget Week race at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway. Race two would be the final night of the Belleville (Kans.) Midget Nationals on August 6 while subsequent races are the August 17 “Eastern Invasion” race at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, PA.; the “Louie Vermeil Classic” Western Midget race at Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway in September; the “4-Crown Nationals” at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio September 24; the “Gold Grown Midget Nationals” finale at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill October 8; and the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway November 24.