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AMSOIL Sprints
Saturday, 9 May 2020


Chet Johnson is all smiles after winning the May 9, 1982 Tony Hulman Classic. Chet Johnson is all smiles after winning the May 9, 1982 Tony Hulman Classic. John Mahoney Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (May 9, 2020)………Nine USAC National dates on May 9 have resulted in nine different winning drivers over the course of USAC history.

The first of Mel Kenyon’s record seven USAC National Midget driving championships came in 1964.  The first of seven victories during that initial championship season came at the Sportsdrome in Jeffersonville, Ind. on May 9, 1964, the fifth of his record 111th series wins.

Jimmy Davies had a stranglehold of the USAC National Midget division in the early 1960s with three-straight driving championships.  The same prowess carried over to his domination of Lawrenceburg Speedway where he won at the then quarter-mile dirt track on three consecutive occasions in 1961, 1964 and on May 9, 1965, the last series appearance at the southeastern Indiana track for 21 years.

That very same day, just across the border at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway, Jud Larson continued his red-hot start to the 1965 USAC National Sprint Car season, winning four of the first six.  The May 8 race was the third in that batch and his second at Eldora in a three-week span.

Pancho Carter had a powerhouse 1976 USAC National Sprint Car season, and the first of his 12 wins that year came on May 9 at the high-banked paved oval of Ohio’s Dayton Speedway en route to his second championship in three years with car owner Steve Stapp.

A similar tale was in store for Rich Vogler during the 1980 USAC National Midget season, picking up his first win of the year on May 9 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway, one of his five wins in total, to complete a second USAC Midget championship run in a three-year span.

There’s no finer way to close out your last career USAC Sprint Car start than by celebrating in victory lane.  Chet Johnson did just that following the May 9, 1982 Tony Hulman Classic where he was an upset winner at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track for his first and only career series win, then never appeared in another USAC event.

Jim Keeker worked diligently for the first 25 laps of the 30-lap feature to get around the strong Rick Howerton for the race lead during a May 9, 1992 USAC National Sprint Car event at Indianapolis Raceway Park, aboard his V-6 powered 6R Racing machine.

Coming off a USAC National Midget championship the previous year in 1997, Jason Leffler joined the famed Steve Lewis team and expectations were paramount.  Leffler reached victory lane for the first time with Lewis on May 9, 1998 at Kentucky’s Louisville Motor Speedway, then proceeded to win three more times that year and rack up a second-straight title.  The pair won it again with Leffler’s third-straight championship in 1999.

Justin Grant trailed C.J. Leary for 29 and a quarter of the 30-lap USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature at Eldora on May 9, 2015, before splitting around lapped traffic in turn one, slipping by Leary and claiming his first Eldora victory and the third of his three USAC wins with car owner Mark Hery.



(1) Pancho Carter, Jimmy Davies, Justin Grant, Chet Johnson, Jim Keeker, Mel Kenyon, Jud Larson, Jason Leffler & Rich Vogler



1964: Mel Kenyon, USAC Midget at the Sportsdrome – Jeffersonville, Ind.

1965: Jimmy Davies, USAC Midget at Lawrenceburg Speedway – Lawrenceburg, Ind.

1965: Jud Larson, USAC Sprint at Eldora Speedway – Rossburg, Ohio

1976: Pancho Carter, USAC Sprint at Dayton Speedway – Dayton, Ohio

1980: Rich Vogler, USAC Midget at Anderson Speedway – Anderson, Ind.

1982: Chet Johnson, USAC Sprint at the Terre Haute Action Track – Terre Haute, Ind.

1992: Jim Keeker, USAC Sprint at Indianapolis Raceway Park – Clermont, Ind.

1998: Jason Leffler, USAC Midget at Louisville Motor Speedway – Louisville, Ky.

2015: Justin Grant, USAC Sprint at Eldora Speedway – Rossburg, Ohio