TRI-STATE HARVEST CUP USAC MIDGET RACE PREVIEW
Story By: Richie Murray/USAC
Photos By: Dan DeMarco/RacersGuide.com
Haubstadt, Indiana (October 14, 2019)………It’s been seven years since the USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship graced the quarter-mile dirt of Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind., but this Saturday, October 19, the series is back at the racy southern Indiana oval as part of the Harvest Cup.
In nine previous appearances by the series dating back to its debut at Tri-State in 1969, no driver has repeated their USAC Midget victory. A new winner will likely emerge this Saturday night in the tenth trip to the track. Many others, meanwhile, will be making their midget debut at the tricky paperclip-shaped track.
Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) is among those contenders. He has won in a USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car in each of the past two seasons at Tri-State but has not reached victory lane there yet this year. Thomas is currently tied for first with Daron Clayton in terms of all-time USAC Sprint wins at Tri-State with five. Thomas, the 2014 USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year, ran 4th in POWRi Midget event at Tri-State in 2014.
The man with the lockdown on Tri-State Speedway in 2019 is Kyle Cummins (Princeton, Ind.). He is 7-for-7 thus far this year in a Sprint Car at Tri-State, including two-for-two in the USAC rounds in July and September. Cummins, who made his first career USAC National Midget start in June at Montpelier, Ind., will make a rare Midget appearance and will pilot an RMS team car alongside teammate Thomas Meseraull.
Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) is a 10-time USAC National Sprint winner and a midget victor indoors last December at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin. In three Tri-State midget races, he’s finished 10th in 2010, 3rd in 2011 and 12th in 2012. He holds the Tri-State Speedway 10-lap track record of 2:20.38, set on May 21, 2011.
Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) finished 2nd in USAC’s most recent midget appearance at Tri-State in 2012. The 2017 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champ is a winner at Tri-State in a sprint car, winning in the spring of 2017 en route to the series title. Windom, who’s won his first two career USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget races in 2019 at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway and Pennsylvania’s Grandview Speedway, was 5th in September’s Haubstadt Hustler sprint race at Tri-State.
USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget point leader Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) recently took 2nd at the same Haubstadt Hustler at Tri-State after earlier winning his heat, equaling his best career showing at the track after leading 12 laps and finishing as the runner-up spot in the 2016 edition of the event. He recently won both the USAC Midget and Sprint portion of September’s 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora coming into his first midget try at Tri-State on Saturday.
USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car point leader C.J. Leary (Greenfield, Ind.) has had a high rate of success in a sprint car over the years at Tri-State, but Saturday marks just his second midget race there. In fact, that first start in 2012 at Tri-State was Leary’s first career USAC National Midget feature start, finishing 33rd. He won his heat and finished third in the recent Haubstadt Hustler sprint race in September. Leary was victorious three times with MSCS in 2018 at Tri-State, capturing the Sprint Stampede, the Hoosier Sprint Nationals and the Harvest Cup.
Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) was the fastest qualifier in both July’s Indiana Sprint Week and September’s Haubstadt Hustler at Tri-State. He finished 3rd in July and was running 4th in September when he ramped over the infield tire off turn four. Grant was perfect in June at Gas City during June’s Indiana Midget Week, leading all 30 laps on the way to his lone midget victory of the season.
Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) was charging hard in September’s Haubstadt Hustler until, with three laps to go, heartbreak befell him while running 4th after starting 21st, as he slowed to a stop in turn two, ending his night. McDougal was a 3rd place finisher at the 2018 Haubstadt Hustler and 9th in July in his two other previous USAC starts, all of which came in a sprint car for July’s USAC Midget winner in Fairbury, Neb.
Two-time USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champion Jerry Coons, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) was the fastest qualifier for the 2012 Hut 100 at Tri-State Speedway. He led 82 of the 100 laps and was in front on the white flag lap when a suspension piece on the left-rear went awry, relegating him to 6th at the finish. He’s been strong in each of his other three USAC Midget starts at Tri-State with a 5th in 2007, 2nd in 2010 and 5th in 2011.
Tyler Thomas (Collinsville, Okla.) has made three previous appearances at Tri-State in a sprint car and twice in a midget. He took 17th in the last USAC Midget event at Tri-State in 2012 and was 5th in a run with POWRi there in 2014. Tucker Klaasmeyer (Paola, Kans.) made a pair of POWRi starts at Tri-State in 2015, a 13th and a 9th.
Reigning USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget champ Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) was superb in his USAC Sprint Car debut at Tri-State in the spring of 2018, qualifying 2nd and finishing 3rd. September BC39 winner Zeb Wise (Angola, Ind.) had a solid run in his NOS Energy Drink World of Outlaws debut last Sunday at Tri-State, finishing 14th. In Chad Boat’s (Phoenix, Ariz.) two previous Tri-State USAC Sprint appearances, he qualified 2nd and 1st, and collected a 3rd place feature finish during the Indiana Sprint Week round in 2009.
Several drivers will be making their first trek to Tri-State this Saturday night, including July Sweet Springs, Mo. winner Tanner Carrick (Lincoln, Calif.), top Rookie Andrew Layser (Collegeville, Pa.), Karsyn Elledge (Mooresville, N.C.) and Ethan Mitchell (Mooresville, N.C.) among others.
Prior to Saturday’s race at Tri-State, the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets will be in action on Thursday night, October 17, at Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Illinois.
Saturday’s Harvest Cup will also feature the Brandeis Midwest Sprint Car Series and MMSA Mini Sprints. Pits open at 2:30pm central, grandstands at 3:30pm, drivers meeting at 4:30pm and hot laps at 5pm. Adult general admission tickets are $25, students are $20 and age 12 and under are free. Pit passes are $30 apiece.
You can watch LIVE flag-to-flag coverage of the Jason Leffler Memorial on FloRacing. Live audio of the event can be heard on the USAC app. Follow along with live updates on www.facebook.com/usacracing & www.twitter.com/USACNation and live timing and scoring on the Race-Monitor and USAC apps.