INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Midget Week has become a staple of the United States Auto Club calendar, appearing on every USAC National Midget schedule since 2005 and becoming as popular as it is grueling for the drivers.
The NOS Energy Drink USAC National Midget Series will sanction the Hoosier State classic for the 16th time.
Six straight race nights at five Indiana dirt tracks will test drivers, crews and officials alike as some of the best in midget racing chase the glory of victories and the coveted Midget Week title.
The action kicks off Tuesday night at the three-eighths-mile Paragon Speedway, which makes its Indiana Midget Week debut and returns to the series schedule for the first time since John Andretti won there in 1985.
That makes the Indiana Midget Week opener a wild card round in the chase for the championship, though a handful of drivers have sprint car experience at Paragon.
Logan Seavey won the kickoff to last year’s Indiana Midget Week, held at Montpelier Motor Speedway, and went on to claim his first Indiana Midget Week title. He returns this year, but with a different team, having shifted from Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports to Reinbold/Underwood Motorsports.
Action shifts to the known commodity of Gas City I-69 Speedway on Wednesday evening, with the quarter-mile dirt track annually producing some of the most close-quarters action of the entire week.
Gas City was part of the inaugural Indiana Midget Week lineup in 2005 and this year’s appearance is the 14th for the USAC National Midget Series at the tight bullring.
Justin Grant, the defending Gas City winner, is looking to join Shane Cottle (2006-’07) and Darren Hagen (2011-’12) as the third repeat winner at the facility in USAC national midget competition.
The five-sixteenths-mile Lincoln Park Speedway will make history on Thursday and Friday, becoming the first track in the 16-year tenure of Indiana Midget Week to host multiple races during the mini-series.
The Putnamville, Ind., track will host back-to-back nights of Midget Week action, with two shots for drivers to collect crucial points toward their title efforts.
Tanner Thorson won last year’s Lincoln Park Midget Week feature, an emotional triumph that capped Thorson’s comeback from injuries sustained in a March 2019 highway accident in California.
Thorson is a two-time Lincoln Park midget winner, having also starred there in 2016, and is one of two drivers in this year’s field with a triumph there. Dave Darland (2014) is the other.
The penultimate round of Midget Week comes Saturday at one of the most action-packed facilities on the schedule, the three-eighths-mile Lawrenceburg Speedway, where slide jobs and thrilling finishes are prevalent year after year.
In 2019, it was Chris Windom’s breakthrough moment, as the Canton, Ill., native drove from fifth to notch his maiden USAC National Midget Series victory in the process.
Windom, Tyler Courtney (2018) and Zach Daum (2013) are prior Lawrenceburg winners slated to be in attendance during the week.
Capping the six-night stand is a Sunday trip to Kokomo Speedway, the traditional finale to Indiana Midget Week and one of the most anticipated tracks on the schedule.
Last year’s Indiana Midget Week round at Kokomo was rained out, but the Kokomo Grand Prix in April of 2019 saw Kevin Thomas Jr. nip Justin Grant by .015 seconds to reign as the most recent USAC midget winner at the quarter-mile facility.
When it comes to champions, Indiana Midget Week has annually crowned some of the top stars in dirt racing, led by the late Bryan Clauson, who won three IMW titles in 2009, ’11 and ’16.
Shane Cottle (2005-’06) and Rico Abreu (2014-’15) are the only two drivers to have won consecutive IMW crowns, something Seavey will try to accomplish.
Tracy Hines (2008, ’10) is the only other multi-time IMW champion, while Brad Kuhn (2010), Darren Hagen (2012), Christopher Bell (2013), Shane Golobic (2017) and Spencer Bayston (2018) have won single Indiana Midget Week championships.
This year’s Indiana Midget Week is slightly different, as instead of an open field, the rosters are limited to 48 drivers each night.
However, that doesn’t mean the points chase will be any less difficult, as 38 drivers are planning to contest all six of the scheduled rounds in their pursuit of the Indiana Midget Week title.
The roster is led by Golobic and Seavey, the only two past IMW champions looking to repeat this year. The other 36 drivers in the full-time pool are all seeking their first IMW title.
That group includes USAC Triple Crown champion Dave Darland; two-time USAC National Sprint Car Series champion Brady Bacon; defending USAC National Midget Series champion Tyler Courtney; recent POWRi winners Buddy Kofoid and Cannon McIntosh; and dirt ace Kyle Larson, who enters Indiana Midget Week on a run of five straight wins in the Silva Motorsports No. 57 sprint car.
Larson will pilot a fourth entry for Tucker-Boat Motorsports during Indiana Midget Week, the No. 86.
Indiana Midget Week begins Tuesday night at Paragon Speedway.
To view the full-time entries for Indiana Midget Week, advance to the next page.