Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Bakersfield USAC Midget Race Preview

Logan Seavey (#67) and Rico Abreu battle for the win during the final laps of last year's November Classic USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget feature at California's Bakersfield Speedway. (Devin Mayo Photo)

By: Richie Murray - USAC Media

Bakersfield, California (November 18, 2019).........USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets and California's Bakersfield Speedway have a history that dates back six decades. The history between the two roars back to life this coming Saturday, November 23, for the third-straight autumn to contest the November Classic, co-sanctioned by the USAC Western States Midgets.

Davey Moses won the first trip by the USAC National Midgets in the summer of 1959. Over that period, 20 series races have been held at the lightning-quick 1/3-mile dirt oval with Jay Drake and Billy Vukovich serving as the winningest drivers with the series at Bakersfield.

This Saturday's driver roster for the event features the defending November Classic winner at Bakersfield, Logan Seavey. Seavey (Sutter, Calif.) won last year in grand style by driving around Rico Abreu in the fourth turn on the 30th and final lap to score the victory and lock up the series title in one fell swoop in his first start with the series at the track.

USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget point leader Tyler Courtney (Indianapolis, Ind.) has a large 171-point lead in the standings entering the final four-race stretch which begins earlier this week, November 19-20, at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway. The 2018 USAC National Sprint Car champ and 2019 runner-up was 4th at Bakersfield in 2017, then won his heat and took 22nd in 2018.

Zeb Wise (Angola, Ind.) made his first career USAC National Midget appearance in 2017 at Bakersfield where he won his heat and finished 19th. He took 20th in 2018 but is entering Bakersfield coming off two impressive runs at Western World, a 2nd on the first night and 3rd in the finale.

Tanner Carrick (Lincoln, Calif.) made his debut midget run in 2017 a solid one with a 10th place finish. He upped his result to a 6th at Bakersfield in 2018 and is one of three expected entrants for Saturday's race who've finished within the top-10 in each of the last two years along with Shane Golobic and Spencer Bayston.

Golobic (Fremont, Calif.) was 3rd at Bako in 2018 and 6th in 2017. The 2017 USAC National Midget points runner-up, one-time series winner and 2017 Indiana Midget Week champion is versatile, with a recent World of Outlaws win in September at Placerville (Calif.) Speedway to his credit.

Bayston (Lebanon, Ind.) the 2017 USAC National Midget champion, returns with Hayward Motorsports for the entirety of the California Midget swing this month. He collected a runner-up finish in 2017 and a 4th in 2018 in his two Bakersfield visits with the series.

Abreu (St. Helena, Calif.), the 2014 USAC National Midget champ, took 2nd a year ago in heartbreaking fashion at Bakersfield after leading 29 and ¾ circuits of the 30-lap main event.

NASCAR and dirt track racing star Kyle Larson (Elk Grove, Calif.) is one of 13 different winners on the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget campaign in 2019, the most since 2010, and is among those looking to return to victory lane after picking up his 16th career series win earlier this June in Joliet, Ill.

Newly-crowned eight-time USAC/CRA Sprint Car champ Damion Gardner is entered for Bakersfield aboard Terry Klatt's No. 4. The Concord, Calif. driver has won each of the last two USAC/CRA Sprint Car features at Bakersfield in 2017 and 2019.

Like Golobic, Gio Scelzi (Fresno, Calif.) is a winner on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car trail this year. His ride, the Tucker/Boat Motorsports No. 84, set fast time in qualifying at Bakersfield a year ago and finished 5th. Scelzi recorded his first top-ten USAC National Midget run last Saturday at Arizona, a 9th.

Seventh in series points, Jerry Coons, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) has extensive experience at Bakersfield, topping off with a 3rd place run there in 1998. The USAC Triple Crown champ was also 15th in 1999 and 11th in 2018. Thomas Meseraull (San Jose, Calif.) was a top-ten runner with the USAC National Midgets at Bakersfield in 2000, finishing 7th, and was 25th the year prior in 1999.

Two-time 2019 USAC National Midget winners Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) and Kevin Thomas, Jr. (Cullman, Ala.), a winner last Friday at Arizona Speedway, will make their Bakersfield USAC Midget debuts. Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) and Tucker Klaasmeyer (Paola, Kans.) each finished in the top-ten in their first visits to the track in 2018 with McDougal taking 9th and Klaasmeyer 10th.

Ben Worth (Coalinga, Calif.) captured his first, and to date, only career USAC Western States Midget win earlier this April at Bakersfield, leading the final nine laps en route to victory.

The Western States Midget championship battle is tight with only 29 points separating point leader Robert Dalby and Cory Elliott. Dalby (Anaheim, Calif.) finished 16th in 2018 and 20th in 2017 against National competition. Elliott (Bakersfield, Calif.) is a four-time USAC Ford Focus Midget feature winner at Bakersfield between 2012-2014 while Randi Pankratz won there in a Focus Midget in 2015.

On Saturday, California Lightning Sprints and Hobby Stocks join the Midgets. Pits open at 2pm Pacific, gates at 3pm and racing at 6pm. Adult general admission tickets are $16. Seniors 65+ and Military are $14. Kids 6-12 are $8. Kids 5 and under are free.

Watch all the action LIVE and on-demand on FloRacing and listen to LIVE audio on the USAC app. Follow along with live timing and scoring on the USAC and Race-Monitor apps.

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Tyler Courtney-1,851, 2-Logan Seavey-1,680, 3-Chris Windom-1,679, 4-Kevin Thomas, Jr.-1,619, 5-Zeb Wise-1,579, 6-Tanner Carrick-1,406, 7-Jerry Coons, Jr.-1,384, 8-Jason McDougal-1,309, 9-Tucker Klaasmeyer-1,263, 10-Chad Boat-1,255.

USAC WESTERN STATES MIDGET POINTS: 1-Robert Dalby-647, 2-Cory Elliott-618, 3-Shannon McQueen-524, 4-David Prickett-466, 5-Austin Liggett-458, 6-Ben Worth-450, 7-C.J. Sarna-433, 8-Kyle Beilman-372, 9-Marvin Mitchell-370, 10-Jake Swanson-348.

1. (3) Jay Drake & Billy Vukovich
3. (2) Ron Shuman & Sleepy Tripp
5. (1) Brady Bacon, Billy Boat, Dave Darland, Terry Farrar, Jordan Hermansader, Page Jones, Davey Moses, Logan Seavey, Frank Secrist & Rich Vogler

1959: Davey Moses (8/2)
1966: Frank Secrist (8/14) & Billy Vukovich (9/11)
1967: Billy Vukovich (7/2) & Billy Vukovich (7/16)
1974: Sleepy Tripp (11/24)
1988: Rich Vogler (11/11)
1989: Sleepy Tripp (11/18)
1990: Terry Farrar (11/17)
1991: Page Jones (11/23)
1992: Ron Shuman (11/26)
1993: Ron Shuman (11/25)
1994: Jordan Hermansader (11/24)
1995: Billy Boat (11/23)
1997: Jay Drake (11/22)
1998: Jay Drake (11/26)
1999: Dave Darland (11/20)
2000: Jay Drake (11/18)
2017: Brady Bacon (11/18)
2018: Logan Seavey (11/17)


2017: 1. Brady Bacon, 2. Spencer Bayston, 3. Tanner Thorson, 4. Tyler Courtney, 5. Justin Grant, 6. Shane Golobic, 7. Ryan Robinson, 8. Alex Schutte, 9. Michael Faccinto, 10. Tanner Carrick, 11. Frankie Guerrini, 12. Chad Boat, 13. Courtney Crone, 14. Matt Mitchell, 15. David Prickett, 16. Ronnie Gardner, 17. Michael Pickens, 18. Cory Elliott, 19. Zeb Wise, 20. Robert Dalby, 21. Mason Daniel, 22. Holly Shelton, 23. Dustin Golobic, 24. Shannon McQueen.

2018: 1. Logan Seavey (1), 2. Rico Abreu (2), 3. Shane Golobic (6), 4. Spencer Bayston (11), 5. Chad Boat (7), 6. Tanner Carrick (13), 7. Brady Bacon (4), 8. Holly Shelton (25), 9. Jason McDougal (21), 10. Tucker Klaasmeyer (9), 11. Jerry Coons, Jr. (22), 12. Cole Bodine (23), 13. Cody Swanson (17), 14. Sam Johnson (8), 15. Dustin Golobic (3), 16. Robert Dalby (24), 17. Alex Schutte (16), 18. Holley Hollan (18), 19. C.J. Sarna (26), 20. Zeb Wise (5), 21. Ryan Robinson (10), 22. Tyler Courtney (15), 23. Sterling Cling (19), 24. Michael Faccinto (14), 25. Justin Grant (12), 26. Michael Pickens (20).

APRIL 6, 2019: 1. Ben Worth (1), 2. Jake Swanson (5), 3. Michael Faccinto (2), 4. Austin Liggett (4), 5. David Prickett (15), 6. Cory Elliott (11), 7. Alex Schutte (10), 8. Shannon McQueen (7), 9. C.J. Sarna (14), 10. Kyle Beilman (8), 11. Dylan Ito (18), 12. Ricky Lewis (12), 13. Marvin Mitchell (21), 14. Bryan Drollinger (16), 15. Randi Pankratz (17), 16. Cody Swanson (6), 17. Terry Nichols (13), 18. Mike Leach Jr. (19), 19. Robert Dalby (3), 20. Kyle Heckman (20).