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USAC/Midgets/Knoxville

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  • USAC/Midgets/Knoxville

    USAC TO SANCTION PEPSI/MT. DEW KNOXVILLE MIDGET
    NATIONALS


    INDIANAPOLIS – USAC will return to the famed
    Knoxville Raceway half-mile in
    Iowa in 2006 for two nights of National Midget
    Car Series competition during
    the track’s 17th annual National Sprint Car Hall
    of Fame induction weekend.

    The fifth annual “Pepsi/Mountain Dew Knoxville
    Midget Nationals” is
    scheduled for June 2-3, with the 20-lap “King
    Doodlebug Classic” headlining
    Friday’s preliminary night activities. The 25-lap
    “Nationals” event is set
    for Saturday. Both races will award USAC National
    points, the first USAC
    National Midget points races at Knoxville since
    1969.

    “When you look at USAC’s National Midget Car
    Series champions over the last
    fifteen years, you see names like Jeff Gordon
    (1990), Tony Stewart (1994, ’
    95), the late Kenny Irwin Jr. (1996), Jason
    Leffler (1997, ’98, ‘99), Kasey
    Kahne (2000) and J.J. Yeley (2003),” said Ralph
    Capitani, Knoxville’s
    director of racing. “Clearly this series is a top
    rung on the ladder to
    NASCAR stock car racing. The addition of the
    prestigious USAC brand to this
    lucrative $33,000 two-day event fits perfectly
    into Knoxville Raceway’s
    strategy of offering reasonably-priced national
    championship events at a
    world-class venue.”

    The event, which began in 2002, has been
    sanctioned by a number of groups
    over the past four years, including the Badger
    Midget Auto Racing
    Assocation, Gateway, the Rocky Mountain Midget
    Racing Association, the
    Midwest Auto Racing Association and the American
    Racing Drivers Club. All of
    the aforementioned groups are invited to showcase
    the 2006 event on their
    schedules.

    “We are very excited that USAC will be returning
    to the Marion County
    Fairgrounds in 2006 with their National Midget
    Series after an absence of
    over 36 years,” Capitani said. “At the same time,
    we are very appreciative
    of the efforts of the Badger, Gateway, Rocky
    Mountain, Midwest and American
    Racing Drivers clubs and teams over the past four
    seasons, and hope they
    will continue to support this truly ‘national
    championship’ event.”

    Added Rollie Helmling, USAC’s President and CEO:
    “The United States Auto
    Club is honored to be asked to become part of
    this great Midget race and
    racing weekend at Knoxville Raceway. The addition
    of the USAC National
    Midget Car Series to the event will bring
    virtually all the nation’s best
    Midget drivers to Knoxville. We look forward to
    working with other Midget
    sanctioning bodies to bring the Knoxville fans
    the ‘Best of the Best’ in
    Midget Racing. The USAC National Midget Car
    Series includes the nation’s
    premier Midget racing events such as the ‘Copper
    World Classic,’ the
    ‘Belleville Midget Nationals,’ the ‘Night Before
    the 500,’ the ‘Hut Hundred,
    ’ and the ‘Turkey Night Grand Prix,’ and we look
    forward to including the
    ‘Pepsi/Mountain Dew Knoxville Midget Nationals’
    into this prestigious group
    of events.”

    Former winners of the Saturday night feature
    include 2002 “Hut Hundred”
    winner Mike Hess (2002), Chad DeSelle (2003) and
    defending “Belleville
    Midget Nationals” champion Jerry Coons Jr.
    (2004). This year’s main event
    was rained out. Danny Stratton won the 2005 “King
    Doodlebug Classic.”

    The Weld Racing Silver Crown Series was the last
    USAC division to compete at
    Knoxville in 2001. The Silver Crown Series will
    return to the Hawkeye State
    next season – along with the USAC National Sprint
    Car Series – Sept. 16 at
    the 7/8-mile paved Iowa Speedway in nearby
    Newton.

    Multiple-time "Knoxville Nationals" winner Doug
    Wolfgang won USAC’s last
    National Midget Car Series dirt race in Iowa in
    1982 at Des Moines.

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