INDIANAPOLIS — official series release — POWRi photo —
Two more of America’s midget racing crown jewels have joined the Honda USAC National Midget calendar this year, with Thursday’s announcement that the July 5 Pepsi Midget Nationals and the October 23 Jason Leffler Memorial will carry co-sanctioning by both USAC and POWRi.
The Pepsi Midget Nationals at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisc. continues a rich tradition begun in 1982 when Bill Engelhart captured the inaugural title. Ensuing winners have included five-time champions Kevin Olson and Kevin Doty, three-time winner Tracy Hines, two-time winner Dan Boorse and Scott Hatton plus Rich Vogler, Stevie Reeves, Marty Davis, Page Jones, Kevin Koch, Jay Drake, Davey Ray, Jerry Coons Jr., Brady Bacon, Josh Wise, Caleb Armstrong, Zach Daum and 2014 winner Christopher Bell.
The Jason Leffler Memorial at Wayne County Speedway in Wayne City, Ill., is in its third year honoring the late USAC National Champion who lost his life in a 2013 sprint car accident. Daryn Pittman won last year’s race while Zach Daum was the inaugural champion.
Angell Park’s USAC history spans the past 45 years while the Wayne City event will mark USAC’s debut at the eighth-mile dirt oval. Larry Rice won the first USAC race at Sun Prairie in 1970 and the 57 ensuing races have produced 36 different winners in USAC Sprint Car, Midget and HPD Midget competition. Bryan Clauson is the winningest USAC driver at the one-third mile dirt oval with six career wins.
The two additional races virtually replace a pair of previously-to-be-announced races originally scheduled for late-June.
Jason Leffler’s USAC career included a trio of USAC National Midget titles (1977-1999) and a USAC Silver Crown title in 1998. A veteran of both the Daytona and Indianapolis 500s, Leffler is now remembered each year at the United States Auto Club’s National Awards Dinner where the Jason Leffler Award has been presented in 2013 by Dave Darland and in 2014 by Pete Willoughby.
A winner or 18 USAC Midget races and six Silver Crown races, Leffler was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.
Hines, one of only three driver with at least three Pepsi Midget Nationals victories, is challenging for the 2015 Honda USAC National Midget Series standings in search of the elusive USAC Triple Crown. He owns previous titles in USAC’s Silver Crown and AMSOIL Sprint Car divisions and is a six-time National Midget series runner-up.
Hines hopes to join Dave Darland, Pancho Carter, Tony Stewart, J.J. Yeley and Jerry Coons Jr. in the prestigious Triple Crown club.