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November 23, 2016 at 12:21:24 AM
Joined: 11/22/2004
Posts: 24691

USAC Western States Midget Series

By Lance Jennings

NOVEMBER 22, 2016... This Thursday, November 24th, Jim Naylor’s Ventura Raceway will host the “76th Running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix.” Presented by Agajanian Promotions, the USAC Western States and National Midgets will battle in one of the most prestigious and longest running motorsports events in the country. The USAC West Coast and VRA Sprint Cars will join the action packed card in a special non-point event. The Pit Gates at the “The Best Little Dirt Track in America” will open at Noon, the Driver’s Meeting will be held at 2:45pm, and the program starts at 3:30pm.

NOTICE TO RACERS: The USAC Western States Midget Series approved/legal mufflers are: 
B&B: FRAC-0375-S  w/side outlet, 
Coast Fabrication: 300x625x17-2s, 350x625x17-2s, 400x625x17-2s
Extreme: 3512-3030 (with insert 2312-30), 3512-3030 SS (with insert 2312-30), 3515-3030, 4615-3035- 15" long x 6" diameter x 3" inlet and 3.5 outlet w/internal cone
Flowmaster: (BCRA Approved) 13009130, 1509130, 13509135
Schoenfeld: 14272735-78, 14272535
*Failure to comply with the muffler rule will risk disqualification from the event.

The festivities will start tomorrow, November 23rd with a special practice session for the USAC Midgets. In addition, the USAC West Coast and VRA Sprint Cars will compete with time trials, heat races, and a preliminary feature. Time trials are scheduled to begin at 3:30pm.

Since Bob Swanson took the checkered flags at Gilmore Stadium in 1934, the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” (TNGP) has been a “must win” race for drivers from across the country. While other venues like Gardena, Speedway 605, Saugus, Bakersfield, Irwindale, and Perris have showcased the event, it is perhaps best known at the legendary Ascot Park. In 1997, Ventura Raceway hosted the “granddaddy of all midget races” and Billy Boat claimed his third-straight “Thanksgiving Classic.” Last year, young Tanner Thorson added his name to the perpetual “Aggie Trophy” alongside many legends of the sport. A complete win list of the “Turkey Night Grand Prix is at the end of this release.

Since May 24, 1986, 137 USAC Western States Midget events have been held at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Sleepy Tripp claimed the inaugural victory and leads all drivers with eighteen wins at the 1/5-mile oval. Tripp, the seven-time champion, is followed by Billy Boat (13), Page Jones (8), Garrett Hansen (7), and Jimmy Sills (6). On November 18, 1995, 1994 Champion Johnny Cofer set the 1-lap qualifying track record of 11.675 and a complete Ventura series win list is at the bottom of this release.

Heading to Ventura, Ronnie Gardner (Corona, California) has clinched his fourth consecutive championship. Piloting the Six8 Motorsports’ #68 Baldozier Racing / Esslinger Engineering Stewart, Gardner scored his sixth win of the year last Saturday at Bakersfield. At press time, Gardner has also posted eight heat race victories, two Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Rod End Supply Hard Charger Awards, thirteen top-10 finishes, and 116 feature laps led to his credit. Now tied with Wally Pankratz for fourth on the series win list, Ronnie will be looking to earn his twentieth career victory.

Michael Faccinto (Hanford, California) ranks second in the Western championship point chase. Driving the MF Motorsports’ #35F OSV / Lucas Oil Spike, Faccinto was running second at Bakersfield before a lost muffler resulted in a twelfth place finish. To date, the Louie Vermeil Classic winner has recorded two feature wins, two Woodland Auto Display Fast Time Awards, three heat race victories, eleven top-10 finishes, and 67 feature laps led on the season. At Ventura, Michael will have his sights on his fifth career USAC Western Midget triumph.

Cory Elliot (Bakersfield, California) sits third in the USAC Western point standings. Racing the family owned #11E FK Indy / Oilwize Spike, Elliott scored fourth at the Bakersfield clay oval. At press time, last season’s Rookie of the Year has posted five heat race victories, eleven top-10 finishes, and 24 feature laps led to his credit. On Thanksgiving Day, Cory will have his sights on adding the Turkey Night Grand Prix to his resume.

Frankie Guerrini (San Rafael, California) is fourth in the chase for the championship. Piloting the family owned #63 F&F Racing / Davis Motorsports Spike, Guerrini led the first twenty laps at Bakersfield before taking second at the checkered flags. To date, last year’s BCRA Champion has two heat race victories, one Competition Suspension Inc. / Rod End Supply Semi Main win, eleven top-10 finishes, and 36 feature laps led on the season. On Thursday, Guerrini will be looking to earn the second USAC triumph of his career.

Courtney Crone (Corona, California) is ranked fifth in the point standings. Driving Jerome Rodela’s #25 Trench Shoring / Ed Pink Racing Engines Breka, Crone won her first heat race of the season and scored fifth in the Bakersfield feature. At press time, the leading rookie contender has also recorded two Keizer Aluminum Wheels / Rod End Supply Hard Charger Awards and eight top-10 finishes on the year. Courtney will be looking to break through and claim her first USAC Western States Midget triumph at Ventura.

Among the other drivers expected to be in action are Maria Cofer, Robert Dalby, Randi Pankratz, Cody Swanson, Tyler Dolacki, Shannon McQueen, Nate Wait, Robby Josett, Dylan Ito, Darren Hagen, Troy Rutherford, and more. 

Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nevada) leads the USAC National Midget point chase. Spencer Bayston, Brady Bacon, Chad Boat, Carson Macedo, Ryan Robinson, Holly Shelton, Bryan Clauson, Tyler Thomas, and Ryan Greth round out the top-10 drivers.

Ventura Raceway is located on the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 10 West Harbor Blvd. in Ventura, California. Advance tickets are on sale and for more event information, visit the track’s website at www.venturaraceway.com or call 805.648.RACE. 

The USAC Western States Midget Series thanks Hoosier Tire, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Competition Suspension Incorporated, DJ Safety, Diversified Machine Incorporated, Extreme Mufflers, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Light Up The World Beverages, Rod End Supply, Stand 21 Racer Goes Safer Foundation, Ultra Shield Race Products, and Woodland Auto Display for their support. If you or your company would like to become part of the series, email PR Director Lance Jennings at lwjennings@earthlink.net.

For more information on the series, visit the United States Auto Club (USAC) website at www.usacracing.com. You can also find exclusive content on the USAC Western States Midget Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Loudpedal Productions will live stream both nights of the Turkey Night Grand Prix. In addition, they have USAC Western States Midget DVDs and videos on demand available for purchase at www.loudpedal.tv and 805.407.7229.
1982-*Jeff Heywood, 1983-Sleepy Tripp, 1984-Tommy White, 1985-Sleepy Tripp, 1986-Robby Flock, 1987-Sleepy Tripp, 1988-Sleepy Tripp, 1989-Robby Flock, 1990-Sleepy Tripp, 1991-Sleepy Tripp, 1992-Sleepy Tripp, 1993-Robby Flock, 1994-Johnny Cofer, 1995-Billy Boat, 1996-Jay Drake, 1997-Ricky Shelton, 1998-Rick Hendrix, 1999-Marc DeBeaumont, 2000-Wally Pankratz, 2001-Danny Ebberts, 2002-Robby Flock, 2003-Steve Paden, 2004-Johnny Rodriguez, 2005-Jerome Rodela, 2006-Jerome Rodela, 2007-Johnny Rodriguez, 2008-Nic Faas, 2009-Garrett Hansen, 2010-Alex Schutte, 2011-Cory Kruseman, 2012-Shannon McQueen, 2013-Ronnie Gardner, 2014- Ronnie Gardner, 2015-Ronnie Gardner, 2016-Ronnie Gardner.

1934-Bob Swanson; 1935-Ted Sizemore; 1936-Ronney Householder; 1937-Ronney Householder; 1938-Bob Swanson; 1939-Mel Hansen; 1940-Roy Russing; 1941-Roy Russing; 1945-Danny Oakes; 1946-Perry Grimm; 1947-Johnny McDowell; 1948-Bill Vukovich; 1949-Perry Grimm; 1950-Bill Zaring; 1955-Johnnie Parsons; 1956-Edgar Elder; 1957-George Amick; 1958-Joe Garson; 1959-Tony Bettenhausen; 1960-A.J. Foyt; 1961-A.J. Foyt; 1962-Billy Cantrell; 1963-Mel Kenyon; 1964-Parnelli Jones; 1965-Dick Atkins; 1966-Parnelli Jones; 1967-Gary Bettenhausen; 1968-Sam Sessions; 1969-George Benson; 1970-Gary Bettenhausen; 1971-Bill Englehart; 1972-Tony Simon; 1973-Bill Englehart; 1974-Danny McKnight; 1975-Mel Kenyon; 1976-Bubby Jones; 1977-Gary Patterson; 1978-Rick Goudy; 1979-Ron Shuman; 1980-Ron Shuman; 1981-Ron Shuman; 1982-Ron Shuman; 1983-Kevin Olson; 1984-Ron Shuman; 1985-Brent Kaeding; 1986-Warren Mockler; 1987-Ron Shuman; 1988-Chuck Gurney; 1989-Chuck Gurney; 1990-Stan Fox; 1991-Stan Fox; 1992-Ron Shuman; 1993-Ron Shuman; 1994-Jordan Hermansader; 1995-Billy Boat; 1996-Billy Boat; 1997-Billy Boat; 1998-Jay Drake; 1999-Jason Leffler; 2000-Tony Stewart; 2001-Dave Steele; 2002-Michael Lewis; 2003-Dave Steele; 2004-Bobby East; 2005-Jason Leffler; 2006-Billy Wease; 2007-Dave Darland; 2008-Bobby Santos; 2009-Bryan Clauson; 2010-Bryan Clauson; 2011-Caleb Armstrong; 2012-Kyle Larson, 2013-Dave Darland, 2014-Christopher Bell, 2015-Tanner Thorson.

18-Sleepy Tripp, 13-Billy Boat, 8-Page Jones, 7-Garrett Hansen, 6-Jimmy Sills, 5-Johnny Cofer, 5-Robby Flock, 5-Cory Kruseman, 4-Robert Dolacki, 4-Ronnie Gardner, 4- P.J. Jones, 3-Jay Drake, 3-Robby Josett, 3-Chris Rahe, 3-Tony Stewart, 2-Tommy Astone, 2-Tyler Brown, 2-Josh Ford, 2-Dennis Hart, 2-Johnathon Henry, 2-Brad Kuhn, 2-Frank Pedregon, 2-Jerome Rodela, 2-Chuck West, 1-Mike Appio, 1-Wayne Bennet, 1-Bobby Boone, 1-Mario Bringetto Jr., 1-Hank Butcher, 1-Keith Chrisco, 1-Kevin Doty, 1-Tony Elliott, 1-Nic Faas, 1-Stan Fox, 1-Russ Gamester, 1-Chuck Gurney, 1-Daryl Haugh, 1-Rick Hendrix, 1-A.J. Johnson, 1-Ryan Kaplan, 1-Josh Lakatos, 1-Brad Loyet, 1-Lealand McSpadden, 1-Matt Mitchell, 1-Steve Paden, 1-Rusty Rasmussen, 1-Keith Rauch, 1-Troy Rutherford, 1-Shane Scully, 1-Ron Shuman, 1-Bryan Stanfill, 1-Tommy White.

6-Ronnie Gardner, 2-Michael Faccinto, 2-Alex Schutte, 1- Robby Josett, 1-Cody Swanson, 1-Tanner Thorson.

1. Ronnie Gardner-1005, 2. Michael Faccinto-850, 3. Cory Elliott-790, 4. Frankie Guerrini-749, 5. Courtney Crone (R)-690, 6. Maria Cofer (R)-585, 7. Robert Dalby (R)-582, 8. Randi Pankratz-573, 9. Cody Swanson-564, 10. Tyler Dolacki-475, 11. Shannon McQueen-356, 12. Alex Schutte-319, 13. Nate Wait-262, 14. Sean Dodenhoff-242, 15. Terry Nichols-228, 16. Robby Josett-201, 17. Dylan Ito (R)-200, 18. Darren Hagen-195, 19. Ashley Hazelton (R)-178, 20. Taylor Simas-177.
1. Tanner Thorson-1194, 2. Spencer Bayston-1185, 3. Brady Bacon-1129, --Chad Boat-1129, 5. Carson Macedo (R)-1058, 6. Ryan Robinson (R)-872, 7. Holly Shelton (R)-810, 8. Bryan Clauson-720, 9. Tyler Thomas-714, 10. Ryan Greth (R)-572, 11. Jerry Coons, Jr.-545, 12. Dave Darland-527, 13. Zach Daum-512, 14. Gage Walker (R)-491, 15. Shane Golobic (R)-407, 16. Steve Buckwalter-316, 17. Davey Ray-253, 18. Justin Peck (R)-226, 19. Tucker Klaasmeyer (R)-192, 20. Jimi Quin-173.

November 24: #Ventura Raceway – Ventura, CA (Turkey Night Grand Prix)
# = Co-Sanctioned Event with USAC National Midgets.
#68 Ronnie Gardner –USAC Western States Midget Point Leader. Photo by Lance Jennings / SCRAFAN.COM


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