Richest Midget race of 2008 joins USAC National Midget calendar

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Gold Crown Midget Nationals

The richest Midget race of 2008 – the October 9-11 DuPont “Gold Crown Midget Nationals” at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach (Granite City), Ill., has joined the USAC Mopar National Midget calendar. Saturday night’s (Oct. 11) feature event offers $15,000 to win and $1,000 to start, completing three nights of racing at the 3/8-mile dirt oval located just east of the Mississippi River, northeast of St. Louis, Mo.

Co-sanctioned by USAC and POWRi, the event will showcase the finest Midget racing on the planet at a track with USAC history dating back to 1961.

Preliminary events are scheduled Oct. 9-10, with features each night, building to Saturday’s climactic “shootout” for $15,000.

Josh Wise won USAC’s last Midget race at Tri-City, in 2005, on his way to the USAC National Midget title. Defending two-time USAC National Midget Champion Jerry Coons Jr. finished ninth in that 30-lap race.

Tracy Hines is the current USAC Mopar National Midget Series point leader and he and Coons are trying to join USAC’s elusive list of “Triple Crown” champions this season. Hines needs to win the Midget title, while Coons needs both the K & N Silver Crown and Sprint Car titles. Coons leads the Silver Crown standings and is second in the Sprints.

The race has associate sponsorship from Wente’s O & W Restaurant and the Bob Wente Classic. The Wente family is represented among the track’s USAC feature winners as Bob won in the Midgets there in 1969.

A total of 47 USAC races have been conducted at Tri-City. Danny Frye won the first Midget race in August, 1961 and winners since then have included Indianapolis 500 veterans Tony Stewart, J.J. Yeley, Tom Bigelow, Pancho Carter, Jack Hewitt, Greg Weld, Jimmy Caruthers, Larry Rice, Mel Kenyon and Wente.

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