Gold Crown On Tap For USAC Midgets
PONTOON BEACH, Ill. – The cars and stars of the United States Auto Club (USAC) and POWRi will combine forces once again this Thursday through Saturday for one of America’s most entertaining and lucrative Midget racing extravaganzas, the fifth annual Gold Crown Midget Nationals at Kevin and Tammy Gundaker’s Tri-City Speedway.
Offering some $70,000 in Midget prizes, including Saturday night’s $10,000 to win finale, the three night racing program offers a little of everything for the race fan. The MOWA 410 winged sprint cars compete on Friday and the supporting event on Saturday is the POWRi Micro Series.
Hot on the heels of the highly-successful Belleville Bash at the nearby Belleville (Ill.) High Banks, USAC and POWRi officials are expecting a stellar field of entries for the Gold Crown, which in just four previous years has grown in stature and produced spectacular memories.
Former championship teams Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian, RFMS Racing, Shane Hmiel and Wilke-Pak Racers are expected to again challenge for the 2013 Gold Crown title. Drivers Christopher Bell, Rico Abreu and Tanner Thorson, who swept the Belleville Midget Nationals in Kansas in August, are Kunz/Curb-Agajanian regulars, while 2012 USAC National Champion and 2010 Gold Crown champion Darren Hagen heads the RFMS team and 2012 Hut Hundred king Brady Bacon tops the Wilke-Pak entry.
Hmiel was the 2011 Gold Crown champion with now retired driver Levi Jones, who is expected to be operating in a team capacity this year. Drivers Shane Cottle and Danny Stratton will lead the Hmiel team this year. Kyle Larson earned the 2012 Gold Crown title for Kunz/Curb-Agajanian, while Jerry Coons Jr. was the inaugural winner in the Wilke-Pak entry.
Bell, of Norman, Okla., appears headed for a banner season, leading the USAC National Dirt standings and the competition for Rookie of the Year. His teammate Abreu won last year’s Rookie honors and won the recent 4-Crown Nationals Midget title.
Pit gates open each night at 3 p.m., with general admission gate opening at 5 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m. Kids 12 and under are admitted free each night with paid adult admission. Free camping and parking are also available. All tickets are general admission with no reserved seating.