TULSA, Okla — The United States Auto Club (USAC) and Gateway International Raceway announced today, in a joint statement at the 23rd Annual USAC Chili Bowl Nationals, that the Madison, Ill.-based multi-purpose racing facility will host the season-ending event of USAC’s new .25 (Point Two-Five) Midget Series “Generation Next Tour” Oct. 9-11. This year marks the inaugural season for the tour which will travel throughout the Midwest.
Gateway’s .25 Midget Series event will be held in conjunction with the Gold Crown Nationals, a USAC-sanctioned Mopar Midget National Championship race held at Tri-City Speedway, located near GIR in Pontoon Beach, Ill.
USAC is the first major sanctioning body to officially recognize the role quarter midget racing has in creating racers of the future. NASCAR champions including Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, and Terry Labonte, as well as 2008 Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman, got their start racing quarter midgets as kids. USAC hopes to use its new series to give the drivers of tomorrow a step in the right direction.
“Our new .25 Midget series represents the future drivers, fans and owners with USAC,” James Spink, USAC’s developmental series director, said. “We have seen many of our current stars graduate out of the .25 midget ranks and achieve great success with us, including Jerry Coons, Jr., Tracy Hines and Bobby East.”
Gateway has a history with USAC, hosting Silver Crown races in 1998 (won by former USAC Triple Crown winner J.J. Yeley) and 1999 (won by Newman, with the runner-up spot taken by the late Kenny Irwin). GIR Vice President and General Manager Lenny Batycki said he is pleased to see USAC return to Gateway.
“It’s an honor to have USAC to return to Gateway International Raceway,” Batycki said. “When you look at the champions this organization has produced, it’s not a stretch to think that the driver who wins this event could be the next Jeff Gordon or Carl Edwards.
“St. Louis-area race fans have seen a lot of the future stars of motorsports race at Gateway and I have every reason to believe they will be seeing more when the USAC .25 Midget Series comes to town in October.”
For more information on USAC, visit them on the Web at USACRacing.com. For information on Gateway International Raceway, go to GatewayRaceway.com.