Ventura, CA — Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., a five-time USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget feature winner and 2007 series Rookie of the Year, has filed an entry to become the latest addition to the massive field for the 79th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix on Thursday, November 28, at California’s Ventura Raceway.
Stenhouse, also a two-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup winner and two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champ, will drive the No. 17JR for Clauson/Marshall Racing, a fifth entry for the team alongside 2019 series champ Tyler Courtney, Chris Windom, Zeb Wise and Andrew Layser.
The Olive Branch, Mississippi native has made three USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget starts in 2019, finishing 7th in September’s BC39 at The Dirt Track at IMS and 6th on the opening night of the Hangtown 100 one week ago at California’s Placerville Speedway.
On the second night of the Hangtown 100, Stenhouse was running 2nd when he pulled off with a problem just prior to the halfway mark of the 100-lapper.
Stenhouse has made one previous Turkey Night Grand Prix midget start, in 2007, where he finished 3rd in his qualifying race and 29th in the feature event. The 2007 race was held on the pavement of Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. This year’s race will mark Stenhouse’s first TNGP appearance on dirt.
USAC Midget practice and USAC West Coast/VRA Sprint Cars will kick off the Turkey Night festivities on Wednesday, November 27 and conclude Thursday night, November 28 with the finales for the West Coast/VRA Sprints and the 98-lap main event for the midgets.
On Thursday, pits open at 11am Pacific, drivers meeting at 2:45pm, grandstands open at 3pm, hot laps at 3:15pm, immediately followed by qualifying and racing events. All tickets that are not reserved are $35. Reserved seats are $45 for ages 13 and older and $20 for ages 12 and under. Pit passes are $50 each.
Wednesday’s timetable is the same except for pits opening at 11:45am. The slate features West Coast/VRA Sprint Car practice, qualifying, heat races and a fast dash along with USAC Midget practice. General admission tickets are $20 for adults on Wednesday, $15 for seniors/military/students and free for ages 12 and under with an accompanying adult. Pit passes are $40 apiece.
However, Ventura Raceway and USAC officials have announced contingency plans in the event that Mother Nature interferes with this week’s 79th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix at California’s Ventura Raceway.
Officials will evaluate the weather situation on Tuesday. If weather appears to be strongly imminent on each of the race days, the event will move to a Friday/Saturday schedule to be held on November 29-30.
On five occasions during the USAC era, 1956-present, the Turkey Night Grand Prix has not been run on Thanksgiving night. It’s been 36 years since the last time it occurred back in 1983, when it was run on Friday. Other similar occurrences came in 1965 when it was run on Saturday of the same weekend, in 1973 when it was contested on Friday, in 1975 on Sunday and in 1981 when it was held nine days later on Saturday of the following weekend, the only time the race has been held in December during the USAC era.
Advance tickets for the 79th Running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix are available online through www.venturaraceway.com or by calling 805.648.7223. Ventura Raceway is located on the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 10 West Harbor Blvd. in Ventura, California.
Both nights of racing action at Ventura can be watched live and on-demand on FloRacing and listened to live via the USAC app. Follow along with live timing and scoring on both the USAC app and the Race-Monitor app.
-USAC Press Release
-Photo Credit: Devin Mayo