The USAC Midgets go indoors for the first time since 2007 this Saturday night, December 19, as the Southern Illinois Center on the grounds of the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fair plays host to the inaugural “Junior Knepper 55.”


The 55-lap, non-points USAC “special event” honors the famed car owner Walter “Junior” Knepper, who fielded the familiar yellow number 55 in USAC National Sprint and National Midget competition for several years, scoring a combined 58 series victories with drivers Bob Wente, Tom Bigelow, Mel Kenyon, George Snider, Dana Carter, Rich Vogler, and Steve Knepper behind the wheel.


The Nick Knepper/Derek LeMaster promotion begins a new tradition at the Southern Illinois Center with the newly-created event, but midget racing is not new to the indoor facility in DuQuoin. Recent winners indoors at DuQuoin include Joey Saldana (2014), Tony Stewart (2012), Bryan Clauson (2011) and Casey Shuman (2010).


Saturday night’s race marks the 166th USAC Midget race held indoors dating back to Gene Hartley’s victory in the very first USAC-sanctioned race at the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Memorial Coliseum on January 8, 1956. Michael Lang won USAC’s last indoor midget race in the state of Illinois at Chicago’s Rosemont Horizon in 1991. Sleepy Tripp won the most recent USAC Midget race held in DuQuoin, Illinois in 1979, taking a 50-lap feature on the “Magic Mile” located adjacent to the Southern Illinois Center. Tripp also won the most recent USAC indoor midget race on dirt in 1990 at the Reno (Nev.) Livestock Events Center. Saturday night will also be the first USAC-sanctioned race held indoors since a 2007 midget feature won by Tony Stewart at the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Expo Center.


Nearly 50 drivers and cars have already pre-entered for Saturday night’s event including some of 2015’s most accomplished USAC drivers that include AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint Car champion Damion Gardner, USAC Midwest HPD titlist Alex Watson and Bob Stroud Memorial National Midget “Rookie of the Year” Spencer Bayston. Former USAC series champions Bryan Clauson, Cory Kruseman, Josh Lakatos, Brad Loyet and Travis Young are entered as well as past USAC National feature winners Hunter Schuerenberg, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Chris Urish and Matt Westfall.


Pit gates open for the “Junior Knepper 55” at 8am Saturday, while spectator gates open at 5pm. The program is set to begin with hot laps at 6pm and racing is scheduled to start with heat races at 7pm. General admission tickets for adults are $20 with tickets for children 6-12 set at $10, while children 5 and under get in free. Pit passes are $35. will broadcast the event live on Saturday, December 19 and can be purchased for $22.99 ($20.50 for Premium and VIP Members).



0 Johnny Murdock/Dallas, TX Zero Motorsports
0A Bobby Jackson/Detroit, MI Zero Motorsports
0c Colin Parker/Martinsville, IN Zero Motorsports
0D Skylar Hunter/Afton, IA Zero Motorsports
0H Hunter Lane/Milo, IA Zero Motorsports
1T Tony Roney/Herculaneum, MO Rich Roney
3B Joe B. Miller/Millersville, MO Jim Neuman
3N Jake Neuman/New Berlin, IL Jim Neuman
3s Brian Shirley/Chatham, IL Jim Neuman
3w Alex Watson/Columbus, OH Greg Watson
4 Damion Gardner/Corona, CA Klatt Enterprises
4G Ryan Greth/New Cumberland, PA Wayne Lesher
05 Brad Loyet/Sunset Hills, MO Loyet Motorsports
5c Colten Cottle/Kansas, IL Rick Cottle
5H Matt Ponder/Festus, MO Dennis Hoppe
5x Justin Peck/Monrovia, IN Steve Peck
6K Josh Lakatos/Pasadena, CA Kruseman Enterprises
6R TBA Jody Rosenboom
7 Gage Walker/Indianapolis, IN Brian Walker
11 Travis Young/Franklin, IN Travis Young
11A Andrew Felker/Carl Junction, MO Danny Felker
11H Chase Hill/Truckee, CA Danny Felker
11K Gavin Harlien/Mesa, AZ Kruseman Enterprises
14 Chris Urish/Elkhart, IL Ciltrak Promotions
14R Jody Rosenboom/Rock Rapids, IA Jody Rosenboom
14w Matt Westfall/Ludlow Falls, OH Steve Bordner
15 Tim Siner/Dupo, IL James Siner
15m Shane Morgan/Morton, IL Shane Morgan
16K Chris Dyson/Pleasant Valley, NY Kruseman Enterprises
17 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr./Olive Branch, MS Bryan Clauson Racing
19 John Campbell/Belleville, IL William Campbell
21K Cory Kruseman/Ventura, CA Kruseman Enterprises
29 David Hair/Camby, IN Ed Hair
33D Chase Briscoe/Mitchell, IN Jeff & Jill Davis
35 Tyler Robbins/Collinsville, IL Scott Robbins
39 Spencer Bayston/Lebanon, IN Bryan Clauson Racing
39c Payton Pierce/Bridgeport, TX Bryan Clauson Racing
50 Daniel Adler/St. Louis, MO Mike Adler
51J Ryan Jamison/Mediapolis, IA Ryan Jamison
52c Isaac Chapple/Willow Branch, IN Isaac Chapple Racing
55 Hunter Schuerenberg/Sikeston, MO Steve Knepper
57 Daniel Robinson/Wayne City, IL McCreery Motorsports
57K Kevin Studley/Plainfield, IL Kevin Studley
63 Bryan Clauson/Noblesville, IN RKR/Dooling
71 Robert Bell/Colfax, IA Bell Motorsports
88 Tyler Nelson/Olathe, KS Tyler Nelson
88D Rusty Dukes/Fair Grove, MO Jon Sawyer
91 Dereck King/Vienna, IL Jack Harris
91T Tyler Thomas/Collinsville, OK Brian Thomas


-USAC Press Release. Photo credit: Steve Koletar

USAC Going Indoors for the First Time in Eight Years