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SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT FOR TURKEY NIGHT! 2021 GRAND PRIX-VIEW


SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT FOR TURKEY NIGHT! 2021 GRAND PRIX-VIEW

By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Ventura, California (November 26, 2021)………While running fifth nearing halfway of the 2019 Turkey Night Grand Prix at California’s Ventura Raceway, Kyle Larson nearly saw his race end in shambles after biking hard into turn one.

Somehow, someway, the Elk Grove, Calif. native regained his footing, kept his foot on the throttle and carried on as if it was just part of the game plan.

Obviously, it wasn’t, but Larson welcomes a challenge and responded to it in kind throughout the night, beginning with his qualifying run.  After being a favorite to win the pole, Larson uncharacteristically spun on his second qualifying lap, relegating him to 16th fastest and forcing him to carve through the field if he was to reach the pinnacle once again.

Larson seemingly took it all in stride, even on a racing surface that had been deluged by heavy rain over the past three days that made the 1/5-mile oceanside bullring a giddy-up, bucking bronco style ride from the word go.

With all those challenges facing him, and even a lengthy precipitation delay during the night’s qualifying races, it still seemed inevitable that Larson was going to be a factor regardless if he started mid-pack, on the tail or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with one arm tied behind his back.

None of these things proved to be a hindrance to Larson who won the prestigious race for a third time, joining Ron Shuman (8), Billy Boat (3) and Christopher Bell (3) as one of the Mt. Rushmore figures to win the event on at least three occasions following previous victories in 2012 and 2016.

“I’ve always run well at the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Larson admitted.  “To get another one feels great.  I had to work hard for that one, everybody did, just to get to the checkered flag.  It was extremely rough, but fun too because it was challenging, and the ruts changed all throughout the race.”

This Saturday night, November 27, at Ventura, Larson begins his quest to become the second driver to win the event at least four times in his career after previous scores in 2012, 2016 and 2019.  Beyond that, in nine previous TNGP starts, Larson has finished no worse than 4th.  He’s also been 2nd three times in 2015, 2017 and 2018.  He’s been 3rd twice in 2013 and 2014, and 4th in 2011.  Furthermore, he captured the pole for the race in 2017.

Larson and Tanner Thorson (Minden, Nev.) are the two lone past TNGP winners in this year’s field.  The 2016 USAC National Midget champion won the 2015 race and was on the pole for the 2014 event.  He also possesses a 4th in 2017, a 6th in both 2014 and 2016, and a 10th in 2013.

Larson’s largest thorn in the 2019 race was teenage sensation Cannon McIntosh (Bixby, Okla.), who was making his first Turkey Night Grand Prix appearance and led a race-high 67 laps before finishing 2nd in the 98-lapper.

Third in World of Outlaws points in 2021 is Carson Macedo (Lemoore, Calif.), one of several drivers who’ve converted to midget racing for the month of November after competing in other disciplines throughout the season.  The 2016 USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year scored a 3rd in the TNGP in 2016, a 6th in 2018 and a 5th in 2019.

Two-time USAC Western Classic Sprint Car champ Ryan Bernal (Hollister, Calif.) took 3rd in the 2012 TNGP and was 10th in 2019 after starting 23rd.  His Matt Wood Racing teammate, Shane Golobic (Fremont, Calif.) snared a 3rd in 2017, a 5th in 2012, a 7th in 2016 and a 9th in 2019 after starting 24th, which earned the 2017 Indiana Midget Week champion hard charger honors for the evening.  Fellow MWR teammate Zeb Wise (Angola, Ind.) was 5th in his first TNGP run back in 2017.

Kevin Thomas Jr. (Cullman, Ala.) scored the pole and led the first 20 laps of the 2019 TNGP.  His finest result in the event came in a 5th place performance in 2015. 

USAC National Midget point leader Buddy Kofoid (Penngrove, Calif.) earned a 6th place finish in his only previous TNGP Midget start in 2019.  He leads the standings by 47 points over Chris Windom entering the final race of the 2021 season on Saturday.  Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.) is second in the standings and a 7th place finisher at the TNGP on the pavement of Irwindale Speedway in 2011.

Jason McDougal (Broken Arrow, Okla.) has turned in two fine performances in two previous TNGP starts in 2018 and 2019.  The 2018 Don Basile Rookie of the Race took 8th in 2018 and a best of 4th in 2019.

Tanner Carrick (Lincoln, Calif.) took the pole for the TNGP in 2018 before finishing a career-best 6th later that evening.  He followed that up with an 8th in 2019.

The 2018 USAC National Midget champion, Logan Seavey (Sutter, Calif.), scored a best of 7th in the 2019 TNGP while Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.) has also topped out thus far with a 7th place finish in 2017, to go along with a 10th in 2018.

Thomas Meseraull’s Turkey Night Grand Prix career dates back to 2000 at Irwindale.  His best result in six previous TNGP starts came with an 11th back in 2004.  Meanwhile, Ron Hazelton’s TNGP career dates back the furthest of anybody in this year’s driver lineup, finishing 11th all the way back in 1993.

Returning TNGP veterans include 2019 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Champion, Greenfield, Indiana’s C.J. Leary (20th in 2018), plus  June 2021 Ventura USAC Western States Midget winner, Coalinga, California’s Ben Worth (15th in 2019).

Roseville, California’s Colby Copeland (13th in 2018) is back in the lineup as are Santa Clarita, California’s Robby Josett (15th in 2011), Atascadero, California’s Randi Pankratz (19th in 2015), Macdoel, California’s Maria Cofer (19th in 2016), Yorba Linda, California’s Matt Mitchell (20th in 2003), Fresno, California’s Tyler Dolacki (21st in 2016), Brea, California’s C.J. Sarna (21st in 2019), Littleton, Colorado’s Carson Garrett (28th in 2018) and Penngrove, California’s Chase Johnson (29th in 2019), who is also a 2019 Turkey Night USAC West Coast Sprint Car feature winner.

Several contenders will aim to become the first driver since Warren Mockler in 1986 to win in his very first Turkey Night appearance.  Among the group are 23 Don Basile Rookie of the Race candidates, including 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott (Dawsonville, Ga.) and 2021 USAC National Midget feature winners Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) and Ryan Timms (Oklahoma City, Okla.).

All Star Circuit of Champions standout Cory Eliason (Visalia, Calif.) is making his first TNGP appearance after finishing in the top-ten in four of his six starts this season with the USAC National Midgets.

Three women are Turkey Night Rookies in 2021: Kaylee Bryson (Muskogee, Okla.), Jade Avedisian (Clovis, Calif.) and Taylor Reimer (Bixby, Okla.), who are among the five women in this year’s field along with Pankratz and Cofer.

This year’s USAC Western States champion, Blake Bower (Brentwood, Calif.), will attempt to make his first Turkey Night start as is USAC National Midgets’ top Rookie for 2021, Chase Randall (Waco, Texas) and his Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports teammate, Hayden Reinbold (Gilbert, Ariz.).

Seven-time Turkey Night Grand Prix winning car owner Keith Kunz has three Rookies in his stable on the Kunz/Curb-Agajanian team with USAC National Midget Rookies Reimer, as well as 2021 POWRi Midget champ Bryant Wiedeman (Colby, Kan.) and Brenham Crouch (Lubbock, Texas).

Jake Andreotti (Castro Valley, Calif.) won a USAC Western States Midget feature at Ventura this past October.  He joins Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.), Chance Crum (Snohomish, Wash.) and Caden Sarale (Stockton, Calif.) who are among the experienced Turkey Night Rookies who’ve all made previous USAC National Midget starts this season on the tour.

They’ll be joined by two-time 2021 USAC Western States Midget feature winner Brody Fuson (Bakersfield, Calif.), west coast winged sprint car standout Kaleb Montgomery (Templeton, Calif.), USAC Western States Midget regulars Dylan Ito (Ventura, Calif.) and Terry Nichols (Delano, Calif.), plus versatile wheelman Jarrett Soares (Discovery Bay, Calif.) and Anadarko, Oklahoma’s Ryan Padgett.

Automotive Racing Products, the title sponsor of the 80th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix, has added $15,000 to the event purse from top-to-bottom for the $10,000-to-win USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship event at Ventura on Saturday night, November 27.

USAC Western States Midget champions Robby Flock (1986-1989-1993-2002) and Johnny Cofer (1994) will serve as co-grand marshals for Saturday’s race.

Midget practice, plus USAC West Coast Sprint Car heat races, qualifiers and dash will take place on Friday, November 26 with the sprint car semi-feature and feature events, and the 98-lap USAC Midget season finale taking place on Saturday, November 27.

On both Friday and Saturday, pits open at 11am Pacific, with the drivers meeting at 2:30pm, the grandstands opening at 3pm and cars on track at 3:30pm.

On Friday, adult general admission tickets are $22, with Senior/Military/Students $18 and children 11 and under free. Pit passes are $45 for members & $50 for non-members.

On Saturday, all tickets that are not reserved are $35.  Reserved seats are $45 for ages 13 and older and $25 for ages 12 and under.  Pit passes are $45 for members & $50 for non-members.

Race tickets are available now at www.venturaraceway.net.

Both nights of the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura will be streamed live on FloRacing at https://bit.ly/2ZpafUr.

 

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2021 TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX ENTRY LIST: (50 PRE-ENTRIES)

00 ®JAKE ANDREOTTI/Castro Valley, CA (Pete Davis)

01 ®BRYANT WIEDEMAN/Colby, KS (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)

07w ®MITCHEL MOLES/Raisin City, CA (Matt Wood Racing)

08 CANNON McINTOSH/Bixby, OK (Dave Mac Motorsports)

1EM TBA

1K KYLE LARSON/Elk Grove, CA (Kyle Larson Racing)

1N ®RYAN PADGETT/Anadarko, OK (NP Motorsports)

1p ®TERRY NICHOLS/Delano, CA (NP Motorsports)

2J JUSTIN GRANT/Ione, CA (RMS Racing)

5 KEVIN THOMAS JR./Cullman, AL (Petry Motorsports)

5K BEN WORTH/Coalinga, CA (Dean Alexander)

5T JASON McDOUGAL/Broken Arrow, OK (Dean Alexander)

7NZ CHASE JOHNSON/Penngrove, CA (BSL Racing)

7x THOMAS MESERAULL/San Jose, CA (RMS Racing) 1

8 RANDI PANKRATZ/Atascadero, CA (Wally Pankratz)

8w ®KALEB MONTGOMERY/Templeton, CA (Woodland Autosports)

9 ®BLAKE BOWER/Brentwood, CA (Tony Boscacci)

9E ®CHASE ELLIOTT/Dawsonville, GA (Kyle Larson Racing)

12 ®JARRETT SOARES/Discovery Bay, CA (Steven Soares)

15 ®EMERSON AXSOM/Franklin, IN (Petry Motorsports)

15ws RON HAZELTON/Chatsworth, CA (Ron Hazelton)

15x CARSON GARRETT/Littleton, CO (Broc Garrett)

17w SHANE GOLOBIC/Fremont, CA (Matt Wood Racing)

19A ®CHASE RANDALL/Waco, TX (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)

19AZ ®HAYDEN REINBOLD/Gilbert, AZ (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)

19T TANNER THORSON/Minden, NV (Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports)

20 C.J. SARNA/Brea, CA (C.J. Sarna)

21 CARSON MACEDO/Lemoore, CA (Tarlton Motorsports)

25 LOGAN SEAVEY/Sutter, CA (Tom Malloy)

25K ®TAYLOR REIMER/Bixby, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)

25m COLBY COPELAND/Roseville, CA (Tom Malloy)

26 ®CORY ELIASON/Visalia, CA (Rudeen Racing)

26R ®CHANCE CRUM/Snohomish, WA (Rudeen Racing)

32 ®CADEN SARALE/Stockton, CA (Caden Sarale)

35F TYLER DOLACKI/Fresno, CA (MF Motorsports)

37 MATT MITCHELL/Yorba Linda, CA (J.W. Mitchell Motorsports)

37w ZEB WISE/Angola, IN (Matt Wood Racing)

51 ®BRODY FUSON/Bakersfield, CA (Rusty Carlile)

57 MARIA COFER/Macdoel, CA (Abacus Racing)

67 BUDDY KOFOID/Penngrove, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)

71 ®KAYLEE BRYSON/Muskogee, OK (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)

71K TANNER CARRICK/Lincoln, CA (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)

73 ®DYLAN ITO/Ventura, CA (Josh Ford Motorsports)

73B ROBBY JOSETT/Santa Clarita, CA (Josh Ford Motorsports)

73x C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN (Josh Ford Motorsports)

85T ®RYAN TIMMS/Oklahoma City, OK (CB Industries)

86 ®JADE AVEDISIAN/Clovis, CA (CB Industries)

87w RYAN BERNAL/Hollister, CA (Matt Wood Racing)

89 CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL (CB Industries)

97 ®BRENHAM CROUCH/Lubbock, TX (Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports)

® represents a Don Basile Rookie of the Race candidate

 

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Buddy Kofoid-2515, 2-Chris Windom-2468, 3-Justin Grant-2317, 4-Emerson Axsom-2299, 5-Tanner Thorson-2247, 6-Logan Seavey-2141, 7-Thomas Meseraull-1959, 8-Kevin Thomas Jr.-1937, 9-Daison Pursley-1892, 10-Cannon McIntosh-1826.

 

TRACK RECORDS FOR USAC NATIONAL MIDGETS AT VENTURA RACEWAY:

1 Lap – 11/18/1995 – Johnny Cofer – 11.675 – 61.670 mph

8 Laps – 11/18/1995 – J.R. Lawson – 1:40.28 – 57.439 mph

10 Laps – 11/12/1988 – Stan Fox – 2:17.22 – 52.471 mph

12 Laps – 11/12/1988 – Wally Pankratz – 2:24.67 – 59.722 mph

 

VENTURA RACEWAY USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINNERS:

1986: Stan Fox (11/21)

1987: Mike Appio (11/14)

1988: P.J. Jones (11/12)

1989: Kevin Doty (11/11)

1990: P.J. Jones (11/10)

1991: Page Jones (11/16)

1992: Chuck Gurney (11/21)

1993: Jimmy Sills (11/20) & Page Jones (11/27)

1994: Johnny Cofer (11/19)

1995: Billy Boat (11/15)

1997: Billy Boat (11/27)

2016: Kyle Larson (11/24)

2017: Christopher Bell (11/23)

2018: Christopher Bell (11/22)

2019: Kyle Larson (11/28)

 

VENTURA RACEWAY USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WINS:

2-Christopher Bell, Billy Boat, P.J. Jones, Page Jones & Kyle Larson

1-Mike Appio, Johnny Cofer, Kevin Doty, Stan Fox, Chuck Gurney & Jimmy Sills

 

TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX MIDGET WINNERS:

1934: Bob Swanson | Gilmore Stadium

1935: Ted Sizemore | Gilmore Stadium

1936: Ronney Householder | Gilmore Stadium

1937: Ronney Householder | Gilmore Stadium

1938: Bob Swanson | Gilmore Stadium

1939: Mel Hansen | Gilmore Stadium

1940: Roy Russing | Gilmore Stadium

1941: Roy Russing | Gilmore Stadium

1942: No Race

1943: No Race

1944: No Race

1945: Danny Oakes | Gilmore Stadium

1946: Perry Grimm | Gilmore Stadium

1947: Johnny McDowell | Gilmore Stadium

1948: Bill Vukovich | Gilmore Stadium

1949: Perry Grimm | Gilmore Stadium

1950: Bill Zaring | Gilmore Stadium

1951: No Race

1952: No Race

1953: No Race

1954: No Race

1955: Johnnie Parsons | Gardena Stadium

1956: Edgar Elder | Gardena Stadium

1957: George Amick | Gardena Stadium

1958: Joe Garson | Gardena Stadium

1959: Tony Bettenhausen | Gardena Stadium

1960: A.J. Foyt | Ascot Park

1961: A.J. Foyt | Ascot Park

1962: Billy Cantrell | Ascot Park

1963: Mel Kenyon | Ascot Park

1964: Parnelli Jones | Ascot Park

1965: Dick Atkins | Ascot Park

1966: Parnelli Jones | Ascot Park

1967: Gary Bettenhausen | Ascot Park

1968: Sammy Sessions | Ascot Park

1969: George Benson | Ascot Park

1970: Gary Bettenhausen | Ascot Park

1971: Billy Engelhart | Ascot Park

1972: Tony Simon | Ascot Park

1973: Billy Engelhart | Ascot Park

1974: Danny McKnight | Ascot Park

1975: Mel Kenyon | Speedway 605

1976: Bubby Jones | Ascot Park

1977: Gary Patterson | Ascot Park

1978: Rick Goudy | Ascot Park

1979: Ron Shuman | Ascot Park

1980: Ron Shuman | Ascot Park

1981: Ron Shuman | Ascot Park

1982: Ron Shuman | Ascot Park

1983: Kevin Olson | Ascot Park

1984: Ron Shuman | Ascot Park

1985: Brent Kaeding | Ascot Park

1986: Warren Mockler | Ascot Park

1987: Ron Shuman | Ascot Park

1988: Chuck Gurney | Ascot Park

1989: Chuck Gurney | Ascot Park

1990: Stan Fox | Ascot Park

1991: Stan Fox | Saugus Speedway

1992: Ron Shuman | Bakersfield Speedway

1993: Ron Shuman | Bakersfield Speedway

1994: Jordan Hermansader | Bakersfield Speedway

1995: Billy Boat | Bakersfield Speedway

1996: Billy Boat | Perris Auto Speedway

1997: Billy Boat | Ventura Raceway

1998: Jay Drake | Bakersfield Speedway

1999: Jason Leffler | Irwindale Speedway

2000: Tony Stewart | Irwindale Speedway

2001: Dave Steele | Irwindale Speedway

2002: Michael Lewis | Irwindale Speedway

2003: Dave Steele | Irwindale Speedway

2004: Bobby East | Irwindale Speedway

2005: Jason Leffler | Irwindale Speedway

2006: Billy Wease | Irwindale Speedway

2007: Dave Darland | Irwindale Speedway

2008: Bobby Santos | Irwindale Speedway

2009: Bryan Clauson | Irwindale Speedway

2010: Bryan Clauson | Irwindale Speedway

2011: Caleb Armstrong | Irwindale Speedway

2012: Kyle Larson | Perris Auto Speedway

2013: Dave Darland | Perris Auto Speedway

2014: Christopher Bell | Perris Auto Speedway

2015: Tanner Thorson | Perris Auto Speedway

2016: Kyle Larson | Ventura Raceway

2017: Christopher Bell | Ventura Raceway

2018: Christopher Bell | Ventura Raceway

2019: Kyle Larson | Ventura Raceway

2020: Not Held

 





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