Seavey & Grant Share Spotlight at 2023 USAC Night of Champions

USAC national driving champions Logan Seavey and Justin Grant shared the spotlight along with other 2023 USAC champions and special award recipients at Friday night’s 68th USAC Night of Champions celebration at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis, Ind.

 

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USAC NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

 

A total of 75 USAC national events were held from sea to shining sea during the 2023 campaign, from February’s events in the gator country of Barberville, Florida all the way to November’s night on the beach in Ventura, California.

 

We were witnesses to milestones, photo finishes, historic streaks, hard charges, a double-up champion, a repeat titlist and a return to the throne.

 

With the curtain closed on the 68th year of USAC racing, we salute all the individuals and teams who thrived through the yearlong grind on the trail and also those who earned the right to stand on the stage Friday night as one of the very best at their discipline.

 

 

USAC SILVER CROWN 1ST PLACE DRIVER: Logan Seavey – Sutter, California

 

USAC SILVER CROWN 1ST PLACE ENTRANT: Rice Motorsports-Abacus Racing – Brownsburg, Indiana

 

Logan Seavey and Rice Motorsports fell just a few points short of a USAC Silver Crown championship in each of the past two seasons, but in 2023, they weren’t denied. Three dirt wins met the expectations of the team’s desires at Port Royal, Springfield and Eldora. However, the pavement side of the equation saw a huge stride for the team with four top-five results.

 

However, a July accident at Winchester nearly derailed their championship hopes and aspirations. With all hands on deck between Rice Motorsports and new team co-entrant Abacus Racing, and the sands of the hourglass running short, the team rebuilt their car just in time to finish 5th at Toledo, marking the moment when the two factions truly became one team.

 

When all was said and done, Seavey, Rice and Abacus prevailed with a scant seven-point edge in earning the title, and coupled with his midget championship, Seavey became the first driver since Levi Jones in 2011 to double up with multiple USAC national titles in a season, which earned him a $50,000 bonus, doubling his point fund payout to $100,000 for the year.

 

 

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK NATIONAL MIDGET 1ST PLACE DRIVER: Logan Seavey – Sutter, California

 

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK NATIONAL MIDGET 1ST PLACE ENTRANT: Abacus Racing – Noblesville, Indiana

 

Logan Seavey and Abacus Racing’s 280-point final championship margin at the conclusion of the 2023 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship season was the largest in nearly two decades since Bobby East’s title in 2004, and it came after they found themselves mired sixth in the standings, 110 points out of the lead in June.

 

Their run of 22 consecutive top-10 finishes to end the season sealed the deal and tied Jason Leffler’s series record set in 1997, the very same year Seavey was born. Seavey won at Macon Speedway mere hours after winning the USAC Silver Crown race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, becoming just the third driver to win multiple USAC national events at two different racetracks in a single day, a feat previously only accomplished by Billy Vukovich in 1967 and J.J. Yeley in 2004.

 

Seavey also performed a complete USAC sweep of the 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora and led the midget series in feature laps led with 214 as well as 21 top-fives and 24 top-tens in 27 starts. He’s now a two-time USAC National Midget champion and his team is a first-time series titlist.

 

 

USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR 1ST PLACE DRIVER: Justin Grant, Ione, California

 

RICHARD HOFFMAN USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR 1ST PLACE ENTRANT: TOPP Motorsports, Rochester, Indiana

 

Justin Grant and TOPP Motorsports endured a nearly two-month struggle in the late spring/early summer months which overlapped with a change in team personnel and a period of confidence-shaking woes that found the team as far down as sixth in the standings entering mid-summer.

 

What followed was one of the most dominant stretches in series history for himself, sidekick Jeff Walker and TOPP Motorsports’ Kevin Birchmeier, accounting for a career-high 11 series victories in 2023, including eight in his final 17 starts, and 13 straight top-tens to close out the year.

 

Grant became the 13th different point leader in a record setting year in terms of point lead changes and was also victorious at Gas City in the closest USAC finish of the season while earning the most lucrative weekend of his career when he cashed $44,500 in a single night by completing a Sprint Car Smackdown sweep at Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway. To boot, he finished off the year with $20,000 more in his pocket as the winner of the Fall Nationals at Lawrenceburg.

 

Both Grant and TOPP are now two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car champions, and for the second year in a row, the first team to do so since Brady Bacon and Dynamics, Inc. in 2020-21. The efforts were worth another $50,000 for their title run.

 

 

USAC SILVER CROWN 2ND PLACE DRIVER: Kody Swanson – Kingsburg, California

 

USAC SILVER CROWN 2ND PLACE ENTRANT: Doran-Binks Racing – Lebanon, Ohio

 

Kody Swanson became the first driver to reach 40 career USAC Silver Crown wins during a summer stretch in which he collected three consecutive victories at Madison, Winchester and Toledo, making it the fourth occasion in which he won three-in-a-row with the series. No other driver has more than one such streak! He shared the series lead with nine top-fives in 11 series starts and topped all drivers with 433 laps led and six fast qualifying times. For an incredible 10 straight years now, he’s finished either first or second in the standings. Finishing as the runners-up for the USAC Silver Crown series in 2023 were Kingsburg, California’s Swanson and Lebanon, Ohio’s Doran-Binks Racing.

 

 

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK NATIONAL MIDGET 2ND PLACE DRIVER: Justin Grant, Ione, California

 

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK NATIONAL MIDGET 2ND PLACE ENTRANT: RMS Racing, Western Springs, Illinois

 

They’ve made a habit of it throughout their time together, and once again, for the third season in a row, Justin Grant and the RMS Racing team finished inside the top-three of the standings, and this year, both driver and entrant wound up as the runners-up. Grant led 94 laps while accumulating 12 top-fives in 27 starts and was simply spectacular in a masterful drive at The Dirt Track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There, the Ione, Calif. driver and Western Springs, Illinois based team went undefeated throughout the weekend to capture the $20,039 dollar prize at the Driven2SaveLives BC39.

 

 

USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR 2ND PLACE DRIVER: Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

 

USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR 2ND PLACE ENTRANT: Dynamics Inc., Milford, Ohio

 

For the fourth consecutive year, Brady Bacon and his Dynamics, Inc. team finished top-two in the standings on the strength of seven victories, equaling his career high. Bacon’s $20,000 dollar Haubstadt Hustler victory at Tri-State gave him 53 career USAC National Sprint Car feature wins, pushing the Broken Arrow, Okla. product to second all-time in that category. He also added a second Indiana Sprint Week crown and a pair of victories in Illinois & Texas which set a record for the most different states won in by a USAC National Sprint Car driver at 14. At Wilmot, this combo became the winningest driver/entrant pairing in series history with 41 scores and now they’re your 2023 USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car runners-up.

 

 

USAC SILVER CROWN 3RD PLACE DRIVER: Justin Grant – Ione, California

 

USAC SILVER CROWN 3RD PLACE ENTRANT: Hemelgarn Racing – LaSalle, Michigan

 

For the eighth straight season, Justin Grant and Hemelgarn Racing found themselves inside the top-five of the USAC Silver Crown standings at season’s end, finishing third both the driver and entrant standings for 2023. On Labor Day weekend this year, they broke an 18-race string without a victory when he scored the 69th running of the Ted Horn 100 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds dirt mile. After a somewhat sluggish start which saw them fall to ninth in points, the Ione, Calif. driver and LaSalle, Mich. team rebounded with authority, recording six top-sixes to cap the season.

 

 

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK NATIONAL MIDGET 3RD PLACE DRIVER: Bryant Wiedeman – Colby, Kansas

 

USAC NOS ENERGY DRINK NATIONAL MIDGET 3RD PLACE ENTRANT: CB Industries – Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Bryant Wiedeman became a first-time USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship feature winner in 2023, utilizing a low-side pass on the white flag lap to seal a victory in his home state of Kansas at the Mitchell County Fairgrounds. The Colby, Kan. racer ascended to a fourth-place finish in the standings a year ago, just 13 points out of third. However, this year, he took the next step up the ladder by leading 32 laps and grabbing nine top-five results in 26 starts while also bringing his CB Industries team back to the podium at year’s end with Wiedeman and Mooresville, North Carolina’s CBI taking third in the driver and entrant standings, respectively.

 

 

USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR 3RD PLACE DRIVER: Emerson Axsom – Franklin, Indiana

 

USAC AMSOIL NATIONAL SPRINT CAR 3RD PLACE ENTRANT: Clauson Marshall Newman Racing – Fishers, Indiana

 

One year after corralling Rookie of the Year honors, Emerson Axsom came back with a sensational sophomore season in which he won on back-to-back nights at Pennsylvania’s Big Diamond Speedway and Williams Grove Speedway en route to the Eastern Storm title before adding another win at Indiana’s Bloomington Speedway. In all, he garnered a series-high 29 top-tens in 36 starts while bringing his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing team to its best points finish in four years. In 2023, Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) and Clauson Marshall Newman (Fishers, Ind.) tallied a third-place finish in the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car driver and entrant standings.

 

 

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USAC INDIVIDUAL & SPECIAL AWARDS

 

ROGER McCLUSKEY AWARD: Dave Darland – Lincoln, Indiana

 

Who would have thought that a straggly kid from Lincoln, Indiana would have come this far? Dave Darland is the absolute epitome of the word “excellence” in every sense of the word. He’s one of seven members of the Triple Crown club, winning championships across all three of USAC’s divisions – Silver Crown, National Midgets and National Sprint Cars where he is the winningest driver in series history.

 

Darland’s total of 115 USAC feature victories (nationally and regionally) ranks fifth all-time and his 1,334 USAC National feature starts between 1986 and 2023 also ranks number one. He also scored at least one USAC national feature victory in a remarkable 24 consecutive seasons between 1993 and 2016.

 

He’s raced everywhere and won nearly everything in his long and storied career. He’s won on pavement and dirt, won from coast-to-coast, and titles upon titles, and was one of the most popular drivers to ever compete on the USAC trail. Along the way, he affectionately earned the nickname, “The People’s Champ,” which certainly about sums it up.

 

The accolades go on and on and we could be here for eternity reciting them, but this man has solidified his position as one of the all-time greats in all motorsports, and that’s a status he will retain for eternity.

 

It brings me great pleasure to introduce to you this year’s recipient of the Roger McCluskey Award – the incomparable Dave Darland!

 

 

MIKE CURB USAC NATIONAL DRIVERS CHAMPION: Justin Grant, Ione, California

 

A second USAC National Sprint Car championship in as many years isn’t the only impressive accolade Justin Grant repeated in 2023. For the third consecutive season, and fourth time overall, Grant (Ione, Calif.) was rewarded as the Mike Curb USAC National Driver Champion. He amassed the most total points across the three USAC national divisions throughout the duration of the 2023 campaign and is now just the third driver to win the honor in three consecutive seasons, joining J.J. Yeley and Bryan Clauson in that department. He’s also now one of only two drivers to capture this reward four times in his career along with Tracy Hines. For his performance, Grant collected an extra $10,000.

 

 

JOHNNY CAPELS “GOLDEN GREEK” USAC CHIEF MECHANIC OF THE YEAR: Ronnie Gardner – Rice Motorsports & Abacus Racing

 

It’s a rare feat to win multiple championships in a single year in any aspect of the sport, but Ronnie Gardner was able to achieve that as a crewman in 2023. A five-time USAC Western States Midget titlist as a driver in his own right, he turned in the steering wheel for a wrench and has kept on winning. This year, between his efforts with driver Logan Seavey, Abacus Racing and Rice Motorsports, he amassed a pair of championships in USAC National Midget and USAC Silver Crown competition. The Johnny Capels “Golden Greek” award is reserved for those special individuals who are in the trenches and this year’s recipient is certainly among those as he earned a $10,000 reward for his efforts.

 

 

BUBBY JONES MASTER OF GOIN’ FASTER CHAMPIONSHIP: C.J. Leary – Greenfield, Indiana

 

C.J. Leary has won a USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship, an Indiana Sprint Week title and an Eastern Storm crown in his career. In 2023, the Greenfield, Ind. driver added another highlight to his impressive reel by capturing the second annual Bubby Jones Master of Goin’ Faster Championship Presented By Spire Sports + Entertainment. Leary earned $10,000 for his efforts in the 10-race miniseries and an extra $2,500 for his BGE Dougherty Motorsports team. For Leary, it’s another feather in his cap as he also received a custom trophy provided by Potter Metal Art.

 

 

PROSOURCE PASSING MASTER: Daison Pursley – Locust Grove, Oklahoma

 

Daison Pursley’s conquests in USAC’s National Sprint Car Midget divisions saw him pass a total of 199 cars in 62 feature starts throughout the 2023 season. Those efforts paid off for the Locust Grove, Okla. driver as he earned the title of ProSource Passing Master. Pursley earned a $2,500 prize and becomes the third different winner of the season-long award which rewards the USAC nationally licensed driver who advanced the most positions during feature events throughout the entirety of USAC’s 2023 national season between Silver Crown, Sprint Cars and Midgets.

 

 

MAX PAPIS INNOVATIONS SILVER CROWN ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Kaylee Bryson – Muskogee, Oklahoma

 

Throughout the 2023 season, Kaylee Bryson ascended to heights never before reached in USAC’s 68-year history. She became the first woman to finish inside the top-five of the standings in a USAC national series and is now the first woman to earn USAC National Rookie of the Year honors of any kind, earning the honor with the Silver Crown series this past season. One year ago, the Muskogee, Oklahoma native became the first woman to earn USAC National Most Improved Driver honors and she’s also the first Okie to win this award.

 

 

MAX PAPIS INNOVATIONS BOB STROUD NATIONAL MIDGET ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Gavin Miller – Allentown, Pennsylvania

 

Just a few years ago, Gavin Miller stood on the stage at USAC’s Night of Champions as a decorated quarter midget racer. Now the six-time USAC .25 Midget champ is making a name on the USAC National Midget scale by becoming the first Pennsylvanian to win a series feature since Steve Buckwalter 13 years ago. Miller’s win at Bloomington and an eighth place finish in the standings propelled the Allentown, Pa. racer to becoming just the third Keystone State native to receive recognition as the Max Papis Innovations Bob Stroud USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year after John Andretti in 1983 and Andrew Layser in 2019.

 

 

MAX PAPIS INNOVATIONS USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Daison Pursley – Locust Grove, Oklahoma

 

There are comeback stories and then there is the comeback story of Daison Pursley. In 2021, the Locust Grove, Okla. native suffered a spinal injury that kept him inside hospitals and rehab centers for several months. His perseverance and desire ultimately led him back to the driver’s seat. Right out of the box in 2023, he got the racing world’s attention with a $10,000 score at Florida’s Volusia Speedway Park, a night he said he’ll always remember. Defying the odds is part of Pursley’s game, and in 2023, he became the first Oklahoman to win the Max Papis Innovations USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year award since Gary Cameron in 1992.

 

 

NATIONAL MOST IMPROVED DRIVER: Carson Garrett – Littleton, Colorado

 

Hailing from Littleton, Colorado, Carson Garrett becomes the first ever Rocky Mountain State driver to ever be named a USAC National Most Improved Driver. Garrett recorded career bests in every single statistical category throughout the 2023 USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship season. In his third year with the series, he notched three top-fives and came within a whisker – just 93 hundredths of a second – of winning his first series feature at Macon Speedway in Illinois. He also made one of the biggest charges of the year when he advanced from 20th to 6th at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.

 

 

RACE ORGANIZER OF THE YEAR: Steve O’Neal – Port Royal Speedway

 

For several years now, Steve O’Neal has been the face of Pennsylvania’s Port Royal Speedway, overseeing a transformation of the facility that fits its moniker to a T as The Speed Palace. He’s long been an advocate for USAC racing in the Keystone State, and since 2012, has been an ardent supporter of USAC Sprint Car racing’s annual running of Eastern Storm. In 2022, he was instrumental in doubling USAC’s participation at Port Royal, adding a Silver Crown event to the night, thus creating one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. In 2023, O’Neal was celebrated as USAC’s Race Organizer of the Year.

 

 

USAC SPECIAL APPRECIATION (INDIVIDUAL): Dave & Kim Rudisell – Lawrenceburg Speedway

 

This year, we bid farewell to one of the most supportive and prevalent USAC promoters in the club’s history. USAC celebrated Dave and Kim Rudisell with an honorable send-off as recipients of USAC’s Special Appreciation award. For the past 17 years, they have operated Indiana’s Lawrenceburg Speedway. Between 2007 and 2023, they organized more than 40 USAC National Sprint Car events, eighth most all-time. The last of those 40 served as this past year’s season finale and was the richest race of any kind ever held in the 74-year history of the track. They also promoted 16 USAC National Midget events at The Burg, and in all, they promoted 56 USAC national events which ranks 14th all-time in USAC history.

 

 

USAC SPECIAL APPRECIATION (INDIVIDUAL): Chet Christner – FloRacing

 

Since 2017, Chet Christner has announced several hundreds of USAC national events on the public address system and to a worldwide audience on FloRacing at racetracks from coast-to-coast. With noted catchphrases such as “Drop the Hamma,” “Like a Rat on a Cheeto” and “Going Faster than Breath Mints at a Singles Bar,” etc., Christner’s colorful descriptions, humor and entertaining play-by-play calls captivated legions of race fans. Additionally, he produced a plethora of content and was a substantial help behind the scenes in the technological department in regard to the race day set-up for race broadcasts. Christner has opted to step away from announcing USAC events at the end of the 2023 season, but nonetheless, he will always remain a treasured member of the USAC family.

 

 

CAR IQ FAB FOUR CHAMPION: Jade Avedisian – Clovis, California

 

It was an absolutely fabulous season for Jade Avedisian as she captured the inaugural Car IQ Fab Four championship in 2023. The first of its kind competition determine the top women drivers within all USAC circle track racing based on an equal ratio of average finish in USAC’s Silver Crown, AMSOIL National Sprint Car and NOS Energy Drink National Midget series in addition to an online fan vote. During the season ending Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway, Clovis, California’s Avedisian was rewarded with a $10,000 prize courtesy of Car IQ.

 

 

DICK JORDAN AWARD: Nikki Klepper – USAC Licensing & RaceAid

 

Nikki Klepper is, without a doubt, the backbone of so many behind the scenes aspects that go hand in hand with the success of USAC racing. Without her tireless contributions, the USAC Night of Champions wouldn’t even be a possibility. Not only does she make this event happen, she routinely makes it special. Nikki has worked in the front office of USAC for several years in charge of licensing, and recently, has taken on the role as head of USAC’s Benevolent Foundation, now called USAC RaceAid, and has taken it to new heights.

 

Under her guidance, care and leadership within USAC, Klepper was chosen as the honoree of this year’s Dick Jordan Award of Excellence, honoring an individual who has displayed tireless dedication and commitment to the betterment of USAC. One who has had a profound positive impact within the USAC family and has earned the ultimate respect of their peers within the sport. One who has created a lasting legacy that will persist for generations to follow. One who has set a standard by upholding the values and work ethic as Dick Jordan did throughout his 50-year career with USAC.

 

 

ENGLER MACHINE & TOOL FAST PASS: Dave Berkheimer – Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

 

A new contingency award was introduced for the 2023 USAC Silver Crown season with the intention of rewarding a driver and team who are the backbone of the sport. Dave Berkheimer exemplifies that fact, having been a fixture on the series trail for the past eight seasons since 2016. This year, the first car in the running order a lap down was issued an Engler Machine & Tool Fast Pass. The Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvanian grabbed five of those throughout the year, which earned him a $4,000 prize – $2,000 each to driver and owner – and he is both of those.

 

 

DIRT DRAFT MOST POPULAR DRIVER AWARDS: Kaylee Bryson, Logan Seavey & Thomas Meseraull

 

Also new for 2023 was the introduction of the Dirt Draft Most Popular Driver award. The winner of these awards were chosen based on who was selected most often by Dirt Draft contest participants in each USAC national division throughout the year. Drivers who were picked most often will earn a bit of bonus money tonight. Those winners are Kaylee Bryson for the Silver Crown series, Logan Seavey for the Sprint Cars and Thomas Meseraull in the Midgets.

 

 

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REGIONAL SPRINT & MIDGET SERIES

 

USAC’s Regional Sprint Car and Midget series hit dirt tracks from the east to the west throughout 2023, producing five USAC champions. It’s a group that includes a pair of first time USAC titlists and a bevy of others who returned to the forefront as USAC champions once more.

 

 

AMSOIL USAC CRA SPRINT DRIVER CHAMPION: Brody Roa – Garden Grove, California

 

AMSOIL USAC CRA SPRINT ENTRANT CHAMPION: Tom & Christy Dunkel/BR Performance – Menifee, California

 

After more than 12 years of touring with the AMSOIL USAC CRA Sprint Cars and finishing as the runner-up three times, Brody Roa (Garden Grove, Calif.) finally reached the pinnacle in 2023 as he scored his first career series driving title. This season also presented him with a new ride owned by Tom and Christy Dunkel/BR Performance of Menifee, Calif., which paid dividends with eight victories and an entrant championship. It’s Roa’s fourth overall USAC title following previous crowns with the Focus Midgets, West Coast Sprints and Southwest Sprints, but it’s his first driving title with USAC CRA.

 

 

WESTERN STATES MIDGET CHAMPION: Brody Fuson – Bakersfield, California

 

Teenage sensation Brody Fuson (Bakersfield, Calif.) finished second in the point standings the last two years, but in 2023, he took the next step to become a champion in his Rusty Carlile-owned machine. He earned the most feature wins in a season with the series since Ronnie Gardner in 2016, tallying five victories and 10 top-fives in 11 starts while adding six fast times. In the process, at 18 years of age, he became the youngest ever USAC Western States Midget driving champion.

 

 

RAPID TIRE SERVICE EAST COAST SPRINT CHAMPION: Briggs Danner, Allentown, Pennsylvania

 

It was a season in which Briggs Danner embarked on a journey with a new team, but in the end, the result was precisely the same in 2023 as it was in 2022. Joining the Hogue Racing Enterprises outfit, Danner used a string of consistency to reach the top of the chart in becoming a USAC Rapid Tire East Coast Sprint Cars Presented By Capitol Custom Trailers champion. The Allentown, Pennsylvania driver’s two wins and a series-high 12 top-fives in 14 starts highlighted the campaign, and it seemed fitting that three years after winning in his first ever sprint car start, he clinched his second straight title at the very same venue – New Jersey’s Bridgeport Motorsports Park.

 

 

WHOLESALE BATTERIES MIDWEST WINGLESS RACING ASSOCIATION SPRINT CHAMPION: Wyatt Burks, Topeka, Kansas

 

The most successful driver in the history of USAC Midwest Wingless Sprint Car racing did it again in 2023 with the USAC Wholesale Batteries Midwest Wingless Racing Association Sprint Cars. Wyatt Burks (Topeka, Kan.) backed up previous championships in 2020 and 2022 with a second consecutive crown, and third overall, this season in downright dominant fashion, winning the title by a record 375-point margin on the strength of six series victories, 17 consecutive top-tens and eight-straight top-fives to close it out for the third time in the four-year history of the series.

 

 

WEST COAST SPRINT CHAMPION: Ryan Timmons – Pleasant Hill, California

 

Ryan Timmons has been a stalwart of the USAC West Coast Sprint Car scene dating back to the 2015 season, but this year marked a major breakthrough in becoming the 2023 USAC West Coast Sprint Car champion. The 28-year-old racer from Pleasant Hill, California, took third in the series standings for 2018, then followed up with a pair of runner-up finishes in both 2019 and 2021. But as 2023 ultimately proved, this year was his year. He struck first and never relented as he led the standings from start to finish with a pair of wins over the course of the year at California’s Bakersfield Speedway. 

 

 

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USAC DEVELOPMENTAL SERIES

 

Three developmental Midget series, plus the Midwest Mini Sprint Association, took part in a total of 60 events spanning 10 different states in 2023 from coast to coast and produced four first-time USAC champions with the theme of these series this year being record-breaking points battles, all of which came down to the wire.

 

 

MIDWEST MINI SPRINT ASSOCIATION CHAMPION: Mike Larrison – Avon, Indiana

 

Mike Larrison has competed in nearly every kind of open wheel racing machine in his career. The Avon, Ind. wheelman has driven Silver Crown cars, midgets and sprint cars with and without a wing and on dirt and pavement. He’s driven in the Indy Lights series and has even finished inside the top-10 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A couple years back, he switched his focus to the Midwest Mini Sprint Association, becoming the series’ Rookie of the Year in 2022. The following year, he took the next step and became the top dog in becoming the 2023 Midwest Mini Sprint Association champion.

 

 

EASTERN FOCUS MIDGET CHAMPION: Logan Sulyi – Raleigh, North Carolina

 

Logan Sulyi prevailed in the closest USAC Eastern Midget Association points battle ever in 2023, winning the championship by just four points and one on-track position. Sulyi (Raleigh, N.C) earned the title in style, winning the final two events of the year in his home state of North Carolina. He began his career in quarter midgets and karts before moving on to midgets in 2022 where he finished third in points, setting the stage for a title run. In 2023, he landed inside the top-four in all but one of his 10 starts, winning three times in all, and now he’s your USAC Eastern Midget Association champ.

 

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN RADICAL FOCUS MIDGET CHAMPION: Devin Westover – Saratoga Springs, Utah

 

Devin Westover’s USAC Rocky Mountain Radical Midget championship in 2023 was truly special in so many ways. After 17-year-old Chaz Groat passed away in a 2021 highway accident, Chuck and Julie Groat made the decision to race on in their son’s memory. Westoer (Saratoga Springs, Utah) was handpicked by the family to drive Chaz’s Lucky #13 midget moving forward and he paid them off with a title run by four markers in what was the closest title race in series’ history. He won four times on his path to the title and became Utah’s first USAC champion since Jim Waters 12 years ago in 2011.

 

 

MIDWEST THUNDER SPEED2 MIDGET CHAMPION: Zach Wigal – Belpre, Ohio

 

Points weren’t top of mind for Zach Wigal at the beginning of the 2023 USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midget season. After trailing late in the year, the Belpre, Ohio teenager made up substantial ground to take over the point lead with one race remaining. Needing to finish within two spots of fellow Buckeye Bryce Massingill in the Gas City finale to clinch, he did just that, finishing exactly within two positions. In the end, Wigal wound up going the distance to win the series title by the narrowest margin in series history, three points and one single position.

 

 

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INTERNATIONAL SNOWMOBILE RACING CHAMPION: Mike Rempel – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

 

Hard work, dedication and true sportsmanship are the name of the game for this individual. This year, he placed first in Factory Mod 2 and placed second in points for Pro Stock 800, which is considered as one of the discipline’s premier classes. Overall, he accumulated a total of 509 points, 16 points better than any other rider. Furthermore, both he and his father, Gil, are among the most reliable sportsmen in the series, and they have been known to spend hours picking rocks out of the clay at Hay Days to help provide a better racing surface for all competitors. Tonight, we present to you the 2023 International Snowmobile Racer of the Year, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, this is Mike Rempel!

 

 

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NASCAR YOUTH SERIES .25 MIDGET CHAMPIONS

 

.25 MIDGET PAVEMENT & DIRT CHAMPIONS

 

LIGHT WORLD FORMULA PAVEMENT, SENIOR HONDA DIRT, LIGHT 160 DIRT,

SENIOR ANIMAL DIRT & LIGHT WORLD FORMULA DIRT CHAMPION: Lincoln Smith

 

 

.25 MIDGET PAVEMENT CHAMPIONS

 

MOD WORLD FORMULA PAVEMENT CHAMPION: Tyler Lupton

 

JUNIOR 160 PAVEMENT CHAMPION: Roo Reaves

 

JUNIOR HONDA PAVEMENT CHAMPION: Easton Gardner

 

SENIOR HONDA PAVEMENT CHAMPION: Colton Kelly

 

LIGHT 160 PAVEMENT & SENIOR ANIMAL PAVEMENT CHAMPION: Case James

 

HEAVY HONDA PAVEMENT, UNRESTRICTED ANIMAL PAVEMENT, HEAVY WORLD FORMULA PAVEMENT &

 

HEAVY 160 PAVEMENT CHAMPION: R.J. Deighton

 

 

.25 MIDGET DIRT CHAMPIONS

 

JUNIOR HONDA DIRT CHAMPION: Ryker Sumner

 

HEAVY WORLD FORMULA DIRT CHAMPION: Reice Widger

 

MOD WORLD FORUMULA DIRT CHAMPION: Kaden Wenger

 

JUNIOR 160 DIRT CHAMPION: Avelina Gosselin

 

HEAVY 160 DIRT CHAMPION: Augustine Punke

 

HEAVY HONDA DIRT & UNRESTRICTED ANIMAL DIRT CHAMPION: Avery McMellen

 

JUNIOR ANIMAL PAVEMENT & JUNIOR ANIMAL DIRT CHAMPION: Jax Wittmer

 

 

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

Chris Jockish and Jockish Flowers provided the floral decorations for the USAC Night of Champions. Bob Baker, president of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum, provided a Hall of Fame membership to each of USAC’s 2023 champion drivers. Dave Olson served as the photographer for the evening’s event and Drake York handled all on-stage interviews.

 

Among the awards each national driver and entrant champion received are championship rings as well as canvas artwork designed by Rich Forman and a free one-year subscription to FloRacing, the official media provider for USAC. Each USAC driving champion also received a jacket courtesy of Hoosier Racing Tire, the official tire of the United States Auto Club.

 

USAC PR