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Kody Swanson is among the drivers entered for the pavement midget event. (Jack Reitz photo)

Strong Group Of Midget Entries For Open Wheel Showdown

With the recent announcement that pavement national midgets are also part of Davey Hamilton Jr.’s Open Wheel Showdown, the event is starting to have a Copper World Classic feel to it. 

The Copper World Classic was a multi-day weekend event held on the one-mile oval of Phoenix International Raceway (now Phoenix Raceway) in Avondale, Arizona from 1976-2009. The event featured sprint cars, midgets, and supermodifieds and run during the Winter months.

Th Open Wheel Showdown (Dec. 1-2) is doing much the same, but at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The three-eighths-mile track will ensure better racing and fans will be closer to the action. The event will feature supermodifieds, midgets, and will be highlighted by a 100-lap winged sprint car race that will pay the winner $50,000.

Pavement midgets across the country have been on the decline since USAC removed them from their national midget series schedule after the 2012 season. Since then, there have been a few events in the Northwest and Northeast. Indianapolis Raceway Park has been contesting a few annually since 2020.

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The current entry list for the Pavement National Midgets at the Open Wheel Showdown.

Hamilton got everyone’s attention when he announced he was adding national midgets to the Open Wheel Showdown with a $45,000 total purse. The event winner will take home $10,000. To date, there are over 20 midgets currently entered for this event.

The entrant pool is deep with several name drivers that already include Kody Swanson, Bobby Santos III, Kyle O’Gara, Tanner Swanson, Justin Grant, Jesse Love and Nathan Byrd among others with more entrants in the works. 

The Bullring is no stranger to modern era midget racing. From 2002-2010, USAC sanctioned six events between its National Midget Series and Western States Midget Series. Tony Stewart won the USAC national event on November 30, 2002. 

Past Bullring USAC Western States winners include Rory Price (’04), Zach Schiff (’08), Bryan Clausen (’09) and Kody Swanson (’10). Swanson is the only previous midget winner entered in the Open Wheel Showdown.

The Open Wheel Showdown will be broadcast live by SPEED SPORT 1