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Tanner Carrick (center) delivered USAC midget victory No. 134 for team owner Keith Kunz and his partner Pete Willoughby (left). (Devin Mayo photo)

Carrick Delivers Milestone No. 134 For Kunz

PLACERVILLE, Calif. — Keith Kunz Motorsports driver Tanner Carrick took the lead on lap two of 30 and held off fellow Toyota driver Michael Pickens late in winning night one of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Hangtown 100 at Placerville Speedway. 

The victory marked Keith Kunz’s 134th in USAC National Midget competition, moving him past legendary team owner Steve Lewis for No. 1 on the all-time USAC National Midget entrant winners list.

Kunz has earned 113 of those wins since joining forces with Toyota in 2010. 

Pickens and Carrick began the race on the front row with Pickens going out to the lead immediately and led lap one by a half-car length, but Carrick charged into turn one to take the lead on lap two with Pickens second and Chris Windom running third.

Carrick would extend his lead over Pickens out to eight-tenths of a second as they reached the midway point, then stretched out the margin to over a second as they hit lapped traffic on lap 20 only to see a caution flag bunch the field in lap 22. Just two laps a red flag for a multi-car incident, setting up a seven-lap shootout for the win.  Pickens would then push ahead of Carrick for the lead on lap 26, but Carrick would cross back over to retain the top spot and go on to the victory.

Thursday’s feature marked the second podium finishes in two races on the USAC Western Swing for both Pickens and Kofoid after Tuesday’s event at Bakersfield Speedway with Pickens finishing second and Kofoid third that night as well. The third-place finish stretches out Kofoid’s championship point lead to 209 points over Justin Grant with just five races remaining as he closes in on a second consecutive USAC national midget title.

“It means a lot to me. They had this thing on rails,” Carrick said. “I struggled the last couple of laps, messing up in turns three and four on the curb, but other than that we were pretty good. We were fast all night. Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby are always there for me. Whenever I ask Keith or Pete if I can come run, they’ve got a ride for me and that means a lot to me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. They’re like family to me. It’s pretty special to be here on stage at my home track.”

Toyota officials weighed in on the milestone victory.

“We are so proud of Keith and all that he has accomplished over the past three decades in the USAC National Midget Series,” relayed TRD, U.S.A. President David Wilson. “Keith and his partner at KKM, Pete Willoughby, provided TRD, U.S.A. the motivation to build a world class driver development program.  They were at ground zero for its creation and today they remain integral to its ongoing success.  Keith may build some of the best race cars in the business, but what’s most impressive is the positive impact he and Pete have had on all these young men and women drivers over the years.  Toyota and TRD are proud and grateful to be on his team.”

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Tanner Carrick (71) battles Michael Pickens Thursday night at Placerville Speedway. (Devin Mayo photo)


USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship, Placerville Speedway, Placerville, Calif., Nov. 17, 2022

FLIGHT ONE FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Spencer Bayston, 9AU, Dyson-11.819; 2. Jacob Denney, 25m, Malloy-11.930; 3. Carson Macedo, 99AU, Dyson-12.087; 4. Thomas Meseraull, 7x, RMS-12.100; 5. Justin Grant, 2J, RMS-12.124; 6. Brenham Crouch, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.143; 7. Danny Stratton, 31K, Beilman-12.803; 8. Randi Pankratz, 8, Pankratz-13.033; 9. Nathan Byrd, 11K, Kruseman-15.100.

FLIGHT TWO FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Tanner Carrick, 71m, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.686; 2. Mitchel Moles, 89, CBI-11.806; 3. Dominic Gorden, 71K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.909; 4. Tyler Courtney, 25, Malloy-11.941; 5. Tanner Thorson, 88, Thorson-12.012; 6. Daison Pursley, 71p, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.075; 7. Alex Bright, 19, Reinbold/Underwood-12.198; 8. Mariah Ede, 71E, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.525.

FLIGHT THREE FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Shane Golobic, 17w, Wood-11.746; 2. Jade Avedisian, 84, CBI-11.797; 3. Kevin Thomas Jr., 5T, Alexander-11.819; 4. Ryan Timms, 97K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.919; 5. Chance Crum, 26, Rudeen-11.949; 6. Bryant Wiedeman, 01, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.978; 7. Kaylee Bryson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.098; 8. Austin Barnhill, 17B, Dave Mac-12.798.

FLIGHT FOUR FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Buddy Kofoid, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.752; 2. Emerson Axsom, 25x, Malloy-12.020; 3. Colby Copeland, 87, CBI-12.027; 4. Michael Faccinto, 14J, Graunstadt-12.283; 5. Dylan Bloomfield, 14T, Streeter-12.362; 6. Zach Telford, 22G, Risner-12.451; 7. Travis Buckley, 7NZ, BSL-12.681; 8. Gavin Miller, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-NT.

FLIGHT FIVE FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Michael Pickens, 4x, Dave Mac Dalby-11.801; 2. Jake Andreotti, 00, Davis-12.012; 3. Ryan Bernal, 27w, Wood-12.080; 4. Chris Windom, 89x, CBI-12.202; 5. Taylor Reimer, 25K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-12.350; 6. Blake Bower, 9, Boscacci-12.353; 7. Tony Gomes, 73, Ford-12.705; 8. Ben Worth, 5K, Alexander-NT.

FLIGHT SIX FATHEADZ EYEWEAR QUALIFYING: 1. Cannon McIntosh, 08, Dave Mac Dalby-11.777; 2. Daniel Whitley, 57, Abacus-11.958; 3. Logan Seavey, 58, Abacus-11.976; 4. Corey Day, 4, Kahne-12.035; 5. Jason McDougal, 68, Six8-12.080; 6. Chase Johnson, 73x, Ford-12.251; 7. Hayden Reinbold, 19AZ, Reinbold/Underwood-12.349; 8. Caden Sarale, 32, Sarale-12.574.

SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (10 laps, winner plus top-2 in points transfer to the feature) 1. Carson Macedo (T), 2. Justin Grant (T), 3. Spencer Bayston (T), 4. Danny Stratton, 5. Thomas Meseraull, 6. Brenham Crouch, 7. Jacob Denney, 8. Nathan Byrd, 9. Randi Pankratz. 2:01.99

COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (10 laps, winner plus top-2 in points transfer to the feature) 1. Alex Bright (T), 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Daison Pursley, 4. Dominic Gorden (T), 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Tanner Carrick (T), 7. Mitchel Moles, 8. Mariah Ede. 2:01.38

PIT STOP USA THIRD HEAT: (10 laps, winner plus top-2 in points transfer to the feature) 1. Bryant Wiedeman (T), 2. Kevin Thomas Jr. (T), 3. Shane Golobic (T), 4. Ryan Timms, 5. Chance Crum, 6. Jade Avedisian, 7. Austin Barnhill, 8. Kaylee Bryson. NT

ROD END SUPPLY FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps, winner plus top-2 in points transfer to the feature) 1. Emerson Axsom (T), 2. Colby Copeland (T), 3. Buddy Kofoid (T), 4. Travis Buckley, 5. Dylan Bloomfield, 6. Gavin Miller, 7. Zach Telford, 8. Michael Faccinto. NT

FIFTH HEAT: (10 laps, winner plus top-2 in points transfer to the feature) 1. Chris Windom (T), 2. Tony Gomes, 3. Blake Bower, 4. Taylor Reimer, 5. Jake Andreotti (T), 6. Michael Pickens (T), 7. Ryan Bernal. 2:02.02

SIXTH HEAT: (10 laps, winner plus top-2 in points transfer to the feature) 1. Jason McDougal (T), 2. Cannon McIntosh (T), 3. Hayden Reinbold, 4. Chase Johnson, 5. Logan Seavey (T), 6. Caden Sarale, 7. Daniel Whitley, 8. Corey Day. 1:59.81

FIRST ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-3 transfer to the feature) 1. Tanner Thorson, 2. Thomas Meseraull, 3. Daniel Whitley, 4. Chase Johnson, 5. Blake Bower, 6. Jacob Denney, 7. Gavin Miller, 8. Chance Crum, 9. Dylan Bloomfield, 10. Danny Stratton, 11. Randi Pankratz, 12. Austin Barnhill, 13. Ryan Timms, 14. Brenham Crouch. NT

SECOND ELLIOTT’S CUSTOM TRAILERS & CARTS SEMI: (12 laps, top-3 transfer to the feature) 1. Jade Avedisian, 2. Mitchel Moles, 3. Daison Pursley, 4. Taylor Reimer, 5. Tyler Courtney, 6. Corey Day, 7. Hayden Reinbold, 8. Tony Gomes, 9. Ryan Bernal, 10. Mariah Ede, 11. Travis Buckley, 12. Michael Faccinto, 13. Caden Sarale, 14. Kaylee Bryson, 15. Nathan Byrd. 2:23.79

FEATURE: (30 laps, starting positions in parentheses) 1. Tanner Carrick (2), 2. Michael Pickens (1), 3. Buddy Kofoid (9), 4. Kevin Thomas Jr. (6), 5. Spencer Bayston (8), 6. Cannon McIntosh (12), 7. Shane Golobic (10), 8. Chris Windom (4), 9. Colby Copeland (5), 10. Jason McDougal (3), 11. Bryant Wiedeman (14), 12. Mitchel Moles (22), 13. Thomas Meseraull (21), 14. Justin Grant (16), 15. Dominic Gorden (13), 16. Tanner Thorson (19), 17. Alex Bright (18), 18. Daison Pursley (24), 19. Emerson Axsom (11), 20. Taylor Reimer (26-P), 21. Kaylee Bryson (25-P), 22. Carson Macedo (7), 23. Jade Avedisian (20), 24. Daniel Whitley (23), 25. Jake Andreotti (15), 26. Logan Seavey (17).