SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Justin Grant had a special season on the USAC trail in 2022, and along with it comes the special awards.
For the second consecutive year, the Ione, Calif. native captured the Mike Curb USAC National Drivers Championship. For Grant, it’s his third such title, having earned the reward in 2017, 2021 and now 2022.
Grant becomes just the fourth driver to win the honor on three different occasions, joining J.J. Yeley (2001-2002-2003) and Bryan Clauson (2010-2011-2012). Tracy Hines has won the award more times than anybody else, on four occasions in 2000, 2008, 2013 and 2014.
No other driver started every USAC national event throughout the year and no other driver accumulated more total points throughout the three national divisions during the course of the 2022 campaign than Grant.
In 82 combined USAC national starts in 2022, the Ione, Calif. native totaled 4,991 points, more than a thousand markers over his nearest competition, earning a $10,000 bonus.
“It’s a neat reward,” Grant exclaimed. “It’s cool to be acknowledged for being at the front of all three series throughout the course of the year. Anything with Mike Curb’s name on it carries some weight. He’s been a staple in USAC racing for a long time and winning an award with his name on it is really neat and it’s even neater that it pays a few more bucks this year.”
Grant’s 2022 journey included a first USAC National Sprint Car driving championship and he was the lone driver to win feature in all three series during the year with one Silver Crown victory, six in the sprint cars and five more in midgets.
It’s something that Grant doesn’t take for granted, not the first time he corralled the overall USAC National Drivers Championship, nor the second or third time as well.
“Driving with USAC specifically is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid,” Grant said. “To be in the position to run all these races and to do this is amazing and I want to do as much of it as I can. I’m really fortunate to have great car owners, great partners and great crews and the ability to go and run all these races is really on them with how much they provide for me and how hard they work to keep me going, beating up and down the road.”
As Grant alluded to, it’ takes more than a driver to make it all work. There are several facets that work to make it a success and three teams in which Grant competed for to achieve the feat: Hemelgarn Racing (Silver Crown), TOPP Motorsports (Sprint Car) and RMS Racing (Midget).
“I get to come in and be the hero at the end of the night,” Grant continued. “It’s really a lot about all about them and my wife at home taking care of the kids and holding the house down while I’m out on the road racing. I’ve just got a really good circle around me, great car owners, great partners, great crews, great wife and a great family. There’s a ton of people on the backend that you don’t see on FloRacing who make it possible for everybody to see me on FloRacing every night.”
Curb has offered the reward annually since the 1999 USAC season, and now in his 24th year of bestowing the honor upon USAC’s top overall points champion. The title was rechristened as the National Drivers Championship to more properly represent the accomplishment of achieving the feat, which so few have done.
The prize had previously been known as the USAC National Drivers Championship for a span of three years between 2010-2012 as well as the Super License in recent years.
The new Mike Curb USAC National Drivers Champion will be honored at USAC’s Night of Champions in December of 2022.