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USAC Champs Thorson, Bell & Coons Enter March 18 Shamrock Classic in Du Quoin

Travis Branch Photo

Du Quoin, Illinois.........USAC National Midget champions Tanner Thorson, Christopher Bell and Jerry Coons, Jr. are among the latest headline drivers to file entries to compete in the USAC National Midget season-opening "Shamrock Classic" at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

Thorson, the defending USAC National Midget champ, leads the five-car Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian stable into Du Quoin. The Minden, Nevada native won six features on his way to the title one year ago, and intends to kick off the year in strong fashion with intentions of becoming the first back-to-back series champ since Bryan Clauson in 2010 and 2011. Thorson is joined on the KKM team by Lebanon, Indiana's Spencer Bayston, who was victorious in last season's Gas City round of "Indiana Midget Week." Rounding out the KKM lineup is Sacramento, California's Holly Shelton, Foresthill, California's Ryan Robinson and series Rookie of the Year contender Tanner Carrick from Sacramento.

Christopher Bell, a USAC National Midget champion for KKM in 2013, will pilot the No. 21. The versatile Norman, Oklahoma native finished third in 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points and is also a past winner in the USAC Silver Crown Champ Cars as well as the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series.

Tucson, Arizona's Jerry Coons, Jr. is one of just six drivers part of the exclusive USAC Triple Crown Club that includes drivers who've earned a title in each of USAC's three national divisions: Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget. Coons, the 2006 and 2007 USAC National Midget champ, returns to the seat of the Petry/Goff Motorsports No. 25.

Two-time USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car feature winner Kyle Cummins of Princeton, Ind. intends to make his USAC National Midget debut aboard the Chase Briscoe Racing No. 5. Another driver who broke through for his first USAC National win in 2016, Brent Beauchamp of Fairland, Ind., is entered in his own No. 11.

St. Charles, Missouri's Andy Malpocker knows the 1/6-mile indoor dirt track in Du Quoin well. Just two weeks ago, Malpocker captured a USAC Speed2 IMRA/Midwest Thunder Midget feature victory at the track during the "Open Wheel Extravaganza" at the Southern Illinois Center.

A handful of flyin' Illini have mailed in their entries including 2015 Indy Invitational winner Kyle Schuett of Philo as well as longtime midget competitor Tim Siner of Dupo and Daniel Robinson from Ewing.

Entries continue to pour in for the $3900-to-win USAC Midget National Championship season opener which brings the series indoors for its only points race of the season. Last year's "Shamrock" brought 54 midgets to battle it out for the "Pot of Gold" trophy and many additional entries are expected to be filed within the next couple weeks leading up to raceday.

Free entry is available for all "Shamrock Classic" competitors courtesy of R.E. Griesemer at https://usacracing.ticketspice.com/shamrock-classic-at-du-quoin-entry. Use the code regriesemer. The deadline for pre-entry is Monday, March 13. Entries filed after March 13 are $40.

Reserved seats are $25.00 for the highly-anticipated event while adult general admission tickets are $20.00; kids 6-12 are $10.00 and kids 5 years-old and under are FREE! Pit passes are $35.00. The purchase of a reserved seat provides you a free pit pass! Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.usactickets.com/.

Among the companies offering prizes and bonuses for winning the 50-lap midget feature are Simpson Race Products, who will award a brand-new helmet to the victor. Cold Hard Art has created a "Pot of Gold" trophy that will be presented to the winning driver and team in victory lane.

Drivers on the move will have the opportunity to cash in on the bonuses being served up. The "Wheelman of the Race" will earn a Max Papis Innovations (MPI) steering wheel for his or her efforts. The driver advancing the most positions during the "Shamrock Classic" will earn "Hard Charger" honors courtesy of Elliott's Custom Trailers.

Furthermore, the third-place finisher in each heat race will receive a prize from FK Shocks. Ben Hodgin has thrown in $100 to the driver who leads lap 39 of the feature.

Additional companies offering prize packs include Competition Suspension, Inc., Allstar Performance, AFCO, Indy Race Parts, DMI, Wilwood, Walker Performance Filters, Keizer Wheels, Speedway Motors, Schoenfeld, Arizona Sport Shirts and EarEVERYTHING, Inc.

The timetable of events at the Southern Illinois Center for the "Shamrock Classic" begins with participant parking on March 17 (Friday) from 4-7 pm. Saturday's race-day schedule begins with pits opening at 8 am, followed by a "pit sweep" at noon. Spectator gates open at 1 pm. A public drivers' meeting open to all race fans starts at 3:30 pm. Hot laps get under way at 4 pm with racing set for 5:30pm.

Fans who are unable to attend the event in-person can view the race LIVE on http://www.speedshifttv.com/.

"SHAMROCK CLASSIC" ENTRIES AS OF FRIDAY, MARCH 3

1T Tony Roney - Herculaneum, MO
5 Kyle Cummins - Princeton, IN
7 Gage Walker - Fairland, IN
7BC Tyler Courtney - Indianapolis, IN
9JR Derek Hagar - Marion, AR
9K Kyle Schuett - Philo, IL
11 Brent Beauchamp - Fairland, IN
15 Tim Siner - Dupo, IL
15x Cole Fehr - Coatesville, IN
17w Shane Golobic - Fremont, CA
21 Christopher Bell - Norman, OK
22 Andy Malpocker - St. Charles, MO
25 Jerry Coons, Jr. - Tucson, AZ
29 David Hair - Indianapolis, IN
39BC Justin Grant - Ione, CA
50 Tony DiMattia - Malvern, PA
50x Daniel Adler - St. Louis, MO
57D Daniel Robinson - Ewing, IL
67 Tanner Thorson - Minden, NV
67K Holly Shelton - Gold River, CA
71 Ryan Robinson - Foresthill, CA
71K Tanner Carrick - Sacramento, CA
76M Brady Bacon - Broken Arrow, OK
91 Tyler Nelson - Kansas City, KS
91A Chris Andrews - Sandusky, OH
91T Tyler Thomas - Catoosa, OK
97 Spencer Bayston - Lebanon, IN

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