INDIANAPOLIS – Petry Motorsports has hired Oklahoma ace Jason McDougal to fill the seat of the team’s No. 15 Toyota-powered Spike Chassis midget, which was vacated by Kevin Thomas Jr. late Wednesday.

After originally signing with the Scott Petry-led team to contest the full USAC National Midget Series schedule, Thomas was tabbed by Dooling-Hayward Motorsports to drive its No. 63 midget for the remainder of the season after a pair of early wins in sprint car action.

That opened up a huge opportunity for McDougal, 20, who recently moved from his home state to Indiana in an effort to expand his available opportunities.

“There are more (racing) opportunities in Indiana, and this is a huge step in my racing career,” noted McDougal. “I’m thrilled that Scott, Terry, and all the guys at Petry Motorsports are giving me this opportunity. I just want to race as much as possible and learn as much as I can.”

McDougal is rooming with Thomas, who recommended him to Petry when the need arose to fill the seat of the No. 15.

The triple Tulsa Shootout winner will debut in the Petry car this Friday and Saturday, during a POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League doubleheader at Jacksonville (Ill.) Speedway and Macon (Ill.) Speedway.

“I’m thankful Kevin Thomas Jr. is in my corner, and helped me land this ride,” added McDougal. “I’m ready to get out there this weekend, make some laps, and hopefully run up front.”

“I’ve seen Jason’s talents quite a bit over the years, and he’s a hell of a driver,” said Thomas of McDougal. “What he did at I-44 (Riverside Speedway, during the Turnpike Challenge) in coming from the back to a podium finish … and the Golden Drillers he won at the (Tulsa) Shootout really stuck out to me. The kid has showed a lot of talent and deserves a shot. I was one of those kids once, and just wanted to return the favor to him and to the sport, because you can’t forget where you came from.”

A specific schedule of races for McDougal will be released at a later date, but Petry is looking forward to having the young star on his team.

“We’re very excited to have Jason behind the wheel,” said Petry. “He’s had excellent success in micros, and we’re hoping that carries over to midget competition. I know he has some midget experience, and we’re eager to get him out on the track.

“With Kevin (Thomas Jr.) having an opportunity with his sprint car owners to run their midget too, it opened up a seat on our team. Kevin really pushed for Jason, and his judge of character carried some weight with us,” Petry noted. “The team and I are looking forward to some good finishes and getting Jason comfortable in the car.”