Junior Knepper 55 Date Set For DuQuoin

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Junior Knepper 55
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the inaugural Junior Knepper 55. (Neil Cavanah Photo)

DU QUOIN, Ill. – The third running of the Junior Knepper 55 returns to the USAC Midget calendar on Saturday, Dec. 16 indoors at the Southern Illinois Center.

Though the special event carries no points toward the season championship, it has quickly become one of the most coveted races to win. Boasting large car counts and a star-studded field, the Knepper 55 has already produced its share of memorable moments on the one-sixth-mile dirt track located inside the building adjacent to the famed Du Quoin State Fairgrounds one-mile dirt oval.

In the inaugural running in 2015, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. electrified the crowd in the 55-lap feature, coming from the back of the pack to score the victory in the final laps. In 2016, Tyler Courtney earned his first career USAC-sanctioned Midget feature victory in his first start for the Clauson/Marshall Racing team.

The 55-lap event honors the memory of one of USAC’s most accomplished car owners, Walter Knepper, whose famed yellow number 55 midgets and sprint cars raced to 58 career USAC feature victories, including 34 in Sprints and 24 in Midgets, with drivers Bob Wente, Tom Bigelow, Mel Kenyon, George Snider, Dana Carter, Rich Vogler and his son Steve Knepper.

Nick Knepper, grandson of Junior and son of 13-time USAC National Midget winner Steve Knepper, will promote the event along with Derek LeMaster.

“Derek and I are very excited to announce the third running of the ‘Junior Knepper 55,'” Nick Knepper said. “The previous versions of this event have been tremendous and we will continue to build upon our past successes. I’d like to thank my family, friends, and USAC for the continued support. I look forward to seeing everyone at the Southern Illinois Center on Dec. 16.”