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Winning team members at the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget 98-lap Thanksgiving GP at Ventura Raceway on November 27 are: (from left to right) - crew chief Jerome Rodela, the 2005-06 USAC Western Midget driving champion, winning driver Logan Seavey, 24, from Sutter, Calif. and winning car owner Tom Malloy.
Tom's # 25 Trench Shoring King chassis/Ed Pink Toyota-powered midget is behind them. 
LOS ANGELES – The 80th Thanksgiving Midget Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway on Saturday, November 27 held the drivers meeting at 2:30. Drivers sat in the pit grandstand near turn four and heard two USAC officials explain procedures. Promoter Jim Naylor welcomed drivers to the speedway he started in 1978 at Ventura County Fairgrounds and wished everyone good luck. J. C. Agajanian, Jr. spoke about the origins of the Thanksgiving midget race in 1934 as a way to promote the southern California Mediterranean climate and help grow the housing market. Bob Basile spoke about the TNGP Don Basile Rookie of the Race Trophy he debuted in 1998 to honor his late father.
Logan Seavey, 24-year old 2021 TNGP feature winner, is from Sutter, Calif., near Sacramento. He won the 2017 POWRi Midget championship. As a TNGP rookie in 2017 he finished 15th. He drove the Keith Kunz # 67 in 2018-19 and finished 16th and seventh. His fourth TNGP feature resulted in his most impressive victory to date. Overlooked was the fact Logan recovered from open-heart surgery about five years ago. He was born with a congenital birth defect (heart.valve). Surgeons corrected the problem, enabling him to pursue his successful racing career goal.
Chad Boat is the son of Billy Boat, a past USAC Western Midget champion, three-time TNGP winner in 1995-97 at Bakersfield, Perris and Ventura. Indy 500 veteran and polesitter. Chad, 29, is a USAC National Midget Series multi-feature winning driver and Belleville (Kan.) Midget Nationals winner. Chad finished third in the 2018 Ventura TNGP behind Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson. He then turned his attention to being a winning midget racing team owner and rookie driver development guru.
Chad's most experienced driver, Chris Windom, led in points near season end, but he finished second to Buddy Kofoid. Chad had three midgets in the 2021 TNGP and will have seven midget drivers in his midgets at the 2022 Tulsa Chili Bowl. Chad told me rookie Jade Avedisian flipped his # 84 midget November 16 at Bakersfield on the final lap while in P.11. The 84 car was entered in the TNGP but was withdrawn with repairable chassis damage. Jade drove Chad's # 86 Spike midget at Ventura. Kyle Larson drove # 86 for Boat in August, 2021 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway dirt track near turn three.
Avedisian is a 15-year old from Clovis, near Fresno. She made her USAC debut during the western swing at four tracks in California. She made a favorable impression in Merced November 24 by qualifying 11th in a 24-car main event field. She started from pole position and raced in second spot early. She battled veterans Windom, Kofoid and Justin Grant before finishing a close fourth. She qualified 21st fastest in the 50-car Ventura field, started fourth and finished second in her qualifying heat race to make the main. She started 15th in the 28-car GP field and placed 23rd after a trip to the work area.
Jade was born on September 14, 2006, so at 15 years, two months she was the youngest driver in the field. Her Boat teammate Ryan Timms, at 15 years three months, became the youngest ever USAC National Midget feature winner when he started second in Chad's # 85 November 18 and led all 30-laps at the Placerville quarter-mile. It appears Chad has identified two talented, very young midget drivers.
I spoke to Jade at Ventura to learn about her racing experience and goals. Jade, who is soft-spoken and small in stature, said she began racing quarter midgets at the Lemoore dirt track (near Fresno) from ages eight to 11. She advanced to 600cc micro sprints and has raced successfully at the Tulsa (Okla.) Shootout a week before the annual Tulsa Chili Bowl. That event attracts more than 340 midgets from around the country. With the minimum age for drivers lowered from 16 to 15 recently, Jade could compete in a Chili Bowl soon depending on her school schedule. Jade told me her goal is NASCAR stock car racing.
The red # 89x Josh Ford midget raced by C. J. Leary was in P.7 during a qualifying heat race when the engine began smoking heavily on lap 6 of 12. Leary quickly slowed and pulled into the infield from the front straight. His grateful crew said he prevented a blown engine. They said the problem was a broken oil line.
The # 8w midget driven by Kaleb Montgomery, from Templeton, is co-owned by Richard Woodland, a  1980s NASCAR Cup driver (# 86). He is the son of Dick Woodland, a long-time CRA sprint car owner (# 86 Ward Duck Farm) and current racing benefactor. Dick's Woodland Auto/Aircraft Display Museum in Paso Robles sponsors the 8w midget.
The # 38 Maxim USAC 360 sprint car owned by Don and Deanne Johnson, of Penngrove, Calif., is sponsored by long-time auto racing sponsor Johnny Franklin's Mufflers (San Francisco Bay Area). Driver Colby Johnson, 20, is a Sonoma State College student and younger brother of 26-year old Chase Johnson, who has expanded his promising racing career. In 2021 he raced a USAC Silver Crown car (scoring 39 points), midgets, winged and non-winged 410 and 360 sprint cars, and an outlaw kart. He raced for 12 teams, competed in five states—California, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania--and won eight features.
Chase, one of five drivers who raced in both the TNGP midget and sprint mains, and Brody Roa drove two identical white and orange # 8m Maxim sprinters at Ventura. USAC scored Roa's car as # 80. One driver had a white helmet and the other had a black helmet, so that helped grandstand spectators differentiate their 8m cars somewhat.
Camie Bell, 16, is a VRA 360 sprint car rookie from Bakersfield. She drives the # 29 TCR Chevy owned by her father Tim. She raced only at Ventura in 2021 on their limited budget to support VRA and finished seventh in points. Her team plans to race also in 2022 at two hometown dirt tracks--KCRP and Bakersfield Speedway. .. James Herrera, 49, placed second in VRA 2021 points. His 1999 Stinger had a new $1,600 rear end from CR Motorsports (Visalia) installed so he could race during the TNGP sprint race. ... Palmdale's Rick Hendrix, 68, won the 2021 VRA sprint car driving championship by 360 points in his own No.15 Maxim.
Sprint car driver Mike Sweeney, 6is a CRA multi-feature winner (1969 to 1980s) who again attended the TNGP. He was talking to retired racer Sonny Nutter and Broc Nicol, a winning California AMA Speedway rider who now races for a pro team in Europe. Broc said Dillon Ruml (from Huntington Beach) is doing well in year two as one of four lead riders for the Glasgow, Scotland team. Broc attended his first TNGP.
Sweeney's sister Patti married WoO star Jac Haudenschild so Mike is the uncle of WoO star Sheldon Haudenschild. He said his mom Sally moved from Phelan and has been living in Camarillo with Mike, his German-born wife and their two children. Mike's step-father Bob Hogle died at 87 in October, 2020 and was cremated. The family has not held a celebration of life yet for the 1963 and 1968 CRA sprint car champion because of COVID restrictions. Sweeney surprised us by saying he and his family are moving to Portugal (the coastal town of Burac) in May, 2022 after his children graduate from Moorpark JC.