Kyle Cummins’ versatility will be a feature of Sunday night’s Tri-State Speedway schedule.
Already a five-time Midwest Sprint Car Series season champion, and this season’s leader with 147 points to Fort Branch resident Chase Stockon’s 138, who is seeking a third consecutive MSCS crown, Cummins, 34, will drive in the two phases of Sunday. program, including the United States Auto Club Midget Week show.
“I’ve always wanted to drive in Midget races. And I found them fun and exciting,” said the former Princeton community football goaltender, basketball player and hurdler who followed his father Mark Cummins into sprint car racing.
“Three years ago, Jack Yeley, a car owner from Phoenix, Arizona who has been racing for years, offered me a midget ride. His son JJ is a NASCAR driver.
“Jack asked me in 2019 if I would like to participate in the Midgets’ Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla. It’s the biggest Midgets race in the world. I said yes. The Chili Bowl starts with the ‘I’ Main , and from there you have to work your way through the previous letters to get to the ‘A’ Main. There are something like 345 cars every year, so you’re running all day and only 22 make it to the Main ‘A’ I think I finished 15th in the ‘B’ Main that year.
“In 2020, I got to Main ‘A’. I did very well in the Chili Bowl last year, but what a place to run. The track is at the Tulsa Expo Center, which has three standing buildings but no pillar in the middle.
“It’s really cool.”
Cummins now drives a Midgets car owned by Glenn Styres, a Canadian who lives in Ohsweken in the province of Ontario. Three weeks ago, he won a Midgets 25-round final in Macon, Illinois. He will drive this car again Friday night at Bloomington Speedway and Saturday night at Lawrenceburg Speedway before taking on sprinters and midgets at Tri-State Speedway.
“Seven shows in nine nights,” he noted. “Next week we race Wednesday at Circle City Speedway in Indianapolis, Thursday at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Friday at Garrett Speedway and Saturday at Kokomo Speedway.”
“I will never forget winning the MSCS and USAC Midgets events during last June’s program at Tri-State.”
Upon entering the world of Midgets in 2019, Cummins quickly learned that “midget cars have a lot less horsepower. So you have to ride straighter. Since you don’t have as much power as a sprint car, the races are much closer. It probably took me five or six races to feel comfortable.
“You have to maintain your momentum and pass when you can, and it’s best not to get sidelined.”
Justin Grant, a frequent tri-state runner, leads the USAC National Midgets in points with 305 to Buddy Kofoid’s 300. Another frequent runner from Haubstadt, Dillsboro, Indiana, teenager Kayla Roell, is fourth in Midwest Regional Midgets points with 343. The MSCS season standings include Owensville resident Stan Beadles in 10th with 91; his compatriot Kent Schmidt, 20th with 64; and Donny Brackett of Haubstadt, 27th with 52.
Cummins said Sunday’s MSCS feature will precede the USAC Midgets feature. “I used to come and go.” The winner of the MSCS feature will pocket $2,000.
Ticket prices are $30 per adult and $20 per student. In keeping with the custom maintained by the track’s owning team of husband Tom and wife Loris Helfrich, youth 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.