SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich.—June 11, 2013 — With other racing commitments taking up a large portion of her time and also Mother Nature interrupting her schedule, it’s been quite a while since Taylor Ferns has raced a midget on dirt. The season-opening Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in January to be exact. She’ll make up for that this week as she’ll race five times in five nights at five different tracks as part of Indiana Midget Week for the Honda USAC National Midget Series.
The 2013 edition of Indiana Midget Week kicks-off on Wednesday, June 12 at Gas City Speedway. The mini-series then heads to Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville on Thursday, June 13, with a stop at Bloomington Speedway to follow on Friday, June 14. The second to last round of Indiana Midget Week is set for Saturday, June 15 at Lawrenceburg Speedway, with the five-race stretch wrapping up on Sunday, June 16 at Kokomo Speedway.
“It definitely has been a long time since I’ve raced a midget on the dirt, but after a lap or two in hot laps, I should have the feel for everything again,” Ferns said. “I’ve been watching a lot of You Tube videos of the tracks we’ll be racing at and that always helps. I raced the Silver Crown car at the Indiana State Fairgrounds a few weeks ago, so having been on dirt for that should help as well this week.”
After the inaugural Kokomo Grand Prix was rained out in April and the Hut Hundred at Tri-City (Ill.) Speedway postponed by inclement weather last month, Indiana Midget Week will serve as the season opening set of events for the Honda USAC National Midget Dirt Championship. Last season, Ferns competed in 17 dirt events aboard her family-owned No. 55 Motor City Auto Transport Inc., Spike, combining starts with the Honda USAC National Midget Series, POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series and Badger Midget Auto Racing Association.
Ferns took part in Indiana Midget Week for the first time in her career last year. She timed in 14th in the opening round at Gas City Speedway with a very strong 41-car field in attendance. The 17-year-old matched that qualifying effort the next night at Lincoln Park Speedway with 40 cars checked in. Ferns recorded her best performance in time trials at Kokomo Speedway in the final round of the five-race mini-series, stopping the clocks 12th-quickest.
Last season during Indiana Midget Week, Ferns visits four of the five tracks for the first time. The one venue that she had turned laps at previously was Kokomo Speedway. She finished eighth at the quarter-mile bullring last fall during the Kokomo Klash, and in 2011, raced twice at Kokomo Speedway with the USAC D1 Midget Series, finishing fourth and eighth.
“Most of the tracks on the Midget Week schedule, I had never been to before last year, so it took a little extra time to get the feel for them,” she noted. “Going back this year things will feel a lot more natural, because I have a good idea of all the tracks and have run on them all. One thing I have to keep in mind is that the races are a lot shorter than most of the races I’ve run this year, so while I have to be patient to a certain extent, I can’t be too patient and have to be on it, especially in the heat races.”
The native of Shelby Township, Mich., has made three starts with the Honda USAC National Pavement Midget Championship this season, finishing 11th on the second night of the season at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida back in February. She made her most recent start in the Night Before the 500 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, finishing 13th. The winningest female in USAC history also made her first dirt start with the USAC Traxxas Silver Crown Series at the Indiana State Fairgrounds last month. She will have veteran open wheel driver and two-time Indiana Midget Week champion Tracy Hines turning the wrenches on her car, as he too competes in the five-race mini-series.
“Having someone you can trust and lean on is very important and that’s what I feel we have with Tracy (Hines) helping us,” shared Ferns. “I can bounce ideas off him and he’s raced at all of these tracks so many times and has so much experience and knowledge that most people will never have. It’s huge to be able to work with him and even more importantly, learn from him.”
Ferns, who qualified fifth and scored a top-10 finish in her first career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start in March at Mobile International Speedway in Alabama, has made a trio of appearances with the full-bodied stock car series in 2013. She qualified ninth at Toledo Speedway in Ohio, in May and was running in the top-10 when an electrical problem ended her day. Earlier this month, Ferns raced at Elko Speedway in Minnesota, qualifying 11th and finishing 12th, after losing a couple of laps having to make a green flag pit stop.
Entering Indiana Midget Week, Ferns is 10th in the Honda USAC National Midget Pavement Championship standings, following the first three races of the season. She is scheduled to compete in the majority of races with the Honda USAC National Midget Series on both the dirt and pavement this season.
“Making the main event will be our first goal each night during Midget Week,” she said of her objectives during Indiana Midget Week. “Running good laps every lap is also something we want to make sure we do. We’ve had a lot of bad luck this year, so we definitely want to try and make up for that this week. With how much we’ll be racing, we’ll have plenty of chances to turn things around. If we can get solid finishes each night and run all the laps that will make it a good week for us.”
Taylor Ferns and Ferns Racing would like to thank their valued partners: Motor City Auto Transport Inc., National Auto Placement, Dea Eyewear, FK Rod Ends, Lucas Oil, K&N Filters, Lansing Sanitary Supply (LSS), Simpson Race Products, Indy Race Parts, ButlerBuilt, Allstar Performance, Stanton Racing Engines, Hoosier Tire Midwest, Lyn St. James Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation, Race4Girls andRacing2Cure.