NASCAR Youth Series to debut in 2023

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Credit: NASCAR

In an effort to bring more of racing’s future under its wing, NASCAR announced Sunday that it has partnered with the United States Auto Club to rebrand the USAC.25 Series into the NASCAR Youth Series. The quarter midget championship will run a nine-race schedule in 2023 at tracks that currently host NASCAR national series events.

The USAC.25 Series was founded in 2009 for children aged five through sixteen to take part. “.25” refers to the quarter midget car being a quarter of the size of a traditional midget racer, and many NASCAR drivers got their starts in such vehicles in their childhoods including Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon and 2018 Cup Series champion Joey Logano.

“When we started the USAC.25 Series in 2009, our goal was to provide a safe, fun, yet competitive youth racing series that provided families with a way to create lasting memories,” stated USAC President Kevin Miller. “Through the years, the series has grown tremendously. We are proud of our alumni that began their racing careers in the USAC.25 Series and have continued to succeed professionally in the NASCAR ranks. Since we began incorporating NASCAR races on our schedule, families across the country have been able to experience amazing opportunities. We realise that partnering with NASCAR to create the NASCAR Youth Series will provide even more unique experiences and opportunities for our families.”

The NASCAR Youth Series will remain under USAC sanction despite the new identity, though it will be recognised as a NASCAR regional championship akin to the ARCA Menards Series East/West and Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series.

Much of the 2023 calendar will be as support events to national series weekends beginning with Auto Club Speedway on 23 February and ending at Charlotte Motor Speedway on 8 October. Conversely, the 4 July round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is independent from the parent divisions, who will be at the Chicago Street Course that weekend.

Two rounds at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway and Pocono Raceway will be on temporary dirt tracks. One-off venues will also be constructed for pavement races, so those hoping to see quarter midgets try to navigate the gargantuan Talladega Superspeedway on 1 October will be sorely disappointed.

“We are extremely excited about this new venture with USAC,” commented Senior Vice President of NASCAR’s Chief Track Properties Office and Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile. “We feel the NASCAR Youth Series will provide aspiring drivers and their families a platform to both showcase their talents along with providing the entire family memories that will last a lifetime at our facilities. The drivers will not only fiercely compete on the track but will get an opportunity to be a part of NASCAR’s event weekend in a memorable way. Some of today’s NASCAR Cup Series stars cut their teeth in the NASCAR Youth Series and are now battling for the Bill France Cup. The future is bright.”

2023 schedule

1Auto Club Speedway26 February
2Richmond Raceway2 April
3World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway4 June
4Indianapolis Motor Speedway*4 July
5Pocono Raceway23 July
6Watkins Glen International20 August
7Darlington Raceway3 September
8Talladega Superspeedway1 October
9Charlotte Motor Speedway8 October
Italics – Dirt race
* – Standalone race
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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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