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National Dirt
Wednesday, 16 December 2020


Chad Boat Chad Boat Rich Forman Photo


By: Richie Murray – USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (December 16, 2020)………A talented racer turned winning car entrant – it seems much more common than it is in actuality with outfits like Tony Stewart Racing and Kasey Kahne Racing finding enormous success over the past several years.

However, Chad Boat, a nine-time winner as a driver with the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midgets, entered uncharted territory during the 2020 season, which ended with his team – Tucker-Boat Motorsports – as the entrant champ.

The team racked up eight victories en route to the title by a single point with driver Chris Windom, the first series title for the youngest team entrant in the pit area at 28-years-old.

However, despite his relative youth, Chad’s experience runs deep, winning Rookie of the Year driving honors with both the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Cars and the National Midgets in 2008, a season in which he became the youngest USAC National Sprint Car feature winner ever at Maryland’s Hagerstown Speedway at the age of 16 years, 4 months and 8 days, a record that still stands to this day.

Chad ultimately tied his father, Billy Boat, by claiming nine victories with the USAC National Midgets as a driver before stepping out of the role behind the wheel in late 2019, then quickly went to work on elevating his team to become the next powerhouse of the series in the vein of Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, Clauson-Marshall Racing and the like.

Sure, winning as a driver is one thing as is winning as an entrant.  Many drivers have wheeled their own cars over the years to victory with the USAC National Midgets, most notably the likes of Mel Kenyon, with the aid of fellow USAC Hall of Famer brother, Don Kenyon on the wrenches, as well as Bob Wente and Jimmy Davies, just to name a few.

However, winning as both a driver with the series, then also winning as a car entrant with another driver in the seat, now, that’s a rarity.  Even more rare is to accomplish all these feats before your 30th birthday, such is Chad Boat.

In fact, that is a short and tidy list of a 10, a group which includes Chad along with Mel Kenyon, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Pancho Carter, Gary Bettenhausen, Shane Hmiel, Mike Streicher and Scott Hatton.

After his wins as a driver, Chad has now won a total of 18 USAC National Midget features as a car entrant for Gio Scelzi, Chris Windom and Kyle Larson.

Tony Stewart’s two driving championships with the series in 1994-95 were followed by 16 more as an entrant with Josh Wise, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Levi Jones, Tracy Hines and Jay Drake.  Kasey Kahne followed in a similar path, winning the title in 2000, then owning cars that won 14 series features with Ryan Durst, Kevin Swindell and Brad Sweet, who’d later go on to win the last two World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink National Sprint Car driving champions for Kahne.

Mel Kenyon’s yellow No. 61 is one of the most iconic cars in USAC National Midget racing history, but the series’ all-time winningest driver with a staggering 111 victories also celebrated as a winning car entrant on occasion for drivers like Mike McGreevy, Les Scott, Billy Engelhart and none other than Sleepy Tripp.

Three-time USAC National Midget driving champion Jason Leffler delivered a winning race car for driver Bud Kaeding at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway – Bud’s only series win behind the wheel and Leffler’s lone score as an entrant.

Pancho Carter was the first member of USAC’s career Triple Crown Club by earning Silver Crown, National Sprint and National Midget championships in his star-studded driving career.  When sons Dane and Cole Carter came of age, they were under the watchful eye of father Pancho who witnessed Dane’s first and only career series win, in 2000 on the high banks of Indiana’s Winchester Speedway.

Racing superhero Gary Bettenhausen’s midget was raced on the USAC trail while Gary chased the IndyCar trail in the early 1970s.  Gary’s chief sprint car rival, Larry Dickson, aced Pennsylvania’s Nazareth Speedway in Gary’s ride during the 1971 season.  Gary’s brother, Merle, found his big bro’s midget to his liking in 1972 at Arizona’s Manzanita Speedway, then again the following year in 1973 at Sportsman Speedway in Johnson City, Tenn.

Shane Hmiel’s second chance at a racing career was tragically cut short after receiving debilitating injuries during a USAC Silver Crown qualifying crash at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track in 2010.  From there, he turned his attention to car ownership in the midgets where he picked off a single win each year between 2011-14 with driver Levi Jones at Tri-City Speedway’s Gold Crown Nationals in Granite City, Ill. back in 2011 and at Indiana Midget Week’s Bloomington Speedway round in 2012.

Darren Hagen followed suit for Hmiel, winning at Arizona’s Canyon Speedway Park in 2013, then finding redemption in 2014, winning the final night of Western World at Canyon a year after being passed by Bryan Clauson on the final lap.

Jim Streicher owned and wrenched several winning USAC Midgets over the years, including one for his son, Mike, who captured the 1991 driving title.  After hanging up the helmet, Mike went to work, constructing his Hawk chassis and winning the 4-Crown at Eldora Speedway with driver Jack Hewitt, who was subsequently severely injured in the ensuing Sprint Car feature just a handful of minutes later.  Jimmy McCune earned his first of two career USAC National Midget A-Main triumphs, and the final for Streicher’s team, at Wisconsin’s Madison International Speedway in 1997.

Scott Hatton has been a longtime mainstay in midget racing going back nearly four decades, most notably with his prowess of the Badger Midgets, and particularly at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wis.  Interestingly, Scott’s first USAC victory as a car entrant arrived several years before his win as a driver.  Future Indianapolis 500 campaigner Donnie Beechler notched Hatton’s first win as an entrant at the bullring of Macon Speedway in Illinois in 1991.  Fourteen years later, Hatton would finally find that coveted first USAC driving win, at Angell Park, in 2005, not driving for himself on that night, but for Dwight Huston.

With all that said, the list of USAC National Midget winning drivers who later went on to win the entrant championship, with another driver other than themselves in the car, for the series is even shorter.  Just one.  That’s Chad Boat, who has delved into both sides of the racing equation with a heaping amount of success already.  A rare breed indeed, on both sides of the coin.




1956: Ashley Wright

1957: Lloyd Rahn

1958: Lloyd Rahn

1959: Ray Bolander

1960: Jimmy Davies

1961: Howard Linne

1962: Jimmy Davies

1963: Robert Shadday

1964: Willard Coil

1965: Mel & Don Kenyon

1966: Don Kenyon

1967: Mel & Don Kenyon

1968: Mel & Don Kenyon

1969: Jack Stroud

1970: Doug Caruthers

1971: Doug Caruthers

1972: Shannon Buick Company

1973: Doug Caruthers

1974: Don Kenyon

1975: Ron Tripp

1976: Ron Tripp

1977: Sherman Armstrong

1978: Doug & Dana Caruthers

1979: 3-K Racing Enterprises

1980: Don Kenyon

1981: 3-K Racing Enterprises

1982: Nick Gojmeric

1983: Streicher Racing

1984: Wilke Racing

1985: 3-K Racing Enterprises

1986: Jonathan Byrd

1987: Jonathan Byrd

1988: Wilke Racers

1989: George & Gary Gamester

1990: Streicher Racing

1991: Streicher Racing

1992: Ralph Potter

1993: Steve Lewis

1994: Ralph Potter

1995: Steve Lewis

1996: Steve Lewis

1997: Pete Willoughby

1998: Steve Lewis

1999: Steve Lewis

2000: Steve Lewis

2001: Steve Lewis

2002: Steve Lewis

2003: Steve Lewis

2004: Steve Lewis

2005: Wilke-Pak Racers

2006: Keith Kunz Motorsports

2007: Wilke-Pak Racers

2008: Keith Kunz Motorsports

2009: RW Motorsports

2010: Corey Tucker Racing/Keith Kunz Motorsports/BCI

2011: Corey Tucker Racing/BCI/Curb-Agajanian

2012: Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian

2013: Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian

2014: Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian

2015: Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian

2016: Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian

2017: Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian

2018: Keith Kunz Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian

2019: Clauson-Marshall Racing

2020: Tucker-Boat Motorsports