Sunshine to the Shamrock after a Pair of Vegas Top Fives

Lonnie Wheatley, INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 8, 2018) – Tyler Courtney already got one title chase under way in strong form with a pair of USAC National Sprint Car wins in Florida a couple of weeks ago.

Now, “Sunshine” tries to begin another championship pursuit on the right foot with Saturday night’s season-opening USAC Midget card at Du Quoin’s Southern Illinois Center “Shamrock Classic.”

“I’m excited to start the Midget season.  You have to take advantage of every night, every night is so critical,” Courtney said of the USAC P1 Insurance National Midget series.  “It’s a short but tough season in terms of number of races, it makes every night critical.  The championship comes down to finishing all the races and putting up top-tens each night.”

Sandwiched in between the opening Sprint Car events in Florida and this weekend’s “Shamrock Classic”, “Sunshine” hit the strip in Las Vegas for a pair of USAC West Coast vs. Southwest Sprint Car events aboard Mike Phulps’ Metal Works No. 56.  He came away with another pair of top fives with a fourth place run on Wednesday, February 28, and then a runner-up finish in last Thursday’s “Las Vegas Showdown” finale at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas.

“Mike and those guys are a great team to work with, they make it a lot of fun,” Courtney said of last week’s pair of events.

The team opened the double with a fourth-place run on Wednesday night after starting seventh in the feature.  “We struggled a little the first night, but that’s to be expected when you only run together a couple of times a year,” Courtney explains.  “It was also a new non-wing car for them so we were happy to salvage a top five.”

The team gained a pair of positions the following night, ultimately awarded runner-up honors.  “Thursday we were better, we were still just a tick off,” Courtney said of the night.

With his fifth top-five of the season in seven starts in the books, attention turns to Saturday’s “Shamrock Classic” aboard the Clauson-Marshall Racing Driven2SaveLives No. 7bc Midget.

“I’m excited to get back in the Midget, the CMR team has a really good package at Du Quoin,” Courtney said of his Stanton Racing Engines-powered Elk Grove Ford entry.  “Tim and the CMR team’s track record is really good at that place.”

And with nearly 50 cars expected for the USAC National Midget opener, it’s a big start to the season for the driver of the CSI Shocks/Schoenfeld Headers machine.

“The Shamrock is already an event with a lot of prestige about it,” Courtney explains.  “It would be a big one to win and it’s a big one to start the season with.”

Courtney has enjoyed past success atop the tight, indoor oval, with a win in the 2016 edition of the Junior Knepper Memorial contested annually in December.  But luck wasn’t on the side of the pilot of the Wilwood Brakes/Walker Filtration entry in last year’s pair of events at the Southern Illinois Center.

That’s something “Sunshine” looks to turn around on Saturday night.

“Indoor races can be tough, it takes a lot of luck,” Courtney explains.  “But to be a championship driver, you’ve got to make your own luck.”

Courtney will be looking for that lucky Shamrock this weekend.

2018 Quick Stats:  7 races, 2 wins, 5 top-fives, 5 top-tens.

Up Next: USAC National Midget “Shamrock Classic” at Du Quoin’s Southern Illinois Center on Saturday.  For those unable to catch the action in person, it is available via PPV on

Keep Track:  Keep track of Tyler Courtney’s on-track action including schedule and results at

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Penning the recurring series of “The Wheatley Chronicles” articles on, Lonnie Wheatley provides media, public relations and more for select tracks, drivers and events.  For more information, Wheatley may be contacted at