INDIANAPOLIS – A talented racer becoming a winning car owner seems much more common than it is in reality, with outfits like Tony Stewart Racing and Kasey Kahne Racing finding enormous success over the past few years.
However, Chad Boat – a nine-time winner as a driver with the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series, entered uncharted territory this season after his team – Tucker-Boat Motorsports – emerged as the entrant champions.
The team racked up eight victories en route to the title by a single point with driver Chris Windom, marking the first series title for the youngest team owner in the pit area at 28 years old.
But despite his relative youth, Boat’s experience runs deep, as he won Rookie of the Year driving honors with both the USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car Series and the USAC National Midget Series in 2008.
That was the same 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, four months and eight days old, a record that still stands to this day.
Boat 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 and Clauson-Marshall Racing.
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, as well as Bob Wente and Jimmy Davies, to name a few.
However, winning as both a driver with the series and as a car owner with another driver in the seat is a rarity. It’s even more rare to accomplish that feat before one’s 30th birthday, as Boat did.
In fact, the list of drivers to win as a driver and an owner in USAC national midget action includes 10 names: Boat, 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 Boat has now won a total of 18 USAC national midget features as a car entrant for Gio Scelzi, Chris Windom and Kyle Larson.
Stewart’s two driving championships with the series in 1994-95 were followed by 17 more titles as an entrant with Josh Wise, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Levi Jones, Tracy Hines and Jay Drake.
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 World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink National Sprint Car driving titles for Kahne.
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 Sleepy Tripp.
Three-time USAC National Midget driving champion Leffler delivered a winning race car for driver Bud Kaeding at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway – Kaeding’s only series win behind the wheel and Leffler’s lone score as an entrant.
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