Denney Rides with Malloy for 2023 USAC National Midget Season
Series News Release - USAC Media
Speedway, Indiana (March 20, 2023) - One year after blasting onto the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget scene as a frontrunning Rookie, Jacob Denney is set for his sophomore season with the series in 2023.
The 18-year-old from Galloway, Ohio will take the reins of one of Tom Malloy’s Ed Pink Toyota-powered King Chassis crew chiefed by Jerome Rodela as Denney takes on the full championship tour for the second straight year.
“I’m really pumped,” exclaimed Denney, currently a senior at Shekinah Christian School, a school of 142 students K-12 in Plain City, Ohio. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to start a race season before in my life. I can’t thank Tom (Malloy) enough for allowing me drive his cars.”
Denney came out swinging on the USAC National Midget tour in 2022. With Mounce-Stout Motorsports, he collected his first career series victory in what was just his sixth career start during the Indiana Midget Week round at Lincoln Park Speedway. A full season removed from the event now, Denney remembers the moment quite fondly.
“I expected to win, but not that early and not during Indiana Midget Week,” Denney admitted. “It’s the toughest week of the year and to get it done so early during that week was pretty sweet.”
Starting late in the 2022 season, Denney made eight starts in the Malloy No. 25, grabbing a pair of fifth place results at Indiana’s Gas City I-69 Speedway and at California’s Merced Speedway.
Obviously, winning once makes a racer hungry for even more success, and after finishing the 2022 season as the second best Rookie in the series points standings (eighth overall) with a total of eight top-fives and 14 top-tens, Denney’s desire burns within to take the foundation he built a year ago and take it to an even greater level in the coming year.
“Just being sharp all night long and all year long is the biggest thing I’ve learned,” Denney acknowledged. “In this field, there are no slouches, so you can’t be a slouch either. That’s what I’ve had to improve upon the most, being on my A-game every night I show up. This year, that’s what I intend to do.”
Denney related the learning curve from where he started and how it’s going now. In fact, Denney is already one of the more decorated drivers on the circuit, having captured four USAC .25 National Midget driving titles between 2018-19, then locked down back-to-back USAC Midwest Thunder SpeeD2 Midget championships in 2020-21. However, his initial foray into full-size midgets was a game changer and an environment that took some time getting acclimated to.
“It gets the fundamentals down,” Denney stated in praise of the ladder he climbed to the USAC National Midget ranks. “The actual (USAC National Midget) races are a whole other world. There’s a lot to learn and that’s what I was most shocked by. I ran a couple races for Petry Motorsports in 2021 when I was winning a lot in the D2s. Once I got to USAC National Midgets, I thought I’d fit right in, but it wasn’t as smooth as I thought it was going to go. I just had to toughen up a little bit and I learned that you have to be on your game mentally to be good every night on the tour.”
A self-described sufferer of “senioritis” with only three months left before high school graduation, Denney plans to go racing full-time with welding serving as his day job during the weekdays once he tosses his mortarboard into the air in celebration a few months from now.
A second generation racer, and son of legend car competitor Jeff Denney, Jacob has big plans for year two of USAC National Midget racing and anticipates a fantastic season racing with a team that has captured five previous series feature victories, including the 2021 Turkey Night Grand Prix. In doing so, he’ll team with 2005-06 USAC Western States Midget driving champion and crew chief Jerome Rodela, an opportunity he truly relishes.
“That’s were going for, just trying to get some more wins this year,” Denney said. “I’m really excited to work with Jerome. (The Tom Malloy team) has unique cars and unique engines, and I’m looking forward to a great year for us. Jerome keeps you honest and it’s always good to have someone like him on your side because he’s raced. If I have to bounce ideas off on what I think I can do on the racetrack, I can ask him, and he can okay it or and give me his sense of what’s going on.”
The 2023 USAC National Midget Series kicks off on April 21-22 at Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway for the Kokomo Grand Prix.