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  • Spencer Frady

Jones & Joyner Going Full-Time Midget Racing in 2024

Kyle Jones (pictured) and Corey Joyner are slated for a full season of USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget racing in 2024. Photo courtesy USAC Media - Photographer: Dylan Miller

Series News Release - USAC Media

Speedway, Indiana (February 5, 2024) - For Kyle Jones and Corey Joyner, it’s always been a dream to compete full-time with the United States Auto Club.

Together, they will achieve that dream in 2024 with Jones teaming up to drive Joyner Motorsports’ Spike/Stanton SR-11x on the complete 30-race USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship slate.

The 30-year-old Jones (Kennedale, Texas), a veteran of 21 career USAC Midget starts dating back to 2015, has been a fixture in dirt open wheel circles throughout the past decade. He’s raced extensively in winged sprint cars, winning with IMCA, ASCS and POWRi. In 2017, he captured USAC’s Gulf Coast SpeeD2 Midget title, and in 2023, he became the highest finishing Texan ever at the Chili Bowl Nationals with a sixth-place result on the final night.

But for as long as Jones can remember, the goal was to go USAC racing. Over the past few years, Jones has gone all-in and bet on himself to make it happen. All he ever wanted in return was a chance.

“I actually quit my job and went full-time racing about two-three years ago,” Jones explained. “I was 28-29 at the time, and I said, if I’m going to do it, the time is now. The older I get, the less opportunities I’m going to have and the less I’m going to be able to do it. So, I decided I was going to chase it. I’ve run midgets, sprint cars and a bunch of random stuff, but the goal has always been to go full-time with USAC. That’s always been my number one goal, and I’ve always wanted to chase it.”

Jones has driven a variety of machines in his racing career, and just last year, made his USAC National Sprint Car debut in his home state of Texas at Devil’s Bowl Speedway where he won his heat race and finished 10th in his debut. Everywhere he turns a wheel, he turns heads, which has led him to opportunity after opportunity where he’s continued to shine.

“I’ve bet on myself, and said, ‘I think I can go do this,’” Jones stated. “Every time I look down, I’m like, ‘ah man, I don’t know what I’m going to do next week,’ then I get a phone call, and all of a sudden, I’m going to go race some random car in a random place and it works out. We end up doing well and that sets up something else for the next time. It’s all meant to be, and it’s all rolled into this. It’s pretty surreal, for sure.”

Joyner, at age 23, very may well be among the youngest USAC National Midget team owners ever. In recent years, aside from operating a precious metals business, he’s been a semi-regular competitor as a driver with the USAC National Midgets when the series competes in the Great Plains states near his Concordia, Kan. home where he grew up some 60-70 yards from Chad McDaniel’s body shop. Growing up, Joyner looked up to McDaniel and fellow racer Garett Hood, both Kansas natives who were stalwarts in the midget racing game.

Tragically, McDaniel lost his life in an accident during a USAC Midget event at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway in 2009. Joyner, at just nine years old at the time, is around the same age as McDaniel’s son. But despite the accident, the desire to compete never left Joyner’s soul. Joyner made a couple handfuls of USAC Midget appearances between 2021-23, driving for his own team as well as Mounce-Stout Motorsports. But now, Joyner has stepped away from driving duties to focus on building his team from the ground-up.

“My lifelong goal has been to own a midget and race a midget,” Joyner revealed. “Now my heart is still here, and I know my best way of being around racing for a long time is to turn wrenches. I’ve had my fun, but I think if I can stick it out as a business, this is where I want to be for quite a while.”

Joyner’s tutelage in the sport has come from a variety of sources. Among the most invaluable advice and assistance he’s received has come from one of the top teams in the USAC ranks, RMS Racing’s Dave Estep.

“Dave is kind of like a dad to me,” Joyner explained. “Without his help, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at right now with the knowledge of how to operate a race team. He took me to Indiana and put my car on the dyno and dialed it in for me. He’s really given me 10 years’ worth of knowledge within the last year and a half. With the knowledge I’ve gained and the experience that Kyle brings, I wouldn’t put my money somewhere if I didn’t believe he was at least a top-10 or top-five national points driver.”

Like Jones, for Joyner, his dream has come to fruition. Not only has he long held a desire to compete at this level, it’s something he plans on being just the start of something even bigger and better in the years to come with USAC.

“What it boils down to is the prestigious history of USAC,” Joyner said. “We grew up watching USAC as kids, and I told my dad when I was younger, someday, I’m going to own a midget. Just the atmosphere of being around USAC, it’s an atmosphere of its own and it’s a ton of fun.”

Joyner has long noticed the racing exploits of Jones and noted how he seemed to make every car he drives work. When the time came to search for a driver of his own No. 27x, Jones was at the top of that list. What started out as just a friendship in the pits at the racetrack soon turned into a full-time ride.

“We had raced against each other here and there over the past few years,” Jones recalled. “It just started out as a good friendship at first, then it was like, ‘hey, let’s go racing.  Let’s go do this.’ To me, it all happened for a reason. It was one of those things that just started rolling. Now here we are. I’ve been grinding on midget racing scene here and there for the last 10 years. As a kid growing up and knowing about USAC, that’s always been my main goal. I knew that if I could ever run USAC full-time, I feel like I would’ve made it. Now, I’m absolutely stoked to go out and chase it.”

The 2024 USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship season begins on April 26-27 with the Kokomo Grand Prix at Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway.


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