Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: New Kenyon Midget Series has passion for racing

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  • Mel Kenyon
    American racing driver

Jan. 4—For many years, the town of Pendleton was home to the American Speed Association. The town is now the home base for the new owner of the Mel Kenyon Midget Series.

Brad Hayes purchased the series last year and is making plans to advance the series to the next level.

At an early age, Hayes got his passion for racing from his father, John.

In 2007, Hayes started racing with the Sports Car Club of America in Formula Ford cars and continued his passion while working for Tesla Motors in California.

Hayes and his wife moved back to Indiana and live on the family-owned property.

The road to purchasing the Mel Kenyon Midget Series started in 2020.

"Ayrton Houk had run in a rental car in the Kenyon Series in 2020," Hayes said. "We were working to put Houk in a Formula car and, because of my love for sprint and midget cars, thought we could do something together."

The newly formed team purchased the car from Don Kenyon and was crowned series champion in 2021.

"Going through the season, I really liked what the whole series was about," Hayes said. "I liked the fact the costs were reasonable, and it tied in with my driver development efforts and to teach people how to race.

"It was obvious Don and Mel wouldn't be doing it forever. I saw an interview done with Mel about selling the series before the pandemic, and that deal fell through."

That led to a conversation with Don Kenyon pertaining to the possible sale of the series, something the two brothers weren't immediately interested in doing.

"A couple of months later, I went to pick up some parts, and Don started asking me questions about my road racing program," Hayes said. "He offered to sell me the entire series. They want the series to continue. Next thing you know I was buying the series, cars and parts from them."

Since taking over ownership, Hayes said there are currently 30 drivers interested in competing with the series on either a full-time or part-time basis.

The hope is to have 12 or 13 races in 2022 on a mix of pavement and dirt ovals.

IN OTHER RACING NEWS

It's exciting to see Plymouth Speedway has been added to the inaugural 500 Sprint Car Tour season with a race date on June 10.

It has also been announced several teams will compete in the entire 500 Sprint Car tour, including 2021 Little 500 winner Tyler Roahrig.

Other teams intending to run the full series include Elwood driver Jake McElfresh and Indiana driver Derek Bischak.

Florida drivers competing include Shane Butler and 2018 Little 500 pole sitter Davey Hamilton Jr.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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