New Zealand standouts Michael Pickens and Brad Mosen are among this week’s expected “Indiana Midget Week” challengers who could prove to be “wild cards” in the battle for championship points toward the five-race title.

The series opens tomorrow night (Wednesday) at Gas City I-69 Speedway and continues Thursday at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Friday night at Bloomington Speedway, Saturday night at Lawrenceburg Speedway and Sunday night at Kokomo Speedway.

Pickens won the 2011 Kokomo round and was fifth in that year’s standings. Mosen was fifth at Boswell in 2007.

Other non-regulars expected to be threats this week include defending Powri Champion Andrew Felker, former ARDC Champion Steve Buckwalter and fellow Pennsylvania driver Alex Bright, NASCAR star Kyle Larson, who plans to compete in three of the five races, and USAC’s winningest female driver ever – Taylor Ferns.

Felker, Pickens and Larson are all coming off recent Powri victories. Larson was second in the Indiana Midget standings in 2011, winning at Bloomington, and was sixth in the points last year, winning the finale at Kokomo. He also swept all four major Midget races in New Zealand this past winter.

Buckwalter scored a 10th at Gas City and has always been a top qualifier, finishing 7th in IMW points in 2009, fifth in 2010 and seventh again last year. Ferns has scored eight USAC victories in three different racing series. Bright was eighth in the standings last year.

The Indiana Midget Week battle has historically been a close one. In 2010 Tracy Hines and Brad Kuhn tied for the title. Clauson’s 2011 title was by six points, while his 2009 title was by eight. Hines won by 13 in 2008, Cottle by 16 in 2006, Jerry Coons Jr. by 22 in 2007 and Cottle by 28 in 2005. Hagen’s margin last year, 42, was the largest so far.