T. Stewart to run "Turkey Night GP"

Tony Stewart of Rushville, Ind., the only driver to sweep USAC's "Triple Crown" (1995), makes his second MCI WorldCom USAC National Midget Car appearance of the 2000 season on Thanksgiving Night. He is one of four drivers slated to pilot...

Tony Stewart of Rushville, Ind., the only driver to sweep USAC's "Triple Crown" (1995), makes his second MCI WorldCom USAC National Midget Car appearance of the 2000 season on Thanksgiving Night. He is one of four drivers slated to pilot Steve Lewis-owned cars in the prestigious 60th annual running of one of America's greatest short-track events - the Home Depot "Turkey Night Grand Prix" - at the Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway November 23. He will join 2000 USAC MCI WorldCom National Midget Car Champion Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw, Wash., plus former USAC multiple champions Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. and Dave Darland of Kokomo, Ind. in an effort to top Lewis' 1999 feat of sweeping the three spots in the "Turkey Night" race. If successful, it is believed it would be the first time in USAC history for a single car owner to sweep positions 1-4 in a Nationally-sanctioned event. Stewart is undefeated in USAC Midget Car competition this year, winning the "Copper World Classic" at Phoenix, Ariz. in February. In fact, he's won half of his last 20 USAC Midget Car starts dating back to 1996! These wins have helped him climb to 22nd on the all-time USAC feature winners' list with 37 career victories in various series. A victory "Turkey Night" would tie him with Johnny Parsons on that list and would be his 25th in the National Midget Car Series. He nearly won last year's "Turkey Night Grand Prix" and vowed to return this year after his car slowed while leading the 1999 race on the white-flag lap, yielding the victory to teammate Leffler. Since his "Copper World" win at Phoenix, Tony has won six times on the tough NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, more than any other driver, and he's anxious to add the "Turkey Night" trophy to those he already owns from USAC traditional Midget Car races like the Hut Hundred and Mel Kenyon Classic. "Turkey Night" will mark the 97th appearance in USAC National Midget Car competition for the 1994 and 1995 National Champion. His "top-three" finishing percentage is 54%, with 24 wins, 21 seconds and seven thirds. Tony will compete in the Thursday night race in a car sporting a special paint scheme featuring flames while maintaining the same general color scheme as the rest of the Lewis stable. The preliminary 50-car field for the "Grand Prix" includes some of America's top open-wheel talent, including 2000 USAC driving champions Kahne and Tracy Hines, plus former USAC champions Stewart, Darland, Leffler, Marc DeBeaumont, Ryan Newman, Josh Wise, Tony Hunt, Alex Harris, Rick Hendrix, Ricky Shelton and Mel Kenyon. Drivers will be aiming at Stewart's 1-lap track qualifying record of 17.156 seconds (104.920 mph) set in winning the pole for last year's "Turkey Night Grand Prix." The MCI WorldCom USAC TQ Midget Cars will also be competing at Irwindale Thursday night and practice gets under way at 3 pm. Qualifications start at 4 pm and the first racing event is scheduled for 7:15. Thursday's Irwindale activities also include this year's inductions for the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame and a special autograph session for the living former winners of the "Grand Prix." The 60th Home Depot "Turkey Night Grand Prix" will be featured on ESPN2's popular "Thunder" series on Sunday night, November 26, at 9:30 pm (ET) and re-air at 3 am the next morning.

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Ryan Newman , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Johnny Parsons , Josh Wise , Tony Hunt , Rick Hendrix , Ricky Shelton