Derek Davidson of Lafayette, Ind. is the early leader in the 1999 Stoops Freightliner USAC Sprint Car point standings after his sensational victory in Saturday night's series-opening "Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic" at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Davidson caught two-time series champion Brian Tyler on the 26th lap of the race, then withstood a tremendous last-lap challenge from Tyler to post the win in the Hannig Construction/Bailey's One Stop Special. Tyler finished second, ahead of 1998 "4-Crown Nationals" Champion Jack Hewitt, Dave Darland and 1998 Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car Champion Tony Elliott. Rounding out the "top-10" were Kevin Thomas, Danny Smith, Tray House, Jac Haudenschild and Robbie Rice.

Tracy Hines posted the Turbines, Inc. fastest qualifying time among 55 drivers, then escaped injury in a flip on the third lap of the feature event. He was one of five drivers who flipped during the program but there were no serious injuries.

Davidson will lead the Stoops Freightliner series into the April 11 Pepsi-Cola "Rich Vogler Classic" at the Winchester (Ind.) Speedway.

STOOPS FREIGHTLINER SPRINT CAR STANDINGS

1.  Derek Davidson         69
2.  Brian Tyler         67
3.  Jack Hewitt         58
4.  Dave Darland         54
5.  Tony Elliott        54
6.  Tray House                 41
7.  Robbie Rice         36
8.  Tim Cox                 35
9.  Rob Chaney                 33
10. Blll Rose                 30