Hartford debut Friday

Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif. leads the MCI WorldCom USAC National Midget Car Series to Michigan this Friday night for the series' inaugural appearance at the 1/2-mile dirt Hartford Motor Speedway. The race marks the first ...

Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif. leads the MCI WorldCom USAC National Midget Car Series to Michigan this Friday night for the series' inaugural appearance at the 1/2-mile dirt Hartford Motor Speedway. The race marks the first appaearance of the MCI WorldCom USAC Midget Cars in the Wolverine State since Jack Hewitt won at Lake Odessa in 1991. USAC's last appearance in Michigan came in 1996 when Mark Cassella won a 30-lap USAC Sprint Car race at Lake Odessa. Drake leads 1999 Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car Champion Dave Darland by 11 points in this year's standings going into the Hartford race. He won the April 2 race at Anderson, Ind. after finishing seventh in the "Copper World Classic" opener at Phoenix, Ariz. in February. Friday night's event will actually be the third USAC Midget Car event in the city of Hartford, Mich. In 1980 Steve Lotshaw won a 40-lapper on the 1/2-mile paved Hartford Motor Speedway and Tommy Astone won a similar 40-lapper on the same track in 1973. Drake and Darland will face a formidable field at Hartford, including USAC champions Marc DeBeaumont, Ricky Shelton, Steve Knepper and Michael Lang, plus 1999 "Rookie of the Year" A.J. Fike, current Coors Light Silver Bullet leading "rookie" Ed Carpenter, lady driver Sarah McCune, versatile Tracy Hines and sensational newcomer Kasey Kahne. Practice at Hartford Motor Speedway starts at 5 pm, with qualifying slated at 5:30 and racing at 7.

USAC MCI WORLDCOM NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS

1. Jay Drake            107
2. Dave Darland         96
3. Jimmy McCune         93
4. Kasey Kahne          88
5. John Heydenreich     84
6. A.J. Fike            82
7. Ryan Newman          63
8. Michael Lewis        61
9. Ted Hines            58
10. Dane Carter         58

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Series USAC
Drivers Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne , Michael Lewis , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Jack Hewitt , Jay Drake , John Heydenreich , Dane Carter , Jimmy McCune , A.J. Fike , Sarah McCune , Steve Knepper , Ed Carpenter , Ricky Shelton