Indianapolis (IRP) II: Event preview

$82,000 in prize money for Midget drivers at IRP Friday. Drivers from Florida, Virginia and New Jersey to California and Arizona are slated to compete in Friday night's "Indianapolis Twin 25s" Monza-style USAC National Midget Car races...

$82,000 in prize money for Midget drivers at IRP Friday.

Drivers from Florida, Virginia and New Jersey to California and Arizona are slated to compete in Friday night's "Indianapolis Twin 25s" Monza-style USAC National Midget Car races at Indianapolis Raceway Park, presented by Ford.

Total posted prize money of over $82,000 has attracted a banner field of drivers from across the country, including at least one female driver, Courtney Kirts of Crawfordsville, Ind. Included in the prize money is a $50,000 bonus from Prolong Super Lubricants for any driver who can sweep the two 25-lap feature events.

Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. will take another shot at Mike Bliss' all-time IRP USAC victory record Friday. Victories in both 25-lappers would give Tracy a dozen USAC wins at the .686-mile paved oval, tying Bliss' record. Hines has won eight times in the Sprint Cars and twice in the Midgets at IRP.

Other former IRP USAC feature winners entered include Dave Steele, who has five Sprint wins and one in the Midgets, Jason Leffler, who has two Silver Crown wins to go with four Midgets, Jason McCord, who has two 2002 Sprint wins and Nick Fornoro, Jr., a two-time IRP Midgets winner.

Leffler leads among entered IRP USAC Midget winners, with four career triumphs, including this year's "Night Before the 500" Classic. He won three consecutive USAC National Midget titles in 1997-98-99. Dave Darland, the defending series champion and current point leader, is among drivers seeking their initial IRP win Friday. Teammate J.J. Yeley is also in that group, as is third ranking Aaron Fike.

Darland will pilot his Steve Lewis entry in a two-lap exhibition drive on Indianapolis' Monument Circle Wednesday morning during a special press event from 7-8 am. The laps will be conducted around the hallowed Soldiers & Sailors Monument honoring Hoosier war veterans.

USAC NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Dave Darland 1037
2. J.J. Yeley 928
3. Aaron Fike 864
4. Tracy Hines 747
5. Bobby East 737
6. A.J. Fike 604
7. Steve Paden 568
8. Ron Gregory 532
9. Teddy Beach 468
10. Ryan Scott 439

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Ryan Scott , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Mike Bliss , Aaron Fike , Bobby East , Teddy Beach , A.J. Fike , Ron Gregory , Jason McCord , Steve Paden