Kahne eyes IRP win

Defending WorldCom USAC National Midget Car Champion Kasey Kahne earned his initial victory of this year in Friday night's 30-lap race at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He caught Bobby East on the 22nd lap and led the rest of the way in his...

Defending WorldCom USAC National Midget Car Champion Kasey Kahne earned his initial victory of this year in Friday night's 30-lap race at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He caught Bobby East on the 22nd lap and led the rest of the way in his Ford/ASE/Performance Racing Industry Beast.

Kahne's win left him sixth in the new WorldCom National Midget Car standings going into this Saturday night's 56th "Night Before the 500" Classic at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Practice starts at 3:45 pm and qualifying begins at 5:15. The first of two 12-lap "qualifying races" gets the green flag at 8. The feature is 50 laps.

Kahne won last year's "Night Before the 500" Classic on his way to the WorldCom National championship. His victory at Cedar Rapids vaulted him to sixth in the new series standings going into the IRP race.

Teammate Dave Darland finished second at Cedar Rapids, followed by fast qualifier Tracy Hines, East and Aaron Fike. Michael Lewis, who was sixth at Cedar Rapids, led the first three laps before East took over.

Kahne will be trying to become the first back-to-back "Night Before the 500" champion since Jeff Gordon did it in 1989-90. Joining Kahne and Darland on the potent Steve Lewis team for Saturday night's race will be J.J. Yeley, who will drive the #19 machine driven to victory in last year's races at Phoenix, Ariz. and Irwindale, Calif. by Tony Stewart.

<pre> USAC WORLDCOM NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS

1. Michael Lewis 144 2. Jay Drake 144 3. A.J. Fike 133 4. Aaron Fike 129 5. Tony Ave 125 6. Kasey Kahne 109 7. Ryan Scott 109 8. Dave Darland 106 9. Jerry Coons, Jr. 104 10. Aaron Pollock 100

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Series USAC
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Tony Ave , Kasey Kahne , Michael Lewis , Ryan Scott , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Aaron Pollock , Aaron Fike , Jay Drake , Bobby East , A.J. Fike , Jerry Coons