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NATIONAL MIDGET & WESTERN STATES MIDGET, TQ & SPRINT SERIES PHOENIX "DUEL IN THE DESERT" OPENS USAC'S FINAL 3-RACE CALENDAR; 4-WAY BATTLE LOOMS FOR NATIONAL MIDGET "ROOKIE OF THE YEAR" Saturday night's Remax "Duel in the Desert" will showcase...

NATIONAL MIDGET & WESTERN STATES MIDGET, TQ & SPRINT SERIES PHOENIX "DUEL IN THE DESERT" OPENS USAC'S FINAL 3-RACE CALENDAR; 4-WAY BATTLE LOOMS FOR NATIONAL MIDGET "ROOKIE OF THE YEAR"

Saturday night's Remax "Duel in the Desert" will showcase the nation's finest Midget racing talent on one of America's most storied and competitive 1/2-mile dirt ovals - the famed Manzanita Speedway. Marking USAC's first National event at Manzy in 17 years, the race may also play a big part in determining the winner of one of USAC's most hotly-contested "Rookie of the Year" battles. At present four drivers are locked in a tight battle for the top National Midget rookie honors. Separated by only 40 points, they include Michael Lewis of Noblesville, Ind., Dane Carter of Brownsburg, Ind., Sarah McCune of Perrysburg, Ohio and Jason Lynch of Terre Haute, Ind. All four are pre-entered for Saturday night's program! A 30-lap main event caps Saturday night's program, which gets under way with practice at 4:30 p.m. A non-qualifiers race, four heats and a 10-lap semi precede the 30-lapper. Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. leads Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif. by only 10 points in the National series, while Rick Hendrix of Simi Valley, Calif. leads Bryan Stanfill of Bakersfield, Calif. by 42 points in the Western States series. Points for each are available at Manzanita. Ricky Shelton of Huntington Beach. Calif. (National) and Wally Pankratz of Orange, Calif. (Western States) are also title hopefuls, each third in their respective series standings. Arizona's own J.J. Yeley (Phoenix) and Jerry Coons, Jr. (Tucson) are expected to offer local flavor. Yeley finished seventh in this year's USAC Sprint Car standings and Coons is currently fourth in the National Midget points. Dave Strickland of Englewood, Colo., a 22-race winner in USAC National Midget competition in the 1960s and 1970s and the 1973 and 1974 "World Midget Derby" winner in New Zealand, will serve as Saturday night's Grand Marshal. The Phoenix race will be followed by the November 25-26 Midget/TQ Midget "Turkey Night Grand Prix" doubleheader at Bakersfield, Calif. and the season-ending November 28 Midget/TQ Midget/Sprint Car "tripleheader" at Las Vegas, Nev.

National Midget Standings: 1-Jason Leffler-867; 2-Jay Drake-857; 3-Ricky Shelton-789; 4-Jerry Coons, Jr.-609; 5-Tracy Hines-568; 6-Jimmy McCune-539; 7-Ronnie Johncox-356; 8-Travis Welpott-327; 9-Michael Lewis-283; 10-Dane Carter-259.

Western States Midget Standings: 1-Rick Hendrix-541; 2-Bryan Stanfill-499; 3-Wally Pankratz-465; 4-Shane Scully-417; 5-Jason Leffler-379; 6-Steve Paden-362; 7-Bobby Boone-340; 8-Marc DeBeaumont-294; 9-Clay Klepper-290; 10-Dwayne Marcum-285.

Western States Sprint Car Standings: 1-Jeff Gardner-723; 2-Rick Williams-697; 3-Tyler Haylett-470; 4-Tony Hunt-446; 5-Monte Faccinto-335; 6-Dave Fitzgerald-299; 7-Davey Pombo-289; 8-Rick Sipes-261; 9-Ivan Worden-208; 10-Ken Hamilton-179.

TQ Midget Standings: 1-Alex Harris-567; 2-Gene Godepski-386; 3-Josh Lakatos-372; 4-Brian Harris-366; 5-Randi Pankratz-363; 6-West Evans-358; 7-Ron Ahrendt-306; 8-Todd Hunsaker-229; 9-Greg Edenholm-224; 10-Paul Krueger-224.

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Michael Lewis , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Ronnie Johncox , Jay Drake , Dane Carter , Jimmy McCune , Jerry Coons , Wally Pankratz , Sarah McCune , Clay Klepper , Randi Pankratz , Bryan Stanfill , Tony Hunt , Rick Hendrix , Ricky Shelton
Teams Williams