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"JOE JAMES/PAT O'CONNOR CLASSIC" SATURDAY AT SALEM; CARDINAL CONTRACTING "JOE JAMES/PAT O'CONNOR CLASSIC" The 48th Annual Cardinal Contracting "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Classic," honoring the memory of two of our sport's ...

"JOE JAMES/PAT O'CONNOR CLASSIC" SATURDAY AT SALEM; CARDINAL CONTRACTING "JOE JAMES/PAT O'CONNOR CLASSIC"

The 48th Annual Cardinal Contracting "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Classic," honoring the memory of two of our sport's more accomplished drivers, is slated this Saturday at the Salem (Ind.) Speedway and could be pivotal in the chase for USAC's 2007 Lucas Oil National Sprint Car Championship. The USAC National Midgets share the billing Saturday, with a 30-lap Midget feature followed by the 50-lap Sprint car feature. The race is the last currently on the 2007 calendar for the National Sprint Cars on pavement.

Levi Jones of Olney, Ill. leads the series standings in quest of his second USAC title. His 100-point lead over Darren Hagen will not be challenged Saturday but Hagen could take a huge bite out of it with a strong performance. Hagen, of Riverside, Calif., is seeking his first National title.

Saturday's event began at Salem in 1953. Larry Crockett won the inaugural race and in the ensuing years the list of winners is impressive, including Indianapolis 500 winners Bob Sweikert, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Mario Andretti and Bobby Unser. O'Connor also won the event twice prior to his death in a 1958 racing accident.

Bryan Clauson is the defending race winner, while former champions Brian Tyler, Eric Gordon and Dave Darland are expected to seek repeat wins on Saturday.

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Series USAC
Drivers Mario Andretti , Bobby Unser , Parnelli Jones , Dave Darland , Brian Tyler , Eric Gordon , Levi Jones , Bryan Clauson , Darren Hagen , A.J. Foyt