Summer Sizzle '99 Race Story

LEFFLER TAKES $20,000 "SUMMER SIZZLE '99" 1ST PRIZE DRAKE, DARLAND, COERS SNARE "SIZZLE" PRELIM VICTORIES Defending MCI WorldCom USAC National Midget Car Champion and 1999 point leader Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. walked off with...

LEFFLER TAKES $20,000 "SUMMER SIZZLE '99" 1ST PRIZE DRAKE, DARLAND, COERS SNARE "SIZZLE" PRELIM VICTORIES

Defending MCI WorldCom USAC National Midget Car Champion and 1999 point leader Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. walked off with the $20,000 winner's share of the Clabber Girl Baking Powder "Summer Sizzle '99" Saturday night at the 16th Street Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind. The four-night racing program was the richest in the history of the sport of Midget Car racing. Leffler and his Steve Lewis/Beast/Ford/Wynn's/ASE Special trailed Critter Malone for the first 24 laps, then assumed command after Malone flipped on lap 25. Jason actually lost the lead late in the 50-lap race but a yellow flag for his stalled teammate Dave Darland restored him to the lead which he never again relinquished. Tracy Hines finished second, ahead of Jerry Coons, Jr., Indy Racing League veteran Donnie Beechler and Stoops Freightliner USAC Sprint Car Champion Tony Elliott. "We struggled at the beginning," admitted Leffler in victory lane. "I don't know if I could have caught Critter (Malone) or not. I was trying to take it easy in turn one because of the berm there. After Critter flipped they cut it down and that helped. We loosened up the car during the red. The rubber on turns three and four also made the bottom fast there but I made a mistake in turn one late and lost the lead. Fortunately a yellow saved me. I guess everything just went our way. It's nice to win another 'big one' to add to the list. The $20,000 really helps. I saw Tracy (Hines) a couple of times in the closing laps but he's a good driver. I knew he wouldn't take me out." Hines earned $10,000 for his runner-up finish and Coons took home a check for $7,500 for finishing third. Saturday night's program concluded four nights of racing on the 1/4-mile dirt track which saw Jay Drake, Dave Darland and Chris Coers take 25-lap preliminary features. Drake led the final 20 laps in his Willoughby/Keco/Stealth/Hoosier Tire Esslinger to beat Jerry Coons, Jr. and Jack Hewitt on Wednesday night, while Darland led the last 21 laps in his Steve Lewis/Beast/Ford/Wynn's/ASE Special to beat Malone and Kevin Doty Thursday. Coers was the surprise winner of Friday night's race, leading all 25 laps in his JB Radiator & Air Conditioning Services/Excel Motorsports Esslinger to beat Leffler, Beechler and Andy Pierce to the flag in a spectacular four-car shootout. Ron Smoker and Jerry Zike won Saturday D-Mains, while Ronnie Day and Andy Pierce captured the C-Mains. Malone won the "Team Tyce" Starting Order Dash to claim the pole for the 50-lap finale, while J.J. Yeley and Randy Koch won the B-Mains. The MCI WorldCom USAC National Midget Series resumes on Saturday night, July 31, with a 40-lap feature on the 1/4-mile paved Anderson (Ind.) Speedway.

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Donnie Beechler , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Jack Hewitt , Tony Elliott , Jay Drake , Jerry Coons