Winchester Speedway "Kenny Irwin Memorial" preview

USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series At Winchester Speedway Sunday For The Kenny Irwin Memorial Winchester, IN (June 6, 2005) -- The USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series will make its first 2005 visit to the historic High Banks ...

USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series At Winchester Speedway Sunday For The Kenny Irwin Memorial

Winchester, IN (June 6, 2005) -- The USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series will make its first 2005 visit to the historic High Banks of Winchester Speedway this Sunday, June 12th in the Kenny Irwin Memorial. The event will honor the former USAC Champion and NASCAR driver who tragically lost his life, in the prime of his career, while practicing for the NASCAR Nextel Cup event in New Hampshire in July of 2000. The Indiana native was only one month away from his 31st birthday.

Kenny Irwin was one of the first open wheel stars to make the jump to NASCAR after the great success of Jeff Gordon. Irwin's very successful open wheel career included 6 career USAC Silver Crown Series wins, 7 career USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series wins, and 8 career USAC National Midget Series wins as well as the 1996 USAC National Midget Series Championship.

In 1997 Irwin moved to the up and coming NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series were he earned Rookie of the Year honors. The following year Irwin won the prestigious NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Rookie of the Year title driving for legendary car owner Robert Yates in the famous number 42 car that had helped propel legendary names like Davey Allison and Ernie Irvin to stock car fame. Irwin made a total of 87 NASCAR Nextel Cup starts with 4 top five finishes and 12 top ten finishes.

Today, his parents still honor Kenny's spirit for life with their "Kenny Irwin Memorial Campground" featuring their "Dare to Dream Camp". Located on 27 acres in New Castle, Indiana, the "Dare to Dream Camp" offers a permanent year-round, racing-themed camp accommodating underprivileged, at-risk, neglected and abused children between the ages of 6 to 17 and is made possible by the generous contributions and donations from corporations, foundations and individuals.

Current USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series point's leader Jay Drake leads a list 26 cars pre-entered for Sunday's event. The California native, driving for Tony Stewart's Mopar team, holds a slim four point lead over Lincoln, Indiana native Dave Darland who is also entered along with third place in points Levi Jones, fourth in points Bud Kaeding and fifth in points Mat Neely.

Current USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series 1-lap track record holder at Winchester Speedway Dave Steele of Tampa, Florida is also entered and looks to keep his record in tact. 16 year old Cameron Dodson, who decimated the field in the May 22 King Of The Wings Sprint Car Challenge at Winchester Speedway, will make take off the wing to make a start with the USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series. Jason Blonde, current points leader with the Auto Value Super Sprints, will also take the wing off and make his USAC Valvoline National Sprint Car Series debut.

Indianapolis native Eric Gordon, fresh off his record fifth consecutive Little 500 victory at Anderson Speedway on May 28th, has filed an entry along with Anderson native Jason McCord and Muncie native Aaron Pierce. New Castle's own Tracy Hines, who is competing full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series again this season, will return to one of his favorite tracks to compete in the Kenny Irwin Memorial along with Noblesville natives Michael Lewis and Brian Gerster.

Sunday will also feature the second event of the season for the Max 93.5/96.7 CRA Street Stocks as well as the return of the Anderson Speedway SuperTrucks to historic Winchester Speedway. Spectator gates open at 10:30AM Sunday, the race program will begin at 2PM. General admission tickets will be on sale Sunday for $16. The event will feature special pricing for all HARF and DARF members as well as Henry and Wayne County residents. Go to www.winchesterspeedway.com for more information.

-ws-

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Series USAC
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Michael Lewis , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Eric Gordon , Levi Jones , Jason McCord , Aaron Pierce , Robert Yates , Cameron Dodson , Brian Gerster , Davey Allison