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Hunt eyes Madera "sweep" in this weekend's inaugural "Fred Gerhardt Open Wheel Classic" Tony Hunt of Fair Oaks, Calif. returns to Madera (Calif.) Speedway this weekend hoping to duplicate his success at the 1/3-mile paved oval last year when he...

Hunt eyes Madera "sweep" in this weekend's inaugural "Fred Gerhardt Open Wheel Classic"

Tony Hunt of Fair Oaks, Calif. returns to Madera (Calif.) Speedway this weekend hoping to duplicate his success at the 1/3-mile paved oval last year when he was the only driver to win USAC feature events in both the Midgets and Sprint Cars there.

Hunt will compete in Friday night's USAC/BCRA co-sanctioned National/Western Midget Car event and Saturday night's USAC Western Sprint Car race. Saturday night's events, which include SRL Supermodified racing, kick off the 2003 USAC Western Sprint Car Series slate. Friday night's activity includes a 100-lap National/Western Midget Car feature and round three of the 2003 USAC California Ford Focus Midget Car Series, presented by the Southern California Ford Dealers.

Hunt, USAC's 1992 Russell Pro Champion and 2001 USAC Western Sprint Car Champion, also won last year's USAC Western Regional Sprint Car title, which included a victory at Madera.

This weekend's Madera events salute the memory of the late Fresno, Calif. Indy 500 car builder and entrant Fred Gerhardt, who passed away in 2000. In 1967, 21 of the 33 starters in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race were built by Gerhardt. In 1968 Mel Kenyon finished third in the "500" in a Gerhardt chassis. Midgets owned by Gerhardt also recorded five USAC feature victories.

Friday night's 100-lap Midget race will start 33 cars, 3-abreast, similar to the Indianapolis 500 lineup. A 20-lap feature is also on tap for the USAC Ford Focus Midget Cars. On Saturday night, the USAC Western Sprint Cars compete in a 40-lapper and the SRL Supermodifieds will also be in competition.

Entered Midget drivers include 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart, 2003 USAC National and Western Midget Car point leader J.J. Yeley, 3-time USAC National Midget Car Champion Jason Leffler, former USAC Western Midget Car Champions Wally Pankratz, Danny Ebberts and Jay Drake, former USAC and BCRA Midget Champion Marc DeBeaumont, plus defending 6-time BCRA Midget Champion Floyd Alvis and former BCRA titlist Glenn Carson (1992-93).

Defending USAC Western Sprint Car Champion Rick Hendrix, California Ford Focus Midget Car Champion Todd Hunsaker and 2003 Ford Focus Midget Car point leader Phil Goodwine are also expected to be among favorites in their respective series at Madera.

Friday's practice gets under way at 4:30 pm and qualifying starts at 6. The first race is at 7. Practice on Saturday starts at 4:30, with qualifying and racing to follow.

USAC NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. J.J. Yeley 134
2. Bobby East 119
3. Bud Kaeding 100
4. A.J. Fike 89
5. Jay Drake 88
6. Tracy Hines 71
7. Teddy Beach 64
8. Aaron Pollock 60
9. Steve Paden 60
10. Dave Darland 56

USAC WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. J.J. Yeley 134
2. Bobby East 119
3. Steve Paden 111
4. Bud Kaeding 100
5. Jerome Rodela 98
6. A.J. Fike 89
7. Jay Drake 88
8. Josh Wise 82
9. Van Knill 75
10. Tracy Hines 71

USAC CALIFORNIA (South) FORD FOCUS MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Phil Goodwine 127
2. Tyler Brown 123
3. Todd Hunsaker 117
4. Kevin Kierce 104
5. Josh Lakatos 103
6. Bobby Owens 101
7. Bobby McGowan 87
8. Steve Koster, Jr. 81
9. Steve Davis 68
10. Darren Hagen 68

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Dave Darland , Danny Ebberts , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Aaron Pollock , Bud Kaeding , Jay Drake , Bobby East , Teddy Beach , A.J. Fike , Steve Paden , Josh Wise , Wally Pankratz , Josh Lakatos , Darren Hagen , Tony Hunt , Floyd Alvis , Rick Hendrix