WM: Pikes Peak Rocky Mountain Classic preview

J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz. and Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. continue their torrid battle for personal USAC "Triple Crown" status this Thursday and Friday at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. The "Rocky Mountain Classic" ...

J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz. and Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. continue their torrid battle for personal USAC "Triple Crown" status this Thursday and Friday at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. The "Rocky Mountain Classic" showcases USAC's National and Western Midget Car Series, as well as the USAC National and Western Sprint Car Series and the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series.

Yeley currently leads the National standings by just two points over Hines. Each would complete the USAC "Triple Crown" cycle with a championship. Both have previously won USAC Silver Crown and National Sprint Car titles and would join Pancho Carter, Tony Stewart and Dave Darland as "Triple Crown" champs if they win this title.

A 30-lap feature event is planned as part of Friday's busy slate at the 1-mile paved oval. Practice and qualifying is scheduled on Thursday, with Friday's Midget feature set for a 3:50 pm feature event. "Qualifying races" and feature events are slated for all three series on Friday.

Steve Paden of Lakewood, Calif. leads the Western Midget Car standings going into the July 3-4 PPIR race after a half-dozen consecutive "top-10" finishes, including a third and second in his last two starts. Yeley is third in the Western points as a result of two early-season victories in races offering points toward both series. Paden, the series' "Most Improved Driver" in 2001, has never won the Western title.

Three of Yeley's five wins this year have come on the pavement, while Hines has won one each on pavement and dirt. Yeley has 14 total USAC feature wins in 2003 competition, threatening to break the all-time USAC single-season record of 19 wins set in 1961 by A.J. Foyt and tied in 1998 by Sleepy Tripp and 2001 by Jay Drake.

Drivers will be trying to break Ryan Newman's 1-lap USAC Midget Car track record of 139.265 mph during Thursday's time trials.

USAC NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. J.J. Yeley 744
2. Tracy Hines 742
3. Bobby East 703
4. A.J. Fike 598
5. Jay Drake 576
6. Dave Darland 474
7. Teddy Beach 455
8. Aaron Fike 407
9. Tom Hessert 352
10. Ryan Durst 320

USAC WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Steve Paden 348
2. Bobby East 274
3. J.J. Yeley 271
4. Josh Wise 255
5. Jerome Rodela 249
6. A.J. Fike 243
7. Wally Pankratz 228
8. Tracy Hines 227
9. Van Knill 202
10. Jay Drake 191

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Ryan Newman , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Aaron Fike , Tom Hessert , Jay Drake , Bobby East , Teddy Beach , A.J. Fike , Pancho Carter , Steve Paden , Josh Wise , Wally Pankratz , Ryan Durst , A.J. Foyt