WM: Tucson recap, Irwindale preview

Bobby East of Brownsburg, Ind. and Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. took center stage Saturday afternoon at Tucson (AZ) Raceway Park, East winning the 40-lap "Old Pueblo Classic" and Darland locking up the 2001 USAC WorldCom National Midget Car ...

Bobby East of Brownsburg, Ind. and Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. took center stage Saturday afternoon at Tucson (AZ) Raceway Park, East winning the 40-lap "Old Pueblo Classic" and Darland locking up the 2001 USAC WorldCom National Midget Car Championship with a fifth-place finish.

East, a 16-year-old "rookie" phenom, caught Josh Wise on the 10th lap and led the rest of the way in his Team ASE/Beast/Consani Pink Chevy/Beast to beat Kasey Kahne, Wise, A.J. Davis and Darland to the checkered flag.

Darland, whose return to racing after recovering from injuries suffered in a September 22 Sprint car race in Ohio was punctuated with a new track-record qualifying run, became the third driver in USAC history to claim all three National championships during a career. He won the 1997 Silver Bullet title and the 1999 Sprint Car title and joins Tony Stewart and Pancho Carter in an elite category.

The National and Western series continue this Thursday night at Irwindale (CA) Speedway with the 61st running of the famed "Turkey Night Grand Prix" presented by K & N Filters, then conclude Saturday with events at the "Bullring" at Las Vegas (NV) Motor Speedway.

Practice at Irwindale gets under way at 3 pm and the first race is scheduled at 7. A 40-lap race is on tap for the Western Sprint Cars and the "Turkey Night Grand Prix" Midget race is a 100-lapper on the 1/2-mile pavement. The Las Vegas timetable has practice at 2:30 pm and racing at 5:30 and a 40-lap Midget Car and 50-lap Sprint Car feature are planned on the 3/8-mile paved oval.

WorldCom Western Midget Car point leader Danny Ebberts of Canyon Lake, Calif. finished ninth at Tucson and emerged with a 48-point lead over Alex Harris, who was 11th in Saturday's race. Wise, who led the first nine laps of the Tucson feature, ranks third, 80 points in arrears.

USAC WORLDCOM NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS


1. Dave Darland 1,077
2. A.J. Fike 908
3. Tracy Hines 890
4. J.J. Yeley 873
5. Aaron Fike 745
6. Jay Drake 742
7. Steve Paden 679
8. Kasey Kahne 616
9. Jerry Coons, Jr., 525
10. Ryan Scott 498

USAC WORLDCOM WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS


1. Danny Ebberts 1,056
2. Alex Harris 1,008
3. Josh Wise 976
4. Wally Pankratz 802
5. Thomas Meseraull 713
6. Shane Scully 713
7. Robby Flock 638
8. Matt Streeter 627
9. John Sarale 370
10. Danny Stratton 357

-USAC-

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Kasey Kahne , Ryan Scott , Dave Darland , Danny Ebberts , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Aaron Fike , Jay Drake , Bobby East , A.J. Fike , Pancho Carter , Steve Paden , Jerry Coons , Josh Wise , Wally Pankratz , Robby Flock , Matt Streeter , Danny Stratton , Thomas Meseraull