USAC Midget News 98-07-20

NATIONAL/16TH STREET/SPEEDROME MIDGET SERIES '97 CHAMPS LANG, KNEPPER SCORE INDY MIDGET VICTORIES $51,000 CHARLOTTE RACE FRIDAY, LINCOLN HOSTS JULY 28 RACE Michael Lang and Steve Knepper, USAC's 1997 Indianapolis Midget Series Champions,...

NATIONAL/16TH STREET/SPEEDROME MIDGET SERIES '97 CHAMPS LANG, KNEPPER SCORE INDY MIDGET VICTORIES $51,000 CHARLOTTE RACE FRIDAY, LINCOLN HOSTS JULY 28 RACE

Michael Lang and Steve Knepper, USAC's 1997 Indianapolis Midget Series Champions, scored respective feature victories last week, Lang emerging as the point leader in both the Indianapolis Speedrome and 16th Street Midget Series.

Lang is among a large contingent of drivers from across the country gearing up for this Friday night's all-time record single-day Midget program at the Charlotte (NC) Motor Speedway's Legends track. A $51,000 purse has been posted for this historic program, with the winner earning a check in the amount of $9,000 and all 24 feature starters guaranteed no less than $1,000! Practice at the 1/4-mile paved oval starts at 4 p.m., with qualifying at 5:15 and the first preliminary race at 8:15.

Jay Drake of Canyon Country, Calif. is the new leader in the USAC National Midget standings after finishing fourth in Saturday night's 40-lapper at the 16th Street Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind. He leads defending series titlist Jason Leffler by three points, with Ricky Shelton now third, 20 back of Drake. Shelton, Drake's teammate, flipped during the 16th Street program and was transported to Indianapolis' Methodist Hospital but was released and is expected to compete at Charlotte.

Steve Knepper of Belleville, Ill. led all 40 laps to win the National race at 16th Street Speedway in his Bud Racing Fontana, beating Leffler, Jerry Coons, Jr., Drake and Brian Gerster as Lang finished eighth.

Lang drove his Keco/Ad-Tech Floor Care/IFI VW to victory in Thursday night's 50-lapper at the Speedrome, leading all but the first seven laps to beat Norm Young, Robbie Parish (who led laps 1-7), Joe Devin and Dean Franklin. Lang and Parish won heat races.

Lang has a 16-point over Critter Malone going into the August 1 race at 16th Street, while he has a more substantial lead over John Sluss going into this Thursday night's program at the Speedrome, which has a 50-lap feature. Sluss was involved in a heat-race tangle and failed to start last Thursday's 50-lapper.

Following Charlotte, the National Series heads to Lincoln, Neb. for the July 28 (Tuesday night) "Mid-Summer Midget Classic" at Eagle Raceway's 1/3-mile dirt oval before heading to Belleville, Kans. for the July 30-August 1 Miller Genuine Draft "Belleville Midget Nationals." A 40-lapper is set at Lincoln.

National Midget Standings: 1-Jay Drake-383; 2-Jason Leffler-380; 3-Ricky Shelton-363; 4-Jimmy McCune-301; 5-Tracy Hines-253; 6-Jerry Coons, Jr.-250; 7-Dave Steele-171; 8-Travis Welpott-169; 9-Ronnie Johncox-168; 10-Michael Lewis-130.

16th Street Midget Standings: 1-Michael Lang-179; 2-Critter Malone-163; 3-Jeff Hampton-141; 4-Andy Pierce-138; 5-Roy Caruthers-134; 6-Jay Drake-124; 7-Jerry Coons, Jr.-124; 8-Steve Knepper-122; 9-Ron Smoker-120; 10-Ricky Shelton-113.

Speedrome Midget Standings: 1-Michael Lang-5,140; 2-John Sluss-4,050; 3-Dean Franklin-1,670; 4-Daryl Campbell-1,410; 5-Brad Kuhn-1,305; 6-Gregg Cory-1,200; 7-Ron Hamm-1,190; 8-John Mount & Norm Young-1,030; 10-Mike Hurst-980.

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Series Midget , USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Michael Lewis , Brad Kuhn , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Ronnie Johncox , Jay Drake , Jimmy McCune , Jerry Coons , Dean Franklin , Brian Gerster , Steve Knepper , Ricky Shelton