NATIONAL/16TH STREET/SPEEDROME MIDGET SERIES KNEPPER WINS "BELLEVILLE MIDGET NATIONALS;" SHELTON, COONS ALSO SCORE SMOKER AT 16TH, RAIN AT SPEEDROME; "NATIONALS" AT LAKESIDE, I-70 Steve Knepper of Belleville, Ill. captured Saturday ...
NATIONAL/16TH STREET/SPEEDROME MIDGET SERIES KNEPPER WINS "BELLEVILLE MIDGET NATIONALS;" SHELTON, COONS ALSO SCORE SMOKER AT 16TH, RAIN AT SPEEDROME; "NATIONALS" AT LAKESIDE, I-70
Steve Knepper of Belleville, Ill. captured Saturday night's Miller Genuine Draft "Belleville Midget National" finale at the 1/2-mile dirt Belleville (Kans.) High Banks, his second victory in the nation's richest Midget racing spectacular. Knepper's team raked in $10,000 from the $71,000 total purse. Knepper led all 40 laps in the John Lawson WavePhore/Mi Jack/Miller Lite Gaerte to beat Jason Leffler, Jerry Coons, Jr., Tony Stewart and Ricky Shelton. Stewart started ninth but spun in the early laps, restarted last and came through the field to eventually take fourth. Leffler's runner-up finish, coupled with Jay Drake's 12th-place, leaves the two tied for the National Midget point lead going into this weekend's back-to-back events near Kansas City. Friday night's race is at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kans. and Saturday night's venue is the I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo. Practice starts at 6 p.m. at both 1/2-mile paved ovals. Qualifying begins at 7 and racing starts at 8. A 30-lap feature is set both nights Ricky Shelton of Huntington Beach, Calif. is third in the National standings after winning Tuesday night's 40-lap "Mid-Summer Midget Classic" at Eagle Raceway in Lincoln, Neb. and Thursday night's 25-lap Belleville prelim. He passed Dave Darland on the 33rd lap and led the rest of the way to beat Dave Strickland, Jr. and Drake at Lincoln, the led all 25 laps at Belleville Thursday in his Keco/Stealth Esslinger to beat Drake and Leffler. Jerry Coons, Jr. won Friday night's Belleville prelim, leading all 25 laps in his Chuck DeCrane/Custom Equipment Design/Stealth/McCreary/ARS/Keco Ford to beat Robby Flock and Drake. Ron Smoker of Hamburg, N.Y. scored his third 16th Street Speedway USAC Midget victory of 1998 Saturday night at the 1/4-mile dirt oval in Indianapolis, Ind. He caught Andy Pierce on lap 17 and led the rest of the way in his Parker Machinery/Motorcraft/Stealth Gaerte to beat Rick Treadway, Pierce, Roger McCluskey, Jr. and A.J. Smith. Rain forced cancellation of Thursday night's USAC Midget racing program at the Indianapolis Speedrome. Michael Lang, sixth at 16th Street Saturday, continues to lead both the 16th Street and Speedrome series standings. The Speedrome series continues this Thursday night with a 50-lap feature, while a 30-lapper is on tap at 16th Street Saturday night.
National Midget Standings: 1-Jason Leffler-528; 2-Jay Drake-528; 3-Ricky Shelton-511; 4-Jerry Coons, Jr.-380; 5-Jimmy McCune-337; 6-Tracy Hines-253; 7-Travis Welpott-213; 8-Dave Steele-204; 9-Ronnie Johncox-190; 10-Robby Flock-180.
16th Street Midget Standings: 1-Michael Lang-198; 2-Critter Malone-165; 3-Andy Pierce-164; 4-Ron Smoker-154; 5-Jeff Hampton-142; 6-Roy Caruthers-139; 7-Rick Treadway-133; 8-Jay Drake-124; 9-Jerry Coons, Jr.-124; 10-Steve Knepper-122.
Speedrome Midget Standings: 1-Michael Lang-5,140; 2-John Sluss-4,050; 3-Dean Franklin-1,830; 4-Daryl Campbell-1,410; 5-Gregg Cory-1,400; 6-Brad Kuhn-1,385; 7-Robbie Parish-1,320; 8-Ron Hamm-1,320; 9-Norm Young-1,280; 10-John Mount-1,210.