JULY 16, 1998 11TH PENNZOIL "INDIANA SPRINT WEEK" PIVOTAL FOR TITLE CONTENDERS The fast-approaching Pennzoil "Indiana Sprint Week" is not only laden with history and attractive in terms of prize money but it is also pivotal for those...
JULY 16, 1998
11TH PENNZOIL "INDIANA SPRINT WEEK" PIVOTAL FOR TITLE CONTENDERS
The fast-approaching Pennzoil "Indiana Sprint Week" is not only laden with history and attractive in terms of prize money but it is also pivotal for those drivers contending for the 1998 Stoops Freightliner/USAC National Sprint Car Championship.
Seven races at seven different Hoosier dirt ovals in nine nights offer more than $150,000 in prizes as drivers from across the country contest what has become yet another Hoosier tradition and a midwestern race fan's delight.
The total prize money includes a $15,000 point fund offering a $4,000 cash bonus to the champion as well as new Coca-Cola "Lap Leader Awards, amounting to $4,700. Each leading lap of each feature event offers a $20 cash bonus and a $500 bonus will be awarded to the driver leading the most feature laps during the seven-race schedule.
It all starts this Saturday night at the Lawrenceburg Speedway and continues Sunday at the Evans Kokomo Speedway, next Wednesday at the Terre Haute Action Track, Thursday at Twin Cities Raceway Park in North Vernon, Friday at Bloomington Speedway, Saturday at Paragon Speedway and Sunday, July 26 at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville. All seven programs have 30-lap features planned and nearly 50 pre-entries have already been received.
Kevin Thomas of Danville, Ind. is the USAC point leader and is the only four-time champion of "Indiana Sprint Week." He owns five feature wins, second all-time only to Danny Smith, who won six. His points lead stands at 67 points over Brian Tyler of Parma, Mich., with Tony Elliott of Kokomo third. Last year, six different drivers scored victories in the seven races.
J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz., one of the newest of Indy Racing League veterans, is the defending "Indiana Sprint Week" champion, having won last year's Kokomo and Terre Haute events.
All drivers, though will have to keep an eye on Kevin Doty of Milan, Ill., who won last year's North Vernon race. This year, driving the Steve Chrisman Special, he has compiled an unbelievable record in USAC Sprint Car events. In seven starts, all on dirt, he has finished no worse than second! He has three wins and four seconds!
As in 1997, a large West Coast contingent plans to invade the midwest for this special seven-race swing. They include Richard Griffin of Silver City, New Mexico, who stood "Indiana Sprint Week" participants on their collective ears last year with his spectacular qualifying performances. In six appearances in 1997 he posted fast qualifying time every time but his best feature finish came in the final event where he was fourth. He hopes to do much better this year, since Turbines, Inc. is doubling their normal $300 fast qualifier award posting to $600 for each of the "Indiana Sprint Week" events.
Other westerners already entered include Cary Faas of Yorba Linda, Calif., Rickie Gaunt of Torrance, Calif., Cory Kruseman of Ventura, Calif., and Jeremy Sherman of Tolleson, Ariz.
Four of this year's "Indiana Sprint Week" events honor former USAC driving stars. The Terre Haute race is the "Jim Hurtubise Classic," while the race at North Vernon is the "Pat O'Connor Classic." The "Larry Rice Classic" is at Bloomington and the "Sheldon Kinser Classic" is at Paragon.
PENNZOIL INDIANA SPRINT WEEK CHAMPIONS
1988 Randy Kinser 1989 Gary Trammell 1990 Chuck Amati/Gary Trammell 1991 Bob Kinser 1992 Kevin Thomas 1993 Kevin Thomas 1994 Kelly Kinser 1995 Kevin Thomas 1996 Kevin Thomas 1997 J.J. Yeley