Buckeye Nationals preview

Darland set to protect Midget lead in "Buckeye Nationals" Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. holds a 35-point lead over J.J. Yeley in the USAC National Midget Car Series standings with 288 total points available in this week's "Buckeye Nationals" ...

Darland set to protect Midget lead in "Buckeye Nationals"

Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. holds a 35-point lead over J.J. Yeley in the USAC National Midget Car Series standings with 288 total points available in this week's "Buckeye Nationals" events in Ohio.

Four back-to-back "doubleheaders" offering approximately $100,000 in total prize money are slated Wednesday through Saturday at Ohio dirt tracks, beginning with Wednesday night's events at Attica Raceway Park. Thursday night's races are at the New Fremont Speedway, Friday night's program is at Limaland Motorsports Park and the Saturday finale is at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Practice each night begins at 6 pm, followed by qualifying at 6:30 and racing at 7:30. The first three events feature 30-lap Midget Car features, while a 25-lapper is on tap at Eldora Saturday. The Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car events conclude with 30-lap features each night.

In additon, 72 points are available in the race for the 2002 Earl's 350 Fast Qualifier Championship, which is worth an additional $20,000 cash bonus to the champion at season's end.

Dave Steele, third in the current National Midget Car standings, leads the Earl's standings and is one of two drivers to repeat in this year's Midget Car series, despite the fact that Attica will mark the initial appearance of the 2002 series on dirt. Michael Lewis also has two victories to his credit, while Jason Leffler and J.J. Yeley each have recorded one win.

The "Buckeye Nationals" marks the initial appearance of the USAC National Midget Car Series at Attica and Fremont and their initial appearance at the refurbished and reconfigured Lima oval. Yeley won last year's "4-Crown Nationals" Midget race at Eldora.

ESPN2 will broadcast Saturday night's Eldora "doubleheader" on Sunday night, June 30 from 6-8 pm ET.

USAC NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Dave Darland 342
2. J.J. Yeley 307
3. Dave Steele 299
4. Aaron Fike 271
5. Michael Lewis 236
6. Ron Gregory 235
7. James Chesson 233
8. Bobby East 223
9. Steve Paden 177
10. Teddy Beach 172

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Michael Lewis , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , James Chesson , Dave Steele , Aaron Fike , Bobby East , Teddy Beach , Ron Gregory , Steve Paden