Bobby East of Brownsburg, Ind. became the youngest driver in history to win a USAC "National" feature race Wednesday, leading the final eight laps of the 30-lap WorldCom National Midget Car race at the Illiana Speedway in Schererville, ...
Bobby East of Brownsburg, Ind. became the youngest driver in history to win a USAC "National" feature race Wednesday, leading the final eight laps of the 30-lap WorldCom National Midget Car race at the Illiana Speedway in Schererville, Ind.
Bobby, the 16-year-old son of noted car builder and former USAC driver Bob East and his wife Janice, entered the USAC record books at the age of 16 years, six months and 24 days. Two other drivers in USAC history are thought to have triumphed at an earlier age - but both came in events not awarding National points. Bobby Boone was 16, 2 months and 30 days when he won a USAC TQ Midget Car race at Bakersfield, Calif. in 1994 and C.J. "Casey" Mears was 16, 5 months and 15 days when he won a 1994 USAC Russell Pro Triple Crown race, also ironically in Bakersfield.
East wheeled his Team ASE/Consani Racing Pink Chevy/Beast past defending USAC WorldCom National Midget Car Champion Kasey Kahne on the 23rd lap and led the rest of the way to beat Tracy Hines, Dave Steele, A.J. Fike and a spinning Kahne, who hit the wall on the frontstretch just before the checkered flag, triggering a multi-car tangle. The win was East's second in USAC racing this year, having won a "regional" event at Anderson, Ind. June 16 at the age of 16 years, five months and 30 days.
Jeff Gordon's initial USAC racing victory, also of note, came at Florence, Ky. in a Sprint Car race on August 4, 1989 at the age of 17 years, nine months and 16 days.
Hines led the first 10 laps of the Illiana race before yielding to Kahne, but passed both Kahne and Steele in the final turn of Wednesday night's race to take the runner-up spot.
A.J. Davis was the fastest qualifier but failed to finish the 30-lapper. Dave Darland, who finished sixth, emerged with an 11-point lead over Jay Drake, who was seventh, in the new series standings going into a July 31 race at Eagle Raceway in Lincoln, Neb.
USAC WORLDCOM NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Dave Darland 494 2. Jay Drake 483 3. Jerry Coons, Jr. 410 4. A.J. Fike 408 5. Aaron Fike 387 6. J.J. Yeley 383 7. Tracy Hines 376 8. Steve Paden 229 9. Kasey Kahne 226 10. Ryan Scott 221