DRIVERS SET TO CHALLENGE HAGEN'S WORLD RECORD IN IOWA'S "CASEY'S GENERAL STORES USAC TRIPLEHEADER;" BALLOU TAKES ELDORA; GAS CITY RESCHEDULED FOR JUNE 14 Darren Hagen's World Sprint Car qualifying record will be in jeopardy ...
DRIVERS SET TO CHALLENGE HAGEN'S WORLD RECORD IN IOWA'S "CASEY'S GENERAL STORES USAC TRIPLEHEADER;" BALLOU TAKES ELDORA; GAS CITY RESCHEDULED FOR JUNE 14
Darren Hagen's World Sprint Car qualifying record will be in jeopardy Saturday when the Lucas Oil National Sprint Car Series returns to Iowa Speedway in Newton, Ia. Hagen, of Riverside, Calif., also sits atop the series point standings early in the 2007 season.
Hagen set the existing mark of 146.145 mph during qualifying at the 7/8-mile paved oval prior to last year's inaugural event. He is among drivers returning for this Saturday's "Casey's General Stores USAC Triple Crown" program, which also features the USAC Silver Crown and National Midget Series. The Sprints and Midgets compete in 25-lap features and a 100-lapper is on tap for the Silver Crown cars.
Jay Drake, last year's Iowa Sprint race winner, returns for Saturday's event in a new role, team manager for Tony Stewart Racing, which will field cars for drivers Levi Jones and Tracy Hines. Both Jones (2005) and Hines (2002) are former series champions and both are currently in the "top-five" in the 2007 series standings after two races. Hines trails Hagen by just four points.
Iowa's race will mark the second appearance of the series on pavement this year. Marc Jessup of Camby, Ind. won the April 22 "Rich Vogler Classic" at Winchester, Ind. and will rate among favorites Saturday.
Robert Ballou of Rocklin, Calif., new to the National series after a stint in USAC's CRA Sprint Series, could also bear watching at Iowa. Ballou won Saturday night's "Border Wars XIII" 25-lapper at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, leading the final 20 laps after passing Jones on lap six. The win was his first in USAC competition in the Behavior Consultants/Building Solutions Alliance Maxim/Ott. He was followed by Jerry Coons Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jon Stanbrough and Brady Short, who led the first four laps.
Six drivers flipped at Eldora, including Kevin Swindell, who led the series standings going into the race but slipped to fourth as a result.