Hettinger makes it three at the 'Dome"

Jim Hettinger of Lansing, Mich. became only the second three-time winner of USAC's "Thunder in the Dome" Midget car invitational race Saturday night, winning the 100-lap event presented by Indy Racing and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway...

Jim Hettinger of Lansing, Mich. became only the second three-time winner of USAC's "Thunder in the Dome" Midget car invitational race Saturday night, winning the 100-lap event presented by Indy Racing and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at the RCA Dome in downtown Indianapolis, Ind. Dedicating the win to former car owner Don Smith, who passed away in 2000, Jim led "Team USA" to their fourth victory over "Team Indiana" in five years as they outpointed them 169-131 in "Thunder in the Dome XVII." It was Team USA's fifth win in the 17-year history of the race. Hettinger caught pole starter Donnie Lehmann on the 20th lap and led the rest of the way in his MPI/Chaney Car Care/Vermeer Palmetto Construction/United Cable Construction/Comptire/Pipeline Oil Autocraft Hawk. His victories in 1994, 1998 and now 2001 tie him with Rich Vogler (1985, 1987 & 1989) as the only three-time winners. Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind., gearing up for this coming weekend's Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 USAC events, finished second and erased nearly a half-lap deficit in the closing laps as Hettinger's engine started to sour. He was the only "Team Indiana" finisher in the "top-five" at the checkered flag. Team USA drivers A.J. Fike, Donnie Lehmann and Matt Westfall rounded out the "top-five." Lehmann and Bobby East captured 40-lap "team" features to earn front-row starting spots for the 100-lap finale. "Team" quarterfinals went to Westfall, Lehmann, Michael Lewis and East. Aaron Pierce of Middletown, Ind. won the Gene Hartley "Rookie of the Race" award for the 100-lapper, while "team" Rookie of the Race awards went to Kasey Kahne and East. Turbines, Inc. presented Kahne's award (a $250 donation to the Rich Vogler Scholarship Fund), while Tanfastic presented East's award (a $250 donation to the Kenny Irwin Foundation).

--USAC--

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Series USAC
Drivers Kasey Kahne , Michael Lewis , Tracy Hines , Bobby East , Matt Westfall , A.J. Fike , Aaron Pierce , Donnie Lehmann