Indianapolis Raceway Park preview

Russ Gamester of Peru, Ind. hopes to repeat the victory he scored last August at Indianapolis Raceway Park when the USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series returns to the .686-mile paved oval for this Thursday night's "J.D. Byrider ...

Russ Gamester of Peru, Ind. hopes to repeat the victory he scored last August at Indianapolis Raceway Park when the USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series returns to the .686-mile paved oval for this Thursday night's "J.D. Byrider 100."

Gamester leads the series standings by 45 points over Texan Paul White after seven events, with 66 points available at IRP. Practice starts at 3:30 pm and qualifying gets under way at 5. A 15-lap "qualifying race" at 7 precedes the 100-lap feature event, slated for live telecast on ESPN2.

Gamester's primary competition could come from former USAC "Triple Crown" Champion and present NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart, the 1998 winner of a May Silver Bullet race at IRP. Stewart is slated to drive the J.D. Byrider Chevy/Beast as a teammate to Ed Carpenter.

Drivers with 2001 Coors Light Silver Bullet race wins to their credit expected to compete at IRP in addition to Gamester and White (who won at Phoenix in March), are J.J. Yeley (Knoxville, Ia.), Dave Steele (Fountain, Colo.) and Aaron Fike (Richmond, Va.).

Gamester is the only driver with two victories in this year's series, recording back-to-back triumphs at Irwindale, Calif. and Nazareth, Pa.

Mike Bliss won the "Coca-Cola 100" at IRP in May and the car he drove to victory is the one Stewart will drive Thursday. Jason Leffler holds the 1-lap track qualifying record of 121.667 mph, set in May of 2000.

<pre> USAC COORS LIGHT SILVER BULLET SERIES STANDINGS

1. Russ Gamester 328 2. Paul White 283 3. Dave Steele 267 4. Jason McCord 234 5. Dave Darland 221 6. Ed Carpenter 217 7. Tracy Hines 210 8. John Heydenreich 205 9. J.J. Yeley 205 10. Jerry Coons, Jr. 204

-USAC

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Mike Bliss , Aaron Fike , John Heydenreich , Russ Gamester , Paul White , Jason McCord , Jerry Coons , Ed Carpenter