Indy IRP: Pre-race notes

STEELE LEADS SILVER CROWN REGULARS TO IRP'S "J.D. BYRIDER 100"; EDWARDS, KAHNE, LEFFLER TO COMPETE INDIANAPOLIS -- Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla. leads one of the most talented fields in Weld Racing Silver Crown Series history into Thursday's ...

STEELE LEADS SILVER CROWN REGULARS TO IRP'S "J.D. BYRIDER 100"; EDWARDS, KAHNE, LEFFLER TO COMPETE

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla. leads one of the most talented fields in Weld Racing Silver Crown Series history into Thursday's "J.D. Byrider 100," part of Kroger Speedfest at Indianapolis Raceway Park in nearby Clermont.

Steele, who has triumphed in all four pavement Silver Crown races this season and led 360 of the 400 laps contested on the hardtop, heads a talent-lamented field -- nearly of third of which has competed in some form of NASCAR or Indy Racing League action -- as the series points leader. He holds a 63-point advantage over Josh Wise following a dominant performance July 23 at The Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin.

NASCAR Nextel Cup stars Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler and Carl Edwards and Indy Racing League competitor Jimmy Kite will return to the Weld Racing Silver Crown Series as the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard approaches. Edwards, a victor at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway, made his last Silver Crown start March 21, 2004 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., while Leffler, still seeking his first Nextel Cup victory, competed last in the 2003 "J.D. Byrider 100."

Kahne, who won his first NASCAR race May 14 at Richmond International Raceway, triumphed in his last Silver Crown Series start Aug. 24, 2003 at Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania. Kite, the only entered Silver Crown competitor who participated in this year's Indianapolis 500, has two Silver Crown starts this year.

Steele, who owns Indy Racing and NASCAR Busch Series experience, is not the only Silver Crown Series regular entered with that familiarity. Other entered Silver Crown drivers who have made starts in NASCAR or the IRL in their careers include Brian Tyler, Jay Drake, Kevin Conway, Aaron Fike, Jerry Coons Jr., Tracy Hines and Boston Reid. Fike, Hines and Reid are entered for one or more of the scheduled NASCAR races this weekend at IRP.

Wise and Teddy Beach, the winners at USAC's Silver Crown's 2005 dirt races, as well as two-time Indianapolis 500 and one-time Daytona 500 starter Chet Fillip, are also entered Thursday.

Leffler holds the one-lap track record at the .686-mile oval, flashing by at 20.298 seconds. Drake, who sits fourth in Silver Crown points, dominated the 2004 event, leading all 100 laps of the contest.

<pre> USAC WELD RACING SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS 1. Dave Steele 312 2. Josh Wise 249 3. Brian Tyler 235 4. Jay Drake 232 5. Bud Kaeding 221 6. Wayne Reutimann Jr. 180 7. Russ Gamester 167 8. John Heydenreich 157 9. Ron Gregory 154 10. Teddy Beach 140

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Jimmy Kite , Kasey Kahne , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , Aaron Fike , Carl Edwards , Jay Drake , Teddy Beach , John Heydenreich , Russ Gamester , Ron Gregory , Josh Wise , Kevin Conway , Wayne Reutimann , Boston Reid , Jerry Coons Jr.