Indy ORP Night Before the 500 preview

HAGEN LEADS MIDGETS TO SATURDAY'S 64TH "TOURHENDRICKSCOUNTY.COM "NIGHT BEFORE THE 500" Darren Hagen of Riverside, Calif. will try to protect his 39-point USAC Mopar National Midget Series point lead over Bobby East this Saturday in the 64th ...

HAGEN LEADS MIDGETS TO SATURDAY'S 64TH "TOURHENDRICKSCOUNTY.COM "NIGHT BEFORE THE 500"

Darren Hagen of Riverside, Calif. will try to protect his 39-point USAC Mopar National Midget Series point lead over Bobby East this Saturday in the 64th running of the TourHendricksCounty.com "Night Before the 500" at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, Ind.

A Memorial Day weekend tradition since its debut in 1946 right after World War II, the race features America's finest Midget racing talent in competition on one of the country's most challenging paved ovals.

Hagen has recovered from a frightening flip during an early-season Sprint race. Fortunately for him, Saturday's race is the first for the series since the point leader was injured and he comes to ORP on a "streak." In the last three Midget outings he has won twice and finished second once!

He's jus as soon forget last year's "Night Before the 500," where he finished 23rd, but on the pavement this year he has excelled, finishing second at Kyle, Texas and winning at Columbus, Ohio.

East, on the other hand, won at Kyle and is the defending winner of Saturday night's classic.

Only three points behind East in third in the standings is 2006 and 2007 USAC National Midget Champion Jerry Coons Jr., but all three will probably have to contend with Massachusetts driver Bobby Santos III, the winner of last November's "Turkey Night Grand Prix" on the pavement at Irwindale, Calif.

Amazingly enough, drivers have been unable to erase the one-lap USAC Midget track record of 20.373 seconds set in 1997 by Chris Shultz, although East set a new eight-lap mark at O'Reilly Raceway Park last July.

-credit: usac

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Series USAC
Drivers Bobby East , Bobby Santos III , Chris Shultz , Darren Hagen , Jerry Coons Jr.