WISE, JONES & WORLD RECORD HOLDER HAGEN PREPARE FOR MOPAR THUNDER @ THE "4-CROWN NATIONALS;" DRAKE WINS IOWA SPEEDWAY SPRINT DEBUT This week's $266,000-plus Mopar Thunder @ the "4-Crown Nationals" will play a significant role...
WISE, JONES & WORLD RECORD HOLDER HAGEN PREPARE FOR MOPAR THUNDER @ THE "4-CROWN NATIONALS;" DRAKE WINS IOWA SPEEDWAY SPRINT DEBUT
This week's $266,000-plus Mopar Thunder @ the "4-Crown Nationals" will play a significant role in the 2006 USAC National Sprint Car title chase. Primary combatants Josh Wise and defending champion Levi Jones are separated by only 34 points and they compete as teammates in the Tony Stewart Racing Team stable.
Saturday's 30-lap Sprint Car feature follows preliminaries Friday and Saturday, which include competition in four different classes of race cars. Included are the USAC Silver Crown, Sprint and Midget series and the UMP Modifieds.
Wise and Jones need to keep an eye on the World's fastest Sprint Car driver too. Darren Hagen of Riverside, Calif. earned that honor with his qualifying speed of 146.145 mph Saturday at the brand-new Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Also earning notice as a "4-Crown" contender is Jay Drake, who captured Sunday's 30-lap race on the 7/8-mile paved Iowa oval. Hagen's new record speed erased the previous record of 144.980 set two years ago at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado by Dave Steele.
Jones is the Eldora track record holder and defending race winner, but former "4-Crown" champs Dickie Gaines, Bud Kaeding, Tracy Hines and Dave Darland are also expected to be top prospects for the win.
Drake piloted the Hannig Construction/First Financial Bank Beast/Foxco to victory at Iowa Speedway, leading the final 19 laps after Hagen encountered mechanical problems while leading. Wise finished second ahead of Billy Wease, Michael Lewis and Bobby Santos III.
Drivers at Eldora this weekend will also be competing for significant cash bonuses, with $25,000-to-win posted in all three USAC series, plus a $100,000 Mopar bonus for winning all three. An additional $25,000 Jack Hewitt bonus awaits any driver who can win all four features Saturday. Hewitt swept all four feature events in 1998 in one of the most spectacular nights in open-wheel racing history.