IRP II: Race notes

J.J. Yeley and Jay Drake are two of five former Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" Champions set to do battle as the 16th Annual Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" unfolds at eight tracks in 10 nights, beginning Thursday at Twin Cities Raceway Park in...

J.J. Yeley and Jay Drake are two of five former Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" Champions set to do battle as the 16th Annual Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" unfolds at eight tracks in 10 nights, beginning Thursday at Twin Cities Raceway Park in North Vernon.

Yeley established a new single-season 15-win USAC record Saturday night, winning the 30-lap feature at Indianapolis Raceway Park in the Tony Stewart Racing/Mopar Beast. Drake, who set a new world's Sprint Car record a week ago in Colorado, earned an Indy Racing League test with Hemelgarn Racing by winning Friday night's 30-lap "Hemelgarn Racing Night" feature at the Toledo (Ohio) Speedway. Drake drove the Kunz Motorsports Vital Express/Stanton Race Engines Eagle/Mopar.

Joining Yeley and Drake Thursday at North Vernon will be former Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" champions Dave Darland (1998 and 2001), Tony Elliott (1999) and Cory Kruseman (2002). Yeley, the 1997 champion, won at North Vernon last year, while Drake, the 2000 titlist, has five career "Sprint Week" wins to his credit.

Thirty-lap features are on tap Thursday night at Twin Cities Raceway Park in North Vernon, Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway, Saturday night at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville and Sunday night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt. The final four Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" races are the July 23 "Vince Osman Classic" at Kokomo Speedway, the July 24 "Robbie Stanley Classic" at Lawrenceburg Speedway, the July 25 "Larry Rice Classic" at Bloomington Speedway and the July 26 "Jan Opperman Classic" at the Terre Haute Action Track.

Drake led all 30 laps of Friday night's Toledo race to beat Bobby East, Yeley, Eric Gordon and new track record holder Boston Reid. Yeley caught A.J. Fike on lap 13 at IRP Saturday night and led the rest of the way to win the 30-lapper over Fike, East, Marc Jessup and Bud Kaeding.

Yeley's IRP victory came in his last opportunity to eclipse Sleepy Tripp's 1988 mark of 15 USAC feature victories by July 16. J.J. now focuses on the all-time USAC single-season victory mark of 19 set in 1961 by A.J. Foyt and tied in 1988 by Tripp and 2001 by Drake.

Practice at North Vernon, Gas City and Putnamville gets under way at 6 pm, with qualifying at 6:30 and racing at 7:30. Sunday's Tri-State times are 5:30 for practice, 6 for qualifying and 7 for racing.

Yeley's teammate, Cory Kruseman of Ventura, Calif., is the defending champion of Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week." Kruseman won four of last year's seven feature events.

USAC NATIONAL SPRINT CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. J.J. Yeley 1,045
2. Tracy Hines 891
3. Jay Drake 855
4. Bud Kaeding 814
5. Boston Reid 761
6. Levi Jones 598
7. Cory Kruseman 568
8. Brian Tyler 498
9. Dave Darland 487
10. Matt Westfall 421

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , Tony Elliott , Cory Kruseman , Jay Drake , Bobby East , Matt Westfall , A.J. Fike , Eric Gordon , Levi Jones , Boston Reid , Marc Jessup , A.J. Foyt