IRP, Terre Haute weekend previews

The USAC National Midget Car Series faces two of its biggest events of the season in Indiana this week, with races in Terre Haute Thursday night and Indianapolis Friday night. The tradition-rich 52nd Clabber Girl "Hut Hundred" is scheduled ...

The USAC National Midget Car Series faces two of its biggest events of the season in Indiana this week, with races in Terre Haute Thursday night and Indianapolis Friday night.

The tradition-rich 52nd Clabber Girl "Hut Hundred" is scheduled Thursday night at the 1/2-mile dirt Terre Haute Action Track, while the prize-money rich Mopar "Indianapolis Twin 25s" are slated Friday night at the .686-mile paved Indianapolis Raceway Park oval.

The "Hut Hundred" was rained out in June and returns for its 52nd running Thursday, with a 100-lap feature event on tap. Mike Hess of Petersburg, Ill. is the defending champion of the event presented by the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau which gets under way with practice at 5:30 pm. Qualifying starts at 6:30 and the first of two scheduled 10-lap "qualifying races" starts at 7:30. The 100-lap feature event features a 33-car, three-abreast starting field!

Friday night's Mopar "Indianapolis Twin 25s" at IRP could earn one driver prize money totaling more than $60,000, which includes a $50,000 bonus from Automotive Racing Products for victories in both 25-lap features. Last year Dave Steele captured both IRP races and claimed more than $62,000 in total prizes! Additional prize money at IRP this year includes lap prizes and combined point rankings from Racer Magazine.

The IRP program calls for practice at 4 pm, qualifying at 5:10 and a six-lap "dash" at 7. Two 12-lap "qualifying races" will also precede the two 25-lap features. The first "25" affords National points, while the second "25," in which the first feature winner is required to start dead last, is considered a "special event" and affords no National points.

The Terre Haute and IRP events will be pivotal in the 2003 USAC National Midget Car Championship battle, with three drivers battling for the prize. J.J. Yeley, the leader, and runner-up Tracy Hines have added incentive, with the championship putting a lid on the career USAC "Triple Crown." Yeley and Hines each own a USAC Silver Crown and Sprint Car title but neither has a Midget title yet. Third-ranking Bobby East is seeking his initial USAC championship and trails Yeley by only 81 points, with 132 available this week. Yeley leads Hines by only 16 going into Thursday night's Terre Haute classic.

USAC NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. J.J. Yeley 1,207
2. Tracy Hines 1,191
3. Bobby East 1,126
4. Jay Drake 984
5. A.J. Fike 929
6. Teddy Beach 718
7. Dave Darland 648
8. Aaron Fike 635
9. Tom Hessert 546
10. Ryan Durst 472

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Series USAC
Drivers Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Aaron Fike , Tom Hessert , Jay Drake , Bobby East , Teddy Beach , A.J. Fike , Ryan Durst