Irwindale Turkey Night Grand Prix Preview

59TH "TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX" AT IRWINDALE ANCHORS USAC'S 1999 "WESTERN" SWING SEASON FINALES The "Turkey Night Grand Prix" returns to the Los Angeles arena for only the second time in eight years when it arrives at its new...

59TH "TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX" AT IRWINDALE ANCHORS USAC'S 1999 "WESTERN" SWING SEASON FINALES

The "Turkey Night Grand Prix" returns to the Los Angeles arena for only the second time in eight years when it arrives at its new home November 25 - the Irwindale Speedway. The 59th running of America's most traditional Midget Car event unfolds on Thanksgiving night within sight of the 1975 classic and takes to the pavement for only the third time in its storied history. In 1975 the race was held at the now-defunct 605 Speedway in Irwindale, won by the legendary Mel Kenyon. In 1991, after the demise of Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif., the race was held at Saugus Speedway in Santa Clarita, Calif., with Stan Fox the winner. "Turkey Night," continues a tradition nurtured by the famed Agajanian family, who have organized the event for a half-century. Nearly every top Midget Car driver has competed in the race and its list of winners reads like a who's-who of the sport. It features a 100-lap race on the 1/2-mile paved Irwindale oval following qualifications and "qualifying races." Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif. won last year's "Turkey Night" classic, held at Bakersfield, Calif., and is expected to be a top threat to repeat. The last driver to repeat was Stan Fox, who won at Ascot Park in 1990 and Saugus in 1991. The USAC MCI WorldCom Midget Cars will conclude their 1999 campaign with dirt-track races November 20 at Bakersfield and November 27 at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz. in addition to "Turkey Night." Year-end point rankings in both the MCI WorldCom National and Western Midget Car Series will be affected by all three events. Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. is headed for his third consecutive MCI WorldCom National title, thus becoming the first driver since Jimmy Davies (1960-62) to accomplish that feat. Marc DeBeaumont of Clayton, Calif. and Shane Scully of Encino, Calif. are embroiled in a terrific duel for the "Western" title entering the final events on the calendar. Leffler finished second to Drake in last year's "Turkey Night" race and tuned up for this year's classic with an October 16 Midget Car and Silver Bullet win at Irwindale.

"TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX" RACE WINNERS

1934    Bob Swanson             1971    Bill Engelhart
1935    Ted Sizemore            1972    Tony Simon
1936    Ronney Householder      1973    Bill Engelhart
1937    Ronney Householder      1974    Danny McKnight
1938    Bob Swanson             1975    Mel Kenyon
1939    Mel Hansen              1976    Bubby Jones
1940    Roy Russing             1977    Gary Patterson
1941    Roy Russing             1978    Rick Goudy
1945    Danny Oakes             1979    Ron Shuman
1946    Perry Grimm             1980    Ron Shuman
1947    Johnny McDowell         1981    Ron Shuman
1948    Bill Vukovich           1982    Ron Shuman
1949    Perry Grimm             1983    Kevin Olson
1950    Bill Zaring             1984    Ron Shuman
1955    Johnnie Parsons         1985    Brent Kaeding
1956    Edgar Elder             1986    Warren Mockler
1957    George Amick            1987    Ron Shuman
1958    Joe Garson              1988    Chuck Gurney
1959    Tony Bettenhausen       1989    Chuck Gurney
1960    A.J. Foyt               1990    Stan Fox
1961    A.J. Foyt               1991    Stan Fox
1962    Billy Cantrell          1992    Ron Shuman
1963    Mel Kenyon              1993    Ron Shuman
1964    Parnelli Jones          1994    Jordan Hermansader
1965    Dick Atkins             1995    Billy Boat
1966    Parnelli Jones          1996    Billy Boat
1967    Gary Bettenhausen       1997    Billy Boat
1968    Sam Sessions            1998    Jay Drake
1969    George Benson           1999    ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
1970    Gary Bettenhausen

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Billy Boat , Parnelli Jones , Jay Drake , Bill Vukovich , Tony Bettenhausen , A.J. Foyt