Irwindale "Turkey Night" Preview

DARLAND & LAKATOS WIN; LEFFLER RETURNS FOR "TURKEY NIGHT" DeBEAUMONT BRINGS "WESTERN" MCI TITLE TO IRWINDALE WISE, EDENHOLM WILL SETTLE MCI WORLDCOM TQ BATTLE THURSDAY Dave Darland of Kokomo, Ind. and Josh Lakatos of Pasadena, ...

DARLAND & LAKATOS WIN; LEFFLER RETURNS FOR "TURKEY NIGHT" DeBEAUMONT BRINGS "WESTERN" MCI TITLE TO IRWINDALE WISE, EDENHOLM WILL SETTLE MCI WORLDCOM TQ BATTLE THURSDAY

Dave Darland of Kokomo, Ind. and Josh Lakatos of Pasadena, Calif. captured Saturday night's USAC feature races at the Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway. This Thursday's spotlight at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, though, might shift to drivers Jason Leffler, Marc DeBeaumont, Josh Wise and Greg Edenholm, although NASCAR stars Tony Stewart and Kenny Irwin might have a differing opinion. All of the above share the headlines in the final week of 1999 USAC racing as the MCI WorldCom National, Western at TQ Midget Car Series prepare for the 59th Home Depot "Turkey Night Grand Prix," scheduled this Thursday night at the Irwindale Speedway. Practice starts at 3 pm and a 100-lap Midget Car is set on the 1/2-mile paved oval, following the 20-lap TQ Midget Car finale on the 1/3-mile paved oval. Darland posted the fastest qualifying time, then won Saturday night's 50-lap Midget Car race at Bakersfield in the Ford/Wynn's/Beast/PRI Pink Ford, leading the final 25 laps around the 1/3-mile dirt oval. Jay Drake finished second ahead of Michael Lewis, Travis Welpott and Marc DeBeaumont. DeBeaumont's finish enabled him to warp up the 1999 MCI WorldCom Western Midget championship. Lakatos passed lady driver Randi Pankratz on the white-flag lap and won the 20-lap TQ Midget Car race at Bakersfield over fast qualifier Pankratz, Gene Godepski, West Evans and Kevin Wybenga. Josh Wise finished 17th in the TQ feature but leads Greg Edenholm, who was ninth in the 20-lapper, by just three points going into Thursday's series finale! Jason Leffler, who finished fourth in Saturday's ARCA Stock Car race at Atlanta, Ga., brings the 1999 USAC MCI WorldCom Midget Car championship to Irwindale Thursday. He has won the last two Midget Car features at Irwindale, in October and November, but he'll face a tough challenge Thursday from teammates Darland and Tony Stewart and from Kenny Irwin, who plans to drive his dad's Predator in the 100-lap classic.

MCI WORLDCOM USAC NATIONAL MIDGET CAR STANDINGS

1.      Jason Leffler   498             6.      Tracy Hines     248
2.      Ryan Newman     391             7.      Michael Lewis   235
3.      Jerry Coons, Jr.369             8.      Brian Gerster   202
4.      Jay Drake       263             9.      Clay Klepper    201
5.      Dave Darland    258             10.     A.J. Fike       201

MCI WORLDCOM WESTERN MIDGET CAR STANDINGS

1.      Marc DeBeaumont 546             6.      Jason Leffler   292
2.      Shane Scully    485             7.      Steve Paden     283
3.      Bobby Boone     474             8.      Clay Klepper    235
4.      Alex Harris     397             9.      Jay Drake       211
5.      Wally Pankratz  342             10.     Rick Hendrix    202

MCI WORLDCOM TQ MIDGET CAR STANDINGS

1.      Josh Wise       384             6.      Gene Godepski   271
2.      Greg Edenholm   381             7.      Todd Hunsaker   205
3.      Randi Pankratz  340             8.      Jim Styer       179
4.      Walt Johnson    315             9.      Steve Lambert   163
5.      West Evans      281             10.     Ron Wade        158

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Ryan Newman , Michael Lewis , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Jay Drake , A.J. Fike , Steve Paden , Jerry Coons , Josh Wise , Wally Pankratz , Clay Klepper , Brian Gerster , Josh Lakatos , Randi Pankratz , Rick Hendrix