Mopar Speed Thursday, October 28, 2004 USAC S Drake and Kruseman look to earn a USAC sweep at the Budweiser Oval Nationals Racing action for Mopar's Jay Drake is most certain to heat up at the Perris Auto Speedway in Lake Perris, Calif. this...
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Drake and Kruseman look to earn a USAC sweep at the Budweiser Oval Nationals
Racing action for Mopar's Jay Drake is most certain to heat up at the Perris Auto Speedway in Lake Perris, Calif. this weekend, as the California hotshoe looks to clinch his first USAC National Sprint Car Series title. As the No. 20 Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises team rolls into California to stage one of the final two battles of the 2004 season, Drake holds a 141-point lead over second place Bud Kaeding. Drake's Mopar teammate, Cory Kruseman, is closely in tow in the third position, only 176 points behind the leader, setting the stage for a Californian shootout.
"We're not going to run this event from the standpoint that we need to win this race to win the title," Drake said. "I don't try to count points and do all the math. We're looking at this race from the standpoint that we need to run as well as we possibly can, and that includes racing to win. We've had good luck at Perris, and we've had bad luck. We'll just need to focus on getting our mojo working at Perris this weekend—the rest will fall into place."
If Drake is able to lock up the title this weekend, the championship will mark the second straight USAC National Sprint Car Series title for Mopar and Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises. A strong run at Perris would also benefit the No. 20 team in the owner's points championship run, as Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises currently owns second place in the tight points battle. Drake, who was in position to win his first USAC National Series titles in 2001 before a late-season accident took him out of contention, is looking for a bit of vindication heading into the event.
"Winning this title would most certainly be very gratifying and satisfying," Drake said. "Sure, I would like this to be our second or third national title, but winning our first one with this Mopar/Vital Express team would be really meaningful as well. Anytime you can win a national title, that's exciting."
With 216 points available in the Budweiser Oval Nationals at the Perris Auto Speedway this weekend, Drake will need to finish 69 points ahead of second place to lock up the title. Kruseman, who trails second place Kaeding by only 35 points, is also in a position to advance in the point standings. In the event that Drake and Kruseman would finish one-two in the final standings, it would mark a first-ever Mopar sweep of the series' top spots.