NATIONAL MIDGET & WESTERN STATES TQ, MIDGET & SPRINT SERIES LEFFLER WINS PHOENIX' REMAX "DUEL IN THE DESERT," EXTENDS POINT LEAD Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. took a big step toward a second 1998 USAC National Championship ...
NATIONAL MIDGET & WESTERN STATES TQ, MIDGET & SPRINT SERIES LEFFLER WINS PHOENIX' REMAX "DUEL IN THE DESERT," EXTENDS POINT LEAD
Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. took a big step toward a second 1998 USAC National Championship Saturday night, winning the Remax "Duel in the Desert" USAC National/"Western States" Midget race at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz.
Leffler trailed pole starter J.J. Yeley for the first five laps, then led the last 25 laps to win the 30-lap race on Manzanita's 1/2-mile dirt oval in his Wynn's/Beast/Ford/PRI Pink Ford. The race marked USAC's first National event at the track in 17 years.
Yeley finished second after leading the first five laps. He was followed at the checkered flag by National Midget point runner-up Jay Drake, Jerry Coons, Jr. and Dave Strickland, Jr.
Leffler shattered the track qualifying record with a lap of 19.242 seconds and won his heat race. Drake, who trailed Leffler by only 10 points going into the Phoenix race, emerged with a 19-point deficit entering the "Turkey Night Grand Prix" events at Bakersfield, Calif. this Wednesday and Thursday night. The 1998 season concludes with Saturday night's races at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway 1/2-mile dirt track.
The Bakersfield program includes TQ Midgets, with Midget preliminaries on Wednesday night, plus a 20-lapTQ Midget feature. Thursday night's program calls for another TQ Midget feature and the big 58th annual 100-lap "Turkey Night" main event.
Saturday night's Las Vegas closer features the National/"Western States" Midgets, "Western States" Sprint Cars and TQ Midgets in a "tripleheader."
Rick Hendrix of Simi Valley, Calif. failed to finish the Phoenix feature but continues to lead Bryan Stanfill by 45 points in the "Western States" Midget title chase going into the Bakersfield and Las Vegas races.
National Midget Standings: 1-Jason Leffler-919; 2-Jay Drake-900; 3-Ricky Shelton-803; 4-Jerry Coons, Jr.-645; 5-Tracy Hines-568; 6-Jimmy McCune-539; 7-Ronnie Johncox-356; 8-Travis Welpott-337; 9-Michael Lewis-304; 10-Dane Carter-269.
Western States Midget Standings: 1-Rick Hendrix-556; 2-Bryan Stanfill-511; 3-Wally Pankratz-484; 4-Shane Scully-442; 5-Jason Leffler-431; 6-Steve Paden-372; 7-Bobby Boone-350; 8-Marc DeBeaumont-304; 9-Clay Klepper-290; 10-Dwayne Marcum-285.
Western States Sprint Car Standings: 1-Jeff Gardner-723; 2-Rick Williams-697; 3-Tyler Haylett-470; 4-Tony Hunt-446; 5-Monte Faccinto-335; 6-Dave Fitzgerald-299; 7-Davey Pombo-289; 8-Rick Sipes-261; 9-Ivan Worden-208; 10-Ken Hamilton-179.
TQ Midget Standings: 1-Alex Harris-567; 2-Gene Godepski-386; 3-Josh Lakatos-372; 4-Brian Harris-366; 5-Randi Pankratz-363; 6-West Evans-358; 7-Ron Ahrendt-306; 8-Todd Hunsaker-229; 9-Greg Edenholm-224; 10-Paul Krueger-224.