SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES LEFFLER, TYLER EYE SATURDAY'S "TONY BETTENHAUSEN 100" AS PIVOTAL Five races remain in the 1998 USAC Silver Crown Championship Series and Saturday's "Tony Bettenhausen 100" at the ...
SILVER CROWN CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES LEFFLER, TYLER EYE SATURDAY'S "TONY BETTENHAUSEN 100" AS PIVOTAL
Five races remain in the 1998 USAC Silver Crown Championship Series and Saturday's "Tony Bettenhausen 100" at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield might be the turning point for drivers with championship aspirations.
Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. is in contention for two USAC titles this season, leading both the Silver Crown and National Midget standings, but he is still seeking his first dirt-track Silver Crown triumph. His first Silver Crown victory came in July in the "DuPont 100" at Indianapolis Raceway Park and he had a second on the dirt at the Indiana State Fairgrounds behind Donnie Beechler in May.
Leffler leads 1997 USAC Sprint Car Champion Brian Tyler by 37 points with 66 available Saturday. Tyler finished 14th at Springfield last year while Leffler will be making his Springfield Silver Crown debut.
Both need to keep an eye peeled for defending race winner and Silver Crown Champion Dave Darland. Dave is sixth in the current standings and recently claimed the championship of the Pennzoil "Indiana Sprint Week" USAC Sprint series in the Hoosier state. Dave led the final 56 miles of last year's race to beat fast qualifier Russ Gamester.
Saturday's program opens with practice at 9:30 a.m. Qualifying gets under way at 10:45 and a 15-mile "qualifying race" is set for 12:30 p.m. The 100-mile feature gets the green flag at 1:30.
Silver Crown Point Standings: 1-Jason Leffler-388; 2-Brian Tyler-351; 3-Ryan Newman-337; 4-Jimmy Sills-282; 5-Dave Steele-259; 6-Dave Darland-225; 7-Russ Gamester-220; 8-J.J. Yeley-219; 9-Robby Flock-218; 10-Jack Hewitt-210.
STOOPS FREIGHTLINER SPRINT CAR SERIES ELLIOTT, FOX CLAIM "HUT" & "PUT" TRIUMPHS; POINT LEAD JUST 25 SUNDAY'S SALEM'S "JAMES/O'CONNOR CLASSIC" OFFERS 2 FEATURE EVENTS
Tony Elliott of Kokomo, Ind. trails Kevin Thomas of Danville, Ind. by just 25 points as the two prepare for a "shootout" for the Stoops Freightliner/USAC National Sprint Car point lead Sunday at the Salem (Ind.) Speedway. Sunday's event is a major stop on the route to the National title, with two feature events slated as part of the "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Classic" program. The first is a 30-lapper held over from a May 31 rainout and the second is the traditional "James/O'Connor" 50-lapper.
Elliott won Friday night's Wabash Valley Homes "Jim Hurtubise Classic" at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track, then finished seventh at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind. Saturday. Thomas was third at Terre Haute and 11th at Putnamville.
Thomas led the opening lap at Terre Haute but Elliott led the rest of the way in his Murray's Body Shop/Jam It In Storage/Stealth Special. Dave Darland, Thomas, Derek Davidson and Rusty McClure rounded out the "top-five." Brad Fox of Indianapolis, Ind. led all 30 laps at Putnamville in his Franklin Power Products Special to beat J.J. Yeley, Davidson, Kevin Miller and Robbie Rice.
Jay Drake and Al Woodall were treated and released from Terre Haute Regional Hospital after separate flips during Friday night's races.
Dave Steele is the defending champion of Sunday's "Joe James/Pat O'Connor Classic" at the Salem Speedway.
Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car Point Standings: 1-Kevin Thomas-1500; 2-Tony Elliott-1475; 3-Derek Davidson-1229; 4-J.J. Yeley-1189; 5-Dave Darland-1081; 6-Tim Cox-1080; 7-Kevin Doty-1020; 8-Jason McCord-987; 9-Brian Hayden-903; 10-Brian Tyler-902.
NATIONAL/16TH STREET/SPEEDROME MIDGET SERIES HINES SCORES SENSATIONAL "KENYON CLASSIC" WIN; RAIN AT MOUNT LAWN LANG SWEEPS SPEEDROME, 16TH STREET MIDGET FEATURES
The "showdown" between Jason Leffler and Jay Drake at Mount Lawn Speedway in New Castle, Ind. has been put on hold for two weeks after rains forced postponement of Sunday night's USAC National Midget race. The event is rescheduled for Sunday night, August 30.
Leffler leads Drake by just eight points but Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. stole the show in Wednesday night's CVS Pharmacy "Mel Kenyon Classic" at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Hines passed Leffler seven laps from the finish but had to come from behind in the final turn to post a narrow victory in his Leary Construction/Inskeep Ford/Gaerte. Leffler regained the lead in turn three on the 40th lap but slid wide in turn four and settled for second ahead of Dave Steele, Ryan Newman and Dan Drinan. Steele had led the first 24 laps.
Ricky Shelton, third in the standings, now trails Leffler by 61 after posting a 10th-place finish at IRP.
Michael Lang of Indianapolis continues to lead both the 16th Street and Indianapolis Speedrome Midget championships after winning feature races at both tracks last week. He drove his KECO/AdTech Floor Care/IFI/VW to victory in Thursday's 50-lapper at the Speedrome, then wheeled the Stebbins Aviation/KECO/Fontana to victory in Saturday night's 30-lapper at 16th Street.
Lang caught Norm Young and John Sluss in traffic on the 45th lap of Thursday's Speedrome race and led the final six laps to beat them to the flag. At 16th Street, he passed Dennis Mann on lap five and led the rest of the way to beat Ron Smoker and Steve Knepper. The victories were significant since they came on both paved and dirt surfaces.
The Speedrome series continues with another 50-lapper this Thursday night, while another 30-lapper is planned this Saturday night at the 16th Street Speedway.
National Midget Standings: 1-Jason Leffler-664; 2-Jay Drake-656; 3-Ricky Shelton-605; 5-Jerry Coons, Jr.-486; 5-Jimmy McCune-431; 6-Tracy Hines-374; 7-Ronnie Johncox-284; 8-Travis Welpott-245; 9-Dave Steele-243; 10-Michael Lewis-208. 16th Street Midget Standings: 1-Michael Lang-231; 2-Ron Smoker-183; 3-Andy Pierce-177; 4-Critter Malone-175; 5-Steve Knepper-149; 6-Jeff Hampton-143; 7-Roy Caruthers-140; 8-Rick Treadway-138; 9-Johnny Parsons III-131; 10-Jay Drake-124. Speedrome Midget Standings: 1-Michael Lang-6,140; 2-John Sluss-4,300; 3-Dean Franklin-1,890; 4-Norm Young-1,780; 5-Daryl Campbell-1,610; 6-Brad Kuhn-1,525; 7-Gregg Cory-1,480; 8-Ron Hamm-1,440; 9-John Mount-1,390; 10-Robbie Parish-1,320.
WESTERN STATES SERIES GARDNER 1ST AT CARSON CITY; "REBELS" RETURN TO HANFORD SATURDAY
Jeff Gardner of Fresno, Calif. took another step toward the 1998 USAC "Western States" Sprint Car championship Saturday night and leads series runner-up Rick Williams by 58 points going into the August 29 USAC "tripleheader" program at Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park, featuring the "Western States" Sprints, Midgets and TQ Midgets.
Gardner passed Tyler Haylett on lap five and led the rest of the way to win the 40-lapper on the 1/4-mile paved oval. Fast qualifier Williams finished second ahead of Bobby McMahan, lady driver Shauna Hogg and Tony Hunt. The victory was Gardner's third this season.
The USAC "Regional Rebel" Sprint Cars return to action this Saturday night at the Kings Speedway in Hanford Calif. Monte Faccinto leads the series standings with a 30-lap feature on tap at the 3/8-mile dirt oval.
Western States Midget Standings: 1-Rick Hendrix-359; 2-Bryan Stanfill-324; 3-Wally Pankratz-317; 4-Shane Scully-271; 5-Jason Leffler-266; 6-Bobby Boone-252; 7-Steve Paden-232; 8-Ricky Shelton-197; 9-Marc DeBeaumont-195; 10-Clay Klepper-193. Western States Sprint Standings: 1-Jeff Gardner-491; 2-Rick Williams-433; 3-Tony Hunt-256; 4-Tyler Haylett-236; 5-Monte Faccinto-177; 6-Dave Fitzgerald-170; 7-Rick Sipe-151; 8-Kirk Wartman-151; 9-Davey Pombo-148; 10-Ray Evans-110. TQ Midget Standings: 1-Alex Harris-342; 2-Gene Godepski-270; 3-Josh Lakatos-245; 4-Brian Harris-231; 5-West Evans-227; 6-Randi Pankratz-227; 7-Ron Ahrendt-198; 8-Paul Krueger-192; 9-Joe Bishop-154; 10-Ron Wade-152. Regional Rebel Sprint Standings: 1-Monte Faccinto-558; 2-Davey Pombo-540; 3-Mark Barroso-402; 4-Lawrence Edlund-394; 5-Craig Stidham-293; 6-Jeff Gardner-278; 7-Larry Brown-223; 8-H.P. Myatt-220; 9-Shane Travioli-199; 10-Glen Rudolph-165.