Ohio recap, Indiana Sprint Week preview

LEVI JONES SET TO DEFEND "INDIANA SPRINT WEEK TITLE" LEWIS, EAST TAKE OHIO RACES, TOWNSEND SUCCUMBS Levi Jones is set to defend his Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" championship as the seven-race series opens this Thursday night at Twin Cities...

LEVI JONES SET TO DEFEND "INDIANA SPRINT WEEK TITLE"
LEWIS, EAST TAKE OHIO RACES, TOWNSEND SUCCUMBS

Levi Jones is set to defend his Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" championship as the seven-race series opens this Thursday night at Twin Cities Raceway Park in North Vernon, Ind. Subsequent races are slated Friday night at Bloomington Speedway, Saturday night at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville and Sunday night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt. The finales are scheduled July 20 at Gas City I-69 Speedway, July 21 at Lawrenceburg Speedway (Robbie Stanley Classic) and July 22 at the Terre Haute Action Track (Jan Opperman Classic).

This year's Valvoline "Indiana Sprint Week" offers $158,400 in total prize money, including the point fund to be distributed following the series finale. Former champions expected to compete include Jones, two-time champ Dave Darland, Jay Drake, Tony Elliott and Cory Kruseman. J.J. Yeley and Kruseman are tied with the most "Indiana Sprint Week" victories at nine each, while Darland has seven wins and Drake six.

Drake leads the Valvoline National Sprint Car Series standings entering the seven-race tour. Darland trails by 22 points and Jones ranks third, 58 behind the leader.

Michael Lewis and Bobby East posted feature victories in National Sprint Car events last week, Lewis winning Friday night's "Hemelgarn Racing Night" race at the Toledo (Ohio) Speedway and Lewis grabbing Saturday night's race at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway.

Lewis trailed Dave Darland for 27 laps at Toledo, then led the final 13 laps in his CMKXtreme.com/Wirtgen America Eagle/Kissler. He was followed at the checkered flag by fast qualifier East, Josh Wise, Kyle Nicholas and Eric Gordon. East fought off the challenges from Dave Steele to win the Mansfield race, leading the final 11 laps in his Ford Performance Parts Beast. Wise finished second ahead of Gordon, Steele and Brian Tyler.

Saturday night's Mansfield event was marred by the death of Don Townsend, Sr. in a practice crash. A long-time Sprint car veteran, Townsend had competed in numerous USAC events since 1979, most notably the famed "Little 500" at Anderson, Ind. where he finished 12th in 2003.

USAC VALVOLINE NATIONAL SPRINT CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1.-Jay Drake-555
2.-Dave Darland-533
3.-Levi Jones-497
4.-Josh Wise-491
5.-Bud Kaeding-480
6.-Mat Neely-423
7.-Dave Steele-335
8.-Bobby East-326
9.-Jon Stanbrough-314
10.-Aaron Pierce-268

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Series USAC
Drivers Michael Lewis , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , Tony Elliott , Cory Kruseman , Jay Drake , Bobby East , Eric Gordon , Levi Jones , Aaron Pierce , Josh Wise , Jon Stanbrough