TOYOTA USAC SPRINT/MIDGET CLASSIC SATURDAY AT ORP; TYLER TAKES RICHMOND'S "SHOWDOWN AT SUNDOWN" Saturday's "Toyota USAC Sprint/Midget Classic" at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis will serve as a salute to Sunday's United...
TOYOTA USAC SPRINT/MIDGET CLASSIC SATURDAY AT ORP; TYLER TAKES RICHMOND'S "SHOWDOWN AT SUNDOWN"
Saturday's "Toyota USAC Sprint/Midget Classic" at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis will serve as a salute to Sunday's United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for which USAC will again serve as the host nation sanctioning body.
Saturday's event at the newly-christened Indianapolis complex, presented by Comfort Suites of Brownsburg, will mark the first USAC "doubleheader" sponsored by Toyota and is the first such "doubleheader" at the .686-mile paved oval since 2001 when Kasey Kahne (Midgets) and Tracy Hines (Sprints) were the winners.
Leading their respective series into the first of three USAC "doubleheaders" in an eight-day period (Columbus, Ohio July 4 and Toledo, Ohio July 8) are Jerry Coons Jr. of Tucson, Ariz. (Midgets) and Josh Wise of Riverside, Calif. (Sprints). Coons has won two of the last three USAC Midget races while Wise is seeking his first 2006 victory despite four "podium" finishes this season.
Dave Steele and Bobby Santos III are the previous USAC race winners at the Indianapolis oval. Steele won last year's only USAC Sprint race at ORP and Santos won the "Night Before the 500" Midget classic there this May.
Coons' lead over runner-up Dave Darland in the National Midget chase is 62 points, with 74 available Saturday. Wise is only 25 ahead of teammate Levi Jones in the Sprint Car standings, with 74 also available in that series at ORP. Darland and Steele will compete in the Midget portion of the "twinbill' in cars powered by Toyota powerplants.
Brian Tyler of Mount Pleasant, N.C. surprised the USAC Sprint Car regulars in Saturday's "Showdown at Sundown" at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Securing a ride for the race at the last minute, Tyler came from seventh in the final 29 laps to win the 60-lap contest in the Keith Kunz Motorsports Mopar/Advanced Racing Beast. Teammate Michael Lewis finished second ahead of Darland, Marc Jessup and Hines. The 60-lap race was run in two segments of 31 and 29 laps. Santos was leading at the intermission but encountered mechanical problems on lap 50, allowing Tyler to take the lead. Steele led the first 23 laps from the pole but eventually slipped to seventh.
Saturday's Midget race is the first of three involved in Toyota's newly-announced three-race championship challenge offering a $25,000 prize fund for the top five car entrants based on USAC's National Midget Series points. The other events are the July 21-22 race at the Milwaukee (Wis.) Mile and the Sept. 29 "Hut Hundred" at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track.
Tickets for Saturday's Toyota USAC Sprint/Midget Classic" are available from any Ticketmaster outlet, www.ticketmaster.com or at the O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis box office.