Terre Haute, Kokomo previews

TERRE HAUTE, KOKOMO SPRINTS NEXT 36TH "TONY HULMAN CLASSIC" SATURDAY AT TERRE HAUTE SPRINTS RETURN TO REVAMPED KOKOMO SUNDAY MARVEL, HAGEN WINNERS 7-8 OF RECORD 2006 SEASON! The 36th running of the famed "Tony Hulman ...

TERRE HAUTE, KOKOMO SPRINTS NEXT

36TH "TONY HULMAN CLASSIC" SATURDAY AT TERRE HAUTE

SPRINTS RETURN TO REVAMPED KOKOMO SUNDAY

MARVEL, HAGEN WINNERS 7-8 OF RECORD 2006 SEASON!

The 36th running of the famed "Tony Hulman Classic" is set for Saturday at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track featuring the top drivers in USAC's "Thunder & Lightning" National Sprint Car Series. The series also returns to a refurbished Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway Sunday night.

National Midget Champion Josh Wise of Riverside, Calif. will lead the Sprint cars to this weekend's events, holding an 18-point lead over Bud Kaeding of Campbell, Calif. after Eastern events this past weekend.

Defending USAC National Sprint Car Champion Levi Jones of Olney, Ill. is also the defending champion of the "Tony Hulman Classic," which is presented this year by Scott's Custom Colors and Auto Body. He is expected to be joined in Saturday's field by former race winners Jon Stanbrough (2002), Jay Drake (2000), Terry Pletch (1999) and Dave Darland (1993). J.J. Yeley holds the 1-lap track qualifying mark of 19.329 seconds although Shane Cottle turned a lap of 19.242 during an incomplete qualifying session last year.

Kaeding won USAC's last Sprint race at the 1/4-mile dirt Kokomo oval in 2003 but the facility has undergone numerous changes since then and Cary Faas' 1-lap track qualifying record of 14.563 seconds set in 1998 could be in jeopardy Sunday night.

Two drivers who will compete at Terre Haute and Kokomo with renewed enthusiasm are Darren Hagen and Justin Marvel. Hagen won Friday night's 30-lap feature at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., while Marvel earned his initial USAC Sprint triumph in Saturday night's 30-lapper at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Speedway.

Hagen, of Riverside, Calif., caught early leader Mat Neely on lap 12 at Lernerville and led the rest of the way in his Massey Truck Repair/Southwest Crane Bullet/Chevy to beat Jerry Coons Jr., Derek O'Dell, Neely and Cory Kruseman. Marvel, of Pittsboro, Ind., trailed Kaeding for 29 laps at Canandaigua, then scored a last-lap victory in his Truckers 24-Hour/Jockish Flowers Twister/Gaerte. He was followed at the checkered flag by Kaeding, Wise, Drake and Hagen.

The victories by Hagen and Marvel tied a USAC record for different winners at the start of a National Sprint Car season at eight. In 1994 there were also eight different winners to start that season.

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Series USAC
Drivers Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Bud Kaeding , Cory Kruseman , Jay Drake , Levi Jones , Josh Wise , Jon Stanbrough , Shane Cottle , Darren Hagen , Jerry Coons Jr.