Tri-City "Bob Wente Classic" preview

Darland Eyes Pivotal "Bob Wente Classic" At Tri-City Midgets Return To The 1/2-Mile Dirt Oval After 16 Year Hiatus Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. will try to protect his point lead in two USAC National racing series this weekend at Tri-City ...

Darland Eyes Pivotal "Bob Wente Classic" At Tri-City
Midgets Return To The 1/2-Mile Dirt Oval After 16 Year Hiatus

Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. will try to protect his point lead in two USAC National racing series this weekend at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill. as the "Bob Wente Classic", presented by the Indy Racing League, showcases both the WorldCom National Midget Cars and Stoops Freightliner Sprint Cars.

Darland enjoys a 146-point lead over A.J. Fike in the WorldCom Midget Car series after recent victories at Belleville, Kans., Sparta, Ky. and Salem, Ind.

It's been 16 years since the USAC Midgets visited the 1/2-mile Granite City oval and Darland will be among drivers trying to best the late Rich Vogler's 1-lap track qualifying record of 22.982 seconds, set in 1985. Mel Kenyon won the 1985 race, but ESPN commentator Larry Rice holds the 30-lap Midget track record of 13:02.85 set in 1970!

Friday's practice starts at 7 pm and qualifications are scheduled at 8. Both series will conduct preliminary heat races on Friday before returning on Saturday for the semis and feature events. Saturday night's timetable has practice at 7 pm and racing at 8.

The late Bob Wente scored 78 victories in the Midget Cars during his 4-decade USAC career which began in 1957. His 79 total USAC National feature wins, including one in the Sprint Cars, rank sixth on the all-time career list behind A.J. Foyt, Rich Vogler, Mel Kenyon, Gary Bettenhausen and Tom Bigelow. In 1964 he finished ninth in his only Indianapolis 500 start. He was 67 when he passed away last August.

USAC WORLDCOM NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Dave Darland 808
2. A.J. Fike 662
3. Jay Drake 646
4. Tracy Hines 553
5. Aaron Fike 545
6. J.J. Yeley 494
7. Jerry Coons, Jr. 461
8. Kasey Kahne 420
9. Steve Paden 357
10. Michael Lewis 353

-USAC

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Series USAC
Drivers Kasey Kahne , Michael Lewis , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Aaron Fike , Jay Drake , A.J. Fike , Steve Paden , Jerry Coons , A.J. Foyt