USAC Midget News 98-09-08

NATIONAL/16TH STREET/SPEEDROME MIDGET SERIES BEECHLER, ELLIOTT TAKE "HUT" AND "PUT" NATIONAL MIDGETS SLUSS WINS SPEEDROME TITLE; KNEPPER, NOT SMOKER AT 16TH STREET! "TONY STEWART NIGHT" SATURDAY AT 16TH STREET SPEEDWAY Donnie Beechler of ...

NATIONAL/16TH STREET/SPEEDROME MIDGET SERIES BEECHLER, ELLIOTT TAKE "HUT" AND "PUT" NATIONAL MIDGETS SLUSS WINS SPEEDROME TITLE; KNEPPER, NOT SMOKER AT 16TH STREET! "TONY STEWART NIGHT" SATURDAY AT 16TH STREET SPEEDWAY

Donnie Beechler of Springfield, Ill., Tony Elliott of Kokomo, Ind., John Sluss of Indianapolis, Ind. and Steve Knepper of Belleville, Ill. scored USAC victories in last week's memorable Indiana Midget racing swing. The USAC National Midget Series convenes this Saturday night at the 16th Street Speedway in Indianapolis for a 40-lap feature event on "Tony Stewart Night" presented by Coca-Cola. The defending Indy Racing League Champion, who holds the 1-lap track qualifying record of 11.859 seconds, is expected to compete in the night's racing program on the 1/4-mile dirt track. Practice starts at 5 p.m., with qualifying at 5:30 and racing at 7. Beechler won Wednesday night's 46th Hoosier Lottery "Hut Hundred" at the Terre Haute Action Track, leading the final 18 laps in the WavePhore/Mi-Jack/Miller Lite Gaerte. He passed series point leader and fast qualifier Jason Leffler on lap 83 and led the rest of the way to beat Tony Elliott, Tracy Hines, Kevin Doty and Dan Boorse to the checkered flag. Dave Darland led the first 68 laps before mechanical problems sidelined him. Elliott came back on Saturday night to lead the final 21 laps of the 40-lap feature at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Ind. in the Bud Racing Fontana. Tracy Hines, Jay Drake, Brian Tyler and Ricky Shelton rounded out the "top-five." Hines led the first 10 laps, then fast qualifier Dave Darland led the next nine. Leffler, who was 10th at Putnamville, emerged with only a 10-point lead over Drake going into this Saturday's race at 16th Street Speedway. Sluss scored a major upset at the Indianapolis Speedrome Thursday night, winning the 50-lap series finale and beating defending four-time series champion Michael Lang for the 1998 championship. Lang finished second in the race ahead of Todd Thomas, Brad Kuhn and 1998 Speedrome "Rookie of the Year" Gregg Cory. John Mount of Lebanon, Ind. suffered a broken kneecap in a crash during the Speedrome feature. Sluss' victory was his third in a row as he passed Thomas on lap nine and never looked back in his UltraSun VW. Elliott's victory at Putnamville marked back-to-back wins for car owner Kenny Brown, who put Steve Knepper into victory lane the previous night at the 16th Street Speedway. Knepper became the race winner when Ron Smoker's car was disqualified for failing to pass post-race technical inspection after it had led the closing laps. Trailing Knepper in the official finish of the 30-lapper were Tony Reed, Andy Pierce, Ed Carpenter and Critter Malone. Michael Lang, who was seventh, takes a 28-point lead over Pierce in the 16th Street point standings into Saturday's series finale.

National Midget Standings: 1-Jason Leffler-740; 2-Jay Drake-730; 3-Ricky Shelton-667; 4-Jerry Coons, jr.-538; 5-Jimmy McCune-475; 6-Tracy Hines-467; 7-Ronnie Johncox-289; 8-Travis Welpott-273; 9-Dave Steele-243; 10-Michael Lewis-239.

16th Street Midget Standings: 1-Michael Lang-258; 2-Andy Pierce-230; 3-Critter Malone-201; 4-Ron Smoker-192; 5-Steve Knepper-182; 6-Roy Caruthers-182; 7-Rick Treadway-179; 8-David Bridges-154; 9-Johnny Parsons III-150; 10-Tony Reed-144.

Final Speedrome Midget Standings: 1-John Sluss-7,300; 2-Michael Lang-7,200; 3-Gregg Cory-2,290; 4-Dean Franklin-2,270; 5-Norm Young-2,210; 6-Brad Kuhn-2,175; 7-John Mount-1,900; 8-Daryl Campbell-1,790; 9-Ron Hamm-1,750; 10-Robbie Parish-1,320.

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Donnie Beechler , Rick Treadway , Brad Kuhn , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Tony Elliott , Ronnie Johncox , Jay Drake , David Bridges , Jimmy McCune , Johnny Parsons , Jerry Coons , Dean Franklin , Kenny Brown , Steve Knepper , Ed Carpenter , Ricky Shelton