NATIONAL/16TH STREET MIDGET SERIES BEECHLER WINS ON "TONY STEWART NIGHT" AT 16TH STREET SPEEDWAY DRAKE, LEFFLER CONTINUE HOT POINT RACE AT IRP SATURDAY Donnie Beechler of Springfield, Ill., winner of the recent "Hut Hundred" Midget race at...
NATIONAL/16TH STREET MIDGET SERIES BEECHLER WINS ON "TONY STEWART NIGHT" AT 16TH STREET SPEEDWAY DRAKE, LEFFLER CONTINUE HOT POINT RACE AT IRP SATURDAY
Donnie Beechler of Springfield, Ill., winner of the recent "Hut Hundred" Midget race at Terre Haute, Ind., captured Saturday night's "Tony Stewart Night" 40-lap feature, presented by Coca-Cola, at the 16th Street Speedway.
Beechler caught Andy Pierce on the 18th lap and led the rest of the way in his WavePhore/Mi-Jack/Miller Lite Gaerte to beat Pierce, Ron Smoker, Jay Drake and Tracy Hines to the checkered flag. Michael Lang, who was 10th in the main event, clinched the 1998 16th Street Speedway USAC Midget title by a 14-point margin over Pierce. Tony Stewart, who was making a rare USAC Midget appearance at 16th Street, started on the back row of the feature, worked his way up to seventh by lap 15, then retired with mechanical problems. Drake's finish vaulted him past Jason Leffler into the National Midget Series point lead going into this Saturday night's "Arby's Season Finale" at Indianapolis Raceway Park. He leads Leffler, who was seventh at 16th Street, by just five points, with 16th Street fast qualifier Ricky Shelton now third in the standings after his ninth-place finish Saturday. The IRP events begin at 4 p.m. Saturday with practice. The Midgets share the "doubleheader" billing with the Stoops Freightliner Sprint Cars and qualifying is slated at 6 p.m., with racing at 8. A 30-lap feature is set for both series. Although the event will conclude the USAC activity at IRP for 1998, the National Midget Series will continue with three more events in the midwest before moving to the west coast for three final events in November.
National Midget Standings: 1-Jay Drake-770; 2-Jason Leffler-765; 3-Ricky Shelton-700; 4-Jerry Coons, Jr.-557; 5-Tracy Hines-500; 6-Jimmy McCune-485; 7-Travis Welpott-291; 8-Ronnie Johncox-289; 9-Michael Lewis-249; 10-Dave Steele-243.
Final 16th Street Midget Standings: 1-Michael Lang-272; 2-Andy Pierce-258; 3-Ron Smoker-218; 4-Critter Malone-202; 5-Roy Caruthers-197; 6-Rick Treadway-196; 7-Steve Knepper-183; 8-Tony Reed-156; 9-David Bridges-155; 10-Jay Drake-152.