WM: Bakersfield II: Wally Pankratz spotlight

Pankratz eyes start ...

Pankratz eyes start #400 Saturday at Bakersfield.

Wally Pankratz of Orange, Calif. hopes to start a record 400th USAC Western Midget Car feature race this Saturday at the Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway.

Pankratz won last Saturday night's race at the Santa Maria (Calif.) Speedway and has won twice in his last four starts to rank fourth in the series points behind Shane Scully, Robby Flock and Danny Stratton. The victories are his 17th and 18th in a USAC Midget racing career which dates back to 1971.

Saturday night's 30-lap feature at Bakersfield would be the 557th total USAC start for Pankratz, who has competed in USAC's Silver Crown, National Sprint Car, National Midget Car, Western Midget Car, Arizona Midget Car, Western Sprint Car, TQ Midget Car and Supermodified racing series, as well as the RCA Dome Midget invitational in Indianapolis, Ind.

Pankratz scored his initial USAC feature win in Bakersfield but it was at Mesa Marin Raceway where he won a USAC Supermodified feature race on March 30, 1985. He went on to score two more supermodified victories to bring his USAC career win total to 21.

His initial USAC Midget Car triumph came on May 19, 1985 at the now-defunct Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif. He went on to score six more wins at the legendary Ascot oval, and also notched USAC Midget wins at Bakersfield Speedway in 1989, and 1997 and at Mesa Marin Raceway in 1991.

Wally's USAC Midget career has included 16 of the past 17 years in the "top-10" in the Western Midget Car standings, capped by the series championship in the year 2000.

Saturday's Bakersfield Speedway program, which concludes with a 30-lap Midget Car feature, also includes the USAC Ford Focus Midget Cars, which have a 20-lapper on tap.


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Series USAC
Drivers Wally Pankratz , Robby Flock , Danny Stratton