WM: Bakersfield preview

Steve Paden of Lakewood, Calif. resumes his quest for the 2003 USAC Western Midget Car Championship Saturday night when the series visits Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway after a long hiatus. Paden holds a 27-point lead in the current standings...

Steve Paden of Lakewood, Calif. resumes his quest for the 2003 USAC Western Midget Car Championship Saturday night when the series visits Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway after a long hiatus.

Paden holds a 27-point lead in the current standings but must keep his sights firmly on Josh Wise, who ranks fourth in the standings, 75 points back. Wise captured the prestigious "Belleville Midget Nationals" at Belleville, Kans. August 9 and hopes to cut into Paden's lead as the 2003 series winds to a close.

Paden's best series point ranking was seventh two years ago, while Wise finished as the runner-up to Danny Ebberts in 2001.

Wise has been the fastest qualifier for both previous Bakersfield events this season and won there in April. Paden was second to Robby Flock at Bakersfield in June.

A 30-lap feature caps Saturday night's program on the 1/3-mile dirt oval.

USAC WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Steve Paden 361
2. J.J. Yeley 334
3. Bobby East 329
4. Josh Wise 286
5. A.J. Fike 285
6. Jerome Rodela 278
7. Tracy Hines 274
8. Jay Drake 245
9. Wally Pankratz 241
10. Dave Steele 235

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Series USAC
Drivers Danny Ebberts , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jay Drake , Bobby East , A.J. Fike , Steve Paden , Josh Wise , Wally Pankratz , Robby Flock