WM: Kahne and Turkey Night at Irwindale

Kahne Eyes Continuing 2nd-to-1st Turkey Night "Tradition" USAC WorldCom National Midget Car Champion Kasey Kahne hopes to extend a recent streak of "Turkey Night Grand Prix" victory progression when the 61st annual classic unfolds next Thursday...

Kahne Eyes Continuing 2nd-to-1st Turkey Night "Tradition"

USAC WorldCom National Midget Car Champion Kasey Kahne hopes to extend a recent streak of "Turkey Night Grand Prix" victory progression when the 61st annual classic unfolds next Thursday night, November 22 at the Irwindale (CA) Speedway.

Kahne, of Enumclaw, Wash., hopes to become the fourth consecutive driver to follow a "Turkey Night" runnerup finish with a victory the following year! Jay Drake was second at Ventura, Calif. in 1997 and won at Bakersfield, Calif. in 1998; Jason Leffler was second at Bakersfield in 1998 and won at Irwindale in 1999; and Tony Stewart won last year at Irwindale, beating Kahne, after losing to Leffler on the final lap the previous year.

Kahne already has logged some impressive 2001 Midget Car victories, despite only competing in selected races. He won the prestigious "Belleville Midget Nationals" in Kansas and the "Night Before the 500" at Indianapolis Raceway Park and added victories at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lincoln, Neb. and IRP.

Kahne will drive for the 1999 and 2000 "Turkey Night" championship team of Steve Lewis of Laguna Beach, Calif., trying to give them a third straight victory with different drivers! His teammates are expected to include 2001 USAC Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car Champion J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz. and 2001 WorldCom National Midget Car point leader Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind.

The "Turkey Night" activities also include the USAC Western Sprint Cars and Kahne won both ends of the USAC Sprint/Midget "doubleheader" at Irwindale October 27. A 40-lap Sprint feature is on tap, along with the 100-lap Midget classic on the 1/2-mile paved oval.

Nearly 100 total race cars are expected to compete in Thursday night's program, presented by K & N Filters, which gets under way with practice at 3 pm. Qualifying is scheduled at 4:30 and the first race starts at 7.

The WorldCom National and Western Midget Car championships and the Western Sprint Car title are still in question and the "Turkey Night Grand Prix" is expected to be pivotal in determining this year's champions.

USAC WORLDCOM NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS (Prior to 11/17 Tucson race)
1. Dave Darland 1,020
2. Tracy Hines 890
3. A.J. Fike 872
4. J.J. Yeley 828
5. Jay Drake 742
6. Aaron Fike 696
7. Steve Paden 662
8. Kasey Kahne 555
9. Jerry Coons, Jr. 524
10. Ryan Scott 498

USAC WORLDCOM WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS (Prior to 11/17 Tucson race)
1. Danny Ebberts 1,014
2. Alex Harris 972
3. Josh Wise 914
4. Wally Pankratz 801
5. Thomas Meseraull 713
6. Shane Scully 687
7. Robby Flock 638
8. Matt Streeter 627
9. John Sarale 370
10. Danny Stratton 357

-USAC

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Kasey Kahne , Ryan Scott , Dave Darland , Danny Ebberts , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Aaron Fike , Jay Drake , A.J. Fike , Steve Paden , Jerry Coons , Josh Wise , Wally Pankratz , Robby Flock , Matt Streeter , Danny Stratton , Thomas Meseraull