Steve Paden, Jay Drake and Wally Pankratz stole all the headlines at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway this past weekend as the USAC MCI WorldCom Western Midget Car Series completed a two-night program of "Open Wheel Nationals" racing on the...
Steve Paden, Jay Drake and Wally Pankratz stole all the headlines at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway this past weekend as the USAC MCI WorldCom Western Midget Car Series completed a two-night program of "Open Wheel Nationals" racing on the 1/2-mile dirt track. Paden, of Downey, Calif., won Saturday night's 30-lap feature race in his Anglemyer Crane Rental/Centex Rentals Esslinger, taking the lead on the final lap when Jay Drake's magneto failed. Drake had built a sizeable lead in his quest for what would have been his 18th USAC triumph of the 2000 season. He had posted the fastest qualifying time of 39 qualifiers on Friday and limped across the finish line in fourth place in Saturday's race. Wally Pankratz of Orange, Calif. is back atop the Western series standings in quest of his first USAC driving championship after finishing seventh in Saturday's race. Title challengers Bobby Boone and Danny Ebberts finished 20th and 23rd respectively and now trail Pankratz by 11 and 49 points respectively entering the final two races at Bakersfield and Irwindale, Calif. November 18 and 23. Ebberts flipped during the Perris feature but escaped injury. Alex Harris led the first six laps of Saturday night's race before Drake took over and appeared headed for victory. Trailing Paden at the checkered flag were Cory Kruseman, Bryan Stanfill, Drake and Harris. A.J. Johnson won Friday's "non-qualifiers race" and Matt Streeter, Marc DeBeaumont and Harris won heats. Saturday's "last chance" semi was won by Bob Ellis.
<pre> USAC MCI WORLDCOM WESTERN MDIGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Wally Pankratz 972 2. Bobby Boone 961 3. Danny Ebberts 923 4. Thomas Meseraull 831 5. Steve Paden 769 6. Shane Scully 732 7. Bryan Stanfill 716 8. Rick Hendrix 636 9. Matt Streeter 612 10. Josh Wise 583