WM: Point races heating up

The battle for championships in USAC's MCI WorldCom National and Western Midget Car Series are heating up just in time for the annual events at Lincoln, Nebraska and Belleville, Kansas which showcase top drivers from each series. ...

The battle for championships in USAC's MCI WorldCom National and Western Midget Car Series are heating up just in time for the annual events at Lincoln, Nebraska and Belleville, Kansas which showcase top drivers from each series. Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw, Wash. and Wally Pankratz of Orange, Calif. have emerged as the respective point leaders, but plenty of competition looms with four races scheduled in five nights. Tuesday night's events at Eagle Raceway in Lincoln, Neb. conclude with a 40-lap feature, while three nights of racing on the Belleville High Banks commence Thursday, with 25-lappers Thursday and Friday and the 40-lap Miller Genuine Draft "Belleville Midget Nationals" finale Saturday. Total prize money of nearly $85,000 and a total of 216 points are available. Although nearly 35 years separate them, both Kahne and Pankratz have two things on the minds - winning races and their initial USAC championships. Kahne has already claimed three Western and two National victories this season, while Pankratz, despite 10 "top-10s" including a pair of seconds, is still searching for his first 2000 triumph. Kahne leads Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif. by 42 points in the National standings, while Pankratz' Western lead over runner-up Bobby Boone of Palmdale, Calif. stands at just four points. Defending Lincoln and Belleville champ Dave Darland and Michael Lewis are also close contenders in the National points, while Danny Ebberts, Thomas Meseraull, Rick Hendrix and Shane Scully are all in the wings in the Western points. Practice at Lincoln Tuesday starts at 6:30 pm, with qualifying at 7 and racing at 8. Preliminary action at Belleville Thursday and Friday incorporates half the field each night. Top finishers from the preliminary 25-lappers will earn automatic starting berths in Saturday night's 40-lap finale. <pre> USAC MCI WORLDCOM NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS

1. Kasey Kahne 381 2. Jay Drake 339 3. Dave Darland 308 4. Michael Lewis 297 5. A.J. Fike 242 6. John Heydenreich 218 7. Jimmy McCune 205 8. Tracy Hines 197 9. Ryan Newman 192 10. Aaron Fike 189

USAC MCI WORLDCOM WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS

1. Wally Pankratz 578 2. Bobby Boone 574 3. Danny Ebberts 569 4. Thomas Meseraull 523 5. Rick Hendrix 517 6. Shane Scully 513 7. Josh Wise 475 8. Steve Paden 434 9. Bryan Stanfill 400 10. Matt Streeter 350

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Series USAC
Drivers Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne , Michael Lewis , Dave Darland , Danny Ebberts , Tracy Hines , Aaron Fike , Jay Drake , John Heydenreich , Jimmy McCune , A.J. Fike , Steve Paden , Josh Wise , Wally Pankratz , Bryan Stanfill , Rick Hendrix , Matt Streeter , Thomas Meseraull