Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif. will try to match an all-time USAC record Thursday night when he competes in the 60th Home Depot "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. He scored his 18th feature victory of the year...
Jay Drake of Val Verde, Calif. will try to match an all-time USAC record Thursday night when he competes in the 60th Home Depot "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. He scored his 18th feature victory of the year Saturday night in the 50-lap MCI WorldCom National/Western Midget Car race at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway. A victory "Turkey Night" would match the record 19 USAC single-season wins of A.J. Foyt in 1961 and Sleepy Tripp in 1988. Seventeen of Drake's wins have come in "National" events, while all 19 of Foyt's were "Nationals" and only two of Tripp's 19 were "Nationals." Drake faces a stern test in Thursday's race, the final event on USAC's 2000 racing calendar. Over 50 entries have already been received, including defending "Turkey Night" Champion Jason Leffler. Drake won the 1998 "Turkey Night" classic when it was held at Bakersfield. Drake caught National point leader Kasey Kahne on the 16th lap of Saturday night's race and led the rest of the way in his KECO/Stealth machine to beat fast qualifier Kahne, Aaron Fike, Tracy Hines and Ronnie Day. Seven drivers flipped during the Midget Car portion of the Bakersfield "doubleheader," which also featured the MCI WorldCom TQ Midget Cars, but there were no serious injuries. Among those who flipped was Wally Pankratz, whose Western Midget Car point lead over Bobby Boone blossomed to 26 points after Boone failed to make the feature field. Pankratz flipped during a heat race but secured a ride for the 50-lap feature and finished 19th. A total of 72 points are available at Thursday's series finale at Irwindale. Josh Lakatos of Pasadena, Calif. led all 20 laps to win Saturday night's TQ Midget Car feature, beating Greg Edenholm, J.J. Ercse, Walt Johnson and Todd Hunsaker to the checkered flag. Ercse emerged with a narrow two-point lead over Johnson in the standings going into the Irwindale finale with 72 points available. Thursday's Irwindale events get under way with practice at 3 pm. Qualifying starts at 4 and the first race is scheduled at 7. A 20-lap TQ Midget Car feature is planned on the 1/3-mile paved oval prior to the 100-lap Home Depot "Turkey Night Grand Prix" on the track's 1/2-mile pavement. ESPN2 will televise Thursday night's Irwindale race at 9:30 pm (ET) Sunday, November 26.
<pre> USAC MCI WORLDCOM NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Kasey Kahne 1,188 2. Jay Drake 969 3. Dave Darland 877 4. Michael Lewis 836 5. Tracy Hines 774 6. Aaron Fike 685 7. A.J. Fike 618 8. Clay Klepper 572 9. Ed Carpenter 557 10. Ryan Scott 515
USAC MCI WORLDCOM WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Wally Pankratz 987 2. Bobby Boone 961 3. Danny Ebberts 924 4. Thomas Meseraull 874 5. Steve Paden 808 6. Bryan Stanfill 751 7. Shane Scully 745 8. Rick Hendrix 652 9. Matt Streeter 614 10. Kasey Kahne 609
USAC MCI WORLDCOM TQ MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. J.J. Ercse 738 2. Walt Johnson 736 3. Greg Edenholm 684 4. Todd Hunsaker 642 5. West Evans 613 6. Gene Godepski 456 7. Steve Parke 451 8. Ron Ahrendt 416 9. Ron Wade 392 10. Randi Pankratz 364