WM: TQ: Irwindale "Turkey Night Grand Prix"

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

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About this article
Series USAC
Drivers Steve Park , Jason Leffler , Kasey Kahne , Michael Lewis , Ryan Scott , Dave Darland , Danny Ebberts , Tracy Hines , Aaron Fike , Jay Drake , A.J. Fike , Steve Paden , Wally Pankratz , Clay Klepper , Josh Lakatos , Randi Pankratz , Bryan Stanfill , Rick Hendrix , Matt Streeter , Thomas Meseraull , Ed Carpenter