LEFFLER EYES THIRD "TURKEY NIGHT" MIDGET TITLE THURSDAY; HIGH TAKES TUCSON 30-LAPPER Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. hopes to join Ron Shuman and Billy Boat as the only drivers to win the prestigious "Turkey Night Grand...
LEFFLER EYES THIRD "TURKEY NIGHT" MIDGET TITLE THURSDAY; HIGH TAKES TUCSON 30-LAPPER
Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif. hopes to join Ron Shuman and Billy Boat as the only drivers to win the prestigious "Turkey Night Grand Prix" three times in its 66-race history. He will have that opportunity Thursday night at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway as the USAC National and Western Midgets compete in the 100-lap classic.
Shuman won an amazing eight times and Boat won three in a row at three different tracks, while Leffler is the defending champion and also won in 1999. Leffler will pilot his Team ASE/Kaeding Performance Pleasure Craft/Esslinger Ford against the top driver from across America, including fellow NASCAR drivers Casey Mears and Bobby East.
The USAC Western Sprint Cars and Ford Focus National Midgets are also part of Thursday's "tripleheader." The Sprint cars are slated for 40 laps around Irwindale's 1/2-mile paved oval, while the Focus Midgets will determine their National Champion in a 50-lapper on the 1/3-mile.
Nathan High of Goodyear, Ariz. won Saturday night's 30-lap Western Midget race at USA Race Park in Tucson, Ariz. He led the final 23 laps after passing Rik Forbes on lap eight. Shane Stewart finished second ahead of Forbes, Robby Flock and Brad Kuhn.
Jerry Coons Jr. of Tucson, Jerome Rodela of El Monte, Calif. and Tony Hunt of Lincoln, Calif. lead their respective series standings into Thursday's USAC finales at Irwindale. Coons leads defending champ Josh Wise by 54 points in the National Midget Series, while Dave Darland is only 58 back of the leader with 66 available. Rodela has an insurmountable 132-point lead over Chase Barber in the Western Midget points, while Hunt leads Mike Murgoitio by an insurmountable 11 points in the Western Sprints.
Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla., who teams with Darland in the Nine Racing Team Toyotas, holds the 1-lap and 100-lap Irwindale Midget track records. The 1-lap standard of 108.722 mph and the 100-lap mark of 84.678 mph were both set in 2003.
Steele is also the defending winner of the "Turkey Night" Sprint race, beating Murgoitio to the checkered flag last year.