WM: Turkey Night GP report, champions crowned

DARLAND TAKES 67TH "TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX;" COONS, RODRIGUEZ CLOSE OUT 2007 CHAMPIONSHIPS "The car was absolutely perfect from start to finish," said Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. in victory lane Thursday night after winning...

DARLAND TAKES 67TH "TURKEY NIGHT GRAND PRIX;" COONS, RODRIGUEZ CLOSE OUT 2007 CHAMPIONSHIPS

"The car was absolutely perfect from start to finish," said Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. in victory lane Thursday night after winning the 67th "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at Irwindale Speedway.

Darland passed pole starter Kody Swanson on lap three and led the final 96 laps of the 98-lap USAC National/Western Midget race in his Nine Racing Toyota/Oakley - Performance Racing Industry Beast/Pink Toyota. NASCAR vet Kasey Kahne finished second ahead of Bobby East, Don Basile "Rookie of the Race" winner Mike Murgoitio and Garrett Hansen.

"This is a tough race," added Darland. "It's a great feeling to beat the best competition anywhere. The only nervous point came when some cars crashed right in front of me. We might have won this race before if it had been 98 laps a few years back." Darland finished third in 1999 and fourth in 1998.

Swanson was the fastest qualifier in a 66-car field, while Ricky Ehrgott and Brad Kuhn won the "qualifying races." Jerry Coons Jr. and Wilke/Pak Motorsports emerged as National Midget Champion driver and car owner, while Johnny Rodriguez and Mitchell Motorsports grabbed the Western Midget driver and owner titles.

The USAC National and Western Midget campaign concluded at Irwindale, but the USAC Midgets will compete in special non-points "Rumble in Fort Wayne" events Dec. 28-29 at Memorial Coliseum Expo Center in Fort Wayne, Ind.

FINAL USAC NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS

1. Jerry Coons Jr. 1,225
2. Darren Hagen 1,154
3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1,083
4. Dave Darland 1,056
5. Brad Kuhn 1,020
6. Kevin Swindell 902
7. Levi Jones 875
8. Brady Bacon 756
9. Brad Loyet 693
10. Danny Stratton 633

FINAL USAC WESTERN MIDGET CAR SERIES STANDINGS

1. Johnny Rodriguez 950
2. Scott Pierovich 851
3. Matt Mitchell 716
4. Shannon McQueen 591
5. Chris Rahe 515
6. Robby Flock 470
7. C.J. Sarna 430
8. Quintin Crye 417
9. Jerome Rodela 394
10. Randi Pankratz 368

-credit: usac

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Series USAC
Drivers Kevin Swindell , Kasey Kahne , Brad Kuhn , Dave Darland , Johnny Rodriguez , Bobby East , Levi Jones , Chris Rahe , Robby Flock , Matt Mitchell , Darren Hagen , Mike Murgoitio , Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , Scott Pierovich , Randi Pankratz , Kody Swanson , Ricky Ehrgott , Brad Loyet , Shannon McQueen , Garrett Hansen , Danny Stratton , Jerry Coons Jr.