WS: Tucson II: Race report

Kasey Kahne takes Tucson's "Old Pueblo Classic". Western Sprint point race headed for Irwindale & Las Vegas. Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw Wash. captured Saturday night's 40-lap "Old Pueblo Classic" USAC Western Sprint Car race at Tucson (Ariz.)...

Kasey Kahne takes Tucson's "Old Pueblo Classic".
Western Sprint point race headed for Irwindale & Las Vegas.

Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw Wash. captured Saturday night's 40-lap "Old Pueblo Classic" USAC Western Sprint Car race at Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park, leading all but the first two laps. Starting third in the Zarounian Motorsports Chevy/Beast, he caught series point leader Chad Nichols on lap three and led the rest of the way for his first USAC victory of 2002.

Nichols, of San Carlos, Calif., finished 11th at Tucson and takes a 40-point lead over Scott Hansen of Simi Valley, Calif. into Thursday night's 62nd Lucas Oil "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at the Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. The Western Sprint Car Series concludes with Saturday night's event at the "Bullring" at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.

Trailing Kahne to the checkered flag at Tucson were former series champion Bud Kaeding, USAC National Sprint Car Champion Tracy Hines, Eric Butze and Jason McCord. Jason Leffler posted the fastest qualifying time but failed to finish the 40-lap race.

The top four drivers in the Western Sprint Car standings are separated by only 64 points entering the final two races at Irwindale and Las Vegas. Rick Hendrix of Canyon Country, Calif. is third in the standings, 49 behind the leader, while former series champ Todd Ellison of West Jordan, UT trails the leader by 64. A total of 144 points are available in the two series finales.

Practice at Irwindale gets under way at 3 pm, followed by qualifying at 4:30 and an autograph session at 5. Racing starts at 7 and includes the USAC National/Western Midget Car Series (100-lap feature) and the USAC Ford Focus Midget Car Series (20-lap feature). The Irwindale Sprint race is 40 laps. Saturday's timetable at Las Vegas, featuring the Sprint Cars and Midget Cars, has practice commencing at 1 pm, followed by qualifying at 4 and racing at 6:30. A driver autograph session is also scheduled at the "Bullring."



USAC WESTERN SPRINT CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Chad Nichols 673
2. Scott Hansen 633
3. Rick Hendrix 624
4. Todd Ellison 609
5. Tony Hunt 596
6. Todd Ellison 572
7. Tim Barber 478
8. Mike Aaby, Jr. 457
9. Mike Ford 361
10. Shauna Hogg 342

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Kasey Kahne , Tracy Hines , Bud Kaeding , Eric Butze , Jason McCord , Tim Barber , Tony Hunt , Rick Hendrix , Scott Hansen