WS: Tucson 'showdown' preview

Hunt-Gardner Showdown Expected At Tucson Only 14 points separate Western Sprint Car Series point leaders Tony Hunt and Jeff Gardner entering Saturday afternoon's "Old Pueblo Classic" USAC "doubleheader" at Tucson (AZ) Raceway Park. With 72...

Hunt-Gardner Showdown Expected At Tucson

Only 14 points separate Western Sprint Car Series point leaders Tony Hunt and Jeff Gardner entering Saturday afternoon's "Old Pueblo Classic" USAC "doubleheader" at Tucson (AZ) Raceway Park. With 72 points up for grabs, the program could go a long way toward determining this year's champion.

The first of three remaining races (Irwindale, CA Nov. 22 and Las Vegas, NV Nov. 24), the Tucson program concludes with a 40-lap Sprint car feature on the 3/8-mile paved oval. The night's events also include the 50th USAC race in Tucson since the club began in 1956. A 40-lap feature is also planned for the USAC WorldCom National/Western Midget Cars.

Following practice from 9:15-11:15 am, participants will qualify beginning at 11:30. The first preliminary race is scheduled at 1 pm.

Hunt, of Fair Oaks, Calif., scored a pair of Western Sprint Car victories at Tucson in 1998, while Gardner, of Fresno, Calif., has never won at Tucson despite a fourth, two fifths and four sixths in nine previous starts.

Each has 2001 feature wins under their belt, Hunt at Dodge City, Kans. and Gardner at Boise, Ida. and Carson City, Nev. Expected to offer serious challenges to them at Tucson are two-time 2001 winners Troy Cline and Bryan Bullard, plus Bobby McMahan, Damion Gardner (no relation), Rick Hendrix and Kevin Kierce, who also have 2001 victories.

Jeff Gardner holds Tucson's 1-lap track qualifying record of 13.943 seconds, set in April of last year.

USAC WESTERN SPRINT CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Tony Hunt 799
2. Jeff Gardner 785
3. Ryan Flynn 642
4. Bryan Bullard 631
5. Troy Cline 598
6. Damion Gardner 538
7. Bobby McMahan 534
8. Kevin Kierce 447
9. Scott Hansen 424
10. Shauna Hogg 413

-USAC

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Series USAC
Drivers Troy Cline , Damion Gardner , Tony Hunt , Rick Hendrix , Bobby McMahan , Scott Hansen