Yeley, Hines begin Triple Crown quest

USAC's National "Triple Crown" is one of America's most elusive motorsports achievements. In 47 years of racing, only three drivers have earned that honor, winning the USAC Silver Crown, National Sprint and Midget Car championships during a career...

USAC's National "Triple Crown" is one of America's most elusive motorsports achievements. In 47 years of racing, only three drivers have earned that honor, winning the USAC Silver Crown, National Sprint and Midget Car championships during a career - Pancho Carter, Tony Stewart and Dave Darland.

This Saturday at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway, 2002 USAC Champions J.J. Yeley and Tracy Hines begin their quest for the "Triple Crown," both needing a National Midget Car title to complete the trifecta. Yeley won last year's Weld Racing Silver Crown title and the previous year's Sprint Car title, while Hines, last year's Sprint Car Champion, won the 2000 Silver Crown championship.

Yeley, of Phoenix, Ariz., finished second in last year's National Midget standings and Hines, of New Castle, Ind., has was fifth in last year's standings and has been in the "top-10" for nine straight years, including runner-up finishes in 1996 and 1997.

Saturday's USAC opener at Ventura features the National and Western Midget Car Series as well as the USAC California Ford Focus Midget Car Series, with a 20-lap Ford Focus and 30-lap National/Western feature on tap. The event will air on Speed Channel's "Dirty Thursday" programming on Thursday night, March 20.

Yeley and Hines will be challenged at Ventura by defending National Midget Car Champ Dave Darland of Lincoln, Ind. and defending Western Midget Car Champ Robby Flock of Murrieta, Calif., along with three-time USAC Silver Crown Champ Jimmy Sills of Marysville, Calif., 2002 National Midget "Rookies of the Year" Teddy Beach of Donnellsville, Ohio and Ron Gregory of Noblesville, Ind. and 2002 Western "Rookie of the Year" Van Knill of Tucson, Ariz.

Drivers will be aiming at John Cofer's eight-year-old USAC Midget track record of 11.675 seconds during qualifications.

The USAC contingent will follow Saturday's Ventura program with the 26th Annual "Copper World Classic" at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway the weekend of March 21-23. A 25-mile National/Western Midget Car race is slated, along with a 100-mile Infiniti Pro Series event at PIR on Saturday, March 22, while the 100-mile Weld Racing Silver Crown race precedes Sunday's Purex/Dial Indy 200 IRL race.

--USAC--

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Teddy Beach , Ron Gregory , Pancho Carter , Jimmy Sills , Robby Flock