From Dick Jordan
Nine different USAC point standings will be affected by the outcome of next Thursday night’s 70th “Turkey Night Grand Prix” racing program at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, Calif.
All nine championships will become final at the conclusion of the “tripleheader” event featuring the USAC MOPAR National/Western Midgets, the AMSOIL Western Sprint cars and the Ford Focus Midgets. The only USAC standings impacted after Thursday will be the AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint series, which concludes Saturday, Nov. 29, at the Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway.
The USAC National Drivers Championship, MOPAR National and Western Midget, Midget Pavement, AMSOIL Western Sprint, and Western Ford Focus, Pavement Ford Focus, Northern and Southern California rankings will all be impacted by Thursday night’s results, with seasonal champions crowned in all categories.
Current leaders are Bryan Clauson (National Drivers Championship and National Midgets), Darren Hagen (Pavement Midgets), Alex Schutte (Western Midgets), Tony Hunt (Western Sprints), Nick Carlson (Western Ford Focus) and Cody Gerhardt (Western Pavement, Northern and Southern California Ford Focus).
Thursday’s events include a pair of Midget “qualifying races” plus 178 laps of feature competition for Ford Focus (40), Sprints (40) and Midgets (98).
One of America’s most revered racing traditions showcases the USAC Mopar National and Western Midget Series, the AMSOIL USAC Western Sprint Car Series and the USAC Western Pavement Ford Focus Series in their only 2010 appearance at the facility which sports both a half-mile and a third-mile oval. The Midgets and Sprint cars compete on the half and the Focuses on the third.
The event honors the Agajanian Family, who continue to serve as the race organizers as they have for the past half-century. In their honor, the traditional 100-lap Midget race has become a 98-lapper. The famed #98 graced the Agajanian entry at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for years and found victory lane there with Troy Ruttman in 1952 and Parnelli Jones in 1963.l
Winners of the 2009 “Turkey Night Grand Prix” main events were Bryan Clauson (Midgets), Cole Whitt (Sprints) and Garrett Peterson (Ford Focus).
It’s now been seven years since track records fell at Irwindale and drivers will be aiming at those 2003 marks when qualifying commences Thursday. Dave Steele set the Midget mark of 16.556 in 2003, while Michael Lewis owns the Sprint record of 16.378 set the same year. Todd Hunsaker also established the Focus record of 14.249 in 2003.