National Dirt
Monday, 23 November 2015


Tracy Hines goes for the Triple Crown Thursday. Tracy Hines goes for the Triple Crown Thursday.




Destiny awaits Tracy Hines Thursday as he tries to become USAC’s sixth “Triple Crown” driving champion. The New Castle, Ind. veteran will solidify his place in USAC history with a good performance in the 75th “Turkey Night Grand Prix” at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway. He would join previous USAC “Triple Crown” champions Pancho Carter, Dave Darland, Tony Stewart, J.J. Yeley and Jerry Coons Jr.

Holding a 27-point lead over Kevin Thomas Jr. in the Honda USAC National Midget standings, Tracy hopes to hold off a trio of Keith Kunz Motorsports teammates as he tries to erase the bitter one-point defeat he suffered to Cole Whitt in the 2008 final series standings. Tanner Thorson trails Hines by 33 points and defending series champion Rico Abreu is 56 in arrears with 74 available at Perris.

Defending race winner Christopher Bell and 2012 race winner Kyle Larson complete the five-driver Kunz team for Thursday’s race which concludes the 2015 USAC racing season.

Ronnie Gardner of Corona, Calif. leads the Honda USAC Western Midgets, which are also part of Thursday’s event. Gardner will cap his third consecutive series title at Perris.

Other expected entrants include recently crowned AMSOIL USAC/CRA Sprint champion Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif., 2014 AMSOIL National Sprint titlist Brady Bacon of Broken Arrow, Okla., former USAC National Midget & National Sprint Rookie of the Year and NASCAR Xfinity and Truck series competitor Chad Boat of Phoenix, Ariz., plus five-time winner on the World of Outlaws circuit in 2015, Brad Sweet of Grass Valley, Calif., as well as two-time USAC National Sprint Car winner this season and a Western Midget winner at Santa Maria (CA) Raceway in September, Chase Stockon of Haubstadt, Ind.

The 98-lap race continues a tradition which debuted in 1934. Bryan Clauson, winner of last weekend’s “Western World Championships” Sprint race at Tucson, Ariz., hopes to become the fourth driver to win the “Turkey Night” race on both dirt and paved ovals, joining Mel Kenyon, Stan Fox and Dave Darland. Clauson won the 2009 and 2010 classics at Irwindale, Calif.

Thursday’s race will be streamed live on the internet at This year’s event features a revised format which includes qualifications, heat races, a semi and the 98-lap main event.

Pit gates open at noon with spectator gates opening at 3pm. A special autograph session featuring all of the drivers is set to run from 3:30 to 4:30pm on the track’s front straightaway.  Hot laps get underway at 5:15pm while qualifying is scheduled to begin at 6pm and racing slated to get underway at 7pm.