Friday, 18 November 2011

71ST ̢



Next Thursday night’s 71st Annual “Turkey Night Grand Prix” at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, Calif. will conclude USAC’s 2011 racing season but not without an impact on eleven (11) different USAC championships!


The National Drivers Championship, Mopar National Midget, Mopar Western Midget, National Midget Pavement, AMSOIL Western Sprint, Western Classic Sprint, Western Classic Pavement, National Ford Focus, Western Ford Focus, Western Pavement Ford Focus and Southern California Ford Focus standings will all be affected by the outcome of the three races which comprise Thursday’s program at the complex featuring both half and third-mile paved ovals.


One of America’s most revered events, “Turkey Night” has been conducted since 1934, with brief intermissions (no races from 1942-1944 or 1951-1954) and has found a home at Irwindale since 1999. Eight other tracks hosted the race before it landed at its current location. They were Gilmore Stadium, Gardena Stadium, Ascot Park, Speedway 605 (in Irwindale), Saugus Speedway, Bakersfield Speedway, Perris Auto Speedway and Ventura Raceway.


A 98-lap race on the half-mile for the Mopar USAC National and Western Midgets caps the program, saluting the #98 made famous by race organizer J.C. Agajanian, whose sons now organize the event. The AMSOIL USAC Western and Western Classic Sprint cars race for 40 laps, also on the big half-mile, while the Western Ford Focuses compete in a 30-lapper on the third-mile oval.


Of the eleven championships to be impacted Thursday, only three have been resolved entering a Western Midget/Ford Focus/Focus Young Guns “tripleheader” tomorrow night (Nov. 19) at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway. No less than six driving championships will be up for grabs at Irwindale, depending on the Ventura results.


At least five former champions of the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” Midget race are expected to be in competition Thursday, namely defending two-time champ Bryan Clauson, two-time champ Jason Leffler, Billy Wease, Bobby East and Bobby Santos III. Former winners of the “Turkey Night” Sprint race expected to compete are two-time champ Tony Hunt, Tracy Hines and Kody Swanson.