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2005 USAC 60th Annual Night Before the 500

Indianapolis Raceway Park - May 28th, 2005

Entrance to Indianapolis Raceway Park Entrance to Indianapolis Raceway Park View of turns 3 & 4
View of front straight & turn 3 View of the IRP Drag Strip View of the flagstand & turn 3
Justin Overfelt Mario Marietta Josh Wise backup car
Josh Wise Bobby Grewohl Darren Hagen
Bobby Guess Lee Stark Joey Poliszczuk
Brad Loyet Tom Hessert Destiny Hays
Bobby East Travis Miniea Brian Gerster
Ricky Jacobs Wirtgen Cars Bobby Santos III
Billy Wease Michael Lewis, event winner Jerry Coons Jr.
Brad Kuhn Teddy Beach Todd Beach
View of the pits View of the pits Kyle Nichols
Josh Wise View of the front & turns 1 & 2 View of the center of the infield & turn 2
View of turns 3 & 4 View of turn 3 Cole Carter
Aaron Fike Mike Heiss Scott Thoman
David Byrne Dale Cross Pat Wilda
Adam Nuetzel Danny Drinan Kevin Studley
Ron Gregory View of the pits Cole Carter
Ryan Durst Jessica Ianuzzi View of the midway
View of the midway View of midway consessions View of midway consessions
View of the midway View of the midway Entrance to the main grandstands
Entrance to the main grandstands View of turns 1 & 2 Joey Poliszczuk
Michael Lewis Adam Nuetzel Bobby Santos III
Brad Loyet Joey Poliszczuk Kyle Nicholas
Tom Hessert Tom Hessert Adam Nuetzel & Bobby Grewohl
Adam Nuetzel & Brad Loyet Cars ready for practice Bobby Guess
Bobby Grewohl Destiny Hays Destiny Hays
Jerry Coons Jr. Bobby East Mike Heiss
Desiny Hays Michael Lewis Bobby Grewohl
Bobby East Michael Lewis Michael Lewis & Mario Marietta
Michael Lewis Mario Marietta Josh Wise
Danny Drinan Ron Gregory Todd Beach
Teddy Beach Danny Drinan Cole Carter
Josh Wise Destiny Hays Jerry Coons Jr.
Dale Cross Scott Thoman Daren Hagen
Kevin Studley Ron Gregory Kevin Studley
Dale Cross & Cole Carter Lee Stark Cars ready for practice
Bobby Santos III Brad Loyet Kyle Nicholas
Kyle Nicholas Daren Hagen Mario Marietta
Destiny Hays Center of infield Turn 4 pits
View of turn 3 4 Wide Feature Parade Lap

Phil Rider Photos

Top 3: Michael Lewis, Ron Gregory & Jerry Coons Jr. Feature Winner Michael Lewis Michael Lewis in Victory Lane

 

Story & Results courtesy of www.usacracing.com

                               Lewis Defeats Gregory On Last Lap For IRP Victory

CLERMONT, Ind. – Michael Lewis and his Western Speed Racing team made a bold decision in Saturday’s “Night Before The 500” midget classic at Indianapolis Raceway Park to change a tire following a red flag period midway through the race.

 

It paid off.

 

Lewis, who moved to the tail of the field on Lap 28, following a red flag period, moved to the top spot on the white flag lap and beat fellow Noblesville, Ind. driver and defending series champion Ron Gregory by two car lengths in the 60th edition of the classic.

 

“This is a great win,” said Lewis, who piloted the No. 40 Western Speed Racing CMX Xtreme.com/Wirtgen America Gerhardt/Esslinger. “There are three big pavement races for me each year – the ‘Copper World Classic,’ the ‘Turkey Night Grand Prix,’ and the ‘Night Before The 500.’ I was glad to finally get the third one tonight.”

 

Gregory was the man on the mission early. Starting fifth, Gregory didn’t prefer being patient, moving to third within the first four laps. A lap later, he passed Lewis’s teammate – Billy Wease – for second.

 

Meanwhile, Jerry Coons Jr. was quietly pulling away from the pack. He started on the pole and, after battling with Wease the entire first lap, steadily built an advantage of 10-plus car lengths.

 

Gregory began challenging Coons for the first time on Lap 12, and was within two car lengths by Lap 14. The first of two caution periods came on Lap 16, when Wease slowed on the front stretch. He finished 22nd.

 

Gregory fell back on the restart, but closed the gap and challenged again a couple of laps later. His charge was halted temporarily on Lap 28, when Mario Marietta flipped in Turn 3. He was uninjured in the incident.

 

Lewis changed a right rear tire during the red flag period. On the restart, Gregory smoothly slipped underneath Coons in Turn 2, and by the third turn was clearly in charge.

 

But on the move was Lewis. He continued to pick off cars, and was up to fourth when the final yellow flag flew on Lap 43, when defending series champion Bobby East and National Midget Car Series Rookie of the Year contender Brad Loyet spun on the backstretch.

 

Lewis didn’t hold back on the restart. He jumped past Coons and Wise on the restart and was challenging Gregory within two laps. Lewis tried multiple times to make the pass on the inside, but was unable to make the charge until the white flag lap.

 

Lewis raced Gregory thru Turn 1 as Gregory got high, then cleared Gregory coming out of Turn 2. By then, he wasn’t challenged again, and led only the most important lap of the race: the final one.

 

Gregory ended up second, while Coons, Wise and Tom Hessert III rounded out the Top 5.

 

The red flag period was by far the biggest break of the night for Lewis.

 

“I was just about getting ready to pull in when the red flag came out,” he said. “I’m just glad we were able to get the break when we did.”

 

Though a bit upset, Gregory said he gave it his all during the 50-lap event.

 

“The tires were just fading there at the end,” Gregory said. “Those tires are so important in a longer race such as this. All I could do was give it everything I had. But I have to give it to Michael; he drove a great race.”

 

Josh Wise set fast time at 20.797 seconds, while East and 2003 race winner Aaron Fike won 12-lap qualifying races.

 

Wise continues to hold the points lead heading into the “Buckeye Nationals” event June 18 at the Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio.

USAC NATIONAL MIDGET CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: May 28, 2005Indianapolis, IndianaIndianapolis Raceway Park – 60th Coca-Cola “Night Before The 500”

 

      1. Josh Wise, 20, Stewart-20.797; 2. Ron Gregory, 22, Irvin-20.966; 3. Tom Hessert, 5, Hessert-21.066; 4. Michael Lewis, 40, Western Speed-21.084; 5. Billy Wease, 80, Western Speed-21.109; 6. Jerry Coons Jr., 11, Wilke-21.154; 7. Bobby East, 9, Nine Racing-21.173; 8. Bobby Santos III, 67x, Western Speed-21.185; 9. Cole Carter, 7, Carter-21.272; 10. Aaron Fike, 32, RFMS-21.285; 11. Destiney Hays, 6, East-21.294; 12. Brad Loyet, 05, Loyet-21.327; 13. Kyle Nicholas, 2, Nicholas-21.371; 14. Travis Miniea, 28, Owen-21.405; 15. Bobby Grewohl, 67, Kunz-21.409; 16. Darren Hagen, 71, Kunz-21.485; 17. Alex Pruett, 56, Pruett-21.637; 18. Richey Jacobs, 114, Jacobs-21.670; 19. Mario Marietta, 37, Marietta-21.718; 20. Mike Heiss, 00, Heiss-21.779; 21. Dan Drinan, 333, Lewis-21.788; 22. Brad Kuhn, 74, James-21.790; 23. Todd Beach, 15, Beach-21.813; 24. Brian Gerster, 35, Gardner-21.857; 25. Teddy Beach, 125, Beach-21.857; 26. Doug Cross, 41, Griffith/Horn-22.049; 27. Ryan Durst, 51, Durst-22.060; 28. David Byrne, 20b, Byrne-22.156; 29. Bobby Guess, 99, Guess-22.177; 30. Joey Poliszczuk, 8, Poliszczuk-22.261; 31. Justin Overfelt, 78, Zephyr-22.444; 32. Johnny Heydenreich, 21x, Lawson-22.527; 33. Pat Wilda, 33, Wilda-22.696; 34. Lee Stark, 21, Stark-22.740; 35. Kevin Studley, 57, Studley-22.799; 36. Adam Nuetzel, 17, Corvette-22.882; 37. Jessica Iannuzzi, 52, Iannuzzi-23.727; 38. Scott Thoman, 88, SST-NT; 39. 19, Nine Racing-NT.

QUALIFICATIONS:

      QUALIFYING RACE #1: (12 laps) 1. East, 2. Carter, 3. Hays, 4. Grewohl, 5. Todd Beach, 6. Drinan, 7. Marietta, 8. Teddy Beach, 9. Pruett, 10. Studley, 11. Overfelt, 12. Wilda, 13. Iannuzzi, 14. Nicholas, 15. Durst, 16. Guess. NT

 

      QUALIFYING RACE #2: (12 laps) 1. Fike, 2. Santos, 3. Loyet, 4. Miniea, 5. Hagen, 6. Heiss, 7. Jacobs, 8. Byrne, 9. Kuhn, 10. Gerster, 11. Poliszczuk, 12. Nuetzel, 13. Heydenreich, 14. Cross, 15. Stark, 16. Thoman. NT

 

      FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Michael Lewis, 2. Ron Gregory, 3. Jerry Coons, Jr., 4. Josh Wise, 5. Tom Hessert, 6. Dan Drinan, 7. Bobby Santos III, 8. Aaron Fike, 9. Brad Kuhn, 10. Teddy Beach, 11. Richey Jacobs, 12. Kyle Nicholas, 13. Mike Heiss, 14. Destiney Hays, 15. Brad Loyet, 16. Todd Beach, 17. Travis Miniea, 18. David Byrne, 19. Bobby East, 20. Cole Carter, 21. Mario Marietta, 22. Billy Wease, 23. Bobby Grewohl, 24. Darren Hagen, 25. Alex Pruett. NT

 

** John Heydenreich flipped in the second qualifying race. Mario Marietta flipped on Lap 28 of the feature.

 

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-28 Coons, Laps 29-49 Gregory, Lap 50 Lewis.

 

NEW NATIONAL MIDGET CAR STANDINGS: 1-Wise-218; 2-Teddy Beach-170; 3-East-168; 4-Gregory-149; 5-Hessert-148; 6-Jay Drake-122; 7-Dave Steele-113; 8-Fike-110; 9-Lewis-105; 10-Hagen-97.

NEXT NATIONAL MIDGET CAR RACE: June 18 – Limaland Motorsports Park – “Buckeye Nationals”

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