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USAC Midgets 61st Annual Night Before The 500

5-27-2006

Front Entrance to Indianapolis Raceway Park Front Entrance to Indianapolis Raceway Park Front straight & turns 1 & 2
Start/Finish & Infield Start/Finish & Infield Front straight & turn 3
Front straight & turns 3 & 4 Flagstand & Start/Finish IRP Drag Strip
IRP Drag Strip Front straight Steve Lewis' Toyota/Beast Car's
Flagstand Tony Stewart Racing Mopar Hauler Tony Stewart Racing Mopar Hauler
Steve Lewis' Toyota/Beast Car's Dave Darland Dave Steele
Steve Lewis Team backup #9 car Kevin Studley Ron Gregory
Mario Marietta Tony Stewart Racing Mopar Car's Kyle Nicholas
Josh Wise Levi Jones Tony Stewart Racing Mopar Backup Car
Joey Poliszczuk Erica Santos Tom Hessert
Brian Olson Scott Thoman Danny Drinan
Danny Drinan's Wild Beaver Saloon graphics logo Brad Loyet Cole Carter
Rickey Jacobs Ryan Kaplan Scott Pierovich
Brad Galedrige Brad Galedrige Kevin Swindell
Billy Wease Alex Pruett Billy Wease
Joe Liguori Justin Overfelt Flagstand & front straight
Wease-Pruett pits View of the pits Robbie Stanley Memorial Plaque
Robbie Stanley Memorial Plaque Front entrance to IRP Front entrance to IRP
Tom Rapier Ticket Plaza Main Entrance to IRP Inside front entrance of IRP
Entrance to IRP Midway IRP Midway USAC Souvenier Trailer on IRP Midway
IRP Midway US Mational Guard Rock Climbing Wall IRP Midway
Jerome Branson IURL Show Car on IRP Midway IRP Midway IRP Midway
IRP Midway IRP Midway Main Entrance to Grandstands
Teddy Beach Jay Drake Bryan Clauson
Daren Hagen Jerry Coons Jr. Keith Kuhn's Bullet Chassis Stable
Pruett-Wease pits View of front straight Steve Lewis' Toyota/Beast Car's
David Gough David Bryne Michael Lewis
Brandon Wagner Brandon Wagner Nick Wagner
Bobby Santos III Stephanie Mockler Adam Nuetzel
Danny Drinan Jimmy Light Travis Miniea
View of the pits in turns 3 & 4 AJ Fike Brad Kuhn
Keith Kuhn's Bullet Chassis Car's Ryan Durst Nick Bohanon
Front straight & turns 1 & 2 Front straight & infield Start/Finish & infield
Infield & turn 3 Infield & turns 3 & 4 Front straight & turns 3 & 4
Kevin Swindell Steve Lewis' Toyota/Beast Car's Bryan Clauson
Dave Darland Dave Darland Stephanie Mockler
Scott Thoman Billy Wease Danny Drinan
Bryan Clauson Ryan Kaplan Bryan Clauson

2006

Night Before The 500

Top 3

 

top3-527.jpg (40961 bytes)

1st: Bobby Santos III (center)

2nd Ron Gregory (right)

3rd: Stephanie Mockler (left)

Ryan Durst Billy Wease Car's get lined up for practice
Kevin & Sammy Swindell ready for first ever laps at IRP Brad Loyet David Bryne
Dave Steele Kevin Studley Joey Poliszczuk
Justin Overfelt Bobby Santos III Kyle Nicholas
Bobby Santos III Levi Jones Kyle Nicholas
Kevin Swindell Levi Jones Brandon Wagner
Scott Pierovich Cole Carter Brandon Wagner
Justin Overfelt Kevin Swindell Jerry Coons Jr.
David Bryne Tom Hessert Ron Gregory
Joe Liguori Alex Pruett Ron Gregory
Josh Wise AJ Fike Dave Steele
Ron Gregory Jerry Coons Jr. Danny Drinan
Scott Thoman Bobby Santos III Bryan Clauson
Stephanie Mockler Dave Darland  

 

Results Courtesy of www.usacracing.com

Santos Dominates "Night Before The 500" Feature

 

CLERMONT, Ind. – Bobby Santos scored a dominating victory Saturday in the “Night Before the 500” classic for the USAC National Midget Car Series at Indianapolis Raceway Park, as the Franklin, Mass. native won his second straight race.

Santos, this week in the No. 4 Beast/Ford owned by Janice East, finished more than four seconds ahead of Ron Gregory in the 61st edition of the race, capping a week in which he suffered problems with the car in two races but came away with victories twice.

“I couldn’t believe how fast I drove past those guys at the start of the race; the car was unbelievable,” Santos said. “When I got out front, I knew I just had to take my time and have a good race.”

The domination presented by Santos, who won Sunday at Concord Motorsport Park in North Carolina, wasn’t something most could have predicted going into the evening. He suffered through mechanical ailments prior to qualifying and pulled in before taking the green flag to start his run.

But he returned at the end of the qualifying line, and with one lap, set the night’s fast qualifying time. That allowed him to start sixth, and within a pair of laps, was challenging for the point.

He almost lost two spots on a restart on Lap 3, but that start was called back and Santos was repositioned in second. Then, he jumped past Josh Wise going into Turns 1 and 2, and by the end of the lap was five car lengths ahead. He was never challenged thereafter.

While Santos was busy buzzing around the .686-mile, the story of the night quickly became the racing in the remainder of the Top 10, and the spotlight began to show on Santos’ teammate, Stephanie Mockler. Starting 15th in only her second career USAC National Midget Car Series race, Mockler began slicing through the 26-car field in veteran-like fashion.

By Lap 8, she had already passed six cars and moved into the ninth position. She got between Nine Racing, Toyota-powered teammates Dave Darland and Dave Steele, and vaulted ahead of defending series champion Josh Wise on Lap 16.

That pass for Mockler set off a chain of passes against some of the top drivers in Midget racing today. She passed Steele on Lap 16, and though she was passed by the Floridian a couple laps later, was able to keep her composure for about 15 laps before completing a pass on Steele for the fifth position on Lap 31.

She continued to move through the field, and finally caught Jerry Coons Jr. and Michael Lewis on Lap 39. After contemplating a three-wide pass attempt, he thought better of it. That patience paid off in the form of fourth from Coons on Lap 40.

While it wasn’t easy getting past Coons, it was even harder for Mockler to pass Lewis. She tried inside and outside, and despite making a pass on Lap 45, lost third again on the next lap when Lewis slid in front of her.

Finally, apparent contact going into Turn 1 allowed Mockler to gain the position outright. With her sights set on Gregory, the best she could do was relieve him of second.

That didn’t happen. Gregory finished second for the second straight season after winning the event in 2004. He was 4.485 seconds behind Santos.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Santos. “We had an awesome racecar; we couldn’t ask for a better racecar. We’ve tested here before, but we didn’t have time to play with the car today because we were playing with the motor. I think I had three laps on the track before we went racing tonight; it was just good knowledge of the track and good people setting up the racecar. I’m lucky I was the one that got to drive it.”

Ecstatic about a personal best, Mockler – who has won two Regional Midget Car Series races this year – received a standing ovation for her third-place finish, and she reacted by shaking her fist in the air. She later talked about her advancing a dozen positions and what the night meant to her.

“It was a great run for us; a lot of fun,” she said. “I just have to thank Ford, Clorox and East Enterprises. I ran with these guys last week, and it was awesome to get to run with them.”

Finishing fourth and fifth were Lewis and Coons.

In an attempt to get back to the front, Wise came in the pits on Lap 26 to change a tire. That decision gained little, as he finished ninth at the checkered flag.

Wise’s teammate, Levi Jones, failed to make the 50-lap feature as he was unable to move into a Top-9 transfer position in the qualifying race.

Lewis and Billy Wease, both of Noblesville, Ind., won the 12-lap qualifying races.

The series shifts west next Friday and Saturday for the Pepsi/Mountain Dew “Knoxville Midget Nationals” at Knoxville Speedway in Iowa, the first dirt events of the season for the division.

 

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Bobby Santos III, 4, Klatt-21.178; 2. Jay Drake, 97, Kunz-21.337; 3. Jerry Coons Jr., 11, Wilke-Pak-21.385; 4. Ron Gregory, 22, Irvin-21.389; 5. Josh Wise, 20, Stewart-21.395; 6. Bryan Clauson, 67, Kunz-21.429; 7. Cole Carter, 7, Carter-21.481; 8. Michael Lewis, 93, Wagner-21.485; 9. Billy Wease, 80, Western Speed-21.488; 10. Dave Darland, 9, Nine Racing-21.488; 11. Bradley Galedrige, 129, Hamilton-21.525; 12. Dave Steele, 91, Nine Racing-21.611; 13. Kevin Swindell, 25, Venture-21.612; 14. Brad Kuhn, 74, James-21.619; 15. Stephanie Mockler, 6, East-21.626; 16. Mario Marietta, 37, Marietta-21.663; 17. David Byrne, 20B, Byrne-21.671; 18. Ryan Kaplan, 21k, Kaplan-21.674; 19. Levi Jones, 21, Stewart-21.707; 20. Darren Hagen, 71, Kunz-21.722; 21. Travis Miniea, 77, Fast Track-21.742; 22. Justin Overfelt, 78, Zephyr-21.754; 23. Tom Hessert III, 5, Hessert-21.769; 24. Brian Olson, 71x, Olson-21.801; 25. David Gough, 82, A & G-21.842; 26. Richey Jacobs, 114, Speed Chasers-21.911; 27. Brad Loyet, 05, Loyet-21.981; 28. Erica Santos, 98s, Santos-21.990; 29. A.J. Fike, 32, RFMS-22.039; 30. Alex Pruett, 60, Western Speed-22.056; 31. Dan Drinan, 333, Lewis-22.067; 32. Scott Thoman, 88, Thoman-22.110; 33. Scott Pierovich, 35, Pierovich-22.112; 34. Kyle Nicholas, 29, Stewart-22.147; 35. Brandon Wagner, 92, Wagner-22.193; 36. Jimmy Light, 48, Light-22.386; 37. Teddy Beach, 125, Beach-22.432; 38. Nick Bohanon, 33, Bohanon-22.608; 39. Kevin Studley, 57, Studley-22.644; 40. Joe Liguori, 28, Owen-22.706; 41. Ryan Durst, 191, Kahne-22.733; 42. Joey Piliszczuk, 8, Poliszczuk-22.781; 43. Adam Nuetzel, 17x, Nuetzel-23.254; 44. Dustin Morgan, 17, M & M-23.668; 45. Nick Wagner, 94, Wagner-NT; 46. #19, Nine Racing-NT.
 
      QUALIFYING RACE #1: (12 laps) 1. Wease, 2. Carter, 3. Miniea, 4. Galedrige, 5. Mockler, 6. Byrne, 7. Gough, 8. B. Wagner, 9. Swindell, 10. Beach, 11. Jones, 12. Drinan, 13. Pierovich, 14. Fike, 15. Hessert, 16. Durst, 17. Loyet, 18. Studley, 19. Nuetzel. NT
 
      QUALIFYING RACE #2: (12 laps) 1. Lewis, 2. Steele, 3. Kuhn, 4. Darland, 5. Marietta, 6. Overfelt, 7. Kaplan, 8. Olson, 9. Nicholas, 10. E. Santos, 11. Jacobs, 12. Bohanon, 13. Light, 14. Thoman, 15. Poliszczuk, 16. Hagen, 17. Morgan, 18. Pruett, 19. Liguori. NT
 
      FEATURE: (50 laps) 1. Bobby Santos III, 2. Ron Gregory, 3. Stephanie Mockler, 4. Michael Lewis, 5. Jerry Coons Jr. 6. Billy Wease, 7. Dave Darland, 8. Dave Steele, 9. Josh Wise, 10. Bryan Clauson, 11. David Bryne, 12. Cole Carter, 13. Bradley Galedrige, 14. Kyle Nicholas, 15. Ryan Kaplan, 16. Darren Hagen, 17. Brad Kuhn, 18. Brandon Wagner, 19. David Gough, 20. Kevin Swindell, 21. Jay Drake, 22. Travis Miniea, 23. Mario Marietta, 24. Teddy Beach, 25. Justin Overfelt, 26. Brian Olson. NT

 

 

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