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National Dirt
Wednesday, 16 September 2015





The addition of heat races and the announcement of Grand Marshal Ron Shuman have created unprecedented enthusiasm for the 75th running of one of America’s most revered motorsports events – the “Turkey Night Grand Prix” – which unfolds November 26 at Perris (Calif.) Auto Speedway.

For the first time since its inception in 1934, “Turkey Night” will incorporate a full normal Honda USAC National Midget Series racing program, with qualifying, heat races, semi-features and the 98-lap main event on the half-mile dirt Perris oval.

Tradition has always dictated that top qualifiers have “locked into” the feature and the rest have competed in preliminary races to complete the feature starting field. This year, however, all cars and drivers will compete in the preliminary races to format the starting field.

Eight-time race winner Ron Shuman of Tempe, Ariz. has agreed to serve as the Grand Marshal for this historic running of the race. He triumphed at Ascot Park Speedway in Gardena, Calif. in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984 and 1987 and also won at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway in 1992 and 1993. In 1986 Shuman led at the white-flag lap, but a flat tire in the final corner left him in second behind Warren Mockler at the checkered flag.

The November 26 race concludes the 2015 Honda USAC National and Western Midget calendars and will include the crowning of a pair of USAC champions. Tracy Hines currently leads the National standings and defending two-time champion Ronnie Gardner sits atop the Western points.

Hines is trying to become the sixth driver in USAC history to land the coveted “Triple Crown.” He already owns championships in USAC’s Silver Crown and AMSOIL National Sprint Car series and hopes to join “Triple Crown” champs Pancho Carter, Dave Darland, Tony Stewart, J.J. Yeley and Jerry Coons Jr.

National challengers and teammates Kevin Thomas Jr. and Tanner Thorson also have sights set on title, currently ranked second and third in the standings.