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70th running of Turkey Night Grand Prix set for Thanksgiving in Irwindale

The tradition of racing open-wheel midget and sprint cars on Thanksgiving in Southern California continues Thursday with the 70th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale.

This is the 12th consecutive year that the half-mile Irwindale track has hosted the races, which began in 1934 and have been held every Thanksgiving at various Southern California tracks except during some war years.

Famous drivers such as Parnelli Jones, A.J. Foyt, Bill Vukovich, Tony Bettenhausen and Tony Stewart are among those who have won the night's main event, the United States Auto Club Midgets race.

Four former winners are scheduled to compete this year: defending winner and current championship points leader Bryan Clauson, along with Bobby Santos III (2008), Jason Leffler (1999, 2005) and Bobby East (2004), according to USAC.

The night's racing schedule also includes USAC sprint cars and Ford Focus midget racing. Gates open at 4 p.m. and racing starts at 7 p.m.

-- Jim Peltz


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