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71st 'Turkey Night' auto races set for Irwindale Speedway

November 17, 2011 | 10:50 am


The 71st running of a Thanksgiving night tradition in Southern California, the "Turkey Night Grand Prix" races for USAC midget and sprint cars, are scheduled next Thursday at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

Past races have drawn many notable drivers from other series who raced on the holiday, including A.J. Foyt and Parnelli Jones, along with NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Tony Stewart (who won the midgets race in 2000) and Kasey Kahne.

The midgets and sprint races sanctioned by the U.S. Auto Club feature powerful, stripped-down, open-wheel cars that compete on the paved, half-mile Irwindale track.

Drivers expected to race next week include midgets driver Cory Kruseman of Ventura and Bryan Clauson of Indiana; the latter will attempt to win his third consecutive Turkey Night midgets race.

Clauson, 22, recently clinched his second USAC national drivers championship, which includes a scholarship to race in the Firestone Indy Lights series, a feeder series for the premier Izod IndyCar Series.

Gates open at 4 p.m. for Turkey Night and the racing starts at 7 p.m.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Cory Kruseman teaches a class in Ventura. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times.