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Eldora, DARF host to USAC events

The United States Auto Club makes several stops in the Miami Valley during the next five days, including a special USAC Night hosted by the Dayton Auto Racing Fan Club.

But first comes the 4-Crown. The sprint, midget and Silver Crown national series hit Eldora Speedway for their portion of the 4-Crown Nationals on Saturday. The World of Outlaws and UMP DIRTcar modifieds open the show tonight.

Donny Schatz has a WoO-high 20 wins this season, but trails Daryn Pittman in the standings by 70 points. Pittman has eight wins, but he has two more top-five finishes and has set quick-time in qualifying 10 more times than Schatz to bump him ahead in points.

In USAC, Bobby East holds a five-point lead over Jerry Coons Jr. in the Silver Crown cars. Bryan Clauson holds the same lead over Dave Darland in the sprints. Christopher Bell holds a more comfortable 37-point lead over Clauson.

Some of those USAC drivers are scheduled to return to Dayton on Tuesday for USAC Night at Celebrations Banquet Center on Stop Eight Road (formerly Haer’s Party House) near Vandalia. The event begins at 5 p.m. with cars on display and an all-you-can-eat cookout for $5. The DARF membership meeting follows at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Among those invited to attend the DARF show are Earl and Berneice Baltes, Gary Bettenhausen, Tom Bigelow, Donald Davidson, Tony Elliott, Jack Hewitt, Hoffman Auto Racing, Bob Jenkins, Dick Jordan, Gary Lee, Mack McClellan, Johnny Vance and Matt Westfall. Track photographers are also invited to the event.

Bluegrass battle: Defiance native Sam Hornish Jr. leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series into Kentucky Speedway for the Kentucky 300 on Saturday. Hornish holds a 17-point lead over Austin Dillon and a 36-point lead over Regan Smith.

Getting past Hornish at Kentucky could be tough. His average starting position is 3.3 and his average finish is 5.7 in three Nationwide races. He has two wins at Kentucky in the IndyCar Series in 2001 and 2006.

Hornish has led the Nationwide points the past five weeks and 13 of the 26 races this season. Counting Kentucky, there are seven races left in the Nationwide Series.

“It’s easy to give away and hard to make up, but I’d rather have the opportunity to give it away,” Hornish said of having the pressure of leading the points as opposed to chasing down the leader. “We’re in a pretty good position right now. … I feel like there’s a little extra pressure on me because I want to win here. I won here in the IndyCar Series and it’s a place that means a lot to me. We have a lot of friends and family coming down so that makes me want to have a good day.”

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