Ascot Park's only two-day California Racing Assn. program this year--the 7-Up Labor Day Sweepstakes--will take place next Saturday and Sunday nights with all but one of its former winners expected to return.
This year the 50-lap race will be held Saturday night with a 40-lapper scheduled for Sunday, both on the half-mile dirt oval.
Norman (Bubby) Jones, the winner of the 50-lap portion of the race the past two years, has just returned from a visit to the East and Midwest in his Frank Lewis sprint car, but isn't certain he'll make the doubleheader.
"I don't know for sure," Jones said, "My plans are up in the air now, but I'm going to try and make the races."
Jones, 43, from Glen Avon, the defending Kraco-CRA champion the past two seasons, gave up strictly local campaigning to travel the country and has had one of his poorest years in a long time.
His latest trip did nothing to improve his record. He finished far back at World of Outlaws events at Sarver, Pa., and Kokomo, Ind., and then was disqualified from the U.S. Nationals meet at Knoxville, Iowa, when an illegal additive was found in his fuel.
Jones says a crewman accidently added the nitromethane when he grabbed the wrong fuel container.
While Jones is a question mark, point leader Eddie Wirth along with the year's two biggest winners--Dean Thompson and Mike Sweeney.
Although Wirth has only three victories in 33 starts, the Hermosa Beach driver's consistency has kept him at the top of the heap, with Sweeney close behind.
Sweeney, a third-generation driver from Carson, won the 40-lap race in the Labor Day series last year and is having his best season ever in the Joe Kasparoff car. He has won seven CRA events this season, including a win at the last race at Ascot on Aug. 17.
The biggest threat, however, figures to be Thompson. The 35-year-old Carson driver is the all-time winningest driver in CRA with 97 club victories and a total of 108 overall.
He has won both halves of the doubleheader with a 50-lap win in 1982 and the 40-lap victory the next year. The three-time champion (1980-82), and the runner-up to Jones the past two seasons, is the biggest winner so far this year with nine.