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Sweeney Seeks Second Straight Holiday Win in Ascot Sprints

September 01, 1985

Mike Sweeney returns to Ascot Park tonight and will be shooting for his second straight 40-lap victory in the windup of the two-day Labor Day sprint car sweepstakes at the half-mile dirt track in Gardena.

Last year, Sweeney edged past Dean Thompson, the most prolific winner in California Racing Assn. history, on a restart with two laps to go.

Sweeney wound the 1984 season in fourth place in the standings and turned in four victories.

This season, the third generation driver from Carson, currently is in second place, only a few points behind leader Eddie Wirth and is enjoying his best season ever, having accounted for seven of his 12 lifetime victories in 1985.

Sweeney, 28, started racing sprint cars in 1974 after gaining experience in quarter midgets and a few midget races. He recorded his first sprint car win in 1979 at El Centro and won his first main at Ascot Park last year on Aug. 11.

Three months after his first victory, his father, Max, was injured while driving a midget car he a race at Ascot. Max laid in a coma until his death in 1982.

Until his accident, Max had tutored his son the techniques of racing and setting up a sprint car. His grandfather, Blackie Driscoll, was also a racer, having driven hardtops at the old Culver City and Western Speedway tracks.

After his father's death, Mike decided he needed a change of scenery and went to Australia where he drove sprints and won six main events.

Sweeney, a graduate of Carson High School, turned in one of his more impressive showings in last year's rich Pacific Coast Open event when was was fourth, trailing only winner Bubby Jones, World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser and Thompson.

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