The 74th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix race for USAC midget cars, a Thanksgiving night tradition in Southern California, is scheduled for Thursday at Perris Auto Speedway in Riverside County.
Drivers planning to race this year include Kyle Larson, the 22-year-old California native who was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year this season. Larson won the Turkey Night race in 2012.
Past Turkey Night races have drawn other notable drivers from various racing series, including A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones and other NASCAR drivers such as Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne. Jones is grand marshal for this year’s race.
The midget cars sanctioned by the U.S. Auto Club are powerful, stripped-down, open-wheel cars that will compete on the half-mile, clay Perris Auto Speedway oval.
Larson grew up racing midget and sprint cars before he turned his main attention to NASCAR stock-car racing.
“I’m so excited” to race in the Turkey Night Grand Prix again, Larson told reporters last week at NASCAR’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Asked if he would have a traditional turkey dinner before the Perris race, Larson replied, “No, I will eat some tacos at the pit shack there. They have good food in the infield.”
Spectator gates open at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and the racing starts at 6 p.m., with qualifying races ahead of the main event.
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