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Friday night’s “Larry Rice Classic” at the Bloomington (Ind.) Speedway salutes the 1978 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year who earned the respect of the auto racing community both in and out of the cockpit. He won both a Silver Crown and National Midget Championship during his USAC driving career.

Eight drivers will continue to battle for the AMSOIL National Sprint Car series point lead, separated by just 53 points with 74 available at the quarter-mile dirt Bloomington oval.

Kevin Thomas Jr. of Cullman, Ala., winner of last year’s “Indiana Sprint Week” feature at Bloomington, is among those eight, standing fifth in the current standings after recording his third consecutive series victory last Saturday night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. He led the first 19 and last six laps of the 30-lap “Spring Showdown” co-sanctioned by MSCS to put his Rotondo Weirich/Black Jack Oil Maxim/Fisher in victory lane.

Robert Ballou, who led five laps, finished second at Tri-State ahead of series leader Chase Stockon, Brady Short and Dave Darland.

Darland’s finish vaulted him to second in the new standings, 22 back of Stockon going into Friday’s race.

The last time a driver won four straight USAC National Sprint features was 1985 when Rick Hood did it. The consecutive win record is six by Larry Dickson in 1968.

2013 AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Point Standings: 1-Chase Stockon-404, 2-Dave Darland-382, 3-Hunter Schuerenberg-380, 4-Brady Bacon-378, 5-Kevin Thomas Jr.-375, 6-Bryan Clauson-364, 7-Robert Ballou-353, 8-Tracy Hines-351, 9-Shane Cottle-245, 10-C.J. Leary-239.