posted February 16, 2002 01:23 AM
UDTRA'S ONLY LOUISIANA APPEARANCE SET FOR FIRST TELEVISED RACE OF 2002 AT
THUNDER VALLEY ON MARCH 16
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WOODSTOCK, GA - United Dirt Track Racing Association officials have
announced that the Louisiana Paragon Casino and Resort Soaring Eagle Classic
for the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series at Thunder Valley Speedway in Glenmora,
on March 16 will open the series' 10-race television schedule on the Speed
Channel, formerly the Speedvision Network.
The March 16 event will also be co-sponsored by the Louisiana Bureau of
Tourism and Recreation, and will be the only appearance of the 2002 season
for the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series in the state of Louisiana. The racing
program will be highlighted by a 75-lap $15,000-to-win main event. Douglas
Farms will also pay the Fast Qualifier an additional $500.
Thunder Valley Speedway will host a Practice Day on March 15 with a Crawfish
Cookout and live band after the practice session has concluded.
The main event will be run in front of Speed Channel cameras, and will
taped for three airings in April. The first airing will be on April 27
10 p.m. Eastern time, and again at 11 p.m. Pacific time. A third daytime
airing will be announced at a later date. UDTRA officials will announce
rest of the 10-race Speed Channel UDTRA television schedule at a later date.
The Louisiana Paragon Casino and Resort Soaring Eagle Classic will be the
fifth round of the 2002 UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series season, with a tight point
battle early in the season. The 1999 UDTRA Champion Dale McDowell of
Rossville, GA leads Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI by 29 points. Just 165
points separate the top 10 in the current UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series points.
Defending UDTRA Champion Rick Eckert of York, PA is third in points,
followed by the driver he beat for the 2001 title by one point, Steve
Francis of Ashland, KY. The 1997 UDTRA Champion Billy Moyer of Batesville,
AR is fifth in points, followed by four-time UDTRA Champion Scott Bloomquist
of Mooresburg, TN.
Wendell Wallace of Batesville, AR is seventh in UDTRA points, with Steve
Shaver of Parkersburg, WV in the eighth spot, and ninth is Donnie Moran
Dresden, OH. Dan Schlieper of Pewaukee, WI rounds out the top ten in the
UDTRA points chase.
The March 16 show will be the third appearance for the UDTRA Pro DirtCar
Series at Thunder Valley Speedway. Francis took the win at the 1/4-mile
clay oval in 1999, and Bloomquist won the 2000 event. The UDTRA event at
Thunder Valley Speedway was rained out in 2001, and then the September 11
tragedy forced cancellation of the rain date.
The 1996 UDTRA Champion Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN won the 2002 season
opener for the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series on February 2 at Golden Isle
Speedway in Brunswick, GA. Smith is 11th in points, just three points out
of the top ten.
Moyer, Mars and Don O'Neal of Martinsville, IN won rounds two through four
respectively at East Bay Raceway in Tampa, FL on February 6, and 9. O'Neal
became a two-time East Bay Winternationals Champion with his February 9
and he is 12th in points, only nine points out of the top ten. O'Neal has
told a UDTRA official he is going to follow the UDTRA tour to Louisiana.
Another tight point battle is for the $10,000 Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year
Award. Shane Tankersley of Morganton, GA leads the Lucas Oil RoY points
chase by 31 points, with a three-way tie for the second spot. Billy Ogle
Jr. of Knoxville, TN, Anthony White of Clinton, TN, and John Anderson of
Omaha, NE are tied for second, and Mark Kraus of Stratford, WI is fifth.
Other top entries expected for the Louisiana Paragon Casino and Resort
Soaring Eagle Classic are 2001 UDTRA Rookie of the Year Joe Izzo of Chicago,
IL, Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC, Shannon Babb of Decatur, IL, Terry English
Benton, KY, Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, IL, Randy Korte of Highland,
IL, and Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA.
The Paragon Casino and Resort in Marksville, LA will be the Official Host
Hotel for the Thunder Valley Speedway event. To inquire about discount
rates and reservations call 1-800-642-7777 Ask for the Thunder Valley
Another area hotel offering a discount rate for the event is the Hampton
Inn in Alexandria, LA, who is offering a $59 rate. To make reservations
call (318) 487-8500 and ask for the Thunder Valley Speedway rate.
Thunder Valley Speedway is located 10 miles west of Glenmora, LA on S.R.
113. For ticket and race day information call (318) 748-4473.