posted June 14, 2002 01:23 AM
UDTRA NOTEBOOK: GREAT NORTHERN CHALLENGE; RULES AMENDMENT; MILLIONAIRE'S
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WOODSTOCK, GA - The top dirt late model drivers in the country are ready
embark on the second Midwestern tour of the season for the United Dirt Track
Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series with some big money on the line with
events in Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska.
The tour will be highlighted by the Great Northern Challenge, involving
five events at four tracks with three promoters, that could see a driver
taking an extra $100,000 to the bank. If a single driver can win three
the five events, that driver will receive a $100,000 bonus.
The Izzo Family will open the Great Northern Challenge by hosting the UDTRA
Pro DirtCar Series at Davenport Speedway in Davenport, IA on Tuesday night
with a 50-lap $10,000-to-win main event.
The Clarion On The River in Davenport, IA will be the UDTRA Official Host
Hotel for the Davenport Speedway event. The Clarion On The River will be
offering UDTRA fans and competitors a special discount rate of $44 per
night. To make reservations call (563) 324-1921 and ask for the UDTRA
Special Discount Rate.
On Tuesday at Davenport Speedway, the gates open at 1 p.m., with time
trials set for 6 p.m., and racing scheduled for 7 p.m. Davenport Speedway
is located three miles east of I-280 at exit 4 on Locust St. For race day
and ticket information call (319) 326-5338.
Drivers from the Ohio-based Renegade DirtCar Series will join the Great
Northern Challenge with an event promoted by the Izzos at LaSalle Speedway
in LaSalle, IL on Wednesday night.
The UDTRA and Renegade Series will then travel to Robert and Steve Kaufman's
Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, WI for a pair of events on June 21-22.
The Renegade DirtCars will be featured on June 21 in the $15,000-to-win
Phillips 66 Challenge. The UDTRA Pro DirtCars will take to Cedar Lake
Speedway on June 22 for the $15,000-to-win 4th Annual Masters.
On June 22 at Cedar Lake Speedway, the pit gate opens at 1 p.m., and the
front gate opens at 3 p.m. The WISSOTA Late Models and Street Stocks will
also be in action on June 22. Hot laps are set for 6 p.m., with time trials
at 6:45 p.m., and racing is scheduled for 8 p.m. For race day and ticket
information call (715) 248-7119.
Howard Mellinger will welcome the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series for the first
time at Crawford County Speedway in Denison, IA for the final leg of the
Great Northern Challenge, a 50-lap $10,000-to-win main event on June 25.
The schedule of events for Crawford County Speedway on June 25 will have
pit gate opening at 2 p.m., and the front gate opens at 4 p.m. Hot laps
set for 6:30 p.m., with time trials at 7:15 p.m. and racing is scheduled
8 p.m. The Modifieds and Street Stocks will also be ion action on June
For race day and ticket information call (712) 263-8221. Crawford County
Speedway is located .6 miles north of U.S. Highway 30 on U.S. Highway 59,
then .6 miles northeast on S.R. 39.
Another first-time venue for the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series will be Nebraska
Raceway Park in Greenwood, NE on June 28-29. The June 28 event will be
40-lap $7,000-to-win main event, and the June 29 show will feature a 50-lap
$10,000-to-win main event.
The Villager Best Western Hotel in Lincoln, NE is the Official UDTRA Host
Hotel for the Nebraska Raceway Park events. The Villager Best Western Hotel
is offering UDTRA fans and competitors a special discount rate of $59 per
night. To make reservations call (402) 464-9111 and ask for the special
UDTRA discount rate.
Both days at Nebraska Raceway Park will have the pit gate opening at 3 p.m.,
and the front gate opening at 5 p.m. Hot laps are set for 6:30 p.m., with
time trials at 7 p.m., and racing is scheduled for 8 p.m. The Modifieds
will also compete on June 28, and the Hobby Stocks will be in action on
For race day and ticket information call (402) 944-2233. Nebraska Raceway
Park is located just off I-80 at exit 420 on S.R. 63.
Going into the second UDTRA Midwest swing of the season, 1999 UDTRA Champion
Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA leads the Pro DirtCar Series point standings
with five wins, nine top five finishes and 14 top ten finishes. McDowell
leads the defending UDTRA Champion Rick Eckert of York, PA by 34 points.
Eckert is keeping pace with McDowell in the points chase, as he finally
posted his first number in the 2002 UDTRA win column on June 1 at Florence
Speedway in Union, KY. Eckert leads the series in top five finishes with
10, and he also has 14 top ten finishes and two fast times.
Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI is still in the championship hunt. Mars is
third in points with one win, nine top five finishes, and 12 top tens.
is 67 points behind Eckert. Steve Francis of Ashland, KY is also keeping
his championship hopes alive, and is fourth in the UDTRA point standings.
Francis has one win, eight top fives, 11 top tens, and leads the series
four fast times. The Kentucky Colonel, a two-time UDTRA Championship
Runner-Up, is just 17 points behind Mars in the UDTRA points chase.
Two drivers making big moves in the UDTRA point standings in recent weeks
are Dan Schlieper of Pewaukee, WI and 1996 UDTRA Champion Freddy Smith of
Schlieper moved into the top five in UDTRA points after the June 1 event
Union, KY. Schlieper, who is the defending Davenport UDTRA Champion, is
still looking for his first win of the season, but he has four top five
finishes, and seven top tens.
Smith has climbed into the sixth spot in the UDTRA points chase, after being
outside the top ten a month ago. The Southern Gentleman won the UDTRA
season opener in Brunswick, GA on February 2, and has two top five finishes,
and six top tens. Smith is 74 points behind Schlieper in the point
Smith also leads a tight battle for the sixth through tenth spots in the
UDTRA point standings. Just 73 points separate sixth through tenth in the
UDTRA points chase.
Donnie Moran of Dresden, OH will be looking to move into the seventh spot
points with a good showing on the Midwest swing. Moran is currently eighth
in points, and is only 19 points behind Smith. Moran has two top fives,
seven top tens, and one fast time.
Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC is in the ninth spot on the UDTRA points list
one top five, and four top ten finishes. Cook is 33 points behind Moran.
Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL rounds out the top ten in UDTRA points
with one top five finish, three top tens, and is 21 points behind Cook.
Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA is currently 12th in UDTRA points, but
should move into the top ten during the Great Northern Challenge Tour.
Birky also leads the Advance Auto Parts Hard Charger point standings.
Another top 10 contender is Randy Korte of Highland, IL, who is currently
13th in UDTRA points.
Shane Tankersley of Morganton, GA leads a tight battle among three drivers
for the $10,000 Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year competition. Tankersley, who
is 14th overall in UDTRA points, leads Mark Kraus of Stratford, WI by 64
points. Kraus is 15th overall in UDTRA points, and he leads Billy Ogle
of Knoxville, TN, who is 16th overall, by 40 points.
Rick Aukland of Zanesville, OH is one driver to watch during the Great
Northern Challenge. Aukland, formerly of Fargo, ND, has recorded wins
during his career at Davenport Speedway, LaSalle Speedway, and Cedar Lake
Speedway. Aukland is currently 17th in UDTRA points with one top five,
four top tens in 10 appearances.
Along with the UDTRA regulars, when you add in the Renegade DirtCar Series
regulars, you have a very impressive and competitive field of cars and
The defending and two-time Renegade champion Chub Frank of Sugar Grove,
is always a treat to win when he visits UDTRA, as he showed last season
four wins. Another former Renegade champion, Mike Balzano of Parkersburg,
WV also has a UDTRA win on his resume.
Steve Shaver of Parkersburg, WV is a two-time winner of the UDTRA East Bay
Winternationals, and in six appearances this season with UDTRA, has four
ten finishes and two fast times. Another Renegade regular that has had
success in UDTRA this season is Matt Miller of Waterville, OH. Miller has
one top ten finish and a fast time in eight appearances.
RULES AMENDMENT: UDTRA officials have announced a rules amendment for
three UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series events during the Great Northern Challenge.
Beginning on June 18 for the Pro DirtCar Series event in Davenport, IA,
UDTRA will allow competitors to use alcohol as a fuel for their race cars.
This rule amendment will also be in effect for the Pro DirtCar Series
events at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, WI on June 22, and at
Crawford County Speedway in Denison, IA on June 25.
"Including alcohol as an alternative fuel is something we thought about
putting in our rulebook for the 2002 season, but we felt it needed some
field testing before it could be considered," UDTRA Competition Director
Ritchie Lewis said. "We felt using the Great Northern Challenge Tour would
be a good test for the rule, and would give us sufficient data to look
The UDTRA rules will return to gasoline only beginning with the Pro DirtCar
Series event at Nebraska Raceway Park in Greenwood, NE on June 28.
McDOWELL CLOSES IN ON MILLION DOLLAR MARK: Current UDTRA Pro DirtCar
Series point leader and 1999 Champion Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA is
closing in on becoming the third member of the UDTRA Millionaire's Club.
After the first 15 events of the 2002 Pro DirtCar Series season, McDowell
has taken $80,450 to the bank after five wins, nine top fives, and 14 top
tens. That brings McDowell's UDTRA career earnings total to $960,475.
The 1996 UDTRA Champion Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN has pocketed $902,825
in UDTRA career earnings. The Southern Gentleman needs to earn another
$97,175 at UDTRA events to join the exclusive UDTRA Millionaire's Club.
NEXT UDTRA "DIRTY THURSDAY" ON SPEED CHANNEL: The next UDTRA Pro DirtCar
Series "Dirty Thursday" telecast on the SPEED Channel will be on June 20
11 p.m. ET. The action will feature the McCarthy-Hotentot-Siebler 75 from
Eagle Raceway in Lincoln, NE. The program will re-air on SPEED Channel
June 21 at 2 p.m. ET.
For a complete UDTRA Dirty Thursday schedule on SPEED Channel, visit the
UDTRA web site at www.udtra.com.