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posted June 19, 2002 12:42 PM UIN: 16262997


DAVENPORT, IA - Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA took his second career
United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series win in front of
hometown fans Tuesday night in the 50-lap main event at Davenport Speedway.
Birkhofer led every lap in the Seubert Calf Ranches Mastersbilt/Pro Power
Grand Prix for the $10,000 victory.

"This is a very special win for me to happen in front of these great fans,"
Birkhofer said. "These fans have been very supportive of me, and with me
running all over the country, they don't get to see me race as often as
used to."

The win moved Birkhofer into the tenth spot in the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series
point standings, making him eligible for the UDTRA Winner's Circle Program.
Birkhofer also becomes the first driver eligible for the Great Northern
Challenge $100,000 Bonus Award.

The next four events for the Great Northern Challenge are the Renegade
DirtCar Series event on Wednesday night in LaSalle, IL, the Renegade event
on Friday night at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, WI, the UDTRA
Masters 75 on Saturday night at Cedar Lake, and the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series
event at Crawford County Speedway in Denison, IA on June 25.

Any driver that can win three of the five events of the Great Northern
Challenge will win a $100,000 bonus.

"We knew if we had a good night, we could move into the top ten in points,"
Birkhofer said. "When I got the lead at the start, I just tried to be
smooth. I didn't know who was behind me, or how far behind me they were,
I just tried to not make any mistakes in lapped traffic. We've got one
I run pretty well at Denison, IA, and I've won a race there. We'll just
have to go to LaSalle tomorrow night, and then up to Cedar Lake and see
happens. A hundred grand is a lot of money!"

The driver behind Birkhofer was Steve Francis of Ashland, KY. Francis
moved up to the second spot early in the race, but couldn't get closer than
a few car lengths of Birkhofer, even with three caution flags. Francis
to settle for second in the Valvoline/Mopar Parts Rocket/Stanton Intrepid.

"By the time I worked my way up to second, I could see Birky in front of
me," Francis said. "All I could do was hope he made a mistake a lapped
traffic, but he didn't. Brian drove a good race and deserved to win in
front of his hometown fans. We'll take second, and congratulate Brian on
his win."

Defending UDTRA Champion Rick Eckert of York, PA rallied from the tenth
starting spot to finish third in the Raye Vest Rocket/Cornett Taurus.
Eckert also took over the Pro DirtCar Series point lead from 1999 Champion
Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA by 26 points.

"We had a strong run tonight, and to take over the point lead now is not
that big of a deal because there is still a long way to go in the season,"
Eckert said. "Dale had a bad night tonight, and we might have a bad night
down the road."

McDowell dropped out of the race on lap 29 with a mechanical failure while
running in the fourth spot. It was the first time in the first 16 races
that McDowell failed to complete every lap.

Denny Eckrich of Tiffin, IA finished fourth in the Precision Performance
Barry Wright/Grove Grand Prix, and Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI took the
fifth spot in the Jimmy Mars Racing Mastersbilt/Pro Power Monte Carlo.
Toland of Hillsdale, IL was sixth in the Team Budda GRT/JR Motorsports Grand

Chub Frank of Sugar Grove, PA started 17th and finished seventh in the
Correy Rubber Rocket/Draime Monte Carlo. Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville,
FL started on the pole, but faded to the eighth spot at the finish in the
Lucas Oil/Dunn-Benson Ford Rocket/Eatmon Taurus.

Brian Harris of Davenport, IA finished ninth in the IITI Taylor Insulation
Rocket/AEM Monte Carlo, and the 1996 UDTRA Champion Freddy Smith of
Knoxville, TN started 20th and charged to the tenth spot in the
Christenberry Trucking and Farms Warrior/Custom Monte Carlo.

Frank and Smith shared the $150 Advance Auto Parts Hard Charger of the Race
Award. Pearson was the quick qualifier among the 46 entrants, turning the
1/2-mile dirt oval in 21.506 seconds for an average speed of 83.698 miles
per hour.

At the start of the race, Birkhofer took the lead from his outside front
starting spot from polesitter Pearson, with Francis moving up to third from
the fifth starting hole, Harris in fourth, and Darren Miller of Chadwick,
in fifth driving the NAPA Auto Parts Mastersbilt/Pro Power Monte Carlo.

On lap two, Birkhofer was running the outside groove, while Pearson looked
inside. Eckrich passed Miller to move up to the fifth spot. By lap 4,
McDowell was on the move, driving his Larry Shaw Race Cars Rocket/Custom
Grand Prix into the sixth spot. Eckrich moved up on the inside to battle
Harris for the fourth spot on lap six.

Francis drove to the outside of Pearson in turn one on lap eight to take
over the second spot, as Birkhofer had pulled out to a 15 car-length lead.
Birkhofer stayed up on the cushion, while Francis started groove hunting
trying to find a fast line to catch the leader. By lap 12, Harris, Eckrich,
and McDowell started racing three-wide for the fourth spot.

A caution flag on lap 15 for debris on the backstretch slowed the field
a single file restart. Birkhofer led the field down for the green flag
followed by Francis and Pearson, who found himself in a four-car battle
the third spot with Harris, Eckrich, and McDowell. Eckrich moved up to
third spot, with Harris fourth, McDowell fifth, and Pearson dropped back

Eckert climbed up to the seventh spot by lap 18, while Rick Aukland of
Zanesville, OH in the Ostrom Painting and Sandblasting Rocket/Malcuit Grand
Prix battled Miller for the tenth spot. Birkhofer once again had a 15
car-length lead over Francis by lap 25. Eckert passed Pearson on the
outside in turn one for the sixth spot.

On lap 27, Birkhofer began to close on the cars at the tail of the lead
as Francis tried to close in on the leader. McDowell and Eckert drove by
Harris on lap 28 to take over the fourth and fifth spots, while Harris
dropped back to sixth.

McDowell's charge came to an end on lap 29 when he stalled in the second
turn with a mechanical failure to bring out the caution, and was out for
evening. Birkhofer led the field down for the restart followed by Francis,
Eckrich, Eckert, Harris, Pearson, Mars, Toland, Frank, and Miller.

The action picked up on lap 30 when Birkhofer pulled out to a 10 car-length
lead over Francis. Eckert passed Eckrich for the third spot, and Mars
passed Pearson for sixth and began to challenge Harris for fifth.

The third and final caution flag of the race came out on lap 33 when Randy
Korte of Highland, IL stalled his Mid-Continental Fuels Rocket/Pro Power
Monte Carlo in turn two. On the restart, Mars continued his battle with
Harris for the fifth spot. Toland passed Pearson for the seventh spot on
lap 34, and Mars got by Harris for fifth on lap 35.

Frank took over the eighth spot from Pearson on lap 36, and Smith moved
the tenth spot. Mars put the heat on Eckrich for the fourth spot, looking
inside on lap 42. Harris began to fade in the closing laps of the race,
dropped to the ninth spot. With six laps to go, Birkhofer encountered
lapped traffic, but Francis was unable to close in, and Birkhofer took the

John Anderson of Omaha, NE finished 13th in the Tender Heart Treasures
GRT/Hatfield Grand Prix and was the Lucas Oil Rookie of the Race. Pearson
won the first 10-lap heat race and picked up the $50 Scott Performance Wire
Bonus Award. Miller claimed the $100 JE Pistons Bonus Award with a third
heat race win.

Birkhofer won the second heat, and Harris was the fourth heat race winner.
Frank won the first 12-lap Polaris ATVs Consolation Race, and Dennis Erb
of Carpentersville, IL won the second 12-lap Polaris ATVs Consolation Race
in the B&K Sportswear Rayburn/Bullock Monte Carlo.

Dan Schlieper of Pewaukee, WI, who is fifth in the UDTRA point standings,
had his transporter breakdown in route to Davenport, IA. Schlieper had
Randy Korte's backup car ready for him to drive, but he couldn't make it
the track in time for the main event. The top ten UDTRA point drivers
elected to give Schlieper 80 hardship points as outlined by the UDTRA

The next event for the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series will be in front of the
SPEED Channel cameras on Saturday night for the $15,000-to-win Masters 75.
The next SPEED Channel telecast will air this Thursday night at 11 p.m.
and again on Friday at 2 p.m. ET with action from Eagle Raceway in Lincoln,

For a complete list of the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series telecasts on SPEED
Channel, visit the UDTRA web site at If you like what you
see of UDTRA on SPEED Channel, click the link on the UDTRA home page and
the folks at SPEED Channel know you would like to see more.


1. 2 15b Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA Pont. 50 $10,000
2. 5 1 Steve Francis Ashland, KY Dodge 50 $6,600
3. 10 24 Rick Eckert York, PA Ford 50 $3,850
4. 6 50 Denny Eckrich Tiffin, IA Pont. 50 $2,500
5. 9 28 Jimmy Mars Elk Mound, WI Chev. 50 $2,600
6. 13 39 Rob Toland Hillsdale, IL Pont. 50 $1,800
7. 17 1* Chub Frank Sugar Grove, PA Chev. 50 $1,675
8. 1 1p Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL Ford 50 $2,050
9. 4 21h Brian Harris Davenport, IA Chev. 50 $1,200
10. 20 00 Freddy Smith Knoxville, TN Chev. 50 $1,775
11. 19 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN Pont. 50 $1,000
12. 18 28e Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville, IL Chev. 50 $950
13. 22 1k John Anderson (R) Omaha, NE Pont. 50 $900
14. 16 56 Gary Webb Blue Grass, IA Chev. 50 $875
15. 15 53 Ray Cook Brasstown, NC Ford 50 $1,450
16. 21 5j Jay Johnson West Burlington, IA Chev. 50 $825
17. 8 30 Steve Shaver Parkersburg, WV Chev. 49 $800
18. 3 32d Darren Miller Chadwick, IL Chev. 49 $850
19. 12 E1 Mike Balzano Parkersburg, WV Chev. 49 $700
20. 24 00k Randy Korte Highland, IL Pont. 32 $700
21. 7 17m Dale McDowell Rossville, GA Pont. 28 $1,400
22. 11 12 Rick Aukland Zanesville, OH Pont. 28 $700
23. 14 19 Davey Johnson Greensburg, PA Pont. 6 $700
24. 23 201 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH Chev. 5 $1,300

PROVISIONALS: Moran (2) and Korte (5)
LAPS LED: Birkhofer, 1-50
finished 7th), and Smith (started 20th and finished 10th)
TIME OF THE RACE: 29 Minutes and 20.340 Seconds
HARDEE'S SHOOTOUT INVITEES: De. Eckrich, Toland, Frank, Harris, Balzano,
and Ray Guss Jr. (Promoter's Choice)


1 1P Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL Rocket Taurus 21.506 23.393 21.506
2 15b Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA Mastersbilt Grand Prix 21.704 21.560
21.560 83.488
3 32m Darren Miller Chadwick, IL Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 21.604 21.883
21.604 83.318
4 21h Brian Harris Davenport, IA Rocket Monte Carlo 21.841 21.613 21.613
5 1 Steve Francis Ashland, KY Rocket Intrepid 21.632 22.644 21.632 83.210
6 50e Denny Eckrich Tiffin, IA Barry Wright Grand Prix 21.648 21.672 21.648
7 58 Dave Eckrich Oxford, IA Barry Wright Grand Prix 21.675 21.789 21.675
8 30 Steve Shaver Parkersburg, WV Rocket Monte Carlo 21.967 21.711 21.711
9 1* Chub Frank Sugar Grove, PA Rocket Monte Carlo 22.005 21.749 21.749
10 24 Rick Eckert York, PA Rocket Taurus 21.816 21.759 21.759 82.724
11 17m Dale McDowell Rossville, GA Rocket Grand Prix 21.999 21.787 21.787
12 E1 Mike Balzano Parkersburg, WV Rocket Monte Carlo 22.254 21.804 21.804
13 28m Jimmy Mars Elk Mound, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 21.935 21.865 21.865
14 19 Davey Johnson Greensburg, PA Rocket Grand Prix 22.482 21.939 21.939
15 53 Ray Cook Brasstown, NC Mastersbilt Taurus 22.282 22.006 22.006 81.796
16 99j Johnny Johnson West Burlington, IA Rayburn Mustang 22.101 22.034
22.034 81.692
17 39t Rob Toland Hillsdale, IL GRT Grand Prix 22.323 22.036 22.036 81.685
18 72 John Mason Millersburg, OH Rocket Monte Carlo 22.064 22.296 22.064
19 00k Randy Korte Highland, IL Rocket Grand Prix 22.334 22.075 22.075
20 H20 Mark Kraus (R) Stratford, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 22.220 22.081
22.081 81.518
21 166 Joe Izzo Chicago, IL GRT Monte Carlo 22.550 22.085 22.085 81.503
22 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH Rayburn Monte Carlo 22.888 22.179 22.179
23 12 Rick Aukland Zanesville, OH Rocket Grand Prix 22.279 22.212 22.212
24 56 Gary Webb Blue Grass, IA GRT Monte Carlo 22.459 22.246 22.246 80.913
25 w11 Rob Blair Titusville, PA Rocket Monte Carlo 22.745 22.258 22.258
26 5j Jay Johnson West Burlington, IA Mastersbilt Grand Prix 22.304 22.441
22.304 80.703
27 1k John Anderson (R) Omaha, NE GRT Grand Prix 22.722 22.455 22.455 80.160
28 00 Freddy Smith Knoxville, TN Warrior Monte Carlo 22.565 22.540 22.540
29 77a Jeff Aikey Cedar Falls, IA Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 22.573 22.600
22.573 79.741
30 43s Kurt Stewart Ainsworth, IA Warrior Monte Carlo 23.139 22.592 22.592
31 28 Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville, IL Rayburn Monte Carlo 22.630 22.643
22.630 79.540
32 201 Billy Ogle Jr. (R) Knoxville, TN GRT Monte Carlo 22.655 22.715 22.655
33 51 Matt Furman Iowa City, IA Rocket Grand Prix 22.730 23.619 22.730
34 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN Warrior Grand Prix 22.739 22.784 22.739
35 T31 Shane Tankersley (R) Morgonton, GA Stinger Grand Prix 23.257 22.781
22.781 79.013
36 12g Ray Guss Jr. Milan, IL Rocket Monte Carlo 22.826 NT 22.826 78.857
37 25 Kerry Hansen Spencer, WI Rocket Taurus 22.866 23.137 22.866 78.719
38 63 Tony Farise Montrose, IA Racemart Intrepid 23.186 23.038 23.038 78.132
39 54 Mark Curwen Hazel Green, WI American Grand Prix 23.047 23.091 23.047
40 8 Sonny Findling Kirksville, MO GRT Grand Prix 23.545 23.166 23.166
41 23d Dana Wells Wilton, IA Mastersbilt Camaro 23.180 23.446 23.180 77.653
42 2 Tom Cannon Iowa City, IA Warrior Monte Carlo 23.465 23.224 23.224
43 45 Mike Busch Wasco, IL GRT Grand Prix 24.100 23.520 23.520 76.531
44 99d Darrell DeFrance Marshalltown, IA Larry Shaw Grand Prix 23.883 23.535
23.535 76.482
45 11a Ace Ihm Hazel Green, WI Rocket Grand Prix 23.869 24.249 23.869 75.412
46 s9 Dan Schlieper Pewaukee, WI GRT Monte Carlo NT NT NT NT

HEAT RACES (10 Laps - Top 4 Finishers Transfer To Main Event)

SCOTT PERFORMANCE WIRES 1ST HEAT: 1. Pearson; 2. Francis; 3. Mars; 4.
Toland; 5. Frank; 6. Blair; 7. Hansen; 8. Aikey; 9. Izzo; 10. Furman; 11.

2ND HEAT: 1. Birkhofer; 2. De. Eckrich; 3. Eckert; 4. D. Johnson; 5. Ja.
Johnson; 6. R. Johnson; 7. Fraise; 8. Cannon; 9. Mason; 10. Moran; 11.

JE PISTONS 3RD HEAT: 1. Miller; 2. McDowell; 3. Aukland; 4. Cook; 5. Da.
Eckrich; 6. Korte; 7. Erb; 8. Anderson (R); 9. Curwen; 10. Tankersley (R);
11. Busch.

4TH HEAT: 1. Harris; 2. Shaver; 3. Balzano; 4. Webb; 5. Kraus (R); 6. Jo.
Johnson; 7. Smith; 8. Ogle (R); 9. Ihm; 10. DeFrance; 11. Findling.

POLARIS ATVs 12-LAP CONSOLATION RACES (Top 3 Finishers Transfer To Main

1ST CONSY: 1. Frank; 2. R. Johnson; 3. Ja. Johnson; 4. Izzo; 5. Blair;
Hansen; 7. Fraise; 8. Aikey; 9. Stewart; 10. Wells; 11. Furman.

2ND CONSY: 1. Erb; 2. Smith; 3. Anderson (R); 4. Kraus (R); 5. Da.
Eckrich; 6. Ogle (R); 7. Guss; 8. Ihm; 9. Jo. Johnson; 10. DeFrance; 11.
Curwen; 12. Korte; 13. Tankersley (R).


1. Rick Eckert - 2526
2. Dale McDowell - 2500
3. Jimmy Mars - 2449
4. Steve Francis - 2447
5. Dan Schlieper - 2072
6. Freddy Smith - 2052
7. Donnie Moran - 1998
8. Earl Pearson Jr. - 1989
9. Ray Cook - 1984
10. Brian Birkhofer - 1931
11. Scott Bloomquist - 1918
12. Billy Moyer - 1829
13. Randy Korte - 1801
14. Shane Tankersley (R) - 1543
15. Mark Kraus (R) - 1479
16. Billy Ogle Jr. (R) - 1439
17. Rick Aukland - 1167
18. Shannon Babb - 1059
19. Wendell Wallace - 981
20. Randle Chupp - 909

R - Denotes Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year Candidate

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