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posted June 24, 2002 01:34 AM UIN: 16262997


NEW RICHMOND, WI - Rick Eckert of York, PA held off two challenges for
lead to win the 4th Annual Masters 75 for the United Dirt Track Racing
Association Pro DirtCar Series in front of a packed house Saturday night
Cedar Lake Speedway.

The Defending UDTRA Champion and current point leader picked up $15,000
the victory, his second of the second driving the Raye Vest/Cameron Car
Center Rocket/Cornett Taurus. Eckert now leads 1999 UDTRA Champion Dale
McDowell of Rossville, GA by 36 points.

McDowell finished second in the Larry Shaw Race Cars Rocket/Custom Grand
Prix, and actually took the lead from Eckert on lap 61, but a caution flag
negated the pass, and he had to restart behind Eckert.

"My crew chief kept motioning me to run the high side, and it was pretty
rough up there, but it was the fast way around," Eckert said. "I kept
seeing Dale's nose inside of me coming off the corners, and I had to check
up for a lapped car. Dale got by me, but luckily for me, the caution flag
came out. We were having a heck of a race!"

Not only were Eckert and McDowell having a heck of a race, but several
other drivers were also wheeling and dealing for positions throughout the
field, which featured the traveling pros versus the local stars from Cedar
Lake Speedway.

The 1996 UDTRA Champion Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN had a strong run
the Christenberry Trucking and Farms Warrior/Custom Monte Carlo to finish
third. Jimmy Mars, who cut his competitive teeth racing at Cedar Lake
Speedway early in his career, had an up and down night, but rallied to
finish fourth in the Jimmy Mars Racing Mastersbilt/Pro Power Monte Carlo.

Donnie Moran of Dresden, OH was another driver that had to come from the
back to the front several times after pit stops, and might have had the
fastest car on the track. Moran brought his QPI Dirt Ripper Rayburn/Fisher
Grand Prix home in the fifth spot after starting 22nd. Moran was the
Advance Auto Parts Hard Charger of the Race.

Steve Francis of Ashland, KY was a front runner early in the race, and
led it for two laps, but faded late to finish sixth in the Valvoline/Mopar
Parts Rocket/Stanton Intrepid. Chub Frank of Sugar Grove, PA finished
seventh in the Corry Rubber Rocket/Draime Monte Carlo.

Steve Shaver of Parkersburg, WV was eighth in the Richards Construction
Rocket/Malcuit Monte Carlo, and John Mason of Millersburg, OH took the ninth
spot in the Bert Transmissions Rocket/Malcuit Monte Carlo. Mike Balzano
Parkersburg, WV rounded out the top ten in the Eddie's Auto Parts
Rocket/Russell Baker Monte Carlo.

After time trials were completed, it was apparent that the Pro DirtCar
Series regulars were going to have their hands full with the local

Young Brady Smith of Solon Springs, WI, a driver in only his second season
of late model racing and in his first ever Pro DirtCar Series event, was
fast qualifier among the 56 entrants. The 2001 WISSOTA Late Model Rookie
the Year turned the 1/3-mile dirt oval in 14.464 seconds for an average
speed of 82.965 miles per hour in the Budweiser Mastersbilt/Weseman Grand

Brady Smith kept on getting the attention of the top dirt late model
drivers in the country, as he went on to earn the pole position for The
Masters by winning the first of six 12-lap heat races. At the start of
race, however, Brady Smith's car pushed in turn one, and Eckert grabbed
point from the outside front row starting spot.

Brady Smith settled into the second spot followed by two other local
favorites, Eric Pember of Pittsville, WI in the Pro Craft Racing Engines
Mastersbilt Grand Prix and Pat Doar of New Richmond, WI in the Tri-Star
Racing Engines Mastersbilt Monte Carlo. Francis was fifth after the first

The first of nine caution flags came out on the second lap when the two
driver eligible for the Great Northern Challenge $100,000 Bonus tangled
the backstretch. Both Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA in the Seubert Calf
Ranches Mastersbilt/Pro Power Grand Prix and Earl Pearson Jr. of
Jacksonville, FL in the Lucas Oil/Dunn-Benson Ford Rocket/Eatmon Taurus
out of the race.

Birkhofer won the first race of the challenge series on Tuesday night in
Pro DirtCar Series event in Davenport, IA and Pearson won the second
challenge series race on Wednesday night, a Renegade DirtCar Series event
LaSalle, IL.

With the third event of the challenge series, a Renegade DirtCar series
event on Friday night, rained out, it appears that no driver will be able
claim the $100,000 bonus at the fifth race of the challenge series. That
will be a 50-lap $10,000-to-win Pro DirtCar Series event on Tuesday night
Crawford County Speedway in Denison, IA.

When the field came down for the double-file restart for the SPEED Channel
taped event, Brady Smith began to get an education in national Pro DirtCar
racing. The front of the pack went four-wide coming off the second turn,
and by the time they reached the end of the backstretch; Eckert led Pember,
Francis, McDowell, and Brady Smith, with Dennis Erb Jr. racing up to sixth.

On lap 5, Francis drove around Pember for the second spot, as Eckert had
opened up a ten car-length lead. Pember tried to battle back around Francis
on lap six, but ran out of room on the backstretch. The two cars made
contact and Pember lost the left side of his front nosepiece. The debris
the track brought out the second caution flag.

Pember got drop kicked back to the fifth spot on the restart, as Francis,
McDowell, and Erb of Carpentersville, IL in the B&K Sportswear Rayburn/Erb
Monte Carlo sped past. Francis began to reel in Eckert by lap nine, and
side-by-side with Eckert on lap 14. Mars passed Brady Smith for fifth on
lap 15, and then got around Erb for fourth on lap 19.

On lap 21, Francis got out of shape in turn four on the high side, and
McDowell shot underneath for the second spot. Moran spun in turn two with
flat left rear tire on lap 25 to bring out the third caution flag. Eckert
was alone in the front row for the double-file restart, while second place
McDowell was on the inside of the next row, with Francis to his outside.

Francis wasted no time getting rolling on the outside when the green flag
came out. The Kentucky Colonel drove past Eckert coming off the fourth
to take the lead. Eckert responded two laps later, by driving back around
Francis to retake the lead, and Mars drove under McDowell for the third
spot. One lap later, it was Mars diving under Francis for second.

Lap 36 saw Francis pass Mars for the second spot coming off the second turn,
and Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC had charged from the 24th and last starting
spot up to tenth in the Youngblood Concrete Mastersbilt/Cornett Taurus.

On lap 41, Mars tried to come back and retake the second spot from Francis
with an inside move in turn three. The two cars made contact and it broke
the right-front suspension of Mars' car, which stopped on the frontstretch
to bring out the caution flag. Mars hurried to the pits for repairs, but
didn't make it out for the restart.

Mars caught a break when Shaver stalled in turn three on the restart for
another caution flag. By the time the field formed up for the double-file
restart, Mars made it back out to line up on the tail end of the lead lap
cars. On the restart, McDowell moved by Francis for second, and Freddy
Smith charged into the fourth spot. Francis raced back around McDowell
second on lap 44.

Frank spun in turn four on lap 48 to bring out the caution. On the restart,
McDowell used the outside to pass Francis for second, and Freddy Smith moved
up to third spot on lap 49. By lap 59, Doar was making his presence known
once again, using a unique line around turns one and two. Doar entered
one on the high side, and then dove for the bottom in turn two.

This maneuver moved Doar past Freddy Smith of the third spot. On lap 61,
business was picking up in the battle for the lead, as McDowell shot under
Eckert to take the lead. Before the 61st lap could be completed, the
caution flag came out for debris in turn three. This put Eckert back on
point for the restart.

On the restart, Doar spun to the infield in turn one, and Mars raced back
through the field and shot by McDowell for the second spot. On lap 64,
McDowell used the cushion to race back around Mars for the second spot,
with five laps to go, Freddy Smith passed Mars for third.

Eckert won the second heat, and the third heat went to John Kaanta of Elk
Mound, WI in the LPI Lift Systems Mastersbilt/Weseman Monte Carlo. Pember
won the fourth heat, and Doar took the fifth heat race. McDowell picked
the JE Pistons $100 Bonus Award with a sixth heat race win.

Birkhofer won the first 15-lap Polaris ATVs Consolation Race and Tony Bahr
of Eau Claire, WI won the second Polaris ATVs Consolation Race in the White
City Glass Swartz/Wegner Grand Prix.

The Masters 75 will be the next UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series event shown on
SPEED Channel as a part of UDTRA Dirty Thursday on August 1 at 11 p.m. ET.
For a complete UDTRA schedule on SPEED Channel and a direct feedback link
the network, visit the UDTRA web site at


1. 2 24 Rick Eckert York, PA Ford 75 $15,850
2. 6 17m Dale McDowell Rossville, GA Pont. 75 $8,300
3. 10 00 Freddy Smith Knoxville, TN Chev. 75 $4,600
4. 12 28m Jimmy Mars Elk Mound, WI Chev. 75 $3,600
5. 22 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH Chev. 75 $2,750
6. 8 1 Steve Francis Ashland, KY Dodge 75 $2,400
7. 18 1* Chub Frank Sugar Grove, PA Chev. 75 $1,600
8. 7 30 Steve Shaver Parkersburg, WV Chev. 75 $1,400
9. 14 72 John Mason Millersburg, OH Chev. 75 $1,200
10. 17 E1 Mike Balzano Parkersburg, WV Chev. 74 $1,100
11. 24 53 Ray Cook Brasstown, NC Ford 74 $1,675
12. 9 27 Jerry Redetzke Eau Claire, WI Chev. 66 $1,050
13. 13 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN Pont. 64 $1.025
14. 16 00k Randy Korte Highland, IL Pont. 63 $1,000
15. 5 11 Pat Doar New Richmond, WI Chev. 61 $1,000
16. 1 2 Brady Smith Solon Springs, WI Pont. 61 $1,000
17. 11 28 Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville, IL Chev. 53 $1,000
18. 3 85 John Kaanta Elk Mound, WI Chev. 51 $1,000
19. 21 55 Ron Mahder Eau Claire, WI Pont. 39 $1,000
20. 20 QQ Tony Bahr Eau Claire, WI Pont. 23 $1,000
21. 15 90 Lance Mathees Winona, MN Chev. 22 $1,000
22. 4 90x Eric Pember Pittsville, WI Pont. 13 $1,000
23. 23 1p Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL Ford 9 $1,600
24. 19 15b Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA Pont. 1 $1,600

PROVISIONALS: Pearson and Cook (3)
LAP LEADERS: Eckert, 1-23; Francis, 24-25; Eckert, 26-75
LAPS LED: Eckert, 73: Francis, 2
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS HARD CHARGER: Moran (started 22nd and finished 5th)
TIME OF THE RACE: 1 Hour, 5 Minutes, and 47.320 Seconds
HARDEE'S SHOOTOUT INVITEES: Redetzke, Doar, B. Smith, Kaanta, Mahder, and
Bahr (Promoter's Choice)


1 2s Brady Smith Solon Springs, WI Mastersbilt Grand Prix 14.464 14.695
14.464 82.965
2 1 Steve Francis Ashland, KY Rocket Intrepid 14.800 14.513 14.513 82.684
3 10p Pete Parker Kaukauna, WI Fegers Grand Prix 14.637 17.127 14.637 81.984
4 1P Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL Rocket Taurus 14.993 14.647 14.647
5 E1 Mike Balzano Parkersburg, WV Rocket Monte Carlo 14.650 14.852 14.650
6 28m Jimmy Mars Elk Mound, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.660 15.402 14.660
7 55c Ron Mahder Eau Claire, WI Mastersbilt Grand Prix 15.033 14.713 14.713
8 24 Rick Eckert York, PA Rocket Taurus 14.719 15.011 14.719 81.527
9 85 John Kaanta Elk Mound, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.722 15.011 14.722
10 201 Billy Ogle Jr. (R) Knoxville, TN GRT Monte Carlo 14.743 15.442 14.743
11 8s Larry Stockwell Elsworth, WI Fegers Monte Carlo 15.302 14.745 14.745
12 17m Dale McDowell Rossville, GA Rocket Grand Prix 14.770 14.897 14.770
13 30 Steve Shaver Parkersburg, WV Rocket Monte Carlo 15.921 14.812 14.812
14 81 Ashley Anderson Eau Claire, WI Boss Monte Carlo 15.075 14.830 14.830
15 90 Lance Mathees Winona, MN Fegers Monte Carlo 14.841 14.975 14.841
16 00k Randy Korte Highland, IL Rocket Grand Prix 14.857 14.985 14.857
17 11 Pat Doar New Richmond, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.860 14.962 14.860
18 71r Rod Conley Wheelersburg, OH Rocket Monte Carlo 14.892 15.245 14.892
19 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN Warrior Grand Prix 14.934 NT 14.934
20 72 John Mason Millersburg, OH Rocket Monte Carlo 15.036 14.939 14.939
21 27 Jerry Redetzke Eau Claire, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.963 14.952
14.952 80.257
22 90x Eric Pember Pittsville, WI Mastersbilt Grand Prix 15.388 14.982
14.982 80.096
23 9z Jamie Zidar Greenfield, WI GRT Monte Carlo 14.999 15.493 14.999 80.005
24 1* Chub Frank Sugar Grove, PA Rocket Monte Carlo 15.168 15.007 15.007
25 1k John Anderson (R) Omaha, NE GRT Grand Prix 15.008 15.322 15.008 79.957
26 12 Rick Aukland Zanesville, OH Rocket Grand Prix 15.029 15.083 15.029
27 8 Brent Larson Maplewood, MN Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 15.613 15.049 15.049
28 00j Mitch Johnson Hickson, ND GRT Grand Prix 15.370 15.073 15.073 79.613
29 71w Jeff Wildung Nassau, MN Fegers Monte Carlo 15.720 15.112 15.112
30 32p Bob Pierce Oakwood, IL Rayburn Monte Carlo 15.116 15.137 15.116
31 95 Keith Foss Winona, MN Dirt Dueller Grand Prix 15.122 15.623 15.122
32 1t Tom Nesbitt Thunder Bay, ONT Rayburn Monte Carlo 15.187 15.158 15.158
33 53 Ray Cook Brasstown, NC Mastersbilt Taurus 15.202 15.171 15.171 79.098
34 00 Freddy Smith Knoxville, TN Warrior Monte Carlo 15.188 15.255 15.188
35 28 Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville, IL Rayburn Monte Carlo 15.198 15.280
15.198 78.958
36 15 Justin Fegers Mound, MN Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 15.198 16.643 15.198
37 25h Kerry Hansen Spencer, WI Rocket Taurus 15.696 15.212 15.212 78.885
38 32m Darren Miller Chadwick, IL Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 15.244 15.716
15.244 78.719
39 12b Brad Seng Grand Forks, ND GRT Grand Prix 15.253 15.648 15.253 78.673
40 QQ Tony Bahr Eau Claire, WI Swartz Grand Prix 15.755 15.261 15.261 78.632
41 19 Davey Johnson Greensburg, PA Rocket Grand Prix 15.396 15.264 15.264
42 2w Darryn Waldo Billings, MT Rocket Monte Carlo 15.354 15.475 15.354
43 T31 Shane Tankersley (R) Morgonton, GA Stinger Grand Prix 15.358 15.380
15.358 78.135
44 15b Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA Mastersbilt Grand Prix 15.358 NT 15.358
45 92s John Seitz Bemidji, MN Mastersbilt Grand Prix 15.360 15.435 15.360
46 114 Randle Chupp Mooresville, NC Rocket Grand Prix 15.781 15.380 15.380
47 59 Bill Cunningham Jefferson, OH GRT Grand Prix 15.445 15.639 15.445
48 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH Rayburn Monte Carlo 15.450 18.117 15.450
49 2 Mike Nutzman New Richmond, WI Warrior Monte Carlo 15.493 16.055 15.493
50 49t Bob Timm Winona, MN Fegers Monte Carlo 15.493 15.539 15.493 77.454
51 61 Jeff Keeney River Falls, WI GRT Camaro 15.498 15.499 15.498 77.429
52 10g George Scheffler Waukesha, WI Rayburn Grand Prix 15.498 16.398 15.498
53 32 Greg Lucas Whitesburg, KY Rocket Intrepid 15.498 15.813 15.498 77.429
54 H20 Mark Kraus (R) Stratford, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 15.676 15.544
15.544 77.200
55 119 Jim Burnheizel Lebanon, PA Lazer Monte Carlo 15.574 15.560 15.560
56 45 Toby Patchen Isanti, MN GRT Grand Prix 15.630 15.953 15.630 76.775

HEAT RACES (12 Laps - Top 3 Finishers Transfer To Main Event):

1ST HEAT: 1. B. Smith; 2. Shaver; 3. R. Johnson; 4. Mahder; 5. Foss; 6.
Anderson (R); 7. Hansen; 8. Nutzman; 9. Tankersley (R); 10. Burnheizel.
2ND HEAT: 1. Eckert; 2. Francis; 3. Mason; 4. Birkhofer; 5. Aukland; 6.
Miller; 7. A. Anderson; 8. Nesbitt; 9. Timm.
SCOTT PERFORMANCE WIRE 3RD HEAT: 1. Kaanta; 2. Redetzke; 3. Mathees; 4.
Seng; 5. Larson; 6. Keeney; 7. Seitz; 8. Parker; 9. Cook.
4TH HEAT: 1. Pember; 2. F. Smith; 3. Korte; 4. Chupp; 5. Bahr; 6. Ogle
(R); 7. M. Johnson; 8. Scheffler; 9. Patchen; 10. Pearson.
5TH HEAT: 1. Doar; 2. Erb; 3. Balzano; 4. D. Johnson; 5. Lucas; 6.
Stockwell; 7. Zidar; 8. Cunningham; 9. Wildung.
JE PISTONS 6TH HEAT: 1. McDowell; 2. Mars; 3. Frank; 4. Conley; 5. Moran;
6. Pierce; 7. Fegers; 8. Kraus (R); 9. Waldo.

POLARIS ATVs 15-LAP CONSOLATION RACES (Top 2 Finishers Transfer To Main

1ST CONSY: 1. Birkhofer; 2. Mahder; 3. Aukland; 4. Seng; 5. J. Anderson;
6. Hansen; 7. Cook; 8. Foss; 9. A. Anderson; 10. Miller; 11. Keeney; 12.
Parker; 13. Nutzman; 14. Seitz; 15. Timm; 16. Tankersley (R); 17.
Bernheisel; 18. Nesbitt; 19. Patchen; 20. Larson.
2ND CONSY: 1. Bahr; 2. Moran; 3. Chupp; 4. Pierce; 5. Fegers; 6. Kraus
(R); 7. Zidar; 8. Conley; 9. Lucas; 10. Scheffler; 11. Stockwell; 12. Waldo;
13. Cunningham; 14. M. Johnson; 15. D. Johnson; 16. Ogle (R); 17. Pearson.

1. Rick Eckert - 2706
2. Dale McDowell - 2670
3. Jimmy Mars - 2609
4. Steve Francis - 2597
5. Freddy Smith - 2217
6. Donnie Moran - 2153
7. Ray Cook - 2114
8. Earl Pearson Jr. - 2090
9. Dan Schlieper - 2072
10. Brian Birkhofer - 2030
11. Randy Korte - 1922
12. Scott Bloomquist - 1918
13. Billy Moyer - 1829
14. Shane Tankersley (R) - 1623
15. Mark Kraus (R) - 1559
16. Billy Ogle Jr. (R) - 1519
17. Rick Aukland - 1247
18. Shannon Babb - 1059
19. Steve Shaver - 1028
20. Randle Chupp - 989

R - Denotes Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year Candidate

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