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posted June 29, 2002 02:10 AM UIN: 16262997


LINCOLN, NE - The United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series
returns to the Cornhusker State for two shows this Friday and Saturday night
at Nebraska Raceway Park with a point battle hotter than a summer afternoon
on the Grand Prairie. Friday night's show will be a 40-lap $7,000-to-win
main event, and Saturday's feature will be a $10,000-to-win 50 lapper.

June has been a good month for the Defending UDTRA Champion and current
point leader Rick Eckert of York, PA. Eckert has won three of the four
DirtCar races that have been run in June. Eckert started out the month
winning in Union, KY on June 1, and has then followed that up with two
straight wins in New Richmond, WI on June 22, and then in Denison, IA on
June 25.

Eckert will enter the NRP events with a 51-point lead over the 1999 UDTRA
Champion Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA. McDowell has kept pace with 5
coming in April and May, and has finished just behind Eckert in the races
that he has won. McDowell may have two more wins than Eckert, but Eckert
has a slight edge in consistency.

After the first 18 events of the 2002 Pro DirtCar Series season, Eckert
13 top five finishes and has failed to finish in the top ten in only one
race. McDowell has 11 top five finishes and 16 top tens. Eckert also has
two fast time awards, while McDowell has yet to be the fast qualifier this
season. In the first 18 races, the fast qualifier has yet to win the main

Steve Francis of Ashland, KY and Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI have been
swapping the third spot in the points chase back and forth for the last
couple of months. Francis has the third spot going into the NRP events,
is 119 points behind Eckert. That's still within striking distance for
title that has eluded Francis for the past two seasons by one spot, and
point last year.

Francis has one win, ten top fives, and 14 top tens. The Kentucky Colonel
leads the series with four fast time honors. The two bonus points for each
fast time have come in handy for Francis in his battle with Mars for the
third spot.

Mars is having his best season ever on the Pro DirtCar Series tour, and
one win with 12 top fives and 15 top tens. Mars is just three points behind
Francis in the point standings.

Four different car makes are also represented in the top four drivers.
Eckert wheels a Ford Taurus, Francis drives a Dodge Intrepid, McDowell is
a Pontiac Grand Prix, and Mars pilots a Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

The 1996 UDTRA Champion Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN has been moving
steadily up the point standings during the last 90 days. In mid April,
Smith was outside the top ten in the 11th spot. Going into this weekend's
NRP shows, the Southern Gentleman sits in the fifth spot. Although he is
401 points behind Mars in the standings, there is still a long way to go
the season.

Smith has one win, three top fives and nine top tens. Smith also leads
Advance Auto Parts Hard Charger point standings.

Only 82 points separate sixth through ninth in the UDTRA point standings.
Donnie Moran of Dresden, OH is in the sixth spot, and is 89 points behind
Smith, but The Million Dollar Man has Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC breathing
down his tail pipe, 33 points behind him in seventh. Earl Pearson Jr. of
Jacksonville, FL is 17 points behind Cook in the eighth spot.

Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA has moved up to the ninth spot in the
points chase. Birky picked up his first UDTRA win of the season on June
in Davenport, IA, and has followed that up with a fast time and a
fourth-place finish on June 25 in Denison, IA. Birkhofer is 32 points
behind Pearson.

Randy Korte of Highland, IL is looking to move into the top ten this
weekend, as he is 11th, and only 41 points outside the top ten. All Korte
has to do is start a heat race on Friday night to move into the top 10,
then he will be eligible for the UDTRA Winners Circle money when the series
travels to Ohio next week.

The Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year points battle is also tightening up. Shane
Tankersley of Morganton, GA leads the point standings and is 14th overall
the point standings. Tankersley had his best run of the season going in
Denison, IA, and was up to the ninth spot before being involved in a
multi-car tangle late in the race.

Tankersley has hired the services of championship crew chief Ronnie Stuckey
for the Midwest UDTRA swing.

Mark Kraus of Stratford, WI had his career best UDTRA finish of ninth in
Denison, IA and has closed to within 37 points of Tankersley. Kraus is
overall in the UDTRA point standings. Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, TN is
third in the Lucas Oil Rookie hunt, 63 points behind Kraus, and is 16th
overall in the points standings.

John Anderson Omaha, NE is fourth in rookie points and 19th overall.
Anderson will be looking to gain some ground on Tankersley, Kraus, and Ogle
racing on his home turf. Among the other local favorites will be Joe and
Steve Kosiski of Omaha, NE. Both brothers had top ten finishes in the Pro
DirtCar Series in Denison, IA. Joe Kosiski is the defending NRP Late Model

On Friday and Saturday nights, the pit gate opens at 3 p.m. and the front
gate opens at 5 p.m. Hot laps are set for 6:30 p.m., with time trials at
p.m., and racing is scheduled for 8 p.m. The NRP Modifieds will be in
action on Friday night, and the NRP Hobby Stocks will run on Saturday night.

The Villager Best Western Hotel in Lincoln, NE is the Official UDTRA Host
Hotel for the NRP 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

NRP is located just off I-80 at exit 420 on State Road 63. For race day
ticket information call (402) 944-2233.

The next UDTRA Dirty Thursday will air on August 1 at 11 p.m. ET with the
4th Annual Masters 75 from Cedar Lake Speedway. For the complete UDTRA
SPEED Channel schedule and a direct feedback link, visit the UDTRA web site

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