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posted August 05, 2002 11:35 AM UIN: 16262997


NEW RICHMOND, WI - Rick Eckert of York, PA earned the richest one-day
payoff in the history of the United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro
DirtCar Series by winning the USA Nationals Sunday afternoon at Cedar Lake
Speedway and pocketing the top prize of $141,000 driving the Cameron Car
Corner/Raye Vest Rocket/Cornett Taurus.

Eckert won the $100,000 Great Northern Challenge Bonus money for winning
three of the five race series, $40,000 for the USA Nationals top prize,
a $1,000 Bonus from Muddslinger Magazine. The Defending UDTRA Champion
won the Masters 75 at Cedar Lake Speedway on June 22, and the GNC event
Denison, IA on June 25.

"I'm really glad they decided to reschedule that rainout show of the Great
Northern Challenge here for the USA Nationals," Eckert said. "I got into
the running for the bonus late in the game after winning the Masters and
then winning in Denison, Iowa a few days later."

Eckert made the winning pass on lap 93 of the 100-lap race when 1999 UDTRA
Champion Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA slipped in oil after a restart in
turn two, which opened the door for Eckert, who also slipped in the same
a couple of laps later, but held on for the win.

"I saw all of that oil in turns one and two during the caution period,
just kind of looked for all of the clean dirt I could find down on the
bottom," Eckert said. "When Dale slipped up in turn two, I tried to get
far to the inside as I could to keep from hitting him. Then a couple of
laps later, I slipped in the same spot as Dale did, and I was lucky he
didn't get back by me."

McDowell came home in the second spot driving the Larry Shaw Race Cars
Rocket/Custom Grand Prix, and looked to be on his way to winning his second
straight USA Nationals. McDowell had a 1/2-straightaway lead over Eckert
before the debris and oil slick caution flag on lap 93.

"We didn't get the oil slick worked in as well as I would have liked, and
just slipped up in turn two," McDowell said. "A couple of laps later, Rick
slipped in the oil, but I couldn't take advantage of it."

Steve Francis of Ashland, KY finished third in the Valvoline/Mopar Parts
Rocket/Stanton Intrepid. Eckert now holds a 138 point lead over Francis
the UDTRA Championship battle. McDowell moved up to the third spot in the
points chase, 32 points behind Francis."

"It might be a little too early to start thinking about points," Francis
said, " but I do know at this point in the season last year, I was behind
over 140 points, and I still came back and lost the championship by one
point, so anything is possible."

Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA took the fourth spot after starting 14th
in the Daufeldt Transport Mastersbilt/Pro Power Grand Prix. Fast qualifier
Dan Schlieper of Pewaukee, WI was fifth in the Pro Power Racing Engines
GRT/Pro Power Monte Carlo.

Schlieper out qualified the 42 entrants on Friday night with a lap around
the 1/3-mile clay oval in 14.294 seconds for an average speed of 83.951
miles per hour.

John Anderson of Omaha, NE finished sixth in the Tender Heart Treasures
GRT/Hatfield Grand Prix, and was the Lucas Oil Rookie of the Race. The
UDTRA Champion Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN was seventh in the
Christenberry Trucking and Farms Warrior/Custom Monte Carlo.

Shannon Babb of Decatur, IL finished eighth in the Car City Company
Mastersbilt/Pro Power Monte Carlo after starting 18th, and ninth went to
Rick Aukland of Zanesville, OH in the Ostrom Painting and Sandblasting
Rocket/Malcuit Grand Prix.

Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL rounded out the top ten in the Lucas
Oil/Dunn-Benson Ford Rocket/Eatmon Taurus after the apparent tenth-place
finisher Matt Miller of Waterville, OH failed the post-race technical
inspection with his McCullough Motorsports Rocket/Russell Baker Grand Prix.

Shane Tankersley of Morganton, GA was the Advance Auto Parts Hard Charger
the Race after taking a provisional, starting 24th, and finishing 13th in
the Tankersley Motorsports Rocket/Custom Grand Prix.

After a Saturday night rainout that saw three inches of rain in the area,
the Bob Cook-led Cedar Lake Speedway track crew had the racing surface ready
to hot lap by 12 noon on Sunday. Cook and his crew even worked the track
before the main event to give the fans a better show.

Under cloudy skies, the field took the green flag, but polesitter Brent
Larson of Rosemont, MN was ticketed with jumping the start in his OCI
Mastersbilt/Pro Power Monte Carlo. Larson was penalized one row for the
restart, and that put Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN on the pole along
side Eckert.

Bloomquist put his Miller Brothers Coal Warrior/Custom Taurus on the point
after the restart, followed by McDowell, Eckert, Randle Chupp of
Mooresville, NC, and Larson. On lap two, Darren Miller of Chadwick, IL
moved his NAPA Auto Parts Mastersbilt/Pro Power Monte Carlo past Larson
into the fifth spot. Francis passed Larson on lap four to take the sixth

Bloomquist and McDowell were working lapped traffic by lap seven, and
McDowell began looking inside Bloomquist to challenge for the lead on lap
13. Eckert moved up to challenge McDowell for second spot in lapped traffic
on lap 16. Eckert drove around the outside of McDowell coming off the
fourth turn to take the position.

The preferred groove early in the race was around the top, but the cushion
was starting to wear thin up against the wall by lap 20. Eckert closed
on Bloomquist and was looking to the inside as they entered turn three on
lap 23.

Eckert drove off the bottom of the fourth turn, made contact with
Bloomquist, but took the lead coming down the frontstretch. Bloomquist
tried to throw a slider on Eckert getting into turn one, but couldn't make
the move work.

Chupp brought out the first of five caution flags on lap 24 when he jumped
the thin cushion in turn one, and slammed the wall, putting his Biscotti's
Restaurant and Winery/Park Ohio Rocket/Draime Grand Prix up on its side.
This set up a double-file restart in front of the SPEED Channel cameras.

McDowell went around the outside of Bloomquist to take the second spot on
the restart, and brought Francis with him from the fifth spot. Billy Ogle
Jr. of Knoxville, TN stalled his Calhoun's Restaurant GRT/Clements Monte
Carlo on the frontstretch for the next caution on lap 26, and Bloomquist
gave up the fourth spot to pit for tires.

The double-file restart saw Francis race around the outside of McDowell
the second spot, and Schlieper climbed from fifth to fourth. The field
stayed green for three more laps until Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI took
wild ride in turn one.

Mars jumped the cushion in turn one, climbed up on top of the wall, and
Jimmy Mars Racing Mastersbilt/Pro Power Monte Carlo flew out of the ballpark
on its side, and landed on all four wheels outside the race track. Mars
uninjured. During the caution period, the sun began to peek out from the
cloud cover, and began to change the racing surface.

McDowell made a move on the lap 30 restart, and passed Francis for the
second spot. One lap later McDowell was running the middle groove, looking
to the inside of Eckert, and then passed him for the lead on lap 32. By
37, McDowell was pulling away from Eckert, who now being challenged by
Francis for second.

It appeared that Eckert's chances for the $100,000 bonus were going out
window on lap 38 when Francis passed him for the second spot. Pearson spun
in turn two on lap 39 to bring out a caution flag, and the field lined up
for a double-file restart. Eckert made quick work on the restart to move
around Francis for second, as just about every driver headed to the inside
of the race track.

The next 30 laps saw the field run nose-to-tail in the bottom groove, as
McDowell had worked out to a 1/2-straightaway lead over Eckert, Francis,
Birkhofer, and Schlieper. McDowell caught Pearson and Bloomquist on lap
and chose to ride behind the last two cars on the lead lap. It looked like
McDowell had the field covered until lap 93.

Bloomquist ran over a piece of debris in turn one, which ripped a hole in
his oil pan. With smoke bellowing from behind his car, the contents of
oil pan covered the racing groove in turns one and two. After several runs
by the field through the oil to try and work it in, UDTRA officials waived
off the double-file restart, and went to a single file restart due to the
track conditions.

McDowell led Eckert into the first turn, but coming off turn two, McDowell
slipped up a car-width, and Eckert drove underneath McDowell to take the
lead. On lap 95, Eckert also slipped in the oil at the same spot McDowell
did, but Eckert was able to hang on for the history-making $141,000 payday,
and his sixth win of the season.

Larson, Eckert, Bloomquist, and McDowell won heat races on Friday night,
with Larson taking the $100 JE Pistons Bonus and McDowell winning the $50
Scott Performance Wire Bonus. The 1997 UDTRA Champion Billy Moyer of
Batesville, AR won the first of two 20-lap Polaris ATVs Consolation Races
the Petroff Towing/J&J Steel Rayburn/Dickens Taurus, and Babb won the second

The next event for the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series will be on Tuesday night
the $10,000-to-win IITI Taylor Insulation 50 at West Liberty Raceway in
Liberty, IA. The pit gate opens at noon, with hot laps set for 6 p.m. and
time trials scheduled for 6:45 p.m.

The next UDTRA Dirty Thursday will air August 29 at 11 p.m. ET with action
from Crawford County Speedway in Denison, IA. For the complete UDTRA SPEED
Channel schedule and a direct feedback link, visit the UDTRA web site at


1. 2 24 Rick Eckert York, PA Ford 100 $141,000
2. 4 17m Dale McDowell Rossville, GA Pont. 100 $15,050
3. 7 1 Steve Francis Ashland, KY Dodge 100 $8,000
4. 14 15b Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA Pont. 100 $6,000
5. 5 s9 Dan Schlieper Pewaukee, WI Chev. 100 $5,000
6. 15 1k John Anderson (R) Omaha, NE Pont. 100 $4,000
7. 9 00 Freddy Smith Knoxville, TN Chev. 100 $3,500
8. 18 18 Shannon Babb Decatur, IL Chev. 100 $3,300
9. 12 12 Rick Aukland Zanesville, OH Pont. 100 $3,100
10. 10 1p Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL Ford 100 $3,000
11. 11 27 Jerry Redetzke Eau Claire, WI Chev. 99 $2,900
12. 21 25 Kerry Hansen Spencer, WI Ford 98 $2,800
13. 24 T31 Shane Tankersley (R) Morganton, GA Pont. 97 $2,850
14. 8 32d Darren Miller Chadwick, IL Chev. 92 $2,600
15. 3 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN Ford 91 $2,500
16. 22 10 Pete Parker Kaukauna, WI Pont. 73 $2,500
17. 20 h2 Duayne Hommel Newport, TN Chev. 57 $2,500
18. 1 8 Brent Larson Rosemont, MN Chev. 46 $2,600
19. 17 21 Billy Moyer Batesville, AR Ford 38 $2,500
20. 13 00k Randy Korte Highland, IL Pont. 34 $2,500
21. 19 28 Jimmy Mars Elk Mound, WI Chev. 31 $2,500
22. 23 201 Billy Ogle Jr. (R) Knoxville, TN Chev. 25 $2,500
23. 6 114 Randle Chupp Mooresville, NC Pont. 23 $2,500
24. 16 7 Matt Miller Waterville, OH Pont. 0 $2,500

PROVISIONALS: Ogle (7) and Tankersley (10)
LEAD CHANGES: 3 Among 4 Drivers
LAP LEADERS: Bloomquist, 1-22; Eckert, 23-31; McDowell, 32-92; Eckert,
LAPS LED: McDowell, 61; Bloomquist, 22; Eckert 17
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS HARD CHARGER: Tankersley (started 24th and finished
TIME OF THE RACE: 55 Minutes and 17.340 Seconds
HARDEE'S SHOOTOUT INVITEES: Hansen, Parker, Larson, Willie Kraft, Brent
Laursen, and George Scheffler (Promoter's Choice)


1 s9 Dan Schlieper Pewaukee, WI GRT Monte Carlo 14.294 14.648 14.294 83.951
2 15b Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA Mastersbilt Grand Prix 14.342 14.317
14.317 83.816
3 27r Jerry Redetzke Eau Claire, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.378 16.127
14.378 83.461
4 18 Shannon Babb Decatur, IL Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.570 15.018 14.570
5 00k Randy Korte Highland, IL Rocket Grand Prix 14.943 14.614 14.614 82.113
6 24 Rick Eckert York, PA Rocket Taurus 14.855 14.645 14.645 81.939
7 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN Warrior Taurus 14.655 14.985 14.655
8 17m Dale McDowell Rossville, GA Rocket Grand Prix 14.966 14.725 14.725
9 2s Brady Smith Solon Springs, WI Mastersbilt Grand Prix 16.589 14.758
14.758 81.312
10 21 Billy Moyer Batesville, AR Rayburn Taurus 14.927 14.761 14.761 81.295
11 90x Eric Pember Pittsville, WI Mastersbilt Grand Prix 14.770 14.764
14.764 81.279
12 12 Rick Aukland Zanesville, OH Rocket Grand Prix 14.791 14.805 14.791
13 H20 Mark Kraus (R) Stratford, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.803 14.822
14.803 81.065
14 114 Randle Chupp Mooresville, NC Rocket Grand Prix 14.826 15.220 14.826
15 1 Steve Francis Ashland, KY Rocket Intrepid 14.831 15.182 14.831 80.912
16 32m Darren Miller Chadwick, IL Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.833 14.915
14.833 80.901
17 00 Freddy Smith Knoxville, TN Warrior Monte Carlo 14.838 15.092 14.838
18 28m Jimmy Mars Elk Mound, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.845 15.270 14.845
19 T31 Shane Tankersley (R) Morgonton, GA Rocket Grand Prix 15.183 14.902
14.902 80.526
20 1d Pat Doar New Richmond, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 14.968 15.037 14.968
21 8L Brent Larson Maplewood, MN Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 15.027 14.993
14.993 80.037
22 25h Kerry Hansen Spencer, WI Rocket Taurus 14.998 15.229 14.998 80.011
23 10p Pete Parker Kaukauna, WI Fegers Grand Prix 15.055 15.357 15.055
24 0k Willie Kraft Lakefield, MN Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 15.077 15.170
15.077 79.591
25 10s George Scheffler Waukasha, WI Rayburn Grand Prix 15.107 15.516 15.107
26 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH Rayburn Monte Carlo 15.212 15.127 15.127
27 0s Craig Scott Rosemont, MN Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 15.227 15.866 15.227
28 7m Matt Miller Waterville, OH Rocket Grand Prix 15.230 15.287 15.230
29 61k Jeff Keeney River Falls, WI GRT Camaro 15.725 15.233 15.233 78.776
30 23 Ashley Anderson Eau Claire, WI Mastersbilt Grand Prix 15.352 15.260
15.260 78.637
31 1k John Anderson (R) Omaha, NE GRT Grand Prix 15.452 15.283 15.283 78.519
32 h2 Duayne Hommel Newport, TN Warrior Monte Carlo 15.288 15.735 15.288
33 99j Johnny Johnson West Burlington, IA Rayburn Taurus 15.307 15.456
15.307 78.396
34 1P Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL Rocket Taurus 16.349 15.320 15.320
35 201 Billy Ogle Jr. (R) Knoxville, TN GRT Monte Carlo 15.330 15.848 15.330
36 28 Dennis Erb Jr. Carpentersville, IL Rayburn Monte Carlo 15.378 15.492
15.378 78.034
37 55 Jeep Van Wormer Picconning, MI Warrior Taurus 15.393 16.105 15.393
38 17 Rick Egersdorf St. Paul, MN Fegers Grand Prix 15.401 NT 15.401 77.917
39 58 Dave Eckrich Oxford, IA Barry Wright Grand Prix 15.474 15.741 15.474
40 53 Ray Cook Brasstown, NC Mastersbilt Taurus 16.675 15.494 15.494 77.449
41 02 Brent Laursen Oseola, WI Rayburn Monte Carlo 18.315 15.710 15.710
42 71w Jeff Wildung Nassau, MN Fegers Monte Carlo 15.062 15.905 DQ DQ

HEAT RACES (15 Laps - Top 4 Finishers Transfer To Main Event):

JE PISTONS 1ST HEAT: 1. Larson; 2. Schlieper; 3. F. Smith; 4. Korte; 5.
Smith; 6. Van Wormer; 7. Kraus (R); 8. Johnson; 9. Laursen; 10. Scheffler;
11. Keeney.
2ND HEAT: 1. Eckert; 2. Chupp; 3. Pearson; 4. Birkhofer; 5. Moyer; 6.
Mars; 7. Hansen; 8. A. Anderson; 9. Moran; 10. Egersdorf.
3RD HEAT: 1. Bloomquist; 2. Francis; 3. Redetzke; 4. J. Anderson (R);
Parker; 6. Scott; 7. Tankersley (R); 8. Ogle (R); 9. Wildung; 10. Eckrich;
11. Pember.
SCOTT PERFORMANCE WIRE 4TH HEAT: 1. McDowell; 2. D. Miller; 3. Aukland;
M. Miller; 5. Babb; 6. Hommel; 7. Doar; 8. Erb; 9. Cook; 10. Kraft.

POLARIS ATVs 20-LAP CONSOLATION RACES (Top 3 Finishers Transfer To Main

1ST CONSY: 1. Moyer; 2. Mars; 3. Hansen; 4. Moran; 5. B. Smith; 6.
Laursen; 7. Keeney; 8. Johnson; 9. Scheffler; 10. A. Anderson; 11. Van
Wormer; 12. Egersdorf; 13. Kraus (R).
2ND CONSY: 1. Babb; 2. Hommel; 3. Parker; 4. Cook; 5. Kraft; 6. Wildung;
7. Erb; 8. Eckrich; 9. Tankersley (R); 10. Doar; 11. Ogle (R); 12. Pember;
13. Scott.


1. Rick Eckert - 4736
2. Steve Francis - 4598
3. Dale McDowell - 4566
4. Jimmy Mars - 4516
5. Earl Pearson Jr. - 4035
6. Freddy Smith - 3874
7. Randy Korte - 3628
8. Ray Cook - 3253
9. Donnie Moran - 3205
10. Billy Ogle Jr. (R) - 3102
11. Brian Birkhofer - 3027
12. Shane Tankersley (R) - 2947
13. Mark Kraus (R) - 2417
14. Billy Moyer - 2275
15. Dan Schlieper - 2229
16. Scott Bloomquist - 2036
17. Rick Aukland - 1899
18. John Anderson (R) - 1859
19. Randle Chupp - 1709
20. Shannon Babb - 1466

R - Denotes Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year Candidate

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