posted August 27, 2002 08:53 PM
ACTION TO RESUME ON FRIDAY NIGHT FOR RAIN-DELAYED SILVER CUP NATIONALS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
HAGERSTOWN, MD - The United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar
Series will return to Hagerstown Speedway to complete the 50-lap
$10,000-to-win 7th Annual Maryland Silver Cup Nationals this Friday night.
The show will be picked up where it left off on July 13 when rain force
postponement of the event.
Time trials had been completed, as had two of the four ten lap heat races
before the rains came on July 13. Defending UDTRA Champion and current
point leader Rick Eckert of York, PA set fast time among the 42 entrants,
circling the fast 1/2-mile clay oval in 18.495 seconds for an average speed
of 97.324 miles per hour driving the Raye Vest Rocket/Cornett Taurus.
Eckert then went on to earn the pole position for the Friday night main
event by winning the first 10-lap heat race. Following Eckert under the
checkered flag in transfer spots were Rodney Franklin of White Post, VA,
1999 UDTRA Champion Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA, and Booper Bare of
Rockridge Baths, VA.
Since his July 13 visit to Hagerstown Speedway, Eckert has established
himself as the man to beat for the 2002 Pro DirtCar Series championship.
In the first 32 UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series races this season, Eckert has
wins, a series leading 21 top five finishes, a series leading 30 top ten
finishes, and he is tied with Steve Francis of Ashland, KY and Earl Pearson
Jr. of Jacksonville, FL for the most fast qualifying times with four.
Durability has been the key for Eckert and his White Plains, MD-based Raye
Vest team with crew chief Robby Allen. The Defending UDTRA Champion has
finished every race this season, no worse than 12th-place, and out of a
possible 1,985 laps of Pro DirtCar competition, Eckert has completed 1,983.
Eckert has also led 314 laps of competition this season.
Eckert is also on pace to set a new UDTRA season-earnings record. In the
first 33 events this season, Eckert has earned $296,595 in prize money,
bonuses, and contingencies. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN currently
holds the record having earned $380,600 in his 2000 UDTRA championship
So far this season, the highlight for Eckert was winning the $100,000 Great
Northern Challenge Bonus by winning three events in a five race series.
Eckert won The Masters at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, WI, the main
event at Crawford County Speedway in Denison, IA, and then returned to Cedar
Lake and claim the bonus by winning the USA Nationals.
Combined with the $40,000 top prize for winning the USA Nationals, and
$1,000 Bonus from Muddslinger Magazine, Eckert's total earnings for a single
day's work totaled $141,000, a UDTRA single-event earnings record.
Despite the success Eckert has had so far this season, he's not quite ready
to claim the $50,000 championship check. Eckert knows how close it can
come time for the final checkered flag of the season at Dixie Speedway in
Woodstock, GA for the $55,000-to-win Hardee's Shootout on October 11-12.
the end of last year's Shootout, Eckert won the championship by one point
"We've had a great season up to this point, and we're confident going into
the last ten races, but at the same time, we know anything can happen,"
Eckert said. "Steve, Dale, and Jimmy Mars are not that far behind me, and
the littlest thing going wrong for us can turn everything around. We
haven't really paid that much attention to the points yet. We're just
concentrating on getting top five finishes, and hope the points take care
Franklin, the 1998 Silver Cup Nationals winner, will start the main event
from the fifth starting spot, McDowell will start the big show from inside
row five, and Bare will take the green flag from the 13th starting position.
McDowell has had a great season with eight wins, 20 top five finishes,
top ten finishes, one fast time, and $188,400 in earnings at the first 33
Pro DirtCar Series events this season. McDowell is third in the points
chase, only seven points behind Francis, and 148 points behind Eckert.
McDowell and his team led by his brother and crew chief Shane McDowell know
how to overcome a point deficit late in the season because they did it in
1999 to win the UDTRA title.
"We're in our second season with Larry Shaw Race Cars, and things have
really come together for us this year," McDowell said. "I've been too busy
trying to keep up with Rick, Steve and Jimmy to worry about points. We
fortunate enough to lead the points for awhile, but we had a few DNFs (did
not finish) and that has dropped us back to third. The four of us are
pretty equal on the track, so I think luck is going to play a big role in
the outcome. It always does."
Steve Shaver of Parkersburg, WV won the second heat race in the Richard
Construction Rocket/Malcuit Monte Carlo and will start the main event from
the outside of the front row. Second through fourth respectively went to
Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL, Tom Myers of Greencastle, PA, and
Silver Cup Nationals champion Gary Stuhler of Greencastle, PA.
Pearson will start sixth, Myers starts the feature race from the 10th spot,
and Stuhler starts the big show from the 14th starting spot.
Pearson has been coming on strong in the last 16 UDTRA events this season.
Pearson has come from outside the top ten in points early in the season
fifth spot piloting the Lucas Oil/Dunn-Benson Ford Rocket/Eatmon Taurus
by crew chief Frank Averett. Pearson has 15 top ten finishes in his last
For the season, Pearson has one win, seven top five finishes, 19 top ten
finishes, and four fast times. Pearson also has a couple of Renegade
DirtCar Series wins at Hagerstown Speedway.
The August 30 program will pick up with the third and fourth 10-lap heat
races, two 10-lap Polaris ATVs Consolation Races, and the $10,000-to-win
50-lap 7th Annual Maryland Silver Cup Nationals.
Francis, who is second in UDTRA points, will start the fourth heat race
the outside of the front row. Francis knows he has a very good chance to
the title that has just slipped from his grasp the past two seasons. So
this season in 33 starts, Francis has two wins, 19 top five finishes, 26
ten finishes, and four fast time efforts. He has earned a total $133,830
"I think we've got a good chance to win the championship this season
because we were a lot further behind Rick at this point in the season last
year, and still only lost it by one point," Francis said.
For the 2002 Pro DirtCar Series season, Francis has joined forces with
Richards of Rocket Chassis. Francis has brought his Valvoline sponsorship
and Gary Stanton-built Mopar Performance engines to Richard's Rocket house
car program and crew chief Chad Haney.
"We just combined my team and Mark's team into one, and at one point or
another in all of our careers, we've all worked together," Francis said.
"However, this is the first time we've all worked together at the same time,
and we've had somewhat of a learning curve this season, but everything seems
to be coming together at the right time."
Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI is fourth in the series point standings and
start the third heat race from the outside of the third row. Despite loosing
his primary sponsor just days before the 2002 season began in February,
of Elk Mound, WI and his crew chief and brother Chris Mars have shown they
are a championship caliber team on the Pro DirtCar Series tour.
Mars has driven his Mastersbilt Race Cars/Pro Power Racing Engines Monte
Carlo to two wins, 19 top five finishes, 26 top ten finishes, one fast time,
and has earned $107,670 in 33 Pro DirtCar Series starts.
"We've seemed to have had a lot of problems late in races when we were
running in the top five that have put us back, so to be fourth in the points
and still have a shot at the championship is pretty remarkable," Mars said.
"We're just going to keep doing the best we can and see what happens."
Chub Frank of Sugar Grove, PA is the defending champion of the UDTRA Silver
Cup Nationals, and will start the third heat race from the inside of row
four. Frank is fresh off his first UDTRA win of the season on Saturday
night in the North-South 100 at Florence Speedway in Union, KY.
On Friday, the pit gate opens at 4 p.m., and the grandstand gate opens at
p.m. Hot laps are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Along with the Pro DirtCars,
Hagerstown Speedway Sportsman cars will also be in action.
For race day and ticket information call Hagerstown Speedway at (301)
582-0640. Hagerstown Speedway is located 5.3 miles west of I-81 at exit
on U.S. Highway 40.
OFFICIAL PARTIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 34 AT HAGERSTOWN SPEEDWAY IN HAGERSTOWN,
MD ON 7/13/02:
POS CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN CHASSIS CAR MAKE 1ST LAP 2ND LAP TIME SPEED
1 24 Rick Eckert York, PA Rocket Taurus 18.523 18.495 18.495 97.324
2 1P Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL Rocket Taurus 18.841 18.597 18.597
3 4b Jackie Boggs Grayson, KY Swartz Monte Carlo 18.970 18.753 18.753 95.985
4 E1 Mike Balzano Parkersburg, WV Rocket Monte Carlo 18.917 18.791 18.791
5 01 Rodney Franklin White Post, VA Rocket Grand Prix 18.800 19.807 18.800
6 114 Randle Chupp Mooresville, NC Rocket Grand Prix 18.882 NT 18.882 95.329
7 12 Rick Aukland Zanesville, OH Rocket Grand Prix 18.923 19.082 18.923
8 1 Steve Francis Ashland, KY Rocket Intrepid 19.102 18.935 18.935 95.062
9 24d Nathan Durboraw Hagerstown, MD Rocket Monte Carlo 18.992 NT 18.992
10 25 Andy Anderson Marksburg, WV Rocket Grand Prix 19.084 19.007 19.007
11 00k Randy Korte Highland, IL Rocket Grand Prix 19.103 19.016 19.016
12 28w Marvin Winters Mercersburg, PA Rocket Taurus 19.064 19.087 19.064
13 17m Dale McDowell Rossville, GA Rocket Grand Prix 19.075 19.133 19.075
14 30 Steve Shaver Parkersburg, WV Rocket Monte Carlo 19.096 19.273 19.096
15 32g Greg Lucas Whitesburg, KY Rocket Intrepid 19.522 19.098 19.098 94.251
16 00 Freddy Smith Knoxville, TN Warrior Monte Carlo 19.166 19.109 19.109
17 19 Davey Johnson Greensburg, PA Rocket Grand Prix 19.417 19.119 19.119
18 H20 Mark Kraus (R) Stratford, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 19.133 19.259
19 42 Todd Andrews Eldred, PA GRT Taurus 19.134 19.165 19.134 94.073
20 12b Doug Burkholder Chambersburg, PA Rocket Grand Prix 19.160 20.503
21 201 Billy Ogle Jr. (R) Knoxville, TN GRT Monte Carlo 19.325 19.199 19.199
22 43a Tom Myers Greencastle, PA Rocket Monte Carlo 19.218 19.271 19.218
23 28m Jimmy Mars Elk Mound, WI Mastersbilt Monte Carlo 19.223 19.365 19.223
24 88 Charlie Schaffer Hampstead, MD Rocket Grand Prix 19.227 20.050 19.227
25 99 Donnie Moran Dresden, OH Rayburn Monte Carlo 19.300 19.945 19.300
26 90 Gary Stuhler Greencastle, PA Rocket Monte Carlo 19.519 19.308 19.308
27 1* Chub Frank Sugar Grove, PA Rocket Monte Carlo 19.471 19.314 19.314
28 T31 Shane Tankersley (R) Morgonton, GA Stinger Grand Prix 19.688 19.333
29 7 Daryl Hills Great Mills, MD Rocket Taurus 19.507 19.355 19.355 92.999
30 1h Les Hare New Park, PA Warrior Monte Carlo 19.448 19.396 19.396 92.803
31 70j D.J. Myers Greencastle, PA Rocket Monte Carlo 19.956 19.468 19.468
32 RG3 Bob Salathe Bedford, PA Rocket Grand Prix 19.664 19.562 19.562 92.015
33 6b Booper Bare Rockridge Baths, VA Rocket Monte Carlo 19.696 19.597
34 119 Jim Burnheizel Lebanon, PA Lazer Monte Carlo 19.672 19.604 19.604
35 59 Bill Cunningham Jefferson, OH GRT Grand Prix 19.648 19.638 19.638
36 21d Dan Stone Thompson, PA Burnheizel Monte Carlo 19.699 19.758 19.699
37 71 Brent Smith Mercersburg, PA Rocket Taurus 19.928 19.762 19.762 91.084
38 7c Paul Crowl Upperco, MD Mastersbilt Grand Prix 67.465 20.530 20.530
39 X Wayne Johnson Hancock, MD GRT Monte Carlo 20.844 22.876 20.844 86.356
40 1d Ronnie DeHaven Jr. Winchester, VA GRT Taurus 21.215 21.026 21.026
41 64 Shawn Crosgrove Bealton, VA Warrior Grand Prix 26.382 20.615 DQ DQ
42 9 Frank Plessinger McConnellsburg, PA Mastersbilt Grand Prix NT NT NT
HEAT RACES (10 Laps - Top 4 Finishers Transfer To Main Event):
1ST HEAT: 1. Eckert; 2. Franklin; 3. McDowell; 4. Bare; 5. D. Johnson;
B. Smith; 7. Hills; 8. Moran; 9. Ogle (R).
2ND HEAT: 1. Shaver; 2. Pearson; 3. T. Myers; 4. Stuhler; 5. Kraus (R);
Crowl; 7. Hare; 8. Burnheizel; 9. Anderson.
3RD AND 4TH 10-LAP HEAT RACE LINE-UPS (Top 4 Finishers Transfer To Main
SCOTT PERFORMANCE WIRES 3RD HEAT:
4b Boggs - 12 Aukland
00k Korte - 32 Lucas
42 Andrews - 28 Mars
1* Frank - 70 D.J. Myers
59 Cunningham - X W. Johnson
JE PISTONS 4TH HEAT:
E1 Balzano - 1 Francis
28w Winters - 00 F. Smith
12b Burkholder - 88 Schaffer
T31 Tankersley (R) - RG3 Salathe
21d Stone - 1d DeHaven
1ST POLARIS ATVs 10-LAP CONSOLATION RACE LINE-UP (Top 3 Finishers Transfer
To Main Event):
19 D. Johnson - H2O Kraus (R)
71 B. Smith - 7c Crowl
7 Hills - 1h Hare
99 Moran - 119 Bernheisel
201 Ogle (R) - 25 Anderson
24d Durboraw - 114 Chupp
(Drivers finishing 5th on back in the 3rd and 4th Heat Races will start
the 2nd Polaris ATVs Consolation Race)
LINE-UP FOR THE $10,00-TO-WIN 7TH ANNUAL SILVER CUP NATIONALS:
24 - Rick Eckert, York, PA, Raye Vest Rocket/Cornett Taurus
30 - Steve Shaver, Parkersburg, WV, Richard Construction Rocket/Malcuit
Third Heat Race Winner
Fourth Heat Race Winner
01 - Rodney Franklin, White Post, VA, Calton Truck Service Rocket/Draime
1p - Earl Pearson Jr., Jacksonville, FL, Lucas Oil/Dunn-Benson Ford
Third Heat 2nd-Place Finisher
Fourth Heat 2nd-Place Finisher
17m - Dale McDowell, Rossville, GA, Larry Shaw Race Cars Rocket/Custom Grand
43 - Tom Myers, Greencastle, PA, Red Wing Shoes Rocket/Hershey Monte Carlo
Third Heat 3rd-Place Finisher
Fourth Heat 3rd-Place Finisher
6 - Booper Bare, Rockridge Baths, VA, Styers Curbing Rocket/Rumley Monte
90 - Gary Stuhler, Greencastle, PA, Nodikers Auto Salvage Rocket/Leggett
Third Heat 4th-Place Finisher
Fourth Heat 4th-Place Finisher
First Consolation Race Winner
Second Consolation Race Winner
First Consy 2nd-Place Finisher
Second Consy 2nd-Place Finisher
First Consy 3rd-Place Finisher
Second Consy 3rd-Place Finisher
R - Denotes Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year Candidate