posted January 29, 2001 10:38 AM
UDTRA PRO DirtCar SERIES TO OPEN 12TH SEASON ON FEB. 3-4 IN BRUNSWICK, GA
WOODSTOCK, GA - The United Dirt Track Racing Association will open a new
season with a new name on Saturday and Sunday at the 5/8-mile Golden Isle
Speedway in Brunswick, GA. The top Dirt Late Model drivers in the country
will run under the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series banner for the 2001 season.
The defending and four-time UDTRA Champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg,
TN will begin his "Drive For Five" this weekend at Golden Isle Speedway
during a pair of daytime events. The Saturday afternoon show will feature
30-lap $5,000-to-win main event, and the Sunday afternoon program will be
highlighted by a 50-lap $10,000-to-win feature race.
"I think the fans will see a better show in the daytime," Bloomquist said.
"I've raced there before in the daytime, and the visibility is better, which
makes the track seem wider. I think we'll see a lot more passing there
year than we have seen in the past couple of years. With the hard
oiled-dirt surface, the track doesn't change too much whether it's night
Bloomquist was leading a UDTRA at Golden Isle last season, but a mechanical
failure sent him to the pits early. Bloomquist says he has more confidence
in his equipment going into this season than he has had in past seasons.
"I'm more relaxed going this season, and have more confidence in my
equipment than I've ever had," Bloomquist said. "Our motor program is the
strongest it has ever been. We have more than one engine to use at the
tracks, but we don't have a 'spare' this year. They're all bullets."
During the 2000 UDTRA events at Golden Isle Speedway, Rick Eckert of York,
PA owned the place. Eckert busted a move right out of the box last season
by winning both UDTRA main events at Golden Isle Speedway to become an
immediate championship contender.
Eckert's bid for the series title, then known as the Hav-A-Tampa Series,
faded at mid-season, but Eckert knows why, and the problem has been
"The way we started off so strong last season really surprised us, and we
were a championship contender until we had some problems during the middle
of the season," Eckert said. "I don't know if we can repeat what we did
last year by winning the first three races of the season, but we're sure
going to give it our best shot. I hope we can start off as strong as we
last year, and then carry it on for the rest of the season."
There will be a wide variety of different car makes and equipment to cheer
for when the cars come out of the transporters and hit the ground this
weekend in Brunswick, GA. There will even be a variety of tires.
Bloomquist will back in his familiar black and white Ford Mustang, and
Eckert will also run Ford Mustangs exclusively in 2001. Another Ford
Mustang favorite will be Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC, but he will have
something different where the rubber meets the road. The Tarheel Tiger's
machine will be shod with American Racer tires, as they attempt to spoil
dominance of Hoosier Race Tires which has been on the cars of every UDTRA
champion in past years.
The 2000 UDTRA National Championship Runner-Up Steve Francis of Ashland,
will begin the season with new colors. The Kentucky Colonel will drive
Mopar Performance Dodge RT. Francis began his Mopar engine program late
last season by winning in Prestonsburg, KY the first time out in UDTRA
Wendell Wallace of Batesville, AR, and Rick Aukland of Zanesville, OH will
run Pontiac Grand Prix, and 1999 UDTRA Champion Dale McDowell of Rossville,
GA will join the Pontiac Platoon with a new team for 2001.
McDowell will team with car-builder Larry Shaw, and will utilize three
different chassis makes that are either built or sold by Shaw out of his
Batesville, AR shop. McDowell will have his choice of Larry Shaw, Rocket,
and Rayburn chassis.
The 1996 UDTRA Champion Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN will lead the bow
brigade in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and he will be joined by Dan Schlieper
of Pewaukee, WI, Donnie Moran of Dresden, OH and Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound,
Moran will be debuting a new creation called a Boss Chassis built by his
long-time crew chief Toma Johnson. Also on the chassis front, Wallace will
be in the GRT house car, with Cook and Smith also in GRTs. Francis and
Eckert will strap on Rocket Chassis, Bloomquist will pow wow with a Warrior,
while Aukland and Mars will team as MasterSbilt Race Cars house car drivers,
Schlieper will be in a Rayburn, and Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN will
lead the Barry Wright Race Cars effort.
The action will begin with a practice session on Friday. There will be
single car, three laps apiece session from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and an open
practice session from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The gates on Friday open at 10 a.m.
The schedule for both Saturday and Sunday will have the gates opening at
a.m., with hot laps at noon, qualifications at 2 p.m., and racing scheduled
for 3 p.m.
The Fairfield Inn Marriott in Brunswick, GA, located off I-95 at exit 38,
the Official Host Hotel for the Golden Isle Speedway event. The Brunswick
Fairfield Inn Marriott will offer UDTRA fans and competitors a special
discount rate of $52 per night. To make reservations call (912) 264-2060
and ask for the special UDTRA discount rate.
For Golden Isle Speedway ticket information call (912) 778-5821. Golden
Isle Speedway is located 14 miles west of I-95 at exit 29 on U.S. Highway