posted March 12, 2001 07:37 PM
‘Modified March Madness’ strikes Volunteer Speedway
By Robert Walden
BULLS GAP, Tenn. (March 12) – Volunteer Speedway track officials are busy preparing for the $6,000 to win "2nd annual Modified March Madness" on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17. Last year’s inaugural event drew the biggest field of race cars ever assembled in the state of Tennessee for a weekend of racing, with 227 open-wheel modifieds from 17 states converging at the high-banked, 4/10-mile track in Bulls Gap, Tenn.
Bald Knob, Ark.’s Wayne Brooks passed race-long leader Jimmy Owens for the lead with less than 10 laps remaining and held on to win last year’s race. Newport, Tenn.’s Owens followed Brooks to the checkered flag, with Jeff Leka of Buffalo, Ill, Randy Zimmerman of Fort Scott, Kansas, and John Seets of Brighton, Ill., rounding out the top five finishers.
A "Who’s Who" listing of open-wheel racing’s top drivers from all across the United States is expected to be present but, East Tennessee standout Jimmy Owens, who is the reigning 2000 UMP Modified national champion, will enter the event carrying the title of "favorite to win" on his shoulders. Owens also captured the UMP title in 1998, and was runner-up in points in ’99.
Drivers who were present last year and are likely entries for the 2nd annual Modified March Madness include: Robby Perkins of Big Stone Gap, Va., Kurt Hofsess of Yerkes, Ky., Kelly Shryock of Story City, Iowa, Ron Jones of Zimmerman, Minn., Ed Chenault Jr. of Richmond, Ky., Ray Walsh of St. Louis, Mo., Randy Boggs of Grayson, Ky., Tim Donlinger of Rochester, Minn., Dean Hoffman of Belleville, Ill., Kerry Norris of Columbus, Ind., Scott Houston of Springfield, Mo., Mark Noble of Blooming Prairrie, Minn., Brian Mullan of Green Bay, Wis., Randy Petro of Columbus, Ind., Bobby Bittle of New Athens, Ill., Terry Hull of Columbia City, Ind., David Bice of Avilla, Ind., Chad McClellan of Stoystown, Pa., Keith Foss of Winona, Minn., Rob Timmons of Centralia, Ill., Jerry Buck of Paragould, Ark., Dan Bormen of Muskegon, Mich., Corky Fleming of Pacolet, S.C., Phil Sefto of Brownstown, Ill., John Burdette of Coolville, Ohio, Donnie Adams of London, Ky., plus many more.
The strong contingent of East Tennessee racers looking to defend their home turf include 2000 Volunteer Speedway UMP Modified track champion Kurt Owens of Newport, older brother of Jimmy Owens. Also looking to hold the "outsiders" at bay will be 1999 track champion Rodney Kiker of Greeneville, Chad Ogle of Sevierville, Mike Hutson of Church Hill, Wayne James of Newport, Mike Marlar of Winfield, Billy Palmer of Knoxville, Rusty Bryant of Newport, John Harrell of Surgoinsville, Stanley Donahoo of Dandridge, Rodney Clonce of Bean Station, Skimp Henry of Newport, Pete Hickey of Morristown, Bobby Edens of Bulls Gap, Jeff Maupin of Greeneville, Rick Taylor of Morristown, Mike Lewis of Knoxville, Paul Bales of Sevierville, Chap Slaughter of Kingsport, Ray Wilmoth of Church Hill, Rick Coffman of Morristown, Thomas Hutson of Surgoinsville, Kurt Hall of Morristown, Duane Ward and Jerry Broyles, both of Jonesborough, Tim Pittenturf of Newport, plus several others.
"There was a tremendous field of cars present last year for this race, and while I don’t look for over 200 entries this time around, I still expect a real strong field of cars to show up," said Jimmy Owens. "Most of these guys are used to running for anywhere from $300 - $600 to win at their weekly track, and the opportunity to race for $6,000 to win will ensure a good car count. To even make the field for this event will be quite an accomplishment itself."
Qualifying and heat races are scheduled Friday, March 16, with the $6,000 to win 2nd annual Modified March Madness feature highlighting the racing program Saturday, March 17. Also on the Saturday schedule are B and C Main qualifiers to complete the starting field, plus consolations. The Modified March Madness feature offers a $21,650 payout, with the total purse for the weekend over $27,000. The entry fee is $125 and payable at sign-in on Friday!
The 4-Cylinders will run a feature event as a support class on the Friday night portion of the racing program, while the Late Models will run a $1,000 to win 35-lap feature on Saturday, along with the headlining Modified March Madness.
Friday grandstand admission is $10, with Saturday’s grandstand admission $12. Pit admission is $20 both days.
Pit gates open on Friday at 1 p.m., grandstand gates at 5 p.m., with practice scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and qualifying at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s schedule of events finds the pit gates opening at 10 a.m., grandstand gates at noon, practice at 12:30 p.m., and racing at 2 p.m. for the Modifieds to complete their preliminaries. Late Models will qualify at 5:30 p.m., with feature racing beginning at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, call Volunteer Speedway at (423) 235-5020, Robert Walden-Public Relations/Media Contact at (423) 928-9644, or visit the track Web site at www.volunteerspeedway.com