posted April 26, 2001 08:03 AM
UDTRA PRO DIRTCAR SERIES TRAVELS TO NEW VENUE AND RETURNS TO AN OLD FAVORITE
WOODSTOCK, GA - The United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series
will travel to a new venue this Friday night, and return to an old favorite
track this Saturday night for a pair of 50-lap $10,000-to-win events.
Friday night, the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series will make its first-ever
appearance at Cochran Speedway in Cochran, GA, and then travel to Cherokee
Speedway in Gaffney, SC on Saturday night.
Going into the weekend's action, Rick Eckert of York, PA leads Steve
Francis of Ashland, KY by 24 points in the 2001 UDTRA points chase. In
first ten races of the season, Eckert has one win, with six top five and
eight top ten finishes. Francis is still looking for his first win of the
season, but has five top five and nine top ten finishes in the first 10
events this season.
The inaugural UDTRA visit to the 4/10-mile Cochran Speedway will bring
nation's top dirt late model drivers to south central Georgia. This event
takes the place of the rained out UDTRA event at Golden Isle Speedway in
Brunswick, GA on February 4, and rain checks from that program will be
honored at Cochran Speedway this Friday night.
The Cochran Speedway activities begin tonight with an open practice session
beginning at 5 p.m. On Friday night, the pit gate opens at 2 p.m., the
grandstand gate opens at 5 p.m., with hot laps set for 6:15 p.m., and UDTRA
Pro DirtCar Series qualifying scheduled for 7:30 p.m. For ticket and race
day information call (912) 934-4477.
Cochran Speedway is located one-mile north of S.R. 87 on S.R. 26, then
7/10-mile west on Jim Wimberly Road.
On Saturday night, he nation's premier dirt late model traveling series
returns to the legendary ½-mile clay oval for the richest one-day event
the 44-year history of Cherokee Speedway.
The two drivers with the most past success at Cherokee Speedway are looking
to continue their good fortunes to get back into the 2001 UDTRA Pro DirtCar
Series championship hunt.
In 12 past UDTRA appearances at Cherokee Speedway defending and four-time
UDTRA Champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN and 1996 UDTRA Champion
Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN have won a combined seven races.
Bloomquist, who is the leading UDTRA career winner with 77 victories and
the only driver in UDTRA history to win over $1-million in career earnings,
has gotten off to the worst start in his eight-years traveling full time
with the series. In the first 10 events of the 50-race UDTRA schedule,
Bloomquist has just one top 10 finish, a sixth-place effort on April 20
Bloomquist has made all of the races thus far this season, and he is
currently ninth in the series point standings. With four Cherokee UDTRA
career wins (two in 1996, one each in 1994 and 1993), Bloomquist will be
looking to turn his season around on some familiar ground where he has had
Smith looks at Cherokee Speedway like a home track, as he is originally
from Kings Mountain, NC. The Southern Gentleman has three past UDTRA wins
at Cherokee Speedway (1997. 1995, and 1994), and has won several
non-sanctioned events on the Gaffney, SC high-banks.
After winning the 2001 UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series season opener in Brunswick,
GA on February 3, Smith has struggled, but a couple of recent top ten
finishes have put him just outside the top ten in the point standings in
South Carolina has a lot of UDTRA tradition coming home to Cherokee
Speedway. Mike Duvall of Cowpens, SC has achieved legendary status in dirt
late model racing, and will be at the top of his game at Cherokee Speedway,
where he also shares his 30-plus years of racing experience conducting the
Mike Duvall Racing School.
The Flintstone Flyer won the UDTRA event held at Cherokee Speedway in 1991,
and although he hasn't traveled with the series in recent years, he is very
familiar with the tough competition the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series will bring
to the Palmetto State.
Barry Wright of Cowpens, SC has earned much fame as a car builder on the
UDTRA tour after teaming up with Bloomquist in the early to mid 90s.
Bloomquist drove the Barry Wright Race Cars "house car" to UDTRA
Championships in 1994 and 1995. All four of Bloomquist's Cherokee Speedway
UDTRA wins came behind the wheel of a Wright creation.
For the 2001 season, Wright has teamed up with another UDTRA legend, Ronnie
Johnson of Chattanooga, TN. Johnson is fourth on the all-time UDTRA career
win list with 18 victories. The Wright-Johnson combination will bring a
Cherokee Speedway experience to the table this Saturday night.
Gaffney's own Mike Gault came into national prominence last season by
competing full-time with the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series, and earned the 2000
Rookie of the Year honors. Gault's finest hour last season came at Bristol
Motor Speedway where he ran with leaders in front of 45,000 fans, but a
strong finish was thwarted by a mechanical failure.
Another local favorite to watch will be Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, NC.
In addition to winning several weekly late model shows at Cherokee Speedway
in the past, Weeks has two UDTRA wins on his resume, both coming at Cherokee
Speedway in 1990 and 1993.
Among the other traveling pros competing at Cherokee Speedway this Saturday
night will be 1997 UDTRA Champion Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR, Dan
Schlieper of Pewaukee, WI, Wendell Wallace of Batesville, AR, Jimmy Mars
Elk Mound, WI, Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC, and 1999 UDTRA Champion Dale
McDowell of Rossville, GA.
The schedule for this Saturday night will have the pit gate opening at 1
p.m., with the grandstand gate opening at 4 p.m. UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series
hot laps are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. For race day and ticket information
call (864) 489-1969. Cherokee Speedway is located just south of I-85 at