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posted June 24, 2001 05:00 PM
Biggest program in the history of Raceway 7 is coming
Conneaut, OH (June 24) - It is almost here. Everything is ready, as Raceway 7 is set to present the biggest racing program in track history, as the first week of July arrives. The national traveling Late Model Series UDTRA, the United Dirt Track Racing Association, will make their second visit to the Ashtabula County oval in extreme, northeast Ohio. With an increased total purse over last year's inaugural event, the winner of the Second Annual "General Aluminum 100" will receive $20,000 for their victory in the 100-lap main event, capping a two-day program on July 6.
"We expect everybody in the Top Twenty in points to be there," said UDTRA Public Relations Director Roby Helm. "Last year we had a long trip to Maryland for an event the next day. But this year with races in Ohio before and after the Raceway 7 event, all of the drivers should be making the trip due to the multiple events all being held close together.
"UDTRA enjoyed our visit to Raceway 7 last year. We had an exciting event, and your facility is very nice. We are definitely excited to be returning this year," Helm concluded.
Pennsylvania driver Rick Eckert currently leads the UDTRA point standings, in search of his first Series title. His nearest competition in the standings is Kentucky driver Steve Francis. Tennessee's Scott Bloomquist is a multiple UDTRA champion, and he sits third in Series points. Wisconsin driver Dan Schlieper sits fourth in the standings at the present time. Arkansas is the home state of the fifth and sixth ranked drivers, with Billy Moyer and Wendell Wallace holding those positions. Seventh place driver Dale McDowell is from Georgia, which is also the Series home base. Jimmy Mars is from Wisconsin, and he sits eighth in the current standings. North Carolina residents Freddy Smith and Ray Cook complete the top ten in the point race.
In positions 11 through 20 in the standings are drivers who are mixed in their experience with competition at Raceway 7. Joe Izzo, Randy Korte, and Shannon Babb hold positions 11 through 13, and none have made appearances at the Ohio track. Davey Johnson is 14th, and the Pennsylvania resident has many appearances at the track. Steve Boley in 15th and Brian Burkhofer in 17th are strangers to the Ohio track, while 16th place driver Rick Aukland may have made a prior visit. Steve Shaver sitting in 18th in the standings has made several starts, and in fact is a former track record holder. In 19th in the point chase is defending event champion Chub Frank, who learned his trade at Raceway 7 and will hold a home field advantage against the many travelers. Completing the top 20 in the points is Randle Chupp, who resides in Tennessee despite driving for a team backed by Biscotti's Restaurant and Winery, a Conneaut business.
A large contingent of area drivers will be in competition to defend their home turf against the outsiders. Among the top local drivers is **** Barton, who has won four of the six events held at Raceway 7 this season. Rob Blair will be ready for the challenge, as he is a three-time Raceway 7 Late Model Champion. Other weekly competitors who are expected to compete are Dan Armbruster, Jim Dandy, Jr., Rich Gardner, Chris Hackett, Dave Lyon, Brent Rhebergen, and Rusty Whitmore. Part-time visitors who should be on hand include Ryan Markham, Ron Davies, Bob Close, and Todd Andrews.
Racing action will commence on Thursday, July 5. The grounds will be opened up all day, as UDTRA Technical Inspection, and Registration will begin at 3:00 PM. The Pit and Grandstand areas will be emptied just prior to 5:00, when the gates will officially open. After the UDTRA Drivers Meeting at 6:30, drivers will hit the track for Hot Laps at 7:00. Racing will begin at 7:30, as Raceway 7's regular Steel Block Late Models will run their qualifying Heat races. Next up will be UDTRA Qualifying, as drivers will take two timed laps to determine their starting order in the qualifying heat races. Drivers will be trying to break the existing Raceway 7 track record of 17.464, set by Randle Chupp on September 1, 2000. The Jay's Auto Wrecking Steel Block Late Model feature will be run at the conclusion of UDTRA Qualifying. The evening will conclude with the UDTRA Heat Races, as drivers race to gain entry into the Second Annual "General Aluminum 100." There will be either four or six heat races, depending on the official car count.
The schedule for Friday, July 6 will be as follows. The grounds will again be opened up all day, as UDTRA Technical Inspection, will begin at 4:00 PM. The Pit and Grandstand areas will again be emptied just prior to 5:00, when the gates will officially open. When the gates open at 5:00, the UDTRA Drivers will take part in the Autograph Session, where fans will get the chance to meet all of the drivers. This session will last for one hour in the grandstand area. After the UDTRA Drivers Meeting at 6:30, UDTRA drivers who are not qualified for the main event will have their Hot Laps at 7:00. Racing will begin at 7:30, as Raceway 7's E-Mods will run their qualifying heat races. Next up will be the two UDTRA Consolation events, as drivers get their last chance at gaining entry to the main event. All UDTRA drivers who transferred to the main through the heat races will get a Hot Lap session next, after which the Raceway 7 Street Stock division will run their qualifying heat races. At this point, the stage will be set for the running of the Second Annual "General Aluminum 100." The MHC Inc. E-Mod and Fame Manufacturing Street Stock features will conclude the racing activity.
In the inaugural running of the General Aluminum 100 in 2000, the event boiled down to a battle between race leader Scott Bloomquist, a many time UDTRA champion, and local star Chub Frank, who was tied as the leading Late Model feature winner in Raceway 7 history. Frank would make the pass in the closing laps to score a victory that would bring down the house, as he took the title as the All-Time Late Model feature win leader with 30.
Grandstand General Admission prices are $25 on Thursday, and $35 on Friday, but a two-day admission pass will cost $50, a savings of $10. Pit Passes will cost $35 on Thursday, and $40 on Friday, but the two-day Pit Pass will also save $10, as they are priced at $65. Both advanced tickets will be available up to and including race day. They can be purchased at the track on any race night, or by calling the track office at 814-967-4230. Master Card and VISA are accepted. Free overnight camping at the track is allowed with no hookups.
Raceway 7 is located six miles south of Interstate 90 on Ohio Route 7. For more information, please call 814-967-4230 for the office, or 440-594-2222. For more information on UDTRA, call them at 770-516-6717. For the most complete source of Raceway 7 information, please visit the track's web site at www.raceway7.com.