posted July 12, 2001 02:55 PM
UDTRA REGULARS FACE TOUGH CHALLENGE FROM LOCALS AT HAGERSTOWN
WOODSTOCK, GA - When the United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar
Series regulars pull through the pit gate at Hagerstown Speedway in
Hagerstown, MD on Saturday night, they know they are in for a tough battle
to claim the $10,000 top prize in the 50-lap main event.
In last the last two appearances for the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series at
Hagerstown Speedway, local drivers have spanked the traveling pros for the
In 1998, it was Rodney Franklin of White Post, VA taking the win, and last
year, Gary Stuhler of Greencastle, PA was the big winner. Even in time
trials last year, it was a local driver leading the way, as Roy Deese Jr.
Odenton, MD set fast time.
The UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series point leader Rick Eckert of York, PA will
bring local flavor to Hagerstown Speedway, which is the closest track to
home, and his car owner, Raye Vest of White Plains, MD. For Eckert, the
last 12 months finds his team in much better shape than last year's
Hagerstown 20th-place finish.
Eckert was a title contender during the early season last year with four
wins in the first three months of the season. By the time the team rolled
into their "home" track, Eckert was in a monumental slump, and had dropped
to fourth in the points chase.
This year, Eckert arrives at Hagerstown with a 202-point lead over Steve
Francis of Ashland, KY, and in his last three races, Eckert has two wins
a fourth-place finish. On the season, Eckert has five wins and over
$100,000 in earnings.
Francis on the other had, is still looking for his first win of the season,
but his string of top ten finishes has kept last year's UDTRA National
Championship runner-up in this year's title hunt. Last year at Hagerstown,
Francis charged to the front pack, and challenged Stuhler for the lead late
in the race.
The defending and four-time UDTRA Champion Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg,
TN is third in the points chase with six wins, and he leads the 2001
earnings list, having pocketed over $150,000 in the first 28 events of the
2001 season. Bloomquist has a 1996 UDTRA Hagerstown Speedway win on his
resume of 83 UDTRA career wins.
The 1999 UDTRA Champion Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA is fourth in the
UDTRA point standings, and is looking for his first UDTRA win of the season.
After teaming up with car builder Larry Shaw at the beginning of the season,
McDowell has been going through a learning curve during the first half of
the season with his new equipment. School must be out for McDowell, as
has shown some strength during the last few weeks.
Wendell Wallace of Batesville, AR is having a good season, as he is fifth
in the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series point standings with three wins and over
$80,000 in season earnings. Wallace will be looking to pick up what he
on the table at Hagerstown Speedway last season. Wallace led the first
laps of last year's race, and ended up in the fourth spot at the checkered
And then, there is the "Shoestring Traveler" Chub Frank of Sugar Grove,
Last year, it was Frank showing up at Eastern tracks and spanking the UDTRA
regulars on two different occasions. This season, he came to the South,
two tracks he had never seen before, and led every lap. Since then, Frank
won the latest UDTRA event in Orrville, OH, just as he did last season.
Frank has run only half of the 28 races run, so far this season, with the
UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series. He has three wins, ten top five finishes, and
over $61,000 in earnings.
Other top UDTRA entries expected for the Hagerstown, MD show are Dan
Schlieper of Pewaukee, WI, Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI, Ray Cook of
Brasstown, NC, 1996 UDTRA Champion Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN, UDTRA
Rookie of the Year point leader Joe Izzo of Chicago, IL, and Randy Korte
On Saturday, the pit gate opens at 3 p.m., and the grandstand gate opens
5 p.m. UDTRA hot laps are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to be followed by
qualifications, Borla Performance heat races, the Renegade Transporters
Polaris ATVs consolation races, and the 50-lap $10,000-to-win main event.
The Hagerstown Speedway Sportsman and Street Stock Divisions will also be
For ticket and race day information call (301) 582-0640, or visit the
Hagerstown Speedway web site at www.hagerstownspeedway.com. Hagerstown
Speedway is located 5.3 miles west of I-81 at exit 6b on U.S. Highway 40.