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posted September 20, 2001 06:51 AM UIN: 16262997


WOODSTOCK, GA - The United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series
returns to action and the championship battle continues this weekend at
Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC. The action Friday night will feature
UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series in Qualifying and Heat Races, with the Saturday
night main event consisting of a 100-lap $20,000-to-win feature race.

UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series point leader Rick Eckert of York, PA, Steve
Francis of Ashland, KY and the defending and four-time UDTRA Champion Scott
Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN are the three main combatants in the battle
the 2001 title. Eckert leads Francis by 13 points, while Bloomquist is
third, 106 points behind Eckert.

With six races left in the 2001 UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series season, Bloomquist
has a long row to hoe in his "Drive For Five." Bloomquist would have to
gain an average of 18 points per race on Eckert to wrestle away the point

Bloomquist is the hottest dirt late model driver in the country in recent
weeks. He has won the last three UDTRA events in Pecatonica, IL, Union,
and Knoxville, TN to bring his season total to ten UDTRA victories, twice
many as the next driver in line, Eckert with five.

He is the only driver in UDTRA history to win four races in a row, which
has done on two different occasions. In addition to his UDTRA success,
Bloomquist has also won the Topless 100 in Batesville, AR and the World
in Rossburg, OH.

Along with all of this momentum, Bloomquist has a pretty good record of
success at "The Place Your Mamma Warned You About," Cherokee Speedway.

Bloomquist leads in UDTRA career wins at Cherokee Speedway with five. His
latest UDTRA Cherokee Speedway victory came on April 28, and it was his
first UDTRA win of the season. That race was memorable because it was a
classic duel between Bloomquist and Eckert.

Eckert set fast time, won the first heat race, and started on the pole
position for the 50-lap feature race. Eckert led early while Bloomquist
challenged from the second spot for 20 laps before taking the lead with
laps to go. The win brought Bloomquist out of an early slump that saw top
ten finishes hard to come by.

But Eckert and Francis have kept up their consistency for most of the
season. Eckert has five wins, with the most top five finishes of any other
driver with 21 in 37 starts. Francis has stayed in the championship hunt
with an amazing 34 top ten finishes in 37 starts with one victory. One
those top tens came at Cherokee on April 28 when Francis finished seventh.

While Eckert, Francis, and Bloomquist battle for the title, there will be
many other drivers to watch for on the -mile high-banked clay oval.

National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductees Freddy Smith of Knoxville,
TN and Mike Duvall of Cowpens, SC have showed more than once that they can
still get it done at Cherokee Speedway. Smith, the 1996 UDTRA Champion
three UDTRA wins at Cherokee Speedway, and countless other wins there.

Duvall, who operates a driving school at the track, won a UDTRA event at
Cherokee Speedway in 1991. On April 28, Duvall was the second quick
qualifier, won the second heat race, and led the first 27 laps of the 50
lapper before he cut down a tire. For those 27 laps, there were no
challengers behind Duvall.

Other challenges will come from 1999 UDTRA Champion Dale McDowell of
Rossville, GA, Wendell Wallace of Batesville, AR, Dan Schlieper of Pewaukee,
WI, Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC, Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI, UDTRA Rookie
the Year point leader Joe Izzo of Chicago, IL, and Randy Korte of Highland,

Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN, who is fifth on the all-time UDTRA win
list, drove the Barry Wright "house car" to a strong third-place finish
the April 28 UDTRA Cherokee Speedway event. Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton,
NC has two career UDTRA wins at Cherokee Speedway in 1990 and 1993. Other
local favorites include Dennis "Rambo" Franklin of Gaffney, SC and Chris
Madden of Laurens, SC.

Along with the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series, the Cherokee Speedway Limited
Sportsman, Thunder and Lightning, Mod 4, Stock 4, and Rookie 4 Divisions
will also be in action each night. Cherokee Speedway will host a practice
session on Thursday night with the pit gate opening at 4 p.m., and the
grandstand gate opening at 5 p.m.

On Friday and Saturday night, the pit gate opens at 1 p.m., the grandstand
gate opens at 4 p.m.. and hot laps are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. On Saturday
afternoon from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. there will be a UDTRA Drivers Autograph
Session on Souvenir Row.

The Sleep Inn in Gaffney, SC will be the UDTRA Official Host Hotel for the
Cherokee Speedway event. Located at exit 90 on I-85, just minutes from
track, the Sleep Inn is offering UDTRA fans and competitors a special
discount rate of $52 per night. The Sleep Inn is a Gold Award facility
offers a Deluxe Continental Breakfast and Business Center to their guests.
To make reservations call (864) 487-5337 and be sure to ask for the UDTRA
special discount rate.

For race day and ticket information call (864) 489-1969. Cherokee Speedway
is located south of I-85 at exit 96.

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