Mopar Speed Monday, June 21, 2004 USAC Ray wins first Midget event, Buckeye Nats title Drake wins at Eldora, continues to lead points Jay Drake and Davey Ray picked up the hardware for Team Mopar during the USAC Buckeye Nationals show that...
Monday, June 21, 2004
Ray wins first Midget event, Buckeye Nats title
Drake wins at Eldora, continues to lead points
Jay Drake and Davey Ray picked up the hardware for Team Mopar during the USAC Buckeye Nationals show that toured Ohio with tandem Sprint and Midget action.
Drake and the No. 20 Mopar team from Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises wrapped up the Buckeye Nats at Eldora Speedway with a win in the Sprint finale on Saturday. With the win, Drake captured his first-ever Border Wars X title.
Drake scored three top-five finishes in the three Buckeye events, extending his lead in USAC National Sprint Series points over teammate Cory Kruseman, who is 120 points back.
Kruseman and the No. 21 Mopar team picked up top-three finishes at both Attica Raceway Park and Limaland Motorsports Park in the Buckeye Nationals.
Ray earned his first USAC National Midget Car Series win last Friday at Limaland Raceway Park. Ray drove the Wilke-PAK Motorsports No. 11 Mopar to three top-five finishes in the Buckeye Nationals events, winning the Midget car portion of the event. Ray is currently eighth in USAC National Midget Car Series driver points, while Wilke-PAK Motorsports is first in entrant points.
Tony Stewart Racing's Josh Wise drove his way to two top-ten finishes in the Midget portion of Buckeye Nationals to maintain second the series point standings. Wise was leading Friday night's feature at Limaland Motorsports Park when a cut left-rear tire sent him to the pits. He drove the No. 20 Mopar back up to a 14th-place finish after rejoining the field from the tail.
J.J. Yeley rejoined Team Mopar last Wednesday at Attica Raceway Park, driving a Gary Stanton-owned sprint car and a second car for Wilke-PAK Motorsports in an off-night from his NASCAR schedule. Yeley finished 16th in the sprint car portion of the race, while crossing the checkers 22nd in the midget feature.
Drake, Kruseman and Dave Steele of Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises will return to racing this weekend at the Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The USAC National Sprint Car and Silver Crown Series will compete this Friday and Saturday in the Showdown at Sundown event.
"This Wilke-PAK team has been great all season, and we're beginning to come together and communicate as we thought we would. The Mopar engines have been outstanding -- they perform well at every race. I'm thrilled that we won the Buckeye Nationals and excited to have won my first USAC National Midget Series race.
"It was a really tough week, so you had to be good all three nights in
order to be in the hunt. We had to qualify each night, which was
difficult in itself, and the drivers were tough. We did our best in the
features, and luckily we pulled off the win and the Buckeye crown."
-- Davey Ray, who won his first USAC National Midget Series event on Friday at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, Ohio.
"I've always wanted one of these [Eagle Nationals trophies]. We've come
here for a lot of years, and it just seems like we've never been able to
put a win together. I just have to thank my guys Jimmy Carr and Todd
Splain for all the hard work they do on this J.D. Byrider Eagle. We
couldn't do it without them, and these Kistler [Mopar] engines."
-- Danny Lasoski
Lasoski sweeps Eagle Nationals
Danny Lasoski and the Mopar-powered No. 20 car from Tony Stewart Motorsports swept the Eagle Nationals event Saturday and Sunday at Eagle (Neb.) Speedway. Lasoski and team chalked up wins number four and five in the sweep.
"The Dude" picked up a dash event win and led the entire second half of the A-main to score the prelim feature victory. The team again scored a Dash win Sunday to earn a starting spot in the front row. This time in the feature, however, Lasoski never relinquished his lead, pacing the pack for all 40 laps and winning the main feature by nearly 2.5-seconds.
Lasoski maintained his second-place standing in World of Outlaws Series points, with the team only 124 points behind series leader Steve Kinser.
The Eagle Nationals event will be broadcast on The Outdoor Channel on July 7. Lasoski and company will move on to famous Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway on Friday and Saturday.
Musgrave jumps three spots in point standings
Ted Musgrave grabbed another solid-as-concrete finish behind the wheel of his No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram at Memphis Motorsports Park on Saturday, finishing in the top-three for the second straight race.
Musgrave, the defending race winner at Memphis, finished third after starting the race on the outside pole, and he led more laps than anyone else. Recently the Ultra Motorsports team made some changes to the Mopar team and they seem to be working together well.
The team looks to continue to improve this Friday night at the Milwaukee Mile, where Musgrave won in 2001. Check out live TV coverage on Speed beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Larry Morgan, who currently stands fifth in the NHRA Pro Stock standings, is now closely affiliated with the powerhouse drag racing team of Don Schumacher Racing.
Schumacher also fields the Mopar-sponsored, Hemi®-powered, Dodge-bodied Funny Cars driven by Whit Bazemore and Gary Scelzi, and the Hemi-powered Top Fuel dragster of driver Tony Schumacher.
Don Schumacher himself once raced Mopar Funny Cars in the 1960s and '70s, so the arrangement should be a great fit.
Morgan's Pro Stock team acquired by Don Schumacher Racing
Multi-team owner Don Schumacherannounced that Don Schumacher Racing, in cooperation with Mopar Performance and Dodge Motorsports, has purchased the assets of Larry Morgan's NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock team, effective immediately.
Larry Morgan will continue as driver. Bob Glidden will reunite with Morgan as crew chief, with Mopar remaining on board as primary sponsor. With this acquisition, Don Schumacher Racing now owns and operates a total of six NHRA pro teams, with at least one team in each NHRA pro category.
Morgan, of Newark, Ohio, joins the Don Schumacher Racing teams of Gary Scelzi in the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car, Whit Bazemore in the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car, Tony Schumacher in the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster, and Antron Brown and Angelle Savoie in the U.S. Army-backed Pro Stock Bikes.
"We want to work real hard to take this team to a new level and have it be able to go out and win every race there is to win for the balance of the year," said Schumacher, whose teams will now have bases in Ohio and Indianapolis.
"The team's performance has been very close to current points leader and 2003 Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson's. We will provide this team all the necessary assistance to help it accomplish its goals and our goals, and that's to win races and hopefully be in the challenge for the Pro Stock championship in 2005," added Schumacher.
"I'm very excited about this relationship," said Morgan, currently fifth in the Pro Stock point standings. "I think that we can really do well. One of my biggest problems was being under-budgeted and that is no longer the case.
"I've got the will to win, and I know that Bob Glidden does as well," Morgan stated. "And with the support from Don Schumacher Racing, we can win a lot of races, there is no question. I am very proud to be a part of the Don Schumacher Racing family."
Alderman reaches semifinals at Englishtown
Darrell Alderman made his first semifinal appearance of the year yesterday at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.
Alderman piloted his Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T to defeat No. 1 qualifier and tough competitor Greg Anderson, after Alderman qualified a disappointing 16th. Alderman also disposed of Bruce Allen before being edged at the line by Kurt Johnson in the semifinal.
Larry Morgan also picked up a round win in his Mopar-sponsored Pro Stock entry from Don Schumacher Racing. He ran nearly two-tenths quicker than opponent Ron Krisher in the first round of eliminations, but it was no matter because Krisher had already red-lighted. Morgan was short to the line in the quarterfinal round against eventual event winner Jason Line.
Allen Johnson, teammate of Alderman and owner of the Johnson & Johnson Racing team, qualified ninth in the Pro Stock category, but red-lighted in his first round match up with Bruce Allen.
One more NHRA POWERade series event remains before the 25th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals, which are scheduled July 15-18.
The professional drag racers head to Madison, Ill., near St. Louis this weekend. Johnson has racked up two final round appearances at Gateway and looks to turn his season around on this next visit to the St. Louis area. Television coverage of qualifying will air on ESPN2 from 10 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and repeat Sunday from 3 to 4 a.m. Eliminations are scheduled to air Sunday from 9 to 12 p.m. Times are Eastern.
Three-time Pro Stock champion Darrell Alderman (above) rattled two strong opponents at Englishtown yesterday in his best event of the season.
"It's exciting right now to be in this position. We've got a good hot rod.
"We've had two great weekends. We came in here 175 points out of the
lead, and we're leaving here 153 out of the lead. That's excellent.
That's our goal. Right now the leaders are coming to us and our car is
Scelzi reaches semifinal
Gary Scelzi drove his Hemi-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T past Jerry Toliver and Cruz Pedregon on his way to a semifinal appearance in Englishtown N.J., yesterday. Scelzi just missed beating Funny Car legend John Force in their semifinal battle.
Scelzi's Don Schumacher Racing teammate Whit Bazemore qualified his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T eighth and drew competitor Del Worsham. Unfortunately, Bazemore smoked the tires around the 900 ft mark.
Bazemore, who has won twice this season is second in the Funny Car point standings, while Scelzi is sixth.
The professional drag racers heads to Madison, Ill., near St. Louis, this weekend, where Scelzi has racked up three wins and three top-qualifying times.
Francis notches two runners-up
Steve Francis and the No. 15 Mopar team earned two top-three finishes in World of Outlaws Late Model Series action last week.
The "Kentucky Colonel" drove to a second-place finish at Thunder Valley Raceway in Central City, Pa., on Saturday. The series moved to the Orange County Speedway in Middletown, N.Y., yesterday, where Francis picked up a dash event win and the pole for the feature event. Francis finished the race in second position.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series moves to Fulton (N.Y.) Speedway on June 21 and Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio, on June 26 for this week's action.
Steve Francis continues to turn in commanding performances in World of Outlaws Late Model competition across the country.