NCRA: Series back on track

O'Reilly/NCRA Modifieds Return After Long Hiatus TOPEKA, Kan. (June 15, 2005) -- After what must seem like an eternity since they last raced, the O'Reilly/NCRA Modified Series presented by Hoosier Racing Tires returns to the track with two...

O'Reilly/NCRA Modifieds Return After Long Hiatus

TOPEKA, Kan. (June 15, 2005) -- After what must seem like an eternity since they last raced, the O'Reilly/NCRA Modified Series presented by Hoosier Racing Tires returns to the track with two shows this weekend.

They opened the season April 8 at Tulsa, followed by a race at 81 Speedway the following night. But a scheduled swing through southwest Kansas over Memorial Day weekend was canceled, extending their return to action by another couple of weeks.

Points leader Chad Wheeler will lead the way to the famed High Banks of Belleville, Kan., on Friday and then south to 81 Speedway in Park City, Kan., on Saturday.

Wheeler is a former NCRA modified rookie of the year who has returned after an extended absence to run the entire season this year. His goal is the NCRA championship and he's off to a great start so far with wins in both events.

The Muskogee, Okla., hot shoe ran up front all race and took the lead for good from two-time defending series champion Brian Franz late at Tulsa for his first-ever NCRA modified series win.

At 81 Speedway, a fifth-place finish in his Cherokee Casino and Resort heat race put him in a deep hole early. Wheeler began his run from the pole of the C feature, as he led all 10 laps and transferred to the B. From an 11th-place starting spot in the B, Wheeler finished second and moved into the A feature. There he started 16th but finished in the top spot, once again just ahead of Franz, from Newton, Kan.

With nearly a dozen races still to go in the season, Wheeler owns a 40-point lead over Franz. Darrick Klima, of Belleville, Kan., is third but won both events at Belleville last year. In fourth is Conner Ward from Wichita, Kan., 30 points behind Klima.

Only 30 points separate the next six drivers in the standings, beginning with a trio of drivers from Wichita, Kan. Only 40 points behind Ward is Marc Hurd in fifth with 425 points. Sixth is Brian Powers with 420 points and Brian McGowen is seventh with 415 points. Derby, Kan., driver Shannon Gilchrist holds down eighth place with 405 points. Tied for ninth is Greg Stephens, also from Wichita, and the 2004 modified rookie of the year Alan Dix (Stockton, Kan.), both with 395 points.

For more information about these events, please contact the Belleville High Banks at (785) 527-5179 or (785) 527-2488 on race day, and 81 Speedway at (316) 755-1781.

For more information about the series please visit our Web site at www.ncraracing.org.

-ncra-

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