USAR: Madison: Northern Division finale preview

Regular-Season Finale Set for MIS Myrtle Beach, S.C.-Just because Benny Gordon has already clinched the Northern Division title, doesn't mean the Miller Lite 250 presented by Southern Wisconsin Dodge Dealers at Madison International Speedway...

Regular-Season Finale Set for MIS

Myrtle Beach, S.C.-Just because Benny Gordon has already clinched the Northern Division title, doesn't mean the Miller Lite 250 presented by Southern Wisconsin Dodge Dealers at Madison International Speedway on Saturday, August 19 won't be full of point-battle scenarios.

Woody Howard, driver of the No. 55 Dean Motorsports Chevrolet, is currently third in the Northern Division standings with 1373 points. But the 2005 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year can't afford a bad night, because only 51 points separates Howard from sixth place in the standings.

Behind Howard, Jack Bailey and A.J. Frank are drivers that could move up with a good run. But all three are drivers that haven't visited victory lane this season. And therein lays the predicament. Do you go for broke or just try to point race?

"I'm just going for the win," said Howard, who is third in points and just 24 points ahead of Shelby Howard and Jack Bailey. "I'm not going to do anything stupid, but I'm going to win. It's going to be tough, but I'd love to get a win for my car owner, Jim Dean."

After Howard's breakout, three-win season last year, the former Late Model ace has yet to return to victory lane in '06. But a victory in the regular-season finale would boost his moral for the Championship Series.

"It may sound crazy, but we've learned more about the cars this year than last year," said Howard. "A lot of the problems we've had this season have been out of our control. I feel like we're better his year. A win would be great and give us confidence heading into the Championship Series, but I feel like we're ready even if we don't win."

Bailey, driver of the No. 93 Ferguson Waterworks Ford, would also like to bolster his team's confidence with a victory heading into the Championship Series, but may be at a little disadvantage.

Both Howard and Frank competed in the inaugural event at MIS last season. Howard finished third and clinched the Northern Division Rookie of the Year at the Wisconsin track, while Frank, driver of the No. 11 Schaffer Oil Pontiac, qualified seventh and ran in the top five before falling from the event with a mechanical failure.

Benny Gordon, driver of the No. 66 Predator Performance Ford, dominated last year's event, leading 201 laps en route to victory and the Northern Division title. Gordon would be a clear favorite for a repeat, but his team has posted back-to-back finishes outside the top 10.

"We don't want to end the regular season like this," Gordon said after falling out of the race at South Boston. "We won the [regular-season] title tonight, but we want to win every race we run. We'll just have to get things turned around at Madison."

The Miller Lite 250 is scheduled to start 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 19. Fans are encouraged to come out early to watch Advance Auto Parts Pole Qualifying at 4:45 p.m. The on-track autograph session will start at 5:45 p.m. Following the Miller Lite 250, MIS Truck regulars will compete in a 40-lap feature.

2006 USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series quick Facts

WHAT: Miller Lite 250 presented by: Southern Wisconsin Dodge Dealers
Race No. 22 of 30 (Northern Division Race 12 of 12)

WHERE:                       Madison International Speedway - Madison, WI

½ mile, high banked asphalt oval

WHEN: Saturday, August 19, 2006 - 7 p.m. (EST)

DISTANCE: 250 Laps/ 125 Miles

POSTED AWARDS: $131,649 (Includes $36,433 Point Fund)

TELEVISION:               SPEED Channel, Wednesday, August 23, 2006 (4 p.m. EST)

SPEED Channel, Friday, August 25, 2006 (12 Noon EST)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Saturday, August 5, 2006:
12 a.m. Pro Cup Practice Begins
2 p.m. Pro Cup Practice Ends
3- 3:30 p.m. Truck Practice
3:30 p.m. Front Gates Open
4:45 p.m. Pro Cup Qualifying Time Trials
5:45 p.m. Autograph Session
6:30 p.m. Pre-Race Ceremonies
7 p.m. Miller Lite 250 presented by Southern Wisconsin Dodge Dealers
    To Follow Truck Race (40Laps)

-credit: usar

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Shelby Howard , Jack Bailey , A.J. Frank