USAR: Milwaukee: North/South combined event preview

Sears Auto Center 150 Truly Momentous Combination event, historic facility await Hooters Pro Cup's best Myrtle Beach, S.C.--There have been some special moments in the history of the Hooters Pro Cup Series, but the Sears Auto Center 150 at The...

Sears Auto Center 150 Truly Momentous
Combination event, historic facility await Hooters Pro Cup's best

Myrtle Beach, S.C.--There have been some special moments in the history of the Hooters Pro Cup Series, but the Sears Auto Center 150 at The Milwaukee Mile on Saturday, May 31, will be extraordinary in itself.

It will be the first time since the Hooters Pro Cup Series split into two divisions in 2001 that the Greased Lightning Southern Division and the Sears Auto Center Northern Division will compete on the same track in the regular season.

The event will also be the first time the Hooters Pro Cup Series has run as a companion to the Indy Racing League, which will compete on Sunday, June 1.

"This is a benchmark event for us," said Tony Cox, USAR Series Director. "Everyone knows that our Championship Series races are the most competitive fields in the country. With this being a combination event, fans will be treated to a 'sneak peak' of what the end of the season will be like. Plus, the drivers will get a chance to size up their competition for the title run."

And with the entry list creeping towards 50, there will be no shortage of competition.

"I expect it to be a good race," said Gary St. Amant, driver of the No. 7n JEGS.com/SPEEDCO Chevrolet. "The track is so wide. There should be plenty of passing."

St. Amant is one of the few drivers that know the nuances of the flat, mile-long track. The short-track legend competed at the track several times in the now-defunct ASA National Tour. But, ironically, he picked up the preferred line before picked up the wheel.

"I remember as a fan watching Rusty Wallace going through the corners kicking up dirt," said St. Amant, who recently tested at the track. "That was the line then, and the line is still on the bottom of the track. You wouldn't think it, but the track has a lot of the same handling characteristics as Iowa [Speedway]."

If that's the case, fans are in for a treat. In two races at Iowa, the Hooters Pro Cup Series has averaged over 20 lead changes. But the battle for the lead will not be the only one going on. While the Sears Auto Center 150 is just one event, drivers will be competing for points against their divisional counterparts as well.

"For us, this race is about the Northern Division championship," said St. Amant, who is the defending Northern Division champion. "We're not going to change that because of the Southern guys being there. We might remember how they raced us for later in the year, but that's about it."

Besides St. Amant, track time at Milwaukee is somewhat limited among the other competitors in the field. Joe Harrison and Don Satterfield competed in the only Hooters Pro Cup Series event at the track in 1997. Mark McFarland started 12th in the Busch Series event at the speedway in 2006. Benny Gordon finished 15th in the Craftsman Truck Series event at Milwaukee last season.

Bobby Gill, Billy Bigley, Bill Plemons and Derrick Kelley competed in the Hooters Cup Series, a Super Late Model division, at Milwaukee in 1997.

So with the new facility, a talent-laden group of drivers and both divisions competing in the same event, the Sears Auto Center 150 will likely be one of the most memorable events in Pro Cup history.

The event is slated for a green flag at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, immediately following IRL qualifying. Fans are encouraged to come out early for the traditional autograph session at 3 p.m. Fans can still pick up $15 tickets for both the Sears Auto Center 150 and the IRL Pole Day.

For ticket information, visit www.MilwaukeeMile.com.

HOOTERS PRO CUP QUICK FACTS

WHAT: Sears Auto Center 150

WHERE:                  The Milwaukee Mile, Milwaukee, Wis.

1-mile asphalt oval

WHEN: Saturday, May 31

DISTANCE: 150 laps/ 150 Miles

POSTED AWARDS: $131,936

STARTING FIELD: 40 car starting field. Fastest 16 Southern Division cars and fastest 16 Northern Division cars through time trials -- Four provisionals for each division.

TELEVISION:
VERSUS NETWORK Monday, June 9 (4 p.m. ET)

Regional Networks: Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Altitude Sports, Comcast SportsNet New England, SportsTime Ohio, Comcast SportsNet West, Cox Sports, Lonestar Sports, Mediacom, America One, DirectTV & Dish Network
(Check Local Listings for Regional Airings)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Thursday, May 29, 2008 (Optional Test Day):
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Pro Cup Practice
4:30 p.m. -7:00 p.m. Pro Cup Practice

Friday, May 30, 2008:
11:30 am - 1:30p.m. USAR Practice
5:15 p.m. USAR Qualifying Scuff Session
5:30 p.m. USAR Qualifying Time Trials

Saturday May 31, 2008:
2:15 p.m. Chapel Service (Milton Peck Media Center)
3:00 p.m. Autograph Session
5:00 p.m. USAR Pre-Race Ceremonies
5:30 p.m. Sears Auto Center 150

HPCS Track Qualifying Record at Milwaukee:
Gene Morgan Date: 9/7/1997 Time: 31.465 sec Speed: 114.410 mph

-credit: usar

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Billy Bigley , Mark McFarland