Steele'S point lead in jeopardy at Springfield Saturday. Dave Steele's lead in the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series standings could be in jeopardy Saturday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The "Tony Bettenhausen 100" kicks...
Steele'S point lead in jeopardy at Springfield Saturday.
Dave Steele's lead in the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series standings could be in jeopardy Saturday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The "Tony Bettenhausen 100" kicks off four races on the dirt which conclude this year's championship drive and Steele must withstand the challenges of three drivers with great dirt-track credentials.
J.J. Yeley ranks second entering Saturday's race and posted dirt-track wins at Knoxville, Iowa and Rossburg, Ohio last year. Tracy Hines, third in the standings, although lacking a Silver Crown dirt-track victory, was third at Terre Haute, Ind. in June. Jason Leffler, fourth in the points, won at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in May.
Steele, although acknowledged as a pavement-track specialist, has produced some good dirt-track results, like the fourth-place finish he posted at the Indianapolis mile in May. He was also a "top-10" finisher in the final three dirt-track races last year, including a fifth-place finish at DuQuoin, Ill. Unfortunately his Springfield outings, though, have been less than spectacular, resulting in a 25th in 1999 and a 19th last year.
A total of 66 points are available at Springfield, where practice gets under way at 9 am. Qualifying starts at 10:30 am and a 15-mile "qualifying race" at 12:30 pm will finalize the starting field for the "Tony Bettenhausen 100" which gets the green flag at 1:30 pm.
Defending Springfield winner and Silver Crown Champion Paul White of Temple, Texas will continue his search for an answer to cracking the "top-10" which he has failed to do in six 2002 starts!
"Tony Bettenhausen 100" champions Dave Darland (1997 & 99) and Russ Gamester (1998) are also in Saturday's field, along with former Silver Crown Champion Tracy Hines (2000).
Jerry Coons, Jr. of Tucson, Ariz. also will return to Springfield this weekend after finishing second to White in last year's 100-miler.
Drivers will be aiming for the 1-lap track record of 120.048 mph established by Robby Flock in 1996.
USAC WELD RACING SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS
1. Dave Steele 320
2. J.J. Yeley 262
3. Tracy Hines 240
4. Jason Leffler 233
5. John Heydenreich 215
6. Jason McCord 205
7. Mike Bliss 166
8. Rick Tobias, Jr. 163
9. Jay Drake 159
10. Russ Gamester 152