Mopar Speed news 2005-01-28

Mopar Speed Friday, January 28, 2005 USAC M Tracy Hines hopes to add a victory in this weekend's Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway to go along with his recent Chili Bowl Midget Nationals win. Tracy Hines and the Wilke-PAK...

Mopar Speed
Friday, January 28, 2005

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Tracy Hines hopes to add a victory in this weekend's Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway to go along with his recent Chili Bowl Midget Nationals win.

Tracy Hines and the Wilke-PAK Motorsports team are still riding the wave of their impressive Chili Bowl Midget Nationals victory, but they've quickly shifted gears and set their sights on this weekend's USAC Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).

"Winning the Chili Bowl was definitely the right way to start off the season, and we're going to try and carry that momentum into Copper World," Hines said. "But the Chili Bowl and Copper World are two different races. The Chili Bowl is pure short track racing, whereas the Copper World classic is held on a mile track. We're running the same paint scheme we did at Chili Bowl, so hopefully that will bring us good luck."

Hines is accustomed to jumping back and forth between race cars and race series, and this weekend's USAC National Midget and Silver Crown Series events are no exception. The No. 11 team believes it has PIR's number figured out.

"Some guys will be really fast at the very beginning of the race, but you need a good setup for all 25 laps in order to be there at the end," Hines said. "Being in a good position at the end of those 25 laps is what can make or break your race. I think we'll be in good shape this weekend, as Phoenix is a horsepower track and we're definitely at an advantage with our Gary Stanton-built Mopar engines."

The Copper World Classic is scheduled to take place at PIR January 29-30. For info regarding Mopar, Hines, or the Copper World Classic, log on to www.moparspeed.com, www.tracyhines.com or www.phoenixintlraceway.com.

Steele determined to capture Copper World Classic victory

"We're definitely going into this race to rewrite the way last year's event came down. We've had to wait all year to get our chance to redo last year's final lap. The key to Phoenix is being up front on the last lap. You've got to play the draft well, and there's quite a bit of strategy involved in running this track. It really comes down to how well you position yourself in the end."
    Dave Steele, on his strategy for taking the checkered flag at the Copper World Classic this weekend.

The 2004 Copper World Classic started off outstanding for Nicholas Motorsports' Dave Steele. The team set a new track record in qualifying and went on to lead much of the feature event. Steele saw the ensuing victory slip away in the final stages of the race, taking with it his perfect sweep of the event.

If Steele has his way, don't count on a repeat in 2005.

Known for his prowess on the pavement, Steele is notably the man to beat as the USAC National Midget Car Series heads to the Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) this weekend. The No. 2 Nicholas Motorsports team has spent the off-season gearing up for the opportunity to take the Copper World Classic title.

"This is the car that we set the track record with last year," Steele said. "We're familiar with the setup we'll need, and the Mopar engine is a great long track powerplant. We're looking forward to getting a new season started and it would be huge to get another Copper World midget win."

Steele will be contending for his second Copper World Classic win in the USAC National Midget Series division. The No. 2 team set the current midget qualifying record at the PIR at 26.049 seconds in 2004. Steele's effort shattered the previous track record for the facility, which he had set in 2002.

The Copper World Classic is scheduled to take place at PIR January 29-30. For info on Mopar, Steele, or the Copper World Classic, go to www.moparspeed.com, www.davesteele.com or www.phoenixintlraceway.com.

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Drake strives for strong start to 2005 USAC season

Mopar's Jay Drake has barely had time to enjoy the spoils of winning the 2004 USAC National Sprint Car Series title, but like any race driver, he's already focused on expanding that effort in 2005. After winning an unprecedented three straight pavement USAC Silver Crown Series events in 2004, Drake and the Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises team are looking to better that mark, beginning with this weekend's Copper World Classic.

"When you do something significant as a team, you always hope to equal or better your accomplishment," Drake said. "With five pavement races on the schedule, we'd like to win four or maybe five of those shows. We're definitely looking forward to the challenge of trying to better our own record, and where better to get our first win than at Copper World?"

Drake's display of pavement dominance last season left no question as to his team's capacity for winning. The No. 22 team is confident that it can translate that experience into track position at The Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) this weekend.

"When you run at Phoenix, you want to have the combination of horsepower and a well-balanced car on your side," Drake said. "We're focusing on the setup as much as possible, and combined with the reliability and horsepower of the Mopar engine, we believe we're going to have a strong combination that will help us get out front."

The Copper World Classic will also be the first outing for Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises' USAC Silver Crown effort. The team will field cars for both Drake and Josh Wise.

The Copper World Classic is scheduled to take place at PIR January 29-30. For more information regarding Mopar, Drake, or the Copper World Classic, log on to www.moparspeed.com, www.jaydrake.com, or www.phoenixintlraceway.com.

"This year is going to be a great year for us. We're focused on learning new things, while at the same time, utilizing the information we've gained from years past. We're confident that we can make 2005 our best Silver Crown season yet."
    Jay Drake, 2004 USAC Sprint champ, on entering the 2005 USAC Silver Crown season with renewed confidence.

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"I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well, so I'm trying not to look at this season any differently. We're going to take each event as it comes, and we're going to try to take the best finish possible away from each event. We'll always be racing to win, but consistency is the key, and by taking it race by race, that consistency will hopefully be there."

"I'm confident that we'll be in a good position in each series by the end of the season. It's definitely going to be an experience to run all three divisions."
    Josh Wise, on his quest for the 2005 USAC Triple Crown.

Wise's campaign to claim the 2005 USAC Triple Crown starts at Phoenix

This weekend's Copper World Classic might mark the beginning of the 2005 USAC racing season, but for Mopar's Josh Wise, 2004 USAC National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year, it marks the beginning of a new chapter of his career. When the checkered flag falls on the USAC National Midget and Silver Crown Series racing events at the Phoenix International Raceway, Wise will have recorded the first results of his attempt to claim the 2005 USAC 'Triple Crown.'

"We got to test quite a bit at Phoenix a few weeks ago, and it's really going to make a difference in our race this year," Wise said. "I'm much more confident heading into the Copper World Classic this year. We learned a lot as a team about the cars and the Mopar engines, and it's going to show. We're ready to get the 2005 season started."

That confidence is sure to be an asset to the Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises team as they roll off the grid. Wise, who will pilot the No. 20 USAC National Midget and No. 10 USAC National Silver Crown Series entry, looks to spend the majority of the event at the front of the field.

"It's vital to start up front at Phoenix," Wise said. "It's also important to get into a rhythm as a driver as quickly as possible. You've got to get comfortable, adjust as the track conditions change and really take care of your tires. Phoenix is also a speed and horsepower track, and we're definitely at an advantage with the Mopar engines. Knowing that we've got speed and horsepower on our side gives us an added bonus going into a race like this."

The Copper World Classic is scheduled to take place at the Phoenix International Raceway January 29-30. For more information regarding Mopar, Wise, or the Copper World Classic, log on to www.joshwiseracing.com, www.moparspeed.com or www.phoenixintlraceway.com.

-mopar-

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jay Drake , Josh Wise