Steele and Yeley take front row in Phoenix qualifying

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Steele and Yeley take front row in Phoenix qualifying

Phoenix, AZ, March 22, 2003 - Dave Steele took the pole for tomorrow's USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway. He clocked 25.963 seconds around the one mile oval in the desert, for a speed of ...

Phoenix, AZ, March 22, 2003 - Dave Steele took the pole for tomorrow's USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway. He clocked 25.963 seconds around the one mile oval in the desert, for a speed of 138.658 mph. This was the tenth career pole for last year's runner up in the Silver Crown championship.

Dave Steel, fastest qualifier.
Photo by Kenneth Plotkin.
"We just tried to cut a good lap," Steele said. "We picked up about a tenth from our practice time. I was hoping we could do a little better than that, but it just kind of greased up a little bit and that's all we had. We knew there were a handful of guys who would be tough, and J.J. was one of the last ones to go out, so you kind of just sit there and develop an ulcer. It was close, but we held on."

J.J Yeley qualified second, .013 second slower, at 25.976 seconds, 138.589 mph. He had hoped to be better.

"We're disappointed with our time. This morning's practice was on sticker tires, and we decided to go out on some scuffs that we had from earlier in the week. We knew we weren't going to be as fast doing that, but we had a really good balance on the car. We went out there and I didn't hang it tough quite as much as Dave and some of the other guys did. I think I left a little bit out on the race track.

J.J. Yeley, second fastest.
Photo by Kenneth Plotkin.
"The main thing with these champ cars is to keep the tires on them. The race is really long. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your qualifying speed to have a better car in the race."

Steele and Yeley head 24 cars that are now qualified, on time, for tomorrow's 100 miler. The remainder of the field will be settled by a 15 lap qualifying race later this afternoon. This is a tough series with great depth, as witnessed by the number of big names who have to run the "Hooligan." The qualifying race includes Tyce Carlson, Levi Jones, John Heydenreich, and Tony Elliott. The qualifier will also be graced by the presence of Indianapolis 500 veteran Roger Rager, famous for putting his school-bus engined car into the Indy 500 field alongside machines powered by purpose-built racing engines.

The 26th Copper World Classic takes the green flag tomorrow at 11:30 am Mountain Standard Time.

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Series USAC