Steele takes Richmond pole for second consecutive year

Richmond, VA, June 27, 2003 - Dave Steele took the pole for tomorrow's Dominic's of New York 100 USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series race at Richmond International Raceway. This is his second consecutive pole at Richmond. Last year he swept the...

Richmond, VA, June 27, 2003 - Dave Steele took the pole for tomorrow's Dominic's of New York 100 USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series race at Richmond International Raceway. This is his second consecutive pole at Richmond. Last year he swept the event, taking both pole and race. His time of 20.356 seconds was slightly off both his 2002 pole time of 20.166 seconds, and Tracy Hines' 2001 record of 20.159 seconds. Qualifying took place after a rain delay that hit in the middle of Indy Racing League qualifying just before the Silver Crown Series took to the clocks.

"It was a pretty good run for us," Steele said. "We knew Jason was quick in practice, and Yeley was quick, so we knew those guys would be nipping on our heels. But it's good, even barely, to sit on the pole. We have 100 laps tomorrow, so we'll see what happens."

A major concern at Richmond, as at many Silver Crown events, is taking care of the tires. "Tire maintenance has been a pretty big issue," Steele said. "I think with this rain, it's going to cool down, which will help. The heat is the primary factor in abusing those tires. I think it's supposed to be cooler tomorrow, and hopefully that will take some of that factor out. We'll run as fast as we can for 100 laps and hopefully we'll be first when the checkered flag falls."

Jason McCord was second fastest, at 20.374 seconds, accomplished with only one good lap. And, to hear him tell it, that lap wasn't even all that great.

"We ran into a problem when I left the pits," McCord said. "The car jumped out of gear going down the back straightaway, and I couldn't get it back in. I had to roll to a stop in between turns three and four and get it back in gear. By the time I hit the start/finish line I knew we had pretty much scrapped the first lap. We probably weren't running 100 mph by the time we crossed the line, so we were going to have one lap to do it."

Once that second lap started, "One and two were real good. We got into turn three and I really screwed up bad and cost us some time. If I had not done that maybe we'd have snuck by Dave a little bit for the pole.

"But we're here to race 100 laps, not one, so we'll take it - we're starting from the front row. It'll be a good race."

J.J. Yeley, who won three of this season's four prior races, was third fastest at 20.385. Brian Tyler rounded out the second row at 20.511 seconds.

"It wasn't near as good as I wanted," said Yeley. "The rain kind of threw us off a little bit. We ran real, real good in the final practice. We put sticker tires on it for qualifying. With the little bit of rain and the track temperature coming down, we were just too tight in qualifying."

Tyler was more satisfied with his result. "My run wasn't too bad," he said. "I was a little bit tight the first lap. The second lap was pretty good. A third lap would have been even better. I'm not much of a qualifier, anyhow; I'm a better racer. If we start up front we should be all right. Starting in row two on the outside isn't bad."

Several front-runners failed to qualify in the top 24, and ran the 15-lap qualifying race. The first two rows of the qualifier were comprised of Tracy Hines, Tony Hunt, Bobby East and Russ Gamester. Michael Lewis started on the fifth row. Those five drivers finished at the top: Hines, Hunt, East, Lewis and Gamester, and will fill positions 25 though 29 in tomorrow's 100 lap event. Jimmy Kite and Rich Tobias Jr. also overcame slow qualifying times and transferred to the main event from the Hooligan.

The Dominic's of New York 100 is scheduled to begin at 5:30 pm EDT Saturday, June 28th. It will be telecast on a same-day tape-delay at 6:00 EDT on Speed Channel.

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Series USAC
Drivers Jimmy Kite , Michael Lewis , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Bobby East , Rich Tobias Jr. , Russ Gamester , Jason McCord , Tony Hunt