Illinois Pilots Begin Quest for DuQuoin Glory Sunday DuQuoin, IL (Sept 4, 2010) - Around 30 of the best dirt track racing drivers the Prairie State has to offer begin a quest for a trophy and cash at the 88th DuQuoin State Fair on Sunday of...
Illinois Pilots Begin Quest for DuQuoin Glory Sunday
DuQuoin, IL (Sept 4, 2010) - Around 30 of the best dirt track racing drivers the Prairie State has to offer begin a quest for a trophy and cash at the 88th DuQuoin State Fair on Sunday of labor Day weekend starting with the 59th Ted Horn 100 for the USAC Silver Crown Series and carrying over on Labor Day with the 58th Federated-Southern Illinois 100 for the ARCA Racing Series and the 17th Oldani Memorial for the UMP DirtCar Modified Series. For many a triumph in front of the large state fair crowds will be the pinnacle of their racing career, for others another step toward a national championship or he first major win of what could be a long and glorious career.
Nine drivers are on the USAC driver roster for the 58th Ted Horn 100 slated for tomorrow night. Galesbiurg's A.J. Fike and Olney's Levi Jones lead a contingent of Illinois drivers that range from ages twenty to near fifty and have a variety of experience. Fike won his first USAC Silver Crown race at Iowa in May and on Labor Day weekend will attempt to do something no driver has ever done at DuQuoin, win the Ted Horn 100 championship race and the Southern Illinois 100 stock car race in the same weekend. In fact, only one driver has ever won both races in fifty-nine years, A.J. Foyt! Fike's best finish in 5 dirt car starts at DuQuoin is seventh in 2005. Jones, the popular racer from Richland County is a USAC Sprint Car champion who drives for 2003 Southern Illinois 100 winner Tony Stewart. Jones has finished tenth twice on the Magic Mile in 2005 and 2007.
Joining Jones and Fike are Murphysboro's Randy Bateman, Pocahontas' Zach Daum, Davey Ray of Rockford, Chris Urish of Elkhart, Mike Hess and Donnie Beechler of Springfield. Batemen drove the 2008 Ted Horn 100 crowd wild when he qualified for the outside of the front row in his 14th start on the Magic Mile. Randy has nine other unsuccessful qualifying attempts at DuQuoin dating back to his first try in September of 1982. Beechler is a veteran of four Indianapolis 500 mile races with 5 Silver Crown wins to his credit and a second at DuQuoin in 2003 to Rich Tobias. Donnie has 14 starts at DuQuoin since 1989 with a pole coming in 1995.
Focus shifts to stock cars on Labor Day when five Illinois pilots tackle the ARCA Southern Illinois 100. A.J. Fike has two poles, two fourth place finishes and has led 73 laps at DuQuoin. Mark Littleton of Arenzville has help from the popular Hendren Racing Team of El Paso that has fielded cars for Ken Rowley and Bob Strait since the early 1970's. Springfield's Kelly Kovski is the car chief for the Springfield based Allgaier Motorsports team but steps into the cockpit where he has six starts on the Magic Mile. Kyle Logue of Cisco is a dirt late model competitor in central Illinois. A fifth driver has local ties and an impressive resume. Rodney Melvin of Benton is a multi-time UMP National Driving Champion who made his debut in the heavy cars at Springfield two weeks ago and looks for an even better run before the home folks.
Car owners from the home state have a stake in the weekend at DuQuoin also. Benton's Ricky Nix is a long time car owner in the USAC ranks while Bill McCreery of Benton owns the ARCA car of Rodney Melvin. Former Illinoisan Billy Venturini heads up his family's three ARCA machines.
The UMP Modified cars have the great majority of participants from Illinois. In the sixteen prior runnings only four winners did not come from the hone state.
Practice for Sunday's events begins at 5 p.m. with racing around 8. Practice begins at 9 a.m. Monday with racing around noon. Tickets are still available at the DuQuoin State Fair Box office, Ticketmaster or by contacting Track Enterprises.
-source: du quoin state fair