Mopar Speed news 2004-03-22

Mopar Speed Monday, March 22, 2004 USAC Mopar engines powered three of the top-five finishers at the season-opening USAC Nationals Midget Series event at Phoenix International Raceway Saturday. Mopar driver Dave Steele (above) reset his own...

Mopar Speed
Monday, March 22, 2004


Mopar engines powered three of the top-five finishers at the season-opening USAC Nationals Midget Series event at Phoenix International Raceway Saturday.

Mopar driver Dave Steele (above) reset his own track record with a 138.201 mph lap average on the 1-mile paved oval.

The Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale await this Saturday. Stay tuned to Mopar Speed for exclusive event previews and coverage of the popular USAC National Midget Series event.

Steele resets own record at Phoenix, Mopars finish at top

Team Mopar's USAC National Midget Series competitors picked up right where they left off last season, pushing the competition to the limit in the "Copper World Classic" at Phoenix International Raceway.

Dave Steele broke the track record he set last season at the facility, driving his Nicholas Racing entry for a lap of 26.049 seconds. Steele, who started on the pole for the event, bettered the previous track record by over two miles an hour, improving from 136.170 mph to 138.201 mph. The 25-lap feature event saw Steele and former Mopar driver J.J. Yeley battle for the lead, with Yeley prevailing to take the win and Steele finishing second.

"It was pretty good until the last lap," Steele said. "Maybe we should have changed something on the red, but we didn't. We just adjusted a little bit of air pressure. We got a shade loose there at the end and just got outrun."

Mopar engines took three of the top-five positions, as Tracy Hines followed the leaders across the line in fourth. Team Mopar newcomers Josh Wise and Davey Ray finished the event in fifth and ninth positions. Ray, a dirt specialist in his debut for Wilke-PAK Motorsports, proved that he will bring depth to the pavement program in 2004, advancing 15 positions from his 24th starting spot.

Jay Drake finished in 24th position in the Silver Crown Series segment of the Copper World Classic for Stewart-Snider Racing. Steele set the pole and led from start to finish in the 100-lap feature event.

The USAC National Midget Series will move to Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway for the "Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale" this Saturday, while the Silver Crown Series will compete May 7-8 at the Memphis Motorsports Park.

NHRA Pro Stock

Morgan sets record at Gainesville, Alderman advances

Larry Morgan set the track ET record at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway early in qualifying Friday during NHRA Pro Stock competition at the 35th annual Gatornationals when he made a 1/4-mile pass in 6.764 seconds at 204.03 mph in his Mopar Dodge Stratus.

Morgan held on to qualify second among the field of 33 cars, his best qualifying position of the season. He launched his car a smidge late in Round One competition Sunday and could not quite run down competitor Jim Yates.

"We gained a lot this weekend, although the race didn't end up the way we wanted it to," Morgan said. "Qualifying was good. We brought a lot back from each pass to build on for the next race. We slipped a little too much at the line in the elimination, but in the long run we gained from this weekend, and we're looking forward to going to Las Vegas."

Darrell Alderman, who qualified 11th, won his first round of the season in Eliminations yesterday when he beat Mark Whisnant, who red-lighted. Alderman fell to Jeg Coughlin in the quarterfinals.

Alderman's team owner Allen Johnson narrowly missed the qualifying cut, as he was one of three competitors who recorded a 6.814-second pass in qualifying.

Ken Koretsky qualified his Dodge Stratus into The Show for the second time this season, behind a Larry Morgan-prepared 500 c.i. Hemi® engine.

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will travel to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for its next event April 1-4.

Larry Morgan continued to show his strength, qualifying his Mopar into second position at the Gatornationals after briefly holding the track elapsed-time record.

So far this season, Morgan has been turning in some of the best passes on the NHRA Pro Stock circuit.

NHRA Funny Car

Dodge Funny Cars qualify well, struggle with traction in Eliminations

The two Hemi-powered Dodge-bodied Funny Car entries from Don Schumacher Racing turned in great qualifying performances at the Gatornationals last weekend in Gainesville, Fla.

Whit Bazemore narrowly missed the No. 1 qualifier spot, courtesy of his 4.909-second pass Friday. Bazemore ran into traction troubles against Cory Lee in Round One of eliminations yesterday, however.

Gary Scelzi drove his Hemi Oakley Dodge Stratus into the fourth-qualifying position. Scelzi turned in the fastest Funny Car speed of the event (306.85 mph). Scelzi encountered traction problems at the 330-foot mark, however, and was defeated by Tony Bartone.

"We took timing out to slow the car down in critical areas," Scelzi said. "It was running fine and then it just smoked the tires, almost like it hit oil. It didn't hit oil, but it's very confusing and very discouraging to have something like that happen."

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will travel to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for its next event April 1-4. Image

Gary Scelzi (right) and Whit Bazemore had trouble harnessing the awesome power of their Hemi® engines during Eliminations at Gainesville Raceway.

Their Schumacher Racing teammate, Tony Schumacher, picked up his second victory of the season at Gainesville in his Hemi-powered Top Fuel dragster.


Team Mopar's Dave Steele will be the featured guest on tonight.

At 8 p.m. EST, race fans from all over the world will have the opportunity to chat with Dave about everything from his accomplished racing career, to taking home the $50,000 bonus and a midget racing record purse in the 2002 Twin 25's event.

With the Mopar Twin 25's scheduled for this Saturday at Irwindale Speedway in California, Steele will attempt to add his name to the midget car racing books once again. The veteran driver will compete with Team Mopar in the USAC National Sprint Car Series for Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises and the USAC National Midget Series for Nicholas Racing in 2004.

For more information regarding the upcoming chat featuring Mopar's Steele, log on to

WOO Late Model

Francis notches top-five at NGS

Steve Francis used his weekend off in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series to campaign his No. 15 Mopar in a non-sanctioned event at North Georgia Speedway. Francis brought home the Mopar in fifth place in the 55-lap main feature Saturday after finishing second in his heat Friday.

The WoO Late Model Series resumes action in two weeks, making its second consecutive appearance in Tennessee at the Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn. Following a non-points race on March 26, the WoO Late Model Series will host the "Lord of the Rings" on March 27 at Volunteer.

Steve Francis drove his No. 15 Mopar to a fifth-place finish at North Georgia Speedway.


WoO divisions return to action

The World of Outlaws Sprint Series and Late Model Series return to action this weekend, and Team Mopar looks to continue their solid performances.

The WoO Sprint competitors race at Thunder Valley Speedway in Union Hill, La., on Friday and then travel to Baytown, Texas, Saturday, for a battle at Houston Raceway Park. Mopar driver Danny Lasoski has earned five top-qualifier spots in six events so far on the season.

The WoO Late Model Series drivers are scheduled to race at Thunder Valley Speedway in Bull's Gap, Tenn., Friday and Saturday.

We'll cover these results next Monday at


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About this article
Series NHRA , USAC , World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jeg Coughlin , Darrell Alderman , Tony Bartone , Whit Bazemore , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Larry Morgan , Danny Lasoski , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jay Drake , Allen Johnson , Mark Whisnant , Cory Lee , Davey Ray , Don Schumacher , Steve Francis