Charlotte Dirt doubleheader report

Local driver Troy Cline tops USAC sprint car invaders; rookie Jeff Cooke earns first Southern All Star Late Model victory. CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2003) - California native Troy Cline, who now resides in nearby Mooresville, and Jeff Cooke of ...

Local driver Troy Cline tops USAC sprint car invaders; rookie Jeff Cooke earns first Southern All Star Late Model victory.

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2003) - California native Troy Cline, who now resides in nearby Mooresville, and Jeff Cooke of Spartanburg, S.C., claimed the feature victories during the rain-delayed Charlotte Dirt Doubleheader Nationals Thursday afternoon at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Cline started third in the 30-lap USAC sprint car feature, took the lead on lap 13 and was never headed in the inaugural appearance by the Indiana-based sanctioning body at the four-tenths-mile dirt track. Cline's first career USAC victory was worth $5,000.

"Any win is important, but to win in front of the hometown crowd is just great," said Cline. "We've struggled in the few races that we've run this year and to end our season with a win is just great."

Tony Elliott of Kokomo, Ind., chased Cline the entire distance and settled for second in the USAC sprint car series finale.

"The track was so narrow that somebody had to make a huge mistake in order to get around them," said Elliott. "Every time Tory made a little mistake he stayed in the middle of the track and there was nothing we could do. It was tough, but we all had to race on the same race track."

Series champion J.J. Yeley finished third with Mike Spencer and Eric Davis rounding out the top five in the 23-car field.

The red fag was unfurled on lap two of the sprint car feature when Brian Tyler flipped in turn one. The Parma, Mich., driver was not injured, but he headed home early.

Yeley, Derek Davidson, Cline and Elliott topped the 10-lap heat races for the USAC sprint cars. Cory Kruseman and Jon Stanbrough won the 12-lap semi features.

NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart bounced back and forth between The Dirt Track and practice for the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The race marked the first time since 1997 that Stewart had driven a USAC sprint car on dirt. He ran only eight laps in the feature, ending up 21st.

Cooke led a majority of the 25-lap finale for the O'Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series late models, but found himself involved in a torrid battle with Shane Tankersley during the final three laps. After exchanging the point, Cooke, the series rookie of the year, held off Tankersley to earn his first victory and the $5,000 check.

"It's too bad they are qualifying the Winston Cup cars across the street because we would have had a few more people here for our feature," Cooke said. "But I don't care if just my grandmother was in the stands; a win at Charlotte is a win at Charlotte."

Tankersley settled for the runner-up honors with Ricky Weeks third. Jeff Smith and Steve Shaver rounded out the top-five in the 24-car field.

The eight-lap late model heat races were won by Cooke, Tankersley, Doug Sanders and Weeks. Casey Holmes and Mike Measamer were victorious in the eight-lap last chance events for the late models.

The Charlotte Dirt Doubleheader Nationals brought down the curtain on The Dirt Track season. The track will return to action April 2-3 featuring a two-day program of DIRT big-block, small-block and pro stock action.

The results:

USAC Sprint Cars

First Heat (10 laps): 1. J.J. Yeley; 2. Eric Davis; 3. Ryan Howard; 4. Levi Jones; 5. Dave Darland; 6. Jay Drake; 7. John Scott; 8. Brian Hayden; 9. Chad Allen; 10. Johnny Parsons; 11. Kenny Gentry.

Second Heat (10 laps): 1. Derek Davidson; 2. Casey Shuman; 3. Scott Young; Matt Neely; 5. Jon Stanbrough; 6. Bryan Stanfill; 7. Tom Hessert; 8. Hud Cone; 9. Steve Thomas; 10. John Heydenreich; 11. Doug Fitzwater.

Third Heat (10 laps): 1. Troy Cline; 2. Mike Spencer; 3. Brad Noffsinger; 4. Tracy Hines; 5. Tyler Walker; 6. Russ Gamester; 7. Kevin Briscoe; 8. Dave Steele; 9. Dean Franklin; 10. Al Thomas; 11. Mike Hudson.

Fourth Heat (10 laps): 1. Tony Elliott; 2. Bud Kaeding; 3. Brian Tyler; 4. Dickie Gaines; 5. Cory Kruseman; 6. Mat Westfall; 7. Boston Reid; 8. Rob Chaney; 9. Denise Cline; 10. Tony Stewart; 11. Marc Jessup.

First Semi (12 laps): 1. Cory Kruseman; 2. Tom Hessert; 3. Jay Drake; 4. Tracy Hines; 5. Rob Chaney; 6. Brian Hayden; 7. Russ Gamester; 8. John Scott; 9. John Heydenreich; 10. Dean Franklin; 11. Chad Allen.

Second Semi (12 laps): 1. Jon Stanbrough; 2. Tyler Walker; 3. Matt Westfall; 4. Kevin Briscoe; 5. Hud Cone; 6. Bryan Stanfill; 7. Steve Thomas; 8. Dave Steele; 9. Boston Reid; 10. Denis Cline; 11. Al Thomas; 12. Kenny Gentry.

Feature (30 laps): 1. Troy Cline; 2. Tony Elliott; 3. J.J. Yeley; 4. Mike Spencer; 5. Eric Davis; 6. Brad Noffsinger; 7. Tyler Walker; 8. Mat Neely; 9. Bud Kaeding; 10. Matt Westfall; 11. Scott Young; 12. Jay Drake; 13. Casey Shuman; 14. Dickie Gaines; 15. Cory Kruseman; 16. Ryan Howard; 17. Levi Jones; 18. Tom Hessert; 19. Dave Darland; 20. Jon Stanbrough; 21. Tony Stewart; 22. Derek Davidson; 23. Brian Tyler.

O'Reilly Southern All Star Late Models

First Heat (8 laps): 1. Jeff Cooke; 2. John Whitney; 3. Steve Shaver; 4. Clint Smith; 5. Raymond Brown; 6. Billy Hicks; 7. Tre Martin; 8. Mike Head; 9. Bruce Hall; 10. Dan Breuer.

Second Heat (8 laps): 1. Shane Tankersley; 2. Steve Lucas; 3. Joe Meadows; 4. Mike Duvall; 5. Casey Holmes; 6. Mike Gault; 7. Phil Gann; 8. Furman Parton; 9. James Ince.

Third Heat (8 laps): 1. Doug Sanders; 2. Eddie Carrier Jr.; 3. Don O'Neal; 4. Dick Schiltz; 5. Mike Measamer; 6. John Llewllyn; 7. Chase Austin; 8. Dan Burns; 9. Cecil Tipton.

Fourth Heat (8 laps): 1. Ricky Weeks; 2. Jeff Smith; 3. Chuck Southard; 4. Neil Welch; 5. Damon Eller; 6. Larry Blankenship; 7. Randy Smith; 8. Bryan Hendrix; 9. Tim Allen; 10. Buckshot Miles.

First Consolation (8 laps): 1. Casey Holmes; 2. Billy Hicks; 3. Furman Parton; 4. Raymond Brown; 5. Tre Martin; 6. James Ince; 7. Mike Head; 8. Mike Gault; 9. Phil Gann; 10. Bruce Hall; 11. Dan Breuer.

Second Consolation (8 laps): 1. Mike Measamer; 2. Damon Eller; 3. Larry Blankenship; 4. Tim Allen; 5. Chase Austin; 6. Cecil Tipton; 7. Bryan Hendrix; 8. John Llewllyn; 9. Randy Smith; 10. Dane Burns; 11. Buckshot Miles.

Feature (25 laps): 1. Jeff Cooke; 2. Shane Tankersley; 3. Ricky Weeks; 4. Jeff Smith; 5. Steve Shaver; 6. Clint Smith; 7. Dick Schiltz; 8. Larry Blankenship; 9. Casey Holmes; 10. Billy Hicks; 11. Mike Head; 12. Furman Parton; 13. Doug Sanders; 14. Bryan Hendrix; 15. Mike Duvall; 16. Chuck Southard; 17. Eddie Carrier Jr. 18. Damon Eller; 19. Neil Welch; 20. John Whitney; 21. Don O'Neal; 22. Steve Lucas; 23. Joe Meadows; 24. Mike Measamer.

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About this article
Series Stock car , USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , Tony Elliott , Cory Kruseman , Tom Hessert , Jay Drake , John Heydenreich , Troy Cline , Brad Noffsinger , Matt Westfall , Johnny Parsons , Russ Gamester , Levi Jones , Tyler Walker , Jon Stanbrough , Boston Reid , Marc Jessup , John Scott , Matt Neely , Dean Franklin , Hud Cone , Scott Young , Chase Austin , Bryan Stanfill , Jeff Smith , Mike Spencer , Casey Shuman