CRA: Winchester Speedway season opener preview

WINCHESTER SPEEDWAY SET FOR 2007 SEASON OPENER WITH USAC SPRINTS AND CRA SUPER SERIES LATE MODELS Winchester, IN (April 16, 2007) -- Winchester Speedway is set to kick off its 2007 racing schedule with the season opener this Sunday, April ...

WINCHESTER SPEEDWAY SET FOR 2007 SEASON OPENER WITH USAC SPRINTS AND CRA SUPER SERIES LATE MODELS

Winchester, IN (April 16, 2007) -- Winchester Speedway is set to kick off its 2007 racing schedule with the season opener this Sunday, April 22. High Bank racing fans will get a double treat as the USAC National Sprint Cars come to compete in the Rich Vogler Classic and the CRA Super Series late models in the Manning Service 100 along with action from the MAX 93.5/96.7 CRA Street Stocks and Vore's Welding & Steel CRA FWD Compacts.

With last weekends cold and rainy weather canceling the two opening USAC National Sprint Car events, Sunday's Rich Vogler Classic will be the second event of the season after this Saturday night's season opening event in Lawrenceburg and will be the first pavement event of the season. A young 16-year-old Bryon Clauson claimed the victory in last season's Rich Vogler Classic in his first ever race at Winchester Speedway. Clauson showed no fear in grabbing the early lead from his pole position-starting place over outside started Levi Jones as Eleanor Vogler, mother of Rich Vogler, waved the green flag to start the race that honors her son. Clauson was in awe when he arrived at the track that is known for it's High Banks and overall speed in a Sprint Car, but showed a steady hand in leading all 30 laps to get the victory over his best friend Darren Hagen, who finished in second holding off veteran open wheel racer Dave Steele who finished in third.

Byron Clauson has moved on to attempt a career in stock cars as a Development Driver for Chip Ganassi, but Sunday's field will have no shortage of talent lead by Dave Steele a two-time winner of the Rich Vogler Classic in 1999 and 2002. 2005 winner Dave Darland is also entered as well as New Castle, Indiana native Tracy Hines who will drive the entire 2007 season for Tony Stewart Racing as a teammate to Levi Jones, who finished second in season points in 2006 to teammate Josh Wise, who has also moved on to race stock cars. Other notable entries to date include Darren Hagen, Eric Gordon, Brian Gerster, Daron Clayton, Brady Short, Mat Neely, Damon Gardner and two time King Of The Wings Champion Cameron Dodson.

Veteran open wheel driver Ron Gregory will do double duty driving a USAC Sprint Car and making his first ever start with the CRA Super Series. The only other driver to do double duty in a USAC Sprint Car and a CRA Super Series late model on the same day was Chet Fillip in June of 1998 at Winchester Speedway. Fillip broke in the Sprint car event but won the 100-lap CRA Super Series event, a feat that brought the open wheel and stock car fans to their feet cheering his victory. In all there are 26 cars entered to date for Sunday's Rich Vogler Classic.

The CRA Super Series will return to action at Winchester Speedway with the Manning Service 100 on Sunday afternoon. Veteran racer Jeff Lane had been victorious at Winchester Speedway in a Modified, an Outlaw Late Model and a Street Stock, but had not found victory lane with the CRA Super Series at Winchester Speedway until last season's Manning Service 100. Lane took full advantage of his pole starting position, bolting to the early lead over outside pole sitter JR Roahrig. Lane never looked back in leading all 100 laps of the Manning Service 100. Chris Gabehart would mount a charge in the middle of the race, but used up his tires early and had to fight off the hard-charging Brian Rievley to get second. Rievley would get third followed by Zach Taylor in fourth with Tommy St. John in fifth.

2006 CRA Super Series Champion Scott Hantz leads the list to date of entries for Sunday's Manning Service 100. Hantz was the winner in last season's return of the Winchester 400 in October, claiming the victory and the season championship in that event. Last years Manning Service 100 winner Jeff Lane is entered along with Bull Baker who is the current active leader in CRA Super Series victories at Winchester Speedway with three. Former CRA Super Series winners at Winchester Speedway Chris Gabehart and Evan Jackson are also entered along with former winner and 1998 series Champion Brian Rievley. Other notable entries for Sunday's event include veteran High Bank series drivers Eddie Van Meter, Rick Turner, Kenny Tweedy, JR Roahrig, and Jason Shively. A strong Rookie class will test the High Banks on Sunday including John Van Doorn, Jeff Bozell, Nick Baran, Sean Matthuis, Ray Mooi, Donald Karr Jr., and Tom Knippenburg.

The MAX 93.5/96.7 CRA Street Stocks will have there season opener at Winchester Speedway on Sunday were Owensboro, Kentucky native Beau Mitchell is expected to try and continue his streak of five victories in the five events he ran at Winchester Speedway last season. 2006 series Champion Joe Beaver leads a strong group of competitors who look to end Mitchell's streak. The Vore's Welding & Steel CRA FWD Compacts will have their inaugural event this Sunday on the High Banks after some successful test races in 2006 that had some of the best racing of the season.

There will be an open practice on Saturday at Winchester Speedway, pits open at 9am, practice will run from 12noon until 5pm. On Sunday pits open at 8am, spectator gates at 9:30am, practice will begin at 10am with qualifying starting at 12noon. The race program will begin at 2pm. Go to www.winchesterspeedway.com for more information or to order advanced tickets.

-credit: ws

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Series Stock car , USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Chip Ganassi , Chet Fillip , Eric Gordon , Ron Gregory , Levi Jones , Josh Wise , Jeff Lane , Cameron Dodson , Brian Gerster , Darren Hagen , Daron Clayton