Marion, IL June 26, 2001 - Excitement and anticipation is building for the first ever UMP Summernational late model event at the beautiful DuQuoin State Fairgrounds as late model stars from around the area and the nation announce their intention...
Marion, IL June 26, 2001 - Excitement and anticipation is building for the first ever UMP Summernational late model event at the beautiful DuQuoin State Fairgrounds as late model stars from around the area and the nation announce their intention to compete in the $10,000 to win event on the "Magic Mile" in Southern Illinois.
First it was NASCAR Winston Cup Series star Ken Schrader, who passed up the opportunity to go to Milwaukee for the NASCAR Truck and Busch races to roll out his late model and take on the DuQuoin clay. "Kenny told me that he was coming here because he races, that’s what he does," said promoter Bob Sargent, head of Track Enterprises. "Ken had already told us he was going to come and race in the ARCA event here on Labor Day, but we got an added bonus when he decided to join the UMP series on July 1."
"I’d anticipate that his appearance alone will draw a large crowd of fans, but it seems to have had an effect on drawing other drivers as well."
Four-time winner of the Illinois Fall Nationals event at Springfield and former winner of the World 100 at Eldora Billy Moyer of Batesville, Arkansas previously had announced his intention to compete in the 40-mile late model event at DuQuoin. Yesterday, the only previous winner of a late model event at DuQuoin indicated his intent to defend his 1999 victory.
Sargent, in his eighth year as promoter of the "Magic Mile", said yesterday that former UDTRA Hav-A-Tampa champion Scott Bloomquist of Cookeville, Tennessee contacted Track Enterprises and indicated he and his race car would be on the grounds ready for battle, Sunday July 1. "It’s an indication of how big this race is in the Summernational Series,", said Jim Childers, track announcer. "Scott is one of the top late model drivers in the country, certainly he is one of the most recognizable and one of the most popular." "His addition to the entry list means that this race may have one of the strongest late model fields in the country."
"Everyone seems to want to race at DuQuoin, and everyone seems to want to race with Schrader," continued Childers. "I’ve spoken to Kentucky’s Terry English, who says he will be there, and so did Missouri’s Ed Dixon."
"We also hear that Danville, Illinois’ Bob Pierce intends to come, and Jack Hewitt indicated to me at Terre Haute in May that this race was on his schedule."
Other drivers expected to compete in the late model portion of the event are Paragould, Arkansas Jerry Buck, Gibson City, Illinois’ Kevin Weaver, local standout Jimmy Burwell from Mt. Vernon, Illinois, St Louis’ Kevin Gundaker, Highland, Illinois hotshoe Randy Korte, and Bill Frye of Arkansas.
"We might see some other guys show up, you never know," continued Childers. "Gary Webb, Steve Boley and Brian Birkhofer of Iowa all like the miles and have done very well at Springfield in the past, Wisconsin’s Dan Schlieper is the one-lap late model record holder here, Doug McCammon of Robinson is a guy who might be in the pits, as could Indiana’s Kevin Claycomb, Steve Barnett, or even a John Gill." "Centralia’s Johnny Prior ran at DuQuoin back in the USAC days, so he might be in a car." "And don’t forget, the UDTRA is in Kentucky Friday and Saturday, so a few of their guys, like a Steve Francis or a Bart Hartman might get the itch to try to beat Schrader and pick up ten grand in the process."
"This is an event that could rival Bob’s September event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, the Illinois Fall Nationals," continued Childers. "The Fall Nationals has grown to the point that it draws around 50 of the best late models in the Midwest, and nearly 100 of the Modifieds, and it’s an event a lot of people point to."
"The Hav-A-Tampa event here in 1999 drew a good field of both late models and modifieds, so we know that a really good base of cars and fans exist in this area to make this event a real success." The fans really turn out for the traditional events during the fair, I’m sure they will turn out for this event, too.
Another $2000 first prize is on the line for the driver that can pick up the victory in the companion UMP Modified 20-mile feature. "The UMP Modifieds put on a great show on the miles, they race three wide at times and the finishes at both Springfield and DuQuoin have been great," said Sargent. Childers stated, "we had a 16 year old kid win the main event at DuQuoin last Labor Day, he was so excited he hugged me in victory lane, and that win led him into a USAC Silver Bullet champ dirt car ride."
That 16 year old was Kyle Steffens of St. Charles, Missouri and Kyle could be one of the participants in the UMP Modified event on Sunday. Also expected are Jerry Buck, Steve Adams, former NASCAR Weekly Racing Series champ Jeff Leka, local drivers Jeff Parks, Scott and Chad Hutchinson, Brian, Shane and Shannon Cockrum, Brian Shaw and Steve Adams, along with Kevin Gundaker and perhaps Ken Schrader himself.
The grandstand opens at 11 a.m. Sunday, with practice at noon and late model qualifying (the modifieds will draw for position) at 1. The first race is slated for around 2:15, tickets are going fast and on sale at the DuQuoin State Fair Box Office, or with Track Enterprises at 217-764-3200, or see them on the web at www.trackenterprises.com.