Ratajczyk roars to victory at I-55. PEVELY, MO (April 7, 2002) I-55 Raceway opened the 2002 regular season with a full field of cars on a cool crisp night. Twenty-five of the top UMP Late Model drivers were on hand and provided another great...
Ratajczyk roars to victory at I-55.
PEVELY, MO (April 7, 2002) I-55 Raceway opened the 2002 regular season with a full field of cars on a cool crisp night. Twenty-five of the top UMP Late Model drivers were on hand and provided another great night of racing. The opening qualifying heat saw Tim Ratajczyk jump out front and pull away to victory over Danny Haynes and Brett Sievert. The second heat saw Jim Durbin and Billy Laycock battle for the lead early on, but Laycock spun late in the race giving second place to Chuck Baird with Brian Wolfmeier coming home third. Billy Faust grabbed the victory in the third heat over Mark Oller and Kevin Gundaker.
Tim Ratajczyk continued to impress in the dash. He jumped out front from his front row starting spot and held off a charging Kevin Gundaker who came from ninth to battle for the lead and ended up second. Billy Faust came home third.
The feature event kept the fans on the edge of their seats as Tim Ratajczyk and Kevin Gundaker battled side by side for the lead lap after lap. Ratajczyk stayed around the very bottom of the track while Gundaker charged around high side. Meanwhile the battle behind the two leaders raged on as Billy Faust, Danny Haynes, Brett Sievert, Dave Jumper, Jim Durbin and Clay Baumann swapped positions lap after lap. While these battles went on, 2001 I-55 track champion Ed Dixon was on the move from twenty-second starting spot towards the front. As the laps began to wind down, the top groove began to go away and Gundaker started to fade. Billy Faust moved up to challenge Ratajczyk for the lead but couldn't find a way around the leader. It was Ratajczyk crossing the line first, followed by Faust, Haynes, Oller and Sievert. Jumper came home sixth, with Gundaker, Durbin, Baumann and Dixon completing the top ten.
Scott Weber started off the 2002 season just like he finished the 2001 season, by putting on an impressive performance and sweeping the UMP Modified events. Weber took the lead on the opening lap and held off early challenges from Jim Shereck and a late race challenge by Dean Hoffman. Following Weber and Hoffman across the line were Kyle Steffens, Leroy Haney and Tom Ratajczyk. However, Steffens was penalized two positions for jumping an earlier restart. Ray Wagner, Dennis Richards, Mike Barbeau, Jim Shereck and Chris Soutiea rounded out the top ten. The heats were won by Weber, Wagner and Hoffman. Rusty Griffaw won the consolation race after making repairs to his car from a hard crash with Doug Wood in the heat race.
Paul Belken grabbed the lead on the third lap of the sportsman feature and pulled away to a dominating victory. Paul Bauman and Scott Stuppy battled back and forth for second with Bauman taking the spot. Todd McGraw was fourth and David Bardin moved up from deep in the field to finish fifth. Ricky Horton, Dan Dixon, Mark Blanke, Jim Troutman and Ron Imm completed the top ten. Dixon, Bauman and Belken won the heats, Stuppy won the dash and Blanke won the consolation.
I-55 Raceway is Co-Promoted by NASCAR star Kenny Schrader and Ray Marler.