USAR: Iowa CS: Round two preview

Little Big Track Up Next Pro Cup's best ready for SOY BIODIESEL 225, Iowa Speedway Myrtle Beach, S.C.--Most tracks along the Hooters Pro Cup Series are traditional, short-track bullrings. Iowa Speedway is not like most tracks on the ...

Little Big Track Up Next
Pro Cup's best ready for SOY BIODIESEL 225, Iowa Speedway

Myrtle Beach, S.C.--Most tracks along the Hooters Pro Cup Series are traditional, short-track bullrings. Iowa Speedway is not like most tracks on the schedule.

The pristine speedway in Newton, Iowa is nearly a mile in length and features a 60-foot wide racing surface with multiple grooves. It's also the fastest track the Hooters Pro Cup drivers will run on all year. And that fact is just fine with the best short-track drivers in the country.

"I can't wait to get there," said Bobby Gill, driver of the No. 06s USG Sheetrock/Kimnach Ford. "I've always liked the fast tracks, and we get to haul buggy there."

Last year, there were plenty of drivers doing just that. Shelby Howard set quick time during the qualifying session with a lap at nearly 133 mph. All told, 14 drivers swapped the lead 26 times during the 250-lap race. Fittingly, the final pass came on the final lap.

After a late-race caution set up a green-white-checkered finish, Daniel Johnson nudged Mardy Lindley out of the lead on Lap 258, but the contact allowed Woody Howard to get a run on the leader going into Turn 1 on the final lap. With momentum on his side, Howard ducked to the inside of Johnson, and the two went side-by-side for the final lap, banging off each other several times. But in the end, Howard beat Johnson and Justin Hobgood in a photo finish to become the first winner in the history of Iowa Speedway.

Gill is searching for a bit of history this time around, too. The short-track legend is searching for his series-high fourth Hooters Pro Cup title. A win at Iowa would likely put Gill, who trails Gary St. Amant by 20 points in the standings, in the driver's seat going into the final three races of the season.

Gill led 72 laps in last year's SOY BIODIESEL 250 before a late-race stop relegated him to 20th.

"We should be good at Iowa," Gill said after his win in the opening round of the Championship Series at Mansfield. "We've been good all year, but we just haven't put it all together. We won't know who wins the title until the last lap of the last race, but I like our chances."

While Gill's win in the first race puts him in prime position to make a run at the title, several other drivers need to rebound at Iowa Speedway after lackluster efforts at Mansfield.

Michael Ritch, driver of the No. 28s Naturally Fresh/Jackaroo Ford, picked up the Aaron's Southern Division title, but the veteran had mechanical failure, finished 30th in Championship Series opener and dropped to fifth in the standings.

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 29 Chevy Racing/DEI Chevrolet, also suffered a mechanical failure at Mansfield and fell to 13th in the standings after entering the Championship Series as a No. 2 Seed.

But don't expect Gary St. Amant, the overall point leader, to allow everyone to waltz back into championship contention.

"I'm looking forward to Iowa," said St. Amant, who has a series-best 4.8 average finish this season and a 2.8 average finish in the past five races. "We had the best car we've ever had at Mansfield. That makes me really excited for the rest of the year."

The excitement will begin on Friday at Iowa Speedway with a practice session and the first Soy Biodiesel "Fan Fair."

The Soy Biodiesel "Fan Fair" is part of fan appreciation activities associated with the running of the USAR Soy Biodiesel 225 Hooters Pro Cup Series race scheduled for 7 p.m., Saturday, September 22. Fan Fair will offer racing fans an opportunity to attend a news conference, tour the media center, visit with USAR drivers and tour the USAR garage area, listen to USAR tech talks, view a pit stop demonstration, see the Fire Safety Team in action, and watch a demonstration of driver safety apparel. The public is invited free of charge.

On Saturday, Sept. 22, practice for the event will start at 10:30 a.m. and run until 12:30 p.m. Front gates will open at 2:30 p.m. for the general public. Awesome Awnings Pole Qualifying will start 3:30 p.m. Country artist Craig Morgan will perform at 4:45 p.m. outside Turn 4 on the concert stage. During the concert, the starting field for the event will be signing autographs beside the concert stage starting at 5 p.m. A Legends Car feature will start at 6 p.m. and be followed by pre-race ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. The green flag for the Soy Biodiesel 225 will fall at 7 p.m.

For ticket information, call Ticketmaster at (515) 243-1888.

***

2007 USAR HOOTERS PRO CUP SERIES QUICK FACTS FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

WHAT: Soy Biodiesel 225

WHERE: Iowa Speedway (IS), Newton, IA
WHEN: Saturday, September 22, 2007

DISTANCE: 225Laps/ 196.875 Miles

POSTED AWARDS: $135,570 (Includes $37,000 Point Fund)

STARTING FIELD: 36 car starting field --1-32 qualifying time trails positions, 33 -34 provisional from the final divisional points, one south, one north (first eligible); 35-36- provisional from current Championship driver points

TELEVISION: SPEED Channel
Wednesday October 3, 2007 (4 p.m. ET)
Friday October 5, 2007 (12 Noon ET)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Friday September 23, 2007:  (Optional Test Day-Not Required)

10:30 -- 1:00pm Practice
1:30 -- 5:00pm Practice

Saturday September 22 2007:
10:30am HPCS Practice Opens
2:30pm Front Gate Opens
3:30pm Awesome Awnings Pole Qualifying
4:30-4:45pm Legends Cars Practice on ¼ Mile
4:45pm Craig Morgan Pre-Race Concert on the Main Stage
5:00pm Wraps Ink on Track Autograph Session
6:00pm Legends Cars Exhibition Race on ¼ Mile
6:30pm Pre-Race Ceremonies
7:00pm Alan Kulwicki Memorial Soy Biodiesel 225

-credit: usar

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Trevor Bayne , Shelby Howard , Justin Hobgood , Alan Kulwicki