USPRO inaugural season ready to roll

With just a few weeks left before the first green flag falls on the inaugural season of USPRO, many teams are frantically working to finish their cars. A recent test and tune session brought interest from USPRO teams with 4 race cars making the ...

With just a few weeks left before the first green flag falls on the inaugural season of USPRO, many teams are frantically working to finish their cars. A recent test and tune session brought interest from USPRO teams with 4 race cars making the first test and tune session of the season. "We were poised for several cars but soon found out that many of our drivers still have their cars in the shop being built. But it was a pleasant surprise to see the number of USPRO drivers and team members who showed up to lend support for the series and their fellow competitors, commented Ron Varney Jr., President USPRO Cup." Many of them indicated that they were a couple weeks away from finishing their own cars but wanted to come out and show their support anyways. I think this speaks for the quality people we have racing in this series. ".

The test and tune session held April 27th was incidentally called off early as the track was accidentally oiled down by one of the series cars. For safety reasons the series halted the session after efforts to clean up the race surface failed. Drivers without cars but in attendance at the test and tune indicated they were extremely busy trying to finish off their cars. Many of them had a lot of work to do as they were converting their outlaw bodied super late models to the USPRO template bodies.

"I am pleased with the number of cars that are nearly done. Any first year series will suffer from low car counts but I feel we are on track for a good season with the number of cars we have being built. As all series in its first season of competition, we will have to work to field cars, but by mid season we are looking for a lot more teams to join us. Its just one of many growing pains a new series has to endure", Varney said.

Two additional test and tune sessions have been added to the schedule for the month of May. An additional testing and practice session will be held May 18th at Thunder Valley from 12 noon till 4 pm. This will be a closed practice session for USPRO Cars. The series will then be holding an informal test and tune session on May 7th at Owosso Speedway from 3 pm till dark. This session is open to all divisions.

Mark Kortz was the first team out this season holding a private testing session at Owosso. His Ford Taurus turned in lap times of 15.40's which was equivalent of the outlaw bodied and higher horsepower supers that race weekly at the track. The testing session allowed the team to gain a lot of setup knowledge from the session.

"I was extremely pleased with the car, said Mark Kortz. It was very stable and handled very well and the lap times were amazing. Actually if I had entered my USPRO car in the previous week's outlaw show I would have qualified 3rd ", Kortz commented. Kortz, who is a previous track champion at Owosso and a regular at the track, was also one of the original drivers selected to help design the USPRO car.

"I really think that Mark's times at Owosso speak of what these cars are capable of. We have had so many naysayers and people make the comment that they thought the cars would be unstable and slow. I now know the entire group of racers who originally designed this car last year put together a very good piece with some cost limiting rules. I believed in these guys and now many can see why we called in these veterans to design us an affordable high performance low dollar race car capable of lap times that are just a tic off of outlaw supers, " said Chris Throgmartin, USPRO race Director. " When you stop to think about it, it is quite amazing when you could have qualified 3rd for an event with a USPRO car using a Ford or Chevy 430 hp - six thousand dollar crate engine running against all high dollar, big horsepower engines".

USPRO, during its design phase called on several veteran drivers to design the race car for the series. This included motor, shock and brake rules. Veteran drivers who had input into the cars initial design included Tim Felver, Mark Kortz, Phil Massuch, Jeff Bozell, Fred Campbell and John Grega. Veteran test drivers for the USPRO house car during 2002 also included Butch Miller and Dave Sensiba.

The series is expecting growing car counts all season as teams convert their cars to the USPRO template bodied design. Several teams are expected to have their cars finished in the next two weeks while several others are more then a month away in being race ready. The inaugural race will be held May 24th at Thunder Valley. A fireworks display will be held during the event and a Color Guard will present the flag during the National Anthem as well. For further information about track location and times please visit the track's website -- www.thundervalleymotorsports.com .

Additional information about the series may also be found at the official USPRO web site -- www.usproracing.com

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Series Stock car
Drivers Phil Mass , Butch Miller , Color Guard