Brian Tyler looks to improve on 1999 finish at Nazareth

Coors Light Silver Bullet Series point leader Brian Tyler of Parma, Mich. hopes to improve his 1999 finish by three positions when the series returns to the Nazareth (PA) Speedway this weekend for round three of the 2000 championship,...

Coors Light Silver Bullet Series point leader Brian Tyler of Parma, Mich. hopes to improve his 1999 finish by three positions when the series returns to the Nazareth (PA) Speedway this weekend for round three of the 2000 championship, held in conjunction with the CART Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix at the 1-mile paved oval. Tyler finished fourth in last year's 100-miler and comes to Nazareth as the series point leader after winning the series opener at Walt Disney World Speedway near Orlando, Fla. In January and finishing second to Jason Leffler in the "Copper World Classic" at Phoenix, Ariz. in February. He will drive the Kroger/Pringles/Sunny Delight Gaerte/Beast at Nazareth. "I felt like an organ grinder last year," admits Tyler, who nearly won the 1998 series title before suffering through a lackluster year in 1999. "But I think the monkey's finally off my back. We should have a good shot at winning Saturday. We had a good start last year too, but then things went downhill. This year, we have an improved program and we're focusing on winning the championship." In 1999 he lost the title to Jason Leffler in the final race on the schedule. "Nazareth is a driver's track," Tyler continues. "But it's tricky to pass on. The front-stretch dog-leg and exiting turn two are really exciting. It seems like turn two have a reverse bank, wanting to draw us into the wall as we start down the long backstretch. That makes things interesting. Last year we were faster than Chuck Leary but we just couldn't seem to get around him and had to settle for fourth." Tyler has a 12-point lead on Brad Noffsinger, but Pennsylvania veteran Gary Hieber of Langhorne, Pa. is third in the standings, tied with defending series titlist Ryan Newman. Hieber is one of a half-dozen Keystone state drivers entered in this weekend's Nazareth Silver Bullet race. The others are Brian Paulus (Mechanicsburg), Robin Bank (Pittsburgh), Rich Tobias, Jr. (Annville), John Heydenreich (Bloomsburg) and Tom Capie (Trevose). Other Eastern drivers entered include New Jersey's Ken Woolley, New York's Pat Abold and Billy Whittaker and Maine's Bentley Warren, plus North Carolina drivers Stevie Reeves and Noffsinger. Jimmy Kite, of Stockbridge, Ga. is also in the field. Reeves will drive the #9 Beast fielded by East Enterprises and Tony Stewart, who will defend the victory posted by Jason Leffler at Nazareth last year. Coors Light Silver Bullet practice is scheduled Friday from 9:10-10:10 am and 12:30-1:30 pm. Qualifying starts at 4:30 pm and drivers will be aiming at Jimmy Sills' record of 135.186 mph (26.630 seconds). Saturday's USAC timetable includes a 15-mile "qualifying race" at 11:45 am and the 100-mile feature at 3 pm. Tickets for the weekend events can be ordered by calling 1-888-629-7223.

<pre> USAC COORS LIGHT SILVER BULLET SERIES STANDINGS

1. Brian Tyler 117 2. Brad Noffsinger 105 3. Gary Hieber 99 4. Ryan Newman 99 5. Dave Darland 93 6. Tracy Hines 90 7. Jason Leffler 72 8. Paul White 71 9. Eric Gordon 58 10. Chet Fillip 51

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Ryan Newman , Jimmy Kite , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Brian Tyler , Ken Woolley , John Heydenreich , Bentley Warren , Chet Fillip , Brad Noffsinger , Eric Gordon , Paul White , Brian Paulus , Tom Capie , Gary Hieber , Jimmy Sills , Stevie Reeves