Chuck Leary of Greenfield, Ind. established the ultimate 1-lap Coors Light Silver Bullet Series track record of 141.750 mph three years ago at Gateway International Raceway. He thinks the record could fall May 6 when qualifications are...
Chuck Leary of Greenfield, Ind. established the ultimate 1-lap Coors Light Silver Bullet Series track record of 141.750 mph three years ago at Gateway International Raceway. He thinks the record could fall May 6 when qualifications are held for the May 7 100-miler at the 1.25-mile paved oval, the longest circuit on the 2000 calendar. "I think I can beat it myself," he says with some conviction. "I probably could have beaten it last year but I didn't want to do what I did in 1997. When I set the record I burned up my tires and then shredded one during the race." He adds that the newer cars this year could make a difference. "Dave Steele nearly beat the record last year and I see several drivers this year who could do it, including Jason Leffler, Ryan Newman and Tracy Hines. My car is a 'combo' car (for dirt and pavement) which puts me at a slight disadvantage," he adds. "But the right setup can work wonders." Leary's only qualifying effort this year came at Phoenix in February when he turned in a lap of 137.478 mph to rank 11th in that field. Drivers who have challenged Leary's reign as the series' fastest driver include Russ Gamester of Peru, Ind., who owns the 1-lap record of 140.9 mph at Pikes Peak International Raceway set in 1998 and Jason Leffler of Long Beach, Calif., who set the 1-lap Phoenix International Raceway standard of 140.8 mph this February. In comparison, Gary Hieber set the new Nazareth Speedway record of 139.5 mph April 8 and Mike Bliss owns the 135.1 mph record at Walt Disney World Speedway, established in 1999. At least four drivers will be out to uphold the Illinois banner in the May 6-7 event. Donnie Beechler and Donnie Lehmann of Springfield, A.J. Fike of Galesburg and Randy Bateman of Murphysboro are among the more than 40 entrants for the fourth round of the 2000 Coors Light Silver Bullet Series. Practice at Gateway on Friday, May 6 is slated from 9-9:55 am and 11 am-noon. Qualifying begins at 12:30 pm and a 15-lap qualifying race gets under way at 4:30. Sunday's 80-lap (100-mile) race will be televised live by ESPN2 starting at 3:30 pm local time. <pre> USAC COORS LIGHT SILVER BULLET SERIES STANDINGS
1. Brian Tyler 174 2. Tracy Hines 150 3. Ryan Newman 138 4. Brad Noffsinger 134 5. Paul White 122 6. Dave Darland 116 7. Gary Hieber 116 8. Eric Gordon 103 9. Tony Elliott 83 10. Ed Carpenter 78