Dave Steele wins third straight at Phoenix

Dave Steele won his third straight Copper World Classic USAC Silver Crown Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Steele started from the pole and was untouchable as he led flag to flag. He was followed home by Tracy Hines in second and...

Dave Steele won his third straight Copper World Classic USAC Silver Crown Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Steele started from the pole and was untouchable as he led flag to flag.

He was followed home by Tracy Hines in second and Chet Fillip in third.

"It wasn't easy," Steele said.  "We were running as hard as she'd go,
especially there at the end.  Before the race Bob East asked me what my
strategy was.  I told him I liked to lead, so I'll try to stay out front.
The bad thing is you don't really know how hard to run.  You have to be
careful to not overuse your stuff.  You run hard, the guys behind you run
hard to keep up with you.  It's kind of a catch-22 situation.

"We tried to run as hard as we could without sliding it, and that's what we did. We might have run a little harder, bulldog it a little bit, but I was lucky that it was good enough"

Tracy Hines qualified back in ninth place, and worked to improve the car's speed for the race. Once he moved into second around the halfway point, he could close in on Steele in traffic, but never challenged him.

"We made some changes earlier in the day," he said. "We actually borrowed some shocks from Chet. I think we have our chassis dialed in. We just need to work on the motor a little bit to be able to run with Dave. It felt like turning the corners we were as good or better, but he'd pull me down the straightaway."

Chet Fillip started 22nd, and worked his way up through the field.

"For some reason I have trouble qualifying," Chet said.  "It's either me or
the car.  But it's a good race car. The more it runs the better it gets.  My
lap times were close to Tracy's and Dave's.  We just need to drive smart."

Aaron Pierce scored a career-best fourth place, coming from deep in the field. "We came up from 33rd and came all the way to fourth. We have top finish races to win, and I think this is the first one that we've finished. That should start us off in the top five in points, maybe the top ten. We got the bugs out of the car."

Aaron's performance, moving up 29 positions, earned him the Hard Charger award. He attributed the poor qualifying run to a mechanical problem. "We were capable of qualifying high, but we had a miss in the engine. We found a magneto or fuel pump that was bad. We took care of that and off she went."

J.J. Yeley, yesterday's winner in the Midgets, had a strong run early in the race, running second for the first 44 laps. Driveline problems struck, dropping him out of contention and into a 23rd place finish.

Steele's three in a row here matches Ken Schrader's accomplishment 14 years ago, the only other time it has been done.

The race was run in a time of 56:44.93, for an average speed of 134.531 mph.

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Series USAC
Drivers Ken Schrader , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Chet Fillip , Aaron Pierce