Eldora: 4-Crown Nationals preview

Yeley, Steele resume title chase at Eldora. J.J. Yeley and Dave Steele renew their battle for the 2002 Weld Racing Silver Crown Championship this weekend in the 22nd "4-Crown Nationals" at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Prelims are...

Yeley, Steele resume title chase at Eldora.

J.J. Yeley and Dave Steele renew their battle for the 2002 Weld Racing Silver Crown Championship this weekend in the 22nd "4-Crown Nationals" at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Prelims are slated Friday night, with semis and features Saturday night.

Yeley leads Steele by 16 points with 66 available at Eldora. Yeley is expected to try to become the fifth driver in "4-Crown" history to start all four feature events, including the Modified race. Previously Jack Hewitt (7 times), Tony Stewart (1995), Dave Darland (1999 and 2000) and Tracy Hines (2001) started all four. Hewitt, who has been named the "Grand Marshal" for this weekend's events, WON all four in 1998. Larry Rice, Tom Bigelow and Tony Elliott have also attempted, although unsuccessfully, to earn starting spots in all four races in previous years.

The penultimate race of this year's Weld Racing Silver Crown Series also gives Hines a mathematical shot at the point lead, since he trails Yeley by only 52.

Yeley won last year's "4-Crown" Silver Crown race and has 12 total USAC National feature victories so far this season. Included are back-to-back Silver Crown wins at Springfield and DuQuoin, Ill. and a win at Eldora would make Yeley the first driver in 16 years to win three straight. Hewitt won four straight to close out the 1986 season.

Practice at the 1/2-mile dirt track starts at 6:30 Friday. Qualifications for all four divisions are scheduled, along with heat races for Midget Cars, Sprint Cars and Modifieds.

Saturday night's events begin with a 12-lap Midget semi and a 12-lap Sprint Car semi. A 20-lap Silver Crown "qualifying race" and a Modified semi are also on tap. Saturday's feature events are 25 laps for Midget Cars, 30 laps for Sprint Cars, 50 laps for Silver Crown cars and 40 laps for the Modifieds.

Jimmy Sills currently holds the 1-lap Silver Crown track qualifying record of 16.378 seconds, set in 1997.

USAC WELD RACING SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS

1. J.J. Yeley 391
2. Dave Steele 375
3. Tracy Hines 339
4. Jason McCord 271
5. John Heydenreich 258
6. Jay Drake 255
7. Jason Leffler 255
8. Russ Gamester 245
9. Jerry Coons, Jr. 223
10. Derek Davidson 193

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jack Hewitt , Tony Elliott , Jay Drake , John Heydenreich , Russ Gamester , Jason McCord , Jerry Coons , Jimmy Sills