Illinois: Round nine preview

SILVER CROWN POINT BATTLE LOOMS IN SATURDAY'S "TONY BETTENHAUSEN 100"; SPRINGFIELD RACE DRAWS BEECHLER ENTRY A torrid battle for USAC's 2007 K & N Silver Crown Championship unfolds at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in ...

SILVER CROWN POINT BATTLE LOOMS IN SATURDAY'S "TONY BETTENHAUSEN 100"; SPRINGFIELD RACE DRAWS BEECHLER ENTRY

A torrid battle for USAC's 2007 K & N Silver Crown Championship unfolds at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield this Saturday as the traditional "Tony Bettenhausen 100" is on tap at the lightning-fast mile dirt oval.

Six drivers are separated by only 18 points going into the second dirt-track contest of the 2007 schedule. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who won the first in Phoenix, Ariz. in February, is not one of them.

Wayne Reutimann Jr. of Zephyr Hills, Fla., seeking his initial USAC driving title, leads the standings, seven ahead of defending titlist Bud Kaeding of Campbell, Calif. Cameron Dodson of Greenfield, Ind. is third, followed by Chilean Pablo Donoso, Tim Barber of Sacramento, Calif. and A.J. Fike of Galesburg, Ill.

Sunday's race is expected to be as wide open as last year's, which ended with a twist when apparent winner Dave Steele's car was disqualified for failing post-race technical inspection, leaving Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. as the race winner.

Springfield's own Donnie Beechler, a veteran of the Indianapolis 500 and the Indy Racing League, returns to tackle the Springfield mile again, along with fellow Illini Fike, Justin Allgaier of Riverton, Levi Jones of Olney, Randy Bateman of Murphysboro, Tim Siner of Waterloo, Chris Urish of Elkhart and Dereck King of Vienna.

Drivers will be aiming at Tracy Hines' track record of 122.846 mph during qualifications. Jack Hewitt still holds the 100-mile race record of 106.920, set in 1987.

Former "Tony Bettenhausen 100" champions Brian Tyler (2004-05), Dave Darland (1997-99-2003), Paul White (2001) and Russ Gamester (1998) are also expected to be in Saturday's field.

-credit: usac

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Series USAC
Drivers Donnie Beechler , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jack Hewitt , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , A.J. Fike , Levi Jones , Paul White , Tim Barber , Pablo Donoso , Wayne Reutimann , Tim Siner , Cameron Dodson , Justin Allgaier , Tony Bettenhausen , Randy Bateman , Ricky Stenhouse Jr. , Chris Urish , Dereck King