Mopar Speed Thursday, March 25, 2004 Mopar Twin 25's Mopar takes center stage this weekend as title sponsor of the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale Speedway in California. Saturday evening, the half-mile paved oval at Irwindale hosts the ...
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Mopar Twin 25's
Mopar takes center stage this weekend as title sponsor of the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale Speedway in California. Saturday evening, the half-mile paved oval at Irwindale hosts the second-annual Mopar double feature of exciting USAC Midget racing.
On the line is a $50,000 bonus for any driver who can win both 25-lap features. The only catch is that the winner of the first event has to start the second feature dead last.
During prerace ceremonies, Shaun Carlson, a Team Mopar Sport Compact drag racing star, will perform a smoky burnout on the frontstretch of the track in a tricked-out Dodge SRT-4. Cory Kruseman, driver of the No. 21 Team Mopar USAC Sprint car, will display his race car at the booth for his local sprint car driving school and give an interview over the P.A. during prerace.
Two drifting exhibitions will entertain fans and competitors alike beginning at 5 p.m. (Drifting is arguably the hottest new form of motorsport in the world, and is just making its way to the United States from Japan.)
Prerace ceremonies are set to kick off at 7 p.m. following an on-track autograph session for fans. The Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale will be held this Saturday, March 27. The subsequent Mopar Twin 25's at Indianapolis is scheduled for June 12. Tickets for both can be purchased for the event by calling (800) 515-8445. For more information regarding the Mopar Twin 25's, log on to www.twin25s.com.
Be sure to check out Mopar Speed next Monday for full event coverage. Read below for some inside notes on the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale.
Team Mopar driver Dave Steele completed double victory at the inaugural Twin 25's event at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2002, taking home a record purse over $61,000.
This year he'll have to contend with Mopar teammates Tracy Hines, Davey Ray and Josh Wise, along with the rest of the field.
Mopar engines powered three of the top-five finishers at the season-opening USAC Midget event in Phoenix last weekend, so it's clear that the powerplant is hot.
The Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. this Saturday with an on-track autograph session. Racing starts just after 7 p.m.
Mopar Twin 25's
"The Mopar Twin 25's event at Irwindale Speedway is a premier event that represents Mopar's innovative approach to its motorsports programs.
"Working with a group like Performance Racing Entertainment allows Mopar
to give competitors and fans alike a first class racing product."
-- Kevin Miller, Mopar Senior Brand Manager
"Mopar truly wants to be a part of the event, and they'll do whatever it takes to make the Mopar Twin 25's a success."
"At Mopar, everyone puts their oar in the water and helps to pull. They
do everything necessary to assist us in making the event a success. Mopar
has been extraordinary to work with."
-- Steve Lewis, Performance Racing Industry CEO
Mopar and PRE set to build upon success of Twin 25's
The Mopar Twin 25's have quickly become two of the headlining racing events on the USAC National Midget Series schedule. Since the 2002 inception of the unique Monza-style racing events, thousands of race fans have been on the edge of their seats watching some of the world's best race drivers do battle for not just one, but two 25-lap feature events. Mopar's Dave Steele endeared himself to fans in the 2002 inaugural event, winning both feature events and capturing the $50,000 bonus. After witnessing Steele's history-making run, fans and critics alike wondered, "Can it get any better than this?"
You bet it can.
The 2004 version of the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale Speedway will go above and beyond anything race fans have seen before. Steve Lewis and the Performance Racing Entertainment staff have built upon an already stellar event, setting the stage for the most entertaining Mopar Twin 25's event to date.
"To get anything right takes work, said Steve Lewis, Performance Racing Industry CEO. "The work we put into these events never stops, but it's something that we all enjoy because we've been able to see the success of the finished product. We enjoy the process of planning these events, and we work hard on each event to improve the overall product. Our goal is to produce a unique, fun, enjoyable and entertaining product, and we've been able to do that through hard work."
This year's version of the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale Speedway will feature an even more interactive schedule of events, including the Eibach Springs "Festival of Speed" that will feature fan friendly displays, vintage race cars, and opportunities for fans to explore Southern California's racing heritage. Fans will also witness some of NASCAR's newest rookie crop returning to their open wheel roots. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series rookie Tracy Hines will return to the cockpit of his No. 11 Mopar/Wilke-PAK machine, while Joe Gibbs Racing's J.J. Yeley, a former Team Mopar standout, will take to the track behind the wheel of his familiar No. 9 Lewis Racing entry. The uniqueness of this event is in perfect harmony with the unique qualities of title sponsor Mopar.
"Sponsoring the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale Speedway and Indianapolis Raceway Park provides Mopar with the opportunity to showcase our authentic motorsports programs," said Kevin Miller, Mopar Senior Brand Manager. "These venues are two of the most unique racetracks in the country, and they provide race fans with an opportunity to watch some of the most competitive racing action in the world. Mopar is not only pleased to sponsor these events, but we are proud to support our race teams as they propel our products to the forefront of this highly competitive racing series."
The partnership between Mopar and Performance Racing Entertainment continues to be a successful one, building momentum for the popularity of the events. This growth is due largely to the similar interest shared by both parties.
The efforts of all will come into the spotlight Saturday, with the green flag scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m. PST. Tickets can still be purchased for the event by calling (800) 515-8445.
Steele looks for West Coast double
Mopar's Dave Steele will have his mind focused on one thing this weekend in the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale Speedway: winning big. After setting a new midget car track record and coming off an outstanding run at the Copper World Classic last Saturday in Phoenix, Steele is looking to continue his hot streak and make the double feature event twice as nice for Mopar and Nicholas Racing.
"It would mean everything to us to win the Mopar Twin 25's again," Steele said. "The money is great, and I would like to give my new car owner and everyone at Mopar a taste of what it's like to win a big event like this. I've won the Indianapolis event in the past, but with my sponsor on board as the race sponsor, it would mean even more to take the win."
Steele, who is widely recognized for his hands-on approach to racing, has prepared for the Mopar Twin 25's just as he would for any race. The pavement-savvy driver's success can be attributed to his vast knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the 900-pound rocket he pilots around the track. The veteran driver will take the track in the Mopar Twin 25's this weekend with the confidence and knowledge that his team has made winning the event obtainable.
"We get back to the basics when it comes to preparing the cars for events," Steele said. "The key to winning races is consistency, and that comes from taking the steps to ensure that you will be consistent. We do the maintenance to make sure we're ready for each race, and that includes the Mopar Twin 25's. It's that preparation that makes us confident that we're a contender at each event."
Steele's contenders know that his simple explanation for his driving prowess isn't all due to the team's dedication to preparation. They are keenly aware that when the visor locks and the No. 2 Mopar-powered entry is pushed off for the start of the Mopar Twin 25's, the man behind the wheel is all business. They'll also be looking for Steele to head to the front, as he has his sites set on capturing the $50,000 bonus on the West Coast this time.
"We've got a good chance to win both of these races; they're ours to lose," Steele said. "Our team has as good of a chance as any other at this event, if not more so with the Mopar powerplant in the car. We're going to take it a race at a time, concentrating on winning the first feature and then taking the second one. We'll be there in the end."
Dave Steele looks to keep his hot streak alive. Steele has won three of six total feature events in Twin 25's history.
Last weekend he reset his own track record at Phoenix and qualified first in his premiere driving the brand new No. 2 Mopar for Nicholas Motorsports.
"Just having the horsepower that the Mopar engines make will be a
tremendous asset for us. The total package that Mopar offers is just
outstanding. The powerplant will give us an excellent shot at winning the
-- Tracy Hines, who won the first feature of the 2003 Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale. Hines will return to his familiar No. 11 Mopar Saturday.
Hines returns for Mopar Twin 25's
Mopar's Tracy Hines will return to his midget racing roots, as he will compete in the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale Speedway in California on March 27. Driving the No. 11 Wilke-PAK machine supported by Mopar sponsorship, Hines will take a break from his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series duties to make another attempt at the coveted $50,000 bonus the prestigious event offers.
After capturing one of the two 25-lap feature events at Irwindale Speedway during the Mopar Twin 25's event in 2003, Hines is looking forward to getting another shot at the bonus money and the bragging rights that come with winning the event title.
"I'm looking forward to running the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale, especially after we won one of the features last year," Hines said. "We'll be in good shape; we just need a couple of yellows to help us out. We had a good run last year, and I'm confident we'll do well this year."
Hines is also confident that the Mopar engine he'll be piloting during his run will create even more favorable odds for a double feature victory. The veteran driver has no doubts that the powerplant will take him to the front of the field.
With Mopar as the title sponsor, and a $50,000 bonus at stake, it's feasible that some race drivers would over-think their approach or allow pressure to affect their performance on the track. Always calm and collected, Hines doesn't see any obstacles in his way.
"There's really no pressure added," Hines said. "I get paid to win races, and that's what we're going to try and do."
Wise focused on Twin 25's victory, supported by Stewart
Josh Wise may be the youngest member of Team Mopar, but don't let his youth mislead you. When Wise hits the track for the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale Speedway this weekend in California, he'll have experience beyond his years and the full support of Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises to help charge to the front.
While Wise, a 21-year-old native of Riverside, Calif., is no stranger to fierce competition and high expectations, the Mopar Twin 25's present an extraordinary opportunity for his team to make midget car racing history. But the accomplished driver doesn't expect the high profile event to rattle his racing style.
"Having Mopar as the sponsor of this event adds pressure, but I expect more of myself than anyone ever could," Wise said. "It would be really cool to win the Mopar Twin 25's event this weekend; we really want to do well for Mopar and our team."
Making Wise comfortable has been a priority for the team, as they spent several days testing in Florida to help them prepare for the western swing over the past two weeks. Their hard work was rewarded with a fifth place finish in the Copper World Classic, and a renewed confidence as they approach the Mopar Twin 25's event. "We've been really focused on getting the cars balanced and making sure I'm comfortable with them in every way," Wise said.
"We're going to be really good for the Mopar Twin 25's, and we're concentrating on winning the first feature. You have to do well in the first feature to be set-up well for the second one."
Team owner and former USAC champion, Tony Stewart, is also looking for an outstanding performance from his new driver.
"He's won some big races in his career already," Stewart said. "Even though he's a young guy he's already been through these scenarios before. I think he'll do a great job."
Fans and competitors alike can count on Wise to be ready to roll when the green flag drops on the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale this weekend. The only pressure that might cause Wise to lose his focus is wondering what he would do with the $50,000 bonus.
"I really don't know what I'd do with the money," Wise said. "But I'm sure it would be fun!"
Tony Stewart, owner of the No. 20 Mopar that Wise will pilot, has no question that Wise is capable.
"Knowing that it's an event sponsored by Mopar and that he's with a Mopar team this year, I'm sure there will be a little bit of added pressure," Stewart said. "But for a 21-year-old kid, he shows a lot of poise and maturity. It's just a matter of getting him acclimated to a new team and a new crew chief before we get to the event."