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Copper World "Little Trees" 100 Sunday At Pir Kicks Off 2002 USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Campaign Texas' Paul White hopes to start the 2002 season the way he finished the 2001 campaign - on top of the USAC standings. He's among favorites to ...

Copper World "Little Trees" 100 Sunday At Pir
Kicks Off 2002 USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Campaign

Texas' Paul White hopes to start the 2002 season the way he finished the 2001 campaign - on top of the USAC standings. He's among favorites to win Sunday's Copper World Indy 200 "Little Trees" 100 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway, the opening race in the 2002 USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Championship Series.

White is the defending champion of the "Copper World" 100-miler and will wear the #1 on his Builders Electric/Wells Racing Engines Chevy/Beast this year, emblematic of his 2001 series title. He scored three victories on his way to last year's championship, his first in USAC racing.

Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla., the fastest qualifier in series history at over 143 mph, finished second in last year's "Copper World" opener after winning the pole at 140-plus and returns this year to again challenge for victory. Former Silver Crown Champions Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, Jack Hewitt, Tracy Hines and Mike Bliss are also entered. Former Copper World Silver Crown race winners Brian Tyler (1999) and Jimmy Kite (1997) are also entered, while Leffler won the race in 2000 and Bliss is a three-time race winner (1993, 1995 and 1996).

Leffler set the Phoenix Silver Crown qualifying record of 140.806 mph last year. Preliminary Silver Crown practice is scheduled Thursday from 4-5 pm, with two additional Friday practice sessions. Saturday's Silver Crown qualifying is from 10:45-11:45 am., with the 15-mile "qualifying race" at 4:30 pm. Sunday's 100-mile Silver Crown race starts at 11:30 am.

Other USAC racing champions already entered for the Phoenix Silver Crown opener include 2001 Stoops Freightliner USAC Sprint Car Champ J.J. Yeley, Brian Tyler, Tony Elliott, Bud Kaeding, Russ Gamester, Tony Hunt and Robby Flock.

Sunday's 100-miler is the 250th in USAC Silver Crown Series race history. Jack Hewitt leads the all-time list of race winners with 23 victories and a record 161 starts. He has led a record-tying 33 races (tied with Jimmy Sills, who leads in total laps led at 1,510).

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , Jimmy Kite , Kasey Kahne , J.J. Yeley , Dave Steele , Jack Hewitt , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , Tony Elliott , Mike Bliss , Russ Gamester , Paul White , Tony Hunt