Pikes Peak: Event preview

Record-holder Steele hopes to set new one at PPIR. Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla., holder of the ultimate USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series speed record, hopes this weekend to protect his lead in the series standings in the 100-mile race at Pikes...

Record-holder Steele hopes to set new one at PPIR.

Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla., holder of the ultimate USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series speed record, hopes this weekend to protect his lead in the series standings in the 100-mile race at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. The race is part of the track's Radisson Indy 225 weekend activities also featuring the Indy Racing League.

Steele also hopes to establish a new series speed record during qualifications, which would break Dane Carter's track record of 142.062 mph set last year and Steele's series record of 143.967 mph set last year at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

Dave leads runner-up J.J. Yeley by 20 points going into the PPIR activities, which start with Saturday Silver Crown practice from 9-9:45 am and 11:45 am to 12:30 pm. Silver Crown qualifications are slated from 3-4 pm Saturday, followed by a 15-lap "qualifying race" at approximately 6 pm.

Sunday's 100-mile Weld Racing Silver Crown feature begins at 11:30 am, following a morning warm-up from 8:45-9. The Radisson Indy 225 IRL race gets the green flag Sunday at 2 pm and a Star Mazda race follows at 4:30.

Steele leads Tracy Hines by only seven points in a special point race to determine the 2002 Earl's Pro-Lite 350 Fast Qualifier Champion, which would earn a $20,000 cash bonus at season's end. Hines set the ultimate series race record of 133.164 mph in winning the PPIR 100-mile Silver Crown race in 1999.

Pueblo, Colorado's Johnny Pickard is among drivers set to challenge Steele and Hines at the 1-mile PPIR oval. Pickard will drive for famed car owner Johnny Vance of Dayton, Ohio in his initial series appearance.

Jason McCord of Anderson, Ind., winner of Saturday night's USAC Sprint Car race at Indianapolis Raceway Park, is also among top challengers at PPIR. He ranks third in the current Silver Crown standings.

Paul White of Temple, Texas, the reigning Silver Crown Champion, will try to end a frustrating start to his 2002 season. He has failed to finish in the three previous series outings.

USAC WELD RACING SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS
1. Dave Steele 170
2. J.J. Yeley 150
3. Jason McCord 144
4. Rich Tobias, Jr. 139
5. Jason Leffler 134
6. John Heydenreich 118
7. Tony Elliott 114
8. Tracy Hines 108
9. John Starks 104
10. Matt Westfall 90

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Series USAC
Drivers Jason Leffler , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Tony Elliott , John Heydenreich , Dane Carter , Matt Westfall , Paul White , Jason McCord , John Starks