Richmond: Round five preview

Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla. returns to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway this weekend with his sights squarely on winning this year's USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Championship. The past three seasons have resulted in third, second...

Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla. returns to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway this weekend with his sights squarely on winning this year's USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Championship. The past three seasons have resulted in third, second and fourth-place point rankings and he hopes to eclipse all of those this time around.

Steele holds the 100-lap Richmond track record of 108.632 mph, set in winning last year's race, and will be seeking his third consecutive victory in the Richmond race. He also holds the series' ultimate qualifying record of 143-plus mph, set at Madison, Ill. in 2001. Tracy Hines is the RIR track record-holder at 133.935, also set in 2001.

Steele leads Jason McCord by 89 points in the standings, with Hines third going into this weekend's race, part of the track's "SunTrust Indy Challenge" IRL weekend, which also features the USAC Valvoline Sprint Car Series.

The Richmond timetable includes Silver Crown practice from 1:15-1:45 and 2:15-2:45 pm Friday, followed by qualifying at 6 pm and a 15-lap "qualifying race" at 9:30. An autograph session is also slated on Friday from 5:30-6 pm. Saturday's "Dominic's of New York 100" starts at 5:45 pm, following a warm-up at 3:45 and gridding of cars at 5:15. Saturday's Silver Crown race will be followed by the IRL's "SunTrust Indy Challenge" 250-lapper.

In addition to Steele, pre-entries also include Indy Racing League vets Jimmy Kite and Brian Tyler, Infiniti Pro vet Aaron Fike, Indianapolis and Daytona 500 vet Chet Fillip, five-time "Little 500" Sprint Car Champ Eric Gordon, USAC Triple-Crown Champion Dave Darland, USAC National Midget point leader Bobby East and USAC Western Sprint Car Champion Michael Lewis.

WELD RACING USAC SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS
1.-Dave Steele-237
2.-Jason McCord-148
3.-Tracy Hines-144
4.-Bud Kaeding-139
5.-Dave Darland-132
6.-John Heydenreich-132
7.-Boston Reid-123
8.-Brian Tyler-118
9.-Russ Gamester-117
10.-Levi Jones-106

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Series USAC
Drivers Jimmy Kite , Michael Lewis , Dave Darland , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Bud Kaeding , Aaron Fike , Bobby East , John Heydenreich , Chet Fillip , Russ Gamester , Eric Gordon , Levi Jones , Jason McCord , Boston Reid