Richmond: Round five preview

"Dominic's of New York 100" Saturday at Richmond gives Yeley next shot at USAC history. USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series point leader J.J. Yeley continues his assault on the USAC record books this weekend when the series returns to ...

"Dominic's of New York 100" Saturday at Richmond gives Yeley next shot at USAC history.

USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series point leader J.J. Yeley continues his assault on the USAC record books this weekend when the series returns to the Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for the "Dominic's of New York 100," part of the Indy Racing's League's "SunTrust Indy Challenge" weekend at the 3/4-mile paved oval.

Yeley has 14 USAC feature victories so far this season, including three straight in Silver Crown competition, plus six in Sprint Cars and five in Midgets. A victory at Richmond would make him the earliest in USAC history to reach the 15-win plateau, breaking the July 16, 1988 mark set by Sleepy Tripp. J.J. will pilot the Ford/Power Stroke Diesel Beast/Ford entered by Bob East and NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart.

The all-time single-season USAC victory mark is 19, shared by A.J. Foyt (1961), Sleepy Tripp (1988) and Jay Drake (2001) and Yeley appears on track to obliterate that mark. A Richmond win would tie the all-time Silver Crown consecutive victory record as well, a mark shared by Tom Bigelow (1975-76) and Jack Hewitt in 1986.

Yeley will have his hands full at Richmond, with challengers like track record holder Tracy Hines, currently fifth in the standings, and defending race winner and record holder Dave Steele, currently second in the points. Hines blistered the RIR oval at 133.935 in 2001 and Steele's 100-lap race record of 102.844 mph was set last year. Yeley finished fourth in last year's "Dominic's of New York 100."

Two drivers with recent Infinity Pro Series victories are also entered for the USAC race at Richmond. Aaron Fike, who became the youngest Silver Crown race winner ever with his 2001 Richmond win, and Ed Carpenter, last year's Richmond USAC runner-up, are expected to be strong contenders this weekend. Carpenter won this year's Indianapolis Motor Speedway Infinity Pro debut, while Fike won in the Infinity Pro Series at Fountain, Colo. last week.

Friday's USAC practice sessions are slated from 1:45-2:45 and 5:15-6:45 pm, with qualifying starting at 6:45 pm. A 15-lap "qualifying race" gets the green flag at 8:30. Saturday's USAC warm-up is scheduled from 3:30-4 pm, with the 100-lap "Dominic's of New York 100" getting the green flag at 5 pm. The Indy Racing League's "SunTrust Indy Challenge" follows on Saturday night at 8 pm.

The Richmond Silver Crown race will be telecast by the Speed Channel on June 28, beginning at 8 pm ET.

<pre> USAC WELD RACING SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS

1.      J.J. Yeley              240
2.      Dave Steele             178
3.      Brian Tyler             177
4.      Dave Darland            176
5.      Tracy Hines             172
6.      Paul White              165
7.      Jay Drake               135
8.      Matt Westfall           114
9.      Tyler Walker            98
10.     Rich Tobias, Jr.        96

-usac-

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jack Hewitt , Brian Tyler , Aaron Fike , Jay Drake , Matt Westfall , Paul White , Tyler Walker , A.J. Foyt , Ed Carpenter