Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla. repeated as the champion of the "Dominic's of New York 100" Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, the fifth round of this year's USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series. Steele caught point leader J.J....
Dave Steele of Tampa, Fla. repeated as the champion of the "Dominic's of New York 100" Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, the fifth round of this year's USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series. Steele caught point leader J.J. Yeley on the backstretch of lap 49 and led the final 52 laps in his Northside Propane Beast/Gaerte for his second straight win at Richmond, second victory of the season, and ninth career Silver Crown victory.
Steele now focuses his attention on this week's "Rocky Mountain Classic" at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. where practice and qualifying are slated Thursday and "qualifying races" and feature events are set for Friday. The USAC National/Western Sprint Car and Midget Car Series will share billing with the USAC Weld Racing Silver Crown Series in the "tripleheader" program.
Trailing Steele to the finish line at Richmond were the last two Infiniti Pro Series winners - 2001 USAC Richmond winner Aaron Fike and 2002 USAC Richmond runner-up Ed Carpenter. Tracy Hines finished fourth, while Tyler Walker scored his best career finish in the series with a fifth-place.
Steele's win helped close a large gap between him and Yeley, whose bid for four straight Silver Crown Series wins was dashed with a sixth-place finish. Yeley led for 36 laps after taking the point from outside polesitter Jason McCord, who led the first 12 laps, and Yeley now leads Steele in the championship race by 41 points.
"Right now, he is carrying the biggest stick in the pits, so we'll stay after him to chip away a little bit," Steele said of Yeley. "When a driver has that much confidence, he's hard to stop."
Previous PPIR Silver Crown race winners entered include John Heydenreich of Bloomsburg, Pa. (1998), Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind. (1999), Steele (2001) and Brian Tyler of Parma, Mich. (last year).
Dane Carter of Brownsburg, Ind. holds the current 1-lap Silver Crown track record of 142.062 mph., just short of the all-time series record of 143.967 mph. set by Steele in 2001 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, Mo. Hines holds the 100-mile race record of 133.164, which was set in 1999 and stands as the all-time series race record.
USAC WELD RACING SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS
1. J.J. Yeley 285
2. Dave Steele 244
3. Tracy Hines 223
4. Dave Darland 209
5. Paul White 182
6. Brian Tyler 182
7. Jay Drake 174
8. Tyler Walker 146
9. A.J. Fike 124 10. Matt Westfall 114