Series Eldora spotlight - Robert Ballou

SPOTLIGHT ON BALLOU IN SATURDAY'S "BRANSON-LARSON" SPRINT CLASSIC AT ELDORA Robert Ballou of Rocklin, Calif. hopes to become the first driver to win three straight USAC Sprint races at the Eldora Speedway in 17 years when the...

SPOTLIGHT ON BALLOU IN SATURDAY'S "BRANSON-LARSON" SPRINT CLASSIC AT ELDORA

Robert Ballou of Rocklin, Calif. hopes to become the first driver to win three straight USAC Sprint races at the Eldora Speedway in 17 years when the series returns there Saturday night for the "Don Branson-Jud Larson Classic."

Ballou won last year's "Branson-Larson" and "Four Crown Nationals" features, only the sixth time in history a driver had won three straight USAC Sprints at the 1/2-mile dirt track. Larson did it in 1964-65, Bubby Jones in 1978-79, Steve Butler in 1988-89 Jack Hewitt in 1988 and in 1990-91.

Saturday night's race opens the 2008 USAC National Sprint Car campaign and the feature is 30 laps.

Ballou will have to contend with Jerry Coons Jr. and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who shared the "Four Crown" podium with him last year, respectively winning the K & N Silver Crown and Mopar National Midget features. Stenhouse will compete for long-time USAC car owner Walker/Guiducci Racing, while Coons will try to extend the all-time victory record of Dynamics, Inc. of Milford, Ohio, who own 70 wins.

Coons won the "Branson-Larson" in 2006. Tracy Hines, who won the race in 2001, is also expected to compete Saturday for Tony Stewart Racing with teammate Levi Jones, who is the defending USAC National Sprint Car Champion.

The race dates back to 1981 when Dave Peperak was the inaugural winner on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Other race winners have been Jack Hewitt, Rich Vogler, Steve Butler, Jac Haudenschild, Rick Hood, Terry Shepherd, Robbie Stanley, Frankie Kerr, Kevin Doty, Kevin Huntley, Derek Davidson, Jay Drake, J.J. Yeley and Boston Reid.

The one-lap track qualifying mark up for grabs is Coons' lap of 14.712 seconds (122.349 mph) set in 2006.

-credit: --USAC--

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Series USAC
Drivers J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Jack Hewitt , Jay Drake , Levi Jones , Boston Reid , Jac Haudenschild , Jerry Coons Jr.