Syracuse: Race preview

J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz. returns to the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse this weekend with his second consecutive USAC Weld Racing Series title firmly in his grasp. He is the defending winner of the "Ferris Salt City 100," which gets the...

J.J. Yeley of Phoenix, Ariz. returns to the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse this weekend with his second consecutive USAC Weld Racing Series title firmly in his grasp. He is the defending winner of the "Ferris Salt City 100," which gets the green flag at 3 pm Saturday.

Yeley won three consecutive Silver Crown races in May and June but the last eight series races have had eight different race winners! One of those was Rich Tobias, Jr. of Annville, Pa., who last year nearly beat Yeley at Syracuse and returns with determination this year.

Tobias ranks eighth in the series standings after winning the September 6 "Ted Horn 100" at DuQuoin, Ill. in his 43rd career series start. Tobias also finished second in this May's "Hoosier Hundred" at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and led 83 laps of last year's Syracuse race before sliding into the turn three wall three laps from the checkered flag.

The New York State Fairgrounds' Super Dirt Week XXXII includes Weld Racing Silver Crown practice at 4 pm on Friday, followed by qualifying at 5. On Saturday the Silver Crown cars practice at 10:15 am and compete in a 15-mile "qualifying race" at 11:30.

Drivers will challenge Jerry Coons, Jr.'s 1-lap track qualifying record of 115.192 mph set last year. Pancho Carter set the 100-mile USAC race record at Syracuse in 1976 at 101.280 mph.

Yeley, who has won an all-time USAC single-season record 23 feature events this year, will pilot the EMP Stewart Components/Power Stroke Diesel Beast/Ford entered by car builder Bob East and NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart.

Dave Darland and Tracy Hines will provide the points drama as they battle for the runner-up spot in the final standings. Darland leads Hines by only five points with 66 available at Syracuse. Darland won earlier this year at Springfield, Ill., while Hines has yet to win in 2003 Silver Crown competition.

USAC WELD RACING SILVER CROWN SERIES STANDINGS

1. J.J. Yeley 557
2. Dave Darland 485
3. Tracy Hines 480
4. Dave Steele 432
5. Jay Drake 349
6. Tyler Walker 339
7. Paul White 314
8. Rich Tobias, Jr. 276
9. Brian Tyler 270
10. Aaron Fike 249

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Brian Tyler , Aaron Fike , Jay Drake , Paul White , Tyler Walker , Pancho Carter , Jerry Coons