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Archive for May, 2006

Doug Drown Wins On ‘Historic’ Night

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Another notable that night was the fact that Drown’s infant son, Cale, attended his first-ever race and the ‘old man’ took the win driving his Wooster Glass Co/Poske Performance Parts/Hamlin Automotive/Malcuit Racing Engines/Mason Racin/Bert Transmission/Hoosier Tire/Lehman Motorsports Services/Genesis Racing Shocks Rocket Chassis Ford Mustang #12.

For a couple decades the Holmes Hilltop Speedway ran each week in Millersburg, OH until the end of the 1973 season when the track was finally shuttered, for what most people thought was for good. Few ever imagined the track would ever return but that’s exactly what happened this year when Ashland, OH businessman Jeff Norris, a second-generation racer, purchased the property and spent months and months revitalizing, renovating and remodeling the track.

“It was definitely a great feeling,” understated Drown, 23. “Obviously the guys prepared the cars well because it seemed like a lot of the guys were breaking something. The track wasn’t really that rough, it was pretty smooth and only had one hole in one turn.”

“But you have to hand it to them at Hilltop, they did everything to get that show in and the drivers all came out and helped. It ain’t cheap at $5.00 a gallon to burn racing fuel but every single driver came out and helped run the track in. Jeff took care of us, so we took care of him.”

“Definitely the car was awesome and it was exciting to win in a race like that, it came down to the second to last turn of the last lap so it was definitely a good win for the team.”

No one disputed how exciting the race was. “It was exciting as all get out and I don’t think there was anyone who was sitting down for that in the stands,” said Ed Fredericks, Race Director and Head Flagman at Hilltop. “Doug and Ryan did a great job in that race, it couldn’t have been more entertaining for the fans. It was a great way to usher in the new era of Hilltop Speedway.”

Drown’s win didn’t come easy as he had to fend off the relentless challenges of Ryan Markham. Drown and Markham spent lap after lap virtually side by side and it wasn’t until the checkered flag of Ed Fredericks dropped did Drown have the win in hand.

“I kept seeing his nose once in awhile and I thought pretty soon Ryan will let it all hang out and with coming around for the white flag he came flying in there and I went in there, and if he wouldn’t have jumped the cushion he probably would have went around us, but we held on,” explained Drown. “Ed Fredericks said he had never been on a flagstand and never saw a race that exciting. He said we put on a great show.”

“I think that’s the way it’ll be in Friday night down there. The track will be able to have that cushion and it won’t be follow the leader. I think they have a great thing going on down there.”

Drown won over Markham, Blaine Aber, D. J. Miller, J. R. Gentry, Eric Smitley, Mark Gardiner, Ty Myers, Charlie Duncan, Andy Fike, Michael Stiltner, Josh McMorrow, Jeff Wright, Travis Brookover, Jim Gentry, Tracey Fritter, Mike Stiltner and Mike Graber.

With inclement weather forcing nearly every other dirt track in Ohio to cancel last Friday, Hilltop management dug in and made every effort to get the show in. “I gained a lot of respect for them down there,” stated Drown. “I hate to admit it but I was one of the doubters who thought they wouldn’t get a race in until July. But they did it and its exciting racing. I was impressed and I hope the fans enjoyed it.”

“From the time we pulled in to the gates, people were waving and thanking us for coming. Where else do you get that at? They were all friendly. To me there is nothing bad you can say about the place. The races that night should have been cancelled but the guy showed he is there to race and that’s all we wanted to do.”

Another highlight of that night for Drown was the fact that his son, Cale, who was born this past October, attended his first-ever race with Dad and Mom, Courtney, and it was on a night that Dad took a very impressive win on a special night.

“I told Courtney that’s how memories are made,” commented Drown. “The first night out he goes to the races that we take him and we win and that’s something we can always share as a family together plus the grand opening night of that track. It’s sweet. It was great.”

“The track held up things so Courtney could get on down and Ed Fredericks held Cale until she got down so she could carry him over to victory lane. The whole crew, the whole family, it was a great time for all of us that night.”

“The car was great and I want to thank Mike (Farr) for getting our shock package (Genesis Racing Shocks) figured out. He helped us with that and got us straightened out and we picked up a win.”

This Saturday evening Drown will compete with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series when they make a visit to the King Family promoted Florence Speedway in Union, KY for the 20th Annual “Ralph Latham Memorial” race on Saturday night June 3rd. The race is a tribute to one of the all-time great drivers out of the Cincinnati, OH area who will be posthumously inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame at Florence on August 12th.

For more information on Doug Drown visit the website at: www.dougdrown.com

Goodson to Make PASS South Debut at Florence

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

With the introduction of the PASS South, Super Late Model racing in the Carolinas / Virginia / Georgia region are having a bit of resurgence. It has enabled racers, who haven’t competed because of a lack of a good traveling Super Late Model Series, another chance at racing glory. One of those drivers is legendary short track competitor Hal Goodson.

Goodson has spent the last couple of years on the sidelines. Goodson raced Super Late Models for years. Eventually, he moved to the NASCAR All Pro Series (now the Southeast Series) and then to the Hooters Pro Cup Division. Once his time ran out there, Goodson was left without a place to run what he knew best, his Super Late Model.

Now, thanks to the PASS South, Goodson will return to the seat on a more regular basis. Goodson will make his 2006 PASS South debut when the series visits Florence Motor Speedway on June 10th for the South Carolina Clash.

“I haven’t gotten to race that often the last few years,” said Goodson. “In fact, the Snowball Derby was the only race I ran last year. Then, they started this new PASS South deal this year and we decided to get our stuff together and run the race at Florence.

“I’m so happy to be able to run some more. I’m happy there is a series to run these cars. This is what I grew up racing before I went to All Pro and Hooters. I’m just glad there is something new and fresh out there. I’m going to try to run as many as we can. We are going to try and run five or six of them at least.”

With Goodson joining the PASS South division, the competition level instantly skyrockets. Goodson is a two-time All Pro Series champion, winning the title in 1995 and again in 1997. He scored 13 wins in his All Pro career. When he moved to the Pro Cup Series, Goodson picked up eight more victories, but his heart has always been with the Super Late Models.

“I started in these cars in the late 80s. The cars haven’t changed much. The setups have changed, but it’s the same basic cars; they just look a little different. I’ve never been a big fan of Late Models (stocks), which are big around the Carolinas. I’ve driven them a couple of times, but I never got into them. Super Late Models are a lot of fun. That is why I enjoy Super Late Models so much. These cars put on some of the best racing on short tracks anywhere. They are the most fun cars out there to drive.

“I ran our current car a few times at the Snowball (at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL). Now I can drive it more. I’m just glad to see a series out there now. As long as I can race seven to ten times a year, I’ll be happy. Like I said, we are hoping to run about five or six of these PASS South races and then the Snowball Derby at the end of the year.

“I was in Kenly, though, to just see how things went and how it goes and all. It was a heck of a show. I’m looking forward to being in the seat rather than looking through the fence in the grandstands.”

The 150-lap South Carolina Clash is set to go off at Florence Motor Speedway on June 10th. PASS South practice will start at 10am, with qualifying beginning at 3:45pm. Heat races and local features will start at 5pm with the South Carolina Clash set to go green at 9pm.

For more information on the PASS South Series, contact Jeremy Troiano at DSG by calling (704) 455–2051 and be sure to visit the official website of PASS, www.proallstarsseries.com.

DIRT Teams Prepare for Tri-Track Challenge

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

National touring drivers, series champions and regional throttlestompers are ready for door-to-door, mud slingin’ racing action in the three state showdown. Past and present champions and rookies from United Midwestern Promoters, Lucas Oil DirtCar Series/NARA, Xtreme DirtCar Series/Hav-A-Tampa, Northern Allstars Late Model Series, U.M.P. Challenge of Champions’ Series and U.M.P. Summernationals will be on tap with hopes of winning the $10,000, 40-lap main events.

The Tri-Track Challenge will debut this Friday night at the Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Ken Schrader-owned Paducah International Raceway. The 3/8-mile, high-banked track conveniently located off of I-24 in McCracken County, KY, has recently undergone numerous upgrades to the track and facilities that both spectators and competitors will recognize and benefit from. The new PIR will host their first Tri-Track as a prelude to their U.M.P. Summernationals’ event slotted for June 29th. We would also like to remind fans and competitors to enter PIR’s hot new promotion the “Chevrolet Silverado Sunset Giveaway” at the track for a chance to win a new 2007 Chevy Silverado Pickup and ride in style like Dale Jr.!

Teams will then caravan to the Show Me State for another Ken Schrader-owned facility – the 1/3-mile highbanks of I-55 Raceway. The Pevely, MO, track is located 30 miles south of St. Louis on I-55 and boasts an impressive pedigree of weekly racers and special event winners. I-55 Raceway has hosted all three previous installments of the Tri-Track Challenge and each event yielded a different winner. Shannon Babb, the winningest driver on the circuit and only driver to ever nab the $10,000 bonus, won the inaugural event but Indiana’s own Don O’Neal stole the show in 2004 and Jimmy Mars from Elk Mound, WI, took top honors last year.

Back on the schedule for the third year, Vermilion Co. Speedway in Danville, IL, will host the 2006 Tri-Track Challenge finale. The 3/8-mile semi-banked facility is now promoted by a renowned duo in dirt late model racing – Bill Nelson, Director of the Northern Allstars Late Model Series, and veteran track and special events promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises. National touring veterans Billy Moyer and Don O’Neal both claimed Tri-Track victories at Vermilion County but the 2006 entry list boats impressive names looking to reign supreme.

This year’s “Tri-Track Challenge” retains popular features including the Frisbee draw, free general admission for kids 12 and under at all tracks, no entry fees for competitors and the $10,000 bonus opportunity but the format has been slightly modified to accommodate the wishes of competitors and to make for the best possible show. Here’s how it works…

Each competitor will participate in a pill draw for qualifying. Competitors will then be placed into groups based on the pill draw and you will hotlap, qualify and compete in the heat race with this same group of cars. The top two finishers from each heat race will draw a Frisbee marked with a secret number on the frontstretch during driver introductions to determine their starting spot in the feature event. Consolation races will be lined up according to your finish in the heat result and the remainder of the A-Main starting field will also be started according to heat race transfer order. Each main event will consist of 40 laps of wide-open dirt late model racing with the winner receiving a $10,000 payday. Each track has also selected 2-5 additional divisions that will provide great racing during the night’s activities.

The response to the “4th Annual Tri-Track Challenge” has been very strong and we anticipate a stellar field of cars each night but a dozen names tentatively slotted to compete to the partial or full tour include:

* Shannon Babb (Moweaqua, IL) – Former Lucas Oil DirtCar Series Champion, reigning U.M.P. Summernationals’ champion and the only competitor to sweep a Tri-Track Challenge tour and earn the $10,000 bonus
* Wendell Wallace (Batesville, AR) – Recent 2006 “Show Me 100” winner, former Dirt Track World Champion and “Topless 100” winner
* Brian Birkhofer (Muscatine, IA) – 2002 “World 100” winner, Master of the Mile with 3 Illinois U.M.P. Fall Nationals’ titles on the Springfield Mile, 2004 Knoxville Nationals winner, runner-up in 2003 XDCS National Championship points
* Jimmy Mars (Elk Mound, WI) – 2005 U.M.P. Summernationals’ Championship runner-up, 2005 Tri-Track Challenge Winner at I-55 Raceway, $100,000 Dream winner
* Darren Miller (Milledgeville, IL) – 2005 Knoxville Nationals winner, former NASCAR Busch All-Star Tour Rookie of the Year
* Rodney Melvin (Logan, IL) – Only 4x U.M.P. National Late Model Champion
* Dennis Erb, Jr. (Carpentersville, IL) – Former XDCS/HAT Rookie of the Year, 3rd in 2005 U.M.P. Summernationals’ Championship points
* Randy Korte (Pierron, IL) – Reigning U.M.P. Challenge of Champions’ Champion, former U.M.P. National Late Model Champion
* Brian Shirley (Chatham, IL) – Former A.M.A. motorcycle champion, 2004 Northern Allstars Late Model Series Champion & Rookie of the Year, former U.M.P. Late Model Rookie of the Year, 2005 Summernationals’ finale winner
* Terry English (Benton, KY) – 3x U.M.P. National Late Model Champion, multiple track championships at Paducah Int’l Raceway, multi-time PIR “World 50” winner
* Kevin Cole (Christopher, IL) – Former Paducah Int’l Raceway Champion, 2005 U.M.P. Late Model Rookie of the Year
* Jimmy Owens (Newport, TN) – 4x U.M.P. National Modified Champion

2006 U.M.P. Tri-Track Challenge Information

Friday, June 2, 2006
Paducah International Raceway
Location: Exit 11 on I-24, Paducah, KY
Promoters: Dale Earnhardt, Jr, Ken Schrader and Bob Sargent
Track Phone: (270) 898-7469
Track Website: http://www.paducahinternationalraceway.com
Gates Open: Pits – 4:00 p.m., Main Gate – 5:00 p.m.
Prices: Grandstands – $25, Kids 12 & Under – FREE, Pit Passes – $30, NO ENTRY FEE
Race Times: Qualifying – 6:45 p.m., Racing – 7:30 p.m.
Divisions Competing: U.M.P. Super Late Models, CARS Crate Late Models, U.M.P. Modifieds, U.M.P. Street Stocks, Outlaw Mini Sprints, 4-Cylinder Warriors

Saturday, June 3, 2006
I-55 Raceway
Location: Exit 178 on I-55, Pevely, MO
Promoters: Ken Schrader and Ray Marler
Track Phone: (636) 479-3219
Track Website: http://www.i55raceway.com
Gates Open: Pits – 4:00 p.m., Main Gate – 5:00 p.m.
Prices: Grandstands – $25, Kids 12 & Under – FREE, Pit Passes – $30, NO ENTRY FEE
Race Times: Qualifying – 6:15 p.m., Racing – 7:00 p.m.
Divisions Competing: U.M.P. Super Late Models, U.M.P. Modifieds, U.M.P. Sportsman

Sunday, June 4, 2006
Vermilion County Speedway
Location: Exit 210 on I-74, Danville, IL
Promoters: Bill Nelson and Bob Sargent
Track Phone: (217) 443-6588
Track Website: http://www.vermilioncountyspeedway.net
Gates Open: Pits – 3:00 p.m., Main Gate – 4:00 p.m.
Prices: Grandstands – $25, Kids 12 & Under – FREE, Pit Passes – $30, NO ENTRY FEE
Race Times: Qualifying – 6:30 p.m., Racing – 7:00 p.m.
Divisions Competing: U.M.P. Super Late Models, U.M.P. Modifieds, U.M.P. Street Stocks, Pure Stocks

Past U.M.P. Tri-Track Challenge Highlights

Segment #1 – Vermilion Co. Speedway, Danville, IL
Fast Qualifier: Dennis Erb, Jr. (IL)
Dash Winner: Dennis Erb, Jr. (IL)
Heat Winners: Roger Long (IL) and Michael Bradley (IL)
Feature Top-5: Shannon Babb (IL), Darren Miller (IL), Kevin Weaver (IL), Brady Smith (WI) and Jimmy Mars (WI)

Segment #2 – I-55 Raceway, Pevely, MO
Fast Qualifier: John Vandenberg (IA)
Dash Winner: Billy Drake (IL)
Heat Winners: Shannon Babb (IL), Billy Faust (IL) and Jeep Van Wormer (MI)
Consi Winner: Jim Shereck (MO)
Feature Top-5: Jimmy Mars (WI), Darren Miller (IL), Shannon Babb (IL), Jeep Van Wormer (MI) and Billy Faust (IL)

Segment #3 – Tri-State Speedway, Haubstadt, IN
Fast Qualifier: Don O’Neal (IN)
Dash Winner: Don O’Neal (IN)
Heat Winners: Randy Korte (IL) and Rodney Melvin (IL)
Feature Top-5: Don O’Neal (IN), Dennis Erb, Jr. (IL), Darren Miller (IL), Jimmy Mars (WI) and Rodney Melvin (IL)

2003-2005 Tri-Track Challenge Feature Winners
Shannon Babb = 5 (3 – 2003, 1 – 2004, 1 – 2005)
Don O’Neal = 2 (1 – 2004, 1 – 2005)
Billy Moyer = 1 (1 – 2004)
Jimmy Mars = 1 (1 – 2005)

$10,000 Bonus Winner(s)
Shannon Babb (2003)

Stroupe Proves to Be Kasey Kahne’s Good Luck Charm

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Zach Stroupe may be half Kahne’s age, but their careers are already interestingly paralleling each other. While Kahne was dominating the sprint car circuits at age 13, Stroupe’s been getting it done in Legends Cars and in the Aaron’s Pro Challenge Series. And while all those cars are on opposite ends of the spectrum, Kahne and Stroupe do have something in common. They’ve both been on fire at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Earlier this year, Stroupe took his 51 Designs Legends Car to Atlanta and whooped up on the strong field of drivers, most many years his senior, and grabbed the winner’s trophy in front of thousands of fans as part of preliminary events before the Nextel Cup event there. The day after, Kahne went out and won at the 1.5-mile Atlanta track.

The two repeated the result this past weekend, but this time it came at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the Charlotte-region of North Carolina. Stroupe went out and dominated Saturday’s 20-lap feature in his Bob Dillner, Inc. machine at the ¼-mile track inside the Lowe’s speedway the day before Kahne showed the Cup boys how it’s done in the Coca-Cola 600.

“We had a great weekend, that’s for sure,” said Stroupe. “It’s pretty cool how I’m two-for-two in these big Cup weekend races at Atlanta and Lowe’s and it’s even cooler knowing that a Cup driver that I really look up to, Kasey Kahne, won both of his races at those tracks, too. Kasey paved the way for a lot of young kids to make it to the Cup Series at a young age after doing well on the short tracks. He’s a heck of a driver and if my career takes off like he did, I’ll be extremely thankful.

“I had a really good car Saturday night. I knew I had enough to win, but the drivers in the Semi-Pro division are really tough. To go out there and lead every lap was pretty exciting and knowing that I did it on such a big stage is a real thrill for me, my team and my family.”

The omen for the Stroupe-Kahne double started earlier in the week when Kahne surprised the students at Lincoln Charter School in Lincolnton, NC. Stroupe got to meet one of his racing heroes and the Cup star seems to have become a fan of the youngster.

“I was really impressed with how Kasey would take time out of his busy schedule to come hang out with my classmates and me. We got to talk racing a little bit and he said he’d be watching me on Saturday at Lowe’s. Sure enough, when I went out for the race, I saw him standing there watching the race. It was pretty cool to go out and win knowing that he and all the Cup drivers and teams were checking out the Legends car races.”

Before Saturday night’s win, Stroupe was at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the first Legends Car event of the Coca-Cola 600 weekend on Thursday. Stroupe worked his way through traffic from his deep starting position and was fourth when another car cut down on him. Stroupe spun, but rebounded to finish 10th.

“Obviously we had a much better car on Saturday than we did on Thursday, but we had a good chance to feel the car out and make the adjustments we needed to make so that we could contend on Saturday. I passed a lot of cars in that first race, but luckily I didn’t have to pass any on Saturday.”

With performances like he had last weekend, especially with the domination of Saturday night, it won’t be long before Stroupe has the opportunity to race alongside stars like Kasey Kahne. Before he can do that, he wants to finish the goals that he set forth for this season, including the National Championship in the Aaron’s Pro Challenge Series. Stroupe’s next Pro Challenge start comes June 10th at Watermelon Capital Speedway (GA). Just three days later, Stroupe will be behind the wheel of his 51 Designs #51 Legends Car as the Summer Shootout at Lowe’s Motor Speedway kicks off on June 13th.

Watch for 13-year-old Zach Stroupe as he makes a name for himself on short tracks throughout the Southeast and check out the new www.zachstroupe.net. For more information on Zach Stroupe, please contact Zach Drager with DSG at (704)455-2051.

True Wins GM Performance Parts Shootout at Grundy County

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

The cars and stars of the ASALMS Northern Division have invaded the 1/3 mile semi-banked paved oval of the Grundy County (IL) Speedway, located west of the “Windy City” of Chicago, in Morris, Illinois for race number three of the 2006 season.

The 8th annual George Appleton Memorial 125 Presented by Rod Baker Ford and 100.7 RXQ is on tap for Memorial Day Monday afternoon as 28 teams have settled in at the speedway in helping to celebrate Memorial Day on a very hot and humid day with temperatures already in the mid-90s!

The 12-lap GM Performance Parts Shootout was the first ASALMS Northern Division event of the 8th annual George Appleton Memorial 125 after the companion Mid-American Stock Car Series heat races. The teams that qualified 21-28 ran a modified 12-lap GM Performance Parts Shootout to set rows 11 through 14 for this afternoon’s 125-lap feature.

After the 12-lap sprint, Dowagiac, Michigan driver, Doug True, now in his third season of ASALMS competition started on the pole and made no mistake in winning the GM Performance Parts Shootout for his first career ASALMS victory!

For the complete press release, go to: http://www.asalatemodelsnorth.com/?p=311

Photo: Doug True won the GM Performance Parts Shootout Feature as part of the 8th annual George Appleton Memorial 125 on Memorial Day Monday, May 29, 2006 at the Grundy County (IL) Speedway. (Bob Milner Photo)