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Published: Wednesday, 7/10/2002

Toledo Speedway record expected to fall on Hemelgarn Racing Night

BY C.J. LANDRY
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

Building a 21st-century tradition, ARCA president Ron Drager and Toledo businessman Ron Hemelgarn present the third annual Hemelgarn Racing Night featuring the Stoops Freightliner United States Auto Club sprint cars on Friday at Toledo Speedway.

At stake for the winner of the USAC sprint car feature is a test ride in Hemelgarn's Indy Racing League car later this year.

A field of nearly 30 entries is expected to shatter Toledo Speedway's one-lap track record for nonwing sprint cars, held by Tracy Hines at 118.203 mph, as drivers take time trials on the track's new ultra-smooth surface.

Early entries in USAC's “Thunder and Lightning” division include current USAC sprint car point leader Hines, 2001 USAC sprint car champion J.J. Yeley, last year's Toledo winner Brian Tyler, 2000 Toledo winner Dave Darland, Eric Gordon, Derek Davidson, A.J. Fike, Jason McCord, Bobby East, Dave Steele, Aaron Fike, Levi Jones, Jim Mills, Kevin Feeney, Jonathan Vennard and Jay Drake. Representing the Toledo area will be Jimmy McCune of Sylvania, driving the red No. 14 for Temperance car owner Benny Rapp.

Yeley looks to be a heavy favorite coming into Toledo after a dominating performance during the recent USAC Buckeye Nationals - four nights of racing at four tracks - in which he finished in the top five in all eight feature races.

USAC public relations director Dick Jordan noted that Yeley, currently second in the sprint car point race, second in silver crown and first in the midgets, has the opportunity to win all three USAC series this year. Current NASCAR star Tony Stewart is the only driver to ever equal that feat. He won all three USAC series in 1995.

Hemelgarn, who owns the IRL car driven by Buddy Lazier, also will offer all in attendance a 25-percent discount on tickets to the IRL race at MIS.

Toledo Speedway's front gates will open at 4:30 p.m. as the sprint cars take to the track for practice. Time trials begin at 6, with racing set for 7:30. Toledo Speedway's Factory Stocks and Sportsman divisions also will be in action.

A tape of the event will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 11 p.m. on July 20.

  • This season's $1 million dollar United Midwest Promoters Summernationals for dirt track late models will close Saturday night with the running of the fifth annual Birthday Race at Oakshade Raceway. The 25-races-at-25-tracks event began June 14.

    The series champion will be crowned after the 50-lap, $10,000-first-prize feature race. The race card also includes bombers. Sunday is the rain date.

  • Chad Kemenah of Findlay won the 2002 All Star Circuit of Champions Ohio Speedweek title. Kemenah did not win any of the tour's seven races but finished in the top 10 in all the features. Kemenah, who claimed the series crown and $5,000, finished ahead of Byron Reed of Monclova Township by seven points.

    In the season-long All Stars points race, Kemenah held a one-point lead over Kenny Jacobs of Holmesville, Ohio, going into Ohio Speedweek. By the end of Speedweek Kemenah had increased his lead to 72 points over Jacobs.

  • A 100-lap feature race for the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series headlines Saturday's race program at Flat Rock Speedway. Figure 8s and street stocks will also be in action.

    Friday through Sunday is Ford weekend at Norwalk Raceway Park. In addition to drag racing there will be a car show and a swap meet.



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