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Cedar Lake Speedway

Drivers geared up for Cedar Lake's USA Nat'ls

August 4, 2011, 2:39 pm
By Joshua Joiner
DirtonDirt.com staff writer
Chad Simpson's car is unloaded Friday at Cedar Lake. (thesportswire.net)
Chad Simpson's car is unloaded Friday at Cedar Lake. (thesportswire.net)

NEW RICHMOND, Wis. (Aug. 4) – The 24th annual USA Nationals weekend is set to get under way with Thursday’s Dart Corn Belt Clash event at Cedar Lake Speedway. The $5,000-to-win event is a precursor to the weekend’s $50,000-to-win World of Outlaws Late Model Dirt Series sanctioned feature that kicks off with prelims Friday and wraps up with the 100-lap main event Saturday. | LIVE VIDEO | Complete USA Nationals coverage

DirtonDirt.com is providing a live pay-per-view broadcast from Cedar Lake all weekend. Purchase your package by clicking here. Semi-live blog-style updates will also be provided throughout the event.

The pay-per-view broadcast gets started with the U.S. Steel Pre-race Show at 5 p.m. The night's on-track action gets under way with hot laps at 6:30.

Simpson optimistic about weekend

Defending Corn Belt Clash champion and current points leader Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Iowa, leads the series regulars against a host of invaders that includes World of Outlaws stars and plenty of other top talent from across the country.

Riding the momentum of three consecutive victories on the series last week and a strong showing in Wednesday night’s WoO event at Shawano (Wis.) Speedway, Simpson is confident he can stand up to the competition this weekend at Cedar Lake.

“We’re feeling great about our chances,” Simpson said of his Bud & Denise Brinkman-owned race team. “I think we’re as good as we’ve ever been with our program and I think we’ve shown we can run with these guys.”

Simpson was impressive in WoO’s trip to Shawano Wednesday, winning his heat race and leading the first 25 laps of the feature. After losing the lead to eventually race winner Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., Simpson had a stronghold on the second position until a broken rear end with two laps remaining knocked out him out of the race.

It was a disappointing finish for Simpson, but as he geared up to face many of the same competitors again at Cedar Lake, he couldn’t help but feel optimistic.

“We had some bad luck, but we had a damn good car,” said Simpson, as he and his crew made repairs to his race car in the Cedar Lake pit area Thursday. “It wasn’t the finish we were looking for, but it definitely boosts our confidence. I like our chances as good as anybody’s here this weekend.”

Rookie makes long haul

Chip Brindle and his Bryson Motorsports team made the more than 20-hour drive to Cedar Lake from his Chatsworth, Ga., home thanks to some help from the FANS Fund, a fan-backed program to lure more drivers to the event. After seeing the racetrack for the first time Thursday afternoon, Brindle was excited for the weekend’s action.

“It looks fun and fast,” Brindle said of the high-banked oval. “It kind of reminds me of some of the tracks we’ve gone to before, so I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Making the long trip wasn’t an easy decision for Brindle, who leads the Ultimate Late Model Series points standings. There are three $5,000-to-win events within just a few miles of his north Georgia home scheduled this weekend, but the 25-year-old driver said the support from FANS Fund made it worth it.

“We probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that,” said Brindle, who made the feature lineup for Wednesday’s WoO race at Shawano. “With $15,000 up for grabs back home, it wasn’t easy for us to leave. But you just don’t know how many chances you’ll have to come to something like this.”

Brindle is making the most of the trip. Wednesday night’s race at Shawano kicked off a string of six races that will conclude next weekend with the Sunoco North-South 100 at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky.

Richards likes break from points

After dropping from the third position in Wednesday night’s race at Shawano with a flat tire, Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., is looking forward to the USA Nationals weekend, and that’s not just because there’s a $50,000 payday up for grabs in Saturday’s main event.

With Thursday’s non-WoO event and Saturday’s feature awarding equal points to all series regulars, Richards, the two-time and defending series champion, was looking forward to get a break from the pressures of points racing for the weekend.

“We’re here to win,” Richards said of his approach to the weekend. “It seems like we’ve been getting hit with bad luck things (in WoO races) and it’s hurting us in the points, but I’m glad to just race and not have to worry about all that.”

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