Notes: Eldora hosting free practice Thursday
With poor track conditions and rain ruining Eldora Speedway's scheduled season-opening weekend on April 2-3, the historic half-mile oval in Rossburg, Ohio, will try again April 17 with an event highlighted by the Sunoco American Late Model Series.
Race teams will get a chance to test the track's new clay Thursday night in a free practice session that was promised by track owner Tony Stewart after the USAC-sanctioned weekend was scrubbed.
Gates will open April 15 with practice scheduled from 6-8 p.m. Admission to the pits and grandstands is free, but all normal pit regulations and age requirements apply. All divisions of race cars are welcome.
Stewart has vowed track conditions at Eldora will improve after a dusty surface on April 2 prevented action from continuing beyond hot laps and rain washed out April 3's racing. He apologized to fans in a letter posted on Eldora's website, writing that the "track surface wasn’t up to our own high standards, and our communication regarding the challenges we faced was also lacking to the fans."
Stewart added that fans can expect the worthy racing surface they've come to expect and deserve at the track which hosts some of Dirt Late Model racing's biggest events.
"While some other racetracks were able to overcome preseason weather woes," Stewart wrote, "our track surface proved especially challenging due to the adverse weather combined with the minimal time we had to bond the new clay we added to the racing surface in the off-season."
The Sunoco ALMS tour heads to Eldora with 28 different winners in 58 series events, including four-time winners Jerry Bowersock, Darrell Lanigan, Jerry Rice, Brian Ruhlman, Shane Yoder and Jeep Van Wormer. Semi-retired driver Kris Patterson is the all-time leader with five ALMS victories at the track.
Besides Sunoco Late Models, UMP-sanctioned modifieds and stock cars will also be in action Saturday with racing scheduled for 7:30 p.m. — From staff and track reports
OGLE FINED BY SRRS FOR ILLEGAL TIRES: The Southern Regional Racing Series penalized driver Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., last week, announcing that lab tests discovered a chemically-altered tire used by Ogle April 3 at North Georgia Speedway. SRRS officials fined Ogle $1,000, docked him 500 points and require forfeiture of any North Georgia earnings. — From series reports
BURGTORF GOING FOR THIRD STRAIGHT DEERY VICTORY: As the Deery Brothers Summer Series heads for an April 16-18 tripleheader, three-time series champion Mark Burgtorf of Quincy, Ill., is trying for his own tripleheader, of sorts. Burgtorf, who swept 2010's first two series events last weekend, can become the first driver since 2004 to win three consecutive series events on Friday at Davenport (Iowa) Speedway. Weekend events are also scheduled for Jackson County County Speedway in Maquoketa, Iowa, on Saturday and Dubuque Speedway on Saturday. Rob Toland of Davenport won four straight races in 2004. Only Toland, Jeff Aikey, Curt Martin and Gary Webb have won as many as three straight. — Bill Martin
MISSISSIPPI CRATE RACER INJURED IN HIGHWAY ACCIDENT: Racer Michael Arnold of Hattiesburg, Miss., a regular in regional Crate Late Model events, suffered serious injuries in a highway accident following Friday's racing at Hattiesburg Motorsports Park. Arnold is expected to miss several weeks of racing after he was thrown from his car and suffered suffered multiple compound fractures to his right arm, a punctured lung and several bad lacerations. Arnold, who apparently fell asleep and struck a guardrail underwent successful surgery Saturday and is expected to make a full recovery. — Roby Helm
NASRA ADDS ALLOWANCE FOR CAUTION-PLAGUED EVENTS: After the top two finishers in the April 10 event at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway were declared legal despite scaling below weight requirements, the National All Star Racing Association amended its rules Tuesday to allow a 10-pound allowance for events with an unusually high number of laps under caution. The number of laps is at the race director's discretion. At Tazewell, the cars of winner Billy Ogle Jr. and runner-up Rick Rogers were light after a race plagued by nine cautions, most in the first 10 laps. NASRA competitors return to action April 16 at Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Ill., for a $3,000-to-win event co-sanctioned by the Monster Midwest Series. — From series and correspondent reports
SERIES SCHEDULING CHANGES: The Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series and Tri-City (Ill.) Speedway agreed to drop sanctioning of the track's May 30 event so the series could use it as a raindate for the Show-Me 100 at Lucas Oil Speedway. Tri-City's $10,000-to-win FedEx 50 will run usnanctioned. ... The O'Reilly All Star Late Model Series added a July 24 event at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway and an Aug. 2 event at Wayne County Speedway in Orrville, Ohio. ... The Clash South Tour event at Westminster (S.C.) Speedway has been cancelled. ... The Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series has pushed back is weekend at Hattiesburg Motorsports Park and Jackson Motor Speedway to May 14-15; the events were originally scheduled for April 23-24. ... The Northern All Stars has scrapped their originally scheduled season opener April 18 at Shepp's Speedway in Alexander, Ill. ... The O'Reilly SUPR tour has added a May 15 event on the concrete at Monroe (La.) Motor Speedway, but cancelled an April 24 race at Cowtown Speedway in Kennedale, Texas. ... The Southern All Star East Series added the $10,000-to-win Blue-Gray 100 to its scheduled on Nov. 21.
ODDS AND ENDS: Florence (Ky.) Speedway has expanded its reserved seating for the Aug. 12-14 Sunoco Race Fuels North-South 100. Instead of the top 10 rows being reserved, all 20 rows on the frontstretch in sections A-J will be reserved (the backstretch grandstands remain the same with the top 10 rows reserved). For tickets, call (859) 493-0034. ... The Northern Provincial Pipelines Late Model Series has cut back its schedule to 14 races in 2010 with all but three series events at Castrol Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta. The opener on the tour in western Canada is May 8 at Castrol.