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State Your Case: Ohio rides wave to Final Four

April 4, 2008, 6:54 am
By Todd Turner
DirtonDirt.com chief writer

The Final Four is set. Ohio and its megaevents. Tennessee and its superstar drivers. Iowa and its bevy of racetracks. And Illinois, the UMP stronghold. Who will come out on top? Finalists in DirtonDirt.com's exclusive State Your Case bracket-style tournament will be revealed on Monday, with the champion revealed on Tuesday. | Quarterfinals | Second round | First round

The top seeds advanced to the Final Four with quarterfinal victories in matchups voted on by the 24 writers who each contributed capsules "stating their case" for each of the 24 states entered.

Ohio, Iowa and Illinois each faced their toughest matchups of the tournament, but each came out on top. Ohio topped its neighbor Kentucky by five votes, Iowa edged Indiana by three votes and Illinois earned five more votes than Georgia. Tennessee breezed into the semifinals with an 11-vote edge of seventh-seeded Pennsylvania, a state whose sprint car status sometimes overshadows its potent Late Model standing.

The semifinals will see top-seeded Ohio against fourth-seeded Iowa on the left side of the bracket. Ohio carries weight with Eldora Speedway, the World 100 and Dirt Track World Championship, and 15 Hall of Famers led by Donnie Moran and Larry Moore. Iowa counters with its World 100-winning history, strong weekly racing, the up-and-coming Knoxville Nationals and current drivers like Brian Birkhofer and Denny Eckrich.

On the right side of the bracket, second-seeded Tennessee faces third-seeded Illinois. Tennessee is buoyed by the eastern half of the state's impressive array of tracks along with three-time World 100 winners Jeff Purvis and Scott Bloomquist. Illinois boasts dozens of black-dirt tracks, many included in the popular UMP Summernationals, along with drivers Bob Pierce, Dennis Erb Jr. and two-time DTWC champion Shannon Babb.

State Your Case Tournament

(Seeds in parentheses)
(Winners revealed April 7)
• Ohio (1) vs. Iowa (4)
• Tennessee (2) vs. Illinois (3)
Winner revealed April 8

Eliminated in first round: New York, Alabama, Louisiana, South Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, California, Virginiia

Eliminated in second round: Missouri, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia

Eliminated in quarterfinals: Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia

Capsule contributors

Alabama - Tim O’Brien
Arkansas - Todd Turner
California - K.C. Rooney
Georgia - Bob Appleget
Illinois - Terry Young
Indiana - Bob Markos
Iowa - Barry Johnson
Kentucky - Mike Sullivan
Louisiana - Greg Holmes
Maryland - Matt Felten
Michigan - Dave DeHem and Verwayne Greenhoe
Minnesota - Rich Olson
Mississippi - Tim Lee
Missouri - Jimmy Dearing
New York - Chip Stebbins
North Carolina - Thomas Pope
Ohio - Bill Holder
Pennsylvania - Keith Koval
South Carolina - Gene Murphy
South Dakota - Rob Fogle
Tennessee - Michael Moats
Virginia - Brian Tidball
West Virginia - Ernie Shelton
Wisconsin - Jerry O’Brien

A special thanks to historian Bob Markos for sharing his vast knowledge

Cover art image by Barry Lenhart

Tournament bracket

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