Dirt Trackers Unite at NASCAR Stars’ Tracks for 6th Annual Tri-Track Challenge

By Michelle Petroff
MACON, IL (May 26, 2008) - Three Midwestern dirt tracks owned by a group of NASCAR’s most prominent names are preparing to host an exciting weekend of racing with the “6th Annual Tri-Track Challenge”.

The “Tri-Track Challenge” was a unique concept that debuted in 2002 and offered three back-to-back nights of UMP Late Model competition, all on different track surfaces, and a hefty $10,000 bonus to any competitor who could win two of three events. Dirt racing standout Shannon Babb of nearby Moweaqua, IL, dominated all three events en route to his $40,000 weekend paycheck. Since that inaugural season, the first weekend in June has continued to draw some of the most popular names in UMP/Northern Allstar Late Model competition including last year’s winners.
The ‘Illinois Boys’ of Kevin Cole (Christopher, IL), Brian Shirley (Chatham, IL) and Dennis Erb Jr. (Carpentersville, IL) reigned supreme in 2007 and are anticipated to be back in action this weekend to defend their turf and potentially earn $28,000 for their weekend performance.

The trifecta opener will take place on Friday, May 30, 2008, at Paducah International Raceway in Paducah, KY. The track owned by NASCAR’s Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Ken Schrader along with Macon’s Bob Sargent offers a pristine 3/8-mi racing surface conveniently located off of I-24.

Ken Schrader & Ray Marler’s I-55 Raceway will host round two on Saturday, May 31, 2008. The 1/3-mi high-banks of Pevely’s I-55 draw some of the fiercest weekly competition in Midwestern dirt late model racing and the St. Louis area locals will put up a tough battle against some of the travelers expecting to tame their track.

Teams will converge on June 1, 2008, at the Land of Lincoln’s Macon Speedway for the triple-header finale. The little track that is measures at a mind-boggling 1/5-mi was where some of Illinois’ most popular drivers including Shannon Babb, Brian Shirley, Steve Sheppard Jr. and Justin Allgaier turned many of their early laps. The ‘Mighty Macon’ has undergone a revitalization since veteran promoter Bob Sargent partnered with fellow dirt racing benefactors and PIR owners Ken Schrader and Tony Stewart. And St. Louis’s own Kenny Wallace wanted in on the action and is proudly the most enthusiastic dirt track owner.

Come join us for three nights of action-packed racing in three states but all within a few hours drive! Each night, the Late Model feature winner will earn $6,000 for their performance and have the opportunity to bank an addition $10,000 if they can repeat a trip to victory lane. Camping is available at each track. Please contact each venue for specific information on ticketing, support classes and start times.

2008 Tri-Track Challenge Information

Friday, May 30, 2008
Paducah International Raceway
Location: Exit 11 on I-24, Paducah, KY
Promoters: Dale Earnhardt, Jr, Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader and Bob Sargent
Track Phone: (270) 898-7469
Track Website: http://www.paducahracing.com

Saturday, May 31, 2008
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

Sunday, June 1, 2008
Macon Speedway
Location: Just South of Decatur, IL, on IL-51
Promoters: Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace and Bob Sargent
Track Phone: (217) 764-3200
Track Website: http://www.maconracing.com

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

Segment #1 - Paducah Int’l Raceway, Paducah, KY
Entries: 34
Heat Winners: Wes Steidinger (IL), Kevin Cole (IL), Rodney Melvin (IL), Randy Korte (IL)
Top-5 Finishers: Kevin Cole (IL), Don O’Neal (IN), Randy Korte (IL), Wes Steidinger (IL), Tim Brown (KY)

Segment #2 - I-55 Raceway, Pevely, MO
Entries: 38
Heat Winners: Rodney Melvin (IL), Billy Moyer (AR), Michael Kloos (IL), Steve Sheppard (IL)
Top-5 Finishers: Brian Shirley (IL), Bryan Collins (MO), Billy Moyer (AR), Randy Korte (IL), Billy Faust (IL)

Segment #3 - Vermilion Co. Speedway, Danville, IL
Entries: 30
Heat Winners: unavailable
Top-5 Finishers: Dennis Erb Jr. (IL), Don O’Neal (IN), Wes Steidinger (IL), Billy Drake (IL), Kevin Cole (IL)

2003-2007 Tri-Track Challenge Feature Winners
Shannon Babb = 6 (3 – 2003, 1 – 2004, 1 – 2005, 1 - 2006)
Don O’Neal = 2 (1 – 2004, 1 – 2005)
Billy Moyer = 1 (1 – 2004)
Jimmy Mars = 1 (1 – 2005)
Joe Morris = 1 (1 – 2006)
Randy Korte = 1 (1 – 2006)
Kevin Cole = 1 (1 – 2007)
Brian Shirley = 1 (1 – 2007)
Dennis Erb, Jr. = 1 (1 – 2007)

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


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