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USAC’s Hines closing in on history

Let’s try this again.

Miami Valley race tracks attempt to beat Mother Nature to the finish line this weekend, including the delayed season openers at Eldora Speedway and Shady Bowl Speedway on Saturday.

Eldora hosts the United States Auto Club’s (USAC) National Sprint Car Series to kick off the track’s 60th season. Tracy Hines of New Castle, Ind., attempts to defend his title in the Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic and close the cap on sprint series points leader Chase Stockton. If Hines, who also won the Branson/Larson Classic in 2001 and 2008, can score another victory in the 30-lap feature Saturday he’ll tie Troy’s Jack Hewitt for second place on the all-time sprint win list with 46. Tom Bigelow holds the record with 52.

“I’ve always seemed to run pretty well at Eldora and really enjoy going there,” said Hines, who has seven sprint wins at Eldora and took two of the three USAC races there last season.

“To duplicate what we did at Eldora last year would be great. We have a good set-up for there and as long as we qualify well and put ourselves in a good position I think we should be in contention. Going to Eldora is always a good measuring stick to see how you stack up against everyone, especially in the engine department. We have a great package with the car, shocks and engine right now and I feel pretty good headed over there.”

The UMP DIRTcar modifieds and Eldora stocks are also in action.

Over at Shady Bowl, owner Linda Young has kept her sense of humor intact despite the rain, wind, cold and typically unpredictable Ohio spring weather.

“It has been so bad weather-wise even the mailman has stopped coming,” Young quipped.

The Bowl goes for its third attempt at an opener with a full lineup including the late models, modifieds, street stocks, tuners, compacts and Dwarf cars.

Edgewater in action: One track not hindered by the weather so far is Edgewater. The track near Cleves has three Saturday night races in the books already, including wins last week by Tom Parton (super pro), Jamie Green (pro), Brain Hendrickson (sportsman), Philip Frazier (trophy) and Taylor Cook (Jr. dragster).

ARCA reunion: The Dayton Auto Race Fans club will host ARCA Night at its membership meeting on Tuesday. The event featuring past and present racers and officials and show cars will be held at Celebrations Banquet Center (formerly Haer’s Party House) in Vandalia. Concessions and a cash bar will be available. The meeting and reunion are open to the public.

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