ELDORA’s “BRANSON/LARSON” RACES THIS WEEKEND
This weekend’s Coca-Cola Spring Classic” at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway includes the resumption of the 2011 AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Series as the “Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic” returns to the half-mile dirt oval for its 31st running.
Honoring the memory of two of USAC’s all-time Sprint car greats, the two-night racing program includes UMP DIRTcar Modifieds (Saturday) and Stocks (Friday), with 30-lap Sprint car features each night.
Damion Gardner of Concord, Calif. enters the events with a 22-point lead over defending series champion Levi Jones, but Robert Ballou could be the one to beat, since he’s won two of the last four “Branson/Larson” races, including last year. Other previous race winners expected to compete are Jerry Coons Jr. (2006 and 2009) and Tracy Hines (2001 and 2008).
The “Branson/Larson” race dates back to 1981, when Dave Peperak was the winner.
Gardner won two of three races held in Florida in February, while Bryan Clauson, USAC’s 2010 National Drivers Champion, won the other one.
A special pre-race pit party is planned at Eldora Saturday. Anyone with a general admission ticket will be granted access into the infield pit area from 4:00 until 5:00 to get up close and personal with the drivers and check out the new team colors and graphics for the 2011 season.