Friday, 19 March 2010



A good old-fashioned “shootout” will unfold when the Midwest and Carolina Ford Focus Series combine for next week’s USAC racing program at the Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.


The 2009 series champions were Joe Liguori of Tampa, Fla. and Jeremy Frankoski of Huntersville, N.C. Liguori will compete in the two-night extravaganza at the .363-mile paved oval, while Frankoski’s car will be handled by 2008 Carolina titlist Bradley Riethmeyer of Conover, N.C.


The USAC Mopar National Midgets and the Ford Focus Midgets share billing in Wednesday and Thursday’s events at the historic oval. Complete preliminaries and feature events for each series are planned each night.


Liguori, who captured the Midwest and UMARA USAC titles in 2009 and posted eight wins in the process, hopes for a better Hickory outing this year. In his only 2009 appearance at the track he was challenging for the lead when ignition problems developed and finished 17th, or last, in the feature!


Riethmeyer fared much better in 2009, winning in his only Hickory start! Carolina drivers Eric Coomes and Pennsylvania’s Steven Intravaia also won Hickory races in 2009.


“It’s awesome that the Midwest teams are coming,” says Riethmeyer. “The more cars the better. The track is tough, but it has two groves, inside and outside and that creates lots of side-by-side competition. I’m looking forward to next week.”


Liguori recognizes the talent in Carolina. “All of them have a chance at winning at Hickory,” he says. “It’s a really competitive series. The track is different than the ones we race on in the Midwest and is real racey and fast.”


Nick Drake, whose father Jay Drake won an amazing 19 USAC feature events during the 2000 racing season, is also expected to make his Eastern USAC racing debut at Hickory. The Mooresville, N.C. driver made his USAC debut in West Coast Junior Focus racing last year.


The Midwest and Carolina series squared off last September when the National Pavement Ford Focus title was determined at the Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway, but it was Kyle Hamilton of Danville, Ind. who emerged the winner. Intravaia was second and Liguori third. Midwest drivers Jimmy Simpson and Zach Kanizer rounded out the “top-five” while Carolina drivers Scott Hunter and Ritehmeyer were seventh and eighth. Frankoski did not finish the 30-lap race. Hunter won when the two series faced each other last April at Columbus.


Female drivers could also shine in next week’s races. Amanda Quinones of Pennsylvania was 11th in the 2009 Carolina standings. History reveals that of the 41 USAC races won by female drivers 23 have been Ford Focus events, including 10 the last two years!


Race fans can take advantage of a $5 discount by purchasing tickets on line at www.usacracing.com, by calling the USAC Headquarters at 317-247-5151 or by accessing the following link: http://www.usacracing.com/store/hickory-motor-speedway.html. Tickets are priced at $20 each night but a two-night ticket is available at the price of $35.


Fans attending the March 24-25 Hickory races will also have the opportunity to win a free “Richard Petty Driving Experience” in a 600-horsepower NASCAR-style stock car at Charlotte Motor Speedway!