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HOOTERS PRO CUP DRIVER HAS HOLLAND IN MEMORY BANKS

Brian Ross relies on his talent, nerve and ambition to drive a United Speed Alliance Racing (USAR) Hooters Pro Cup race car.

This Saturday night, he'll be relying on his memory to pilot his car around the high banks of Holland Speedway during the annual Hooters Pro Cup 250.

The Plymouth, Ind., resident has raced at Holland once, during his rookie campaign last year on the USAR Northern Division circuit. He hoped to use his notes to set up his car for this Saturday's run.

"We kept a notebook in our pit box last year with information in it on all the tracks we raced at," said Ross, the defending USAR Northern Division champion. "We still haven't found it but I'm keeping a closer eye on the book we're doing for this season.

"I guess I seem to have a pretty good memory when it comes to race car things so I should be all right. I remember that Holland is a fairly tight track layout."

Evidence suggests that Ross is not lacking for an accurate racing memory. He won the opening Northern Division show this season in Jennerstown, Pa., and followed that with a sixth-place finish in Coeburn, Va., and a second in Mansfield, Ohio. He leads Eric Corbett of Hagerstown, Md., by five points, 450-445, heading to Holland.

As a USAR rookie, Ross came to Holland last year on a roll and that momentum led to the championship. He won five races during the campaign.

"I finished fourth in the season opener last year at Jennerstown and then won the next three races in a row heading into Holland," said Ross, 41. "I finished third at Holland."

While Ross won the rookie of the year in USAR last season, he is far from being a new driver. He has raced for 24 years, cutting his teeth in IMCA Modifieds, Late Models and Supermodifieds. He also ran the entire Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) series in 2000, placing fourth in points and emerging as ARCA rookie of the year.

USAR hosts competition for a Northern and a Southern series and at the end of each year, the top 30 in points from both series meet in a five-race mini-series run at five speedways. Competitors go head-to-head to determine the overall USAR national champion. Ross placed fifth in final USAR points last year.

Despite not having a sponsor, the Ross team is again on the way to accomplishing its goals this season. Ross estimates that a USAR car cost $40,000 to $50,000 to construct so financial backing is essential for his Billy Hess-built 2001 Ford Taurus.

"I like the USAR format because they are all one-day shows," Ross said. "I am happy where I am. I would like to run a NASCAR Busch car but on that circuit, it is often musical chairs as far as guys changing teams. I have a pretty good team here on the USAR that I know I will be with for a while.

"The USAR Northern Series is just 3 years old but every year the cars and drivers seem to get better."

Saturday's activity will begin at 3:30 p.m. The NASCAR Late Models will also be on the card with the Hooters Pro Cup 250 to cap the evening. Last season, the USAR ran only a 150-lap affair at Holland but this year will run the standard 250-lap feature to comply with the series' other events.

Holland will also run a Memorial Day Enduro Madness card at 5 p.m. on Monday comprising Challengers, Stingers, Figure-Eight, Hornets, Queen Bees, spectator drags, the "Faster Pastor" race and fireworks. Kerry Earnhardt's Busch show will be on display at 3 p.m.

Pit stops

The hottest area oval driver is Dick Barton of Ashville, who has won the first four Super Late Model races at McKean County Raceway. Barton will begin his title defense of the Little Valley Speedway Super Late Model season championship when the track, located on the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, opens its season Sunday at 7 p.m. The Super Stocks, Street Stocks and school bus races will round out the card.

In drag racing, Paul Cambria has won the last two Heavy class eliminations at Lancaster Motorsports Park.

Mike Stefanik of Coventry, R.I., finished third in the inaugural visit of the NASCAR Busch North Series last Sunday at Lake Erie Speedway. He believes that will give him the edge when he also competes at this same track June 14 with the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series.

"I like this place," Stefanik said. "They don't build too many brand new local short tracks these days. It seems that every new track built is a super speedway. It's so nice to see. I just wish it was about 400 miles closer to my home."

Gordy Kaiser, the owner/operator of the Buffalo World of Wheels Hot Rod and Custom Car Show, has been named 2003 International Show Car Association's (ISCA) Producer of the Year.

e-mail: lawrence_o_14075@yahoo.com

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