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Dan Peters Sports Editor
Car Racing Writer
Oak Park Journal 


Ron Hornaday Wins
© Oak Park Journal by Dan Peters
 
Veterans Reign again.. Ron Hornaday Wins Alan Kulwicki 250 in Milwaukee
by Dan Peters
 
West Allis, WI June 26, 2004  A perfect Night for racing... Nearly a cloudless, cool night greeted a near sellout crowd as young and upcoming stars David Stremme and Shane Hmiel started up front. But this night belonged to the veteran drivers again at the famed Mile. Ron Hornaday Jr. used patience and experience to win in the Alan Kulwicki 250 presented by Forest County Potawatomi Racing Saturday night at the Legendary Track. The Milwaukee Mile renamed the race to honor Alan  Kulwicki, the late NASCAR Cup champion who grew up just blocks from the Milwaukee Mile.
 
Hornaday started in the 10th position, and dropped a lap behind when the first caution flag came out while he was in the pits.

 
Young & Old alike Help Nascar Teams on Race Day
© Oak Park Journal by Dan Peters

Pole sitter and new event record holder David Stremme, 27 battled Hmiel, 24, swapped the lead  time and time again and dominated for most of the event while Hornaday, 47, patiently kept the young guns in sight, saving his race cart to make a late charge. The two-time Craftsman Truck Series champion worked his way through the field..came from a lap down earlier in the race....swept past Hmiel for the lead with five laps to go. Once out front, Hornaday, drove  to a 1.272 seconds victory over Stremme, while Hmiel fell to a fourth place finish after a last lap tangle with Jason Keller, the defending race winner.

Those kids (Stremme and Hmiel) were running their guts out and I thought I could catch them, but (my crew chief) Butch Hylton said to just save your stuff and sure enough the more I saved it the more I rolled up into the middle of the corner and gave them more pressure to start racing each other harder and that's when they started to loosen each other up and start spinning their tires, a visibly excited Hornaday explained after scoring his first series win since May of 2003. In the end it gave us fresher tires.
 
The race's first caution flag fell on lap 78..Casey Atwood, who started third, made hard contact into the turn one wall after being struck from behind by Johnny Sauter. Atwood was running sixth at the time.  He was not injured & later returned to the event to pick up some valuable NASCAR Busch Series points. It wasn't the first contact Sauter made in the race while he aggressively tried to regain his position in the front. The Necedah, Wis.-native had the second-fastest time in qualifying, but replaced his engine before the race and was forced to start at the back of the field. 
 
 With a long green flag run at the race's later stages, the handling on Hornaday's AC/Delco Chevrolet was not quite right, resulting in an early pit stop for adjustments which nearly put him a lap down again. Hornaday was saved from losing a lap due to all the other lead lap cars pitting under caution. He would line up 14th, last among the lead lap cars on the restart.
 
Stremme had a strong run, dominating the early stages of the event lapping up to 14th after starting from his first series pole position. Stremme, from nearby South Bend, IN, spent the 2002 racing season
living and racing out of the Milwaukee are on the ASA National Tour.

The second generation racer appeared to have the race in hand before he slid high in turn three while leading on lap 220, allowing three position cars to maneuver past, derailing any chance for his first victory.

I gave that race away, a dejected Stremme reasoned. We freed the car up a bit and I was just riding around in first, probably running too hard, and I slid the car off the corner and got up in the marbles. I guess you have to give them away before you can finally win one, but I'm confident we can still pull off a victory this year.

David Stremme made a great recovery from the mishap and made an exciting charge in the end that included a three-wide pass to move from fourth to second on lap 232. The Trimspa Dodge driver was forced to settle for a runner-up finish.


Nascar Busch Driver Shane Hmiel
© Oak Park Journal by Dan Peters

Hmiel, who led a race-high four times for 95 laps, had the car to beat during the early and middle stages of the race but found himself in dire need of a tire change as the race reached the latter laps. The North Carolinian ultimately lost third place to Keller following some contact in turn four on the final lap.

We were just got too loose and I ran my tires off, a somewhat
disappointed Hmiel said of the event's final laps. He  just ran over
me but I know Jason Keller and he doesn't just run people over. (Honestly,) we have never been the best of friends anyways, so that's
OK.

Keller describes the last lap incident which overshadowed an otherwise strong race run that ended in a third place finish. "I got into the back of the Hmiels car. He checked up and I wasn't expecting it and it's just one
of them deals," he said.  "I didn't mean to do it, but if you hit someone on the freeway from behind, it's your fault."

 
The race saw 14 lead changes among eight drivers in the Alan Kulwicki
250 presented by Forest County Potawatomi Racing event. The race was slowed four times by caution flags and was completed in two hours twenty-seven minutes at an average speed of 102.038 mph.

Chasing Hornaday, Stremme and Keller across the finish line were Hmiel in 4th and Bobby Hamilton, Jr. in 5th. Completing the top-10 were Mike Bliss, double-dipping Greg Biffle, David Green, Martin Truex, Jr. and Clint Bowyer
 
Ron Hornaday's night ended in a  Kulwicki Polish Victory Lap in front of a huge night crowd of 44,238 race fans. A fitting tribute to The Late Cup Champion and local favorite.
 

"The Sausage Race is On !!! "
© Oak Park Journal by Dan Peters


Not only were cars & trucks racing at the Mile...but both the Craftsman Truck Race & Busch race also had a "Sausage Race" prior to each of the events. Wisconsin is known for it's cheese, & brats.. so it was fitting to have the sausage cars take a lap.
 
The near capacity crowd nearly doubled that of the Recent Champ Car race earlier in June of this year.


1990 Daytona 500 Champ Derrike Cope Started 30th
& Finished 22nd Saturday
 © Oak Park Journal by Dan Peters


Could this be The next car to invade the NASCAR Circuit?
 © Oak Park Journal by Dan Peters

The Nascar Busch Series featured a Toyota Camry "Solara" Pace Car. With the Toyota Tundra Truck already competing in the Craftsman Truck series.. Will the Nextel & Busch Series be the next invasion for Toyota?


Kenny Wallace with Special brows.....
 © Oak Park Journal by Dan Peters

Kenny Wallace was asked by a female race fan if he had his "eyebrows" waxed ... he lifted his sunglasses and showed the crowd.."Yes I just had them done" This was in reference to the new Reality series "Nascar 360" where in one epoisode, Kenny was shown having his eyebrows "waxed"


Alan Kulwicki 250 Race Results:


Results from the Alan Kulwicki 250 presented by Forest County Potawatomi Racing Busch Series race at The Milwaukee Mile,

1. (10) Ron Hornaday Jr., Chevrolet, 250, $54,880.

2. (1) David Stremme, Dodge, 250, $45,100.

3. (5) Jason Keller, Ford, 250, $37,740.

4. (6) Shane Hmiel, Dodge, 250, $24,010.

5. (16) Bobby Hamilton Jr., Ford, 250, $30,180.

6. (11) Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 250, $23,410.

7. (18) Greg Biffle, Ford, 250, $16,410.

8. (8) David Green, Pontiac, 250, $27,210.

9. (17) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 250, $20,585.

10. (21) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 250, $22,210.

11. (25) Mike Wallace, Ford, 250, $20,835.

12. (15) Hermie Sadler, Chevrolet, 249, $20,210.

13. (7) Ashton Lewis Jr., Chevrolet, 249, $19,235.

14. (22) Robert Pressley, Ford, 249, $18,805.

15. (9) Jason Leffler, Chevrolet, 248, $24,730.

16. (4) Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 248, $24,055.

17. (13) Tim Fedewa, Chevrolet, 248, $18,430.

18. (40) Stanton Barrett, Pontiac, 248, $14,285.

19. (24) Tim Sauter, Chevrolet, 248, $14,160.

20. (19) Stacy Compton, Ford, 248, $18,605.

21. (23) Todd Szegedy, Chevrolet, 248, $15,910.

22. (30) Derrike Cope, Ford, 246, $18,105.

23. (12) Mark Green, Ford, 246, $15,940.

24. (26) Steve Grissom, Chevrolet, 246, $15,505.

25. (14) Kenny Wallace, Chevrolet, 246, $17,480.

26. (27) Bobby Dotter, Chevrolet, 244, $13,220.

27. (29) Jimmy Kitchens, Ford, 244, $13,085.

28. (33) Gus Wasson, Chevrolet, 244, $22,485.

29. (28) Jason White, Chevrolet, 243, $14,835.

30. (34) Justin Ashburn, Chevrolet, 237, $12,810.

31. (2) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 222, engine, $13,335.

32. (3) Casey Atwood, Chevrolet, 139, $15,025.

33. (42) Eddie Beahr, Ford, 125, brakes, $12,365.

34. (20) Tony Raines, Dodge, 88, electrical, $14,250.

35. (38) Bill Hoff, Chevrolet, 62, rear end, $12,140.

36. (31) Brad Teague, Ford, 60, brakes, $12,030.

37. (43) Chad Beahr, Dodge, 46, too slow, $11,928.

38. (37) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, 11, overheating, $11,890.

39. (41) Butch Jarvis, Pontiac, 9, vibration, $11,835.

40. (32) Josh Richeson, Ford, 8, brakes, $11,790.

41. (36) Jeff Fuller, Chevrolet, 4, brakes, $17,255.

42. (35) Jason Schuler, Chevrolet, 1, overheating, $11,720.

43. (39) Mike Potter, Chevrolet, 1, engine, $11,662.

Time of race: 2 hours, 27 minutes, 0 seconds.

Average speed: 102.038 mph.

Margin of victory: 1.272 seconds.

Caution flags: 4 for 19 laps.

Lead changes: 14 among 8 drivers.