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Around the tracks: Apollo driver gets a new ride

| Friday, April 21, 2006

Hemphill gets a new ride

Apollo native Ryan Hemphill, who has had a very up and down career so far, has secured a new ride for the 2006 season.

Hemphill has joined Velocity Motorsports and will compete in the USAR Hooters ProCup Series Northern Division. Hemphill will be in the #38 Ford Fusion, and will make his Velocity Motorsports debut Saturday at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, Va.

The Hooters ProCup Series will race at Jennerstown Speedway on May 27.

Hemphill's background is impressive but a black cloud seems to appear at the wrong times.

Hemphill won six 6 of 14 ARCA RE/MAX Series races he entered in 2004. He won twice at Kentucky Speedway, as well as Lowe's Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Gateway International Raceway and Pocono Raceway.

He also finished fourth at Toledo Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, fifth in his Daytona debut and seventh at Pocono. During the 2004 season, he led 516 laps in just 11 races. Hemphill won the Pork Pole Award at Nashville twice, also at Lowe's, Kansas, Gateway and Pocono. Hemphill finished 16th in RE/MAX Series driver points, despite missing eight events.

Before he raced in ARCA, Hemphill started seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck races in 2002-2003 and registered three top-15 finishes.

Corporate visit

Now that Lernerville Speedway is owned and operated by DIRT MotorSports, it will be commonplace for corporate big shots to stop in from time to time. Who could blame them• Lernerville is one of the top tracks owned by DIRT and is an important anchor in its corporate plan.

Tuesday night, for the World of Outlaws Late Models race, DIRT President Tom Deery was shown around Lernerville by Ben Geisler, Executive Vice President of Operations, who also happens to be the son of Late Model driver Lynn Geisler.

Both Deery and Geisler reiterated that DIRT is now on solid ground after more than a year of intense scrutiny by fans and the media. Tuesday night's show also dispelled any questions about whether or not the success of the Sprint Cars could be duplicated by the Late Models.

"Not only with what you see tonight," Deery said of the Late Models level of competition. "But these guys race 70 times a year, so they are really on top of their game. The coolest part is to watch the local guys race against them. On the sprint side, I don't think we can beat the competition. We have had a number of different winners. It's really an absolute draw to see who is going to be hooked up that night."

Deery also said that it was time to move on following the split of some of the top drivers in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car series. Drivers including Steve Kinser, Jason Meyers, Danny Lasoski and Timmy Shaffer are now racing in the National Sprint Tour.

Barbara's side of the story

Last Saturday, South Park's Keith Barbara was disqualified after he won the Late Model feature at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. In the post race inspection, he was cited for a rear deck height infraction. Tuesday, at the World of Outlaws show, Barbara had a chance to voice his side of the story.

"The rule is 38 inches and we were 37.5 on the right side," Barbara said. "Geisler and I got into a little tangle on the back straight and that raised it up and it was 39.5 on the left. They said that they took it into consideration that I got hit but it still didn't matter. This car here was the same car we ran there in the topless race last year; we didn't change the height or anything."

One good thing for Barbara was that he is not running for points this year at PPMS, or anywhere for that matter. So, the fact that Barbara lost points is no big deal, but he was a little upset to lose the winner's purse.

Barbara and his crew will head to Charlotte, N.C. for The Colossal at Lowe's Motor Speedway today and tomorrow.

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