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Topic: 2011 Steel Block Bandits Series Drivers Email this topic to a friend | Subscribe to this TopicReport this Topic to Moderator
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February 17, 2011 at 08:10:18 AM
Joined: 06/21/2010
Posts: 31

Press Release - Feb. 16, 2011

The 2011 D&D Auto Recycling Steel Block Bandits Late Model season is rapidly approaching, and if this year’s driver roster is an indication of things, then this may be the most competitive season in the series’ three-year history.

Twenty-five platinum members (prospective full-time drivers) and five regular members (prospective part-time drivers) are set to compete in a season that boasts 16 races among nine tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region. “I am very pleased with the number of teams that have signed on with prospective full-time drivers,” said series promoter Danny Wilson. “Our series currently has more full-time drivers than a lot of the upper-tier super late model series in the country,” Wilson added.

Platinum members returning to the series this year include defending Steel Block Bandits champion, Walker Arthur, of Forest, Va. Arthur won three races last year in his first full-time season with the Bandits, and he will have to perform with similar results this season, if he hopes to repeat as champion. This is largely due to a roster of stiff competition.

Also, returning as platinum members are Bruce Kane of Glen Burnie, Md; Joey “The Hammer” Leavell of Waynesboro, Va; and Kyle “Hurricane” Merkel of Gilbertsville, Pa. These drivers finished second through fourth, respectively, in last year’s point standings, while Merkel claimed two victories, and Leavell grabbed a win of his own.

The “Mountaineer Man”, Gerald Davis of Delray, W.Va., has thrown his hat in the ring as a returning platinum member, as well. Davis finished fifth in last year’s point standings and is a former super late model champion at Winchester Speedway. Also returning is 2009 Bandits champion, Kris Looney, of Bridgewater, Va. Despite missing a few races last season, Looney stated last December that he was returning to the series full-time in hopes of reclaiming the championship. He finished ninth in the final standings, last year.

Romney, W.Va.’s Roy Clower and Winchester, Va.’s Mitch “The Flying Moose” Miller have resigned as platinum members. These two drivers finished tenth and eleventh in last year’s point standings and have been registered members of the Bandits since the series’ inception in 2009.

Jonathan DeHaven of Winchester, Va., returns to the series after finishing twelfth in last year’s point standings. Additionally, Matt Cosner of Cumberland, Md; R.E. Cubbage of Waynesboro, Va; and Kyle Lear of Severna Park, Md., return as platinum members. Lear made the highlight reel last season when he claimed the Bandit-sanctioned Western Maryland Nationals at Allegany County Speedway in Maryland. He is also the 2009 Hagerstown Speedway late model champion. Joining this ensemble is young driver, Tanner Kerr, of Winchester, Va. Kerr showed marked improvement toward the end of last year, which was his rookie season in a late model.

Race fans may serve themselves well by grabbing their hats or sitting on the edge of their seats when they hear the names of first-year platinum members in the Steel Block Bandits series for 2011.

Booper Bare of Rockbridge Baths, Va., has signed on to drive Chris Cromer’s number 83 car in a prospective full-time effort. Bare’s 28-year driving career spans all over the East Coast where he has claimed more than 200 victories and multiple track championships. The father- son tandem, Bo and Trever Feathers, of Winchester, Va., have joined the series this year, as well. Bo, who has multiple track championships, won the 2010 Winchester Speedway super late model championship, while Trever claimed the track’s 2010 semi-late model championship.

The 2010 Hesston Speedway and Bedford Speedway track champion, Rick Singleton of Hesston, Pa., joins the series as a platinum member, too. Singleton, a 20-plus year racing veteran, is also known for playing football for Virginia Tech and the Seattle Seahawks. Not to be outdone are first-year platinum members, Wesley Bonebrake of Hagerstown, Md; Scott Cross of Centreville, Pa; and Bryan Bernheisel of Lebanon, Pa. Bonebrake has seen action at tracks including Hagerstown and Winchester, while Cross is a former MACS series driver. Bernheisel is the son of Jimmy Bernheisel, who owns Bernheisel Race Components and Lazer Chassis.

Added to this mix of first-year platinum-member drivers are the talented ensemble of Brad Omps of Winchester, Va; Matt Howsare of Clearville, Pa; Sean Merkel (older brother of Kyle) of Pottstown, Pa; Billy Beachler of Franklin, W.Va; and Ryan Christoff of Canonsburg, Pa.

The list of regular members may be short, but it’s not short on talent. This list includes 2004 World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year, D.J.Troutman of Hyndman, Pa. Troutman is the 2009 track champion at Allegany County Speedway, and he was a registered Bandit driver last year. Veteran drivers, Rick Hulson of Glen Burnie, Md., and Eddie Groome of Stuarts Draft, Va., have joined the series for the first time, as well as Drew Weisser of Reading, Pa and Don Woodruff of Bunker Hill, W.Va .

Kyle Merkel, Trever Feathers, Lear, Howsare, Cosner, Kerr and Weisser are eligible for the Glory Days Grill Young Bandit award in addition to contending for the championship.

“Despite the wide variety of drivers in the series this year, I believe our rules package and variety of tracks will create parity within the series. I don’t believe we’ll see any driver break out of the pack and dominate. I think we’ll have a very competitive season,” series promoter Danny Wilson said.

The 2011 Steel Block Bandits season begins on March 26 at County Line Raceway in North Carolina. In the coming days, the Steel Block Bandits office will be issuing a press release on the schedule and various tracks that will host Bandit races this year.

2011 Platinum Members
Drivers Name Hometown
Walker Arthur- Forest, Virginia
Kris Looney- Bridgewater, Virginia
Bruce Kane- Glen Burnie, Maryland
Joe Leavell- Waynesboro, Virginia
* Kyle Merkel - Gilbertsville, PA
Gerald Davis- Delray, West Virginia
Roy Clower- Romney, West Virginia
Mitch Miller- Winchester, Virginia
Wesley Bonebrake- Hagerstown, Maryland
Bo Feathers- Winchester, Virginia
Booper Bare- Rockbridge Baths, Virginia
R. E. Cubbage- Waynesboro, Virginia
* Trever Feathers- Winchester, Virginia
* Kyle Lear Severna- Park, Maryland
Scott Cross- Centerville. PA
Rick Singleton- Jamescreek, PA
Brad Omps- Winchester, Virginia
* Matt Housare- Clearville, PA
Sean Merkel- Pottstown, PA
* Matt Cosner- Cumberland, Maryland
Jonathon Dehaven- Winchester, Virginia
Bryan Bernheisel- Lebanon, PA
Billy Beachler- Franklin, West Virginia
* Tanner Kerr- Winchester, Virginia
Ryan Christoff- Canonsburg, PA

2011 Regular Members
Drivers Name Hometown
DJ Troutman- Hyndman, PA
Rick Hulson- Glen Burnie, Maryland
John Groome- Stuarts Draft, Virginia
* Drew Weisser- Reading, PA
Don Woodruff- Bunker Hill, West Virginia

* 2011 Glory Days Grill Young Bandits


Special thanks to the following: D&D Auto Recycling, Ernie D’s Enterprises, Glory Days Grill, Bernheisel Race Components & Lazer Chassis, WRT & Cliff Dove Motorsports Photography, Revolution Band, Muddslinger Web Services, Walrus Signs & Embroidery, Hoosier, Merkel Rebar, All About Doors, Crims Trailer Sales, Cecil B. Arthur General Contractors, Cline Construction

Erica Miller
Marketing/PR/Special Event Coordinator
Steel Block Bandits
"The REAL men of Steel"

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