The choice came in large numbers. In 2003, the list of drivers exceeded 150 names. The average car count in the pit area was 34 with 40 cars at the Winchester Speedway July race, which paid $10,000 to the winner. Money is important, but so is experience. "We start 26 cars, which means drivers usually have to go home, but no one goes home without important track time," Lemmer states. "A guy who doesn't make the show one year can use his track time to get the experience that may allow him to do better next year."

With respect to the money side of it, there are ongoing efforts to devise ways to get more purse money for the drivers. The standard USA show will award $1,000 to the winner, $200 to each car starting the main. In at least two cases in 2004, the winner will receive $5,000. The winner isn't the only beneficiary of the '04 plan. Each race, a hard charger who improves his or her position more than any other driver will receive a $200 bonus per race. At the end of the season, another $1,000 awaits the cumulative hard charger who improved the most over the year.

The tireless efforts to improve are indicative of the commitment to make Modified racing and the USA Modified Series hold a place of respect in the sport. Efforts by Lemmer and series founder Todd Van Kleeck will keep the group in the forefront for 2004 and beyond.

Jason Dietsch (7), '03 champion, hunts down some competitors during the July '03 Winchester event.

Veteran L.J. Lines holds the Winchester that signifies his victory at the prestigious Winchester (Indiana) Speedway. There was a check for $10,000 to go along with the treasured firearm.