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Steve Hillard # 47
By Darin Stewart
It seems that race-car drivers tend to get better with age, much like a fine wine. One driver who definitely fits into that category is Sadorus, Illinois driver Steve Hillard. With track championships in other divisions, and a 1997 UMP National Modified Championship under his belt, it seems that Steve is just continuing to improve as time goes by, and he gains experience in the UMP Late Models. One thing that hasnít changed about Steve through the years, is his humble attitude towards himself, and his ability to drive a race-car. Despite having won his first track championship 16 years ago, in a street stock at Farmer City Raceway in Farmer City IL, Steve has attempted to be the best that he can, and has succeeded at every level so far. Judging by his success in his Late-Models in only second year, one should assume that Steve will meet his goals on this level as well.
Following Steveís record setting year in 1997, the decision was made to move up to the late-models for 1998. Utilizing a MasterSbilt Chassis, for his rookie year Steve quickly found his way to Victory early in the season at the Vermilion County Speedway, in Danville IL, for two wins. Soon the directions to Victory Lane at Fairbury American Legion Speedway, became clear, as the Pappy Allen Memorial win was his. Coming into 1999, a new paint scheme adorned the new MasterSbilt Chassis, which returned the Blue and White colors to the #47, which were utilized most of his career (The 1998 version featured a red scheme). Utilizing sponsorship form Budda Enterprises, FS Fuel Stops, Tatmanís Towing and Autobody, Collision Teams of Illinois, The Dead Horse Lounge, Vic Treat & Sons Drywall, AJís Sheetmetal, PFM Racing Metals, Fel-Pro Gaskets, and Advanced Racing Suspensions, Hixon Engines, Hillard has put together a team that is capable of winning, a regular basis. While the team got off to a bad start, Illinois fans can attest to the fact that things are back on the right track now. With 9 feature wins this year, including two Northern All-Star Late-Model Series, the #47 has become a car to be reckoned with.
While the season has been the best of his life, Steve is also looking towards the future." We would like to get a sponsorship program in place that would allow for us to follow a series, either Hav-A-Tampa, or Northern All-Stars. However in order to run either series, though I would have to race full-time, and with my family, which is my #1 priority, itís just not possible without some sort of major help. I also would be open to running in other forms of cars, including perhaps some open-wheel like the Coors Light Silver Bullet Series, or something of that nature, if the possibility would ever arise. I am just enjoying racing, and would like any opportunity I can get, in order to further my career." states Hillard. With the upcoming Prairie Dirt Classic, at both Fairbury, and Route 66 in Joliet IL, Hillard is considered among the favorites, for at least one win, if not two. If given a choice of winning any race he wanted to, Hillard just basically named any of the major races, along with the Prairie Dirt Classic. " We realize that the ladder of Dirt Racing is a tall one, and I feel that we have just taken the first couple of steps" says Hillard.
Illinois has a tendency to produce some very talented drivers, with names like Pierce, Weaver, Long, Babb, McCammon, Izzo Jr., and more. One more that needs to be added to that list is Steve Hillard!