Lonnie Wheatley, TULSA, Okla. (March 31, 2010) - The chase for the 2010 Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters $60,000 championship got under way successfully at Devil's Bowl Speedway less than two weeks ago, even if Mother Nature did her part in throwing a curve ball at the season opener.
Now, action resumes in earnest when the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars return to action with a pair of events next weekend in Texas and Arkansas, testing the mettle of the series title contenders with a pair of challenging dirt ovals.
On Friday night, April 9, the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars return to Lone Star Speedway in Kilgore, TX, for the first time since 2002. Then on Saturday night, it's a quick trip up to Little Rock's I-30 Speedway for the first of several tune-up opportunities for the always much-anticipated Short Track Nationals.
Friday's card at Lone Star Speedway will also be the opening points race of the year for the ASCS Lone Star Region.
After launching the 2010 season atop the ½-mile Devil's Bowl Speedway clay oval on March 19, the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars pick right back up on another slightly-bigger ½-mile in the form of Lone Star Speedway on April 9.
It will be a weekend of great transition however, as the teams go from Kilgore's fast half-mile on Friday night to the quick, ¼-mile bullring at Little Rock's I-30 Speedway on Saturday night.
The Lucas Oil Sprint Cars kicked off the season with Sammy Swindell besting a field of 62 entries at the 37th Annual Devil's Bowl Speedway Spring Nationals on Friday night, March 19, with Mother Nature getting the nod on the scheduled Saturday portion of the event.
Swindell chased down early leader Sean McClelland on the sixth round and raced on to his third consecutive Lucas Oil ASCS National feature win in front of 18th-starter Wayne Johnson, 20-year-old Brady Bacon, three-time series points runner-up Danny Wood and two-time Short Track Nationals champion Tony Bruce, Jr.
With three consecutive series wins dating back to last November's Western World Championships preliminary and then the $15,000 WWC finale, Swindell has the opportunity to match Gary Wright's series record of five National wins in a row during next weekend's double.
But, with at least a couple of dozen drivers declaring title hopes in 2010 along with all variety of other top contenders, Swindell will have his work cut out for him with fields of approximately 50 entries expected for both the Lone Star Speedway and I-30 Speedway events.
Out to the early lead, Swindell is a likely Lucas Oil ASCS title contender along with a half dozen past champions including Shane Stewart, Jason Johnson, Gary Wright, Travis Rilat, Tim Crawley and Zach Chappell. Defending champion Stewart of Bixby, OK, salvaged a sixth-place finish in the Devil's Bowl opener after utilizing a provisional to start the main event in 23rd.
Also returning for another year of Lucas Oil ASCS National competition are Danny Wood, Tony Bruce, Jr., Jack Dover, Jesse Hockett, Sean McClelland, Kenneth Walker, Darren Long, Brady Bacon, Ricky Logan, Eric Baldaccini and Michael Dupuy.
The Brodix Rookie of the Year contingent is a stout one as well, with 17-year-old Austen Wheatley of Lake Stevens, WA, out to the early lead over 19-year-old Highlands, TX, shoe Channin Tankersley. Other rookie contenders include California's Justyn Cox and Kyle Hirst, New Mexico's Joshua Hodges, Oklahoma's Dustin Morgan and Matt Covington, Idaho's Joe Ramaker and Texas' Aaron Reutzel.
The ASCS Lone Star forces will be led into Friday's card at Lone Star Speedway by reigning champion Kevin Ramey, while the Saturday card at I-30 Speedway will be bolstered by an abundance of Memphis contenders and I-30 Speedway track regulars including reigning I-30 champion Justin Sturch.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters
When & Where:
Friday night, April 9 at 8:00 p.m. - Lone Star Speedway
Saturday night, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. - I-30 Speedway
Lone Star Speedway (Kilgore, TX) - ½-mile high-banked dirt oval located off I-20 Exit 583, then 0.5 miles north on SR 135, then one mile east on FM 1252 then 0.5 miles south. For more information, contact the track at 903-986-9731.
I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, AR) - ¼-mile high-banked clay oval located seven miles southwest of Little Rock off I-30 Exit 126 (Alexander Rd.), then south to frontage road, then east. For more information, contact the track at 501-455-4567.
Lucas Oil ASCS Lone Star Speedway History:
The Friday night, April 9, return to Lone Star Speedway marks the first visit to the lightning-fast, high-banked ½-mile in the modern era of the Lucas Oil ASCS National Series.
It's not exactly new territory though, as the series visited the Kilgore speedplant on 13 occasions from 1993 to 2002 with ten different drivers cracking victory lane.
Interestingly, six of those ten past Lone Star Speedway ASCS winners are still active drivers on the Lucas Oil ASCS National series. Wayne Johnson, Danny Wood and Gary Wright each doubled up with a pair of Lone Star wins, while Louisiana's Michael Dupuy topped the last series event at Lone Star in 2002.
Lone Star Speedway Lucas Oil ASCS National winners include: Wayne Johnson 2, Danny Wood 2, Gary Wright 2, Tim Crawley 1, Michael Dupuy 1, Jason Johnson 1, Garry Lee Maier 1, Larry Neighbors 1, Alan Payne 1, Mike Ward 1.
Lone Star Speedway Lucas Oil ASCS Race-by-Race Winners: Wayne Johnson (6/5/93), Garry Lee Maier (4/15/95), Alan Payne (7/22/95), Danny Wood (6/20/96), Mike Ward (6/20/97), Gary Wright (10/10/98), Danny Wood (4/16/99), Gary Wright (9/2/00), Larry Neighbors (9/3/00), Tim Crawley (5/25/01), Wayne Johnson (5/26/01), Jason Johnson (9/29/01), Michael Dupuy (4/13/02).
Lucas Oil ASCS I-30 Speedway History:
A staple of the ASCS National Series, I-30 Speedway hosted the first official ASCS National event on May 15, 1993, with Memphis shoe Mike Ward dropping in on victory lane. Since that time, 16 different drivers have posted at least one ASCS National win in the 44 events contested at I-30.
Gary Wright has enjoyed the most success at I-30 with a dozen triumphs, with his most recent Little Rock success including Speedweek and Short Track Nationals prelim wins in 2008.
Tony Bruce, Jr., has enjoyed the most success recently at I-30 Speedway, topping the last two editions of the track's prestigious Short Track Nationals while also capturing the 2009 leg of ASCS Speedweek, which didn't count as an official National win. Both STN triumphs were worth $15,000 to the Liberal shoe.
I-30 Speedway Lucas Oil ASCS National winners include: Gary Wright 12, Tim Crawley 4, Garry Lee Maier 4, Terry Gray 3, Jason Johnson 3, Wayne Johnson 3, Mike Ward 3, Tony Bruce, Jr. 2, Travis Rilat 2, Shane Stewart 2, Pete Butler 1, Ricky Logan 1, Jason Meyers 1, Eric Sandage 1, Tim Shaffer 1, Nick Smith 1.
I-30 Speedway Lucas Oil ASCS Race-by-Race Winners: Mike Ward (5/15/93), Tim Crawley (6/24/93), Terry Gray (7/17/93), Garry Lee Maier (6/18/94), Garry Lee Maier (8/13/94), Terry Gray (5/20/95), Ricky Logan (6/24/95), Gary Wright (7/15/95), Mike Ward (5/18/96), Garry Lee Maier (6/15/96), Garry Lee Maier (8/3/96), Mike Ward (5/17/97), Gary Wright (6/14/97), Wayne Johnson (9/26/97), Wayne Johnson (9/27/97), Gary Wright (5/16/98), Terry Gray (6/13/98), Eric Sandage (8/25/01), Pete Butler (6/22/02), Gary Wright (7/13/02), Gary Wright (9/21/02), Gary Wright (6/21/03), Tim Crawley (7/12/03), Shane Stewart (9/6/03), Gary Wright (6/5/04), Travis Rilat (7/10/04), Gary Wright (8/28/04), Tim Crawley (6/11/05), Gary Wright (7/9/05), Travis Rilat (10/1/05), Jason Johnson (7/29/06), Jason Johnson (4/28/07), Gary Wright (7/14/07), Shane Stewart (10/25/07), Tim Shaffer (10/26/07), Jason Meyers (10/27/07), Nick Smith (4/26/08), Gary Wright (7/12/08), Gary Wright (10/23/08), Tim Crawley (10/24/08), Tony Bruce, Jr. (10/25/08), Wayne Johnson (11/5/09), Jason Johnson (11/6/09), Tony Bruce, Jr. (11/7/09).
Current Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters Points:
Top Twenty: 1. Sammy Swindell (Bartlett, TN) 150, 2. Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK) 142, 3. Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, OK) 135, 4. Danny Wood (Norman, OK) 130, 5. Tony Bruce, Jr. (Liberal, KS) 125, 6. Shane Stewart (Bixby, OK) 122, 7. Jesse Hockett (Warsaw, MO) 119, 8. Ricky Logan (Little Rock, AR) 116, 9. Zach Chappell (Talala, OK) 113, 10. Travis Rilat (Forney, TX) 110, 11. Austen Wheatley (Lake Stevens, WA) 108, 12. Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA) 106, 13. Kevin Ramey (Fort Worth, TX) 104, 14. Johnny Herrera (Albuquerque, NM) 102, 15. Sean McClelland (Tulsa, OK) 100, 16. Jack Dover (Springfield, NE) 98, 17. Danny Jennings (Norman, OK) 96, 18. Gary Wright (Hooks, TX) 94, 19. Derek Hagar (Marion, AR) 92, 20. Michael Lang (Mesquite, TX) 90.
Brodix Rookie of the Year Points: 1. Austen Wheatley (Lake Stevens, WA) 108, 2. Channin Tankersley (Highlands, TX) 89, 3. (tie) Justyn Cox (Clarksburg, CA), Dustin Morgan (Tulsa, OK), Joe Ramaker (Boise, ID), Matt Covington (Glenpool, OK), Kyle Hirst (Loomis, CA), Joshua Hodges (Tijeras, NM) and Aaron Reutzel (Clute, TX) 65.
2010 Lucas Oil Sprint Car Feature Winners:
Sammy Swindell 1.
Lucas Oil Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters - A Look Ahead:
April 23/24 - Riverside Speedway (West Memphis, AR) - VERSUS/MavTV
May 29/30 - Jetmore Motorplex (Jetmore, KS)
Lucas Oil Sprint Cars on the Web:
Those unable to catch all the action in person can listen to every Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters live at www.racinboys.com.
Also, the Lucas Oil ASCS Show airs on www.racinboys.com each Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET, recapping the previous week's events while also previewing upcoming action.
Official results, championship point updates, photos and race notes will be available at www.ascsracing.com.
Lucas Oil Sprint Cars on TV:
The Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters will be featured in ten one-hour shows broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on the VERSUS Network and MavTV.
Events to be aired on VERSUS and MavTV include the following:
Event Date - Track (Location) - VERSUS Air Date & Time (All Times Eastern & Subject to Change):
March 19 - Devil's Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX) - 6/6/10 @ 6:00 p.m.
March 20 - Devil's Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX) - Rained Out
April 23 - Riverside Speedway (W. Memphis, AR) - 7/31/10 @ 5:00 p.m.
April 24 - Riverside Speedway (W. Memphis, AR) - 8/1/10 @ 4:00 p.m.
June 11 - Eagle Raceway (Eagle, NE) - 11/21/10 @ 4:00 p.m.
June 12 - Eagle Raceway (Eagle, NE) - 11/21/10 @ 5:00 p.m.
September 25 - Lucas Oil Speedway (Wheatland, MO) - 11/28/10 @ 6:00 p.m.
October 28 - I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, AR) - 12/5/10 @ 5:00 p.m.
October 29 - I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, AR) - 12/5/10 @ 6:00 p.m.
October 30 - I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, AR) - 12/19/10 @ 4:00 p.m.
The Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters is currently slated for 37 nights of racing action at 18 different tracks throughout the nation, with the country's top Sprint Car drivers set to battle it out for their share of the $250,000 points fund.
In its 19th year of sanctioning Sprint Car racing, the American Sprint Car Series brings the best of Sprint Car racing to approximately 100 different tracks throughout 30 states and Canada. Anchored by the Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters, ASCS also consists of eleven different Regions throughout the nation.
Additional information regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.