From Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (March 1, 2010) – The American Sprint Car Series Gulf South Region kicks off its ninth year of competition with a pair of $3,000-to-win events this weekend in southeast Texas.
On Friday night, the series fires to 2010 life at Beaumont’s Golden Triangle Raceway Park with the Prelude to the Gulf Coast Nationals. Then, on Saturday night, it’s on to Highlands’ Battleground Speedway for the Third Annual Gulf Coast Nationals.
The pair of 3/8-mile ovals makes for an interesting opening weekend combination for the Gulf South forces. While the high-banked Golden Triangle Raceway Park gumbo clay oval has been a regular stop on the Gulf South Regional trail in recent years, the high-banked Battleground Speedway dirt oval hosts the series for the first time on Saturday night.
Golden Triangle Raceway Park has been the site of at least a pair of ASCS Gulf South events each year since 2004. And, while 2008 Lucas Oil Sprint Car National Champion Jason Johnson of Eunice, LA, has enjoyed the most success with six triumphs in the 28 Gulf South events contested at GTRP, four-time Lucas Oil champ Gary Wright was the only driver to post a pair of wins in seven Beaumont outings last year. While Wright scored twice, including a win in the Prelude to the Gulf Coast Nationals, other 2009 winners at GTRP included Johnson, Channin Tankersley, Aaron Reutzel, Travis Rilat and Tommy Bryant.
While the Gulf South forces will be at the advantage in terms of familiarity at Golden Triangle, Battleground will be an entirely different beast as it has been nearly ten years since winged sprint cars have slung the dirt at the Highlands oval that hosts the Gulf Coast Nationals for the first time as well.
Nebraska’s Jack Dover captured the inaugural rendition of the Gulf Coast Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in 2008, with Texan Gary Wright reigning as Gulf Coast Nationals champion after topping the event at Cleveland’s 105 Motor Speedway in 2009.
Nineteen-year-old Aaron Reutzel of Clute, TX, home of the annual Great Texas Mosquito Festival, is the reigning ASCS Gulf South champion. However, with both Reutzel and 2009 series runner-up Channin Tankersley (also 19) both reportedly shifting to the Lucas Oil National Sprint Car trail in 2010, the door could be wide open for a new Gulf South champion in 2010.
The Gulf South forces, expected to include the likes of two-time champ Brandon Berryman and one-time champions Ray Allen Kulhanek and Gary Watson along with Gulf South Iron Man Greg Rilat, Tommy Bryant, Klint Angelette and Bruce Griffith, Jr., among others, will likely take on a number of invaders over the weekend.
Along with last weekend’s East Bay competition, several Lucas Oil ASCS National contenders will also use this weekend as a “Spring Training” of sorts in preparation for the Lucas Oil National season opener at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX, on March 19-20.
Texas shoes Gary Wright and Travis Rilat were among at least seven Lucas Oil contenders that competed in Florida’s East Bay events this past weekend. Others included Jesse Hockett, Tony Bruce, Jr., Darren Long, Joe Ramaker and Michael Dupuy. Several of those and others could make their way to southeast Texas for this weekend’s action.
Friday’s racing action at Golden Triangle Raceway Park goes green at 7:45 p.m., while Saturday’s card at Battleground Speedway fires off at 7:00 p.m.
Golden Triangle Raceway Park is located 9.5 miles west of I-10 on US 90 near Beaumont, TX. For more information, contact the track at 409-752-7200.
Highlands’ Battleground Speedway is located east of Houston off I-10 exit 787, then four miles north. For more information, contact the track at 832-421-7223.
The ASCS Gulf South Region is set for 27 nights of racing action at ten different tracks throughout Texas in 2010.
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.
Past ASCS Gulf South Region Feature Winners at Golden Triangle Raceway Park:
10/2/09 – Channin Tankersley
9/18/09 – Jason Johnson
7/17/09 – Aaron Reutzel
6/19/09 – Travis Rilat
5/16/09 – Gary Wright
5/16/09 – Tommy Bryant (4/24 Makeup Feature)
3/6/09 – Gary Wright
8/15/08 – Channin Tankersley
7/18/08 – Gary Watson
5/9/08 – Channin Tankersley
2/29/08 – Jason Johnson
9/28/07 – Jason Johnson
6/22/07 – Michael Dupuy
5/18/07 – Brandon Berryman
4/6/07 – Jason Johnson
9/29/06 – Kevin Ramey
8/18/06 – Jason Johnson
6/23/06 – Gary Watson
8/19/05 – Ray Allen Kulhanek
6/17/05 – Ray Allen Kulhanek
4/15/05 – Travis Rilat
9/18/04 – Kelly Angelette
7/9/04 – Stephen Chevallier
* 9/28/02 – Michael Dupuy
* 9/27/02 – Tim Crawley
7/5/02 – Buddy Bodden
5/24/02 – Jason Johnson
* 4/5/02 – Zach Chappell
Past ASCS Gulf South Region Feature Winners at Battleground Speedway:
None – First ASCS Gulf South event at Battleground.
* – Indicates events held in conjunction with ASCS National Tour.
Additional information regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.