Lonnie Wheatley, TULSA, Okla. (June 23, 2010) – With the initial handful of events logged into the record books, the battle for the 2010 Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless championship couldn’t be much closer.
And with Robert Ballou just four points ahead of Travis Rilat in the title chase with Brady Bacon and Casey Shuman both within striking distance as well, the stage is set for the annual slate of TNT events in August.
Eight teams have competed in all five events contested thus far in 2010, with a total of 69 drivers taking in at least one of the hotly-contested events. In addition to Ballou, Rilat, Bacon and Shuman, others taking in all five events include J.C. Bland, Anthony Nicholson, Matt Sherrell and the Jack Yeley entry that has featured both Wayne Johnson and Gary Taylor at the wheel.
After the initial scheduled event of the year at Golden Triangle Raceway Park in Beaumont, TX, fell victim to Mother Nature, Ballou rallied from the tail of the field to nip both Jesse Hockett and Bacon at the line as wingless Sprint Cars christened the Houston Raceway Park clay.
The following weekend, Rilat picked off his first career TNT win in the first non-wing Sprint Car outing at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX, since 1988, with Tim Crawley utilizing his 360-ci powerplant to knock off his 410-ci counterparts the following night at Little Rock’s I-30 Speedway.
After mid-pack runs of ninth and 14th at Devil’s Bowl and I-30 set him back, Ballou bounced back to sweep this past weekend’s pair of events at Creek County Speedway near Tulsa, OK, on Friday and then Wheatland, Missouri’s Lucas Oil Speedway on Saturday night.
Next up for the Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless series is the annual Midwest Swing of events in August, which features six races in seven nights, capped off with Lakeside Speedway’s $10,000-to-win Ron Shuman Classic on August 21.
While a pair of August venues are familiar TNT stops, including the Monday leg at Nebraska Raceway Park’s I-80 Speedway and then the Friday-Saturday finale at Lakeside, three new venues await the series in August.
The week will kick off on Sunday night, August 15, at Rapid Speedway in Rock Rapids, IA, where last year’s scheduled opener was rained out.
Following the I-80 stop on Monday night, it’s on the ½-mile Missouri State Fair Speedway in Sedalia on Tuesday night for the first time. Following an off night on Wednesday, TNT shifts to the Sooner State for a first-time appearance at Outlaw Motor Speedway near Muskogee before finishing out the week at Kansas City’s Lakeside Speedway.
The 2010 Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits TNT Midwest Swing slate of events is as follows:
August 15 – Rapid Speedway (Rock Rapids, IA)
August 16 – I-80 Speedway (Greenwood, NE)
August 17 – Missouri State Fair Speedway (Sedalia, MO)
August 19 – Outlaw Motor Speedway (Muskogee, OK)
August 20 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
August 21 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Current Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits TNT Driver Points (Top Ten):
1. Robert Ballou (Rocklin, CA) 665, 2 Travis Rilat (Forney, TX) 661, 3. Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, OK) 647, 4. Casey Shuman (Tempe, AZ) 627, 5. J.C. Bland (Springfield, IL) 566, 6. Anthony Nicholson (Memphis, TN) 559, 7. Matt Sherrell (Owasso, OK) 507, 8. Jesse Hockett (Warsaw, MO) 412, 9. Gary Taylor (Snohomish, WA) 382, 10. Ray Allen Kulhanek (Montgomery, TX) 377.
Past Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits TNT Champions:
2005 – Levi Jones
2006 – Jesse Hockett
2007 – Robert Ballou and Tim Kaeding
2008 – Dave Darland
2009 – Brady Bacon
Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits TNT Career Feature Wins:
Robert Ballou 9, Brady Bacon 6, Levi Jones 5, Cory Kruseman 3, Dave Darland 2, Jesse Hockett 2, Brady Short 2, Jerry Coons, Jr. 1, Tim Crawley 1, Dickie Gaines 1, Darren Hagen 1, Bud Kaeding 1, Travis Rilat 1, Brad Sweet 1, Chris Windom 1.
Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits TNT on the Web:
Those unable to catch all the action in person can listen to every Lucas Oil Sprint Bandits TNT event live at www.racinboys.com.
Official results, championship point updates, photos and race notes will be available at www.sprintbandits.com.