By Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (April 11, 2011) – The Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National contenders are set for their first taste of bullring action in 2011 as the series takes to Little Rock’s high-banked, ¼-mile I-30 Speedway clay oval for two full nights of action this Friday and Saturday night. Friday’s preliminary winner pockets $3,000, while Saturday’s winner takes $6,000.
An unpredictable series by nature with six different winners in as many nights of 2011 competition, the wide-open Lucas Oil Sprint Car competition will only be enhanced by an I-30 Speedway oval that has offered up similar parity in victory lane with eight different drivers taking wins in the last nine series features at Hammer Hill.
February’s Copper on Dirt winner in Tucson, 2009 series champion Shane Stewart is out to the early lead in the $60,000 championship chase over the likes of Johnny Herrera, I-30 ace Tim Crawley, Jeff Swindell and Brady Bacon among others.
This weekend’s double marks the first of four consecutive nights of ¼-mile bullring action for the Lucas Oil Sprint Car forces, with the Third Annual Rock ‘N Roll 50 at Riverside International Speedway next on deck on May 7 and then a return to I-30 Speedway on June 4 before Nebraska’s two-night Eagle Nationals the following weekend.
The series has taken to several different configurations thus far in 2011, including the 3/10-mile of Tulare’s Thunderbowl Raceway, the 3/8-miles of Kings Speedway and two nights at Tucson’s USA Raceway and then two nights atop the famed ½-mile Devil’s Bowl Speedway clay oval.
The result has been six different winners in as many races with Tim Kaeding, Kyle Larson, Johnny Herrera, Shane Stewart, Jason Johnson and Sam Hafertepe, Jr., each breaking into victory lane.
Bixby, OK, native Stewart has offered up the most consistency with five top-five runs and no finish lower than ninth, good enough to open up an early 57 point advantage over Herrera. While Stewart and car owner Paul Silva have typically been fast at I-30 Speedway, fortune in recent years has been spotty as Stewart hasn’t reached Little Rock victory lane since Short Track Nationals preliminary action in 2007.
Albuquerque’s Herrera is the only driver other than Stewart to crack the top five three or more times thus far, while Benton, Arkansas’ Crawley, a three-time series champion, has scuffled his way to third in points despite struggling a bit out of the gate. Crawley picked up series win at I-30 Speedway last August.
A pair of DNF’s has kept Memphis-area shoe from climbing higher than fourth, while a Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals fuel nozzle failure while contending for the win proved costly to 21-year-old Brady Bacon, currently ranked fifth.
Less than a month from his 21st birthday, leading Brodix Rookie of the Year contender Aaron Reutzel has been opening eyes with a podium finish at the Copper on Dirt among three top-tens to rank sixth, with other series title contenders including two-time Short Track Nationals champion Tony Bruce, Jr., Washington’s Seth Bergman, four-time ASCS National champion Gary Wright, Rookie of the Year contender Logan Forler, 2001 series champion Zach Chappell and Dustin Morgan.
Also on hand for the weekend will be reigning series champion Jason Johnson, who is leading the way in the car owner points portion of the championship chase after Kyle Larson and Jack Dover filled in aboard the JJR No. 41 while “The Ragin’ Cajun” fulfilled Australian commitments. Johnson cracked victory lane in his first effort back stateside in the Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals preliminary feature before claiming third in the next night’s Spring Nationals finale.
This weekend’s double marks just the second time for Sprint Cars to take to I-30 Speedway’s high-banked, ¼-mile thus far in 2011, as Washington native Gary Taylor drove Ronnie Pitts’ No. 1x entry to victory lane ahead of A.G. Rains, Kyle Bellm, Bacon and Justin Sturch in the track’s Sprint Car opener on March 19.
Now driving the Randy Washburn No. 0 entry, Talala, Oklahoma’s Zach Chappell won last April’s Lucas Oil Sprint Car event at I-30 Speedway. A one-night show last year rather than two, Chappell bested Brady Bacon and Jesse Hockett in the first non-stop series feature event at I-30 Speedway since a Gary Wright win in July of 2002. The August feature last year, won by Tim Crawley, ran off in non-stop fashion as well.
Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters
When & Where:
Friday night, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. – I-30 Speedway
Saturday night, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. – I-30 Speedway
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 or check http://www.i-30speedway.com/.
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, 20 different drivers have posted at least one ASCS National win in the 50 events contested at I-30.
Gary Wright has enjoyed the most success at I-30 with a dozen triumphs, although his last Little Rock wins were three seasons ago with Speedweek and Short Track Nationals prelim wins in 2008.
Last year there were five different winners in as many Lucas Oil Sprint Car features at I-30 Speedway until Brad Sweet made it two wins in as many nights with a $15,000 triumph in the track’s 23rd Annual Short Track Nationals.
Two of last year’s features ran off in non-stop, 35-lap fashion, including a Zach Chappell triumph on April 10 and a Tim Crawley win on August 28. Others winners at I-30 last year included Brady Bacon (June 5) and then Sam Hafertepe, Jr., (October 28) on the opening night of the Short Track Nationals.
I-30 Speedway Lucas Oil ASCS National winners include: Gary Wright 12, Tim Crawley 5, 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, Brad Sweet 2, Brady Bacon 1, Pete Butler 1, Zach Chappell 1, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 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), Zach Chappell (4/10/10), Brady Bacon (6/5/10), Tim Crawley (8/28/10), Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (10/28/10), Brad Sweet (10/29/10), Brad Sweet (10/30/10).
Current 2011 Points:
Top 15 Driver Points: 1. Shane Stewart (Bixby, OK) 800, 2. Johnny Herrera (Albuquerque, NM) 743, 3. Tim Crawley (Benton, AR) 665, 4. Jeff Swindell (Bartlett, TN) 664, 5. Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, OK) 654, 6. Aaron Reutzel (Clute, TX) 627, 7. Tony Bruce, Jr. (Liberal, KS) 604, 8. Seth Bergman (Snohomish, WA) 600, 9. Gary Wright (Hooks, TX) 596, 10. Logan Forler (Eatonville, WA) 553, 11. Zach Chappell (Talala, OK) 543, 12. Dustin Morgan (Tulsa, OK) 501, 13. (tie) Trey Starks (Puyallup, WA) and Mason Moore (Princeton, CA) 391, 15. Jack Dover (Springfield, NE) 387.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters Owner Points (Top 15): 1. Jason Johnson Racing #41 – 837, 2. Paul Silva #57 – 800, 3. Herrera/Main #45x – 743, 4. Mike Ward #88 – 665, 5. Swindell Group #28 – 664, 6. Bacon/Tel-Star #99 – 654, 7. Kenny Reutzel #87 – 627, 8. Bruce Racing #18 – 604, 9. Petersen Motorsports #23 – 600, 10. Cooper/Sperry #01/51 – 596, 11. Steve Forler #2L – 553, 12. Randy Washburn #0 – 543, 13. M&M Motorsports #2 – 501, 14. (tie) Harley Van Dyke #5h and Terry Starks #55 – 391.
2011 Feature Winners:
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series: Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 1, Johnny Herrera 1, Jason Johnson 1, Tim Kaeding 1, Kyle Larson 1, Shane Stewart 1.
Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters – A Look Ahead:
May 7 – Riverside International Speedway (West Memphis, AR)
June 4 – I-30 Speedway (Little Rock, AR)
June 10 – Eagle Raceway (Eagle, NE) – VERSUS
June 11 – Eagle Raceway (Eagle, NE) – VERSUS
Lucas Oil ASCS 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.
Official results, championship point updates, photos and race notes will be available at www.ascsracing.com.
Lucas Oil ASCS 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.
The full schedule of events to be aired on VERSUS and broadcast dates will be released soon.
The events from Thunderbowl Raceway, Kings Speedway and USA Raceway will be aired as follows;
Thunderbowl Raceway (Feb. 9) – 4/16/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
Kings Speedway (Feb. 12) – 4/23/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
USA Raceway (Feb. 18) – 5/1/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
USA Raceway (Feb. 19) – 5/14/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
The Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters is currently slated for 38 nights of racing action at 15 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.
The 2011 season marks the 20th year of sanctioning Sprint Car racing for the American Sprint Car Series, with approximately 200 nights of competition at tracks throughout the nation and into Canada. Anchored by the Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters, ASCS also consists of ten different Regions throughout the nation.
Additional information regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.