By Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (April 26, 2011) – There’s been a different driver standing in victory lane at the end of the night each and every time the Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National series has fired off thus far in 2011.
If the past two years of competition at West Memphis’ Riverside International Speedway are any indication, the odds are pretty good that next Saturday night’s Third Annual Rock ‘N Roll 50 could produce the series ninth different winner in as many nights of competition.
With eight winners in eight races so far, the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars take to Riverside’s storied, ¼-mile black gumbo clay oval Saturday night, May 7, for the only 50-lap feature event of the year.
A one-night stand this year rather than the two nights as in the previous two years, Tim Crawley swept both nights of the inaugural event in 2009 and then picked up his second consecutive Rock ‘N Roll 50 triumph last year after event promoter Tony Bruce, Jr., won the preliminary feature event.
Neither Crawley nor Bruce, Jr., the only two drivers to score series wins at Riverside in recent times, are among the eight drivers to win a Lucas Oil ASCS National event so far in 2011. In fact, the most recent series winner at Riverside that has also picked off a win this year is Gary Wright, who last won at Riverside in July of 2003.
“The Texan” became the eighth different Lucas Oil Sprint Car winner of 2011 by topping the series most recent event at Little Rock’s I-30 Speedway on April 16, snapping a victory drought that dated back to October of 2009 for the four-time series champion.
Wright joined a list of 2011 winners that includes the likes of Tim Kaeding, Kyle Larson, Johnny Herrera, Shane Stewart, Jason Johnson, Sam Hafertepe, Jr., and Jeff Swindell.
Among the notables to not yet win a race are Crawley and Bruce, Jr., who both come off season-best finishes in the April 16 I-30 Speedway main event. After burning his second provisional of the year the night before, Crawley cracked the top five for the first time in 2011 with a third-place showing. At the same time, Bruce, Jr., used his second provisional and responded by cracking the top-ten for the first time of 2011 with a run from 24th to ninth.
Several other drivers are looking for their first taste of Lucas Oil ASCS victory lane champagne after wins last year, including 2010 series runner-up Brady Bacon, who picked off four series wins last year, and Zach Chappell, a winner of two 2010 main events.
While his lone win thus far came in USA Raceway’s Copper on Dirt finale, Shane Stewart’s consistent run of seven top-five finishes and no finish lower than ninth in the opening eight events has allowed him to open a 110-point advantage over Albuquerque’s Johnny Herrera in the driver’s championship point chase with Jeff Swindell just another six points back in third.
Despite some struggles, Crawley still ranks fourth with Wright vaulting from ninth to fifth with the recent Little Rock double. Bacon is sixth, with Washington’s Seth Bergman seventh in his second tour of National duty. Aaron Reutzel, the leading Brodix Rookie of the Year contender, is eighth with Tony Bruce, Jr., and Chappell rounding out the current top ten. Rookie shoe Logan Forler is just outside the top ten as is Dustin Morgan.
Also outside the top ten but climbing the charts rapidly is defending series champion Jason Johnson, who missed the initial four events of the season to finish off Australian duties. The JJR No. 41 entry was on hand for those events with Kyle Larson and Jack Dover and is just two points behind Paul Silva’s No. 57, piloted by Stewart, in the owner’s portion of the championship chase.
While the Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National series brings a contingent of heavy hitters to Riverside’s West Memphis, AR, oval next Saturday, a stout group of local competitors will be ready to defend their home turf. A.G. Rains, who has claimed a pair of National wins in the past at Riverside, topped the April 2 weekly event at Riverside over I-30 regular Cody Gardner, Wade Oliver, Dale Howard and Brad Bowden, who led 18 Lucas Oil ASCS laps at I-30 on April 16 before Gary Wright took command.
Tickets for next Saturday night’s Third Annual Rock ‘N Roll 50 are available by checking www.tbjpromotions.com.
Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters
When & Where:
Saturday night, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. – Riverside International Speedway
Riverside Speedway (West Memphis, AR) – 1/4-mile semi-banked gumbo clay oval located west of Memphis, TN, on I-55 to Exit 4 in Arkansas, then 0.3 miles south, then 0.2 miles east on Broadway, then south on Legion Road. Event information is available at www.tbjpromotions.com or by calling the track at 901-508-6200.
Lucas Oil ASCS Riverside International Speedway History:
After taking to the ¼-mile gumbo clay oval on 24 occasions from 1995 to 2005, the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series returned to West Memphis for the first time in nearly five years with Tim Crawley sweeping both nights of the Inaugural Rock ‘N Roll 50 in July 2009. After being rained out early last year, the event was reset for October with Tim Crawley taking a second consecutive Rock ‘N Roll 50 triumph after Tony Bruce, Jr., won the preliminary feature.
Riverside International Speedway ASCS National winners include: Eddie Gallagher 6, Tim Crawley 4, Terry Gray 3, Gary Wright 3, A.G. Rains 2, Pete Braswell 1, Tony Bruce, Jr. 1, Pete Butler 1, Kenny Coke 1, Chad Jones 1, Travis Rilat 1, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 1, Darren Stewart 1, Brooke Tatnell 1, Mike Ward 1.
Riverside International Speedway Lucas Oil ASCS Race-by-Race Winners: Terry Gray (7/8/95), Eddie Gallagher (7/20/96), Pete Braswell (9/14/96), Gary Wright (6/21/97), Brooke Tatnell (9/13/97), Mike Ward (6/20/98), Terry Gray (9/19/98), Chad Jones (6/19/99), Pete Butler (7/24/99), Terry Gray (9/18/99), Kenny Coke (6/24/00), Travis Rilat (7/15/00), Gary Wright (9/16/00), Eddie Gallagher (6/9/01), A.G. Rains (7/14/01), Tim Crawley (9/15/01), Eddie Gallagher (6/1/02), Eddie Gallagher (9/14/02), Eddie Gallagher (5/31/03), Gary Wright (7/19/03), Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (7/17/04), Eddie Gallagher (9/11/04), Darren Stewart (6/4/05), A.G. Rains (9/10/05), Tim Crawley (7/3/09), Tim Crawley (7/4/09), Tony Bruce, Jr. (10/1/10), Tim Crawley (10/2/10).
Current 2011 Points:
Top 15 Driver Points: 1. Shane Stewart (Bixby, OK) 1,072, 2. Johnny Herrera (Albuquerque, NM) 962, 3. Jeff Swindell (Bartlett, TN) 956, 4. Tim Crawley (Benton, AR) 890, 5. Gary Wright (Hooks, TX) 881, 6. Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, OK) 854, 7. Seth Bergman (Snohomish, WA) 844, 8. Aaron Reutzel (Clute, TX) 793, 9. Tony Bruce, Jr. (Liberal, KS) 790, 10. Zach Chappell (Talala, OK) 745, 11. Logan Forler (Eatonville, WA) 707, 12. Dustin Morgan (Tulsa, OK) 690, 13. Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (Sunnyvale, TX) 544, 14. Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA) 518, 15. Danny Wood (Norman, OK) 454.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Cars presented by K&N Filters Owner Points (Top 15): 1. Paul Silva #57 – 1,072, 2. Jason Johnson Racing #41 – 1,070, 3. Herrera/Main #45x – 962, 4. Swindell Group #28 – 956, 5. Mike Ward #88 – 890, 6. Bacon/Tel-Star #99 – 854, 7. Petersen Motorsports #23 844, 8. Kenny Reutzel #87 – 793, 9. Bruce Racing #18 – 790, 10. Cooper/Sperry #01/51 – 774, 11. Randy Washburn #0 – 745, 12. Steve Forler #2L – 707, 13. M&M Motorsports #2 – 690 14. Sam Hafertepe #15 – 544, 15. Danny Wood #81 – 454.
Brodix Rookie of the Year Points: 1. Aaron Reutzel (Clute, TX) 793, 2. Logan Forler (Eatonville, WA) 707, 3. Justin Carver (Millington, TN) 325.
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, Jeff Swindell 1, Gary Wright 1.
Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters – A Look Ahead:
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) – 4/23/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
Kings Speedway (Feb. 12) – 5/1/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
USA Raceway (Feb. 18) – 5/29/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
USA Raceway (Feb. 19) – 6/5/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
The Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters is currently slated for 37 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.