By Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (November 7, 2011) – Steve Kinser made the most of his Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters debut by outdueling Jason Johnson atop the 5/16-mile Southern New Mexico Speedway clay oval last November.
This weekend, “The King” defends his triumph at the Las Cruces, NM, track as the Lucas Oil ASCS makes it’s only New Mexico appearance of 2011 with two full nights of action on Friday and Saturday.
This weekend’s Southern New Mexico Speedway double leads the way into the series season finale next weekend; the 44th Annual Western World Championships at Tucson’s USA Raceway on November 17-19.
Both weekends also award Sunoco Fuel ASCS Southwest points, with the Southwest season concluding at the Western World as well.
While Kinser and long-time nemesis Sammy Swindell are expected for this weekend’s action, they’ll take on a tough cast of Lucas Oil Sprint Car competitors led by Bixby, OK, native Shane Stewart, who is trying to put the finishing touches on a second series championship.
Stewart, who captured his first Lucas Oil Sprint Car title in 2009, carries a 137-point lead into the weekend over Albuquerque’s Johnny Herrera and can put a virtual lock on the top spot with a strong weekend. Stewart has claimed three series wins thus far in 2011 including a Copper on Dirt triumph at USA Raceway, a $10,000 ASCS Knoxville Nationals triumph and a $10,000 Lone Star Nationals victory.
Herrera, who has posted prelim wins at the Copper on Dirt and the Jackson Nationals, will not only try to keep his title hopes alive in his home state, he’ll also try to distance himself from third-ranked Jeff Swindell of Bartlett, TN, who is just 46 points back in third. Swindell claimed an early-season win with Ford power at Little Rock’s I-30 Speedway.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Brady Bacon, last year’s Lucas Oil Sprint Car points runner-up, has climbed a pair of positions on the point charts in recent weeks to fourth, with three-time series champion Tim Crawley of Benton, AR, rounding out the current top five.
Four-time series champion and the series all-time winningest driver Gary Wright of Hooks, TX, is just 40 points behind Crawley in sixth, with reigning Lucas Oil Sprint Car champion Jason Johnson of Eunice, LA, up to seventh in points after missing the initial four nights of the season to finish off the World Series SprintCar championship in Australia. Johnson’s JJR No. 41 entry is atop the owner’s portion of the point charts.
Johnson is atop the series win charts with six National wins including a Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals preliminary score, an I-30 triumph, a Cottage Grove sweep, a Jackson Nationals win and a Jesse Hockett/Daniel McMillin Memorial score at Lucas Oil Speedway.
Washington’s Seth Bergman is currently ranked eighth in his second tour of Lucas Oil Sprint Car duty, with Liberal, KS, native Tony Bruce, Jr., and Clute, TX, rookie contender Aaron Reutzel rounding out the top ten. Talala, Oklahoma’s Zach Chappell, the 2001 series champion, is just outside the top ten in 11th.
Closing in on a fourth consecutive ASCS Southwest title, Las Cruces’ Rick Ziehl leads the Southwest shoes into the weekend with a 146-point advantage over Calvin Landis. The balance of the ASCS Southwest top ten includes Kyle McCutcheon, Dalten Gabbard, Lance Norick, Joshua Williams, Joey Chester, Jordan Stetson, Steve Stone and Joshua Hodges.
At least two other ASCS Regional champions are expected to be among this weekend’s stout field including Lone Star champion Matt Covington of Glenpool, OK, and Warrior kingpin Brad Loyet of Sunset Hills, MO.
The Lucas Oil Sprint Cars returned to Southern New Mexico Speedway last November for the first time since 1997. Nebraska’s Jack Dover bested a 50-car field in the preliminary feature event before Kinser outlasted Jason Johnson to take the $6,000 score in the Saturday night finale.
Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters
When & Where:
Friday night, November 11 at 7:00 p.m. – Southern New Mexico Speedway
Saturday night, November 12 at 6:30 p.m. – Southern New Mexico Speedway
Southern New Mexico Speedway (Las Cruces, NM) – 5/16-mile, high-banked clay oval located west of I-25 on I-10 to Exit 132, then south to frontage road, then 3.1 miles west on Robert Larson Boulevard (pits are 3.4 miles). Track phone: 575-524-7913.
Lucas Oil ASCS Southern New Mexico Speedway History:
The Lucas Oil Sprint Cars ended an absence of over 13 years with last year’s November double that found up-and-comer Jack Dover and Sprint Car King Steve Kinser taking the wins. Current Lucas Oil Sprint Car contender Tim Crawley reached victory lane in the series first Las Cruces visit in September of 1994.
Southern New Mexico Speedway Lucas Oil ASCS winners include: Tim Crawley 1, Jack Dover 1, Chris Ikard 1, Steve Kinser 1, Danny Young 1.
Southern New Mexico Speedway Lucas Oil ASCS Race-by-race Winners: Tim Crawley (9/4/94), Danny Young (10/7/94), Chris Ikard (2/23/97), Jack Dover (11/12/10), Steve Kinser (11/13/10).
Current Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National Points:
Top 15 Driver Points: 1. Shane Stewart (Bixby, OK) 2,811, 2. Johnny Herrera (Albuquerque, NM) 2,674, 3. Jeff Swindell (Bartlett, TN) 2,628, 4. Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, OK) 2,561, 5. Tim Crawley (Benton, AR) 2,513, 6. Gary Wright (Hooks, TX) 2,473, 7. Jason Johnson (Eunice, LA) 2,394, 8. Seth Bergman (Snohomish, WA) 2,317, 9. Tony Bruce, Jr. (Liberal, KS) 2,303, 10. Aaron Reutzel (Clute, TX) 2,242, 11. Zach Chappell (Talala, OK) 2,026, 12. Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK) 1,778, 13. Jack Dover (Springfield, NE) 1,471, 14. Dustin Morgan (Tulsa, OK) 1,371, 15. Danny Wood (Norman, OK) 1,275.
Top 15 Owner Points: 1. Jason Johnson Racing #41 – 2,946, 2. Paul Silva #57 – 2,811, 3. Herrera/Main #45x – 2,674, 4. Swindell Group #28 – 2,628, 5. Bacon/Tel-Star #99 – 2,561, 6. Mike Ward #88 – 2,513, 7. Petersen Motorsports #23 2,317, 8. Bruce Racing #18 – 2,303, 9. Kenny Reutzel #87 – 2,242, 10. Randy Washburn #0 – 2,026, 11. Gary Wright #9 – 1,877, 12. M&M Motorsports #2 – 1,371, 13. Danny Wood #81 – 1,275, 14. Bryan Sundby #38 – 1,196, 15. Sam Hafertepe #15h – 1,128.
Current ASCS Southwest Points:
Top Ten: 1. Rick Ziehl (Las Cruces, NM) 2,101, 2. Calvin Landis (Knoxville, IA) 1,855, 3. Kyle McCutcheon (Alamogordo, NM) 1,768, 4. Dalten Gabbard (Peoria, AZ) 1,750, 5. Lance Norick
(Scottsdale, AZ) 1,683, 6. Joshua Williams (Glendale, AZ) 1,653, 7. (tie) Joey Chester (Phoenix, AZ) and Jordan Stetson (Tucson, AZ) 1,437, 9. Steve Stone (Mesa, AZ) 1,436, 10. Joshua Hodges (Tijeras, NM) 1,362.
2011 Feature Winners:
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Series: Jason Johnson 6, Johnny Herrera 3, Wayne Johnson 3, Shane Stewart 3, Danny Lasoski 2, Sammy Swindell 2, Brady Bacon 1, Tim Crawley 1, Jack Dover 1, Lee Grosz 1, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. 1, Tim Kaeding 1, Kyle Larson 1, Daryn Pittman 1, Jeff Swindell 1, Gary Wright 1.
Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters – A Look Ahead:
November 17/18/19 – USA Raceway (44th Annual Western World Championships)
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 nine one-hour shows broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on the VERSUS Network and MavTV.
The full schedule according to www.motorsportshour.com is as follows:
Thunderbowl Raceway (Feb. 9) – 4/23/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
Kings Speedway (Feb. 12) – 5/7/11 @ 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
Eagle Raceway (RAINED OUT) – 9/11/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
Eagle Raceway (June 11) – 9/18/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
Grays Harbor Raceway (RAINED OUT) – 10/30/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
Cottage Grove Speedway (July 22) – 11/6/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET
Cottage Grove Speedway (July 23) – TBA
The Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters is 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 scheduled 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.