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Turpen, Hagar and Gray capture USCS sprint car titles

From Pete Walton

ATLANTA (December 3, 2016) — The 23-year-old defending USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour National Champion, Morgan Turpen from Cordova, Tennessee has made United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters and sprint car racing history again during the 2016 season by becoming the first woman to win the series National Championship two times in-a-row. Turpen put an exclamation point on last season’s accomplishment of becoming the only woman to win a major sprint car touring series National title, by repeating as the series Champion for the 2016 season. She bested her team-mate and 11-time USCS National Champion Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee by just two points in the season long title chase. After 36 events, she had a total of 5026 Championship points.
Turpen, who visited the www.RockAuto.com USCS Victory Lane five times during 2016, also finished in the runner-up spot in the USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series title chase just a scant fifteen points shy of the title behind her team-mate (Gray).

Turpen also had a respectable fourth place finish in the final standings of the USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour regional series Championship standings as well. She finished behind three past USCS National Champions including 2013 USCS National Champion and 2016 USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour Champion Derek Hagar and runner-up Marshall Skinner both from Marion, Arkansas. Terry Gray also finished just ahead of her in that region in third place.

Turpen has competed with the United Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters full time since the 2010 season when she earned the USCS National Rookie of the Year honors. The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame 2015 North American Driver of the Year poll, for winged 360 sprint cars, listed Turpen as the top-ranked female winged sprint car driver in North America. Turpen was the only female driver to receive votes among just 32 drivers out of several thousand considered who received multiple votes in that poll.

Morgan Turpen has twelve total USCS career feature wins including the five this season. In addition to her 2015 USCS National Championship, she has been close to the top of the point standings at conclusion of, three other seasons. She finished in the runner-up position in the USCS National point standings during the 2010, 2011 and 2014 seasons. Other than the 2010 USCS Rookie crown, Turpen also earned the 2014 USCS “Road to Atlanta” Hoosier Asphalt Series Championship.

Terry Gray finished the National title chase with 5024 National Championship points in the runner-up spot. Although he disappointingly lost the National title by only two points, he claimed the USCS Southern Thunder regional series title in another close battle with Turpen by just seven points. As previously mentioned, he gathered enough points in the tough USCS Mid-South regional series to finish in third place behind Marion, Arkansas hot-shoes Derek Hagar and Marshall Skinner.

Newcomer and 2016 USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour “Rookie of the Year”, Danny Sams III from Englewood, Florida finished in third place with 3935 points. The fourteen-year-old Sams had several top-five and top-ten finishes. This year’s top rookie garnered a fourth-place finish in the USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series as well. Danny Sams III also earned a sixth-place finish in the USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour regional series behind Jeff Willingham. The young-gun was the 2015 Florida Mini Sprint Action series Champion as a rookie driver there too. Sams is the youngest driver to ever receive the USCS Rookie of the Year award and seems to have a great future ahead of him.

The 2012 USCS Rookie of the Year, Jeff Willingham from Ripley, Mississippi continued his placement in the top ten final driver standings in the series by finishing in the fourth position in the National point standings during 2016. Willingham will also collect fifth place honors in the USCS Mid-South Thunder regional series and ninth place honors in the USCS Southern Thunder regional series during the 2016 USCS National Awards banquet on January 21, 2017.

The 2009 USCS Southern Thunder Tour Rookie of the Year, Jake McLain from Indian Trail, North Carolina finished in fifth place in the 2016 USCS National sprint car standings with 2924 points. McLain made his re-entry into USCS competition by competing mostly in the USCS Southern Thunder regional series events. He finished behind USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series Champion Terry Gray and National Champion Morgan Turpen in third place in the USCS Southern Thunder standings.

The 2015 USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour Rookie of the Year, Nick Snyder from Marco Island, Florida drove his #116 J&J Auto Racing car to a sixth-place finish in the National point standings with 2860 points. Snyder started the year off looking to improve on last year’s third-place finish before being involved in some on track incidents that sidelined his team for several races for repairs. Although not visiting the www.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane as he did in 2015 as a rookie, Snyder had thirteen top-ten and five top=five finishes in 2016 as a second year driver.

The 2013 USCS National Champion Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas was the USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters leading feature winner in 2016. He won eight times in USCS competition. That was good enough to lead the point standings in the USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour regional series all the way to the Championship with 2622 regional points. Hagar earned enough points via those eight wins and other finishes to finish seventh in the USCS National standings as well.’

Ageless veteran Ray Bugg from Iuka, Mississippi followed Hagar in the point standings with an eighth-place finish in the final National point standings with 2545 points. Bugg also garnered enough points to finish seventh in the USCS Mid-South regional series standings. He finished 14th in the USCS Southern Thunder Tour standings as well.

Past USCS Champion, Marshall Skinner from Marion, Arkansas had fifteen top-ten and eleven top-five finishes in seventeen USCS starts. That was good enough to earn ninth place in the USCS National standings with 2532 points. He fared much better in the USCS Mid-South T’
hunder Tour regional standings where he was the runner-up to Hagar’s Championship efforts. Skinner had one win on the season that came at Crowley’s Ridge Raceway on Friday, July 1, 2016.
Eric Riggins, Jr. from Charlotte, North Carolina who was the 2010 USCS Southern Thunder regional series Rookie of the Year finished in tenth place in the final USCS National sprint car standings with 2427 points. Riggins got his only win of the 2016 season when he won on July 24th at Lancaster Speedway. Riggins was plagued with mechanical ills during the 2016 season. Riggins still manage five top five and eleven top ten finishes during eighteen starts in 2016. He won eight-times over the 2014 and 2015 USCS seasons..

For information on the complete list of USCS feature winners and USCS 2016 results, please visit www.uscsracing.com For USCS rules, updated schedules and other information, please visit the www/uscsracing.com website as well or you may contact the USCS office at 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097.

USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour regional series:
Past National Champion Derek Hagar of Marion, Arkansas topped the standings in the highly competitive USCS Mid-South region. He also won the USCS Sprint Speedweek 2016 Championship. The 2013 National Champion tallied 2487 points while beating out another past Champion, Marshall Skinner also from Marion, Arkansas in second place with 2398 points. As previously mentioned, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee with 2397 points claimed the third position in the Mid-South region behind Skinner as a close one point difference separated the two veteran drivers. The regional series’ 2015 Champion, Morgan Turpen from Cordova, Tennessee followed the three past champions in fourth place after she accumulated 2371 points over the season. The “Ripley Rooster” Jeff Willingham who hails from Ripley, Mississippi rounded out the top five by collecting 2146 points for his efforts in 17 events.

The 2016 USCS Rookie of the Year, Danny Sams III from Englewood, Florida finished in sixth place in the Mid-South region standings. With 1922 points. Veteran sprint car racer, Ray Bugg, from Iuka, Mississippi was seventh in the standings with 1657 points. He was followed by past (2008) Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year, Anthony Nicholson from Millington, Tennessee in eighth place in the standings with 1594 points. The 2015 Riverside Speedway sprint car track Champion, Andy McElhannon from Hernando, Mississippi finished ninth with 1543 points and 2013 USCS Rookie of the Year, Curt Terrell from Bartlett, Tennessee finished with 1514 points to finish tenth in the regional series.

Nine different drivers won main events in a very competitive USCS Mid-South presented by K&N regional series during the 2016 season. Derek Hagar won seven times. He also won the Randy Helton Memorial Race held at East Alabama Motor Speedway in the USCS Southern Thunder Tour region. The 2012 USCS National Champion, Tim Crawley of Benton, AR and Brian Bell of Cordova, TN also both won twice in the USCS Mid-South region.

Other winners that made one trip to the www.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane in the USCS Mid-South presented by K&N Filters region were: 2016 National Champion, Morgan Turpen; 2016 USCS Mid -South region runner-up, Marshall Skinner from Marion, AR; 2008 USCS Rookie of the Year Anthony Nicholson from Millington, TN; 2011 USCS Rookie of the Year, Jordon Mallet from Greenbrier, AR; Zack Pringle from Benton, AR and Seth Bergman from Snohomish, WA. One hundred and three different drivers competed in USCS Mid-South presented by K&N regional series 2016 events.
USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series:
Eleven-time USCS National Champ, Terry Gray captured the Championship in the USCS Southern Thunder presented by K&N Filters regional series that contests its’ events in Eastern Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Eastern Tennessee with a Championship total of 3329 points. The title was decided on the final weekend in that region. Gray’s team-mate, 2015 and 2016 National Champion Morgan Turpen from Cordova, Tennessee kept it close in that regional series battle and finished just 15 points behind Gray with 3314 points for the runner-up spot. The 2009 USCS Southern Thunder sprint car Rookie of the Year, Jake McLain from Indian Trail, North Carolina finished behind the two veteran team-mates in third place with 2924 points. The 2016 USCS Rookie of the Year, Danny Sams III from Englewood, Florida trailed McLain in fourth place with 2651 points. The series’ 2014 Rookie of the Year, Brandon McLain, also from Indian Trail, North Carolina followed in fifth place with 2308 points.

Last season’s dynamic 2016 USCS Rookie of the Year, Nick Snyder from Marco Island, FL lead the next group in sixth place with 2229 points followed by veteran sprint car racer Joe Larkin from Suwannee, GA in seventh place with 1975 points. Six-time 2015 feature winner Eric Riggins, Jr. from Charlotte, North Carolina suffered through a streak of mid-season bad luck and finished with 1877 points in eighth place in the final standings. Jeff Willingham from Ripley, Mississippi traveled East to race enough times to still claim a spot in the USCS Southern Thunder Tour top ten in ninth place with 1840 points. Hard charging Lance Moss from Cherryville, North Carolina with 1704 points rounded out the top ten drivers at season’s end after 22 races.

Eight different drivers won 2016 USCS Southern Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters races. The defending (2015) and newly-crowned 2016 National Champion Morgan Turpen from Cordova, Tennessee and Danny Martin, Jr. from Sarasota, Florida who ran a limited schedule of events, led the wins column category in the USCS Southern Thunder Tour regional series with five wins apiece. Trey Starks from Puyallup, Washington who also just dropped in during a limited USCS schedule, was right behind that duo with four stops in thewww.rockauto.com USCS Victory Lane. The other multiple winner was Derek Hagar who parked his #9Jr.in victory lane three times at USCS Southern Thunder Tour main events during the 2016 racing season.

Drivers who also were winners one time in Southern Thunder Tour competition during the 2016 season were Champion Terry Gray n September 3rd at Laurens County Speedway; Sprint Car Hall of Famer Danny Smith from Chillicothe, Ohio on April 8th at Carolina Speedway; Anthony Nicholson from Millington, Tennessee on June 2nd at Talladega Short Track; Charlotte, North Carolina’s Eric Riggins, Jr. on July 24th at Lancaster Speedway; Johnny Bridges from Cherryville, NC on September 2nd at Lavonia Speedway. At season’s end seventy-one different drivers had competed in USCS Southern Thunder presented by K&N Filters regional series sprint car events during the 2016 season.

The United Sprint Car Series thanks the 2016 USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour supporting sponsors including: K&N Filters, Hoosier Racing Tire, and USCS victory lane sponsor www.RockAuto.com plus Arizona Sport Shirts, Brown and Miller Racing Solutions, Bulldog Rear Ends/DMI, DHR Suspension, DSR Fuel Systems, Engler Machine and Tool, JE Pistons, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Hero Graphics, KSE Racing Products, Pyrotect Racing Cells, Safety-Kleen, Saldana Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers and Wilwood Engineering.

The 2017 and 21st season USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour kicks off at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Mississippi on Friday, March 3rd and Saturday, March 4th . A full schedule of 2017 USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour winged sprint car events will be available soon. For series rules and other info please visit www.uscsracing.com or call the series office at 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097.

Final 2016 USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour presented by K&N Filters
National point standings (Top 25 after 36 races)
`
Pos Car # Name Points
1 10m Morgan Turpen 5026
2 10 Terry Gray 5024
3 24 Danny Sams III 3935
4 28 Jeff Willingham 3354
5 67 Jake McLain 2924
6 116 Nick Snyder 2860
7 9jr Derek Hagar 2622
8 25 Ray Bugg 2545
9 26 Marshall Skinner 2532
10 47 Eric Riggins Jr 2427
11 07 Brandon Taylor 2418
12 21b Brandon McLain 2308
13 33 Joe Larkin 2109
14 16 Anthony Nicholson 2070
15 23 Lance Moss 1704
16 43 Terry Witherspoon 1688
17 27 Curt Terrell 1656
18 38 Tony Agin 1610
19 42 Andy McElhannon 1533
20 88 Tim Crawley 1436
21 22 Shawn Murray 1329
22 23 Johnny Bridges 1237
23 99 Tanner Witherspoon 1226
24 67 Brian Thomas 1199
25 83 Bob Auld 1192

United Sprint Car Series Mid-South Thunder Tour
2016 FINAL Point Standings (Top 25)
,
Pos. Car# Driver Point
1 9jr Derek Hagar 2487
2 26 Marshall Skinner 2398
3 10 Terry Gray 2397
4 10m Morgan Turpen 2371
5 28 Jeff Willingham 2146
6 24 Danny Sams III 1922
7 25 Ray Bugg 1657
8 16 Anthony Nicholson 1594
9 42 Andy McElhannon 1533
10 27 Curt Terrell 1514
11 88 Tim Crawley 1324
12 07 Brandon Taylor 1281
13 116 Nick Snyder 1065
14 44 Ronny Howard 942
15 3 AG Raines 1018
16 47 Eric Riggins Jr 871
17 4 Casey Rowland 856
18 23b Brian Bell 801
19 88R Cody Gardner 771
20 40 Howard Moore 758
21 59 Brad Bowden 738
22 99 Don Warren 666
23 29 Kyle Amerson 660
24 14m Jordon Mallett 654
25 67 Jake McLain 542

USCS Southern Thunder Tour
2016 FINAL point standings (Top 25)
. Car# Driver Point
1 10 Terry Gray 3329
2 10m Morgan Turpen 3314
3 67 Jake McLain 2924
4 24 Danny Sams III 2651
5 21B Brandon McLain 2308
6 116 Nick Snyder 2229
7 33 Joe Larkin 1975
8 47 Eric Riggins Jr 1877
9 28 Jeff Willingham 1840
10 23 Lance Moss 1704
11 43 Terry Witherspoon 1688
12 07 Brandon Taylor 1560
13 38 Tony Agin 1480
14 25 Ray Bugg 1326
15 22 Shawn Murray 1324
16 23 Johnny Bridges 1237
17 99 Tanner Witherspoon 1226
18 67 Brian Thomas 1199
19 83 Bob Auld 1192
20 16 Anthony Nicholson 1039
21 24 Danny Martin Jr 902
22 4 Danny Smith 882
23 34 Darren Orth 870
24 59III Johnny Petrozelle 780
25 9jr Derek Hagar 770