From Lance Jennings
(August 14, 2017) – The Arizona based Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars are heading to “America’s Heartland” for the “5th Annual Freedom Tour.” With each night paying $2,500-to-win and $250-to-start, the non-point, four-race mini-series will be held over four nights at four different racetracks. The tour will kickoff on Wednesday, August 16th, at Little Rock, Arkansas’ I-30 Speedway and Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa, Oklahoma will host the following night’s action. Friday’s third round will be held at 81 Speedway in Wichita, Kansas, and the tour will close on Saturday at Caney Valley Speedway in Caney, Kansas.
Entering Wednesday’s event, four-time champion R.J. Johnson (Laveen, Arizona) leads the “Freedom Tour” with four victories. “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr. (Buckeye, Arizona), “The Magic Man” Mike Martin (Yuma, Arizona), and “The Real Deal” Rick Ziehl (Las Cruces, New Mexico) are tied for second with two wins. Danny Smith (Sapulpa, Oklahoma), Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Oklahoma), Mike Bonneau (Phoenix, Arizona), Blake Hahn (Sapulpa, Oklahoma), and Josh Hodges (Tijeras, New Mexico) have a single victory.
Last year, R.J. Johnson won the mini-series opener at Lawton, Oklahoma behind the wheel of Bill Michael’s #77M Kodiak Products Sherman. The following night, Johnson returned to victory circle at Sapulpa’s Creek County Speedway. Rain claimed the third round at Wichita, Kansas and young Josh Hodges topped the finale at Dodge City.
Looking for his fifth consecutive USAC SouthWest championship, R.J. Johnson has a 24-point advantage over the competition. “Chargin” Charles Davis Jr., Shon Deskins, Nick Aiuto, “The Bull” Tye Mihocko, Stevie Sussex, Matt Lundy, Chris Bonneau, Mike Martin, and Michael Curtis round out the top-10 drivers. At press time, Davis leads all SouthWest drivers with three victories on the season. Ryan Bernal (2), Johnson (2), Sussex (2), “The People’s Champion” Dave Darland (1), and Matt Rossi (1) have also celebrated wins during the campaign.
At press time, it has been announced that R.J. Johnson will return to his Bill Michael #77M championship ride for the “Freedom Tour.” In addition, USAC National Sprint Car driver “The Hanford Hornet” Chad Boespflug will pilot the Team AZ KSE Custom Drywall #34 machine. A talented roster of drivers are expected throughout the four race mini-series.
The USAC SouthWest Sprint Cars will make their first ever appearance at I-30 Speedway on Wednesday, August 16th. Located at 12297 Interstate 30 in Little Rock, Arkansas, the high banked 1/4-mile oval will also spotlight the Bumper to Bumper Super Stocks and Factory Stocks. Adult tickets are $12 and kids 6-12 are $1 when accompanied by an adult. For more details, visit www.i-30speedway.com or call 501.455.4567.
The following night, August 17th, the “Freedom Tour” will return to Creek County Speedway in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Danny Smith won the 2013 debut and other wins were scored by Brady Bacon, Blake Hahn, and R.J. Johnson. Located on the historic Route 66 at 18450 West Highway 66, the semi-banked 1/4-mile oval will also feature Dwarf Cars and POWRi West Midgets. Adult tickets are $20, Kids (10-14) are $10, and Children (10 & under) are FREE. For more information, visit www.creekcountyspeedway.co or call 918.693.7223 (RACE).
On Friday, August 18th, 81 Speedway in Wichita, Kansas will host the third night of the “Freedom Tour.” “The Real Deal” Rick Ziehl claimed the 2013 debut, “The Magic Man” Mike Martin won the next two years, and rain claimed the 2016 event. Located at 100 West 77th Street North, the 3/8-mile clay oval will also showcase the NCRA Late Models. Adult tickets are $15 and can be purchased in advance. For more details, visit www.race81speedway.org or call 316.755.1781.
The USAC SouthWest Sprints will make their debut at Caney Valley Speedway in Caney, Kansas on Saturday, August 19th. The “Freedom Tour” finale will also showcase Factory Stocks, Street Stocks, NOW 600 Non-Wing Micro Sprints, and USRA B-Mods. For more information, visit www.caneyvalleyspeedway.net or call 620.330.0485.
For more information on the USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook.
R.J. Johnson. 4-Time Sands Chevrolet USAC SouthWest Champion. Photo by Patrick Shaw / Backed In Photography.
NOTICE TO RACERS: The “Freedom Tour” will be run under the USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Rule Book. The Hoosier 105/16 Medium is the ONLY legal right rear tire and cockpit adjustable shocks are NOT allowed. Engine restrictor rules are 1-7/8″ with open heads and 2-3/16″ with ASCS cylinder heads. The weight rule is 1,475 lbs. with driver.