From Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (March 16, 2010) – Keeping the thought in mind that each of the past two editions of the Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals have boiled down to the final circuits, it’s time for the third installment of Tuesday’s Top Ten Version 2K10.
In no particular order as per the norm, delve in…
1. Lawson Minefield – Having earned a reputation in recent years to not only damage vehicles, but occasionally swallow them whole, it comes as little surprise to learn that Lawson Road north of Devil’s Bowl Speedway has been closed between US 80 and the railroad tracks and will remain closed for at least a couple of years.
Now, unless you’re hip to the back ways in through Mesquite and the neighborhoods creeping in on ‘Da Bowl, the easiest way to reach the hallowed clay oval is take I-20 East of I-635 to Lawson Road and then go north.
And if you’re hauling a trailer, please don’t drive across Lanny’s parking lot. Just sayin’…
2. Free Tires – Free tires you say? That’s right, Hoosier Tires will offer up a free tire to two selected drivers at each Lucas Oil National Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters event during the 2010 season.
Drivers eligible for tires must be paid, registered ASCS members in good standing, have a Hoosier decal displayed on their car and run Hoosier tires on all four corners.
3. Remember This – Those that were at the Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals last year are sure to remember this action, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mp0UHVEsxS0.
And it’s a sure bet that it’s remembered by Tony Bruce, Jr., who provided the in-car shot. A quick chop into turn one and then running out of real estate was enough to keep the No. 18 out of victory lane.
The fact that Gary Wright raced by Bruce in the final corner of the previous year’s Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals probably didn’t make this exchange with Jason Johnson any easier to stomach.
4. On the Tube – DirecTV subscribers, perk those ears up. It was announced yesterday that VERSUS Network and DirecTV have reached an agreement that will put VERSUS back in the satellite provider’s good graces, as can be read at http://www.versus.com/press-center/directv-and-versus-reach-carriage-agreement/.
This makes for a much more significant audience for the ten Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters events that will be broadcast on VERSUS as well as MavTV.
This weekend’s Devil’s Bowl Winter Nationals will be the first two of those ten events, with others to include the Second Annual Rock ‘N Roll 50 at Riverside Speedway (April 23-24), the Eagle Nationals (June 11-12), Lucas Oil Speedway (September 25) and I-30 Speedway’s Short Track Nationals (October 28-30).
5. Changes – With a couple dozen or so drivers planning on a run at the $60,000 Lucas Oil Sprint Car championship at the outset of the 2010 season, there will be some interesting new combinations to keep watch on.
“The Ragin’ Cajun”, 2008 series champion and reigning Devil’s Bowl Spring Nationals champion Jason Johnson, fields his own team in 2010 with Don Ott power bolted into the Maxim frame rails. The Shop Diesel Service, out of the car owner business, shifts sponsorship to Gary Wright’s No. 9x.
After a year as No. 13, Missouri’s Jesse Hockett shifts back to the familiar VKCC Motorsports No. 75, this time with Don Ott powerplants in A.R.T. chassis, the same chassis design that propelled Shane Stewart to the 2009 Lucas Oil Sprint Car title. Rookie contender Kyle Hirst will also sport an A.R.T.
After his first year on the trail aboard the family-owned No. 7 entry, Ohio’s Darren Long takes the wheel of Joe Gaerte’s No. 3g machine for the 2010 campaign.
Sean McClelland, who made a solo journey (meaning, sans crew) from Oklahoma to Washington and Oregon last year to maintain a ranking of eleventh in points, will reportedly be in an all-black No. 1 machine for 2010.
And we’ll see a number of other changes, including Dover choice of power, over the weekend to be sure.
6. So You Wanna Be a Rock Super Star… – Then apparently all you need to do is win the Lucas Oil Sprint Car championship.
Shane Stewart and car owner Paul Silva won’t be making any major changes to their Wesmar-powered No. 57 A.R.T. after capturing the 2009 title.
The only significant change will be cosmetic, as the black No. 57 will now be adorned with the Rockstar Energy Drink logo and colors.
7. Sammy You Say? – Word on the street has five-time Chili Bowl champion Sammy Swindell making a run at the Lucas Oil Sprint Car Series after combining the Rolfe Trucking No. 10 equipment with the Dennis and Jeri Benjamin motor program.
A $15,000 winner at last November’s Western World Championships at Tucson’s USA Raceway, Swindell could certainly liven things up at the Devil’s Bowl this weekend.
8. 300 Club – Forney, TX, shoe Travis Rilat (http://www.ascsracing.com/gallery/travis300.jpg), the 2003 series champion, was recognized at Devil’s Bowl Speedway last October as just the third driver in series history to make 300 feature starts after reaching that level at Lucas Oil Speedway on September 26.
Rilat joined Gary Wright, who is closing in on 400 starts with 386 entering the season, and Garry Lee Maier, who stands at 306 along with Rilat.
Another pair of drivers are likely to reach that level this season. Set for a title assault aboard Mike Ward’s No. 88, Tim Crawley (who picked up Hard Charger honors at this past weekend’s 600 Micro Sprint Nationals at I-30 Speedway) is just five feature starts shy at 295.
And, if 2001 series champ Zach Chappell stays on the road as planned, he’ll reach the 300 mark as well somewhere along the way. Chappell is 27 features shy at 273.
9. Taming the Bowl – Over the past three years, a certain pair of drivers have been dominant forces at the Devil’s Bowl Speedway. “The Texan” and “The Ragin’ Cajun”, listed in the phone directories as Gary Wright and Jason Johnson, have combined to win eleven of the last 14 Lucas Oil Sprint Car feature events at the famed Bowl.
Wright, who has topped 20 of his 126 career series main events at Devil’s Bowl, has a slight edge over Johnson in the recent run with six scores to Johnson’s five.
While Tony Bruce, Jr., topped the Spring Nationals prelim in 2008, the other two aberrations from Wright-Johnson domination occurred in last year’s four events with Shane Stewart best in the Spring prelim and then ASCS Lone Star champ Kevin Ramey downing the travelling forces in the Winter Nationals.
10. Over/Under – Kicking about car counts for the upcoming Devil’s Bowl weekend? Favorable weather, televised action and a nation full of racer’s chomping at the bit to get that methanol/adrenalin fix, let’s put the over/under for the weekend at 67 cars, which is the total that took in last year’s edition of the Spring Nationals.
Digging out the best green threads for tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities, all roads ultimately lead to Mesquite, TX, this weekend. More discussion on the racinboys.com Lucas Oil ASCS show tonight and every Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. CDT.
Until next time, find what you need in terms of ASCS info at www.ascsracing.com.