By Lonnie Wheatley
TULSA, Okla. (June 27, 2011) – There will be no shortage of fireworks for the Smiley’s Racing Products ASCS Gulf South Region as the series takes to three different tracks throughout Louisiana and Mississippi this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
And, it will be unfamiliar turf for most as one track hosts the series for the first time ever and the other two are back on the ASCS Gulf South slate after extended absences.
The action begins on Friday night with a first-time ever ASCS Gulf South event atop the semi-banked, 3/8-mile USA Speedway clay oval in Sterlington, LA. It marks the return of the ASCS Gulf South to Louisiana soil for the first time since April of 2008.
On Saturday night, the action shifts to the semi-banked, ¼-mile Jackson Motor Speedway dirt oval in Byram, MS, near Jackson. It marks the first ASCS Regional action at Jackson since Hernando, Mississippi’s Brad Bowden reached victory lane in May of 2008.
The weekend triple wraps up on Sunday night with a return to the semi-banked, ¼-mile Jones Motor Speedway dirt oval in Chatham, LA. Formerly known as Fastrax, the series last visited in April of 2008 when current series title contender Channin Tankersley captured his first career ASCS win at the age of 17.
After breaking out of the gates slowly just as he did during last year’s championship campaign, Ray Allen Kulhanek has surged to the top of the ASCS Gulf South point charts after 13 nights of competition on the strength of a series’ best eight top-fives.
The two-time series champion currently holds a slim 13-point edge over George White, who held the top spot until losing an engine in heat race action during the series most recent event at Baytown, TX, on June 18.
After parting ways with car owner Todd Evans, Tommy Bryant jumped into James Cooper’s No. 28 entry during the series last weekend of action to stay in the title hunt and enters this weekend’s triple just 27 markers off the lead pace.
Chris Sweeney and two-time series champion Brandon Berryman round out the current top five in points, with Tankersley, Aaron Reutzel, Travis Elliott, Greg Rilat and 2006 Gulf South champion Gary Watson the balance of the current top ten. Beau Smith is just three points outside the top ten.
Berryman, who claimed back-to-back Gulf South championships in 2007 and 2008, enters the weekend riding a streak of 98 consecutive events competed in. Greg Rilat holds the all-time Gulf South record of 140 consecutive events competed in.
Friday’s action at USA Speedway fires off at 8:00 p.m., Saturday’s action at Jackson Motor Speedway goes green at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s card at Jones Motor Speedway gets under way at 8:00 p.m.
USA Speedway is located west of Sterlington, LA, on SR 2. For more information, contact the track at 318-726-5412.
Jackson Motor Speedway is located south of Jackson, MS, on I-55 to Exit 85 (Byram exit), then 0.7 miles east on Siwell Road to Old Byram Road, then north 0.4 miles. For more information, contact the track at 601-373-0076 or 601-331-6827.
Jones Motor Speedway is located four miles southeast of SR 34 in Chatham, LA, on SR 4. For more information, contact the track at 318-235-1674 or 318-450-1204.
The Smiley’s Racing Products ASCS Gulf South Region is slated for 28 nights of racing action at eleven different tracks throughout Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi in 2011.
Past ASCS Gulf South Region Feature Winners at USA Speedway:
None – First event at USA Speedway
Past ASCS Regional Winners at Jackson Motor Speedway:
5/17/08 – Brad Bowden
4/14/06 – Gary Wright
Past ASCS Gulf South Region Feature Winners at Jones Motor Speedway:
4/19/08 – Channin Tankersley
9/15/07 – Jason Johnson
7/1/06 – Kevin Ramey
5/13/06 – Travis Rilat
9/4/05 – Travis Rilat
7/3/05 – Sam Hafertepe, Jr.
* 5/6/05 – Gary Wright
* 9/25/04 – Jason Johnson
* 9/24/04 – Gary Wright
9/5/04 – Kelly Angelette
7/4/04 – Eric Payne
4/17/04 – Travis Rilat
* 8/31/03 – Gary Wright
4/5/03 – Gary Wright
* 9/1/02 – Kevin Ramey
* – Indicates events held in conjunction with ASCS National series
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.