By Pete Walton
Atlanta, GA – Wild and exciting winged outlaw sprint car racing headlines the racing program at East Alabama Motor Speedway for two nights on Friday and Saturday June 15th and 16th. The Goodyear www.goodyear.com sponsored United Sprint Car Series “Outlaw Thunder” Tour www.uscsracing.com winged sprint cars roar into the fast 4/10-mile high-banked clay oval for the 15th Annual “Alabama Outlaw Sprint Car Nationals”, a Father’s Day weekend tradition at the World famous speedway. These events are races number fourteen and fifteen on the 16th Anniversary schedule for the Nationally touring USCS sprint car drivers.
This event will be the one and only visit scheduled during the 2012 season for the USCS presented by Goodyear winged sprint cars to East Alabama Motor Speedway. These two races will both award National points as well as points in the USCS Southern Thunder regional series Championship to the drivers. The races are also a bonus point’s opportunities for drivers competing in the USCS Mid South Thunder regional series standings. The USCS Southern Thunder regional series consists of races in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Eastern Tennessee and both Carolinas. The Mid-South region contests events in Western Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and West Tennessee.
This special event is expected to bring top winged outlaw sprint car drivers from at least eight states to the track. The exotic fire breathing, alcohol burning, 700 horsepower open wheel cars weight just 1,300 pounds, and are pound for pound the World’s most powerful short track race cars. The cars will literally fly around the track surface at speeds over 130 M.P.H. It is not uncommon to see the USCS sprint cars popping “wheelies” or doing wheel stands because of the brute force of their engines and their huge 18-inch wide Goodyear Eagle rear racing tires.
Friday night’s USCS Outlaw sprint car action features a full program of racing that includes test and tune hot laps followed by the K&N Filters Time Trial qualifying. After time trial qualifying including track record attempts, the evening’s first sprint car race, the Goodyear Speed Dash showcases the top six cars from the previous USCS main event in an edge-of-your-seat six-car shootout. Next are qualifying heat races and a Last Chance / B-Main race. The evening’s finale will be the sprint car A-main event. In addition to the winged sprint cars, the winged Outlaw mini sprints of the www.rockauto.com USCS 600 Sprint Car Series will wage a full racing program of their own. On Friday evening the speedway’s Nesmith Chevrolet sanctioned Dirt Late Model Series, the Limited Sportsman and Hobby divisions will join the two winged sprint car divisions on the action-packed racing program with a full racing program in each of those divisions.
Friday night’s race is the preliminary event for Saturday’s 5th Annual Randy Helton Memorial Race honoring long-time USCS sprint car competitor Randy Helton from Palmetto, Georgia who passed away on March 30, 2008 at age 43. Helton always considered East Alabama Motor Speedway as his favorite track from over forty speedways he visited with the series. Helton set fast time and appeared headed for his first win at the speedway on June 16, 2007 before experiencing tire troubles. USCS Founder and President, Pete Walton said, ‘We wanted to do something special to remember Randy Helton for what he meant to us all and continue to honor him for the decade he raced here at this track, which was his favorite.” Friday’s race entitled the Race for the Randy’s also honors long time USCS competitor, Randy Scott from Franklin, Georgia, one of Helton’s closest friends as well.
Saturday night’s USCS presented by Goodyear Outlaw Thunder Tour winged sprint car program will feature a full program of racing in the Outlaw sprint cars that includes test and tune hot laps followed by the Goodyear Speed Dash that showcases the top six cars from the previous USCS main event in an edge-of-your-seat six-lap shootout followed by qualifying heat races and a Last Chance/B-Main race. The evening’s grand finale will be the 30-lap Randy Helton Memorial Race A-main event. The Nesmith Dirt Late Models and all other EAMS weekly racing divisions will join the winged sprint cars and winged mini-sprints on the action-packed racing program on Saturday night. The additional racing divisions on the card include the Limited Sportsman, Hobby, Rookie Late Models, Bombers and Road Warriors with a full program of racing action in each division.
Ten-time USCS National Champion, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee and the current 2012 National points leader, Tim Crawley from Benton, Arkansas head the entry list for the East Alabama Motor Speedway USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour event. Gray and Crawley are both among the top twenty-five drivers in the Nation in feature wins over the past 6 years with well over 60 feature wins each. Crawley has won over forty USCS contests over the past four seasons and as Gray is a threat to win on any given night. Crawley has four USCS feature wins during the current (2012) season. Terry Gray has one feature win.
Additionally entered at the top of the list is the 2011 Randy Helton Memorial Race Champion, and two-time 2011 USCS feature winner, nineteen year-old female sprint car star, Morgan Turpen from Oakland, Tennessee. Turpen was the runner-up for the USCS National Championship in the 2010 and 2011 title chases. Turpen was also the 2010 USCS presented by Goodyear, National Rookie of the Year. Turpen captured her career first USCS presented by Goodyear feature win at East Alabama Motor Speedway during last year’s Randy Helton Memorial Race event. She also won a USCS main event at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, North Carolina in the USCS Southern Thunder region season finale on October 1, 2011. She is only the second woman to ever reach the www.rockauto.com USCS victory lane in the sixteen year history of USCS competition.
Turpen is expected to be joined by several other talented young drivers who are entered including seventeen-year-old 2010 USCS Southern Thunder regional series Rookie of the Year and two-time 2011 USCS feature winner, Eric Riggins, Jr. from Charlotte, North Carolina. Turpen ranks fifth in the National standings while Riggins in sixth.Both are looking of their first 2012 visit to the www.rockauto.com victory lane
Joining those young guns on the entry list are at least five other past USCS Rookie of the Year drivers who are having very successful 2012 seasons. Those are 2008 USCS Rookie of the Year, Anthony Nicholson from Bartlett, Tennessee who is currently in 3rd place in the National point standings and 2011 USCS Rookie of the Year, Jordon Mallett from Greenbrier, Arkansas who is seventh in the National point standings followed by 2006 USCS Rookie of the Year, Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas who got his career-first USCS main event win at East Alabama Motor Speedway during the series 2007 visit. The past “Rookie” list also includes and 2009 USCS Rookie of the Year, Justin Carver from Drummonds, Tennessee who ranks fourth in the National standings. 2010 USCS Mid South Thunder regional series Rookie of the Year, Jerod Roller from Olive Branch, Mississippi..
In addition to those USCS young guns (drivers under 25 years old) expected entries include, 2006 USCS National Rookie of the Year, Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas Jake McLain from Indian Trail, North Carolina and nineteen year-old New York transplant Nick Bashford from China Grove, North Carolina. The 2009 USCS National Rookie of the Year Justin Carver from Cordova, Tennessee is also entered as is Memphis, Tennessee young gun Brian Bell and Nick Defeo from Marietta, Georgia.
Other notable USCS entries include: The 1998 USCS Rookie of the Year and 2004 USCS regional series Champion Johnny Bridges from Cherryville, North Carolina. Bridges who is always a threat to win, will bring his rare (to sprint car racing) Roush-Yates Ford powered car to East Alabama. Additionally expected are 2010 USCS Carolina Thunder Nationals Champion, and three-time 2010 USCS feature winner and 2011 feature winner Matt Linder from Hoschton, Georgia,
Also expected entries include veteran drivers Lance Moss from Cherryville, North Carolina David Thorman from Greenville, South Carolina and two other Georgia drivers, Joe Larkin from Suwannee and Brian Thomas from Pendergrass are entered as is Bob Auld from Largo, Florida.
East Alabama Motor Speedway is located just six miles West of Phenix City, Alabama 4238 US Highway 80 West. The track’s phone number is 334-297-2594 and the website is www.eamsdirt.com For USCS rules and info, please visit the Official USCS web site at www.uscsracing.com or call 770-460-7223.