By Pete Walton
Atlanta, GA – June 19, 2012 – Wild and exciting winged Outlaw sprint car racing will headline the inaugural “Sprint Car Wars” racing program at Cleveland Speedway on Saturday night, June 23rd . The United Sprint Car Series “Outlaw Thunder” Tour presented by Goodyear (www.uscsracing.com) will roar into the high-banked 3/8-mile East Tennessee red-clay oval for their first visit in twelve seasons to historic Cleveland Speedway.
This race is the one and only USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour event visit scheduled during the 2012 season to Cleveland Speedway. The race will award National Championship points as well as points in the USCS Mid South and Southern Thunder regional series standings. The USCS Mid South region normally contests races in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Western Tennessee. The USCS Southern Thunder regional series consists of races in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Eastern Tennessee.
The special two region challenge event is expected to bring top winged Outlaw sprint car drivers from at least six 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 120 M.P.H. It is not uncommon to see 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.
Saturday night’s Outlaw sprint car action will feature a full program of racing in the Outlaw sprint cars that includes test and tune hot laps followed by the evening’s first sprint car race, the Goodyear Speed Dash that showcases the top six cars from the previous USCS main event in an edge-of-your-seat six-car shootout. Next up will be qualifying heat races. The evening’s grand finale will be the 30-lap “Sprint Car Wars” 2012 USCS A-main event.
Several of the Cleveland Speedway weekly racing divisions will join the traveling winged sprint car series for a full night of family entertainment. Those divisions include the A Hobby and B Hobby divisions as well as the Pony Stock and new Cruiser divisions. There will be a full program of racing action in each division. The competitive B-Hobby division will be contesting a $500 to win Mid-Season Championship race on Saturday night as well.
Ten-time USCS National Champion, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee and current 2012 National points leader, Tim Crawley from Benton, Arkansas head the entry list for the Cleveland 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. He and Gray are both threats to win on any given night. Crawley has four USCS feature wins during the current (2012) season. Terry Gray has one feature win so far in 2012.
Additionally entered at the top of the list is 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 the 2011 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 fourth in the National standings while Riggins in fifth. 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 three 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 2006 USCS Rookie of the Year, Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas who got his career-eighth and 2012 third USCS main event win at East Alabama Motor Speedway during the series annual visit last weekend. The past “Rookie” list also includes and 2009 USCS Rookie of the Year, Justin Carver from Drummonds, Tennessee who ranks sixth in the top ten of the USCS National standings. Also entered are 2012 Rookie of the Year candidates, Brandon Hanks from Burlison, Tennessee, Kyle Amerson from Matthews, Alabama and Stacy Mashburn from Newnan, 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 Cleveland Speedway. Additionally expected is 2010 USCS Carolina Thunder Nationals Champion and six-time USCS feature winner Matt Linder from Hoschton, Georgia,
Also expected entries include veteran drivers: Aubrey Black from Lookout Mountain, Georgia and three other veteran Georgia drivers including Joe Larkin from Suwannee, Brian Thomas from Pendergrass and Nick DeFeo from Marietta, Georgia. Bob Auld from Largo, Florida, Jeff Willingham from Ripley, Mississippi and veteran sprint car racer Ray Bugg from Iuka, Mississippi are also expected to compete as is Alex Pettas from Phoenix, Arizona.
Gates open at 5:00pm on Saturday and racing action begins at 7:30pm sharp! Cleveland Speedway is located less than one mile off Interstate 75 at Tennessee Exit 20 North of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The physical address for the facility is 2420 South Lee Highway Cleveland, TN 37311. The track’s phone number is 423-479-8574 and the website is www.clevelandspeedway.net For USCS information, please visit the Official USCS website at www.uscsracing.com or call 770-460-7223.
**PHOTO/CAPTION: Car #10: Ten-time USCS National and defending Champion Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee will lead a strong contingent of United Sprint Car Series winged Outlaw sprint car drivers from at least six states into Saturday night’s (June 23, 2012) “Sprint Car Wars 2012” speed spectacular at Cleveland Speedway in Cleveland, TN. (Paul Gray photo)
Photo/Caption #80: 2010 United Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year and two time 2011 main event winner, 19 year-old Morgan Turpen from Oakland, Tennessee will be the only female among a strong contingent of Outlaw sprint car drivers invading Cleveland Speedway on Saturday night (6/23) in the Sprint Car Wars 2012 battle around the historic oval. (Michael Moates photo)