Turpen wins USCS Feature at Hattiesburg

Morgan Turpen. (David Sink Photo)
Morgan Turpen with car owner Terry Gray. (David Sink Photo)

HATTIESBURG, Ms. (March 3, 2017) —
HATTIESBURG, MS – March 3, 2017 – Two-time and defending United Sprint Car Series National Champion Morgan Turpen of Cordova, TN served notice on Friday night that she is looking for a third-straight title. Turpen started from the K&N Filters Pole Position, then led all 30 laps to race into the www.RockAuto.com USCS Victory Lane after the 2017 USCS season opener at Hattiesburg Speedway. The win was Turpen’s 13th career USCS feature win.

The 2016 USCS Rookie of the Year, 14-tear-old Danny Sams III of Englewood, FL showed that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in his sophomore season with a second-place finish and a win in the Butlerbuilt Eight-Lap Third Heat Race. Sams outran a future first ballot Hall of Fame Inductee that was a surprise late entry.

Tony Stewart of Columbus, IN started fifth and finished third, as he begins a new chapter in his storied racing career. After winning three NASCAR Championships and an Indy-Car title, Stewart retired from those forms of racing to return to his racing roots to “have fun, race when he wants, and where he wants.”

Race fans traveled to Hattiesburg Speedway on Friday night to fill the grandstands after Social media sightings of Stewart’s tow rig spread like wildfire as it was spotted in Southern Mississippi. Stewart warmed up the crowd with a win in the Engler Machine and Tool First eight-lap Heat Race.

Former USCS National and Mid-South regional series Champion Marshall Skinner of Marion, AR took the fourth spot in the main event and the 2011 USCS Rookie of the Year, Jordon Mallett of Greenbrier, AR finished fifth. Todd Fayard of Saucier, MS was sixth and 11-time USCS National Champion Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN came home in the seventh spot. Gray also won the six-lap Hoosier Tire Speed Dash. The 2015 Riverside Speedway (AR) Champion, Andy McElhannon of Nesbit, MS finished eighth, Kyle Amerson of Montgomery, AL was ninth, and Howard Moore of Memphis, TN rounded out the top ten.

In other preliminary action, Harli White of Lindsay, OK won the Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Second eight-lap Heat Race. Danny Sams III raced to victory in the Butlerbuilt eight-lap Third Heat. A total of 25 drivers from ten different states entered the 2017 USCS season opener.

Turpen grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag to start the race, followed by Harli White, Sams III, Skinner, 2013 USCS National Champion Derek Hagar of Marion, AR, National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Inductee Danny Smith of Chillicothe, OH, and Stewart. Skinner and Hagar got by Sams on the second lap to take over the third and fourth spots respectively.

Hagar was on a mission to the front of the pack, as he passed Skinner for the third spot on lap three. The fifth lap saw Sams move up to fourth and Smith dropped Skinner back to the fifth spot. It all went wrong for two front runners on lap six, as Shane Morgan of Biloxi, MS spun in turn four. That sent both White and Hagar to the pit area and ended their battle for the second spot.

The field settled into a race pace after the restart with Turpen leading Sams III, Smith, Skinner and Stewart. Smoke was able to pass Skinner on lap eight to move up into the fourth spot. Smith and Stewart, two seasoned veterans that cut their teeth racing Sprint Cars in Indiana, battled for the third spot. Smith brought out the caution flag on lap 17, when he slowed on the speedway.

That moved Stewart up to the third spot for the restart behind Turpen and Sams III. Morgan Turpen maintained her lead over the teenager and the legend to pick up the win. The USCS cars and stars, including will travel to Columbus, MS for a Saturday night show on the Black Ice at Magnolia Motor Speedway.

In support Division action, teenager Connor Morrell of Bradenton, FL who was the series 2016 Rookie of the Year at age 12, took the lead on lap seven and won the 15 USCS 600 Mini Sprint feature race. It was the first career win.. The 25-lap K&N Filers USCS Outlaw Modified feature race was won by Hunter Wilbanks of Lakeland, TN, who led wire-to-wire. It was also Wilbanks first USCS and career win in a modified race car.

For rules and updated schedule information about the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour and other USCS series, please visit www.uscsracing.com or call the series office at 770-460-7223 or 770-865-6097. You can also like the United Sprint Car Series Facebook page at USCS Racing.

USCS Sprint Car Series presented by K&N Filters Speedweek Round One A-main: 30-laps

1. 10M Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN
2. 24D Danny Sams III, Englewood, FL
3. 14 Tony Stewart, Columbus, IN
4. 26 Marshall Skinner, Marion, AR
5. 14m Jordon Mallett, Greenbrier, AR
6. 13 Todd Fayard, Saucier, MS
7. 10 Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN
8. 42 Andy McElhannon, Nesbit, MS
9. 29a Kyle Amerson, Montgomery, AL
10. 40 Howard Moore, Memphis, TN
11. 21 Butch David, Geismar, LA
12. 07 Brandon Taylor, Cumming, GA
13. 01T Brandon Olson, Biloxi, MS
14. 28 Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS
15. 93 Jake Knight, Georgetown, MS
16. 88 Brandon Blendon, Gulfport, MS
17. 4 Danny Smith, Chillicothe, OH
18. 17w Harli White, Lindsay, OK
19. 9jr.Derek Hagar, Marion, AR
20. 01 Shane Morgan, Biloxi, MS
21. 52 Cody Karl, Gulfport, MS DNS
22. 1s Joey Schmidt, Ellisville, MS DNS
23. 38 Tony Agin, Ft. Myers, FL DNS
24. 27 Curt Terrell, Bartlett, TN DNS
25. 29s Rusty Sanford, Seminary, MS – DNS

USCS Sprint Car Series Race Awards:
Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: 10 Terry Gray
Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: 14 Tony Stewart
Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Second Heat: 17w Harli White
Pro Shocks Third Heat: 24d Danny Sams III
K&N Filters Pole Award: 10M Morgan Turpen
JE Pistons Top Guns Award: 10M Morgan Turpen (1st place)
PRO Shocks Champion Choice Award 24d Danny Sams III (2nd place)
K&N Filters Podium (3rd place) Award: 14 Tony Stewart
Wilwood Disc Brakes Hard Charger Award: 28 Jeff Willingham
Saldana Racing Products Super Sixth Award: 13 Todd Fayard
Pyrotect Racing Cells Lucky Seven Award: 10 Terry Gray
DHR Suspension Eighth Place Award: 42 Andy McElhannon
DMI/Bulldog Rear Ends Top Ten Award: 40 Howard Moore.

Hoosier Tire Speed Dash: 1. 10 Terry Gray; 2. 10m Morgan Turpen; 3. 28 Jeff Willingham; 4. 9jr.Derek Hagar; 5. 26 Marshall Skinner; 6. Danny Sams III.

Engler Machine and Tool First Heat: 1. 14 Tony Stewart; 2. 14 Jordon Mallett; 3. 01 Shane Morgan; 4. 40 Howard Moore; 5. 88 Brandon Blendon; 6. 38 Tony Agin; 7. 01T Brandon Olson; 8. 27 Curt Terrell; 9. 52 Cody Karl – DNS.

Brown and Miller Racing Solutions Second Heat: 1. 17w Harli White; 2. 9jr. Derek Hagar; 3. 29a Kyle Amerson; 4. 13 Todd Fayard; 5. 42 Andy McElhannon; 6. 21 Butch David; 7. 07 Brandon Taylor; 8. 29s Rusty Sandford.

Butlerbuilt Third Heat: 1. 24d Danny Sams III; 2. 4 Danny Smith; 3. 26 Marshall Skinner; 4. 10m Morgan Turpen; 5. 10 Terry Gray; 6. 93 Jake Knight; 7 1s Joey Schmidt; 8. 28 Jeff Willingham.