Davie Franek claimed the 5th annual USCS Winter Heat Series 2022 title

Davie Franek USCS Photo

By Pete Walton
Atlanta, GA – March 26, 2022 – Davie “No Panic” Franek from Wantage, New Jersey claimed the USCS Winter Heat Series presented by Engler Machine and Tool Championship for the 2022 version of the 12-race kickoff to the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder 2022 season schedule. Franek used two stops in the USCS Victory Lane in the Round 1 season opener at Hendry County Motorsports Park in Clewiston, Florida on February 4th and another win during the Round 11 contest at North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, Alabama on March 19th to aid his cause. Franek was consistent during all ten race events that were completed as he had eight top-five and ten top-ten finishes along the way to his first USCS Winter Heat Series title.

The defending United Sprint Car Series National Champion and 2015 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Inductee, Danny Smith from Chillicothe, Ohio finished in the second position in the mini-series standings.

Smith was followed by thirteen-time USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour National Champion and himself a class of 2022 National Sprint Car Hall of Famer, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee in third place in the Winter Heat standings.

Johnny Bridges from Cherryville, North Carolina followed Gray in fourth place in the standings after competing in all ten events. Jeff Willingham from Ripley, Mississippi rounded out the top five in the point standings after the first ten races that also awarded National Championship points toward the National title. All five of those drivers were awarded money from the Dirt2Media sponsored point fund as announced for any driver who competed in all of the 5th Annual USCS Winter Heat Series contested events.

The final standings showed Corbin Gurley from Hebron, Indiana who competed in eight events in sixth place followed by Aussie Brayden Colley from Warrnambool, VIC in sixth place after he competed in eight events also. Chris Martin from Ankeny, Iowa finished in the eighth position in the Winter Heat standings.

A pair of Marks, Mark Ruel, Jr. from Jacksonville, Florida, who competed in six of the events, picked up the February 11th win at Needmore Speedway in Norman Park, Georgia and the Nation’s 360 sprint car wins leader over the 2020 and 2021 season’s Mark Smith from Sunbury, Pennsylvania finished in the ninth and tenth places in the standings respectively.

Mark Smith made his five appearances during the 2022 version of the USCS Winter Heat Series count by winning three times in Terry Witherspoon’s #43 Mach 1 Chassis sprint car built by Mark Smith himself. He won the USCS Winter Heat Round 2 event at Hendry County Motorsports Park on February 5th then double up by winning both nights at Southern Raceway in Milton, Florida on February 25th and 26th.

Additional feature winners during the six weekends of the stiff competition were seven-time Knoxville Raceway 410 Sprint Car Champion and National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee Terry McCarl from Altoona, Iowa at Needmore Speedway on Saturday, February 12th, Michael Miller from Van Cleave, Mississippi on Friday, March 4th won Round 7 at Hattiesburg Speedway. On Saturday, March 5th, the defending and two-time USCS Mid-South Thunder regional series Champion, Dale Howard from Byhalia, Mississippi parked it in the USCS Victory Lane after the Round 8-weekend finale at Hattiesburg Speedway.

Mother Nature was the victor for Rounds 9 and 10 at Deep South Speedway when heavy rains canceled the Friday, March 11th event, and the continued wet grounds from Friday night and Saturday, March 12th was canceled as well after frigid unseasonable Gulf Coast temperatures with high winds wiped out the plans for Saturday evening as well.

On the final weekend at North Alabama Speedway near Tuscumbia, Alabama Davie Franek picked up that previously mentioned second USCS Winter Heat 2022 victory in Round 11. In the USCS Winter Heat mini-series finale on Sunday, March 20th, the 2013 USCS National Champion, Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas captured his 64th United Sprint Car Series victory.

Seventy-one different sprint car drivers from 19 states, plus the countries of Australia, Canada, and England competed in the ten completed events. There were, as detailed seven different winners at the five tracks included on the 2022 USCS Winter Heat Series schedule.

The next USCS Outlaw Thunder Tour weekend of events are at two Carolina tracks about an hour apart. The first night is at Travelers Rest Speedway in Travelers Rest, South Carolina near Greenville, South Carolina on Friday, April 8th. The following night on Saturday, April 9th the USCS drivers make their first stop of the 2022 season at famed Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, South Carolina.

For more United Sprint Car Series info and complete USCS National and regional schedules, please visit www.uscsracing.com You may also like and follow USCS at their USCS Racing Facebook page and /or follow USCS on Twitter @uscsracing If you still have questions please call the United Sprint Car Series office at 770-865-6097.

Final 5th Annual USCS Winter Heat Ser1es (2022) Top Ten

Pos Car Driver Hometown Points

1 28F Davie Franek, Wantage, NJ 1448

2 4 Danny Smith, Chillicothe, OH 1400

3 10 Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN 1334

4 07 Johnny Bridges, Cherryville, NC 1306

5 28 Jeff Willingham, Ripley, MS 1228

6 12 Corbin Gurley, Hebron, IN 1050

7 20 Brayden Cooley, Warrnambool, VIC 984

8 44 Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA 848

9 83 Mark Ruel Jr, Jacksonville, FL 752

10 M1 Mark Smith, Sunbury, PA 702