Spring Beckons! TULSA, Okla. (March 4, 2008) -- With one last blast of winter making its way across the country, a pair of Spring Nationals events are on tap for the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series as the...
TULSA, Okla. (March 4, 2008) -- With one last blast of winter making its way across the country, a pair of Spring Nationals events are on tap for the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series as the $50,000 championship chase picks up steam.
And it could prove to be the most wide-open shootout for the championship in series history if the list of assembled title contenders is any indication.
The series returns to action next weekend, March 14-15, with the 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals in Mesquite, TX. Then, one weekend later on March 21-22, it's on to Oklahoma City, OK, for State Fair Speedway's Spring Nationals.
The O'Reilly ASCoT National championship title chase includes five past series champions, with four-time and reigning series champion Gary Wright of Hooks, TX, joined by 2003 champion Travis Rilat (Forney, TX), 2001 champion Zach Chappell (Talala, OK), 2000 champion Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, OK) and 1992 kingpin Garry Lee Maier (Cimarron, KS).
Wright will often feature a different look in 2008, as he will alternate between his familiar No. 9 and the No. 01 machine after joining forces with Missouri car owner Donnie Cooper in the off-season.
Rilat is back on Tour in the familiar F&J Construction No. 29 machine, while Chappell rejoins the ASCS National Tour with plans of splitting time between the family-owned No. 50z machine and Terry Henry's No. 92 entry.
Wayne Johnson pursues another title at the helm of the H&H Enterprises No. 94 after a close third place finish last year, while Maier (the initial ASCS champion in 1992) rejoins the Tour aboard Scott Brown's familiar Lubbock Wrecker Service/Max Jantz Excavating No. 11x machine.
And even with five past National champions vying for the 2008 crown, the betting favorite could in fact be Eunice, Louisiana's Jason Johnson. After all, Johnson did capture the $10,000 to win finale in the series' season opener at Tampa's East Bay Raceway Park aboard Lanny Row's The Shop Motorsports No. 41 and enters next weekend's Spring Nationals at Devil's Bowl just one point behind Wright after posting runner-up finishes in series points over each of the past two seasons.
Then toss in the Rookie crop, led by Lincoln, Nebraska's Don Droud, Jr., who takes over the Bobby Sparks No. 91 entry. With title aspirations overshadowing the Rookie race, Droud takes on a group of Rookie contenders that includes 20-year-old Eric Baldaccini of Keller, TX, and 17-year-old Kathryne Minter of Bedford, TX, both of whom took in the Florida opener.
Piloting the No. B4 entry, Baldaccini has ranked among the top ten in American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region points over each of the past two seasons, while Minter, driving the lucky No. 13 machine, claimed eighth in points and Rookie of the Year honors with the ASCS Gulf South Region last year.
Picking up the Tour at Devil's Bowl will be another pair of Rookie contenders including Washington-state native Gary Taylor, a past ASCS Rocky Mountain Region champion and 2007 SMRS Midget champion that now calls Tulsa home, as well as Tulsa-area racer Kenneth Walker.
Taylor takes the helm of Mike Eubanks' Tel-Star Communications No. 5*, while Walker will wheel his own No. 2 Sprint Car after picking off a ranking of ninth last year despite competing in a limited slate of events.
With a stellar cast of title contenders, the O'Reilly ASCoT National series is currently slated for 44 nights of racing action at 23 different tracks throughout a dozen different states in 2008.
The Series: O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour (ASCoT)
When & Where:
Friday night, March 14 at 8:00 p.m. -- 35th Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals prelim
Saturday night, March 15 at 8:00 p.m. -- 35th Annual Devil's Bowl pring SNationals finale
Friday night, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. -- State Fair Speedway Spring Nationals prelim
Saturday night, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. -- State Fair Speedway Spring Nationals finale