ASCoT: Northern Swing pre-race notes

O'Reilly ASCoT -- Northern Swing is Up Next! TULSA, Okla. (June 5, 2008) -- The next spate of activity for the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series is little more than two weeks away, as the nation's premier ...

O'Reilly ASCoT -- Northern Swing is Up Next!

TULSA, Okla. (June 5, 2008) -- The next spate of activity for the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National series is little more than two weeks away, as the nation's premier traveling Sprint Car series makes its annual journey through the Midwest and northern plains.

A full contingent of 13 full-time ASCoT competitors will take on all variety of Regional and local hotshoes when the series takes to three tracks throughout Iowa and South Dakota from June 20 to June 28.

It all starts on Friday night, June 20, when the series invades the hallowed grounds of Iowa's Knoxville Raceway at the Marion County Fairgrounds, marking the series first time on the half-mile oval outside of the track's annual 360 Nationals. The ASCoT National series will be joined by the ASCS Midwest Region as well as a full complement of Knoxville Raceway regulars for the Friday night card.

Then four nights later, on Tuesday, June 24, it's on to Hartford, South Dakota's I-90 Speedway for the second year in a row, with the Northern Swing concluding on Saturday night, June 28, at Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, SD. The ASCoT National forces will be bolstered by the ASCS Northern Plains Regional shoes at both South Dakota events. Jason Johnson topped both the Hartford and Huron events last year.

The 2008 season has been a wildly unpredictable one thus far for the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour, with ten different drivers already reaching victory lane through the opening 13 feature events of the season, including five drivers that have posted a first career series win.

One thing that's not a surprise though is that four-time and reigning ASCS National champion Gary Wright sits atop the point charts. Gunning for an unprecedented fifth consecutive series crown, "The Texan" has finished among the top ten in all 13 feature events this season. Wright's consistency has resulted in a 38-point advantage with the initial one-third of the season essentially in the record books. While Wright has reached victory lane just once thus far however, it is Jason Johnson that has recently climbed into second in points on the strength of four feature wins.

After earning runner-up honors in ASCS National points over each of the past two seasons, Louisiana's Johnson ranks as the only driver to post more than one National victory this year. And he has piled on to the win count, allowing "The Ragin' Cajun" to chip away at the deficit incurred when forced to use a provisional starting position in an early season feature event.

Just 12 more points back in third is Oklahoma City native Wayne Johnson. The past ASCS National champion that now calls Knoxville, IA, home is the only driver other than Wright to start all 13 feature events without the aid of a provisional. While shut out of victory lane thus far, Johnson has finished among the top ten in 12 of 13 mains.

The trio of Zach Chappell, Travis Rilat and Garry Lee Maier have been dicing for position throughout the year, with Talala, Oklahoma's Chappell currently in fourth, Rilat of Forney, TX, in fifth and Cimarron, KS, racer Maier in sixth. Chappell, Rilat and Maier are all past ASCS National champions, making for five past series champions among the top six in points. Only Jason Johnson has yet to claim a crown.

Twenty-year-old Eric Baldaccini of Keller, TX, is currently ranked seventh in points and leading the way in the Brodix Rookie of the Year points chase. Baldaccini leads a talented Rookie crop that includes Sapulpa, Oklahoma's Kenneth Walker (ninth), Washington-state native Gary Taylor (12th), seventeen-year-old Kathryne Minter of Bedford, TX, (13th) and Greenville, TX, shoe Chris Tarrant (14th).

Adding an April 26 National win to an earlier Sooner Region victory, Nick Smith of Broken Arrow, OK, enters the Northern Swing on the upswing at eighth in points.

Rounding out the contingent of full-time ASCS National Tour travelers is 20-year-old Donnie Ray Crawford of Tulsa, OK. Crawford took the seat of Bobby Sparks' No. 91 entry during the series Red River Shootout at State Fair Speedway and Devil's Bowl Speedway on May 9-10 and posted his first career top-five feature finish in Sprint Car action with a fifth-place ASCS Sooner Region run at Little Rock's I-30 Speedway this past Saturday night.

Completing the current top ten in ASCS National driver points is 18-year-old Jack Dover of Springfield, NE, who captured his first career National win at Oklahoma City's State Fair Speedway on May 9.

Fargo, North Dakota's Natalie Sather kicks off her ASCS Midwest Region title defense at the June 20 Knoxville Raceway event, while 20-year-old Lee Grosz of Harwood, ND, opens his ASCS Northern Plains Region title defense as well during the upcoming Northern Swing.

The Series:O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour (ASCoT)

When & Where:Friday night, June 20 -- Knoxville Raceway
Tuesday night, June 24 -- I-90 Speedway
Saturday night, June 28 -- Dakota State Fair Speedway

Track Information:
Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA) -- 0x00bd-mile, semi-banked dirt oval located on the north edge of Knoxville on SR 14 at the Marion County Fairgrounds. For more information, contact the track at 641-842-5431.

I-90 Speedway (Hartford, SD) -- 3/8-mile, high-banked dirt oval located three miles west of Hartford on SR 38. For more information, contact the track at 605-528-6380.

Dakota State Fair Speedway (Huron, SD) -- 3/8-mile, semi-banked dirt oval located just south of US 14 on the northwest edge of Huron. For more information, contact the track at 605-352-4848.

O'Reilly ASCoT I-90 Speedway History:
The ASCS National Tour took to the I-90 Speedway oval last for the first time in 2007 and it was Jason Johnson awarded the victory after apparent winner Sam Hafertepe, Jr., came up light at the scales.

-credit: ascs

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Travis Rilat , Wayne Johnson , Donnie Ray Crawford , Chris Tarrant , Jason Johnson