Westward Ho -- Lucas Oil Sprint Cars Left Coast Bound!
TULSA, Okla. (February 2, 2011) -- The Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National series kicks off the 2011 campaign in just one week. And the 20th year of ASCS competition opens up in new territory with a pair of California tracks hosting the initial pair of events before the series moves on to Tucson's USA Raceway for the Fifth Annual Copper on Dirt.
The first green flag of 2011 for the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars flies next Wednesday night, February 9, at the Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, CA, with the series then shifting up the road to Hanford, California's Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway on Saturday night. Both California events, the initial pair of Golden State cards in ASCS National history, offer up the standard $6,000-to-win, $500-to-start one day Lucas Oil National purse.
From there, the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars move on to Tucson's USA Raceway on February 18-19 for the fifth edition of the Copper on Dirt which also includes open competition Midgets, Late Models and Modifieds.
All four initial nights of action at Tulare, Hanford and Tucson will be taped for later broadcast on the VERSUS Network.
While the series opens up the 2011 season at a pair of new venues along with a new event to the Lucas Oil Sprint Car slate, the series championship chase will get off to an interesting start in other ways as well.
The Jason Johnson Racing No. 41 team will be represented in the initial steps of its title defense, but the driver's portion of the $60,000 Lucas Oil ASCS championship will be wide open as reigning champion Jason Johnson will be dealing with unfinished business "Down Under".
After capturing his second Lucas Oil ASCS National championship in 2010, the Eunice, LA, native has continued his winning ways with the World Series SprintCars in Australia. "The Ragin' Cajun" captured the WSS Speedweek title and has brought his team to within four points of the WSS owner's championship after missing the initial events as a driver while finishing off the 2010 Lucas Oil title.
With Australian car owner Alan Haynes also a primary supporter of
Johnson's JJR stateside efforts, Johnson will stay Down Under to try to deliver the WSS crown to Haynes before rejoining the Lucas Oil ASCS tour at the Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals in Mesquite, TX, on March 25-26.
While Johnson will spot his Lucas Oil rivals four nights in the driver's portion of the title chase, the JJR No. 41 will be represented on the car owner point charts with Elk Grove, California's Kyle Larson reportedly racing under the JJR banner at Tulare, Hanford and Tucson.
Johnson's absence will open the door to the driver's championship to all variety of hungry rivals including the likes of 2009 series titlist Shane Stewart and 2010 runner-up Brady Bacon. Both Stewart and Bacon have turned laps at Tulare's Thunderbowl Raceway in past Trophy Cup events.
In addition to Stewart, others looking to add another ASCS National title in 2011 include four-time champ Gary Wright, three-time champion Tim Crawley and 2001 champion Zach Chappell.
Vying to bag a first Lucas Oil ASCS National title in addition to Bacon are the likes of Jeff Swindell, Johnny Herrera, Tony Bruce, Jr., Matt Covington, Dustin Morgan, Seth Bergman, Chad Corken and rookie contender Logan Forler among others.
Jack Dover and Danny Wood, both top series contenders over each of the past two seasons, are questionable for the opening events pending truck and trailer issues.
The Lucas Oil Sprint Car regulars will be faced will all variety of tough competition in the opening events with Southern California and then Southwest rivals. In addition to 2010 King of California Larson, other top California contenders are expected for next Wednesday night's Thunderbowl opener include reigning Lucas Oil ASCS Rookie of the Year Kyle Hirst, Tim Kaeding, Tommy Tarlton, Bud Kaeding, Andy Forsberg, Andy Gregg, Willie Croft, Mason Moore and Steven Tiner among others.
Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters
When & Where:
Wednesday night, February 9 at 6:00 p.m. -- Thunderbowl Raceway
Saturday night, February 12 -- Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway
Friday night, February 18 at 6:00 p.m. -- Fifth Annual Copper on Dirt at USA Raceway
Saturday night, February 19 at 6:00 p.m. -- Fifth Annual Copper on Dirt at USA Raceway
Thunderbowl Raceway (Tulare, CA) -- 1/3-mile, high-banked clay oval located off SR 99 to Exit 86, then 0.5 miles west on Bardsley Avenue to gate 14. Track phone: 559-688-0909.
Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway (Hanford, CA) -- 3/8-mile, high-banked clay oval located south of SR 198 on 10th Avenue to the Fairgrounds. Track phone: 559-584-7223.
USA Raceway (Tucson, AZ) -- 3/8-mile, clay oval located east of Tucson off I-10 Exit 268, then 1.6 mile south on Craycroft Road, which turns into Los Reales. Track phone: 520-574-8515.