ASCS: Series Tucson preview

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Lucas Oil ASCS Set for USA Raceway's Copper on Dirt!

TULSA, Okla. (February 14, 2011) -- With the initial pair of California events inked into the record books over the past week, the Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters National series moves on to Tucson, Arizona's USA Raceway for this weekend's Fifth Annual Copper on Dirt.

An open practice on Thursday night will precede two full nights of Lucas Oil Sprint Car action atop the 3/8-mile USA Raceway clay oval on Friday and Saturday, with Saturday night's Copper on Dirt champion pocketing the $6,000 winner's share. Both nights of competition will be taped for later broadcast on the VERSUS Network.

While the Lucas Oil Sprint Cars have take to USA Raceway as headliners of the Western World Championships each of the past two Novembers, this week will mark the first time as a part of the February classic that also includes open competition Midgets, Late Models and Modifieds.

The Lucas Oil Sprint Car contingent knew they would have their hands full with the California contenders in the initial pair of events and that proved to be exactly the case with San Jose's Tim Kaeding and Elk Grove's Kyle Larson fending off the National forces in Golden State events.

Kaeding bested a 32-car field Wednesday night at Tulare's Thunderbowl Raceway to win the first Lucas Oil ASCS National event ever contested in California, with 18-year-old Larson topping another 32-car field at Hanford's Giant Chevrolet Kings Speedway on Saturday night.

While Kaeding tops the point charts with a 12-point advantage over Larson, 2009 series champ Shane Stewart fared best of the likely $60,000 championship contenders by escaping California ranked third after finishes of third and fifth.

Stewart worked for both of those top-five runs aboard Paul Silva's Wesmar-powered Rockstar Energy Drink No. 57 A.R.T. rallying from 16th at Tulare and then 23rd at Kings after burning his first provisional of the year, which could become a factor in the points chase as Stewart wont' be eligible for another full-point provisional until the season's midpoint. He does have two partial-point provisionals at his disposal.

After California's Tommy Tarlton and Oregon's Roger Crockett, New Mexico's Johnny Herrera is then next highest ranked Lucas Oil Sprint Car title contender in sixth with others leaving California with an edge including Washington's Seth Bergman, Oklahoma's Brady Bacon and Arkansas' Tim Crawley.

Other Lucas Oil Sprint Car contenders include four-time series champion Gary Wright (Hooks, TX), Jeff Swindell (Bartlett, TN), Tony Bruce, Jr. (Liberal, KS), Dustin Morgan (Tulsa, OK), Zach Chappell (Talala, OK), and Brodix Rookie of the Year contenders Aaron Reutzel (Clute, TX), Logan Forler (Eatonville, WA) and Justin Carver (Millington, TN).

With Jason Johnson busy finishing off a potential World Series SprintCar title in Australia before rejoining the chase at the Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals next March, Kyle Larson flew the JJR No. 41 banner in California to put JJR in top contention in owner points. Nebraska's Jack Dover is expected to be aboard the JJR No. 41 at this weekend's Copper on Dirt.

This weekend's Copper on Dirt will also be the first pair of 2011 points races for the ASCS Southwest Region, which Rick Ziehl has reigned as champion of over each of the past three years. After Thursday night's practice session, racing action is set to go green at 6:00 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday at Tucson's USA Raceway.

The Series:
Lucas Oil ASCS presented by K&N Filters

When & Where:
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

Track Information:

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.

-source: lw/ascs

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