Knoxville 360 Nationals preview

O'Reilly ASCS Knoxville 360 Nationals This Weekend TULSA, Okla. (August 1, 2006) -- Nebraska's Billy Alley has captured the last two editions of the O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series Knoxville 360 Nationals in Knoxville, IA. ...

O'Reilly ASCS Knoxville 360 Nationals This Weekend

TULSA, Okla. (August 1, 2006) -- Nebraska's Billy Alley has captured the last two editions of the O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series Knoxville 360 Nationals in Knoxville, IA. But the defending ASCS Midwest Region champion will have his hands full as he tries for number three in a row this weekend with a record field nearing 150 entries.

Alley, currently second in Knoxville Raceway's 410 points, will be at the wheel of Mark Burch's No. 1m entry, the same ride in which Terry McCarl kicked off the 2006 season with a triumph in East Bay Raceway Park's "King of the 360's". The East Bay victory was worth $10,000, the same amount up for grabs in Saturday night's Knoxville 360 Nationals finale.

In total, the three-night event, which includes qualifying nights on Thursday and Friday, pays out more than $80,000, with another $30,000-plus (including $5,000 for the winner) at stake in Sunday night's invitational Brodix Tournament of Champions.

Alley is one of three past Knoxville 360 Nationals expected to vie for another crown, with past O'Reilly ASCS National champions Garry Lee Maier and Gary Wright both trying to add more Knoxville accolades. Maier topped the Knoxville event in both 1992 and 1993, while Wright raced to victory lane in 1998.

Wright enters the event atop the O'Reilly American Sprint Cars on Tour National point charts, holding a slim 34-point lead over Louisiana's Jason Johnson, who ranks among the hottest drivers in the country with 15 overall wins in ASCS competition and 18 total including a pair of Australia wins in January.

Broken Arrow, Oklahoma's Nick Smith and Warsaw, Missouri's Jesse Hockett are not only tied for third in O'Reilly ASCoT National points, but tied for the lead in the Brodix Rookie of the Year points race as well.

Former series champion Travis Rilat enters the event ranked fifth in points, with defending ASCS Sooner Region champion and current Sooner Region point leader Sean McClelland of Collinsville, OK, ranked sixth on the National circuit. Other top National contenders expected for the weekend include 2005 National runner-up Darren Stewart, 2005 Most Improved Driver Sam Hafertepe, Jr., 2005 Rookie of the Year Tony Bruce, Jr., and Abe Sherwood.

The ASCS Regions will be well-represented atop Knoxville's famed half-mile clay oval as well. In addition to current American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region point leader Sean McClelland and ASCS Mid-South Region point leader Darren Stewart, other current point leaders making the trek to Knoxville include Toby Chapman (Midwest Region), Ken Mackey (Sprints on Dirt), Chuck Swenson (Northern Plains) and Chuck Hebing (Patriot Sprint Group).

Approximately half the field will race through a full program of time trials, heat races and features on Thursday night, with the other half competing in Friday night's qualifying event. The qualifying night results will determine Saturday night's championship feature lineups.

In its 15th year of sanctioning Sprint Car racing in the United States, the American Sprint Car Series will present approximately 180 nights of racing at nearly 100 tracks throughout 27 different states and Canada in 2006 including the National Tour and its Regional Tours (Gulf South, Mid-South, Midwest, Northern Plains, Patriot Sprint Group, Rocky Mountain, Sooner, Southern and Sprints on Dirt).

Additional information regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com.

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Series Sprint
Drivers Darren Stewart , Travis Rilat , Jesse Hockett , Nick Smith , Jason Johnson , Sean McClelland