Season openers news 2005-04-06

ASCS Openers; Half Way Through TULSA, Okla. (April 6, 2005) -- Three down, three to go. Then just another 100-plus events and the 14th season of racing for the American Sprint Car Series will be in the books. That's...

ASCS Openers; Half Way Through

TULSA, Okla. (April 6, 2005) -- Three down, three to go. Then just another 100-plus events and the 14th season of racing for the American Sprint Car Series will be in the books.

That's one of the beauties of the American Sprint Car Series. Five Regions to go along with the O'Reilly National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores makes for six separate openers.

The busiest Sprint Car sanctioning body in the nation kicked off less than a month ago as the Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores ASCS Gulf South Region got under way at Champion Park Speedway in Haughton, LA, on March 12.

The following weekend, the O'Reilly National Tour fired off with the 32nd Annual Devil's Bowl Speedway Spring Nationals in Mesquite, TX, on March 18-19. Then, following an off weekend for Easter, the American Bank of Oklahoma ASCS Sooner Region opened up the 2005 campaign this past Saturday night at Tulsa Speedway.

Three openers remain, with the all-new ASCS Midwest Region kicking off at Nebraska Raceway Park's I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, NE, next Friday night, April 15. The following weekend, the Heintz Performance ASCS Southern Tour goes green at South Carolina's Laurens County Speedway on Saturday night, April 23. And finally, when the last of the winter's snow melts from the Rockies, the ASCS Rocky Mountain Region gets action under way at Sweetwater Speedway in Rock Springs, WY, on May 14.

If the opening events contested thus far are any indication, the balance of the openers as well as the rest of the season will be a treat to be enjoyed by race fans in 2005.

The Gulf South and Sooner Region openers both featured first time winners, while a driver that hadn't reached victory lane since 2001 swept both nights of the National Tour opener. Picking a winner thus far has been a precarious proposition.

Twenty-one-year-old Ray Allen Kulhanek broke into Gulf South Region victory lane for the first time despite a loss of power steering, while Sean McClelland shook the monkey off his back by capturing the Sooner Region opener. Already a winner of three career ASCS National Tour events, 1997 National Tour Rookie of the Year Danny Jennings snapped a dry-spell by topping both ends of the Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals.

Two drivers have competed in each of the three opening events, including 20-year-old Tony Bruce, Jr., of Liberal, KS, and 19-year-old Sam Hafertepe, Jr., of Sunnyvale, TX. After 14 Florida starts, Bruce enjoyed an off weekend during Easter while Hafertepe joined fellow ASCS racer Zach Chappell in Nashville for ARCA competition.

Look for Bruce to make his fourth opener when he makes the trek to I-80 Speedway for the Midwest Region debut next week. The Southern Tour opener is out of the question for Bruce, who enters the National Tour double at Memphis Motorsports Park on April 22-23 ranked second in points and ahead of fellow Brodix Rookie of the Year contenders Lee Sowell and Jake Martens.

Eighty-three different drivers from fourteen different states have already competed in at least one of the four ASCS events completed this season. By season's end, approximately 500 different drivers will have taken part in at least one of the approximately 120 ASCS events contested at more than 50 different racetracks in at least 15 states.

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

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Series Sprint
Drivers Danny Jennings , Ray Allen Kulhanek , Sean McClelland