Sprint Bandits to feature new format

TULSA, Okla. (January 23, 2004) -- Set to kick off its inaugural season at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX, on March 19-20 with the 31st Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals, Emmett Hahn's 410-ci Sprint Bandits series will feature the use of...

TULSA, Okla. (January 23, 2004) -- Set to kick off its inaugural season at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX, on March 19-20 with the 31st Annual Devil's Bowl Spring Nationals, Emmett Hahn's 410-ci Sprint Bandits series will feature the use of a newly developed format, designed to deliver a full night of more competitive racing that will benefit racers and fans alike.

The new format will include the use of passing points in Heat Races, with initial lineups based upon the pre-race draw, exactly like the passing points system in place in the American Sprint Car Series. The twist, however, lies in the Qualifying Races, which will take place after the Heat Races.

After Heat Races are completed, passing points will be tallied, with the Qualifying Races lined up fully inverted from passing point order, with high-point drivers at the back and low-point drivers at the front. Passing points will be awarded in the Qualifiers as well, giving racers two opportunities to accumulate passing points. Combined points from Heat Races and Qualifying Races will determine "A" and "B" Feature lineups.

"The decision to go with passing points rather than time trials really was an easy one, since in many cases track conditions can vary by as much as two or three seconds from the beginning of time trials to the end of time trials," commented Sprint Bandits founder and President Emmett Hahn. "In situations like that, going early or late in time trials can pretty much dictate how your night will ultimately go. Plus, with time trials, once drivers reach a transfer position in heat races, they don't always make much of an effort to advance their position and fans just see a lot of follow-the-leader stuff instead of good racing."

Hahn continued, "Adding the Qualifiers after the Heats essentially eliminates the "luck" of the draw. With the combined points from both Heats and Qualifiers, the drivers will have to race their way into the feature. And, let's say a guy cuts a tire or something early in his Heat. He'll start on the front of a Qualifier and has a chance to gain a lot more points, and rather than start at the back of a "B" Feature, he can improve his feature starting position and increase the chances of a good finish at the end of the night."

Through the use of computer modeling, several mock events were staged utilizing the format, with the format drawing rave reviews from drivers and owners that examined it during the recent PRI trade show in Indianapolis.

Hahn said, "Gary Wright and Bobby Sparks were a couple of the people that looked over this format, and they both said they loved it. They said it was the best format they had seen, that it's something that will definitely work."

"With this format, every position in every race is critical. The end result is that the paying fans will see a full night of exciting racing, from green to checkered flag in every race. And the racers will love it too. Rather than have their night determined largely by the luck of the draw, each driver has an equal opportunity to race his way into a good feature starting position," Hahn concluded.

In addition to the season opener at Devil's Bowl Speedway on March 19-20, the Sprint Bandits are also slated for Delta Bowl Speedway in Tunica, MS, on March 27 and Knoxville Raceway on May 29. The Sprint Bandits will also take on the USAC National Sprints in a non-wing challenge, non-point event at Memphis Motorsports Park on May 7, with a $5,000 bonus on tap for any Sprint Bandits regular that can top USAC's wingless aces.

Preparation of the balance of the approximately 20-25 race schedule is in the final stages. As the final touches are put on the 2004 slate, the Sprint Bandits inaugural season schedule will be released shortly.

Additional information regarding the Sprint Bandits is available at www.sprintbandits.com.

-lonnie wheatley-

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Series Sprint