COMPETITIVE O'REILLY USCS MID-SOUTH THUNDER TOUR TAKES CLOSE POINTS RACE TO NORTH ALABAMA SPEEDWAY AND COLUMBUS SPEEDWAY THIS WEEKEND FAYETTEVILLE, GA - The O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series Mid-South Thunder Tour heads to...
COMPETITIVE O'REILLY USCS MID-SOUTH THUNDER TOUR TAKES CLOSE POINTS RACE TO NORTH ALABAMA SPEEDWAY AND COLUMBUS SPEEDWAY THIS WEEKEND
FAYETTEVILLE, GA - The O'Reilly United Sprint Car Series Mid-South Thunder Tour heads to North Alabama Speedway in Tuscumbia, AL this Friday night and Columbus Speedway in Columbus, MS this Saturday night. After the first three events of the O'Reilly USCS newest regional series, just 32 points separate the top ten.
The competition is the fiercest among the top five with only 14 points separating point leader Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL and fifth-place Marshall Skinner of West Memphis, AR.
Adams, who is the winningest winged outlaw sprint car driver of the 21st century with 117 victories since 2000, has yet to win an O'Reilly USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour event. But, the 2000 O'Reilly USCS National Champion has put together a third and two second-place finishes to tally 371 points. The "Malabar Missile" has a pair of SpeedMart "Young Guns" breathing down his neck.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. of Olive Branch, MS is just one point behind Adams in the O'Reilly USCS Mid-South Thunder points chase. The 17-year-old driver took the O'Reilly USCS Mid-South win on May 28 at Garnertown Speedway in Luray, TN to go with a second-place effort on May 27 in Crossville, TN, and fifth-place finish on May 29 in Clarksville, TN.
Danny "The Hammer" Martin of Sarasota, FL is third in the O'Reilly USCS Mid-South points with a third-place showing at Garnertown, and three top ten finishes. The 19-year-old driver was the 2004 O'Reilly USCS National Championship Runner-Up.
The busiest driver among the top five in the O'Reilly USCS Mid-South Thunder Tour could be the fourth-place driver in points, Ernie Ainsworth of Bartlett, TN. Ainsworth has passed the most cars in the first three races, coming from 16th to fifth in Crossville, 12th to sixth at Garnertown, and 18th to seventh in Clarksville. Ainsworth is just one point behind Martin.
Skinner picked up the win at Crossville, and had a third-place showing in Clarksville. "The Lawman" will be looking forward to returning to North Alabama Speedway where the 1999 O'Reilly USCS National Champion picked up the O'Reilly USCS win last year.
Another new face that has been impressive in the first three O'Reilly USCS Mid-South events is another SpeedMart Young Gun, 15-year-old Hunter Schuerenberg of Sikeston, MO. Schuerenberg is coming off a fourth-place finish in Clarksville and is sixth in the O'Reilly USCS Mid-South point standings, only four points behind Skinner.
Mike Ward of Memphis, TN is seventh in points, but only for a mechanical problem in Crossville, could easily be at the top of the list. Ward was scheduled to start on the pole position in Crossville, but he could not take the green flag when his race car would not start. Ward came back with a fifth-place finish at Garnertown, and took the win in Clarksville.
Darren Stewart, a 23-year-old SpeedMart Young Gun from Bixby, OK is seventh, followed by another Young Gun, Michael Miller of Tallapoosa, GA. Miller will be out of action this weekend after suffering a concussion after a crash at Clarksville. Wesley Hale of Memphis, TN rounds out the top ten.
A driver on the comeback trail will be the defending and four-time O'Reilly USCS National Champion Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN. Gray was injured in a testing accident on May 24, and missed the last three series events recovering. The "Bartlett Bullet" dropped from the point lead to eighth in the O'Reilly USCS National points, but he is expected to return to action this weekend.
Gray has three O'Reilly USCS wins at Columbus Speedway, including last season, and he also has a 2001 North Alabama Speedway series win on his resume. Both Adams and Ward each have one series win at the 3/10-mile clay oval known as "The Baddest Bullring in the South."
With the O'Reilly USCS National touring drivers like Adams, Gray and Martin combined with the talent from the Memphis area could give the series' Mid-South Thunder Tour the claim of being one of the most competitive winged outlaw sprint car series in the country. This series is strong having averaged 33 entrants in its first three events.
At each event this weekend, the O'Reilly USCS winged outlaw sprint cars will compete in the Air Flow Research Power Dash, heat races, a B-main, and a 30-lap feature race.
The pit gate at North Alabama Speedway will open at 4 p.m. on Friday, with hot laps set for 7:30 p.m., and racing scheduled for 8 p.m. Along with the O'Reilly USCS winged outlaw sprint cars, the local Super Late Model, Late Model Stock, Open-Wheel Modified, and Modified Street Divisions will also be in action.
North Alabama Speedway is located one mile south of U.S. Highway 72 on State Road 247. For more information call (256) 381-5051, or visit the track's web site at www.northalabamaspeedway.com.
At Columbus Speedway on Saturday night, the Late Model Stock, Open-Wheel Modified, Street Stock, and Mini Stock Divisions will also be a part of the racing program. The pit gate at Columbus Speedway will open at 3 p.m. on Saturday, and the grandstand gate will open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are set for 7:15 p.m., and racing is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Columbus Speedway is located seven miles east of Columbus on U.S. Highway 82, then take the Stokes Road exit and go two miles north to Lacy Road, then 0.2 miles east. For more information, call Columbus Speedway at (662) 327-3047, or visit the track's web site at www.columbusspeedway.net.