USCS: Riverside Speedway preview

TRAVELERS REST, SC - Three drivers dodged rain drops to get in a few hot laps in preparation for Friday night's United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder event presented by Reeves Racing and Collectibles, USCS officials announced Wednesday that...

TRAVELERS REST, SC - Three drivers dodged rain drops to get in a few hot laps in preparation for Friday night's United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder event presented by Reeves Racing and Collectibles, USCS officials announced Wednesday that Reeves Racing and Collectibles of Easley, SC has signed on as the Presenting Sponsor for the fourth dirt race of the 2004 season.

USCS Co-Owner, retired NASCAR great Ernie Irvan, and USCS drivers Johnny Bridges of Cherryville, NC, Ben Basinger of Salisbury, NC and David Thorman of Greenville, SC were on hand for the USCS Media Day on Wednesday. Despite rain showers, the skies cleared long enough for Bridges, Basinger, and Thorman to get a few hot laps in, while Irvan told the media members about his interest in USCS.

"This series is where the future of auto racing is going to come from," Irvan said. "The new generation of NASCAR drivers are coming from Sprint Car racing. This is good fast racing, and these drivers are definitely brave. I never drove a Sprint Car, but I got to ride in a two-seater once, and it scared me!"

Irvan, who was voted one of NASCAR's Top 50 Drivers of the Century with 15 career Cup wins, will be the Grand Marshal for the USCS Outlaw Thunder Presented by Reeves Racing and Collectibles, and will give the field the green flag for the 30-lap main event. Irvan will also be meeting the race fans during a special "Meet and Greet" Autograph Session between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Bridges is the defending champion of the American Outlaw Action Series, which was bought by USCS in January. Bridges said he's looking forward to competing on a regular basis with drivers like defending and three-time USCS Champion Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN, Jim Raptis of Marietta, GA, and Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL.

"You're only as good as the competition you're racing with, and guys like Terry Gray, Jim Raptis and Kenny Adams are good," Bridges said. "I'm really looking forward to getting out there with those guys, and hopefully we can outrun them a time or two. There was some good competition in the AOAS series, and I think guys like Brice Wrenn, Ben Basinger and the rest of the AOAS drivers are also going to be a great addition to USCS."

Bridges was able to turn a couple of fast laps in his Ford powered car on the 3/8-mile clay oval, and he's anticipating some very competitive racing on Friday night in the USCS Outlaw Thunder event presented by Reeves Racing and Collectibles.

"With all of the rain they've had here, the groove wasn't very wide today, but I think once we get all of the cars on the track, we'll be able to race flat out all over this place," Bridges said. "With the moisture that was in the track, I thought it would rut up a little bit, but it was surprisingly smooth. The folks here at Riverside Speedway have done a good job in preparing the race track."

"Young Gun" Basinger ran a few laps, but had some engine troubles, and with the weather cutting the session short, the 21-year-old driver couldn't really get what he wanted out of his race car.

"I think we've got some fouled spark plugs because the engine just wouldn't come to life," Basinger said. "We'll take the car back to the shop, check it over, and be ready to go on Friday night. This is a great series for a young driver like me to get some good experience and to learn."

On the other end of the age spectrum, 62-year-old Thorman, who has been racing since the 1950s, is still having fun wrestling a 1,300 pound, 700 horsepower Sprint Car around dirt tracks.

"USCS is a great series where I guy like me can just come out and have some fun," Thorman said. "Racing a sprint car keeps me young, and I really enjoy it! I live about 12 miles from the track, and I'm looking forward to racing in front of the hometown fans."

The Riverside Speedway Limited Sportsman, Renegade, Stock 4, Rookie 4 and Stock 8 Divisions will also be on the racing card on Friday night with the USCS Outlaw Thunder Sprint Cars. The pit gate will open at 4 p.m., and the grandstand gate will open at 5 p.m. The Ernie Irvan "Meet and Greet" Autograph Session will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and racing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Riverside Speedway is located north of Greenville, SC on S.R. 11, one mile west of U.S. Highway 25. For additional information call the track at (864) 836-4200, or visit their web site at www.race-tracks.com/riverside. For additional information about USCS, visit the series web site at www.uscsracing.com.

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Ernie Irvan , Kenny Adams