USCS: South Carolina Dirt Weekend preview

FAYETTEVILLE, GA - The defending and three-time United Sprint Car Series Champion Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN is now on top of the USCS National Point Standings after a second-place finish Saturday night at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, GA.

FAYETTEVILLE, GA - The defending and three-time United Sprint Car Series Champion Terry Gray of Bartlett, TN is now on top of the USCS National Point Standings after a second-place finish Saturday night at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, GA. Gray is looking for his fourth straight USCS National Championship.

Despite a crash that took him out of the race on the opening lap at LNS, Kenny Adams of Malabar, FL moved up to second spot in the USCS National points chase, 18 points behind Gray. Jim Raptis of Marietta, GA is in the third spot, 10 points behind Adams.

The top three in USCS National points will lead a star-studded field of competitors expected from eight states back to the dirt tracks this weekend. The action begins this Friday night at Riverside Speedway in Travelers Rest, SC, and then moved to I-20 Speedway in Batesburg, SC.

Adams is the defending and two-time USCS Asphalt Thunder Champion, but the 2000 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Driver of the Year, would like to add a USCS National Championship Trophy to his mantle. Raptis is better known as a pavement specialist, but a steady dirt program will keep him in the title hunt.

Raptis had to overcome an engine failure at LNS during the Friday night practice session, and arrived at the track last Saturday night without a race car to drive. The Rebman Truck Service team out of Mansfield, OH brought three Beaberbuilt race cars to LNS, and offered Raptis a ride in one of them.

Although he had never sat in the race car before, Raptis qualified 10th fastest out of 23 cars, won the first heat race, and after starting tenth in the 40-lap main event, finished fifth to share the Huggins Cams Hard Charger Award with Butch Pendergrass of Winston-Salem, NC. Raptis' new teammate Doug Berryman of Mansfield, OH won the race.

After this weekend's South Carolina dirt track swing, the USCS National Point Standings will have quite a shake up. With USCS being the only winged outlaw sprint car series in the country that runs both dirt and asphalt, not all drivers run both surfaces.

Also, the Riverside Speedway event will be the fourth USCS race of the season, and non-member USCS drivers will lose their early season points. Many drivers that ran on the dirt in Florida back in February will slide off the USCS points chart, but a lot of the USCS Dirt Series regulars will gain.

Look for drivers like Danny Martin Jr. of Sarasota, FL, Red Stauffer of Winter Park, FL, Bryce Wrenn of Lexington, SC, Tom Winegardner Jr. of Palmetto, FL, Aubrey Black of Lookout Mountain, GA, and Tighe Schloss of Jacksonville, FL to carry their Florida points into this weekend's action and move up the list.

Another group of drivers that run both dirt and asphalt, but did not run in Florida will also be looking to move up. Those drivers that ran at LNS include Brad Davis of Rutherfordton, NC, Chad Allum of Kannapolis, NC, Bill Moore of Denver, NC, Pendergrass, Doug Fitzwater of Homewood, AL, and Ben Basinger of Salisbury, NC.

One driver that will be playing catch-up is Johnny Bridges of Mooresville, NC. Bridges is the defending champion of the American Outlaw Action Series, a North Carolina-based sprint car series that was bought by USCS in January. Bridges is expected to make his first USCS events of the season this weekend.

Retired NASCAR Legend and USCS co-owner Ernie Irvan will be at both South Carolina events this weekend, and will meet and greet USCS fans with an autograph session from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday night at Riverside Speedway and on Saturday night at I-20 Speedway. Irvan was voted as one of the Top 50 NASCAR Drivers of the Century.

The schedule of events for both races will be announced later this week. Riverside Speedway is located north of Greenville, SC on S.R. 11, one-half mile west of U.S. Highway 25. For more information, visit the Riverside Speedway web site at www.race-tracks.com/riverside. For more information about I-20 Speedway, visit their web site at www.i20speedway.com.

-www.uscsracing.com.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Ernie Irvan , Kenny Adams