USAR: Mansfield: Northern Division round six preview

St. Amant hopes to turn season around this weekend at MMS Longs, SC - After switching teams in the off season, Gary St. Amant knew it would be a lot of work for him and his crew getting ready for 2006. St. Amant and car owner Dwayne Tatman ...

St. Amant hopes to turn season around this weekend at MMS

Longs, SC - After switching teams in the off season, Gary St. Amant knew it would be a lot of work for him and his crew getting ready for 2006. St. Amant and car owner Dwayne Tatman joined forces last winter and so far this season hasn't gone the way either probably imagined. Hopefully that will all change this Saturday night during the Lucas Oil 250 at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway when the track hosts the Hooters Pro Cup Series for the first of two races this year.

Although St. Amant hasn't won at the track in four previous starts, he has finished in the top ten every time and hopes his experience at MMS will help turn his season around. After recording an eighth-place finish at South Boston to open the season, St. Amant hasn't finished better than 13th since then and is coming off a finish of 31st at Jennerstown after getting collected in an accident and later suffering mechanical problems.

"It will be nice to race close to home this weekend," said St. Amant. "It is only about an hour from our doorstep to the track and that will be nice for our crew."

St. Amant added that his crew has been working on many different areas of the team in improving pit equipment and parts on the cars which might have put them a little behind to start the year.

"We haven't shown the results we are capable of yet this year," said St. Amant. "I knew this would be a lot of work. We have made a change to the Laughlin front clip this week and it should help us on the track. I know it looks like it helped Shelby [Howard]. He put a Laughlin clip on before Kil-Kare and then won last week at Jennerstown. That change and others we have made to our equipment should help us on the track as we head into the second half of the regular season and the Championship Series."

The Northern Division has not had a repeat winner in 2006 and St. Amant could keep that streak alive with his first win of the year and first since his rookie season in 2003 when he won at Lake Erie Speedway.

MMS has given two of the four race winners in Pro Cup competition their first career victory and there are several drivers who could make this their first Pro Cup victory as well entering this weekend. Two names that come to mind are Jack Bailey and A J Frank.

Bailey, who is competing for the first time in the Series, has finished no worse than 12th in any of his five previous races and has three top-10 finishes out of the past four races entering Mansfield. Frank, who switched to the Cleveland, Ohio-based Bullet Motorsports team during the off season, has scored three consecutive top-10 finishes of his own and appears to be ready to capture his first win.

Both Eric Corbett (2003) and Joey Logano (2005) won their first races at MMS and Bailey and Corbett are two young drivers who could add to that mark this weekend.

Defending Hooters Pro Cup Series champion Benny Gordon enters this weekend as the only repeat winner at MMS recording back-to-back wins in 2004 and has also won earlier this season. Shelby Howard, who collected his first career win last week at Jennerstown Speedway in his Tony Stewart-owned Pontiac, could become the first driver in the division to record multiple wins at MMS. Howard also enjoyed another strong run in the state earlier this year when he led at Kil-Kare Speedway before motor problems ended his day early.

Just as was the case in 2004 and 2005, several Southern Division teams are expected to enter the race to gain valuable track time at MMS in preparation for the Championship Series event that will be held in October. Advance ticket purchases and more information on the Lucas Oil 250 is available by contacting the Mansfield Motorsports Speedway office at 419-525-7223.

WHAT: Lucas Oil 250 USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Race #12 of 30 (Northern Division Race 6 of 12)

WHERE: Mansfield Motorsports Speedway - Mansfield, OH
.500-mile, high-banked asphalt oval

WHEN: Saturday, June 10, 2006 - 7:00 p.m. (ET)

DISTANCE: 250 Laps/125 Miles

POSTED AWARDS: $131,649 (Includes $36,433 Point Fund)

TELEVISION: SPEED Channel, Wednesday, June 14, 2006 (5 p.m. ET)
SPEED Channel, Friday, June 16, 2006 (12 Noon (ET)

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

Saturday, June 10, 2006:
11:30 - 1:30 p.m. Hooters Pro Cup Series Practice
3:30 p.m. Front Gates Open
4:30 p.m. Hooters Pro Cup Series Qualifying
5:45 p.m. Autograph Session
6:30 p.m. Pre-Race Ceremonies
7 p.m. Lucas Oil 250

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Tony Stewart , Shelby Howard , Jack Bailey , Joey Logano