CRA: Las Vegas preview

DIRT-PAVEMENT LINKS STRONG IN THIS WEEK'S LAS VEGAS RACING ACTION The ties between this week's USAC/CRA Sprint Car races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track and the NASCAR events at the 1.5-mile LVMS Superspeedway are ...

DIRT-PAVEMENT LINKS STRONG IN THIS WEEK'S LAS VEGAS RACING ACTION

The ties between this week's USAC/CRA Sprint Car races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track and the NASCAR events at the 1.5-mile LVMS Superspeedway are many, with more than a dozen former USAC drivers involved in the Sam's Town 300 and UAW-Dodge 400.

Some continue to maintain their ties with USAC, driving on occasion and fielding cars for some of USAC's most accomplished drivers.

Sprint Cup stars Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne and Nationwide star Jason Leffler all own USAC Sprint cars, while Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman and Cup stars Carl Edwards, Ken Schrader and J.J. Yeley each try to find time to slip in a selected USAC race during the season. Edwards and Stewart also field cars in USAC's Silver Crown Championship series.

Racing like the type fans will see in the Las Vegas Dirt Classic Thursday and Friday nights at the LVMS Dirt Track formed the backbone for the careers of the drivers named above. Today, some of America's brightest stars continue that tradition as they seek their own slice of motorsports glory.

Cory Kruseman of Ventura, Calif. leads the 2008 USAC/CRA Sprint Car standings on the strength of victories in early-February at Perris, Calif. He's a former series champion (2006) and has a lengthy list of feature victories to his credit, but he's never won a USAC race in Nevada. Not yet!

Of course, only 25 of the previous 77 USAC races in the Silver State involved Sprint cars, and only nine of those were on the LVMS dirt.

Kruseman finished dead last (26th) in last October's USAC/CRA race at LVMS but had a sixth and a tenth in the two March races. He's currently 19 points ahead of Mike Spencer in the 2008 standings. Spencer finished second in the 2007 points to defending series champion Tony Jones, who won at LVMS last March, Spencer scored a fourth, fifth and eighth in last year's three USAC/CRA appearances at the Dirt Track.

Drivers will be aiming at Robert Ballou's official 1-lap LVMS Dirt Track record of 17.036 seconds when qualifying begins Thursday. Arizona's Rick Ziehl actually turned a lap at 16.530 in 1997 when he competed at the Dirt Track in USAC's Western Sprint Series when the cars sported wings.

A 30-lap feature concludes the Sprint action Thursday and Friday, with the Western All Stars Late Models sharing billing on the 1/2-mile oval. Racing starts each night at 7:05 pm.

-credit: usac

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Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Ken Schrader , Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne , J.J. Yeley , Tony Jones , Cory Kruseman , Carl Edwards , Rick Ziehl , Mike Spencer