KEVIN THOMAS 1ST ENTRY FOR "BRANSON/LARSON CLASSIC"
Kevin Thomas of Danville, Ind., who battled Tony Elliott all season for the 1998 Stoops Freightliner/USAC Sprint Car Championship and finished in the runner-up spot, is the first entry for the "Don Branson/Jud Larson Classic" 1999 series opener at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. The Saturday night, March 27, event includes a 30-lap feature on the exciting 1/2-mile dirt oval.
Thomas is the only driver to finish in the "top-10" in the past five "Branson/Larson" events, with finishes of 7th, 4th, 3rd, 3rd and 5th since 1994. His lone 1998 Stoops Freightliner/USAC Sprint Car triumph came in the Buckeye state, at Attica Raceway Park in June.
Thomas' primary challengers for victory when the Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car series opens will be former two-time "Branson/Larson" race winners Kevin Doty and Jack Hewitt, as well as defending series champion Tony Elliott and former two-time series champ Brian Tyler. Doty won last year's race and Hewitt swept last year's "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora, while Elliott had "top-5" finishes in all four 1998 Eldora Spint races and Tyler was in the "top-10" three times in four 1998 Eldora starts.
"BRANSON/LARSON CLASSIC" RACE WINNERS:
1981 Dave Peperak 1982 Jack Hewitt 1983 Rich Vogler 1984 Steve Butler 1985 Jac Haudenschild 1986 Rick Hood 1987 Rich Vogler 1988 Jac Haudenschild 1989 No Race 1990 Jack Hewitt 1991 No Race 1992 Terry Shepherd 1993 Robbie Stanley 1994 Frankie Kerr 1995 Kevin Doty 1996 Frankie Kerr 1997 Kevin Huntley 1998 Kevin Doty