HINES & JONES PACK 1-2 PUNCH FOR TONY STEWART RACING; BOTH SEEKING VICTORY LANE AT COLUMBUS & ANDERSON There's only room for one car in victory lane at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway, but both Tony Stewart Racing drivers will be gunning for ...
HINES & JONES PACK 1-2 PUNCH FOR TONY STEWART RACING; BOTH SEEKING VICTORY LANE AT COLUMBUS & ANDERSON
There's only room for one car in victory lane at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway, but both Tony Stewart Racing drivers will be gunning for it Saturday in USAC's "JEGS Crown Midget Super Nationals" showdown at the 1/3-mile paved oval. They will also seek victory in Sunday's 100-lap race at the Anderson (Ind.) Speedway as the 2009 USAC Mopar National Midget Series kicks into full swing. Hines won last September's race at Anderson Speedway.
Tracy Hines is fifth and Levi Jones 10th in the latest USAC Mopar National Midget Series standings. Hines finished just one point behind National Champion Cole Whitt last season and wants to reverse that this time around. Jones was sixth in the 2008 points.
Hines has the better 2009 start, finishing second at Perris, Calif. Feb. 25 and fifth at Kyle, Texas March 14, while Jones was eighth at Perris. Hines has been the fastest qualifier for the last two races and is expected to challenge the 1-lap Columbus track qualifying mark of 13.655 seconds set by Bryan Clauson in 2005.
Stewart's teams have done quite well in USAC competition winning seven National car owner titles since 2002, but one that has eluded them is the National Midget title. The team has racked up 15 National Midget wins and this could be their year to claim a Midget championship.
"It's been a few years since we've raced at Columbus Motor Speedway," says Hines. "It's a fun track, it's a great race track if your car is hooked up well. When the car is right at Columbus, you can pass and it makes for great racing. The level of competition that USAC has right now will also make for an interesting race. There will definitely be a pack running together for much of the race. I'm looking forward to going back there this weekend. It's also nice to kick-off the event with an appearance at Bob McDorman Chevrolet on Thursday afternoon. It will give the fans a chance to see our Chevy powered cars up close.
"The event on Sunday at Anderson Speedway," continued Hines, "will also be a good event. The longevity of the race -- 100 laps -- will make it interesting. With that long of a race, you'll have a chance to see tire fade come into play and it will come down to the gamble in the end. Whoever can save their tires and make the right tire choice will be there at the end."
"I've only competed at Columbus Motor Speedway one time but it was a fun track to race on," said Jones. "It's definitely a track where you need to qualify well. Starting near the front makes all the difference when it comes to the race. I'm also looking forward to working with my new crew chief, Brad Mariscotti, again this weekend. Hopefully, the weather will hold out and we'll have three days in a row of being on the track to continue to work on our pavement program and our Chevy engine program. It would be great to come out of the weekend with two good finishes and I think we've got the car and engine package to do just that.
"At Anderson," Jones continued, "it's always a toss-up. It's another track where you definitely want to start near the front. Qualifying is always a big part of how you finish, no matter where you're racing, but at Anderson it's even more important. Our goal is to qualify well, come out of the heat race and run near the front for the majority of the race. Hopefully, we'll have picked the right tire to start the race on and we'll have been patient enough to be in a position to win at the end."
The Tony Stewart Racing Team's Chevy/Bass Pro Shops race cars are slated to be on display Thursday from 3-5 pm at Bob McDorman Chevrolet on Gender Road in Canal Winchester, Ohio.
Information regarding tickets for the "JEGS Crown Midget Super Nationals" USAC races at Columbus Motor Speedway can be obtained from the USAC office, at 317-247-5151. Tickets for Sunday's races at the Anderson (Ind.) Speedway can be obtained by calling the track at 765-642-0206.