Tony Stewart Racing Ready to Resume USAC Championship Chase Jones, Hines Ready to Go in Round Two Against Mother Nature INDIANAPOLIS (April 2, 2007) -- Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) is loaded up and ready to roll south to Kyle, Texas, for Saturday's...
Tony Stewart Racing Ready to Resume USAC Championship Chase
Jones, Hines Ready to Go in Round Two Against Mother Nature
INDIANAPOLIS (April 2, 2007) -- Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) is loaded up and ready to roll south to Kyle, Texas, for Saturday's (April 7) Allstate Texas Lightning 100 at Thunder Hill Raceway. While the Nos. 20 and 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Beast teams are prepared to do battle on the track, they're hoping they won't have to fight the one competitor they're already in the hole against this season. Mother Nature already has one "W" in the win column this year, and TSR and the rest of the USAC National Midget Car Series competitors are hoping that she won't provide an encore performance at Thunder Hill Raceway on Saturday, much like she did at last year's two-day event finale.
Levi Jones, driver or the No. 20 Chevrolet for Tony Stewart Racing, enters this weekend's event ranked sixth in the USAC National Midget Car Series point standings. Saturday's Allstate Texas Lightning 100 will mark his second appearance at the facility for TSR. In last year's preliminary feature, Jones was credited with a 17th-place finish after mechanical failure ended his day prematurely.
The 2005 USAC National Sprint Car Series champion had a solid run in this year's USAC National Midget Car Series opener at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix on Feb. 9, earning a ninth-place finish. The 2007 season also marks the beginning of Jones' second full year of USAC National Midget Car Series competition. He earned a sixth-place championship finish in 2006.
Tracy Hines, pilot of Tony Stewart Racing's No. 21 Chevrolet, will look to earn his first USAC National Midget Car Series victory this weekend and rebound from a disappointing DNF (Did Not Finish) at Manzanita Speedway in February. He was the class of the field in the annual Copper on Dirt event, but a fuel miscalculation led to Hines' machine being too light at the scales following his front-running charge.
In the 2006 event at Thunder Hill Raceway, Hines earned a podium finish, taking the checkered flag in second place. He enters this weekend's event ranked 20th in the USAC National Midget Car Series championship, which is a title he looks to add to his impressive resume at the conclusion of this season.
The Allstate Texas Lightning 100 is scheduled for Saturday at Thunder Hill Raceway in Kyle. The 3/8-mile, semi-banked asphalt oval will host the first USAC National Midget Car Series pavement event of the 2007 season. Gates are scheduled to open to the public at 3:30 p.m. CDT, with qualifying set to begin at 5:30 p.m. An on-track autograph session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. with racing to begin at 8:30 p.m.
Dave Steele won the 2006 USAC National Midget Car Series event at Thunder Hill. This year's race will conclude with a 100-lap feature event for the USAC National Midget Car Series. For more information regarding the Allstate Texas Lightning 100 log on to www.texasracefest.com.
Quotes from Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevrolet/Beast:
Are you looking forward to beginning another full season of competition in the USAC National Midget Car Series? You've got a season of experience under your belt, now. Will that be an advantage for you this year?
"I am much more confident heading into this year's USAC National Midget Car Series schedule. Even though I'd run some midget events prior to last year, nothing can compare to having a full season of seat time in one of these cars to reflect on. They really handle a lot differently than a Sprint or Silver Crown Series car does. You have to adjust to how they accelerate. I really had a good time in Phoenix in February. I was pretty comfortable in the car. I think we're going to be contenders at each event this year and I'm looking forward to getting my first series victory for TSR, Chevrolet and Bass Pro Shops."
USAC has been battling weather early on this season. Any bets on whether or not Mother Nature will play fair this weekend?
"Hopefully the rain won't follow us from Iowa to Texas. We're testing in Iowa early this week and the forecast for the early part of the week is a little doubtful. They're also calling for rain in Texas later this week. We're hoping to get the race in this year. Even though I've raced a few times out west since February, we're ready to get the national series events started. It's been good to have some down time to move into the new shop and get adjusted to all of the team changes we've made, but it's time to go racing.'
Quotes from Tracy Hines, driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Beast:
You're facing an uphill battle after your misfortune at Manzanita Speedway in February. Pavement is known to be one of your strong suits as a driver. Do you believe you can begin to resume your championship chase at Thunder Hill Raceway this weekend?
"One of my biggest goals for this season is to win the USAC National Midget Car Series Championship. It's the one title that's eluded me so far in my career and I really want to put my name in the history books as a series champion. We'd also like to be able to give Chevrolet and Bass Pro Shops their first USAC National Midget Car Series Championship titles. It would be great to have our names in the record books as the first Chevrolet powered team to earn that honor. I really believe that we're a strong enough team to overcome our DNF at Manzanita Speedway. That's never the way you want to start a season but you have to look at how we ran in the event rather than how the results are posted. We were very fast and had a really good car right out of the gate. I'm looking forward to heading to the pavement this weekend. I really enjoy pavement racing and have no doubt we're going to be contenders for the win."
Any bets on the battle between racing and Mother Nature this weekend?
"I'm betting that I'd better not comment on the weather forecast. I've never had a lot of luck when it came to playing the tables or cards so I'm not going to take any chances on the forecast this weekend. Hopefully we'll be able to get the event in. It's a long way to travel to have to turn around and come home. I would have liked to have a second shot at winning in last year's two day event, so hopefully we'll be able to get it done in one day on Saturday."