Tony Stewart Racing Manzanita finale preview

The Last Stand Tony Stewart Racing's Jones, Stenhouse, Jr., Prepare for USAC Sprint Series Showdown at Manzanita Speedway INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 7, 2007) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) USAC driving duo of Levi Jones and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., are...

The Last Stand
Tony Stewart Racing's Jones, Stenhouse, Jr., Prepare for USAC Sprint Series Showdown at Manzanita Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 7, 2007) -- Tony Stewart Racing's (TSR) USAC driving duo of Levi Jones and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., are set to make their final push in USAC National Sprint Car Series competition this weekend at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix. The two-day Western World Championships event at the half-mile facility will also serve as Jones' last run at the series title as he looks to wrap up his second national championship.

Kicking off the week will be Thursday's Copper World Classic event featuring the USAC Midget Series at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR.) Jones finished 11th at the one-mile facility on Jan. 22, 2006, behind event winner Dave Steele. Thursday's race will mark Stenhouse's first appearance at the facility.

On Friday and Saturday, TSR will return to the half-mile dirt oval of Manzanita Speedway. In his last appearance at the facility on Feb. 10, 2007, Stenhouse won USAC/CRA Sprint Series sanctioned Copper World on Dirt event. Jones was credited with a 16th place finish after a blown right rear tire sent him to the work area in the late stages of the race.

Jones leads the USAC National Sprint Car Series standings with 1,331 points and is ranked seventh in the USAC Midget Series championship with 849 points. He carries an 89 point lead over Darren Hagen, who sits in second-place in the USAC Sprint Series standings.

Stenhouse will look to gain ground in the Midget series championship with his first appearance at PIR on Thursday. Should he capture this year's championship, it would be his first national series title. He is ranked third in Midget series standings with 1,043 points -- only 156 points behind leader Jerry Coons, Jr. Stenhouse has won five Midget races this year -- two USAC/POWRi co-sanctioned events and three USAC Midget Series events. Stenhouse also stands seventh in the USAC Sprint Series championship standings with 1,242 points.

Injured TSR driver Tracy Hines has also been entered in the USAC Midget Series event at PIR on Thursday. He'll make a final decision as to his racing status that morning prior to the first practice session. Hines continues daily therapy at St. Vincent's Sports Performance center in Indianapolis.

Thursday's USAC Midget event at PIR will feature a 25-lap race. Gates will open at 10 a.m. MDT with practice schedule for 9:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Qualifications will be held at 2:45 p.m. with the feature race starting at 7:45 p.m. The official Web site of PIR is www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com.

For Friday and Saturday's events at Manzanita Speedway, pit gates will open at 11 a.m. MDT daily. Grandstand gates will open at 5 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday. Racing is scheduled to begin each night at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, please call 602-276-7575. The official Web site of Manzanita Speedway is www.manzanitaspeedway.us.

Quotes from Levi Jones, driver of the No. 20 TSR/Chevrolet/Spike -- USAC National Midget Series and the No. 20 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Series:

Heading into the final two races in the USAC Sprint Series championship chase and looking at your first pavement event in several months, how do you plan to prepare for this week?

"You take it one day at a time. Obviously, with the midget event at PIR on Thursday, we've been really focused on making sure the pavement car is ready to go. It's really exciting to possibly have Tracy (Hines, teammate) back with us for this event. He's been instrumental in helping us move our pavement program forward and it will be great to have him back in the seat. For Friday and Saturday's races, again, you just have to take them one at a time. While you want to win every time you get on the track, that's what we're there to do, you also have to make sure you take care of the points. I've always been a believer that if you win and finish well throughout the season the points will take care of themselves. But heading into this weekend I'll have to rely on my experience to know how to help myself out as the nights come to play. With the boss (Tony Stewart, team owner) and a group of Chevrolet representatives in town for the NASCAR event at PIR this weekend, it would be great to not only put TSR in victory lane but to be able to present them with the 2007 USAC Sprint Series title."

Quote from Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., driver of the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Spike -- USAC National Midget Series and the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim -- USAC National Sprint Series:

This weekend will be your first look at the one-mile PIR facility. On the flip side, you're obviously quite comfortable on the dirt at Manzanita Speedway. Are you looking forward to both events in Phoenix later this week?

"I'm looking forward to racing at PIR, I really enjoy the bigger race tracks and think it's going to be a great challenge to take on the mile in the midget. I've competed at Iowa Speedway, which is a 7/8-mile, and at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, a ¾-mile track, this year with the sprint and midget series. We've gotten better each time we've raced on the pavement and I think we're going to have great cars for the event at PIR on Thursday as well. I'm really looking forward to racing at Manzanita Speedway again this weekend. I just competed in the 360 Western World Championships at the track in October so I was able to reacquaint myself with the layout. Winning the USAC/CRA event at Manzy in February really helped set the tone for the season and it would be great to get back to victory lane there again. Also, with this being the last two USAC Sprint Series races of the year it would be a lot of fun to get a win for the Chevrolet group while they're with us on Friday and Saturday."

For complete results from this weekend's USAC National Midget & Sprint Series events, log on to www.usacracing.com. For information regarding Stewart, TSR or Chevrolet, log on to www.tonystewartracing.com or www.chevrolet.com.

-credit: -TSR-

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About this article
Series USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Levi Jones , Jerry Coons , Darren Hagen